Stein of the Month: March 2007
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A Marzi & Remy Serving Set
with Art from the 16th Century by Hans Sebald Beham


by John Strassberger

No one planned it, but it seems that March has become "Hans Sebald Beham Month" at SCI. The March issue of Prosit contains an article on Beham and his influence on designers of steins and other stoneware. After that article was completed and ready for publication, I discovered (and got my hands on) the items shown in figure 1. The article could not be reworked but the timing was perfect for pairing Stein of the Month with Prosit.

The Master Stein is a 3L Marzi & Remy, form #880. The four smaller steins are .5L M&R #936, as is the stein in figure 1a of the Prosit article. However, that stein has a different handle and lid, indicating it is not part of this master stein set. The half-liter steins are discussed in more detail in Prosit.

The master stein seems to continue the use of Beham's engravings which feature peasants at a market, as shown in the magazine. One is entitled "Peasants selling eggs", figures 2 and 3. This engraving was done in 1520, when Beham was twenty years old.

  

Another is a variation of a scene from the "Peasant's Dance". Note that figure 4 differs from Beham's original, figure 5, in that the head of the man is turned. This form of artistic license seems to be fairly common. Apparently some stoneware designers liked to have their characters facing in the same direction.

 

I have not been able to find copies of Beham's original works for the last two figures. A book published in 1877 cataloged 259 of Beham's 271 known etchings and engravings. From the descriptions, I believe figure 6 is an adaptation of an engraving titled "A soldier and two men". No description matches figure 7. That is unfortunate as this is the most interesting of the four scenes. The man sampling some food and drink at a table is having his pocket picked by the women behind him!

 

Each of the four steins has a different saying. They are: "Better envy than pity"; "Gladly we live with beer"; "Who is well seated should not budge"; and "Look, for foam is not beer". The translated saying on the master stein is "Be fresh in spirit, joyful when drinking, glad with little, free in your speech, true to your sweetheart". That's certainly good advice.

Here is some more good advice. If you are reading this but will be unable to learn more about Beham and his artwork because you don't subscribe to Prosit, then you should join Stein Collectors International.

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