Bronze mortar attributed to Peter van den Ghein I, 1515

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Origin
Mechelen
Period
Dated 1515
Material
Bronze
Height
12.8 cm
Diameter
15.8 cm
Literature

D.A. Wittop Koning, Nederlandse vijzels, Weert 1989, p. 99.

Museums

See for mortar by Peter van den Ghein I with similar wolf's heads: collection Stedelijke Musea Mechelen, inv.no. Met0156.

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Description

On the frieze of this early cast bronze mortar is the text: 'Mij heeft doe make Reynout Vawillebeke als Bailiu t jaer XV XV' (Made by order of Reynout Van Willebeke as bailiff in the year 1515). The mortar, with a beautiful golden patina, is decorated with twisted ribs and a representation of the Virgin and Child with Saint Anne and a fiddler. The ears of the mortar are shaped like wolf's heads. Based on the dating and the characteristic wolf's heads, the mortar can be attributed to Peter van den Ghein I, one of the Mechelen founding fathers of the famous bronze casting family.

The Reynout Van Willebeke mentioned on the frieze can be found in the archives of the barony of the seigniory of Ressegem and Borsbeke in 1520. There he is mentioned in connection with the church property of Ressegem: 'Desen bouck was aldus gheaccordeert bij her Jaspar Reijnoet van Willebeke als bailiu'. Peter van den Ghein I was the son of bell caster Willem van den Ghein, and lived in 'De Swaene' in Mechelen. Apart from mortars, he is mainly known for his cast bronze clocks. For a mortar by Peter van den Ghein I with similar wolf's heads, see collection Stedelijke Musea Mechelen, inv. no. Met0156. 

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