Ca. 1900-Very tall and tapering solid tortoiseshell handle fashioned in a beautiful swayed configuration and embellished, on the top, with a well-chased silver rosette to simulate a daisy, and on the side, with an applied stalk with leaves and bloom. The handle ends with a slender silver collar with an “A.W” hallmark for Anton Wildhack, Vienna and comes on an ebony shaft with a matching horn ferrule. The tortoiseshell part itself shows a darker color with the valued streaked structure of the noble sea material and its magical translucency and discreet shine. Ergonomically designed for the perfect fit to the hand, this cane seems to be a singular item of its kind. Despite an excessive fragility and lots of characterlines to the surface, it survived in good condition. Tortoiseshell handles are extremely rare, they were very difficult to make and among the most expensive of their time. Today, the few surviving examples are in museums and the great pride of renowned cane collections. Vienna was specialized in tortoiseshell articles and had the best artists in that field.
H. 11 ½” x 2 ½”, O.L. 39 ¾”
Anton Wildhack (Previously M. Wildhack & Sohn) Juwelier, Gold- and Silberschmied Gewerbsverleihung: 1872 Gewerbezurucklegung: Dezember 1908 VI, MagdalenenstraBe 52 (1874); IV, Klagbaumgasse 9 (1893 - 1908) Erzeugung: „Goldbijouterie. — Heraldische Kunstgegenstande, Wappen“ (Kalender 1898)
Tortoiseshell is an ornamental material obtained from the curved, horny shields forming the shell of the Hawksbill or of the Caretta turtle. The marbled, variegated pattern and deep translucence of the plates have been used in veneering and in the manufacture of jewelry and other items since ancient times. Tortoiseshell was imported to Rome from Egypt and has found many uses throughout the centuries from the time it was first introduced to Europe by the East India Company in the 17th century. Tortoiseshell work was raised to the level of artistry with design applications such as veneer over wood with bone and ebony trimmings, marquetry, lacquered versions and inlays with gilded flowers, gold or silver. It became popular in the East as well as in Europe, where it was used as a material for jewel cases, trays, snuffboxes, canes and other decorative articles. Tortoiseshell is first separated from the bony skeleton by heat; the shields are flattened by temperature and pressure, and irregularities are rasped away. It can be molded after being softened in boiling oil, shaped on a lathe and also takes a beautiful polish. Current environmental concerns have limited the use of tortoiseshell, and the knowledge of handling this noble and beautiful material is now totally lost.