Rare Placido Zuloaga Spanish Damascened Gold and Steel Pocket Watch


A rare Placido Zuloaga Spanish damascened gold and steel pocket watch, circa 1885. The interior signed in monogram PZ, the movement signed: Ch. Ed. Larvet, Fleurier Suisse, No. 15905 The case applied with two delicate chased gold swans flanking an urn of flowers within various inlaid damascened borders, the white enamel dial with Arabic numerals, keyless lever movement. Measures: Diameter 4.5 cm, 1 3/4 in. Related literature: Exhibition catalogue, The Art and Tradition of the Zuloagas – Spanish Damascene from the Khalili collection, London, 1997 The 19th century saw an important revival in the role of the European art metalworker. Old techniques and styles were investigated and combined with increasing artistic and commercial success by artists such as Antoine Vechte, Jean-Valentin Morel and Antonio Cortelazzo. At the time, perhaps the most renowned of these virtuosi was Placido Zuloaga (1833-1910), who succeeded to an established family business in the metalworking town of Eibar in the Basque country. The firm already specialized in the manufacture and decoration of armour and guns. Placido’s knowledge and enthusiasm carried the firm to a new level by encouraging the production of damascened steel art-works, subsequently shown at most of the International Exhibitions. These items became known as much for their delicacy of design and excellence of workmanship as well as for the splendor of the larger pieces. Incidentally, Zuloaga’s greatest patron, in the renaissance mould, was Alfred Morrison of Fonthill who also acted in the same role for the French painter in enamel Charles Lepec. Placido’s first recognition as an artist was received in 1855 when, together with his father, he exhibited at the Paris exposition. Placido also executed numerous commissions for the Spanish royal family.