Deel van reliëfplaat met afbeelding van een Portugees, met lang stijl haar; zijn wambuis is glad; voor zich uit houdt hij een geweer in de aanslag.
De pilaren van het paleis van de koning, de Oba, waren van onder tot boven met bronzen reliëfplaten bekl
Materiaal en techniek (NB: ook thesaurustermen aanpassen!)Material
The acquisition of 53 Benin objects (RV-1243-1 to -46 and RV-1295-2 to -7) from William Downing Webster (1868-1913), a British ethnographic art dealer and collector, known to have assembled a large collection from the Benin military campaign of 1897, is characterised by budgeting issues (Waterfield & King 2006: 55-63). When Johannes Schmeltz received a first letter from Webster on 7 December 1899 with a list of Benin objects offered for sale, he realised it would need fundraising on his part to acquire this important collection (NL-LdnRMV-A1-30-542/545). Schmeltz managed to secure funds from, amongst others, Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands, Queen Wilhelmina, and the Queen Mother, Princess Emma van Waldeck-Pyrmont. The Queen Mother’s secretary sent a letter to Schmeltz confirming the donation for the purchase of the Benin objects on 8 June 1900 (NL-LdnRMV-A1-31-344/345; CL-L: Nl- LdnRMV_A01_277_00109; AR-L 1899-1900: 13; MR-L: NL-LdnRMV_A03_007_0237). All the financial donors were listed in the Nederlandsche Staatscourant, the Dutch national state newspaper on 25 April 1902.
The second batch of objects was sent to the museum for approval on 16 March 1900. Even before being bought, thirteen objects were registered on 22 March (RV-1243-31 to -43) (DB-L: NL-LdnRMV_A03_007_0238). It appears that between March and November 1900 Schmeltz tries to assemble the funds to buy the items from Webster. In the end he is only able to buy items for the total sum of £54.15.00. Webster tells him that it won’t be possible to get lower prices for ‘Benin specimens’ (NL-LdnRMV-A1-32-528). Webster offers him for example favourable terms for several objects stating ‘I will make you a reduction of 10% if you take the lot or 5% for part. But must ask you not to mention to other museums that I have made this concession to you’ (NL-LdnRMV-A1-32-534/535). A final decision was made in a letter sent to Webster on 30 July 1900 (NL-LdnRMV-A1-210-934/936a).
This plaque was sold for 3.10.0 GBP (now ca. 382 GBP) although Webster initially priced it at 7.10.0 GBP (ca. 818 GBP) in his catalogue.
All the objects that had been sent to the Netherlands for viewing and had not been selected were sent back. Also, some of the objects were first registered as loans, allowing Schmeltz to secure the funds to buy them as they were considered important: ‘From the objects still on loan some deserve to be mentioned here already as especially noteworthy.’ Two men, Elco M. Vis and R. Langenbach enabled the procurement of some loan objects: ‘Because of the gentlemen Elco M. Vis in Amsterdam and R. Langenbach in Worms, yours truly was able to once more purchase one of the objects on loan from the Kingdom of Benin [serie 1243].’
The plates in the annual report show that Schmeltz, used the donations to acquire Webster collections (series RV-1243) and Umlauff collections (series RV-1286, series RV-1310) as the money became available, irrespective of which artworks he had received on view first.
(Excerpt from Provenance no. 2 'The Benin collections at the National Museum of World Cultures' written by Rosalie Hans with Annette Schmidt, 05-01-2021)
1990 De geschiedenis van de Leidse Benin-verzameling. In: A. Duchâteau, Benin: vroege hofkunst uit Afrika. Brussel: 21 en 162.
Marquart, J., 'Die Benin-Sammlung des Reichsmuseums für Völkerkunde in Leiden'. Veroffentlichungen des Reichsmuseums für Völkerkunde in Leiden. Serie II nr. 7. Leiden: Brill, 1913.
Webster, W.D. 1889-1899. Illustrated Catalogue of Ethnographical Specimens, European and Eastern Arms and Armour, Prehistoric and Other Curiosities. Vol. 3. No. 18 to 23. Bicester: W.D. Webster. Figure 77 in no. 24.