Georg Gisze by Holbein the Younger

Georg Gisze by Holbein the Younger
Gemaldegalerie, Staatliche Museen, Berlin
Georg Gisze by Holbein the Younger
Georg Gisze, a German merchant in London
Painted in 1532
Oil on wood, 96.3 x 85.7 cm (38 x 33 3/4 in); Gemaldegalerie, Staatliche Museen, Berlin
Georg Gisze by Holbein the Younger
This border is called a Kufic border. Kufic is a form of script and some people have suggested that this border looks like script. That always sounded to me as a dealers story.
Georg Gisze by Holbein the Younger
A 'Small Pattern Holbein' rug, first half 16th C.

The 'Small Pattern Holbein' design is named after the artist Hans Holbein the Younger, a similar rug appearing in his Portrait of George Gisze of 1532. Holbein was, however, by no means the only artist to depict a rug of this group in his work and many examples can be identified in European painting from the mid 15th to the mid 16th century. Other than the Holbein portrait mentioned above, some of the most famous examples include Piero della Francesca's fresco San Sigismondo e il Malatesta, 1451, Tempio Malatestiano, Rimini; Andrea Mantegna's Madonna and Child with Saints, 1459, San Zeno, Verona

and The Somerset House Conference by Juan Pantoja de la Cruz, 1604,

The National Portrait Gallery, London (see Mills, John, 'Small Pattern Holbein' Carpets in Western Paintings, Hali vol. 1, no. 4, 1978, pp. 326-334).

The particular variation of the 'Kufic' border seen on this rug is classified as the 'C1' type by Pinner, Robert and Stanger, 'Kufic' Borders on 'Small Pattern Holbein' Carpets, Hali, ibid., pp. 335-338. The chronology of the rugs of this group is far from certain, but it seems that the type 'C' border is more frequently encountered in 16th century, rather than 15th century, examples.

For related examples at auction, see Sotheby's New York, 15 December 2000, lot 60; Christie's London, The Christopher Alexander Collection, 15 October 1998, lot 218 and Christie's London, 12 October 2000, lot 201. These three examples were all fragments, whereas the present lot, although very worn and damaged, is a complete example.