Peter Finer

A Pair of Alsatian Bronze Model Cannon Cast for the Baron von Neuenstein-Rodeck by Jean-Baptiste Darten, Strasbourg, Named “Le Terrible” and “La Victorire” Respectively, Each on its Original Carriage, dated 1774

Item Ref: 2283 Price on application

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Alsace, Strasbourg. Bronze, wood, iron.


The von Neuenstein-Rodeck family of Alsace, created barons 6th August 1773
Private collection, USA

Jean-Baptiste Dartein (1719-1781) was a member of a dynastic family of Strasbourg gun-founders. He rose to serve in 1740 as assistant to Jean Maritz (2), Commissaire of the Strasbourg foundry, and in 1744 was appointed Chef de Fonts des Ateliers de la Marine at the foundry in Toulon. In 1759 Dartein succeeded Maritz at the Rochefort and Ruelle ordnance foundries and again succeeded him at Strasbourg, to the appointment Commissaire des Fontes in 1763. 

In 1773 Dartein was en-nobled, and following this he was often styled de Dartein and sometimes with the addition of écuyer (esquire). In 1780 he received the Order of Saint Michel and was given the title of count by the Papacy, together with the Order of the Golden Spur. During his period of office in Strasbourg the foundry produced some 4,000 guns for the French government, in addition to foreign orders. 

The present pair of model cannon were almost certainly intended for festive saluting but closely parallel the regulation field ordnance of the period.    

Finely constructed to scale and highly detailed throughout. With bronze multi-stage barrels cast in low relief with raised fillets and astragal mouldings, lightly flared muzzles formed in two stages and each inscribed with its name, “LE TERRIBLE” and “LA VICTOIRE” respectively, on a raised band at the front of the chase section. With a pair of trunnions and lifting-handles cast in high relief at the second reinforce, the handles formed as stylised naturalistic dolphins. The first reinforce cast with the owner’s coat-of-arms on a raised shield mantled with scrollwork and with the elaborate corresponding crest above. With working vents, the base-rings each engraved with the founder’s signature “A STRASBOURG PAR J Bte DARTEIN”, dated 1774, and the cascables with button finials. Each on its original wooden split-trail field carriage, with iron-shod spoked cambered wheels and correctly detailed iron mounts throughout.   

Size: Each cannon Height 18.5 cm / 7.3 in, Length 60 cm / 23.6 in, Width 27 cm / 10.6 in