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Three Eighteenth-Century Natural Trumpets from the Imperial City of Nürnberg

NMM 7249. Natural trumpet in D by Johann Leonhard Ehe II, Imperial City of Nuremberg, ca. 1710. NMM 7250.  Natural trumpet in D by Johann Leonhard Ehe II, Imperial City of Nuremberg, ca. 1710 NMM 7251.  Natural trumpet in D by Cornelius Steinmetz, Imperial City of Nuremberg, ca. 1750

NMM 7249 (left) and 7250 (center). Natural trumpets in D by Johann Leonhard Ehe II, Imperial City of Nürnberg, ca. 1710. Five-piece brass bodies; bells with overlapping tab seams.

NMM 7251 (right). Natural trumpet in D by Cornelius Steinmetz, Imperial City of Nürnberg, ca. 1750. Five-piece brass body; bell with overlapping tab seam.

Ex. coll.:  Ernst W. Buser, Binningen near Basel, Switzerland. Joe R. and Joella F. Utley Collection, 1999.


It appears that the two trumpets by Johann Leonhard Ehe II (NMM 7249 and 7250) were originally designed as a matching pair; the style of their garlands is virtually identical. The attribution to Johann Leonhard Ehe II (1664-1724), rather than his namesake, nephew, and successor, Johann Leonhard Ehe III (1700-1771), who used the same master’s mark, is based on subtle differences in the signature and the initials. Johann Leonhard Ehe II signed with the word MACHT and also had a tendency to use italics for some of his initials, while J. L. Ehe III abbreviated Macht to M and used more angular letters. J. L. Ehe II was a very successful maker who left a considerable fortune to his daughters and grandchildren, including a house organ and a clavichord.

The activity of Cornelius Steinmetz (1702-1780), on the other hand, fell into a later phase when standards started to decline and with them the fame of the Nünberg trumpet makers. The lesser quality of craftsmanship is most clearly seen in the hastily executed triangles at the garland’s edge. Steinmetz died in poverty and his widow could not even afford to hire a choir to sing at his funeral.


Signatures and Master's Marks, Bell Rim, and Garland Decoration

Note: Click on any image below to see larger image

Maker's signature engraved on bell garland of NMM 7249 Maker's signature engraved on bell garland of NMM 7249

NMM 7249:  Engraved on garland:  MACHT IOHANN LEONHARD / EHE IN NVRNBERG; master's mark with initials I L [head of man wearing turban, facing right] ENürnberg rim, wire impressed with tendrils and acanthus leaves. Garland with straight upper edge decorated with raised dots punched from the back.


Maker's signature engraved on bell garland of NMM 7250 Maker's signature engraved on bell garland of NMM 7250

NMM 7250:  Engraved on garland:  MACHT IOHANN LEONHA / EHE IN NVRNBE; master's mark with initials I L [head of man wearing turban, facing right] E. The same rim-wire as found on NMM 7249, but turned upside down; the garland’s straight upper edge is also decorated with punched dots.


Maker's signature engraved on bell garland of NMM 7251 Maker's signature engraved on bell garland of NMM 7251

NMM 7251:  Engraved on garland:  M = CORNELIUS = STEIN / METZ IN = NURNB; master's mark with initials C [bunch of grapes] St.  Nürnberg rim, wire impressed with repetitive, foliate, bud pattern; upper garland edge with simple, irregularly cut triangles.


Decorative Engravings on the Garland

decorative engravings on NMM 7249
decorative engravings on NMM 7249
  
decorative engravings on NMM 7250
decorative engravings on NMM 7250

The two trumpets by Johann Leonhard Ehe II (NMM 7249 and 7250) show very similar garland engravings in the form of scrolls, leaves, and a flower surmounted by four prongs.


decorative engravings on NMM 7251

The garland engraving on the trumpet by Cornelius Steinmetz consists of a tulip with leaves.


Ferrules, Ball, and Sleeves

Natural trumpets from Nürnberg can be disassembled into five parts by a skilled restorer:  two straight tube segments, two bows, and the bell. The ferrules covering the joints of these parts can be taken off as well; however, when doing so, one has to be careful to not mix them up. Regretably, this happened to these three natural trumpets when they were disassembled for repair many years ago. Fortunately, it is possible to conjecture which set of ferrules originally belonged to which trumpet and which of the ferrules came from other sources, by comparison with other instruments by the same makers.

Ferrule 1

This ferrule style, with tendrils and flowers in high relief, is typical of instruments by Johann Leonhard Ehe II. One ferrule each and the ball sleeves of NMM 7249 and NMM 7250 feature this design. All the ferrules on Cornelius Steinmetz’s trumpet NMM 7251 feature this pattern as well, and they may originally all have come from the two Ehe trumpets, NMM 7249 and 7250.



Ferrule 2

This ferrule style, with simple engraved lines, is typical for Cornelius Steinmetz. Three ferrules on NMM 7249 and two ferrules on NMM 7250 feature this design, but it is likely that most of them came from NMM 7251, the trumpet by Cornelius Steinmetz.



Ferrule 3

This ferrule style, with fine symmetrical ornaments, is found on trumpets by the Nürnberg masters Johann Wilhelm Haas, Johann Leonhard Ehe I, and Hieronymus Starck, but it is atypical for instruments made by either Johann Leonhard II or Cornelius Steinmetz. The receiver ferrules of NMM 7250 and the ball sleeves of NMM 7251 feature this pattern; they may have come from trumpets by one of the above-mentioned masters.



NMM 7249 NMM 7250 NMM 7251

All three trumpets have a two-part, hammered, sheet-brass ball with engraved lines (NMM 7249 left, NMM 7250 center, NMM 7251 right). Those by Johann Leonhard Ehe II are elliptical, while Steinmetz’s ball is more oval.


Accessories

Each trumpet has a replica baroque trumpet mouthpiece made by Rainer Egger, Basel, Switzerland.


Measurements

NMM 7249:  Tube length: 2228 mm; internal diameter at receiver: 11.8 mm; internal diameter receiver minimum (at ca. 35 mm): 9.9 mm; external diameter, straight tubing: 11.5-11.9 mm; external diameter bows: 11.9 mm; bell diameter: 110 mm.

NMM 7250:  Tube length: 2236 mm; internal diameter at receiver: 11.9 mm; internal diameter minimum (at ca. 48 mm): 10.5 mm; external diameter, straight tubing: 11.7 mm; external diameter bows: 12.1-12.3 mm; bell diameter: 111 mm.

NMM 7251:  Tube length: 2242 mm; internal diameter at receiver: 11.6 mm; internal diameter receiver minimum (at ca. 53 mm): 10 mm; external diameter, straight tubing: 11.5; external diameter bows: 11.8 mm; bell diameter: 109 mm.


Literature

Robert Barclay, The Art of the Trumpet-Maker (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), pp. 110, 151, and 157.

André P. Larson, "One of the Great Collections . . . Joe & Joella Utley Donate More than 500 Rare Brass Instruments," America's Shrine to Music Museum Newsletter 26, No. 4 (November 1999), p. 2.

Edward H. Tarr, La Tromba in Europa dal '500 al `'00. Gli strumenti del Museo della Tromba di Bad Saeckingen (Montava: Tipografia Commerciale Cooperativa, 1991), pp. 20-21.

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