Der Weisse Engel in Quedlinburg – another stucco ceiling by Hansche?

One of the things that has puzzled me about the stucco artist Jan Christian Hansche is that there are very few other examples of ceilings with his sort of sculpture anywhere. He told the Brussels authorities in 1661 that his work was admired in Germany, Austria and Italy; but where?

Via the Internet Archive, I’ve found a 1903 article about stucco ceilings in a building called “Weißer Engel“, “White Angel”, in Quedlinburg in eastern Germany. The article was published in a journal called Die Denkmalpflege, and is by Paul Schwarz who describes himself as “Oberlehrer”, a senior teacher, at the Quedlinburg Gymnasium (grammar school). Schwarz leads off by comparing the stucco in Quedlinburg with the works in Kleve, now destroyed, which he knew were by Hansche. The Quedlinburg stuccos have survived, and the Weißer Engel haus is now a home for people with learning disabilities where you can hire the room with the stucco ceiling for events. Here are two nice photos from the local websites:

Schwarz says that the house was built in 1623, and believes that the stucco panels must have been installed at the time of construction. There is no date and no signature, which would be unusual for Hansche who usually did put both the date and his name or at least initials somewhere on the ceiling; and 1623 would be too early for him, as his earliest surviving work is dated from 1653 and he continued working until the 1680s. And Quedlinburg is 300 km east of Olfen, Hansche’s birthplace, and 350 km east of Wesel, the easternmost known work that he did. But there is a striking similarity of execution.

There are two rows of six panels in Quedlinburg, and Schwarz’s article include photographs of seven of them. The first six tell the story of Tobit – an interesting choice for a traditionally Protestant town; Tobit is accepted as canon by Catholics but not by most Protestants.

Tobit is blinded by a bird defecating into his eyes. Lots of domestic details.
Tobit’s son Tobias bids farewell to his parents, to travel to Ecbatana with the disguised angel Raphael.
Tobias is greeted by his relatives in Ecbatana.

Five of the other six stuccos show the five senses, and again Schwarz has published photographs of three of them, and we can see a fourth in the tourism photos:


Also visible in one of the more recent tourism photos above (here rotated 180 degrees)

Smell, from the tourism photos and rotated 180 degrees.
Also from the tourism photos, Taste, Smell and Hearing.

And the sixth in this row is a bird packing at its own breast, with the motto “Nosce Te Ipsum”, “Know thyself”.

Schwarz says somewhat sniffily that the Quedlinburg stuccos much better executed than the ones in Kleve; I agree that they are a bit more adventurous and better framed, and it seems to me that the distance, the likely date and the lack of a signature all point to these being by a different artist. But there seems to be no information about who that could have been.

Quedlinburg is a good five and a half hours drive from here, and not really close to anywhere else (almost exactly half way between Leipzig and Hanover), so my opportunities for a site inspection are limited.