An inspiration for artists, musicians and poets since the 18th Century: the armored rhinoceros Clara remains the topic of conversation and at the center of attention.
Clara is an icebreaker, a typical conversational piece. This used to be the function of a table decoration with objects, around which table guests would come together to initiate discussion and be inspired by the fine art of conversation.
In the 18th Century, the living original version of Clara was already a highly praised muse, a rock star, touring throughout Europe. In 1741, when she arrived from Bengal in Rotterdam with a Dutch captain, the sensation was perfect. Her skin was constantly rubbed with fish oil to keep it moist. She posed for sculptors and was a source of inspiration for poets and musicians. The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, France, Italy, Bohemia, Denmark - she didn’t leave any country out. In Royal houses, at fairs and even at the Carnival in Venice, she was hailed in as an attraction.
For the sculptor Peter Anton von Verschaffelt, a native of Ghent, Clara also was an impressive curiosity. Exactly where the court sculptor came into contact with Clara is not known, because from London to Rome von Verschaffelt himself was a sought-after artist. He restored churches, decorated gardens and castles, even built libraries. About ten years after Clara's death in London, in 1758, von Verschaffelt created a miniature sculpture of the rhinoceros. Using his designs as a basis, Clara is still faithfully recreated in the master workshops of Nymphenburg today. Whether in bisque or glazed - made of white gold entirely by hand, Clara remains a seminal figure of European culture and science, and is exceedingly popular. Table Talk - people talk about her!