Johann Hinrich Dimpfel

Portrait bust of the Hamburg merchant Johann Hinrich Dimpfel, Hamburg, Germany, 1747, Ivory.
Courtesy of Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

The small, somewhat portly figure with a double chin and virtuoso hairstyle is a portrait bust of the Hamburg merchant and publisher Johann Hinrich Dimpfel, who in his day was one of the city’s prominent citizens. Not only was he the chairman of the Commerce Deputation (today the Chamber of Commerce) but he was also very familiar with the literary world (he could count the poet Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock among his relatives). This type of small sculpture made of precious ivory was a popular portrait format for the ascendant bourgeoisie of the 18th century.