August Lehmensiek, Bismarck Shield (cast iron)


August Lehmensiek, Bismarck Shield (cast iron) August Lehmensiek, Bismarck Shield (cast iron) August Lehmensiek, Bismarck Shield (cast iron)
Price: € 6.700


‘Bismarck Shield’ (‘Bismarck mit Siegerkranze’)
Cast by Carlshütte Delligsen.
Large cast-iron relief measuring 77 x 76 cm.
Weighting 16 kg.
Date of creation 1890 – 1895.
Designer: August Lehmensiek.

An idential cast is located in the Hindenburgstrasse in Hahnenklee, a borough of the city of Goslar, in the German state of the Lower Saxony. This Bismarck Memorial was revealed in 1907 on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Hahnenklee. This Bismarck-shield bears the text: ‘Wir Deutschen fürchten Gott, Sonnst nichts in der Welt’. The oak tree was planted in 1895 to honor Bismarck.

The Bismarck Memorial in Hahnenklee depicted on a postcard (somewhere in the first decades of the 20th century). Notice the young Bismarck-oak-tree at the right.

Another Bismarck Memorial with the same cast is located in the Bismarckallee 23, Berlin-Grünewald.

An identical Bismarck shield adorns the facade of the house at the Graf Engelbert Strasse 1 in the city of Plettenberg, Nordrhein-Westfalen. The house is under monumental protection (cultural heritage monument).

Another identiacal cast located in the village of Jever, Am Kirchplatz. Oak and relief were installed in 1896. The iron cast is an after cast, modelled in 2013 after an original cast in the possession of the ‘Getreuen- und Bismarckmuseum’ in Jever  (photos:

Foundry Carlshütte, Delligsen – 250 years of iron casting
The Friedrich-Carls-Hütte in Delligsen, a blast-furnace ironworks company, was founded in 1735. In 1872 its name was changed to Eisenwerke Carlshütte AG. From 1845 to 1895 Carlshütte had an artistic atelier attached, with designers like Ludwig Hage, Hermann Keck, August Koch and the (last) master designer, August Lehmensiek (1825-1895). In 1895 the production of artwork (such as iron-reliefs, memorial tables, and iron-decoration for bridges, lamp posts, fences and heaters) stopped and the company focused itself mainly on engine parts and industrial mass production. After several mergers and takeovers, Carlshütte had 1,200 employees in 1944. In 1984 the Friedrich Carl Hütte GmbH Stahlgiesserei finally went bankrupt.

Bismarck depicted by ‘Loescher & Petsch, ‘Hofphotographen Seiner Majestät des Kaisers und Königs’. From 1865 – 1895 ‘Loescher & Petsch’ were court photographers of ‘His Majesty the Kaiser and King’. At international exhibitions they were awarded several prices: 1865 in Berlin, 1867 in Paris, 1873 in Vienna and in 1876 in Philadelphia. The official photo below with watermark of Loescher & Petsch may have been the model for the Carlshütte Delligsen cast. Size 32,5 x 18,5 cm.

‘We Germans fear God and nothing else in the world’
(‘Wir Deutsche fürchten Gott, sonst nichts in der Welt’)

Otto van Bismarck (1815 – 1898) was the main designer of the German Kaiser Reich which was founded in 1871 and ended in 1918. He is known as one of the greatest statesmen of the 19th century. He was Minister President of Preußen and from 1871 to 1890 Reichskanzler (Minister President) of the German Kaiser Reich. Bismarck won three wars against Denmark, France and Austria.
The text ‘Wir Deutsche fürchten Gott, aber sonsst Nichts in der Welt’, meaning ‘We Germans fear God and nothing else in the world’, comes from the speech of ‘Der Eiserne Kanzler’ (‘The Iron Chanceler’) which was given in the Reichtag on 6 February 1888. However, in the same speech Bismarck also stressed the importance of peace and the danger of conflicts: ‘Und die Gottesfurcht ist es schon, die uns den Frieden lieben und pflegen lässt’ (‘and already that godliness is it, which let us love and foster peace’).
Another famous statement of Bismarck was: ‘Not by speeches and votes of the majority, are the great questions of the time decided, but by iron and blood’ (‘Nicht durch Reden und Majoritätsbeschlüsse werden die großen Fragen der Zeit entschieden, sondern durch Eisen und Blut’).

City of Siegen
The Bismarck-shield was purchased by our gallery in the area of the city of Siegen. In 1891 Bismarck was proclaimed Honorary Citizen of Siegen (‘Ehrenbüger der Stadt Siegen‘). In 1900 a statue of Bismarck was revealed in the courtyard of the ‘Untere Schloss‘ (formerly named ‘Nassauichser Hof‘) in the centre of Siegen. Unfortunatley, this monumental bronze, designed by professor Johann Friedrich Reusch, was melted down in World War II for re-use as munitions.
Because of ist size, weight and design, it is quite plausible that the Bismarck-shield hung in a public building in the city of Siegen, or that it functioned as a stand alone memorial.
The Bismarck statue by Johann Friedrich Reusch in the courtyard of the Untere Schloss, city of Siegen.

‘The Iron Century’
Cast Iron in Germany: the cultural-historical significance of iron casting during the 19th century.
Bronze is the most popular metal for cast metal sculptures; a cast bronze sculpture is often called simply ‘a bronze’. Artists were working with bronze even in ancient times, such as in the Greek and Roman civilizations. The first known bronze statue is likely ‘Dancing Girl’ from Mohenjodaro (Pakistan), belonging to the Harappan civilization and dating back to c. 2500 BC. However, the Greeks were the first to scale the figures up to life size: an example that is still in existence is ‘Victorious Youth’, a life-size bronze made between 300 and 100 BC.
Casting iron sculptures is a technically different and more complicated process. Cast iron had been occasionally used in Europe in basic architectural embellishment in the Middle Ages, such as fire backs with cast figures and scenes. It was not until 1784 that the German foundry Lauchhammer, with the assistance of sculptors Joseph Mattersberger and Thaddäus Ignatius Wiskotschill, for the first time in Europe, successfully cast a life-size hollow sculpture in iron. The use of cast iron for sculpting in Prussia developed rapidly under the reign of King Friedrich Wilhelm III; from 1797 to 1840 the Berlin art scene operated on a high level, and several Berlin artists preferred iron for their works. Cast iron was more affordable than bronze, and in the 19th century, ‘The Iron Century’, a large number of high-quality sculptures -often with monumental dimensions – were produced. During the German ‘Freiheitskriege’ (Battles against Napoleon from 1813- 1815), the social valuation of cast iron had already increased. For example, there were successful war financing campaigns like Eisen statt Gold and the creation of the Eiserne Kreuz. The cultural-historical significance of iron casting during the 19th century was further catalyzed by Friedrich Wilhelm III, who had his palace decorated with cast iron art, produced in Prussia. Black-coated iron became an aesthetical mark in Klassizismus. Meanwhile, the popularity of cast iron sculpting was not limited to Germany. The first Crystal Place Exhibition in 1851 in London prominently showed a series of life-size iron sculptures, as did the Exposition Universelle of 1855 held on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. It is notable that many sculptures and other iron art works in that time period were not signed by the artist or by the foundry.
The glory days of cast iron sculpting ended around the third part of the 19th century. The famous Königlich Preußische Eisengießerei (founded in 1796) closed its doors in 1874. The prominent Saynerhütte (founded in 1769) was sold to Firma Krupp in 1865, and it ceased the production of iron sculptures. Paradoxically, Foundry Lauchhammer (founded in 1725), which created the first cast iron life-size sculpture in Europe, is still in existence. A short renaissance in iron sculpting took place in the 1920s.

– condition : II  In perfect condition. Very fine and well preserved patina
– size : 77 x 76 cm (diameter of the round plaque in the centre: 41 cm)
– signed : inscribed: ‘Carlshütte Delligsen’
– type : cast iron. Weight 16 kg.
– misc. : date of creation 1890 – 1895

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‘Bismarck Shield’ (‘Bismarck mit Siegerkranze’), cast by Carlshütte Delligsen, measuring 78 x 76 cm. Designer: August Lehmensiek. This shield is located in the Hindenburgstrasse in Hahnenklee, a borough of the city of Goslar, in the German state of the Lower Saxony. This memorial was revealed in 1907 on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Hahnenklee. This Bismarck-shield bears the text: ‘Wir Deutschen fürchten Gott, Sonnst nichts in der Welt’. The oak tree was planted in 1895 to honor Bismarck.

Bismarck and Möltke
Two large cast iron reliefs made by Carlshütte Delligsen. The inscribed text on the Bismarck relief reads:’We Germans fear God and nothing else in the world’ (‘Wir Deutsche fürchten Gott, sonst nichts in der Welt’). The back of the Bismarck and Möltke reliefs are both inscribed with: ‘Carlshütte, Delligsen’. The Bismarck relief is on the back also inscribed with ‘Gesetzl. geschützt.’ (‘Copyright by Law’). Especially the Bismarck relief was often illegally copied in the past. The reliefs, designed by August Lehmensiek, were made around 1890 – 1895.

Advertisement published in ‘Die Fliegende Blättern’, 9 Juni 1895, Munich.

Bismarck by Lehmensiek, on top signed ‘1 April 1895’.  Diameter 40 cm. Iron with rests of copper layer. Sold by a German auction house in 2023.

Bismarck and Möltke reliefs by Carlshütte Delligsen. Extremely rare casts, copper plated. The Bismarck cast is signed by August Lehmensiek. In the possession of German Art Gallery.

Left: signature of August Lehmensiek on the Bismarck relief.
Right: backsite of the Moltke relief.

Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke (1800 – 1891) was a famous German field marshal. He was the Chief of Staff of the Prussian Army for thirty years and he is regarded as one of the great strategists of the latter part of the 19th century. He is regarded as the creator of a new, more modern method of directing armies in the field; often described as embodying ‘Prussian military organization and tactical genius’ (his tactics were based on encirclement -inspired by Hannibal’s victory at Cannae – and the use of railways for lightning troop movements). The Generalfeldmarschall is often referred to as Moltke the Elder to distinguish him from his nephew Helmuth Johann Ludwig von Moltke, who commanded the German Army at the outbreak of World War I. Möltke played a significant role in the Second Schleswig War in 1864, planned and led the successful military operations during the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 and led the Prussian armies in the Franco-Prussian War (1870 – 1871).

After August Lehmensiek. Bismarck-relief on the medieval Bismarckbrücke in Dresden-Löbtau (in 1902 named Bismarck Bridge, also named Weißeritzbrücke or Chausseebrücke). In 1916 a Bismarck Bust was placed on the bridge, which disappeared in 1945. In 1998 a new Bismarck relief, created by the foundry ‘Kunstgiesserei Lauchhammer’ replaced the bust. Just like the relief created in 2008 by Kunstgiesserei Lauchhammer, this relief is a copy of the Lehmensiek design. Foto 2014.

After August Lehmensiek. Bismarckturm (‘Bismarck-Tower’), Dresden-Cossebaude, inaugurated 1913. The bronze relief of 60 x 45 cm was created in 2008 by the foundry ‘Kunstgiesserie Lauchhammer’, and was based on ‘historical models’. The tekst reads: ‘OTTO FÜRST VON BISMARCK  * 01. APRIL 1815 + 30. JULI 1898’.

‘We Germans fear God and nothing else in the world’
‘Bismarck bunker’, next to Bois de Hirtzbach, located in Département du Haut-Rhin, Alsace, France. ‘Wir Deutschen fürchten Gott, sonnst nichts in der Welt’.

‘We Germans fear God and nothing else in the world’
Ernst Wenck, ‘Plaque of Bismarck’. Bronze plaque above the entrance of the Bismarck Tower near Eschwege. This monument, 26 meters high and revealed in 1903, is located on the Grossen leuchtberg (318 meters) in North Hesse. The tekst reads: ‘Wir Deutschen fürchten Gott sonst nichts in der Welt’.

‘We Germans fear God and nothing else in the world’
The Bismarck Tower at the Scheersberg, near the village Steinbergkirche (Schleswig-Holstein): ‘Wir Deutschen fürchten Gott, sonnst nichts in der Welt‘.

‘We Germans fear God and nothing else in the world’
Engraved in a rock of ‘Cinq Pilliers‘, a rock formation north of Dreslincourt (France): ‘Wir Deutschen fürchten Gott, sonnst nichts in der Welt‘.

‘We Germans fear God and nothing else in the world’
Engraved in the wall of the Bismarck Tower in Ansbach (1903): ‘Wir Deutschen fürchten Gott, sonnst nichts auf der Welt‘.

Carlshütte Delligsen, eight magnificant lampposts and two flag masts on the Lombardsbrücke in Hamburg. The cast iron art works are beautiful adorned with figures of swans, seagulls, angels and the Coat of Arms of Hamburg.
Designed by Carl Börner. Cast by Carlshütte Delligsen in 1870. Height 3,725 meter, ex base.


Carlshütte Delligsen, ‘Quadriga’, after the original model by Ernst Rietschel (1804 – 1861). Created by the Carlshütte Delligsen; in fact the quadriga was created by its subsidiary since 1890, the Wilhelmshütte in Bockenem, with the assistence of several employees of the Carlshütte. The monumental hammered-copper sculpture was created exactly after the plaster model from 1856/58 by Ernst Rietschel, which was re-discovered in 1999 in the ‘Skupturensammlung Albertinum’ in Dresden. This plaster model also functioned as the model for the reconstructed bronze quadriga (done in 2008, and three times larger) on top of the Braunschweiger Castlle, Europe’s largest quadriga.
Commissioned in 1890/93 by the ‘Braunschweiger Handwerkerschaft des Metallgewerbes‘ for The Chicago World’s Fair Exhibition, 1893. The art work was bought in 1910 by the industrialist Fritz Züchner in Seesen, Lower Saxony; Züchner intended in 1914 at the beginning of WWI to put the quadriga on top of a planned victory gate in Seesen. Finally the quadriga was, given as a wedding present, placed on the roof of the Züchner-villa in Seesen (from 1922 – 2018). Nowadays the monumental sculpture is displayed in the ‘Schlossmuseum Braunschweig‘.

Plaque to commemorate the 100th birthday of Kaiser Wilhelm I, 22. March 1897 (‘Erinnerungsplakette hundertjähriges Jubiläumsfeier 22. März 1897’). Cast by Carlshütte Delligsen. Located at the graveyard of Delligsen. Diameter 49 cm. Depicted in ‘Künstlerischer Eisenguss, -Eisenwerk Carlshütte Delligsen’; Photo F. Heise, 2007.

August Lehmensiek. Photo: Heimat-Verein Delligsen e.V.

August Lehmensiek
August Lehmensiek was a German designer who lived in Lower Saxony in the City of Alfeld (next to Delligsen). From 1876 to 1895 he worked as Master at the design atelier of Carlshütte Delligsen.
His predecessors at Carlshütte Delligsen include Ludwig Hage, Herman Keck and August Koch. In the book ‘Künstlerischer Eisenguss, Eisenwerk Carlshütte Delligsen’, published in 2010, August Lehmensiek is mentioned on page 34 and 35. Here  we can also read an original letter of recommendation for August Lehmensiek, dated 1876, issued by Carlshütte Delligsen: ‘Wir bescheinigen hiermit den August Lehmensiek aus Wispenstein b/Alfeld, dass er vom Jahre 1876 ab auf unsere Abteilung Delligsen als Modelleur u. Vorsteher der Modellierwerkstatt thätig ist u. geben ihm sehr gern das Zeugnis, dass wir mit seinen Leistungen in hohen Grade zufrieden sind. Er ist nicht bloss befähigt nach gegebenen Entwürfen Modelle auszuführen, sondern er ist auch im Stande, selbst Entwürfe in den verschiedenen Stylarten anzufertigen, welche einen guten Geschmack u. hervorragende künstleriche Anlagen verrathen. Zahlreiche Ausführungen der Carlshütte in Ofen- und Kunstguss geben davon Zeugnis.’