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A GERMAN (AUGSBURG) SHAFFRON FROM THE 'KNIGSGARNITUR' OF THE FUTURE EMPEROR MAXIMILIAN II
A GERMAN (AUGSBURG) SHAFFRON FROM THE 'KNIGSGARNITUR' OF THE FUTURE EMPEROR MAXIMILIAN II

BY MATTHUS FRAUENPREISZ THE ELDER, ETCHED BY JRG SORG THE YOUNGER, CIRCA 1548-50

Details
A GERMAN (AUGSBURG) SHAFFRON FROM THE 'KNIGSGARNITUR' OF THE FUTURE EMPEROR MAXIMILIAN II
By Matthus Frauenpreisz the Elder, etched by Jrg Sorg the Younger, circa 1548-50
Of bright steel comprising two main plates riveted together and shaped to the front of the horse's head, with prominent roped central rib over the nose, riveted ear protectors, cut-outs over the eyes and riveted extension plates over the cheeks, each pierced with four holes containing gilt rosette-shaped washers for laces, and hinged pate-plate containing seven similar holes, the main edges turned and roped, on the brow a tubular steel plume-holder below two holes for a lace to hold the plume down, the surfaces throughout decorated with slightly recessed bands and borders finely etched with running foliage accompanied by animals, birds, and grotesques, all heavily gilt against a dotted ground, on the brow, covering the plume-pipe, a separate escutcheon held by a pyramid-headed bolt horizontally pierced for a tommy-bar, comprising a shaped shield surmounted by a coronet, etched and gilt with the royal arms of Hungary-Bohemia with the Habsburg arms in pretence
25 in. (64.7 cm.)
Provenance
Habsburg Imperial Armoury, Vienna.
Rothschild inv. no. AR113.
Literature
O. v. Leber, Wiens kaiserliches Zeughaus, Leipzig, 1846, p. 120.
Q. v. Leitner, Die Waffensammlung des sterreichischen Kaiserhauses im K.K. Artillerie-Arsenal Museum in Wien, Vienna, 1866-70, pp. 32-3, pl. 55.
W. Boeheim, 'Augsburger Waffenschmiede', Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen des allerhchsten Kaiserhauses, vol. 12, Vienna, 1891, pp. 217-27.
Idem, Album hervorragender Gegenstnde aus der Waffensammlung des A.H. Kaiserhauses, I, Berlin, 1894-8, pp. 12 and 26-7, pls. 21 and 46.
Idem, Meister der Waffenschmiedekunst, Berlin, 1897, pp. 72ff.
B. Thomas, 'Die Harnische Maximilians II. von 1550', Zeitschrift des deutschen Vereins fr Kunstwissenschaft, vol. 9, pt. 1/2, Berlin, 1942, pp. 91-136.
O. Gamber, 'Die Harnischgarnitur', Livrustkammaren, vol. 7, Stockholm, 1955-7, pp. 84-108.
B. Thomas, O. Gamber and H. Schedelmann, Arms and Armour, Masterpieces by European Craftsmen from the Thirteenth to the Nineteenth Century, London, 1964, no. 33.
C. Becker, O. Gamber and W. Irtenkauf, Das Stuttgarter Harnisch-Musterbuch 1548-1563, Vienna, 1980 (reprinted from the Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen in Wien, vol. 76), pp. 26-32.
Catalogue to the exhibition, Welt im Umbruch. Augsburg zwischen Renaissance und Barock, vol. 2, Augsburg, 1980, pp. 516-17, no. 912.
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien, Fhrer durch die Waffensammlung, Vienna, 1988, p. 405.
O. Gamber and C. Beaufort, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien. Katalog der Leibrstkammer, II, Busto Arsizio, 1990, pp. 98-100, pls. 44-47.
Exhibited
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv. no. A 2236), from 1967.

Lot Essay

This belongs to a famous armour-garniture made for Archduke Maximilian (Emperor 1564-76), described in the 1990 catalogue of the Leibrstkammer, Vienna (inv. no. A 610 etc.), where the greater part of it still remains, as 'belonging to the most beautiful of the works of the mid-16th Century armourers and etchers'. The armourer Matthus Frauenpreisz the Elder of Augsburg, from whom it was ordered, probably in 1548, completed his work on it shortly before his death in October 1549, but the decorator, the celebrated etcher Jrg Sorg the Younger continued to work on it into 1550: part of the garniture is illustrated in his surviving pattern-book in the Wrtemburgischer Landesbibliothek, Stuttgart under that date. The Bohemian royal arms appear on the escutcheon because Maximilian was elected King of Bohemia in 1549, though he did not succeed until the death of his father, the Emperor Ferdinand I, in 1564.

Matthus Frauenpreisz the Elder (c. 1505-1549) is first recorded in Augsburg in 1529, when he married the widow of the armourer Briccius Helmschmied. He was awarded a coat-of-arms by the Emperor Charles V in 1543, became Master of the Augsburg Smiths' guild in 1547, and died on 22 October 1549. Surviving work by him, in addition to the Knigsgarnitur, includes two shields in the Real Armera, Madrid (inv. nos. D 68 and M 6), made respectively for Philip II of Spain before his accession to the throne and King Francis I of France (d. 1547), the former signed in full and dated 1543, and an armour for a man and horse, dated 1548, made for the Elector Moritz of Saxony, in the Historisches Museum, Dresden (inv. no. G 39). Jrg Sorg the Younger's album also includes, in addition to the foot-combat armour for the Knigsgarnitur (folio 4v.), seven other armours by him, all on drawings dated 1549, of which six form two garnitures (folios 3, 3v., 4, 5, 5v., 6, 6v.).

Jrg Sorg the Younger (d. 1603), the son of the similarly-named official painter to the city of Augsburg, was born in circa 1522 to his father's second wife, Catharina, daughter of the famous imperial armourer, Koloman Helmschmied. Trained as a painter by his father, many archival references to him are recorded from 1548 onwards, some relating to armourers, and including one in a letter of 1559 in which he is described as 'painter and etcher on armour'. There can be no serious doubt, therefore, that he was the author of the famous pattern-book in the Wrtemburgischer Landesbibliothek, Stuttgart, containing drawings of 84 armours and parts which the unnamed author recorded he had decorated with etching between 1548 and 1563 for various armourers, those named being all from Augsburg. Parts of a few of these survive in various collections.
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