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A BRACE OF ETCHED HALBERDS OF THE BODYGUARD OF THE HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR MATTHIAS (REIGNED 1612-19)
A BRACE OF ETCHED HALBERDS OF THE BODYGUARD OF THE HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR MATTHIAS (REIGNED 1612-19)
A BRACE OF ETCHED HALBERDS OF THE BODYGUARD OF THE HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR MATTHIAS (REIGNED 1612-19)
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A BRACE OF ETCHED HALBERDS OF THE BODYGUARD OF THE HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR MATTHIAS (REIGNED 1612-19)
5 More
This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal.… Read more FOR THE BODYGUARD OF THE HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR MATTHIAS PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF THE BARONS NATHANIEL AND ALBERT VON ROTHSCHILD
A BRACE OF ETCHED HALBERDS OF THE BODYGUARD OF THE HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR MATTHIAS (REIGNED 1612-19)

GERMAN, EACH DATED ‘1612’

Details
A BRACE OF ETCHED HALBERDS OF THE BODYGUARD OF THE HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR MATTHIAS (REIGNED 1612-19)
GERMAN, EACH DATED ‘1612’
Each respectively with Kunsthistorische Museum, Vienna inventory number ‘A2256’ and ‘A2272’ in red paint, with slightly tapering spear-point blade of flattened diamond section with bold medial ridge on each side, concave axe blade, downturned rear fluke, tapering open socket and profusely etched on each side with scrolling foliage, the coat of arms of Matthais, his monogram ‘MAS’, the date ‘1612’, a roundel involving an eagle holding an orb and sceptre with a crown in the background, a sunburst and cloud above, and the motto ‘AVC’ (Amat Victoria Curam / Victory Demands Caution) all against a stippled ground, with later 19th century beachwood handle partially covered faded velvet retained by rows of pins with domed brass heads and woven red tassels, the base of the socket of ‘A2256’ etched with the initials ‘BS’
Heads each 25 in. (63.5 cm.) long, overall length 95 ¼ in. (239.5 cm.)
Provenance
Carried by the bodyguard of the Holy Roman Emperor Matthias (reigned 1612–19).
The collection of Nathaniel Meyer von Rothschild (b. 1836) until his death in 1905.
Inherited by Albert Salomon Anselm von Rothschild (b. 1844).
In 1911, after Albert's death the collection passed to his sons, of whom Alphonse (b.1878), Louis (b.1882) and Eugene (b.1884) were still alive in 1938 when, following the Anschluß, the property of the Viennese branch of the Rothschild family was seized by the Third Reich.
During World War II the collection was mostly stored underground in salt mines and subsequently remained in the collections of the Austrian state museums until early in 1999 when returned to the heirs of Baron Alphonse von Rothschild; Geoffrey R. and Nancy Hoguet.
Special notice

This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal. Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent offsite. Our removal and storage of the lot is subject to the terms and conditions of storage which can be found at Christies.com/storage and our fees for storage are set out in the table below - these will apply whether the lot remains with Christie’s or is removed elsewhere. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Christie’s Park Royal. All collections from Christie’s Park Royal will be by pre-booked appointment only. Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 9060 Email: cscollectionsuk@christies.com. If the lot remains at Christie’s it will be available for collection on any working day 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Lots are not available for collection at weekends.

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Robert Copley
Robert Copley

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Lot Essay


Forming part of the great collection of The Barons Nathaniel and Albert von Rothschild, these halberds were seized by the Third Reich in 1939 along with the entire property belonging to the Viennese branch of the family. Following the war items from the collection were incorporated into the collections of the Austrian state museums until early in 1999 when the works of art were returned to the heirs of Baron Alphonse von Rothschild. A significant number of items were sold by Christie’s in London on 8 July 1999 but some pieces, including these two halberds, were retained by members of the family and are now offered for sale for the first time.

Two similar halberds from the Bodyguard of the Holy Roman Emperor Matthias are retained in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (accession numbers 14.25.387 and 14.25.461). Like ‘A2256’, each of these halberds is marked with the monogram ‘BS’ which is perhaps the initials of the decorator.

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