A German Breastplate of Shot-Proof Weight from the Armoury, Fortress Hohenwerfen #3161
A Fine Antique German Breastplate of shot-proof weight (most likely Nuremberg or Augsburg), circa, 17th century. Formed in one piece w/a pronounced medial-rib and shallow 'V'-shaped waistline, its narrow neck-opening, arm-openings and lower edge in each case flanged outwards and bordered by large stitch-holes, each side of the chest fitted with a mushroom-headed stud to receive the shoulder-strap of the accompanying backplate, and each side of the waist fitted with a hook to restrain a waist-belt, the surface of the piece blackened overall and struck at the lower end of its medial rib with the proof-mark of a bullet (musket ball impact). An exceptional example.
PROVENANCE; THE ARMOURY OF ARCHDUKE EUGEN FORTRESS HOHENWERFEN, SALZBURG, AUSTRIA. SOLD ANDERSON GALLERIES, NEW YORK 1ST-5TH OF MARCH 1927, LOT# 937.
EXHIBITED; JOHN WOODMAN HIGGINS ARMORY MUSEUM COLLECTION, WORCESTER, MASS.
HISTORY - Ever since 1580, when Count Ferdinand of Tyrol became one of the first collectors of arms and armour in the modern sense of the word by assembling at his castle of Ambras, two miles from Innsbruck, the magnificent creations of the early armourer's art, and publishing the first catalog raisonne' of its kind, the reigning princes of Europe have considered the ownership of a fine "Armeria" (Arms & Armor) an indispensable prerogative. Great nobleman, and in due course the modern princes of commerce and industry, have tried to emulate their example; and we thus find, besides the incomparable collections at Vienna, Dresden, Madrid, Windsor, and in the Wallace Collection at Hertford House and the Metropolitan Museum of New York, a number of private collections of singular importance both abroad and in America.
The example of Ambras doubtless had its inspiring influence on the development by another Hapsburg price - the Archduke Eugen - of the Armoury at Hohenwerfen. When Archduke Eugen took possession of the fortress in 1898, he restored and replenished the (3) galleries of the armoury. The castle was placed on an inaccessible peak and dominating some of the vital routes from the Rhineland to the Orient and from the North to the Adriatic from the eleventh century on. Italian architects remodelled the Gothic fortress into the lofty terraced structure in the 16th century that exists today.