Monday, 19 April 2021

Some more engravings of late medieval Tiroler furniture

In this post I would like to show some more furniture pieces from the plates in the books 'Die Zimmergotik in Deutsch Tirol' by Franz Paukert. As previously mentioned, due to my scanner size limit each plate consists of two scans that are 'glued' together.

The bench (with turnable backrest) and the chest, two works of Tyrolean joinery that are already being sought out of the country, are shown with the use of  dimensional sketches and photographs made available to the publisher by Mr. Ueberbacher from Bolzano, Italy.

Canopy bed from the Castello Principesco, or Landfurstliche Burg, Merano, Italy.

These two folding chairs are in the Figdor collection in Vienna. One of them (Figure A), coming from Bozen, shows the old, quilted leather seat belt and its shape is reminiscent of the faldistorium of the women's monastery on the Nonnberg near Salzburg. The armchair of Figure B, like the previous one, has crossed legs but with partially suspected monkey- and crab-like knobs and comes from St. Michael in Eppau. (The Figdor collection was auctioned in the early 20th century; the auction catalogues can still be found in second hand book stores)


On the other hand, the design of this cabinet does not differ insignificantly from the usual furniture shapes. The straight end of the upper frieze, the framing of the door wing and the somewhat clumsy ornamentation characterize the piece as a late form of medieval art. 

Cabinet in the possession of  Mr. J. Strasser in Merano. In terms of its origin, this piece of furniture is one of the few surviving pieces of its kind. A real Tyrolean work and despite its relatively later origins unaffected by the imitation of architectural details that are so popular elsewhere, it is evidence of the fact that the Tyrolean carpentry did not tend to indulge in miniature replicas of the facade construction, but rather focused on healthy construction, and flat cuts, engraving, tracery carved into the wooden base and moderate painting are the only means to which this cabinet owes its very handsome appearance. The upper and lower parts of the cabinet are firmly connected, and the sides are completely smooth. Metal bars never seem to have been there at the door. Merano, Italy.


Noteworthy is the simplest possible treatment of the tracery fillings in the wash basin: flat cuts with a coloured background, as well as the extremely simple construction of the box, which is common to almost all of this type of Tyrolean Gothic furniture; Jointed boxes with decorative strips placed in front of them on jointed feet and finally the almost continuous painting of the ornaments or at least the flat base of the carved parts. Castello Principesco, or Landfurstliche Burg, Merano, Italy. 


A chest owned by the bookstore owner F. Plant in Merano. In spite of its extremely simple structure and in spite of its decoration reminiscent of the Romanesque period, it was found to be of a rather late origin and proof that the Tyrolean gothic art did not reluctantly fall back on very early roots. The lid of the cest is not connected to the other part of the chest by iron hinges, but by wooden pegs which function as axes of rotation, and go through the lateral gripping strips and the sides of the chest.

Among the increase in the number of furniture pieces of the Landfurstliche Burg in Merano over the last few years, the furniture shown in whole or in part on the plates above and below is the most important. The legs of the chests belong to the box, which differs little from the already known pieces of a similar kind and only in the ornaments and the exposition of the fields on the front.


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