Craftsman’s lathe for Tsar Nicholas of Russia, 19th century

Test
Remember
Bild
© Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Bild
© Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Bild
© Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Bild
© Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Bild
© Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Collection Area
Production Technology
Collection
Woodworking
Epoch
1800 - 1849
At the moment this object is not published in the museum.

The ruling classes rule, and do not engage in physical labour. Or do they? This object might be proof to the contrary. Unfortunately, apart from its designation, the object’s actual provenance is very poorly documented.

Evidence of the interest of princes in manual craftsmanship dates back to the late Middle Ages. Lathe work and turning played an important role early on. Evidently, working with geometric forms was a natural part of the aristocracy’s education. Around 1518 Emperor Maximilian I was presented with a carved turning lathe on the occasion of an assembly of the estates in Tyrol. Emperor Rudolf II in Prague around 1600 enjoyed woodturning as a hobby. For several generations the rulers of Bavaria and other German states under sovereign princes showed an interest in the craft, with a particular fondness for working high-quality material such as ivory. They would take instruction from specialists from the middle classes. Indeed, the artisanal interests of Peter I of Russia around 1700 were later incorporated into the comic opera entitled Tsar and Carpenter.

This lathe at the Technisches Museum Wien is made partly of more refined materials such as brass and ivory. It was designed to be used for copying portrait reliefs, a form of handicraft that dwindled in importance in the course of the 19th century. The potential recipient of the object itself was therefore most probably Tsar Nicholas I, who reigned from 1825 to 1855, rather than the last Russian monarch, Nicholas II, who had to abdicate in 1917.

The fancy lathes used by the aristocracy contrast sharply with the multitude of simple working utensils which, often in combination with rural woodcarving, provided an additional source of income alongside farming as principal activity. They were in operation throughout the valley of Val Gardena in South Tyrol as well as the Viechtau region of Austria between Attersee and Traunsee. They also played an important role in the culture of manufacture of the Hutsuls in the Carpathians (present-day Ukraine).


Date of origin: 19th century



Inv.Nr. 11028/1

Member of