Neoclassicism / Empire

Among the specimens of furniture of mainly Austrian and Croatian origin shown in this room, one interesting example is an armchair with original upholstery of gobelin cloth made in France.

Two bureau cabinets belong to a kind of furniture that was particularly widely distributed in the lands of central Europe during the 18th century. In the period of Neoclassicism, this type of furniture retains its baroque composition, but the lines calm down, and the smooth planes are inlaid with Neoclassicist geometrical motifs – diamonds, rectangles, herring-bone patterns… On one of the two pieces displayed there is, in addition to the motifs mentioned, a depiction of four continents done in inlay together with pyrography.

The inlaid chest of drawers is decorated with more complex Antique-style compositions, and the small table with an inlaid top is an example of supreme art in the creation of an outstanding optical effect with the use of geometrical motifs.

In this period, in the design of furniture of known types, new elements came in: a movable cylindrical roll top on the writing desk, and drawers incorporated into the armrests on each side of the seat of what was called the magazine sofa from Lobor Palace.

Among the pieces of silverwork exhibited there are examples that bear the pure stylistic marks of the Neoclassicism of the 18th century, as well as some with the classicising formal tendencies of the period of early Biedermeier. Such classicising features are featured in works of domestic silversmiths Henrick Wolgemuth, Vinko Lehman, Antonius Hubinek and Juraj Kunić, done during the first quarter of the 19th century. From this period relatively a large number of specimens of silver produced in Croatia are preserved, and they tell of the high level of work of the goldsmithing and silversmithing crafts in the domestic setting. This was much helped by an edict of the Habsburg Empire according to which certain craftsmen, including goldsmiths and silversmiths, had to attend drawing classes as a supplement to their education as artisans.

Glass production in the Neoclassicism period is characterised by a simplification of form and decoration. Decorations on glass include gathered ribbons, spirals, flowers and meanders, portraits, masks or wreaths with fruit. Of the glassware on show, a glass of Johann Joseph Mildner with a double medallion on the surface is of particular interest.

The exhibited objects from the ceramics collection are produced of materials popular in the 18th century – stoneware and jasperware. Wedgwood, the best known English ceramic works, is represented in the display with an elegant urn of black vitreous stoneware, basalt as it is called.

Porcelain items were created in the manufactory in Vienna and in the Royal Manufactory in Naples. The author of the decorations on a plate with a depiction of Paris and Helen is one of the most important painters of the Viennese manufactory, Anton Kothgasser, who also painted glass. A cup with a view of Vienna and a set with south Italian views tell of the popularity of this kind of motif at the end of the 18th century. Domestic ceramic production is illustrated by two stoves produced, in all likelihood, in the Križevci manufactory of Baron Ignjat Magdalenić, while a somewhat bizarre stove sculpture representing Nicolas Benger of the Order of St Paul the Hermit at prayer is particularly attractive.