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Wawel Royal Castle - HOME

Wawel Royal Castle
State Art Collection

31-001 Kraków, Wawel 5

(+48 12) 422-51-55, 422-61-21

Tourist Information:
(+48 12) 422 51 55
ext. 219

Reservations and Guide Service:
(+48 12)
422 16 97

Press contact:
(+48 12) 422 51 55
ext. 380, 341

Base metals

The collection includes copper, brass, bronze, tin and iron artistic objects, made and decorated using various techniques. Apart from European objects exhibited in Wawel Royal Castle and Pieskowa Skała Castle chambers, the collection also includes a set of oriental Chinese, Persian and Armenian objects displayed in the ‘Oriental Art in the Wawel collection’ exhibition. The most valuable objects were obtained in the 1920s and 30s, through the efforts of the then curators, who aimed to recreate the functional character of castle interiors. They come from donations and purchases in Poland and abroad, e.g. from Karol Sheldon Phillips from Paris, Szymon Szwarc from Vienna, the Fukier family from Warsaw, Jakub Judkiewicz from Kraków, Brunon Konczakowski from Cieszyn, and also from the Sieghardt collection from Austria.

Particularly noteworthy are four sarcophagi of Sieniawski family members: Adam Hieronim, Mikołaj, Aleksander and Prokop, with recumbent representations of the deceased on the lids. Made of tin and lead alloy, most probably in the years 1619-1636 in Lvov by Wrocław sculptor, Hanusz Pfister, intended for the Brzeżany castle chapel, they are unparalleled in Polish art. They are exhibited in Pieskowa Skała.

The following sets are unique in Poland: fireplace tool sets (Renaissance French and Italian, and Baroque Dutch), candlesticks (including Baroque embossed spotlights and Classicist gilt bronze candelabras), ornamented brass vessels (Nuremberg bowls) and copper vessels (wine coolers, pitchers and containers), chemist’s mortars (Gothic, Renaissance and early Baroque), and tin items.

Objects representing early Polish culture constitute separate groups, such as pen cases with inkwells, scissors for cutting candle wicks, complicated locks, padlocks, keys and even a 17th-c. treasury door; keepsakes of a patriotic character (boxes in the shape of royal sarcophagi, national heroes’ statuettes) and bronze study room sculptures with various themes.

Keepsakes of the royal Vasa family are of unique value; they include the inscription cartouche from Karol Ferdynand Vasa’s sarcophagus, and a cartouche with Sigismund III Vasa’s coat of arms, most probably from a carriage the king used.

Zoom in - Adam Hieronim Sieniawski’s sarcophagus.
Adam Hieronim Sieniawski’s sarcophagus.
ADAM HIERONIM SIENIAWSKI’S SARCOPHAGUS. He was a royal cellar supervisor. Poland, Lvov, Jan (Hanusz) Pfister (1573-1642), 1619. Polished tin cast. Originally in the Brzeżany castle chapel. Donated in 1925, together with three other sarcophagi of the Sieniawski family, by Jakub Potocki from Brzeżany.
Zoom in - The Inscription Cartouche from Prince Karol Ferdynand Vasa’s sarcophagus.
The Inscription Cartouche from Prince Karol Ferdynand Vasa’s sarcophagus.

THE INSCRIPTION CARTOUCHE FROM PRINCE KAROL FERDYNAND VASA’S SARCOPHAGUS. Toruń, Bierpfaff Jan Christian (workshop), 1655. Silver plated brass, embossed and engraved. The only existing fragment of the sarcophagus of the son of Sigismund III and Constance of Austria, bishop of Wrocław and Płock; found in 1802 by Izabela Czartoryska in the ruins of St. Michael church in Wawel. Recovered from Russia in 1928. Exhibited in the royal castle chapel.

Zoom in - A firescreen with the Coats of Arms of France and Navarra of Louis XIII.
A firescreen with the Coats of Arms of France and Navarra of Louis XIII.

A FIRESCREEN WITH THE COATS OF ARMS OF FRANCE AND NAVARRA OF LOUIS XIII. France, 1610-1630. Cast iron. Donated in 1932 by Eleonora Sheldon-Phillips from Paris, together with a collection of fireplace tool sets, collected at the turn of the 20th c. by her husband Karol, found in castles sacked by the French revolution. Installed in the Alchemy chamber’s fireplace on the first floor of the castle.

Zoom in - The chemist’s mortar.
The chemist’s mortar.
THE CHEMIST’S MORTAR. Holland, Deventer, Gerrit Schimmel (active between 1664 and 1705), 1683, Silver bronze, polished cast. Founded by Arnolt Francken; with the coat of arms of Deventer. Bought for Wawel together with the Sieghardt’s collection in 1935 by the Viennese antiquarian Szymon Szwarc.
Zoom in - A bowl with a hunting scene.
A bowl with a hunting scene.
A BOWL WITH A HUNTING SCENE. Silesia, Wrocław, Barth Paul the younger (active between 1640 and 1655), mid 17th c. Polished engraved tin cast. Bought in 1984 in a Desa antique shop in Kraków, together with a collection of copper and tin vessels from a Cracovian collector.
Zoom in - A twelve branch candelabra.
A twelve branch candelabra.

A TWELVE BRANCH CANDELABRA. France, Paris, Thomire Pierre Philippe, early 19th c. Gilt bronze polished cast. An example of a luxury object with empire style decoration.

Zoom in - A model of Queen Jadwiga’s sarcophagus from Wawel Cathedral.
A model of Queen Jadwiga’s sarcophagus from Wawel Cathedral.
A MODEL OF QUEEN JADWIGA’S SARCOPHAGUS FROM WAWEL CATHEDRAL. Rome, Antoni Madeyski (1862-1939), 1900-1902. Silverplated bronze polished cast and marble. A model of the marble tomb, founded for the cathedral by Karol Lanckoroński, modelled on the early Renaissance sarcophagus of Illaria del Caretto, a work by Jacoppo della Quercia.
Anna Petrus