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The Collection of Furniture and Applied Art
The oldest piece of furniture at Prague Castle is a Renaissance cabinet decorated with surface carving, dated in 1562. It forms a part of the furnishing of the Old Royal Palace and is situated in a room of the Now Land Rolls, where there are also other Renaissance and Early Baroque cabinets, tables, chairs and chests. Most of the valuable pieces of historic furniture are used for the furnishing of the reception rooms in the southern and central wings of the Castle. They comprise Baroque, Rococo and Neo-Classical, tarsia and upholstered furniture. A large number of pieces of office furniture in Biedermeier style (commodes, chests-of-drawers, tables and chairs) finds use in the official rooms. As part of the furniture manufactured after designs by the architect Josip Plecnik has been preserved in the apartment of President T.G.Masaryk.
Numerous period clocks, mirrors, oriental vases and small sculptures are particularly remarkable among the articles of applied art. Most of the especially valuable ones among them decorate the reception rooms.
The Collection of Historic Textile
This collection comprises tapestries, carpets and textile from burial finds. Apart from several modern pieces, the gobelin collection contains about forty works of the 17th and 18th centuries. Of the greatest value among them are the Blue Moon cycle (produced by a manufactory at La Malgrange in France) and the Anthony and Cleopatra cycle (woven in Brussels in the 17th century). Gobelins and valuable Persian and other oriental carpets find use particularly for the decoration of the reception rooms. Textile monuments found in the course of archeological research cannot, on the contrary, be permanently displayed and, furthermore, exacting conditions have to be fulfilled with regard to their storage. The fund of historical textile includes fragments of materials from the royal graves.
Outstanding among these are the recently restored dalmatic of Václav IV and the almost complete burial apparel of Rudolph II. Equally noteworthy are the parts of the garments of the Habsburg buried in the Royal Mausoleum and fragments from the graves of bishops or the abbesses of St. George's Convent. One of the oldest materials (of the 10th century) was raised from the grave of St. Ludmila during archeological research in 1981.
Castings, Designs and Models
Plaster castings enable the study of details whose originals are preserved in places difficult of access. However, they are not intended exclusively for art historians and other specialists. Many castings have originated for exhibition purposes. For visitors they can partly compensate for the fact that some interiors of places are inaccessible and that is not possible for them to reach certain details. This applies, for example, in the case of the busts in the inner triforium in the cathedral and of other sculptures from the decoration of its supporting system exhibited on the Gothic floor of the Old Royal Palace.
The castings of the sculptures of the outer triforium, and not only these, are of great value for restoration work. Very often they portray the original in a better state than it was later at the time of its restoration. The last castings, produced from a part of the stucco decorations of the Spanish Hall, were intended for the exhibition Rudolph II and Prague.
The collection of design and models contains works created for various competitions and projects. Among the interesting documents forming the collection there are in particular designs of reliefs for the western bronze door of the cathedral, models of gargoyles for the cathedral and J. Plecnik's model of an unrealized monolith for the Garden of Paradise.
The architectural models represent reconstructions of the form of the Castle in various periods and the present form of individual buildings.
The Stone Collection
The stone collection housed in several depositories, contains and affords protection to architectural elements or their fragments, found in excavations or during buildings works, or originals replaced with copies on the spot.
The largest number of stone details comes from St. Vitus's Cathedral: fragments of pinnacles and window traceries, two coping stones, a number of fragments from the original decoration of the interior of the Golden Portal and originals of provincial emblems from the southern spiral staircase.
The stone collection also contains a number of Romanesque capitals and fragments of decorated columns from St. Vitus's Basilica, a whole vault rib from the Gothic period, large groups of terracotta details from the Renaissance period and fragments of sculptures from the Baroque period.