Talk about a three-ring circus!
This early 18th-century copperplate depicts a late Fechtschule of the Marxbrüder and Federfechter. It is one of the latest documents of a contest between the members of these urban Central European fighting guilds… before they were replaced by the Schützenfeste marksmanship competitions of the shooting guilds.
Here, the Lion of St. Mark and the Griffin of the Federfechter still preside over the event at the rear of the hall…
Watched by Masters, spectators, and ostensibly well-off patrons, pairs of fencers compete in single rapier (here more properly foils, with thickly padded points), Dussack, staff, and two-handed swords:
Each pairing is supervised by a competent fencing master holding a staff — and ready to interfere when things took a violent turn: While adhering to strict rules that were intended to limit the number of regularly occurring injuries — and even fatalities! — the fencers intended to end each bout by inflicting a bleeding head wound on their opponent. This was poetically called a “rote Plume” (red flower). In our print, an injured contestant is nursing his head while others around him take liquid refreshments.
The copperplate was hand colored in watercolors by an 18th-century artist, with additional lines added in contemporary India ink. The original is privately owned.
Secret Archives Press LLC obtained exclusive permission to reproduce this print in limited quantities, and adhering to strict quality controls. The original image was digitally restored by Coyle Studios.
The print measures 22.5″ x 14.5″, with an image size of 20.5″ x 14″.
Each print is created individually using Premium Archival stock of 230g, 9.5 mil, heavy-weight, matte paper, specially engineered for accurate color reproduction with high-contrast and high-resolution images. This stock is acid-free and perfect for framing.