I still don't know for sure what Austrian factory manufactured this group. It closely resembles the works by Augarten , Allach and Nymphenburg . The overall quality level of the group, even the gilded decoration on the lower part of the base is typical for late pieces made by Imperial Royal Manufactory in Viena , but absence of numbers doesn't allow to say for sure that it was produced by that factory before 1864 when it was closed..
The only markings present on the bottom. Some sources in literature state that numerical markings were not always the case with Royal Manufactory in Viena. The other sources claim that at the later period of the factories' existence the incised numbers were always present..
The hole between the fingers didn't really seem to be drilled later during some restoration attempt - I suggest that initially the upper part of the rifle might be removable,but I'm not sure...
Here to your attention two fine examples of equstrian groups made by German " Allach " manufacture designed by Theodor Karner n the 30-40-s of the 20th century..Both Hussars are very similar in style and quality to the group being restored.
The embodiment of Graf Andreas Hadik in Hussar uniform(private collection).It was made by hungarian Herend manufacture in 1950s.The thing is of different quality to compare with those shown above. Check out the sable and the plume…There are no reins in the design of the group.
The stsallion , definitely of Lipizzaner breed is very realistically modeled.The Lipizzaner is regarded as the oldest classic horse breed in Europe, bred since 1570 to supply the Hapsburg Empire with cavalry and show horses. The Imperial Court Stud was situated originally near the village of Lipica (now in Slovenia) and it was this village which gave the breed its name. After the collapse of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire in 1920, the Austrian Republic became the legal successor and from this time the Lipizzaners have been bred at the federal Stud at Piber near Graz.
The imageson the plate 4 show just a part of what I actually found. Image 1 shows the Hussar very similar to Alfonso (I gave him this nick).But that's the page from the book printed in the late 20th century…The uniform shows the same colors. Short rifle in the right hand…The short rifle is also seen in the hand of the soldier on the image 2 - that's the " Hussar " from the museum in Viena… But on the image 3 the rifle in the hands of another Austrian hussar looks longer ,trophy ? :) ..
I read that the rifles used by cavalry at that time were usually short barreled and with disproportionately large butt because longer ones would be a hinder for a mounted warriors and actually even useless . Short barreled could be inserted and comfortly transported under the belts that hold the blanket on the back of the horse ,just like pistols and if need be could be easily removed with one sweep movement of the hand and fired .. Firing rifle from horseback on the move is most effective only at medium/close range distances, and short barreled guns are perfect exactly for firing at medium / short range … It looks like the hussar would first unload the gun into the enemy from medium or short distance, thrust the gun under the belt and use the sable and pistols as soon as he reached the enemy to be engaged in hand-to hand combat..
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... Damaged areas from different angles shown with red arrows :
1 - the Reins.
2- The sable and its hanger
3 - Upper part of the Rifle,missing.
4 - Thin and neat break-line around the neck
5- Missing Plume
6 - Broken off corner of the Blanket
7- The cracked hoof of the horse.
8-The Sheath without lower part
9 -Missing Spur
All broken parts were missing.
As you see, the group is of wonderful quality and is extremely decorative. Attention to detail ,both horseman and the horse of equal finesse , no unequal shrinkage or cracking. Porcelain groups of this type were formed in a series of moulds, each of which represented a part of the whole : arms, legs, the head of the horseman , weapons , etc were formed in separate molds .The stallion was made the same way. The heavy weight of the group indicates that it was made by means of the technique of press -molding rather than slip-casting.
The nature of damages sustained by the group forced me to start some research in order to achieve best possible results in this case. I failed to find any images of this particular group in its original undamaged state in the literature I have or on Internet.
I probably will not be mistaken if I suggest that from the beginning the groups of such scale were produced in limited numbers only. The manufacturing process involved lots of manual labor , they were expensive and could be afforded and ordered by limited amount of people only .. The groups of this size , with so many vulnerable fragile parts that get damaged or destroyed easily. ..Not easy to store and restore ,they would easily end up the garbage bins in the past .. How many copies of this particular group have survived ?I don't think that the survivors can be counted in dozens.. Probably just a few exemplars ...
There were many questions to be answered. How might the plume, the upper part or the rifle and the sable and missing lower half of the sheath possibly look like in detail ? I had to figure out the correct measurements and proportions of all missing parts so that the newly modeled and invisibly restored components would perfectly fit the whole composition of the group and visually look like originals being in reality just handmade replacements . In order to succeed I started digging out everything I could find about military equipment of Austro-Hungarian cavalry and Hussars in general at the period of Napoleonic wars between 1795 -1806..
Five missing delicate reins were initially made of thin strips of pliable porcelain paste using technique which later became common at Nymphenburg and Allach factories in the process of manufacture of equestrian groups . In general South German and Austrian manufactures share a lot of similarities in their approach to modeling and production routine.
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