Album of Bit Designs

Designer Rudolf Franz Ferdinand von Talmberg Bohemian

Not on view

Books devoted to various kinds of horse bits formed an important category of equestrian literature, a thriving genre from the sixteenth through the eighteenth century. The Talmberg album is unusual in having no text (other than the dedication) and for presenting the bits for their beauty alone, rather than their function. Talmberg, the creator of these designs, was a cavalry officer at the Viennese court of Emperor Leopold I.

The album has a 19th century binding covered in marbleized paper that contains twenty-two engravings consisting of a dedication page and twenty-one pages of designs for horse bits. The engravings are printed on a heavy cream colored laid paper with no visible water marks. The dedication page features an impresa of a rearing horse with a long set of lead reins held by a gloved hand that emerges from a cloud. Above this there is a scroll with the motto Industria et Patienzia. The horse is flanked on each side by a colonnade decorated with military trophies and equestrian statues. The dedication is in a cartouche at the bottom center of the page and reads Questo Libro / ha invientato ed delineato con / mano propria per suo gusto et utile / de tutti gli Cavalieri amatori de l'Arte / Cavalereska. Il Illustrissimo Siore Siore / Rodolpho Francesco di Talmberg Cam / eriere et Capitaneo di Cavalieria / di Sua Maiesta Imperiale / Anno i.6.7.4. At the top of the cartouche is the coat of arms of von Talmberg on a crowned shield: a pair of leaves (Seebläter) on naturalistic stalks curved to form a heart shape. The design on each of the following twenty-one pages depicts the left profile of a curb bit, showing the cheek or shank of the bit from the headstall ring to the rein or curb ring. The outline of each bit and the ornament decorating it varies on each engraving. The bit on page one is decorated near the center with the von Talmberg coat of arms, as found on the dedication page. The dedication page is not numbered; the pages with bit designs are numbered from one to twenty-one in pencil in the lower right hand corner of each page.

Album of Bit Designs, Rudolf Franz Ferdinand von Talmberg (Bohemian, ca. 1645–1702), Ink on paper, Bohemian

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