Glimpse of the Storeroom

 

A museum collects objects that it preserves, researches and documents. Since it has long been the case that not all objects in a collection can be exhibited, many of them remain in the storerooms of museums, where they await further investigation.

The Swiss Rifle Museum is continuously researching its collections. At this point, an object from the storeroom is introduced and presented on the basis of the current state of research.

 

CURRENT

     

Jakob Schwegler (1793 in Hergiswil bei Willisau – 1866 in Lucerne, actually Philipp Jakob Schwegler)
Aloysia Meyer, from Malters, canton of Lucerne, 14 years old, circa 1832
Lithograph
signed: “J. Schwegler del.”/” Lith. v. Gebr. Eglin Lucerne”

 

The picture shows 14-year-old Aloysia Meyer. She stands at a shooting range, which is indicated by the target shown at the right edge of the image. Her gaze is focused on the rifle she holds in her hands. The girl wears the traditional costume, as was usual at festive occasions at that time. She has put several cards in her attractively decorated hat. Shooting booklets were not yet used until 1880. The results of the hits were noted on a sheet.

After the Fribourg clergy categorically forbade all women to enter the festival in 1829, a woman took part in a federal shooting event for the first time in 1832 in Lucerne, namely Aloysia Meyer. This unusual event has left a lasting impression. A lithograph portraying the girl could be purchased for 16 francs according to the “Federal shooting Almanac for the years 1832 & 1833” (page 46):

“This […] Portrait depicts the 14-year-old daughter of the valiant shooter Meyer of Malters, in the canton of Lucerne, at the moment when she is lifting up the weapon, prepearing to shoot. This girl has also been generally admired at the Federal Rifle Championships in Lucerne, both because of the dexterity with which she knows how to handle the weapon, and for her concise shooting.” (pages 46-47).

Subsequently, the educationalist Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (1778 – 1852), is quoted, with regard to the wish that “[the] Swiss women would like to take heed of the words of the good German man”:

“Great is the destiny of the woman! Education, though, and housekeeping is their first business; But when required, the girl and the woman can help to defend the fatherland. […] They want to die with their husbands, lovers, and brothers for freedom, or help to win.”

Jakob Schwegler created the preliminary drawing for the lithograph, which is followed by the addition “del.” [for delineavit, has drawn] after the name. In 1821, he worked with Lukas Ahorn to create the lion monument in Lucerne. The lithograph originates from the Eglin brothers of Lucerne.

 

 

 

 

PAST ARCHIVE

      

Laurent Marqueste (1848–1920)
Nike
(Greek goddess of victory), before 1912
Bronze Signed: Marqueste / F. Barbedienne. Fondeur.
On red marble base with engraved brass plate: XVIE MATCH INTERNATIONAL AU FUSIL BAYONNE-BIARRITZ 1912. 1ER PRIX
Inv. no. 12-26011

 

This beautiful bronze sculpture originates from the French sculptor Laurent Honore Marqueste (1848-1920). It was cast by the important foundry of Ferdinand Barbedienne (1810-1892) in Paris. The Greek mythological figure of Nike, the goddess of victory, corresponds to the Roman goddess Victoria. She is not only evoked by the battle but also the peaceful contest for victory.

The figure stands on a hemisphere and holds a laurel wreath in her right hand, the so-called victor’s laurel. Her arm is stretched out in a gesture of an award ceremony. In the left hand the goddess holds a palm branch. In Greek mythology it is dedicated to Apollo, the god of light, spring, healing and prophecy, as well as the fine arts and archery. It is the branch of the Greek date palm (phoenix), which symbolises the resurrection and thus triumph. As a sign of the resurrection, the palm later finds its way into Christian symbolism. The spreading wings of the goddess of victory are striking. They are her most important attribute. In a battle or in a competition, fortune turns steadily and finally flies to the victor.

The sculpture was awarded to the victorious nation as first prize, on the occasion of the sixteenth international free rifle shooting competition in 1912 in Bayonne-Biarritz (FR) – in addition to a cash sum of Fr. 1’000.00. Its value was estimated at Fr. 500.00 (Schweizerische Schützen-Zeitung [Swiss shooting publication] from June 22nd 1912, year XXXI, no. 25, p. 186). 10 nations participated in the rifle shooting competition. The Swiss group, consisting of Konrad Stäheli, Marcel Meyer de Stadelhofen, Kaspar Widmer, Fritz Kuchen and Mathias Brunner, took the lead over France. Stäheli went down into the lying and kneeling positions. He achieved the final victory in the contest with a total score of 1’078 points in all three positions.

The sculpture was included in the collection on 26 November 1939, on the day of the inauguration of the Swiss Rifle Museum in Berne.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current

 

Special Exhibition

 

Glimpse of the Storeroom

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