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Basel Historical Museum

Objects in the collection

Basel Historical Museum has a collection comprising over 250,000 objects. A selection of these is presented here.

The scientists, scholars and collectors of the 16th century and thereafter kept Wunderkammer full of spectacular objects and works of art. Among the treasures presented are some that originally belonged to the world-famous Amerbach Cabinet.

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Chosen Exhibits

Bust reliquary of St Pantalus from the treasury of Basle Munster

Basle, after 1270 – Silver and copper, embossed, engraved, gilded – height 49 cm – Inv. 1882.87.

Of all the different forms of reliquary, the head or bust reliquary is particularly …

Wildmen on a staghunt, wall hanging

Basle, ca. 1468 – Wool tapestry, two sections each height 123-128.5 cm, width 253 cm – Inv. 1981.88.

The purchase of this tapestry from a South German collection for the 1981 reopening of the …

Portrait of Johann Rudolf Burckhardt

Anton Graff, Basle, ca. 1786 – Oil on canvas – 114.5 x 84 cm – Inv. 1976.175.

J.R. Burckhardt (1750-1813) was by profession a silk ribbon manufacturer and from 1777 held …

Cannon from the Burgundian spoils

Mechelen, dated 1474 – Jean de Malines, Mechelen Cast bronze – length 255.5 cm, calibre 22.8 cm – Inv. 1874.95.

The Basle chronicler Johannes Knebel reports that on 14 March 1476 the Basle troops brought …

Pair of duck tureens

Strasbourg, Paul Hannong, numbered on glaze I and 2, 1748 54 – Faience with painting on glaze in enamel colours – height 32.5 and 36.5 cm – Inv. 1973.76.

The Paul Hannong factory owed its success to its policy of employing potters, painters and …

Bass viola da gamba

Joachim Tielke, Hamburg, ca. 1708 – Six strings, top spruce, sides and back maple, edges reinforced with ivory, two C-shaped sound holes, fingerboard and tailpiece adorned with tortoiseshell and ivory marquetry – L (incl. neck) 119.4 cm, L (corpus only) 68.4 cm – Inv. 1872.65.

Joachim Tielke (born 1641 in Königsberg, died 1719 in Hamburg) ranks among northern …

Flemish Virginals

(Antwerp?), 1572 – At quint or octave pitch; compass C/E-a2 (without g#2) Case made of poplar painted in tempera; softwood soundboard; keytops made of bone (white keys) and bog oak (sharps); brass and steel strings – H. 17.9 x W 92.5 x D 33 cm – Inv. 1990.426.

That this instrument, which the people of Basel used to called a Spinet, is Flemish in …

Canvas drum

Basel, 1575 – Frame made of wood painted in tempera, seven concentrically positioned sound holes on the side, two wooden tensioning hoops, skins rope-tensioned with 8 iron hooks, knotted leather strap, goatskin head – H 64 cm (head), dia. 51 cm – Inv. 1874.120. – Deposit of the Basler Zeughaus

Among the museum’s collection of 150 drums are the oldest ones still in existence, dated …

Large winged altarpiece from St. Mary’s Church in Calanca (Graubünden)

Dated 1512; workshop of Ivo Strigel, Christoph Zeller and other masters, Memmingen – Linden wood, carved and painted, panel painting – H 375 cm, W 567 cm (open) Inv. 1887.95.

Mounted on a predella showing Christ with the twelve Apostles, the open altar chest …

Skeleton pocket watch

Geneva, ca. 1820 – Bordier à Genève, active in 19th century – Movement with verge escapement and quarter repeater with ding-dong chimes; hour and minute hands – Inv. 1982.1093.

This watch in a red gold case has a glass window in the lid showing the movement with …


Basel Historical Museum
Management & administration
Steinenberg 4
PO box
CH – 4001 Basel

Reception: +41 61 205 86 00
Message: +41 61 205 86 02

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