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Painting and Graphic Art

The 'Federlin' (feather) from the Burgundian spoils

Key data

Basle, before 1504

Watercolour on parchment

34.2 x 25.9 cm

Inv. 1916.476.


The drawing documents a piece of Burgundian jewellery, called a "feather" and intended to be worn on a hat, produced about 1460/65. Mounted on it to form an arrow head were five pale rubies, four diamonds and three large and 70 small beads. With three other precious objects from the possessions of Charles the Bold of Burgundy, also recorded in watercolours in the Museum's collection, it formed part of the spoils won at the battle of Grandson in 1476. It did not go to Lucerne like the rest of the general spoils, but, illicitly concealed from the Allies, was taken directly to Basle, where it was hidden for nearly 30 years. According to the deed of sale, dated 1504, the city sold the 'Federlin' ,the 'Gürtelin' (little belt), the 'Drei Brüder' (three brothers) and the 'Rose' to Jakob Fugger in Augsburg to pay off debts of around 40,200 guilders. The subsequent fate of the jewels is not known, but it may be surmised that they were reworked into new jewellery for the Emperor.

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