In addition to the Budapest Museum of Applied Arts and the Esterházy castle in Fraknó (Burg Forchtenstein), the collection of medals and coins as well as goldsmith's works at the Hungarian National Museum also has a small ensemble of treasures from the Esterházy collection: 308 coins and medals and 17–19th century goldsmith's works and textiles.
The stock of metalwork from the early modern age also includes three pieces of parchment of different sizes with Latin inscription in 17th century script. As they survive in Esterházy possession, it is logical to try to trace them to the Fraknó treasury. When in 1725 the inventory of the treasury was taken, the information on the – real or assumed – owners, donators of earlier times was gleaned from “annexed slips” which the parchment pieces in the National Museum are thought to be like. It can almost be taken for certain that the three slips of parchment in the museum used to be the labels of items 16–17 in cabinet no. 51/52 and item 37 in cabinet 54/55. The question is whether the fragmentary inscriptions can be paired with extant objects.
The first object that can be identified is the rosary of John III Sobiesky, the third is the rosary of Leopold I, king of Hungary and holy Roman emperor, given by Pope Innocent XI to the ruler. The dolman and gown allegedly worn by Leopold I for his coronation as king of Hungary in Pozsony in 1655 were also kept in Fraknó. Aslip of parchment sewn into the mantle contained the story of the object. István Báthory's miniature portrait in wax relief is still kept by the family at Fraknó. A fork and spoon with coral handles and a rosary of coral beads also once owned by Báthory are now in the collection of the Museum of Applied Arts. Research identifies items in the 1696 and 1725 inventories with the latter object. Consequently the second parchment slip used to indicate this rosary in times of yore.
Though no contemporaneous labels survive, another two rosaries' former owners can be identified on the basis of the 1725 inventory. A rosary of gold filigree beads might be identical with Pál Esterházy's one-time rosary entered into the 1725 list as item no. 25. The list also helps identify palatine Miklós Esterházy's rosary now in the National Museum. It consists of a string of large lapis lazuli beads, with a possibly later cross hanging from a tassel of metal threads at one end. In the 1696 inventory there is a list of the contents of a grey cabinet in the first room of the “new” treasury of Fraknó, the one created upon Pál Esterházy's order. It contains a rosary ex succino nigro, that is, of dark amber which is perhaps identical with one in the collection of the National Museum.
Compared to 1696, the inventory of 1725 shows a conceptually far more organized treasury reflecting the final arrangement by Pál Esterházy. The contents of the cabinets, the grouping of the objects had been changed to create almost “profile-centric” units. Until the turn of the 17–18th century the objects of treasuries and collections were not labelled unless their material value was highlighted. The Fraknó labels are more closely related to the slips put into the medieval reliquaries. The majority of objects marked with parchment slips were also “relics” in Pál Esterházy's treasury. The treasures of Miklós Esterházy were still stored in chests and cases as the 1645 list reveals. The transformation that the inventory of 1696 reveals is similar to the metamorphosis of the collections of relics by the 15th century. The motor was the collector himself in the background, here Pál Esterházy, although this process can also be retraced in Esterházy's brother-in-law Ferenc Nádasdy's Sárvár treasury. The collecting activity of both Esterházy and Nádasdy is simultaneously characterized by the successful integration of archaic traits and most up-to-date representative forms.
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