Statut cechu mosiężników warszawskich z 1789 roku


  • Ryszard Mączyński Katedra Historii Sztuki i Kultury UMK, ul. Władysława Bojarskiego 1, 87-100 Toruń

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18 w. -- Polska, mosiężnictwo nowożytne, mosiężnicy warszawscy nowożytni, statut cechu mosiężników Starej Warszawy (1789), Warszawa (Polska)



The history of brass-making in Warsaw in the Enlightenment period only recently became the topic of an academic study which analyses the rapid development of this craft in the city stimulated by immigrants from other parts of Poland as well as from Prussia and Austria, the assortment of products ranging from everyday utensils to unique artistic items and finally the establishment of brass-makers’ guild, which was supposed to fight ‘botchers’ and guarantee high quality as well as protect the guild-members’ monopoly to sell products of this craft. The rights of the guild were codified in a statute issued in 1789, which is the subject of the present article. The 1789 statute, which is now owned by the Warsaw Guild of Goldsmiths, Clockmakers, Opticians, Engravers and Bronze-makers, is stored in the Museum of Crafts in Warsaw. The book, which enjoyed high respect as the document that legitimized the guild of brass-makers and was stored in the guild treasure-box, hajs survived in a good condition. It is bound in dark-green leather with gilded decorations and a cartouche with the arms of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Each of the six rectangular sheets of parchment features a painted and gilded border around the text written in brown ink. Most impressive is the first page, bearing elaborate ornaments and heraldic symbols. One of the most beautiful details is the initial of the Latin formula confirming the privileges and duties recorded in the statute: the S of the word significamus is interwoven in the image of the White Eagle wearing a golden crown. The fully clas-sicist style of ornaments differentiates the statute of brass-makers from the statute of Warsaw goldsmiths, which, although written down only fours years earlier, was decorated in the out-moded rococo style. The heraldic symbols highlighted the importance of the document, placing it in the political and topographic context of the Commonwealth and its capital, Old Warsaw. The coats of arms included in the statute were those of King Stanislaus Augustus and of the Chancellor of the Crown Jacek Małachowski, who both corroborated the document with their signatures and stamps, in accordance with the rules of the royal privilege. As is indicated in the first sentence, the statute was first approved by the city chancery on the 3rd of January 1789 and then signed by the King on the 4th of April. Apart from the opening and ending formulas, which are in Latin, the statute has been written down in Polish. Its articles have been divided into two groups: thirty nine articles regard the masters of the brass-making craft while the further twenty four the journeymen. The statute was to regulate not only the vital issues of brass production, learning the craft and the way of professional advancement, but also various aspects of the everyday life of the masters, journey-men and apprentices. It attempted to provide ready solutions for all the possible problems but many things were not stated overtly, for instance the fact that the masters tried to make the journeymen completely dependent. One of the major aims of the statute was to give legal basis to monopoly. Therefore, one of the most important articles was the one that listed products, raw materials and methods reserved for the brass-making craft, thus specifying, at least theo-retically, the limits of legal trade that did not infringe the rights of other guilds. Hence, following the mediaeval tradition, the document was intended to protect the mas-ters from the competition of both outsiders, i.e. members of other corporations, and insiders, i.e. journeymen taking the formalized path of professional advancement and aspiring to result-ant independence and profits. In this respect the statute of Warsaw brass-makers did not differ from other guilds’ statutes, especially that it had been modelled after analogous privileges from Prague and Dresden. An analysis of its lexis suggests that in fact those models may have been privileges of girdle-makers (Gürtler) rather than brass-makers (Gelbgiesser) although those two crafts had always been quite close. Significantly, the models were taken neither from Cracow, although Warsaw craft guilds had long been dependent on Cracow corporations, nor from Toruń, with whose craftsmen Warsaw guilds had had very close contacts for two centuries. This can be explained by the foreign provenance of the founders of the brass-makers’ guild. The publication of the full text of the statute in accordance with contemporary standards of editing historical sources should facilitate research on the work of Warsaw brass-makers, who were an important professional group active on many fields


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Jak cytować

Mączyński, R. (2014). Statut cechu mosiężników warszawskich z 1789 roku. Kwartalnik Historii Kultury Materialnej, 62(1), 105–132. Pobrano z