The Romantic Side of Fencing: Hübner’s “Fencing Loft”

The recent discovery of an early painting of German genre painter Carl Wilhelm Hübner marks the first known work of a serious German artist that covers student dueling.

by J. Christoph Amberger

Baltimore, MD— An unknown painting from the formative period of the German Romantic painter Carl Wilhelm Hübner was recently discovered in the art collection of a private fencing history archive in Baltimore, Maryland.

The oil painting measures 46.5 cm by 60.5 cm and depicts a pair of fencers in the costumes of the early 19th century.


Tübinger Rhenanen, 1898/99

Published in: on April 29, 2010 at 5:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Check out the new Secret Archives Press fencing art catalog

Welcome to Secret Archives Press LLC’s Summer 2010 Catalog!

Here’s to the first release of what I hope will become an annual tradition for fencing enthusiasts:

Secret Archives Press LLC was founded in February of 2010 for one simple purpose: To help you clutter up your bookshelves and walls with spectacular “fencing stuff”. Not with smudged masks and bent blades, mind you — but with high-quality reproductions of images, copperplates, paintings, and artwork I’ve collected over the past decades at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars. (more…)

Published in: on April 22, 2010 at 3:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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Seltenes Mensurbild: Corps Hannovera vs. Corps Brunsviga

(Für höhere Auflösung bitte direkt auf’s Bild klicken!)


Dieses Corpshaus-dimensionierte Foto stellt die Mitglieder des Göttinger SC während eines Bestimmtags dar. Entstehungsjahr ist das Sommersemester 1882.

Zentralmotiv des Bildes ist ein Fechterpaar: Herr Lund, Corps Brunsviga, ficht gegen Schirmer, Corps Hannovera. Beide Paukanten sind ohne Mensurbrille dargestellt. Sekundanten sind Röttiger, Brunsvigae, und Wiemann, Hannoverae.

Weitere abgebildete Mitglieder der Hannovera: Scheel, Beneke, Wien, Stein, Willemer, Stricker und von Garmissen.

Die Namen aller abgebildeten SC-Angehörigen sind direkt unter dem Bild angegeben. Die entsprechenden Herren sind durch handgeschriebene Zahlen identifiziert, welche leider nicht immer mit der abgebildeten Persönlichkeit übereinstimmen.

Ort des Dramas ist die Landwehr — Göttingens Antwort auf Heidelbergs Hirschgasse.

Diese exclusiv für Secret Archives Press LLC gefertigte Reproduktion in limitierter Auflage beruht auf einem Original in der Sammlung Amberger. Es wurde in wochenlanger Detailarbeit und unter großem Kostenaufwand von den Fotorestaurationsspezialisten der Firma Coyle Studios digital in seinen ursprünglichen Zustand versetzt.

Unsere Reproduktion mißt 55,8 cm x 50,8 cm, bei einer Bildgröße von 50,8 cm x 45,7 cm. Jeder Druck wird individuell produziert. Wir verwenden nur schweres Premium Archival Papier 230g, 9.5mil mit mattem Finish, speziell entwickelt für akkurate Farbwidergabe bei hochkontrastigen Bildern von höchster Auflösung.

Was sagen unsere Kunden bisher?

* “Ich habe heute Post bekommen, vielen Dank. Mit großer Freude habe ich gesehen, daß hier auch die Angehörigen des Corps Hansea abgebildet sind, was ja die zum Corps umgewandelten Aktiven der Burschenschaft Hannovera waren. Das grün-weiß-rot hängt gut sichtbar aus, der Schläger passt auch. Die Herren hatten einen weißen Stürmer. Von den weißen Mützen, die ich auf dem Kopf von einigen sehe, wußte ich noch nichts. Viele Grüße!” — Roland R., B! Hannovera Göttingen, B! Germania Marburg

* “The print lives up to any and all claims you make regarding its interest and the quality of the reproduction.” —John S., Maine

* “Ich habe das Mensurbild bereits gekauft und erhalten. Bezahlung und Abwicklung über paypal ohne Probleme. Foto ist super. Kann ich nur weiter empfehlen. Nochmals herzlichen Dank an Amberger.” —Wolfgang N., Hannover

Preis: $34.95; Porto: $9.95

Zur reibungslosen Abwicklung Ihrer Bestellung empfehlen wir PayPal.

Mensur des Göttinger SC auf der Landwehr, 1882

(Click on the image for higher resolution!)


This oversized compound photograph depicts the members of the Seniorenconvent Göttingen (the local association of dueling student Corps registered at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany) during a “Bestimmtag” — an evening on which scheduled Mensuren or student duels are fought. It was taken toward the end of the summer semester of 1882.

The focal point of the image is a match between a member of the Corps Brunsviga (the second recognizable by his black-white-blue apron) and Otto von Bismarck’s Corps Hannovera (red-blue-red). Both fencers pose without protective goggles in a hanging guard, ready to spring into action at the command of their seconds.

On a chair nearby, the basket-hilt Schlägers’ tricolor felt inlays indicate the presence of the other member Corps in the Göttingen Seniorenconvent.

The location is the Landwehr inn — Göttingen’s response to Heidelberg’s Hirschgasse. Below the photo, the names of all men depicted (identified by small numbers) are printed under their respective Corps affiliations.

This reproduction is based on an original in the Amberger Collection, which was digitally restored in painstaking detail by our friends at Coyle Studios.

The print measures 22″x 20″, with an image size of 20″ x 18″. Each print is created individually, using Premium Archival stock of 230g, 9.5mil, heavy-weight, matte paper, specially engineered for accurate color reproduction with high-contrast and high-resolution images. This stock is acid-free and perfect for framing.

It will be safely mailed in a 3″ mailing tube. Domestic orders: s/h $6.95; International orders: s/h $10.99.

Published in: on March 15, 2010 at 1:51 am  Leave a Comment  

Bismarck’s last Mensur

Bismarck began with a straight, firm quarte that was steeply measured at Röder’s temple. Then there was a horrible crash, blades screaming, four, five cuts humming onto each other and into each other, lunge and guard collided, and from the center of this confusion something glorious separated itself, an iron-cold cut that everybody saw and that seemed to execute what Bismarck had pointed at at the opening of the round.


At the Kaiser, near Rheinhausen Gate, they were preparing for a Mensur. Down on the country road, in the melted snow, the lookout walked back and forth. Ludolf Fromme of the Hannoverians, Ludolf Fromme from Hardegsen. He ate an apple and occasionally looked up to the windows of the second floor, where metal rang suspiciously. Bismarck had wrought a mocking verse about him that now hung from his collar like text scrolls from the little people you find on the illuminated parchments of the middle ages. (…)

Now Ludolf Fromme was thinking about revenge while walking up and down in the slush. A verse, a mocking verse about Bismarck, when he returned from the fencing grounds as a Mensur corpse. That was as certain as the multiplication table: Bismarck would be defeated by Herr von Röder. It was just a matter of finding a rhyme. But he just couldn’t find something that rhymed with Bismarck, no matter how much brain grease he applied. (more…)

Published in: on March 14, 2010 at 11:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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