Bells from the 16th – 17th centuries at Lviv Historical Museum Collection
Bell – a percussion signal instrument in the form of a hollow pear-shaped body, inside of which a beater is hunged up (Декоративно-ужиткове мистецтво: Словник: У 2 т. — Львів: Афіша, 2000. — Т. 1. — С. 205.).
Though the bell is a musical instrument, it is also of utilitarian use. In ancient times when there were no operational communications, the bells were used to inform people about important events. A lot of myths, beliefs and traditions are connected with them. Although bells manufacturing was and still is very expensive, there always were those people who donated money to the church, especially to bells casting. Sometimes the bells were casted to celebrate important events. Often the masters and the patrons immortalized their names and on the bells. They were often decorated with lush decor.
The bells were casted on our lands beginning with Danylo Galician times; the evidenced of what is Galician-Volhynian chronicle: "The bells [Danylo] brought from Kyiv, [and] the others were casted here." The oldest bell in western Ukraine, that remained till nowadays, was cast in Lviv by Jakiv Skora in 1341.
Active research of bells history in Galicia began in the early twentieth century. This issue was raised by Josyph Pelensky (1879 - 1957) and Bogdan Janusz (1889 - 1930).
The greatest contribution to the study of bells casting in Lviv was done by Karol Badetsky (1886 - 1953).
Paradoxically, but World War I, during which a huge number of bells was destroyed, stimulated the study of bell casting. All the participants of the war conflict urgently needed raw materials for military industry. During the war Austrian government held three waves of requisition of bells and other products made from ferrous metals (bells are casted of bronze, an alloy of copper and tin). During the first requisition the Department for National Heritage and public leaders tried to prevent the destruction of the most valuable monuments. In Eastern Galicia Karol Badetsky was an active participant of this. At that time he was a director of the Municipal Archive and institutions that belonged to it (including Historical Museum of Lviv and National Museum of King Jan III).
The result of the commissions’ actions which controlled the bells requisition, was the publication of a valuable research of the chief conservative of Western Galicia Tadeusz Shydlovsky (1883 - 1942) (Szydlowski T. Dzwony starodawne z przed r. 1,600 na obszarze b. Galicji. - Krakow, 1922. - 96 s. ). The result of this work was organized by Karol Badetsky “Exhibition of Foundry Art” (“Wystawa zdobnictwa ludwisarskiego”). It was opened July 10, 1920 at National Museum of King Jan III in Lviv (now Lviv Historical Museum, Rynok Sq., 6).
Among the variety of exhibits stored at Lviv Historical Museum there are six bells there. Four of them come from the second half of the 16th – the first half of the 17th centuries. Consider these bells details in chronological order.
Let's examine these bells in detail in chronological order.
“Isaiah” bell of Dominican Monastery in Lviv.
Lviv. 1854, craftsman - Daniel Krul (Kroll, Kral) (?), Founder – Father Isaiah Leopolita, Master of Theology.
Bronze, casting; Diameter of wreath - 128 cm, weight approx. 1600 kg;
The monument was transferred to Lviv Historical Museum in 1940 from the History Museum of Lviv. For the collection of History Museum of Lviv the bell was bought in 1931 by Lviv Historical Museum, MT – 1564. The bell is exhibited in the Italian courtyard in Korniakt House (Rynok Sq., 6)
Fragment of inscription on bell shoulder
Cartouche depicting the prophet Isaiah. The inscription on the banner “ES [?] [A] IAS PRORH [ETA]” (Isaiah Prophet)
In 1865 under the leadership of Yulian Zachariewicz a new tower for the Dominican monastery in Lviv was built. The bell “Isaiah” was brought here from the old bell tower which was a high wall tower, called Tower of Riznyk (or L’odova). In the early twentieth century, the bell cracked. Dominican Brothers removed the bell and were preparing to send it to Germany for melting together with the other two bells in order to get new ones. Zigmut Gödel, the conservator of Lviv monuments, got to know about that and delayed the shipment. The bell was finally saved by the Count Andrzej Potocki, who bought it and placed in a park of his estate in Ksheshovitsy (now Poland). When in 1916 the Austrian authorities confiscated local church bells, the bell of Lviv Dominicans was also brought there. Since 1931 the bell has been kept at History Lviv Museum (now Lviv Historical Museum), exhibited at the Italian courtyard (Rynok Sq., 6).
Pidvalna St. in the middle of the 19th century.
Lviv. 19th century.; Drawing in pencil by unknown author. In the foreground - Tower of Riznyk (L’odova) (marked with arrow), Lviv Historical Museum, Г – 4349
Bell tower of the Dominican Monastery in Lviv, built in 1865 (Lithography, Lviv Historical Museum, Г-5300)
Bell of Bernardine Monastery in Lviv, Lviv. 1588 Master - Daniel Krul (Kroll, Kral) (?); Founder - Stanisław Żółkiewski.
Bronze, casting. Diameter of the crown - 83 cm. The monument was transferred to Lviv Historical Museum in 1940 from the Museum of Lviv History. It was bought by K. Badetsky in 1917 for the collection of the Museum of Lviv History among the bells requisitioned by Austrian government.
Lviv Historical Museum, MT - 1564.
View of the Bernardine Monastery in Lviv
Lviv, Early 20th century, A copy of watercolors by Jean Veynig. 1795; Artist - Franciszek Kovalyshyn; Paper; watercolor, Karol Auer
Lviv Historical Museum, Г - 4338. There is a bell tower at the center (marked with arrow)
The bell tower of Holy Spirit Church. Modern Photo
Today there is a museum of “Mermaid Dnistrova” (Department of Lviv Art Gallery) there. In 1990 the clock on the bell was restored, that is why the bell (1588) was transferred here (for temporary storage) and connected with the clock mechanism. Although the citizens and the visitors don’t have a possibility to see it, but can at least hear its sound.
Inscription on Bell Neck
“ten zwvn dal vliacz pan stanislaw zolkiewski woiewda | rvski panv bogv kv czczi kv chwali 1588” (“This bell was allowed to be casted by Rus voyevoda Stanisław Żółkiewski to praise and honor God, 1588”)
The inscription placed on the neck takes the place of a row and a half. The text is written in Polish by Renaissance all caps and is divided by double heraldic lilies.
Bell of Church of the Holy Virgin in Horodovychi Village (Stary Sambir district, Lviv region).
Late 16th century. Unknown master; Bronze; casting; Diameter of the crown - 37 cm
The monument was transferred to Lviv Historical Museum in 1940 from Museum of Lviv History. It was bought by K. Badetsky in 1917 for the collection of Museum of Lviv History among the bells requisitioned by Austrian government
Lviv Historical Museum MT - 1919.
Photos of the Letters (specular)
Photos of the fragment of bell decoration by relief image of the cord tied to the site
Tracing of the Inscription made by K. Badetsky
Church of the Holy Virgin in Horodovychi Village. At the left side of the photo the one can see the old (now defunct) tower (marked with arrow). Photo – beginning of the 20th century. (illustration from the book: Слободян В. Церкви України. Перемиська єпархія — Львів, 1998. — с.)
Bell. Gdansk (?).1630. Master - Daniel Tim (Tume)?. Bronze; casting. Diameter of the crown - 37 cm
The bell was kept at Museum of Lviv History since 1931. To the Lviv Historical Museum the monument was transferred in 1940
Lviv Historical Museum, MT - 1918. The inscription on the bell shoulder is in German: “MICH GOSZ Daniel THVME 1630” (I was cast by Daniel Tim, 1630). The bell is exhibited at the Department of Ancient History (Rynok Sq., 24.).
At the bell there is a sign (hmerk?) with the letters around it.
Fragments of casted decoration and inscription on the bell shoulder
Author - Petro Slobodyan, senior researcher, keeper of the fund collection “Metal”, Lviv Historical Museum.