Introduction:

In this blog I am going to discuss the Bohemian Nobles Cross for the years 1813-1814. This cross was created as a reward for the Bohemian nobles who formed a life guard to protect Emperor Franz I while he was in the field during the war with the French empire. It is an award with a wonderful story to tell.

Date Issued: October 27, 1814

Reason Issued: Funded by Emperor Franz I as a reward for those Bohemian nobles who formed his personal guard from the winter of 1813 until he entered Paris in 1814. This was during the war against the French.

Classes or Types: One

Interesting Facts:

· Once Austria had joined the anti-Napoleonic coalition in the summer of 1813, it was decided that the emperor, who was staying at that time in Prague would personally accompany the armies, and in particular the Bohemian army, in the campaign against the enemy. This occurred in December of the year 1813. At this time the Bohemian aristocracy decided to establish a special guard unit composed of 100 Bohemian nobles who, do to age or background, did not hold commands in the army to accompany and guard the emperor for the duration of the campaign. Thus the Bohemian Aristocratic Guard, also known as the Bohemian Noble Guard was formed in the winter of 1813.

· The members of the Bohemian Noble guard wore their own uniform, which was in the form of a white coat, with red paspeliert, and white trousers with red Lampasas. The red collar and the cuffs have gold borders; additional accoutrements were a black bandolier, a black and dark green bicorn hat with black Egret feathers.

· The creation of the cross was recommended by Rudolf Count Wrbna Commander of the Imperial Guard and by Lieutenant General Peter Baron von Duka

· Emperor Franz I created the order in 1814 in Paris

· Only three of these crosses are known to still exist

· The noble guard was disbanded in 1814

· Recipients of this award also received the 1813 war cross

· This was the first Bohemian Decoration

· This cross was the precursor to the Czechoslovakian Order of the White Lion

Hallmarks: Unknown

Design: An eight pointed garnet red enameled gold Malta type cross with a large 13 mm vaulted round center medallion and a flat half circle eye attached to the top arm of the cross. Through it passes a 14 mm long and 2.5 mm wide highly arched suspension ring with a channel in the center.

 

Figure 1: Bohemian Nobles Cross for the Year 1813 – 1814, obverse. Image attributed to Osterreichs Orden , vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart, Johann Stolzer & Christian Steeb

 

Obverse: A red enameled Malta cross with gold edges. On the cross is a 13 mm red enameled center medallion with gold edges. On the medallion is a white two tailed Bohemian lion facing to the viewers left and outlined in gold.

Figure 2: Bohemian Nobles Cross for the Year 1813 – 1814, Type I reverse. Image attributed to Osterreichs Orden , vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart, Johann Stolzer & Christian Steeb

Reverse: A red enameled Malta cross with gold edges. On the cross is a 13mm white enameled gold-framed center medallion with a gold inscription in seven lines: NOB./BOHEMIS/ BELLO GALL. /FIDIS CORPORIS/ CUSTODIBUS/ FRANC. AUG. / MDCCCXIV, which translates to: The Bohemian Nobles, the Faithful Bodyguard Protecting the Emperor Franz 1814.

Weight: 10.511 grams

Size: The cross is 30.25 mm long including suspension eye and 28 mm wide with a 13 mm in diameter center medallion

Materials: Gold and enamel

Variations:

  • Type I Bohemian Nobles Cross: As described above
  • Type II Bohemian Nobles Cross: As described above except the reveres inscription is spelled out in full: NOBILIBUS BOHEMIS BELLO GALLICO FIDIS CORPORIS CUSTODIBUS FRANCISCUS MDCCCXIV
  • Type III Bohemian Nobles Cross: As described above except the reveres inscription is as follows, NOB. BOHEM/BELLO GALL. /FIDIS CORPER./CUSTODIBUS/FRANC. AUG. /MDCCCXIV

Designer: Johann Harnisch

Manufacturer: Johann Haas

Number Issued: 38 crosses were awarded.

Case: Unknown

Figure 3: Bohemian Nobles Cross for the Year 1813-1814 Ribbon. Image from the author’s archive.

Ribbon: The ribbon is 39 mm wide and is divided into 13 mm thirds with the outer thirds being white and the center third being vermilion. The color of the ribbon of the decoration corresponds to the Bohemian national colors

· From 1814 to 1848 the ribbon was strait and was worn in the button hole. After 1848 it was converted to the standard tri-fold ribbon and was worn on the left side of the chest.

Attachments: None

Miniature: Miniatures of this cross are known to exist.

  • They are 19 mm in diameter with a center medallion of 12 mm and a weight of 3.5 grams. The reverse inscription is N.B.B.G.F.A.
  • A version of the miniature with an alternative inscription is which is inscribed on the reverse NO.B./ B.G.F.C.C./ F.A./ and in a semicircle at the bottom of the cross MDCCCXIV

 

Figure 4: Jan Vaclav I Prince Dobrzensky von Dobrzensk wearing the ribbons of the Bohemian Nobles cross and the 1813 Army Cross. Image from the author’s archive.

 

Recipients:

Karl Prince Auersperg, Major

Wilhelm Prince Auersperg

Joseph Stephan Julien Freiherr Von Badenthal

Friedrich Count Clam-Gallas, Major

Franz Count Daun, Rittmeister

Joseph Ditmar Count Nostitz-Rieneck

Jan Vaclav I Prince Dobrzensky von Dobrzensk

Vinzenz Gratzl Freiherr Von Granzenstein, Oberleutnant

Tobias III, Freiherr Gratzl Von Granzenstein

Karl Freiherr Von Greiffenklau zu Volraths, Rittmeister

Johann Maximilian Freiherr Hildprandt Von Ottenhausen

Klemens Freiherr Von Lincker, Adjutant of the Noble Guard

Franz Count Kolowrat-Krakowsky, Major

Karl Alexander Freiherr MacEnis Von Atter und Iveagh

Leopold Anton Count Meraviglia-Crivelli, Rittmeister

Johann Nepomuk Freiherr Dacziczky Von Hesslova, Guard-Quartermaster

Johann Nepomuk Freiherr Nigroni Von Risinbach

Joseph Ditmar Count Nostitz-Rieneck, Major

Johann Count Pachta, Unterleutnant

Kammerer Franz Count Potting und Persing

Franz Karl Freiherr Von Puteani

Karl Raban Ritter Von Spiegel

Karl Count Rey-Wrachowetz, Rittmeister

Joseph Richard Ritter Grubi Hruby Von Schwannenstein

Johann Count Salm-Reifferscheid, Oberstleutnant

Franz Count Taafe, Lord Viscount Taafe-Corren, Baron of Ballymote, Rittmeister

Rudolf Johann Count Wrbna Von Freudenthal

Anton Count Waldstein

Ernst Count Waldstein, Major

Georg Count Waldstein, Oberst

Kristian Vinzenz Count Waldstein

Johann Wenzel Kager Count Stampach

Weriand Prince Windischgratz

Joachim Count Woratschiczky, Unterleutnant

Emanuel Count Wratislaw, Generalmajor

Johann Count Wratislaw, Oberleutnant

Probst Count Wratislaw, Oberleutnant

Kammerer Eugen Count Wrbna Von Freudenthal

 

Hope you enjoyed this blog. Until next time I hope you find joy in our shared interest

Rick

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