6.05 Ludwig Salvator 1893/1896

Ludwig Salvator of Austria-Tuscany (1847-1915), the second youngest son of the last ruling Grand Duke of Tuscany Leopold II, was a particularly eccentric figure in a Fin de Siècle rich in eccentric figures. As an unemployed descendant of a dynasty unemployed after the Battle of Solferino, he felt called upon to explore the Mediterranean. The means of his origin allowed him to do so as a private individual. In addition to a summer residence near Trieste as a Mediterranean base, from 1872 he had the 52-metre steam sailing yacht “Nixe”, which had a considerable library on board. Thus equipped, it was naturally the Mediterranean islands that attracted his interest, especially the Balearic Islands, whose real tourist discoverer and topographical explorer he is considered to be. “While I was busy with my description of the Balearic Islands and occasionally travelled there for this purpose, I repeatedly stayed in the Lipari Islands, which are located almost in the middle of the way from the Adriatic Sea. This went on for years, and each time I tried to explore a new corner step by step and draw new pictures.” The description of this easy-going manner in which Ludwig Salvator arrived at his subject of research en passant is characteristic of the Archiduque’s activity, which unfolded between modern zeal for research and aristocratic dilettantism. [GM]

Ludwig Salvator, Vulcano, Prague 1893

Be 4630-4931/1 raro IX

Each of the seven islands has its own “book”, actually in the form of elaborately designed folio volumes (42 x 33 cm), which he prepared on the ship and produced at his own expense with a large staff. As anonymous private prints, they were mostly given to friends and relatives. Accordingly, complete copies are rare and expensive. Each volume features 40-50 woodcuts by the engravers Friedrich Hawránek and Johann Simáné, based on drawings that Ludwig Salvator made on site, which are often the first and at the same time the best illustrations of the objects described. From this point of view, these and other island books by Ludwig Salvator represent an important contribution to the historical knowledge of the Mediterranean islands. Together with his first major publication Die Balearen (The Balearic Islands, 7 volumes, Leipzig 1869–1891), Die Liparischen Inseln (The Lipari Islands) became the centre of his journalistic work. In addition, he published numerous other books on islands and coastal sections of the Mediterranean. At the outbreak of the First World War, Ludwig Salvator was summoned to Vienna by his family. He died in 1915 at Brandeis Castle near Prague. [GM]

Ludwig Salvator, Stromboli, Prague 1896

Be 4630-4931/7 raro IX

In exploring the individual islands, Ludwig Salvator proceeded according to a proven scheme. The respective dignitaries were presented with a hundred-page questionnaire, which they had to fill out with the utmost precision. In the meantime, Ludwig explored the island, drawing and taking notes. His interests were encyclopaedically broad. In addition to topography, geology and botany, folkloristic aspects occupied a large space. In most illustrations, informative and decorative aspects are balanced. Thus the work, like the author’s other publications, is a mixture of scientific presentation, narrative travelogue and topographical veduta collection. Probably because of this mixed form, which was unusual for the time, Ludwig Salvator’s works remained without any significant resonance for a long time. Only in recent times has a modestly flourishing research on the work and author emerged. [GM]

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