Important natural pearl and diamond necklace, circa 1880
- pearl, cultured pear, diamonds
THE HOUSE OF KINSKY
The House of Kinsky, one of Europe's oldest and most illustrious noble families, can be traced back to 13th century Bohemia. It was after the conflict between the Protestants and Catholics, during the Thirty Years' War, that the family rose to great prominence. As the family was faithful to the Catholic Hapsburgs, they were elevated to the rank of Imperial count. Still later, in 1747, a branch of the family was granted the title Prince of the Holy Roman Empire by Empress Maria Theresa. The Kinskys were great landowners and served in high diplomatic or military positions in the Habsburg Monarchy and subsequently in the Austrian Empire.
Impressive residences filled with important art collections included the baroque Palais Kinsky in Vienna built between 1713 and 1716 by the celebrated architect Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt, which remained in the family's ownership until 1987. An important patron of the arts was Ferdinand, 5th Prince Kinsky (1781-1812) who in March 1809 signed an annuity agreement, guaranteeing Ludwig van Beethoven an annual sum of 4,000 florins.
The family was also known for their horse breeding. Such was the success of their stud farms, that the title "Kinsky Horse" was coined