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This section is dedicated to the inventories of Habsburg women.


Habsburg women were at the forefront of cultural patronage and sponsorship throughout the centuries. The inventories published and discussed here are precious sources of information on Habsburg women, as they allow us to trace the worldly goods they owned, where and how these pieces were kept and displayed and sometimes how much these objects were valued. They pay testament to these women's multifaceted collecting activities, their voracious appetite for luxury goods, their sensibilities for acquisition and display and even household management.

The inventories found here also offer an understanding of the artistic and cultural legacy of these women with many of the works of arts they commissioned being itemised. The sheer wealth of objects belonging to the female members of the Habsburg family encompassed paintings, jewellery, sculptures, precious and semi-precious stones, silverware, books, textiles (including furs, bed hangings, tapestries and carpets), relics, liturgical objects, clocks, dinner sets, porcelain, naturalia, a great array of household items and even technological feats such as automata. 

The Habsburg inventories and its first researchers

In late nineteenth-century Vienna and Innsbruck, Heinrich Zimerman (often misspelled Zimmermann) (1855-1928), Hans von Voltelini (1862-1938), Wendelin Boeheim (1832-1900), Franz Kreyczi, and David von Schönherr (1822-1897), among other historians and archivists, made outstanding contributions to numerous volumes of the scholarly journal, the Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen des Allerhöchsten Kaiserhauses, published since 1883, by the Kunsthistorisches Museum (hereafter KHM), which historians and students can now consult online.


The archival material systemically and chronologically compiled in the Regesten of this Jahrbuch (provided with detailed indices), reference not only the men of the Habsburg house, but also the women, who were at the forefront of cultural patronage and sponsorship throughout the sixteenth century: Mary of Burgundy; Margaret of Austria; Juana I of Castile; Mary of Hungary; Empress Isabella of Portugal; Anna, Queen of Bohemia and Hungary; Catarina, Juana, Maria, and Elisabeth of Austria. In more recent studies on Habsburg collecting, cultural studies, art transfers, inventories, and patronage, these Viennese scholars and pioneers of modern Habsburg studies remain forgotten and are often uncited.


The Regesten center on the reigns of Emperors Maximilian I, Charles V, Philip II of Spain, Maximilian II, Archdukes Ferdinand II of Tyrol, Karl II of Inner Austria, and Archduke Albrecht of Austria (governor of the Netherlands), concluding with Emperor Rudolf II in Prague. This registry of documents maps out patterns of patronage and collecting; acquisitions; and the engagement of an international corps of armorers, clock makers, engravers, glaziers, goldsmiths, jewelers, medalists, printers, tapestry weavers and sculptors at their courts. The articles and essays published by these Viennese scholars provided a fundamental platform in researching painters and portraitists at diverse Habsburg courts, significant portrait commissions, and the decoration of Habsburg palaces and residences in the Renaissance.


36 volumes, dating from 1883 to 1925, can be consulted at:


Copyright © 2021 Dr. Adriana Concin and Dr. Annemarie Jordan Gschwend 

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Rudolf Beer 

Documents from the Archivo de Palacio and the Archivo General de Simancas

Rudolf Beer (1863-1913), a specialist in Romance Languages and former Director of the Manuscripts Collection (Handschriften Sammlung) of the former imperial library (K.u.K Hofbibliothek) in Vienna, conducted a research trip to Spain between 1886 and 1888, working at the royal archives, Archivo de Palacio, in Madrid, and the Archivo General de Simancas near Valladolid. His archival findings were subsequently published in two volumes of the KHM Jahrbuch (vol. 12, 1891 and vol. 14, 1893).


The documentation which Beer collated in Spain, and those catalogued by his above-mentioned colleagues, in the Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv, Finanz- und Hofkammerarchiv, the Austrian National Library (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek), and other Viennese institutions, encompass crucial documents, letters, inventories, invoices and receipts issued by craftsmen and painters, pertaining to both branches of the Spanish and Austrian Habsburg house in the sixteenth century.

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Jacopo da Trezzo, Portrait Cameo of Juana of Austria, 1562-1565, onyx with gold and enamel mount, 6.6 x 5.3 cm. 

Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv. no. Antikensammlung XII 70.

©KHM Museumsverband



This inscription is incorrect and was added later, as the sitter is Juana and not her sister, Empress Maria of Austria.

Cristóbal Pérez Pastor (1833–1906)

The post-mortem inventory of Juana of Austria (1535-1573)

Cristóbal Pérez Pastor (1833–1906) was a Spanish priest, as well as a passionate archivist and literary historian. He is best known as a nineteenth-century pioneer, cataloguing documents he found in different archives and libraries in Madrid, such the Real Academia de la Historia, Biblioteca Nacional (now Biblioteca Nacional de España), Archivo Histórico de Protocolos and Archivo Histórico Nacional in Madrid. His goal was to collate as many primary documents as possible for publication, in order to broaden our understanding of Spanish history, focusing on myriad areas, one of them being the Spanish royal court, and its patronage of painters, sculptors, miniaturists, and medallists from 1500 to 1800.

Pérez Pastor was the first historian to find and publish the post-mortem inventory of Juana of Austria, Princess of Portugal (1535-1573), youngest daughter of Emperor Charles V and sister of Philip II of Spain, in the Real Academia de la Historia in Madrid. His detailed transcription compiled in 1914 (see PDF below) provides us with rich information about Juana of Austria’s tastes, patterns of patronage, and her engaged collecting in many areas, from jewelry and dress to portraits, sculpture, and architecture.  

Post-mortem inventory of Juana of Austria, drawn up in Madrid between 1573 and 1574 and published by Cristóbal Pérez Pastor, “Inventarios de la infanta doña Juana, hija de Carlos V, 1573,” Noticias y documentos relativos a la historia y literatura españolas, II. Memorias de la Real Academia Española, XI (1914), pp. 315-380.

For Juana of Austria’s post-mortem inventory and her vast collection, consult also:



Annemarie Jordan, “Las dos águilas del emperador Carlos V. Las colecciones y el mecenazgo de Juana e María de Austria en la corte de Felipe II,” La Monarquía de Felipe II a debate, edited by Luis Ribot García (Madrid: Sociedad Estatal para la Conmemoración de los Centenarios de Felipe II y Carlos V 2000) pp. 429-472.


Annemarie Jordan Gschwend, “Mujeres mecenas de la casa de Austria y la infanta Isabel Clara Eugenia,” El arte en la corte de los Arquiduques Alberto de Austria e Isabel Clara Eugenia (1598-1633). Un reino imaginado (Madrid: Patrimonio Nacional 1999) pp. 118-137.


Annemarie Jordan Gschwend, “The Art of Collecting among Habsburg Women. Catherine and Juana of Austria and their pursuit of luxury,” The Art of Collecting. Lisbon, Europe and the Early Modern World (1500-1800), edited by Hugo Miguel Crespo (Lisbon: AR|PAB, 2019), pp. 34-53.


Annemarie Jordan, “Anthonis Mor at the Lisbon Court in 1552: New notes on the Brussels Portrait of Joanna of Austria.” Bulletin Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts 1-3 (1989-1991), pp. 217-250.


Annemarie Jordan Gschwend, “Los retratos de Juana de Austria posteriores a 1554: La imagen de una Princesa de Portugal, una Regente de España y una jesuita.” Reales Sitios 151 (2002), pp. 42-65.


Annemarie Jordan Gschwend,  “Cosa Veramente di Gran Stupore. Entrada Real y Fiestas Nupciales de Juana de Austria en Lisboa en 1552,” El Legado de Borgoña. Fiesta y Ceremonia Cortesana en la Europa de los Austrias (1454-1648), edited by Bernardo García García and Krista de Jonge (Madrid: Fundación Carlos de Amberes and Marcial Pons, 2010), pp. 179-240.


Annemarie Jordan Gschwend, “The monastery I have built in this city of Madrid. Mapping Juana of Austria’s Royal Spaces in the Descalzas Reales Convent,” Visual culture and women’s political identity on in the early modern Iberian world, edited by Jean Andrews and Jeremy Roe (Routledge: New York, 2020), pp. 127-145.

Annemarie Jordan Gschwend, “Affection, Identity, and Representation: Juana of Austria’s Portraits and Portrait Collection in the Descalzas Reales Convent,” The Making of Juana of Austria. Gender, Art, and Patronage in Early Modern Iberia, edited by Noelia García Pérez (Baton Rouge, Louisiana: LSU Press), pp. 252-288.


Ana García Sanz and Annemarie Jordan Gschwend, “Via Orientalis. Objetos del Lejano Oriente en el Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales,” Reales Sitios, 138 (1998), pp. 25-39 (essay by Jordan Gschwend with translation by García Sanz).

Royal Residences in Renaissance Lisbon

Inventories and Female Spaces















                          The Lisbon Royal Palace, the Paço da Ribeira, engraving, before 1755



From 1500 to 1580, Portuguese monarchs and their consorts resided in a collection of royal residences. Female royal spaces in Portuguese and Spanish palaces in the Renaissance have not been given the attention they deserve. Recent historical and art historical studies have focused more on the conception and building of medieval and Renaissance castles and palaces in Iberia. The royal quarters of queens, princesses and their female courts, as well as the public and private spaces they circulated in, remain largely unexplored.

This 2012 Sintra workshop focused on two royal women, one a Queen Consort and the other a Princess Royal, who had been groomed to become a future queen: Catherine and Juana of Austria, the sister and daughter of Emperor Charles V. Catherine ruled as Queen of Portugal from 1525 to 1578, and Juana who was destined to take her place, ruled instead as Regent of Spain for five years, from 1554 to 1559.  

Numerous documents record the households, collection and patronage activities of Catherine and Juana of Austria, even if their former residences and collections are only partially extant today, if at all. One basic problem in studying each woman's inventories, royal mandates, payment receipts and account books is the buildings they once resided in. Most of these structures no longer exist, and those that do, reveal little of how the quarters of these two women were once arranged. The second underlying problem is the inventories themselves, which shed little light upon the distribution of  Catherine’s and Juana’s rooms, and how their wardrobes, treasuries, Flemish tapestries, Kunstkammers and portrait galleries were curated, organized and displayed.  

Portuguese and  Spanish royal women, from the early to the late 16th century,  followed earlier living patterns.  Iberian courts were rooted in late medieval notions of travel and itineraries, frequently changing royal residences according to the seasons or for reasons of health, even the outbreak of plague, at a moment’s notice. Therefore, female royal spaces can be described as flexible depending on the residence in question.  In the context of these  Iberian royal residences, quarters assigned to royal women should be seen as fluid, often ambivalent spaces, quickly adaptable to immediate needs and functions.  Catherine and  Juana maintained brilliant courts in constant motion, with much of their moveable property moving with them and their female households.  Their collections are best defined by countless chests,  coffers and carrying cases needed to transform spaces void of decoration or even furniture into luxurious ambiences.    


Workshop, Sintra Palace (Palácio Nacional de Sintra) 12 January 2012

Annemarie Jordan Gschwend

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