Handicraft collection

The history of Strahov’s handicraft collection is marked by the many disasters that have afflicted the monastery. Besides the monastery being plundered by the Swedish army in 1648 and bombarded in 1742, the handicraft items were also damaged at the beginning of the 19th century by the state confiscation of precious metals during the Austrian wars with France. Damage primarily occurred in 1950 in the clear-out of the monastery during “Action K”. At that time almost all the furniture, glass, ceramics, and many of the dinner services, textiles and small items of everyday use were removed from the monastery. Even the most liturgical items and reliquaries, as well as historical coaches, were not spared.

A small collection that was preserved contains several pieces of historical furniture dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. There is a small collection of clocks with their clockwork mainly made in Prague at the turn of the 19th century. From the formerly rich collection of glass, only a few exhibits were returned to the monastery after the restitution. Among the preserved glass items there are some that were made in the "Jarolímka" glassworks in Cetule u Velké Chýšky, which were founded by Abbot Jeroným J. Zeidler on the property of the Strahov Canonry in 1834 in a location rich in wood. Almost nothing has been preserved of the dinner service sets of stoneware and porcelain made in Vienna and Prague at the turn of the 19th century. A collection of about 250 pieces of pewter plates, bowls, tankards and kettles, dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries and used mainly in the the Canons’ refectories, has been preserved.

The oldest gold items are two large reliquary boards from the turn of the 14th century, which come from the Benedictine Convent of St. George in Prague Castle. Most of the other items made of precious metals date back to the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. They were mostly made by goldsmiths from Prague and Augsburg. The collection contains works by prominent Prague Baroque goldsmiths such as Jiří Vilém Seitz (1695–1750), Dominik Packeny (1725–1787), Jakub Thym (1732–1788), Jan Simon Baumgartner (1725–1772) and Richard Fleischmann (1741–1822); as well as by Czech goldsmiths and designers of liturgical items such as Jan Václav Hozák (1809–1890), Jan Tengler (1835–1913), Antonín V. Barvitius (1823–1901) and others who mainly worked for the Christian Academy. The collection also includes the "Anniversary Set of Abbot Zeidler", made in the mid-19th century in Vienna.

Textile items are also part of the collection of handicrafts that have been preserved in the monastery through the centuries. The vast majority served liturgical purposes, predominantly as garments or as decorations for the altars, festivities and processions. There are a great many Baroque sets in the collection and most were made by Premonstratensian nuns in the embroidery workshops in Doksy. However, the collection also includes imported textiles, mainly from France and Italy, which date back to the 17th and 18th centuries. A great quantity of textile items was produced at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century at the Christian Academy. There are also some historical pontificalia.

After 1990, two more remarkable private collections were added to the restituted items of applied art. One was a gift from JUDr. Jaromír Stach (1948–2011), which contains different kinds of handicrafts made in Europe and elsewhere between the 16th and 19th centuries. There are high quality European porcelain and stoneware items, including figural porcelain, as well as Czech glass with pieces from drink sets of different types and from different periods. The collection is complemented by items made of various metals, woods, ivory, etc. It also includes a small collection of ancient coins. The other important sponsor of the monastery was Mrs. Jaroslava Ossendorfová (1914–2005), the widow of inter-war architect Kamil Ossendorf. She donated to the Strahov collections a set of mostly small items used mainly for dining, and made from both porcelain and metal.