Chillon™ Castle has three weapons rooms spread throughout the “fortress” part of the building.
Two floors of the dungeon are reserved for weapons from the Middle Ages to the 17th century; the first exhibits a panel of swords, mallets and arquebuses, and the second a collection of halberds.
The defence tower houses three suits of armour, including chain mail.
When archaeologist and art historian Aloys de Molin (1861-1914) became the castle curator in 1893, he set about purchasing a series of items to furnish the castle. He acquired valuable pieces at auction, such as statues and leaded windows, but also weapons and armour. In doing so, he built one of the main axes for the future museum imagined for Chillon.
Twenty years later, Albert Naef (1862-1936), castle architect and the first archaeologist for the canton of Vaud, boosted the collection’s level of quality by intervening during Eugène Aunant’s bequest. The weapons were then distributed between the Cantonal Museum of Archaeology and History in Lausanne and Chillon™ Castle. Naef favoured quality and authenticity over quantity: he most notably recovered a German double-handed sword, dating from 1536, and a 17th-century harquebus made in a workshop in Lucerne. Subsequently, he invested more and more money in acquiring weaponry for the rest of the castle.
The collections were still mostly added to by means of donations, deposits and bequests. Almost all the halberds exhibited come from Charles Marcel’s depot, which the Association for the Restoration of Chillon Castle took over in 1970. More recently, in 2004, the Bron donation helped the castle acquire a 19th-century copy of a 16th-century German suit of plate-armour.
Sous la direction de Lionel PERNET, Révéler les invisibles : Collections du Musée cantonal d’archéologie et d’histoire de Lausanne. 1852-2015, Gollion : Infolio Editions, 2017.
Nicolas P. BAPTISTE, Armatus corpus : Princes et chevalier (1330-1530). 600 ans du duché de Savoie, Gollion : Infolio Editions, 2016.