Karl Timlich - a multi-talented Viennese eccentric

Tab. XI (click to open full view)

Timlich, Karl, 1744-1825:
Gründliche Abhandlung der Fechtkunst auf den Hieb zu Fuß und zu Pferde : zum Gebrauch der Cavallerie ; mit Kupfern / von Carl Timlich Fechtmeister der K. K. Arcier und K. hungarischen adelichen Leibgarden . - Wien : gedruckt mit v. Ghelischen Schriften | Ghelen : zu finden in der Stahelischen Buchhandlung | Stahel, Josef, 1796 . - [1] Bl., 55 S., XVIII Bl. : 18 Ill. (copperplates)

Austrian National Library, shelfmark: 310.343-C.Alt-Rara

Karl Timlich was described by Wurzbach*) as an “odd fellow, able to wield the sword as well as the chisel and the pen, this last one as textbook author, poet and culture historian likewise" (Wurzbach 45, S. 163).

Born in 1740 in Asch (Bohemia), Timlich worked from 1780 as fencing teacher (provost) at the Savoy Noble Academy (today’s Stiftskaserne) in Vienna. In 1781 he published his first, non-illustrated fencingbook under the penname of Erdmann Carl Temlich. 1807 another fencingbook appeared, in small format and illustrated with mostly schematic drawings.

The National Library’s newly acquired copy of the Abhandlung der Fechtkunst is beautTiifully equipped, the copperplates showing military fencing scenes, mostly on horseback, drawings and engravings by the author. The manual is meant for the Austrian cavalry (as stated in the title), the listing of subscribers containing names of members of the Habsburg family, the nobility and the officers’ corps.

Timlich also published plays, poetry, erotic literature and the novel Der österreichische Robinson oder Leben und merkwürdige Reisen Andreas Geißlers, eines gebohrnen Wieners (The Austrian Robinson or the Life and Curious Tavels of Andreas Geißler, a Native of Vienna, 1791).

As engraver, he not only illustrated several of his own works, but chiseled vignettes for a military almanach as well as cartographic plates. His map of the Battle of Aspern-Essling (1809) seems to have sold in great numbers, especially to soldiers of the defeated French army – notwithstanding the fact that, according to Wurzbach’s biographical sketch of Timlich, the map was „almost entirely wrong”. And he concludes: „A copy of this curious battle plan is today counted among the great rareties.”

The Austrian National Library’s Map Department holds a copy of these rare maps of the battle, Schlacht bei Essling am 21ten. u. 22ten. Maj, 1809 zwischen den K.K. Österreichischen u. K.K. Französischen Armeen.

*) http://www.literature.at/viewer.alo?objid=11664&viewmode=fullscreen&scale=3.33&rotate=&page=174 (Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich, enthaltend die Lebensskizzen der denkwürdigen Personen, welche 1750-1850 im Kaiserstaate und in seinen Kronländern gelebt haben. Von Dr. Constant von Wurzbach. Wien, 1856-1891. (Biographical Dictionary of Imperial Austria 1750-1850 - In German only.)


last update 10/3/2013