The Family History of the Piattis
Verena Piatti, the owner of Loosdorf Castle
The keeping of the shards room in the castle museum of Loosdorf, for me always was kind of a peace work. My idea is that the form of an art peace can be destroyed but not the idea. The creating energy is eternally alive. By keeping the shards this energy is present and that is what touches beside of the history.
Getting to know Machiko Hoshina, during a tea ceremony in Tokio, 2015, at the Austrian embassy, organized by my sister in law, Mrs. Rashmi Zimburg, wife of Bernhard Zimburg, the Austrian ambassador in Tokio, was the start of a new area concerning the shards.
The cycle continues from having an idea, creating a product, selling it, buying it, collecting it and after the area of distruction and keeping the memories again the cycle starts with a new idea. Mrs. Hoshina's and later Prof. Arakawa's visit to Loosdorf was positive about the value of the collection and they initiated the project to restore the Old Imari porcelain.
That can be realized with the help of many volunteers, donaters and will deepen the friendship that links both countries for 150 years.
The family history at a glance
Based on old archive documents the Piatti family is most likely from Greek origin. From Greece they moved to Calabria in South Italy and later to Northern Italy. References of the family have been found in Milan, Bergamo and Venetia.
In 1239 Passitano Piatti was first officially mentioned. He allegedly distinguished himself through battles to defend Milan, Italy. In 1520 Giacomo Piatti is already mentioned leading the Italian aristocratic titel „Marchese“ (engl. Marquess).
Due to unknown reasons the family lost big parts of its properties in Northern Italy. Amongst others, two brothers of the family, Alessandro Marquess of Piatti (born 1722) and Ferdinando Guiseppe Marquess of Piatti (born 1732), therefore decided to leave Italy and got involved in the 7th-Years-War (1756-1763), where they held high military positions in the Austrian and allied French Army, fighting for the Habsburg Empire.
After the war in 1763 the brothers settled down in Dresden, Germany, the capital of Saxony and both became members of the Saxon Court. They both served in high positions (Minister / Chamberlain) at the Court.
In consequence of the 7th-Years-War and the Piatti Family's service at the French Army they were henceforth mentioned as „Marquis de Piatti“ (engl. Marquess).
Alessandro was not married and had no descendents, however, Ferdinando Guiseppe married Frederike Louise von Erdmannsdorff. The Erdmannsdorff family is an Saxon aristocratic family which had enormous influence at the Saxon Court at that time. The father of Friederike Louise was the private secretary of the King of Poland / Elector of Saxony.
Their youngest son Paolo Emilio Marquess of Piatti (born 1771 / died 1834 ) is actually the „son and heir“ of today's Piatti Family. Paolo Emilio married Caroline of Dziembowska, a Polish aristocrat family. Paolo Emilio, like his father and son, hold honorable ministries at the Saxon Court and was one of the representatives and negotiators for Saxony at the Congress of Vienna (1814 – 1815).
In the late 1820's Paolo Emilio's son Friedrich August Marquess of Piatti (born 1803 / died 1872) and his wife Cäcilie Countess of Collalto and San Salvatore, sister of the Duke of Collalto and San Salvatore, acquired and moved to Loosdorf castle in Austria.
In addition to the Piatti Family's aristocratic title “Marquis” (engl. Marquess), Austrian Emperor Ferdinand I. awarded Friedrich August with the Austrian aristocratic title “Graf” (engl. Count) in 1842.
The first porcelain collectors
Most likely Alessandro together with his brother Ferdinando Guiseppe and especially his wife Frederike Louise started to collect in particular Asian porcelain. At that time, Asian porcelain was in high demand at European Royal Dynasties due to its high value. Actually it is said that Asian porcelain was more valuable than gold.
The porcelain collection was continued by their son Paolo Emilio and his wife Caroline as well as their son Friedrich August and his wife Cäcilie.
An archived document dated 1764 shows a request of a porcelain merchant named Carlo Piatti domiciled in Venice, Italy, to the king of Saxony in order to be employed as the exclusive porcelain supplier of the Saxon Court. However, it remains unclear whether Carlo Piatti is a relative of the Piatti family.
Friedrich August had a very close relationship to king Anton of Saxony. In order to thank Friedrich August for his work and loyalty the king gave him two precious vases of Meissen porcelain as a present. (these vases are still part of the broken porcelain collection at Loosdorf castle).
Development of the porcelain collection until WW2
Friedrich and Cäcilie's son Ferdinand Count and Marquess of Piatti (born 1833 / died 1908) was married to Margarethe Countess of Collalto and San Salvatore. They kept and enlarged the collection. Especially Margarethe was known as an art enthusiast.
The next generation, Alfons Count and Marquess of Piatti (born 1866 / died 1940) and his wife Gabriele Countess of Paar again were passionate about art and porcelain.
Their son Ferdinand Count and Marquess of Piatti (born 1899 / died 1980) married Anna Countess of Collalto and San Salvatore. Three sons were born out of their marriage. Tragically two of them died in WW2.
During WW2 Ferdinand and Anna tried to hide the porcelain collection in the cellar of the castle. Unfortunately, the hiding place was found and the porcelain got subsequently destroyed by Russian occupation soldiers in 1945.
Since then the porcelain collection exists in a vast amount of shards. Instead of getting rid of the shards Ferdinand had the idea to present them in a particular room of the castle and opened up a museum in order to show them to the public.
Porcelain collection today
The son of Ferdinand and Anna, who survived the WW2, was Manfred Count and Marquess of Piatti (born 1924 / died 2010). He got married to Mechtildis Archduchess of Habsburg from the Polish Habsburg emperor line. They handed over the porcelain collection to their oldest son Alfons Piatti.
Alfons is currently responsible for the estate’s agriculture and forestry. His wife Verena of Zimburg, an old Austrian aristocrat and military family, is responsible for the castle and is, amongst others, managing cultural events and the museum including the porcelain shards collection. She renovated the entire museum and took care of the porcelain shards.
History of Loosdorf castle
Originaly Loosdorf castle was built as a fortress in medieval times. It was first officially mentioned in 1320, however, based on certain archived documents it was most likely built already in the 10thcentury. In the course of the 30-Year-War and due to a massive fire in 1645 parts of the castle were destroyed. Afterwards the castle changed its owners frequently.
In 1740 the Liechtenstein Family became the owner of the castle. Between 1760 and 1810 Emmanuel Duke of Liechtenstein executed a lot of construction and decoration works in and around the castle.
Subsequently Friedrich August and his wife Cäcilie acquired Loosdorf estate and including the castle in the late 1820's. In course of the acquisition they moved their residence and their porcelain collection from Dresden to Loosdorf. They were the first Piatti's who partly lived there. Since then the castle is in the possession of the Piatti Family.
Based on its long-standing history the castle shows medieval, classicistic and renaissance elements.