Bathing Chambers of Philippine Welser
In 1567, the ‘changing room’ was panelled with wood and decorated above with a continuous frescoed frieze. Depictions of bathing by Albrecht Dürer, Virgil Solis, Hans Sebald Beham and Georg Pencz from the collection of around 5000 copper engravings and woodcuts owned by Archduke Ferdinand II served as the models.
Following architectural treatises of the time, the Ambras bath faces south and is equipped with sweat bath and bathing facilities. The bathtub itself, sunken about 1.6 meters into the floor, is clad with tinned copper sheeting. As hot stones for warming the water normally lay on the bottom of the tub, it was unusual that bathers would sit there directly: they more frequently used footstools or benches. The stone stool with a wooden seat preserved today probably belonged to the contemporary contents of the room. There were also steps for sitting or to enter the tub.
The floor, unlike the original wooden panelling, is more recent but was accurately reconstructed based on remaining material. The wooden floorboards are angled toward the middle of the room and have grooves in which water could drain. A pipe transported the hot water from the boiler room into the tub, while the cold water was brought in directly through pipes from the prison garden.
Inventories and invoices provide a good picture of the furnishings of the time: a fountain decorated with painted animals stood on the marble surface in front of the window of the bath. There were also multiple copper tubs and brass basins, ‘cupping glasses’ (= suction cups) with a vessel for bloodletting, also a barrel of lye with a brass sieve and ladle. Here, bathers had themselves scrubbed, their hair washed, and a shave done. The necessary utensils such as combs and cosmetics were not stored in the bath, but rather kept by the barber or taken to the apartments.