In 1578 Ferdinand of the Tirol had Hans Lucchese build a small chapel attached to the Hofkirche in Innsbruck where his great-grandfather Maximilian’s tomb, below left, was finally almost complete (finished in 1584.) His morganatic wife Philippine Welser died in 1580 and was interred here in a lovely sarcophagus carved by Alexander Colyn, below right, with reliefs praising her great charity and a touching inscription from Ferdinand. In 1587 he doubled the chapel’s size for his own tomb. Almost completed by his death in 1595, it now sits behind a metal grille through which visitors peer at its glory and sophistication. The lovely wrought-iron knots were made by Hans Peck, court locksmith, in 1578, although the plain trellis must, I think, be later.
The Silver Chapel gets its name from the silver reliefs on the ebony and ivory altarpiece, above. In silver and silver-gilt, they depict the Crowned Virgin surrounded by emblems of the Marian Loreto Litany (looking oddly like contemporary alchemical emblems.) Ferdinand had sponsored the Jesuit St. Petrus Canisius in promoting the Litany in the Tirol; Canisius is famed for having added the phrase Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners to the words of the Rosary. Ferdinand's armour, below, kneels in perpetual homage; the lacquered cabinet beyond opens to reveal an exquisite, wood-piped organ from 1614. The tomb itself, above, is simple and elegant, in black and white marble, with the Archduke’s arms inlaid in coloured stones; figures, reliefs and a life-size effigy of Ferdinand (hidden by the railing) all sculpted by Alexander Colyn.