Tin Soldiers, «Buol» Regiment, 170¬8–1714

Zurich, around 1900

Tin soldiers were among the most popular toys for boys in the 19th century. They could either be bought finished or be cast and painted at home from a tin-lead alloy. Real-life armed conflicts were also mirrored in these children’s toys. The Franco-German War in 1870-71, for example, led to a surge in the production of corresponding tin soldiers.

Our figurines represent the «Buol» regiment in Austrian service. Its commander Johann Anton von Buol (1671‒1717) came from one of the leading families of mercenary entrepreneurs in Graubünden. The regiment consisted of 1600 men and was deployed in Tyrol as well as Italy.