Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wednesday's House Insignia of the Day Revealed - At the Three White Roses (U tří bílých růží)

At the Three White Roses (U tří bílých růží)

This insignia is on one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Prague!  This 3-story building constructed in the late 19th century on the site of a far older medieval residence is today more widely known by the surname of its builder.

Any guesses?

As inscribed in the fresco ornamentation of the façade, the name of "V.J. Rott" invokes the founder of the longstanding family firm, Vincenc Josef Rott, who opened his first shop on the site in 1840.  

Vincenc Josef Rott

Initially, he traded clocks and musical instruments, but later extended his scope to include iron tools and ironmongery of all possible types.  In fact, a prosperous iromongers' flourished in the house almost up to the very end of the 20th century, retaining its fame among the citizens of Prague even under state ownership during the years of Communist rule.  The frescoes decorating the façade are the work of the late-19th century Czech painter Mikoláš Aleš, and inspired by the theme of the various professions that make use of iron tools: a peasant with a scythe and his wife with a sickle, a medieval blacksmith and a housewife roasting chicken on an iron spot, a gardener leaning against an iron rake.  

 Mikoláš Aleš

Aleš, whose most famous artwork is on the calendar with allegorical depictions of the twelve months on the mechanical clock of the Old Town Hall only a few steps away, also managed to include "three white roses" that gave the building its name - positioning them on the highest gable.  

Drumroll please, because you know what's coming don't you?  A legend!...
So, according to legend, the original house was the residence of three sisters, as beautiful as three white roses.  Their parents died while they were still young, and the girls inherited a great fortune.  Yet what they had in property did not make up for their deficiencies in common sense, since all three of them in turn fell victim to the same man.  Disguised as three different suitors of considerable property, he married each girl in turn and took her abroad with her dowry of many chests filled with gold pieces - where he then robbed and deserted her.

 Today, the building serves as a 4-star hotel, aptly named Hotel Rott.  There also used to be a wonderful crystal shop that sold stunning glassware, but now it's a Hard Rock Cafe.  

U Rotta (Rottův dům, U tří bílých růží) - Malé náměstí 3/142, Staré Město 
Rott House, At the Three White Roses - Small Square 3/142, Old Town