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The group of figures in Altdorf taken in 2004

Tell monument in Küssnacht am Rigi

The Tell monument is a memorial to the Swiss national hero William Tell.

Tell monument in Altdorf

The probably best known Tell monument stands on the town hall square of Altdorf, in front of the Türmli.(Coordinates 46.88181° N, 8.64389° O)

The bronze statue by Richard Kissling was inaugurated on 28 August 1895 at the foot of an old tower. It shows the Swiss national hero with a shouldered crossbow accompanied by his son Walter. The traditional date of the Rütli oath, 1307, is inscribed on the pedestal. The background painting on the tower is by the artist Hans Sandreuter.

Behind the two statues is the following inscription on a large bronze plate
Tell will one of the shooter Tell
So Lang Die Berge Steh’n Auf Ihrem Grunde.

A competition was held for the creation of the statue, in which Kissling emerged as the winner. He was allowed to execute the statue, but had to rework it according to the wishes of the clients. Second prize went to Robert Dorer, third to Raimondo Pereda, fourth to Gustav Siber.

Figure of Walther Tell at the House of Switzerland

A figure of Walther Tell has been installed on the House of Switzerland in Berlin. Originally, a figure of William Tell was to be installed on the building, which was completed in 1936. However, the relevant administrative authorities in the Third Reich had forbidden a depiction of the freedom fighter, so as a compromise a figure of Wilhelm Tell’s son, Walther Tell was installed. (Coordinates 52.5175° N,13.38861° O)

Other monuments

In addition to the Altdorf monument, there are a number of other Tell monuments[1]:

Existing monuments

Tell monument in Bürglen

  • Tell’s Chapel at the Lake of Uri (coordinates 46.93266° N, 8.61182° O)
  • Tell monument by Giuseppe Croce from Quinto (1786) in Bürglen between the Catholic Church and the Tell Museum (coordinates 46.87525° N, 8.66286° O) and memorial cross commemorating the death of Tell on the banks of the Schächen, erected around 1865/70
  • Tell monument by Vincenzo Vela, erected in 1856 on the Quai of the Hotel Du Parc in Lugano, moved in 1914 to the Rivetta Tell in front of the Casino Kursaal
  • Tell monument by Antonin Mercié, erected in 1901 in front of the Montbenon Justice Building in Lausanne (the former Federal Court building, now the District Court)
  • Hollow Lane, “restored” in 1937 according to the stage directions of Friedrich Schiller (coordinates 47.09233° N, 8.45316° O)
  • Tell monument by Emilio Stanzani, erected in 1959 in front of the church in Küssnacht
  • Tell monument on Rat Island in the Long Island Sound in New York. The monument on the smallest island is a 1:1 copy of the Tell monument in Altdorf (height: 4 metres). The Tell monument was inaugurated on 1 August 2016 and also has its own official address: William Tell, 1291 William Tell Square, Rat Island, City Island, Bronx, New York, NY 10464, USA

Fountain figures

  • Tell fountain in Schaffhausen from 1522
  • Tell statue by Joseph Benedikt Curiger, 1786-1860 as fountain figure in Altdorf, since 1891 fountain figure in Bürglen
  • Tell fountain by Hugo Siegwart, built 1911/12 in Lucerne

Monuments gone

  • obelisk erected by Guillaume Thomas François Raynal in 1783 on Altstatt Island near Meggenhorn, destroyed by lightning in 1796[2]
  • Tell monument by Friedrich Schäferle (1709-1786), erected 1780 on the Lindenhof in Zurich, destroyed 1800[3]
  • Plaster tell by Hans Konrad Siegfried, erected in 1859 above the entrance gate for the Federal Free Shooting in Zurich, from 1860 in Altdorf at the Kirchplatz, destroyed in 1895
  • Plaster model of Kissling’s statue, until 1976 in the atrium of the main building of the ETH Zurich, then in storage at the National Museum.

Web links

Commons: Tell monument– Collection of images, videos and audio files

Commons: Statues of William Tell– Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual references

  1. Karl Iten: “But we have the right Wilhelm …” The history of the Tell monument in Altdorf. Verlag Gisler, Altdorf 1995, ISBN 3-9520570-6-1.
  2. Image see Commons
  3. William Tell at the Lindenhof (Lehrmittelverlag Zurich) (PDF)