He was born in Labiau (today’s Polessk in the Kaliningrad District), he was a Prussian officer coming from a family with traditions of military service. The career of this professional soldier is the best known and described aspect of his activity and was successful in leading Pfefferkorn, among others by the regiments of Gdańsk, Kołobrzeg and Trzebiatów. After two campaigns of the Napoleon Wars 1806–1807 and 1813, crowned with the Iron Cross of the Second Class, he worked in the General Staff of the Third Corps. Commanding in the campaigns of 1814–1815, he was awarded with the Iron Cross, First Class. In the period after the Peace of Vienna (1815) he returned to service in Gdańsk, from where he was sent to border regiments: Grudziądz, then to Toruń. Here in 1836, with the rank of major, he retired. A successful career as an officer allowed him to develop his historical and artistic interests, which resulted in the creation of an interesting collection of art and memorabilia of the past. His collection, which is perhaps one of the most significant collections in West Prussia, containing military, paintings, sculptures, documents and books, as well as nature specimens, was donated to the Malbork Castle in the spring of 1834, so before the Major’s retirement. Pfefferkorn, who died in 1865 in Spandau, today a district of Berlin, is a mysterious figure as a collector, we do not know where and how he obtained the exhibits. The collection itself is known for only a dozen or so objects, only one of which is in public collections, so it is difficult to find any authoritative description of its profile. Based on the message of Bernard Schmid one gets the impression that it was a collection of a declared militarist, in love with Frederick II (4 of his portraits and a plaster statue handed over to Malbork). However, the selective nature of Schmid’s message does not allow us to state with confidence that Major Pfefferkorn’s collection was only a reflection of his professional passion.

Information about the objects from the Pfefferkorn collection donated to the castle in Malbork, considered today as losses:

Odlew gipsowy figury króla Prus Fryderyka II

Portret króla pruskiego Fryderyka II Wielkiego (1712-1786)

Odlew gipsowy figury królowej Prus Luizy (?)

Portret Heinricha Friedricha von Schwedt, margrabiego Brandenburgii (1709−1788)


(by B. Butryn)

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