Ludwigsburg Palace

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This article is about the Baroque palace complex. For the other palace on the grounds, see Schloss Favorite, Ludwigsburg. For the city, see Ludwigsburg. For the porcelain manufactory, see Ludwigsburg Porcelain Manufactory.
Ludwigsburg Palace and the Blooming Baroque gardens from the south.

Ludwigsburg Palace, known natively as Residenzschloss Ludwigsburg, and as the "Versailles of Swabia," is a 452-room Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassical, and Empire palace on a 32 hectares (79 acres) estate containing an unattached lustschloss located in Ludwigsburg, Germany.[1][2][3] The Residential Palace is one of the largest in Germany, and the only one from the Baroque period to not endure any damage during the Second World War.[4] Within its preserved rooms is one of the largest collections of Baroque art and furnishing on the continent. In 2016, the palace attracted some 330,000 visitors, and brought as many as 311,000 by October 2017.[5] Surrounding the castle on three sides is the Blooming Baroque (German: Blühendes Barock) garden that was arranged in 1954 as it would have appeared in 1800 for the palace's 250th anniversary.

Construction on the main palace began in 1704 by order of Duke Eberhard Louis and lasted until 1733 under architects Philipp Joseph Jenisch, Johann Friedrich Nette, Donato Giuseppe Frisoni, Philippe de La Guêpière, and later Nikolaus Friedrich von Thouret, who modified parts of the palace complex for King Frederick I of Württemberg. In totality, construction cost the Duchy of Württemberg 3,000,000 florins.[6] Eberhard Louis also built Schloss Favorite from 1717 to 1723 to serve the Residenzschloss's original function as a hunting retreat, and his later successor, Charles Eugene, constructed Schloss Monrepos from a pavilion Eberhard Louis erected by the Eglosheimer Lake. From 1758, the palace hosted a porcelain manufactory that produced a unique grey-brown colored porcelain, but it closed down in 1824.

By March 2020,[7] the Baden-Württemberg State Agency for Palaces and Gardens hopes to have spent four million euros to source or restore some 500 paintings, 400 pieces of furniture, and 500 lamps, clocks, and sculptures so as to arrange the entire New Hauptbau to appear as it would have looked in the reign of King Frederick I.[5] Using inventory lists from the 19th century, palace staff are arranging the New Hauptbau to its Classical-era appearance and acquiring items from the palace that were present on location in the mid-19th century.[4] Around 500 paintings, 400 pieces of furniture, and 500 miscellaneous items (candlesticks, clocks, busts, etc.) will be acquired to decorate the 35 accessible rooms of the New Hauptbau.[8]


Ludwigsburg Palace is located in Baden-Württemberg
Ludwigsburg Palace
Ludwigsburg Palace
Location of Ludwigsburg Palace in Baden-Württemberg

The Ludwigsburg Palace complex is located in Ludwigsburg, named after the palace, located 12 kilometers (7.5 mi) north of Stuttgart at Schlossstraße 30, 71634 Ludwigsburg.[2] The primary means of reaching the palatial grounds is the Schlossstraße, which forms the western edge of the grounds. Although the Marchbacher Straße forms the northern edge of the primary palace, Schloss Favorite lies to its north. The far southern end is made up by the Fridriech-Ebert Straße, along which the parking lots are to be found. The Königsallee leads visitors north to the palace through a park (called the Bärenwiese) and across the Schorndorfer Straße and into the Blooming Baroque gardens.[9] The latitudinal and longitudinal location of the palace proper is 48°54′0″N 9°11′45″E / 48.90000°N 9.19583°E / 48.90000; 9.19583Coordinates: 48°54′0″N 9°11′45″E / 48.90000°N 9.19583°E / 48.90000; 9.19583, or 48.9, 9.195833.


Old Hauptbau, looking south and east. Note the mansard roof and attic attached the top and center of this corps de logis.


In the 17th century, the land that Ludwigsburg Palace now occupies was a hunting property with a lustschloss called the Erlachhof that was destroyed by French troops in 1692, during the Nine Years' War.[10] In the spring of 1700, Eberhard Louis tasked his then court architect Matthias Weiss, a military architect, with the construction of a new lustschloss,[11] and then went on a tour of England and Holland that same year.[10] Weiss planned and began to build a simple three-story manor, but was interrupted by the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession, which the Duchy of Württemberg and for Eberhard Louis culminated in the decisive Battle of Blenheim, where the Duke commanded a cavalry regiment.[11] Eberhard Louis, dreaming of an absolutist Württemberg, was inspired by the palaces of Munich where he spent the remainder of 1705 into early 1706.[12][13]

The Old Hauptbau in 1705.

At a time when other German princes were abandoning their traditional seats of power to build new Baroque palaces, Eberhard Louis, who had visited Louis XIV court at Versailles in the 1690s,[14] wanted to build a palace to match Versailles that would hopefully gain him the new territories and rank of Elector that he had failed to acquire as a military leader. In 1705, the Erlachhof, whose reconstruction gave Eberhard Louis the perfect opening,[15] was renamed "Ludwigsburg," literally "Louis's Castle," and Eberhard Louis began educating himself on architectural trends of his day.[16] The year before, the Duke decided to create a new township, which would again mimic Versailles and demonstrate his power and prestige.[17] As construction continued, it became obvious that the massive undertaking of the palace's construction necessitated the building of this city, which would be known as Ludwigsburg.[18][17] Rather than instituting new taxes or hiking existing ones, Eberhard Louis saved costs by allowing the workers at the palace reside in the city from 1709,[1] and he offered further incentive settling in Ludwigsburg by offering free land and building materials, total freedom of religion, and 15 years without taxation.[17][19][a] To recoup some of that cost, Duke Eberhard Ludwig commanded the city's residents to either kill several dozen of the sparrows that plagued the city or pay at least six Kreuzer to the Duke's construction treasury (German: Baukasse).[20] Today, the Schlosstheater is itself a museum containing restored Baroque theater props and backgrounds.[21] Construction and growth of the town stalled from its opening in 1709 until Eberhard Louis granted Ludwigsburg city status in 1718 and established it as the capital of the Duchy of Württemberg.[19]


A 1896 German lithograph depicting the palace.

In 1703, Duke Eberhard Louis sent the theologian and mathematician Philipp Joseph Jenisch to study architecture abroad while he himself studied at home via publication, and appointed Jenisch as Building Director of construction upon his return the next year.[22][23] Jenisch received the plans of Weiss's incomplete lustschloss,[11] whose cornerstone the Duke and personally laid down,[10] and was commissioned to design and erect the Duke's palace. However, the entrance of the Duchy of Württemberg into War of the Spanish Succession throttled construction and Jenisch could only finish the floor and walls of Weiss's lustschloss and some of the southern garden.[24][11] Eberhard Louis's stay at the palaces of the Bavarian Electors at Munich in 1705 following the Battle of Blenheim heralded the end of Jenisch's tenure at Ludwigsburg, as the Duke came to the conclusion that Jenisch could not match the splendor of Nymphenburg Palace. In early 1707, Eberhard Louis replaced Jenisch with the 23 year-old Johann Friedrich Nette of Brandenburg,[23] whose task it now was to build a complete Baroque palace from Jenisch's lopsided wings and corps de logis, to which the wings were aligned at an 11° angle. His work would be further complicated by the palace's foreman,[13] Johann Ulrich Heim, an ally of Jenisch who would actively oppose Nette and the growing number of Italian stucco artists at the palace un til 1714.[22] Opposition to the palace itself was to be found at the Duchy's court because of its exorbitant cost,[25] but also in the populace; one pastor in nearby Oßweil spoke of the palace at his pulpit saying, "May God spare our land the chastising that the Ludwigsburger brood of sinners conjure."[26]

Courtyard, looking north at the corps de logis of the Old Hauptbau. Nette began and finished most of the structures depicted.

Nette based his plans on those of Jenisch, enabling him to complete his plans in the same year as his appointment. These called for a three wing palace with a Cour d'honneur wherein the wings were attached to the Old Hauptbau via narrow arcaded galleries, and Nette completed the shell of the Old Hauptbau in 1708, the galleries in 1707, while the Ordensbau (West wing, "Order building") and the Riesenbau (East wing, "Giant's building") were constructed from 1708 to 1713 and absorbed the work of Weiss and Jenisch. The interiors of these structures, which included dining halls in both of their beletage, were completed in 1714 while Nette began the interior of the Old Hauptbau, which he would never finish. Similarly, Nette began and mostly finished the construction of the Hunting and Pleasure pavilions (Jagdpavillon on the west and the Spielpavillon on the east), but construction of those would drag on into 1722. Continued construction made it apparent to Nette that he did not have a large enough pool of talent at Ludwigsburg, so he made trips to two trips to Prague, Brandenburg, and Berlin to recruit help. Nette acquired fresco painter Johann Jakob Stevens von Steinfels, stucco workers Tomasso Soldati and Donato Giuseppe Frisoni in 1708, then netted Andreas Quitainner in 1709 and later Luca Antonio Colomba, Riccardo Retti and Diego Carlone.[27][13][28][24] In 1714, Nette fled to Paris from a fraudulent accusation of embezzlement made against him by Jenisch's allies. He was ordered back to Ludwigsburg by Eberhard Louis, but died in Nancy of a stroke on 9 December 1714, aged 41. At the time of his death, most of the northern section of the modern palace and its northern garden was finished.[26][28]

Entrance to the Schlosskapelle.

Jenisch sought to reprise his position as Director following Nette's death, but faced competition from one of Nette's recruits. Donato Frisoni, an Italian plasterer from Laino with no formal architectural training, submitted an application for the position, which was ignored by the building authority as it was aligned with Jenisch.[29] Eberhard Louis overturned their decision and directly appointed Frisoni in 1715, as he not only enjoyed the support of Court Chamberlain Georg Friedrich Forstner but had impressed the Duke with his work,[30][b][33] particularly the delicate stucco designs, called Bandlwerkstil, he and Soldati decorated the Old Hauptbau's interiors with.[34] Frisoni completed his plans in the same year by basing his own plans on Nette's, but with an expansion to the south. He began with the palace's two churches, starting the Catholic Schlosskapelle in 1716 and the Lutheran Ordenskapelle in 1720,[c] and both Kavaliersbauten,[30] from 1715 to 1722 to house the courtiers of Eberhard Louis's court.[24][36] Frisoni also modified the existing palace, for instance adding the mansard roof to the top of the Old Hauptbau because the originally flat roof made water damage very common (a common issue with Nette's Ludwigsburg because of the pressure the Duke placed on him to finish the palace and as soon as possible).[37][38] Frisoni's work thus far led him to the same conclusion as Nette, that he did not have a suitable talent pool to accommodate the Duke's desires for the palace and city, so Frisoni brought on Giacomo Antonio Corbellini and Paolo Retti (his brother and son-in-law respectively), who were followed by Diego Francesco Carlone in 1718.[30]

The New Hauptbau's corps de logis seen from the courtyard.

Beginning in 1721, the Duke began to run out of room for the functions of his court in the Old Hauptbau and Frisoni began planning to enlarge it.[39] Three years later, the Duke dismissed those plans and ordered Frisoni to begin the planning and construction of a new residential building, the future New Hauptbau. Frisoni originally planned for a four story structure, double the height of the existing palace, but plans would change several times after construction began in 1725 atop the first terrace of the south garden and Frisoni settled on a three story building that still afforded the Duke six rooms for his suite to the Old Hauptbau's three. To connect the New Hauptbau to the older palace, Frisoni built the Bildergalerie and Festinbau on the west side, and the Ahnengalerie and Schlosstheater on the east. The Bildergalerie was decorated with stucco and fresco by Pietro Scotti and Giuseppe Baroffio (who were at this time also remodeling the Ordensbau) from 1731 to 1732, while the Ahnengalerie was likewise decorated by the Carlone brothers from 1731 to 1733. With the exception of the interiors of the New Hauptbau and Schlosstheater, all work was finished in 1733,[40] but Eberhard Louis died that same year,[41] with only a few rooms in the west end of the New Hauptbau completed.[35] Construction of the New Hauptbau and its connecting galleries cost 465,000 guilders and was managed by Paolo Retti, who at times had more than 650 stone masons, cutters, and basic laborers working on the facades from 1726 to 1728.[39]

Use as a residence

View of the main palace from Schloss Favorite.

As Duke Eberhard Louis left no heirs, he was succeeded by the Catholic Karl Alexander, also a military leader.[39] While he did lay out a new garden at Ludwigsburg,[42] Karl Alexander withdrew funding for the palace and dismissed the construction staff to modernize the Duchy's army and fortifications, then moved the capital back to Stuttgart in 1733.[39][35] Donato Frisoni and Paolo Retti in particular were arrested in 1733 on fraudulent charges of embezzlement as a retaliation against the years of competition at court. The two men were acquitted in 1735, despite attempted intervention by the Margrave of Ansbach to free them earlier, after they paid a hefty fine to the Ducal treasury, but Frisoni died in the city on 29 November 1735.[33][29] Karl Alexander himself died suddenly two years later on 12 March 1737 as he prepared to leave the palace to inspect the Duchy's fortresses. The Duke's unpopular court Jew, minister of the economy, and resident of Ludwigsburg Joseph Süß Oppenheimer was present at the time of the Duke's death. He was arrested without a warrant, put on trial for mostly imagined charges,[43] and executed in 1738 in Stuttgart.[44] Unlike Eberhard Louis, Karl Alexander did have an heir in Charles Eugene, but he was only nine when Karl Alexander died, beginning a regency that would last until 1744.[45]

In 1760, Casanova was a guest at Charles Eugene's court. During his stay, he praised the performances of the Duke's orchestra.[46]

Beginning in 1746, Charles Eugene began the construction of a new Ducal residence in Stuttgart, but he continued to use Ludwigsburg as a secret residence from 1746 to 1775. For this reason, the Duke brought the Rococo style to Ludwigsburg with his remodeling of the New Hauptbau's rooms, beginning in 1747. The use of certain rooms at Ludwigsburg would change frequently, such as when the Duke tasked Johann Christian David Leger with the permanent conversion of the Ordenskapelle to a Lutheran church for Elisabeth Fredericka Sophie of Prussia from 1746 to 1748, which included the chemical dissolving of Luca Antonio Colomba's frescoes. Beginning in 1757 and lasting into the next year, the suites of the beletage were extensively modified under Philippe de La Guêpière, the Duke's new court architect,[47][39] and he took up residence in these rooms in 1757.[48] Charles Eugene finished the Schlosstheater from 1758 to 1759,[49] having La Guêpière erect a stage and auditorium as well as stage machinery.[21] An avid fan of opera like his father,[42] Charles Eugene also constructed a wooden opera hall richly adorned with mirrors east of the Old Hauptbau from 1764 to 1765, which was described in 1797 by Goethe as "immensely high" and containing four lodges, and by Justinus Kerner as "completely lined with mirrors" and large enough to permit "whole regiments of horse-soldiers" to ride "at one time across the stage." It was demolished the next year and the site is now a pond, dug in 1801. In 1764, the Duke officially moved the Ducal residence back to Stuttgart, but focused his energies on the Solitude and Hohenheim palaces, and made no more modifications to the palace from 1770 onward. Although Giacomo Casanova, who visited Ludwigsburg in 1760, wrote that "the court of the Duke of Württemberg was the most magnificent in Europe." The palace again relinquished its status as the Duke's residence to Stuttgart in 1775, and began a steady decline.[39][49][50][46]

Frederick I's throne in the Ordensbau.

In 1793, Charles Eugene died without legitimate heir and was succeeded by his brother, Frederick II Eugene, who also died four years later and was succeeded by his son, Friedrich II, in 1797. Ludwigsburg Palace had already been the residence of Friedrich II since 1795,[39] and Friedrich II declared it his summer residence.[49] On 18 May 1797, Friedrich II married Charlotte of Great Britain, daughter of King George III, at St James's Palace in Westminster.[51] They used Ludwigsburg as their summer residence, Frederick taking a suite of 12 rooms west of the Marble Hall and Charlotte a dozen to its east,[41] but the Duke did not have time to remodel the suites, whose Baroque interiors he disliked and Goethe described as "in bad taste,"[39] as Napoleon Bonaparte's armies occupied the Duchy from 1800 to 1801, forcing the Duke and Duchess to flee to Vienna. The Royals returned to Württemberg when Friedrich II agreed to pledge allegiance to Napoleon and part with some territory in exchange for the title of Elector in 1803.[51] Friedrich II, now Frederick I, felt that he had to express this accomplishment in architecture, as Eberhard Louis had attempted, and gave his court architect Nikolaus Friedrich von Thouret the task of updating the palace in the Neoclassical style, beginning with the Ahengalerie from 1803 to 1806 and the Ordensbau from 1804 to 1806.[52] In October 1805, Napoleon personally visited Ludwigsburg to force Frederick I into joining Confederation of the Rhine and thus becoming his ally,[53] and he compensatied Württemberg with neighboring territories in the Holy Roman Empire and Frederick I with the title of King.[52][d] In response, Frederick I charged Thouret with the remodeling of the Ordenskapelle and the King's apartment, which lasted from 1808 to 1811. The final modernizations ordered by the King took place from 1812 to 1816, and were the remodeling of the Schlosstheater and Marble Hall and the repainting of the ceilings of the New Hauptbau's main staircase and the ceiling of the Guard Room. When Frederick I died in 1816, the majority of the palace had been converted to reflect then-modern tastes.[55]

Portrait of Napoleon given to Frederick I by Napoleon himself, now hanging in the New Hauptbau.

Following her husband's death, Charlotte continued to reside at Ludwigsburg and received many notable visitors from across Europe, among them some of her siblings.[56] She tasked Thouret with the renovation of her own apartment, which took place from 1816 to 1824.[57] The Dowager Queen died on 5 October 1828 following a bout of apoplexy and was interred in the Württemberg family vault.[54][58] The Queen was the last ruler of Württemberg to reside at Ludwigsburg, as King William I and his successors did not show any interest in the palace. The complex was transferred from the House of Württemberg to the state as early as 1817, and some rooms of the palaces became state offices by the next year; the Ordensbau became a jury court room from 1850 to 1868, and a branch of the state archives set up in the palace in 1868 and did not vacate until the early 1990s. The first restoration at the palace took place in 1865, when the original frescoes of the Old Hauptbau were revealed. By the early 20th century, tours of the palace were permissible, but all were supervised and were constrained to one person.[57]

Later history

Borkum Island Massacre trial, 1946. Pictured is the defense addressing the court, set up in the Ordensbau's Order Hall.

Though it was no longer a residence, the Ordensbau was the locale chosen by King William I for the ratification of a new constitution for the Kingdom of Württemberg in 1819, an honor it would again receive a century later for the constitution of the Free People's State of Württemberg.[59] In 1918, after the First World War, the palace was opened to the public, and four years later in 1922 hosted its first musical performance since 1853 with Händel's Rodelinda, with a guest performance by the Württemberg State Theatre as part of a meeting for the preservation of public heritage monuments. Wilhelm Krämer founded the Ludwigsburger Mozartgemeinde in 1931, which organized Ludwigsburg Palace Concerts the next year that continue to the modern day. This first series of music festivals lasted until 1939 and conducted anywhere from six to ten concerts in the Ordensbau, Ordenskapelle, and the courtyard. Concerts and other festivities resumed two years after Second World War and in great number. In 1980, Baden-Württemberg made the festival a state event and renamed it as the Ludwigsburg Festival.[60][61]

2004 postage stamp commemorating Ludwigsburg Palace's 300th anniversary.

Ludwigsburg Palace survived the Second World War unscathed, and even received another restoration in 1939 and 1940 that restored the Ordensbau to its original Baroque interior, and from 6 February to 22 March was the site of the Borkum Island war crimes trial.[62][63] More minor restorations came after the war in the 1950s and 60s, then the Schlosstheater was restored extensively from 1994 to 1998 and nearly the entire palace underwent restoration for the palace's 300 year anniversary in 2004. In 1991, the decision was made as the state archives left Ludwigsburg to turn the palace as a museum complex was made because the 1959 "Höfische Baroque Art" Museum housed at the palace. So in the midst of all the restoration work, the Baroque Art, Fashion, and Ceramics museums were founded and located in various parts of the palace.[64][59] For the palace's 300th anniversary, it was commemorated in a 2004 German postage stamp.[65][66] The palace again appeared on a postage stamp in February 2017 during the "Burgen und Schlösser" stamp series.[67]

Some scenes of Stanley Kubrick's 1975 film Barry Lyndon were shot at the palace,[68] whose exterior was used as the facade of Chevalier di Balibari's residence.[69] British Conservative politician Boris Johnson visited Ludwigsburg Palace in 2008 for the second episode of the fifth series of the BBC's TV program Who Do You Think You Are, wherein he learned of his direct lineage to the House of Württemberg.[70] Episode nine of Amazon Video's The Grand Tour had scenes shot at Ludwigsburg Palace in November 2016.[71]

Minister-President Winfried Kretschmann hosted a reception for the US 21st Theater Sustainment Command at the palace on 19 October 2011, which was also attended by generals John D. Gardner, former deputy commander of EUCOM, and Gert Wessels, commander of all Federal troops in Baden-Württemberg. Festivities began with a performance by the clarinent quartet of the Baden-Württemberg Police Orchestra, followed by speeches by Kretschmann and Wessels.[72] Almost five years later on 16 August 2016, Baden-Württemberg Minister of Finance Edith Sitzmann, visited Ludwigsburg Palace and Schloss Favorite as part of her "castle trip."[73]

Revolverheld performing in the courtyard.

An exhibit showcasing the LEGO creations of the group Ulm Klötzlebauer ended on 22 May 2016, which drew over 18,000 visitors to the Old Hauptbau of the palace.[74] They would again exhibit at Ludwigsburg Palace the next year from 7 December to 18 February for Kinderreich, complete with a scale model of the Old Hauptbau.[75][76] German rock band Revolverheld performed in courtyard on 6 August 2016 for the KSK Music Open that year.[77] In November 2017, a painting of Frederick the Great on display at Ludwigsburg Palace previously attributed to Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff was found to have actually been painted by his teacher, Antoine Pesne, when the signature on the bottom right edge of the painting was discovered to be Pesne's. According to acting director of the State Agency for Palaces and Gardens Michael Hörrmann, the painting of Frederick, of which there was officially one made, may have been a gift to Duke Charles Eugene (who was educated during his minority in Frederick's court). Because of the rarity of portraits of Frederick the Great and the demand for Pesne's work, Hörrmann valued the painting at a minimum of one million euros.[5] Editz Sitzmann visited the palace to see the painting and restored piece of King Frederick I's furniture and to attend a press conference, speaking about the cultural important of Ludwigsburg Palace.[8] Also in November, on the nights of the 16th and 17th, the New Hauptbau was illuminated in purple light for World Pancreatic Cancer Day and World Prematurity Day respectively.[78][79] On 27 July 2018, the Scorpions are to hold a concert at Ludwigsburg Palace as one of the last shows of their Crazy World Tour.[80][81] Two days later, for the KSK Music Open, James Blunt is to perform as part of The Afterlove Tour.[82]

In 2018, the city of Ludwigsburg celebrated the 300 year anniversary of Eberhard Louis's elevation of Ludwigsburg to city status,[83] and among the festivities planned by the city for 3 September 2018 is a performance of Haydn's Seasons at the Schlosspark,[84] and the Venetian festival with a higher budget,[85] among 130 other large-scale festivities.[86][87]

Porcelain manufactory

An example of the Ludwigsburg Porcelain Manufactory's work.

In 1729, Duke Eberhard Louis received an offer from a mirror-maker named Elias Vater to found a porcelain manufactory, but the Duke turned down his offer, thinking it ridiculous. Eberhard Louis's successor, Charles Alexander, heard of the proposal and in 1736 set aside 2000 gulden for experimenting with the production of porcelain under one Johann Philipp Weißbrodt, which were failures and ceased entirely when Charles Alexander died. Charles Eugene succeeded the throne following a regency and in 1751 passed a decree allowing the Calwer Handelscompagnie von Zahn und Dörtenbach to utilize all the duchy's previous research to again attempt to manufacture porcelain, a right they possessed until its transferral to Bonifatius Christoph Häcker in 1857. Charles Eugene officially founded the Ludwigsburger Porzellan-Fabrik on 5 April 1758 to place pressure on the Handelscompagnie, but both parties would fail because of setbacks and insufficient funding. Early progress was hindered by poor handling of raw material and debate over production. Charles Eugene hired Joseph Jakob Ringler, who had worked previously in Vienna, Nymphenburg, and Höchst, on 16 February 1759 as head of the Ludwigsburg Porcelain Manufactory. He held this position for 40 years.[88][89]

Another example of Ludwigsburg porcelain, currently housed in the Hallwyl Museum in Stockholm.

Ringler almost immediately began production of Ludwigsburg's signature grey-brown porcelain, and by March 1758 had 21 employees under him. Over his long career in porcelain, Ringler had learned the proper mixture and technique for making porcelain, but had also made connections to artisans in the business, which allowed him to convince Duke Charles Eugene to hire master painter Gottlieb Friedrich Riedel, who worked at the Ludwigsburg Porcelain Manufactory for 20 years, of Meissen's manufactory, and the sculptor Johann Christian Wilhelm Beyer. The manufactory's first years were very successful and was one of the biggest producers of porcelain wares in Europe from 1760 to 1775. Despite this success, the company regularly spent more than its income, forcing Charles Eugene to support it himself even after he moved the Ducal residence back to Stuttgart from the palace complex in 1775, though he curtailed his support of the company in 1771. Charles Eugene was succeeded in 1793 by Louis Eugene, and he put the manufactory's affairs in order. However, the repaying of its debts and further support of the company by Frederick II Eugene from 1797 could not stall the manufactory's decline. Since 1780, designs had begun moving from the Rococo to the Louis XVI style, but Riedel and thus his department of painters would not change with the demand. The company enjoyed a brief renaissance in the reign of King Frederick I, who renamed the company to the Herzoglich-Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Ludwigsburg in 1805, but it went into rapid decline on the King's death in 1816. King William I was not interested in propping up the failing company, and it finally closed in 1824 when no buyer or leaseholder was found.[88][89] There are 27 examples of the manufactory's wares in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[90]


Ludwigsburg floor plan. 1: Old Hauptbau. 2 & 3: Hunting and Pleasure Pavilions. 4: Ordensbau. 5: Riesenbau. 6: Ordenskapelle. 7: Schlosskapelle. 8 & 9: West and East Kavaliersbauten. 10: Festinbau. 11: Schlosstheater. 12: Bildergalerie. 13: Ahnengalerie. 14: New Hauptbau. 15: Kitchens (not visible). 16: West Forecourt. 17: Central Courtyard. 18: East Forecourt. 19: Friedrich Garden. 20: Mathilde Garden. Note: this plan does not feature the angle at which the Old Hauptbau (north) meets the east and west wings.

Ludwigsburg Palace exhibits a great deal of Austo-Czech influence in its architecture;[91] architects Johann Friedrich Nette and Donato Frisoni, were educated in and experience with Bohemian Baroque architecture and both men sourced their respective workforces from their work at previous projects.[e] The combination of German architects in Philipp Jenisch and Johann Nette with Italians Donato Frisoni, Diego and Carlo Carlone, Giuseppe Baroffio, Pietro Scotti and Luca Antonio Columba produced a strong resemblance to late 17th century works in Prague and Vienna.[93] An example of this influence is clear to see in three-leaf shape of the palace's two churches, which resemble the hospital church at Kuks in Bohemia and the Christkindl pilgrimage church in Steyr, Austria,[26] and the pilasters of the risalit mimic those of Prague's Troja Palace and the New Palace at Schleissheim.[39] The other primary influence in Ludwigsburg's exteriors is French, visible in the palace's many mansard roofs.[37] The interiors are a mix of different Late Baroque influences, with illustrations by Paul Decker the Elder, Nicodemus Tessin the Elder, and Daniel Marot, whose work Duke Eberhard Louis was familiar with, bearing some resemblance to Ludwigsburg's ribbonwork (Bandlwerkstil) decor.[36] The original lighting of the palace was done by oil lamps and candles, so all electrical lights inside the palace are dimmed by 50 lux (equivalent to roughly 50 candles) to prevent bleaching.[20]

Aerial view of Ludwigsburg palace and surrounding city, 2010.

The first designs for the structure to replace the Erlachhof were for an unadorned three-story lustschloss by Duke Eberhard Louis's then court architect, a fortress engineer named Matthias Weiss but he only completed the foundation to his lodge. In 1704, he was replaced with Philipp Joseph Jenisch, who began construction in earnest with a design for a for a three-winged Baroque palace that included Weiss's lodge as an unattached wing, the East Caviliersbau, which required both east and west wings to be joined to the Old Hauptbau at an 11° angle, and a double staircase identical to the one at Rastatt Palace.[11][22][26] Duke Eberhard Louis replaced Nette with the young and talented Johann Friedrich Nette in 1706, though Jenisch had already finished the Old Hauptbau's ground floor and much of the southern garden.[22] Nette began with a design, based on Jenisch's own, for an elaborate U-shaped three-winged palace that had the east and west wings joined to the Old Hauptbau with galleries, which corresponded to the standard for hunting and pleasure palaces of the day.[34] By the time Nette died in 1714 in Nancy, his eight years on the site saw the completion of the north garden and much of Ludwigsburg Palace north of the galleries.[11]

A design for a salon in Schloss Favorite by Donato Frisoni from 1718, signed by Frisoni and Duke Eberhard Louis.[90]

When Nette died in 1714, he was succeeded the next year by Donato Giuseppe Frisoni, an Italian stuccoist he had hired in Prague in 1709,[94] against the wishes of the building commission by express order of Duke Eberhard Louis.[33] Frisoni, also responsible for the design and construction of the city of Ludwigsburg, showed a progressive attitude in his separation of the palace from the city and the equal prominence of the city's Lutheran and Catholic churches.[95] He continued much of Nette's work on the palace, but then built the New Hauptbau and its connecting galleries from 1724 to 1733, completing the palace.[24]

Western forecourt, November 2006.

In 1802, King Frederick I (then Duke Friedrich II) gave the task of modernizing Ludwigsburg's interiors in the Neoclassical style, and free reign in doing so, to Nikolaus Friedrich von Thouret. Thouret, trained in Rome and inspired by the French Imperial style, and his partner and friend Antonio Isopi, and Italian stuccoist, worked with a pool of talent for the future King and Queen Charlotte from 1803 until the Queen's death in 1824. Thouret submitted his plans to Isopi, who translated his work into a more grounded Classical form that would be decorated by court painter Jean Pernaux; as a result, the Neoclassical of Ludwigsburg, inspired by the work of Charles Percier and Pierre François Léonard Fontaine, the Renaissance, and Egyptian motifs that became popular with Napoleon's three-year campaign there, the Neoclassical interiors of Ludwigsburg Palace are not consistent to a single style or designer.[55]

Ludwigsburg Palace was built and mostly used as a summer residence, the Old Castle and later New Palace in Stuttgart. When Charles Eugene began living at Ludwigsburg all year in 1764, the poor or nonexistent heating of the palace became evident.[96] The kitchen staff, also responsible for the lighting and heating of the palace,[97] fed the stoves and fireplaces of the palatial suites with wood brought from the Black Forest, which also warmed the servant quarters in the attic via ducts from the stoves below. Beyond thickening the windows with more glass and putting up cotton wallpaper, residents of the palace resorted to wearing thicker clothes and consuming warm drinks, primarily coffee and hot chocolate.[96]

Old Hauptbau

Entrance from the courtyard into the Old Hauptbau.

The Old Hauptbau, forming the corps de logis of the north wing, is the oldest portion of the palace, originally built just to house the apartments of Duke Eberhard Louis and his daughter-in-law, princess Henrietta Maria of Brandenburg-Schwedt.[98] Its facade was built in a three year period from 1705 to 1708, and the work on its interiors was mostly completed by 1715 under Donato Giuseppe Frisoni while work inside its pavilions lasted into 1722. In 1809 and 1826-28, the rooms facing the courtyard in the beletage were remodeled in Neoclassical but their Baroque frescoes were revealed in 1865. The corps de logis has a wide vestibule and stairs that terminate in a guard room in the beletage. It houses four suites,[99] which follow the 17th-century French Baroque model of a living room, audience chamber, and bedroom. Eberhard Louis's apartment is made unique by the additions of a hall of mirrors decorated with stucco by Donato Frisoni, joined to the bedroom by the removal of the wall between these two spaces in 1720-21, and a hidden staircase (since removed) into the room of Eberhard Louis's mistress Wilhelmine von Grävenitz. Today, Eberhard Louis's suite appears as it would have during his reign.[100][98] The third floor, finished in 1708, houses the two picture galleries that predated the galleries of Frisoni's portion of the palace complex and a foyer that commemorated Eberhard Ludwig's love for hunting, though none of the original decor survives. The first picture gallery nearly takes up the whole of the south wall and served as an ahnentafel and portrait gallery before the construction of the southern portion of the complex by Frisoni. Most of Donato Frisoni and Tomasso Soldati's stuccoes, depicting biblical and classical historical and mythological motifs alongside an image of Eberhard Louis and his monogram, was lost and the gallery was subdivided into offices until its restoration from 2000 to 2004.[101] Above the third floor is the mansard roof, added by Frisoni in 1712 to fight further damage caused by standing water on Nette's flat roof, that now houses a preserved piece of clockwork taken from Zwiefalten Abbey by King Frederick I in 1809.[37]

A mirror in the Spiegelkabinett, Duke Eberhard Louis's apartment.

The two pavilions to the west and east of the Old Hauptbau are joined to the corps de logis by arcade galleries that close off the northern edge of the cour d'honneur.[24] The west and east galleries, completed in 1713 and 1715 respectively according to Nette's 1707 designs (themselves based on Jenisch's 1705 plans), begin with pilastered doorways on either side of the Old Hauptbau's second floor. The Western Gallery celebrates peacetime with plaster statuary and medallions displaying certain virtues, and reliefs of classical events such as the Judgement of Paris, Aeneas fleeing from a burning Troy, Hercules and Omphale, and Apollo and Daphne. At the end of the Western Gallery is the Jagdpavillon (Hunting pavilion), containing the Marmorsaletta (German: Little marble hall), a marble hall celebrating the Order of St. Hubert, designed by Giacomo Antonio Corbellini and made of scagliola decorated with stucco and frescoes by Luca Antonio Colomba and Riccardo Retti that depict Eberhard Louis's monogram among his hunting grounds and horns above ornaments that Nette copied from Nicodemus Tessin the Elder. Adjoined to the Marmorsaletta are three smaller rooms: the Boiserie, Marble, and Lacquer Cabinets, by Johann Mayer of Kirchheim, Riccardo Retti, Johann Jakob Sänger respectively. The first room and third rooms are notable as examples of Baroque exoticism, as the Boiserie Cabinet is decorated in Turkish motifs and the Lacquer Cabinet in Chinese imagery against black backgrounds.[102][103] The parquet floors of the Lacquer Cabinet is original, a rarity at Ludwigsburg as the floors elsewhere in the palace needed constant replacement because the servant staff was not properly equipped to clean and maintain them.[104]

The Spielpavillon, looking down the Eastern Gallery. Visible are some of the Delftware Callot dwarves.

The Eastern Gallery, by Riccardo Retti, Diego Carlone, and Donato Frisoni, celebrates warfare with pairs of trophy captives and weapons crowned with a rising sun and Eberhard Louis's monogram in each corner and the center doorway, above which are stucco reliefs depicting the cardinal virtues of Strength, Justice, Moderation, and Wisdom. Above each of the doors are more stucco reliefs, depicting the four classical elements; a volcanic foundry (fire), Boreas abducting Orithyia (air), Acis and Galatea (water), and Demeter (earth), and above the entire gallery is Luca Antonio Colomba's Gigantomachy, depicting the war between the Twelve Olympians and the Giants and the triumph of the former over the latter thanks to Hercules, who then bests the Centaurs. Originally, the wall panels opposite the windows in the Eastern Gallery were fitted with mirrors, but these were moved to the New Hauptbau in 1732 and replaced with paintings. The Spielpavillon, at the end of the Eastern Gallery, was completed in 1716 by Frisoni according to designs by himself and Nette (whose plans were used for the exterior). In its center is a round, cruciform hall with four corner-rooms accessed by the spandrels that support the dome. Hemmed in with stucco ribbon, lace, and leafwork, and reliefs of cherubs by Carlone, the dome fresco by Colomba and Emanuel Wohlhaupter depict the four seasons and their corresponding zodiac signs. Colomba and Wohlhaupter also likely painted the corner rooms' imitation-Delftware images of Jacques Callot 's Grotesque Dwarves.[105][106]

East wing

The Riesenbau's eponymous giants in its vestibule.

The Riesenbau (Giants' Building), built by Johann Friedrich Nette from 1712 to 1713, begins the east wing of Ludwigsburg Palace and acts as the counter to the Ordensbau, on the opposite side of the courtyard. The vestibule, designed and executed by Donato Frisoni in 1713-14 and executed by himself, Andreas Quittainer, and Luca Antonio Colomba, prominently features two sphinxes and four giants as the atlases under the staircase to the beletage, originally intended to led up into a room for the Hunting Order that was segregated into residences from 1720 to 1723, though evidence of this original purpose still exists in the room connecting the apartments of Frederick Louis and Carl Alexander. Ahead of the giants is a statue of Minerva, and the frescoes on the ceiling above the staircasse show Justitia and Fortitudo, the four seasons, and the four classical elements. In 1810, the rooms on the beletage were remodeled in Neoclassical, but they were restored to the Baroque style and opened as a museum in the 1950s. The apartments of Frederick Louis and Carl Alexander were decorated by Frisoni and Colomba, but Carl Alexander's apartment also features a landscape painting by Adolf Friedrich Harper.[107] Underneath the Riesenbau is a barrel cellar that may predate Ludwigsburg Palace, accessed by a vestibule home to a statue of Bacchus. The largest barrel in the cellar, known as the Great Barrel, was made from ten oak trees for Duke Eberhard Louis and holds 90,000 liters (20,000 imp gal) of wine, and could dispense red or white wine as needed. Although most of the wine was consumed by the Duke's court, it was also an alternate form of payment for servant staff and part of the salary of officials at the palace.[108]

View of the Schlosskapelle's altar from the Duke's box.

Joined to the Riesenbau and East Kavaliersbau by a connecting room on its southern end is the Schlosskapelle (Castle chapel), built by Frisoni and Paolo Retti from 1716 to 1724 and consecrated in 1723. The chapel is a classical Italian rotunda with three semi-domes and a private box for the Duke and his family and friends, accessed by an antechamber on the second floor that was painted around 1731 with images from the story of King David. The box is decorated with red velvet wallpaper and a ceiling fresco, The Three Men with Abraham, by Livio Retti. Members of the court took seats inside the chapel, decorated by Frisoni Colomba, and Carlo Carlone, which only depict figures from the Old Testament and the Apostles in its stucco and frescoes according to Protestant doctrine, notably The Adoration of the Holy Trinity on the dome ceiling and The Encouragement of the Brazen Serpent above the pulpit. Underneath the Schlosskapelle is a crypt that contains all rulers of Württemberg from Eberhard Louis to Frederick I. The denomination of the Schlosskapelle depended on the current ruler, Protestant under Eberhard Louis and Frederick I and Roman Catholic under Carl Alexander and Charles Eugene, but today is Roman Catholic. The Schlosskapelle avoided major remodeling in the 19th century, and is today the most original structure of any area of the residential palace.[109][110] The original organ, built in 1724 by organ builder Joseph Friedrich Baumeister and installed in 1747 by Georg Friedrich Schmahl, was moved to the Ordenskapelle in 1798 by Johann Jakob Pfeiffer. A new organ was built in 1916 by the Walcker Orgelbau company, and today the original one is still extant at Schöntal Abbey.[111]

The Ahnengalerie, in the New Hauptbau.

Directly south of the Riesenbau is the East Kavaliersbau (Cavaliers' Building), built by Frisoni from 1715 to 1719 to house members of the Ducal court. It contains four apartments on both floors, like the West Kavaliersbau, and is decorated with stucco ornament by Riccardo Retti and a fresco on the ceiling of the beletage by Leopoldo Retti, preserved from the 1720s. The southwestern apartment on the second floor contains a museum dedicated to the Schlosstheater, attached by gallery to the East Kavaliersbau and the Schlosskapelle. It was constructed by Frisoni from 1729 to 1733, making it Europe's oldest preserved theater, but it was not furnished until 1758–59 by Philippe de La Guêpière, who added a Rococo stage, auditorium, and stage machinery by Johann Christian Keim. Friedrich von Thouret remodeled the Schlosstheater in Neoclassical in 1811-12, though Innocente Colomba's 1763 mural Apollo and the Muses survived the remodeling, which saw the Duke's box expanded, created the King's box on the left side of the theater and in front of the proscenium, changed the wall colors to gray-blue for the Neoclassical decor to stand out against, and had Jean Pernaux paint the ceiling in 1811.[112][21] Casanova is known to have been at performances at the Schlosstheater,[113] making notes on the performances held there.[114]

The final and southernmost part of the east wing is the Ahnengalerie, built in 1729 that spans the 490 feet (150 m) gallery bridging the work of Nette and Frisoni to the New Hauptbau. Originally, the ceiling frescoes by Carlo Carlone were to depict the story of Achilles, beginning with the Sacrifice of Iphigenia in the northern antechamber and the Sacrifice of Polyxene in the southern one, but Eberhard Louis decided to move that fresco to the Bildergalerie after the completion of those two frescoes in 1732. In the place of this and Frisoni's original plan for a modest and plain white hall, Carlone painted the Homage of the Arts of Sciences to the Rule to Duke Eberhard Louis in 1731–33 to glorify and depict the reign of Eberhard Louis with depictions of Alexander the Great and Apelles, Venus, Mars, Apollo, Phobos, and the Muses, among others. Frederick I had von Thouret remodel the Ahnengalerie in 1805–06, retaining Carlone's frescoes and adding additional stucco to the two antechambers. The portraits in the Ahnengalerie trace the lineage of the rulers of Württemberg from Eberhard I the Bearded, first Duke of Württemberg, to Wilhelm II, the last King of Württemberg, as well as some wives of the Dukes and Kings of Württemberg.[115][116]

West wing

The Order Hall, on the second floor of the Ordensbau.

Beginning the west wing is the Ordensbau (Order building), begun in 1709 when Duke Eberhard Louis laid its cornerstone, containing three apartments on the ground floor and the banquet hall of the Duke's hunting order, later called the Order of the Golden Eagle. The vestibule into the Ordensbau was decorated by Luca Antonio Colobma in 1712 with a ceiling fresco of Pheme with a genius and images of Hercules and with two statues by Andreas Quittainer, added in 1713, representing mercy and cleverness. Colomba continued the Hercules imagery onto the ceiling of the staircase, which features an Trompe-l'œil fresco showing an expanded palace modeled on those in English and Dutch palaces. The antechamber to the Order Hall is populated with lace and leafwork stucco of cherubs, masks, birds, and weapons by Tomasso Soldati and Donato Frisoni, who are also responsible for the stucco in the Order Hall added in 1711–12, though Giacomo Antonio Corebllini created the imitation marble stucco pilasters in 1717. Colomba painted the walls and ceiling of the hall, but these were removed in 1731 and 1725 respectively because of water damage, and Pietro Scotti and Giuseppe Baroffio were commissioned to repaint the ceiling in 1731, resulting in today's fresco depicting the Olympian gods and Hercules and Clio paying homage to the Heroic Virtue, who is defeating Vice. Johann Friedrich von Uffenbach, who visited the Hall in 1712, wrote that "this hall is the most magnificent and beautiful of everything now built." King Frederick I had the Hall renovated into a throne room in 1805–06, moving the function and imagery of the Order of the Golden Eagle to the Ordenskapelle, and hired Carl Keller to paint over the ceiling with Arabian motifs and palmettes. Friedrich von Thouret designed Frederick I's throne and baldachin, opposite Johann Baptist Seele's 1808 portrait of the King, in 1807, and this is the only part of the Neoclassical throne room that survived the restoration of the Baroque decor in 1939-40. It was in the Order Hall that the constitutions of the Kingdom and then Free People's State of Württemberg in 1819 and 1919 respectively.[117][118][119]

King Frederick I's throne in the Ordenskapelle.

Immediately southwest of the Ordensbau is the ovular Ordenskapelle (Order chapel), originally begun in 1720 by Frisoni as a companion to the Schlosskapelle, was converted to its current functionary purpose from 1746 to 1748 by Duke Charles Eugene, who tasked Johann Christoph David Leger with remodeling it for Duchess Elisabeth Fredericka. Leger removed the floor between the chapel and a second-floor Order hall and reused the existing pilasters for new Rococo decor, stucco and carvings by Pietro Brilli. Livio Retti painted the Last Judgement, the Evangelists, the Crucifixion and then Ascension of Jesus, and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the ceilings of the Ordenskapelle, and the Baptism of Christ and the Last Supper on the north and south walls. Above the chapel on the second floor is the Duchess' box, opulently decorated with stucco in 1747–48 and frescoes of the Birth of Christ on the ceiling and allegories to love, faith, and hope on the walls. The altar, pulpit, organ case, and the furnishings of the Duchess' box were created Louis Roger. In 1798, Frederick I moved the church functions to the Schlosskapelle and, nine years later as King, officially designated it for use by the Order of the Golden Eagle. In 1807–08, Friedrich von Thouret remodeled the chapel in the Empire style, walling up the first-floor windows for space for members' chairs, whose coats of arms were emblazoned on the wall above them, and the King's canopied throne under its star-studded semidome.[120][118] The organ in the Ordenskapelle was brought from Kochersteinsfeld and installed in 1980, as the original had been moved to Freudental in 1814.[121]

A portion of the Bildergalerie and its fresco.

Also attached to the Ordenskapelle is the West Kavaliersbau, which is identical in layout and design to the East Kavaliersbau, but was built in 1719–20. The West Kavaliersbau retains some of its original stucco and ceiling frescoes, mostly depicting scenes from Greek mythology such as Ganymede's arrival at Mount Olympus, by Riccardo and Livio Retti respectively. The Festinbau, attached to the West Kavaliersbau by a gallery and located to its west, was originally designed in 1725 as kitchen and built from 1729 to 1733 as a theater complete with a proscenium box decorated by Giuseppe Baroffio that Charles Eugene used for festivities from 1770 to 1775. The theater was removed and the building divided into two floors when it became an archive. Since 2004, the West Kavaliersbau and the Festinbau contain the Fashion Museum (Modesmuseum).[122] The actual kitchen structure, the Küchenbau (Kitchen building), was built separate from the palace, and parallel to the Ordensbau, to keep odors and the threat of fire away from the palace proper,[123] but also meant that food arrived cold despite the small ovens along the way intended to keep it warm.[124] Inside are seven hearths, a bakery, a butcher's shop, and several pantries, such as the cellar vault where apples were kept, and the quarters for the servant staff in the attic and on the first floor. Most of the food prepared here was sourced locally, due to the difficulty in transport of resources, such as the game hunted on the grounds Ludwigsburg Palace.[f][123]

The Bildergalerie (Picture gallery), the southernmost part of the west wing of the palace, spans 490 feet (150 m) to bridge the West Kavaliersbau to the New Hauptbau to the south. The gallery was built by Frisoni in 1731–32, though the only original Baroque decor that remains is Pietro Scotti's ceiling fresco depicting the life of Achilles, originally intended to adorn the ceiling of the Ahnengalerie to the east. Friedrich von Thouret renovated the Bildergalerie in Tuscan Neoclassicism from 1803 to 1805, and today contains a fireplace made by Antonio Isopi and a statue of Apollo by Pierre Francois Lejeune on the opposite side. Originally, this statue was carved in 1772 for the temple to Apollo in Castle Solitude's Hall of Laurels, but was then moved to Charles Eugene's library in Hohenheim Palace in 1778, and it found its way to the Bildergalerie during von Thouret's remodeling. Details on the northern and southern antechambers are lacking. The ceiling frescoes do not have an official interpretation and it is unknown whether Scotti or Carlo Carlone painted them, only that the frescoes were produced in 1730.[125][126]

New Hauptbau

The New Hauptbau's corps de logis from the court of honor.

The entirety of the southern wing of Ludwigsburg Palace is made up by the New Hauptbau, designed and constructed by Donato Frisoni on the express command of Duke Eberhard Louis, who found that the Old Hauptbau was too small to serve the needs of his court and required constant repairs because of its rushed construction. Frisoni planning began in 1725 of a four-story south wing but this shrank to just three stories during construction, which lasted from 1725 to Eberhard Louis's death in 1733 before he could take up residence in the New Hauptbau. Over a decade later in 1747, Duke Charles Eugene resumed construction in the New Hauptbau, left incomplete after Eberhard Louis's death, and completed its interiors in Rococo. Charles Eugene abandoned the palace in 1775, and the next royals to reside there were the first King and Queen of Württemberg, Frederick I and Charlotte Mathilde, who extensively remodeled parts of the palace in Neoclassical from 1802 to 1824 and personally resided in the New Hauptbau during the summer. After the palace stopped being a royal residence it became occupied by offices, and the New Hauptbau was used in 1944 and 1945 to store furnishings recovered from the recently destroyed New Palace in Stuttgart. Within the New Hauptbau is a system of secret passages crowded around two hidden courtyards, called the Dégagements, that allowed servants to travel unobserved inside the structure while on-call.[127][128]

Statuary and ceiling of the Queen's Staircase.

The New Hauptbau opens with its vestibule, an ovular chamber entirely decorated by Carlo Carlone home to a statue of Duke Eberhard Louis surrounded by terms supporting a flat ceiling, sporting the fresco Blessings of Peace. In the wall niches behind the columns are statues of Apollo, a woman and a sphinx, and two maenads and a satyr. A vaulted passageway decorated with two figures of Hercules leads into the Summer Salon, featuring a ceiling fresco by Diego Carlone and statues of Roman deities in niches, which opened into a larger chamber that in 1814 was turned into a vaulted ceiling to support a staircase into the Marble Hall and south garden. Next are the grand staircases on either side of the vestibule, from 1798 called the King's stairs (West) and the Queen's stairs (East), that lead up into the beletage of the New Hauptbau and feature statuary and stucco ribbonwork by Diego Carlone. The King's stairs' statuary are themed after unhappy romances, namely Marc Antony and Cleopatra, Samson and Delilah, Sophonisba and Masinissa, and Tomyris, while the cavettos above are adorned with stucco depictions of the seasons personified and medals bearing Eberhard Louis's initials. The Queen's staircase is a mirror of thez King's, but the statuary is themed after virtues, Vigilance, Fortitude, the goddess Minerva to represent the arts and sciences, Dignity, Truth, and Peace, and the ribbonwork above displays Apollo, Artemis, and the four classical elements.[129]

The guardroom that forms the north entrance to the Marble Hall.

Two galleries, painted with frescoes by Carlo Carlone in 1730, lead from the stairs to a guardroom also decorated by Carlone in 1730 with stucco weapon trophies and the fresco Hall of the Guards, which was covered by von Thouret with Neoclassical ornamentation in 1815. The south door of the guardroom leads into the Marble Hall (German: Marmorsaal), the palatial dining hall once used to receive Francis I of Austria and Alexander I of Russia, that today appears without alteration as von Thouret's designed in September 1815. Thouret began in 1813-14 by removing the Baroque ceiling fresco, and installing a curved ceiling that Jean Pernaux painted the spring of 1815, and finished in mid-1816 with the completion of the stucco faux marble walls of the Marble Hall. Pilasters and windows form the lower wall. Sitting on top of this is a walkway in the attica, divided by pillars decorated by caryatids holding plates and pitcher designed by Johann Heinrich Dannecker, stucco fruit garlands and candelabras by Antonio Isopi under the attica, and reproductions of the Medusa Rondanini and Hermes Ludovisi that alternate over the doors, flanked on the ground floor by reproductions of the Medici Vase that stand on ovens. Pernaux's ceiling fresco depicts a cloudy blue sky that contains an eagle and four smaller birds that hoist the Marble Hall's chandeliers.[130][131] The roof above the Marble Hall has no visible supports, a feat achieved despite the curved ceiling thanks to its weight being cantilevered upon the entablatures at the top the walls of the Marble Hall.[37]

To the east of the Marble Hall is the apartment of Queen Charlotte, which had originally been designed to house Hereditary Prince and Princess Frederick Louis and Henrietta Maria, but had its first resident in Charles Eugene's mother, Marie Auguste. From 1750 onwards, these rooms were used for socializing and as apartments, but when Charlotte joined Frederick I in residence at Ludwigsburg in 1798, the separating walls were removed to form one suite. Friedrich von Thouret only changed three rooms the Queen's apartment from 1802 to 1806, adding damask to the primary antechamber (which also features an original Baroque ceiling fresco restored in the 1950s), assembly, and audience rooms, and did not begin serious work until Charlotte established Ludwigsburg as her residence after Frederick I's death. From 1816 to 1824, Thouret began extensively remodeling the Queen's suite in Neoclassical, sometimes incorporating some of the prior Baroque artwork such as by Nicolas Guibal's paintings over the doors of the assembly room depicting Venus and Narcissus. Charlotte's audience chamber, remodeled in 1806 to celebrate Württemberg's elevation to a Kingdom contains her throne, red silk walls, and paintings of Cybele, Minerva, and personifications of Strength, Harmony, and Wisdom by Viktor Heideloff over the doors and in the lunettes of Johann Wilhelm Ziegler's mirrors. Next door is the bedroom, remodeled in 1824 in an Egyptian style with marbled green pilasters and with an alcove containing red silk from 1760. The study, the next room to the east, is unusual for Neoclassical interior because of its large mirrors, flanked by more green pilasters topped with grisailles. Finally there is the summer study and the Queen's library, remodeled by von Thouret in 1818 with blue damask, an oven by Isopi, and overdoor paintings by Johannes Danner that carry over into the library, to the west. The entire apartment is furnished in Biedermeier fashion by Johannes Klinckerfuss,[132][133] whose work is also adorned by embroidery by Charlotte herself.[134]

King Frederick I's bedroom.

King Frederick I's apartment, the western opposite to Charlotte's suite, was to house Duke Eberhard Louis and Wilhelmine von Grävenitz, and later Johanna Elisabeth of Baden-Durlach, but Charles Eugene became the first to reside here in 1744 with his wife. When they separated in 1756, Charles absorbed her suite for his own personal residence. King Frederick I then took up residence, and had Friedrich von Thouret remodel his 12-room suite from 1802 to 1811. The suite opens with the antechamber, which contains decorations dated to 1785 likely taken from Hohenheim Palace and an original ceiling fresco by Carlone of Bacchus and Venus. Next door is the audience chamber which retained its original red damask, but with added Neoclassical borders, and acquired Frederick's throne and furniture by Isopi, featuring griffins in relief, and two ovens by Georg Matthäus Schmid. Past the conference room, retaining the original Rococo overdoor paintings by Viktor Heideloff and Thouret's yellow wallpaper, is the King's bedchambers, the last room in the residential apartment. The original Baroque wooden wall paneling by Joseph Maximilian Pöckhl and Guibal's overdoor paintings of cherubs survived the 1811 remodeling that added mahogany furniture by David Roentgen and Klinckerfuss, the two statues of Ceres, fireplace, and Frederick's bed and blue silk drapery. Frederick's administrative rooms encompasses three offices, a library, a dressing room, and some additional rooms that were in the time of Charles Eugene used for social functions. The walls and furnishing of the office are Neoclassical, decorated with embellishment like the heads of Greek gods and cornucopias, but the ceiling fresco is a Guibal original from 1779 of Chronos and Clio. Sandwiched between the old writing room room and the dressing room, both remodeled in 1808–09, is the library accessed by secret passage home to original mahogany bookcases by Carl Friedrich Schweickle with marble reliefs of Athena carved by Philipp Jakob Scheffauer. For the final, modest rooms of the suite, chief among the the new writing room featuring Sappho in relief on a fireplace, were also remodeled in 1808–09 according to Frederick's exact instructions, which called for the division of one room into two for more fireplaces.[135][136]

Duke Charles Eugene took up residence in a large portion of the second floor in 1750, and had the suite renovated in the Rococo by Philippe de La Guêpière from 1750 to 1757.[41] The ornate suite of Charles Eugene feature stucco by plasters by Giovanni Pietro Brilli and Ludovico Bossi, frescoes by Matthäus Günther, and the illustrations above every doorway and window by Adolf Friedrich Harper. In every room are paintings of Charles Eugene and his bride Elisabeth Fredericka Sophie, sister of Frederick the Great, by Antoine Pesne, and original furniture that Charles Eugene purchased from Parisian masters such as Jacques-Philippe Carel. One notable state room is the Assembléezimmer, where the Duke met and spoke with confidants as well as held small-scale concerts, which can be attested to by the illustrations of musical instruments on the walls.[48] Olga, Queen of Württemberg, took up residence in Charles Eugene's suite in 1901 with her two children, and today is remembered in the suite by the Princess Olga Cabinet Exhibit, which records the life of Olga and her family.[137]

Grounds and gardens

The Blooming Baroque garden around Ludwigsburg Palace.
Statue of the storyteller in the Fairy-Tale garden.

Surrounding the palace on nearly all sides is the 32 hectares (0.32 km2) Blooming Baroque garden, natively known as the Blühendes Barock.[138] Although the history of the garden is as long as that of the palace it graces, the current incarnation of the garden was completed in 1954 for the palace's 250th birthday according to how it might have looked in 1800. This garden was only intended to last six months, but soon became a permanent fixture of the palace and is today looked after by the city of Ludwigsburg.[139] In today's garden, open from March to November, visitors will find many different designs and arrangements from various styles and cultures. Notable landmarks of this ever-changing garden are the Japanese and Sardinian gardens,[140] baroque Parterre, aviaries containing native as well as exotic birds in the northern garden, the "Valley of Birdsong," and the Emichsburg folly,[141] where tourists can entice Rapunzel into lowering her hair.[142] The gardens, which annually host a large variety of events that can be easily charted via the calendar available on the Blooming Baroque's website (in German),[143] today brings more than 520,000 visitors annually.[144]

A potted plant vase located in the baroque gardens surrounding Ludwigsburg Palace.

One entirely unique area of the gardens is the Fairy-Tale garden, German: Märchengarten, shown on the figure below, which contains some thirty depictions from several fairy tales including but not limited to the Rübezahl, Sindbad, Max and Moritz, The Frog Prince, Ali Baba, Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin, Rapunzel,[145] Pinocchio, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Rumpelstiltskin.[146]

When the first plans for a garden were laid, Duke Eberhard Louis favored creating a steep slope on the north side of the palace in the Italian style complete with terraces and water falls. However, when the castle began to expand, he turned his attention the south side of the palace and there laid out a symmetrical French baroque garden.[147] Duke Charles Eugene modified the gardens beginning 1750 in the South garden by removing some retaining walls and replacing them with an orangerie and a bosquet. However, 20 years later, the Duke began renting parts of the garden as his interest had left the gardens.[148] Then-Duke Frederick I ordered, in 1798, a redesign of the garden in a style more to his taste. The South garden was laid out simply, with a large canal with oval basin and four new compartments each with a vase by Antonio Isopi. In addition to the expansion of the gardens with the Eastern gardens, two private gardens were added specifically for the King and his wife, Queen Charlotte of England.[147][g] The Emichsburg located in today's Fairy-tale garden was built in 1802 on a large rock in the area of an English garden located near Schloss Favorite and a park with carousels made for the amusement of guests to Ludwigsburg Palace.[147] The garden again fell out of favor in the reign of Frederick's son and successor, William I, who moved completely out of the palace for Rosenstein Palace in Stuttgart.[149] William I opened the garden to the public in 1828, planted an orchard on the southern parterre, filled in the basin and canal,[148] and began breeding Kashmir and Angora goats in Frederick's forest park.[150] After the dissolution of the Kingdom, the gardens largely became an orchard and potatoes were planted in the South garden and the palatial gardens remained in this state of disrepair for years.[149]

The Old Hauptbau from the northern garden.

In 1947, Ludwigsburg's gardens were assigned to the care of Albert Schöchle, director of the State Agency of Plants and Gardens (German: Staatliche Anlagen und Gärten).[151] The disrepair of the gardens was such that in the South garden, no path was visible and parts of the garden had become impassible on foot. While attending the Federal Garden Show of 1951 in Hanover, Schöchle became of the opinion that a superior garden show could be had at the sizable historical gardens of Ludwigsburg Palace. He was able to get his plans approved and construction underway by 23 March 1953, 13 months before the opening of the garden. Enormous amounts of earth had to be moved for the arrangement of the garden and laying of paths to begin and, by the autumn of 1953, much of the gardens had been laid out and hundreds of thousands of flowers planted.[149] On 23 April 1954,[152] the gardens finally opened to about 500,000 visitors by May of that year, among them Theodor Heuss. When the show ended a year later, not only was the event itself completely reimbursed by the proceeds, but the gardens could safely afford to become a permanent landmark of Ludwigsburg.[149] While on a business trip to Holland in 1957, Schöchle visited the fairy-tale garden near Tilburg, Holland, and was inspired. At the time, he was worried that without a new attraction, the Blooming Baroque gardens would again fail, but this time his superiors were not initially enthusiastic. After a period of convincing them of his vision, the design and construction of the new Fairy-tale garden, or Märchengarten, was opened to great acclaim.[153] The success of the new park and garden astounded even Schöchle – by 1960, proceeds from the Fairy tale garden in 1961 were tenfold what they were when it opened the previous year.[154]

Map of the palatial grounds
Ludwigsburg residential palace
Residential palace
The South garden
South garden
The North garden
North garden
The Lower-east garden
Lower-east garden
The Upper-east garden
Upper-east garden
The Fairy-Tale garden
Fairy-Tale garden
Figure: Map

Schloss Favorite

Schloss Favorite in the winter. Note the four pillars on the first floor entrance, which are Baroque embellishments that symbolize the elements of earth, fire, water, and air.[155]

Originally, Ludwigsburg Palace had been planned to be a lustschloss on the site of an earlier structure, the "Erlachhof," which had been razed by French troops.[10] Construction began in 1704, but by 1710 Eberhard Louis, Duke of Württemberg had decided to use Ludwigsburg Palace as his main residence rather than just a hunting lodge, and charged Donato Giuseppe Frisoni with the construction of a three-winged palace in the image of the Palace of Versailles. Ludwigsburg Palace had been built on the ducal hunting property north of Stuttgart,[156] and the Duke still desired a hunting retreat. In 1717, inspired by a garden palace he had seen in Vienna, the Duke tasked Frisoni with the design of a new Rococo palace, which he dubbed "Favorite" (French: Darling), located on a hill to the north of the main palace.[157] Schloss Favorite was not intended for long stays,[150] lacking any facilities to facilitate living,[158] but it was perfectly outfitted for formal functions of court, especially balls.[157] Eberhard Louis would organize an annual religious festival on Hubertustag, complete with parties and banquets, although food had to be hauled from the residential palace for every feast.[158] Schloss Favorite was used as the backdrop to a firework display for Eberhard Louis's wedding to Elisabeth Frederika Sophie in 1748.[159] This would not be the first time Charles Eugene would alter the palace's function for his wife. For Fredericka's eighteenth birthday, the Duke had Favorite transformed into an opera house for a showing of Carl Heinrich Graun's Artaserse, whose premiere Eberhard Louis had been a guest to in 1743 in Berlin.[160]

Frisoni laid out the grounds of Schloss Favorite in the shape of a six-pointed star, with four pavilions and six avenues that would run through the surrounding forest,[155] originally planted for one enormous pheasant farm.[161] These plans did not come to fruition, and today only two of these avenues exist today, one connecting Favorite to the main palace, and the other to Monrepos.[155] Frisoni set to work on Favorite in 1717 and by the next year was constructing the roof.[156] From this flat terrace, which was difficult to construct and is prone to water damage, the Duke and his honored guests could take in the extensive views of the palace grounds and shoot at passing game.[162][163] As with the primary palace, the influence of the Bohemian Baroque can be found in Schloss Favorite, and the Italian stucco work is of high quality and can be reimagined even after later modifications because of Frisoni's remaining artworks.[156] In the southwest corner of the building, the original baroque stucco and fresco remains.[164]

In 1800, the interiors of the lustschloss were remodeled by court architect Nikolaus Friedrich von Thouret for King Frederick in the Neoclassical style as the baroque interiors of the palace were by then passé and not of his taste.[155] Three years prior, in 1797, Frederick I had von Thouret redesign the main hall, called the Festaal, and neighboring rooms in the Neoclassical style.[165] Today, only one room, in the western half of the building, retains its original baroque appearance.[166] When Frederick was appointed an Elector in 1803 and made a King in 1806, he chose both times to celebrate the occasion at Schloss Favorite.[158] The resort palace fell into disrepair in the 20th century, but it was restored true to form from 1972 to 1982. Today, Favorite is known for being the backdrop of the SWR Fernsehen talkshow Nachtcafé.[167] The palace is currently closed until 2019 for renovation work.[168]


Idyllic Roman Landscape by Adolf Friedrich Harper, on display at the Barockgalerie.

On the first and third floors of the Old Hauptbau is the Baroque Gallery (German: Barockgalerie),[169] a subsidiary museum of the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart opened in 2004 that displays 120 paintings,[170][171] some of which are originals from a purchase Duke Charles Alexander made in 1736 of some 400 paintings from Gustav Adolf von Gotter. Examples of the German and Italian Baroque paintings on display include Martin van Meytens's portrait of Charles Alexander,[172] works by Johann Heinrich Schönfeld, Carl Borromäus Andreas Ruthart, Johann Heiss, and Katharina Treu as well as some works that formerly were in the collection of Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany.[173]

Ludwigsburg porcelain on display in the Ceramic museum.

The Landesmuseum Württemberg maintains two subsidiary museums at Ludwigsburg Palace, the Ceramic and Fashion museums, both opened at Ludwisburg in 2004. The first of these takes up all of the third floor of the New Hauptbau but the apartment of Duke Charles Eugene, a space of 2,000 square meters (22,000 sq ft) containing over 4,5000 exhibits of examples of porcelain, ceramics, faience, and pottery and the histories thereof, making it one of the largest in Europe. The museum collection contains 2000 pieces of original Ludwigsburg Porcelains and 800 pieces of Italian maiolica, purchased by Charles Eugene from dealers in Augsburg and Nuremberg. In totality, the museum collection includes porcelains from the manufacturies at Meissen, Berlin, Sèvres, and Vienna, and 20th century Art Nouveau pieces purchased from six countries since 1950.[174][175][176] The Fashion museum (German: Modemuseum), housed in the Festinbau and West Kavaliersbau,[177] displays about 700 various pieces of clothing and accessories from the 1750s to the 1960s, including articles of clothing by Charles Frederick Worth, Paul Poiret, Christian Dior, and Issey Miyake, and a silk nightgown that belonged to a Margrave of Baden.[178][179]

On the ground floor of the New Hauptbau is the lapidarium, housing original Baroque statuary by Andreas Philipp Quittainer, Carlo and Giorgio Feretti, Christian Friedrich Wilhelm Beyer and Pierre François Lejeune adversely effected by over two centuries of erosion.[180] The second floor of the New Hauptbau hosts the Princess Olga Cabinet Exhibition, exploring the life and times of the royal family of Württemberg in the 20th century though historical photographs taken inside the palace.[181] In Charles Eugene's apartment, on the third floor of the New Hauptbau, is the Princess Olga Cabinet, displaying pictures taken during the residence of Princess Olga and her husband in Charles Eugene's apartment from 1901 to 1932.[137]

For children aged four and beyond, there is an interactive museum called Kinderreich (Children's Kingdom), that aims to teach children about life in the court of the Duke of Württemberg via hands-on methods that include the wearing of period dress. Children are led through the dressing room, then to a mock courtroom that hosts several stations that recreate aspects of court life at Ludwigsburg.[182][183] The Young Stage (German: Junge Bühne) is yet another facet of Kinderreich wherein children learn about Baroque stage performance.[184]

In the Palace Theater are about 140 preserved original set pieces and props from the 18th and 19th centuries discovered during restoration work on the Theater, such as oil lamps used for stage lighting. These items were extensively restored to their original condition from 1987 until 1995 and, since 1995, one of the original stage pieces has been used for the Children's Stage (German: Junge Bühne). The Theater Museum also allows visitors to use reconstructed noise props used during Baroque plays to recreate the sound of thunder, wind, and rain.[21]

See also



  1. ^ The sources used here use different figures. Samantha Owens writes in Music at German Courts, 1715-1760 that settlers in Ludwigsburg had 20 years without taxation,[18] while the official websites for the city of Ludwigsburg and that of its museum of history state 15 years.[17][19]
  2. ^ In the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City are ten designs attributed to Donato Frisoni,[31] one of which is for a salon in Schloss Favorite that was signed by Frisoni and Duke Eberhard Louis in 1718.[32]
  3. ^ Both chapels were originally intended to be Lutheran and separated by function, but the Schlosskapelle would be Roman Catholic from 1737 to 1798 because of the reigns of Catholic dukes Karl Alexander and Charles Eugene.[30] However, the about 600 Catholics in Ludwigsburg, mostly Italians, were forbidden by law from worshiping in their rite until the Edict of Religion in 1806. Since 1829, the Schlosskapelle has been a Catholic institution but today is only used for festive functions.[26] The Ordenskapelle has been Protestant since the reign of Duke Charles Eugene.[35]
  4. ^ George III, in a bout of his infamous mental illness refused to recognize his daughter Charlotte as Queen of Württemberg even when Frederick I returned to the British fold in 1813,[54] nor when the couple's status as monarchs was confirmed at the Congress of Vienna the next year.[51]
  5. ^ Frisoni, himself one of the artisans Nette recruited from Prague in 1708,[33] employed a staff composed almost entirely of Italians.[92]
  6. ^ An 1816 invoice states that 31 types of fish (cod, kippers, anchovies, eels, tuna, as well as oysters and crabs) were kept at the palace, and in April of that year, the kitchen processed 2,770 red deer, 302 wild boar, and five hares.[123]
  7. ^ Allegedly, King Frederick designed this garden himself. An artist's rendition of this garden is available for viewing at the top of the History page on the Blooming Baroque's website.[148]


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Further reading

  • Fulco, Daniel (2016). "Chapter 5: Ducal Power and Magnificence: Carlo Innocenzo Carlone's Frescoes in Schloss Ludwigsburg (1731–1733)". Exuberant Apotheoses: Italian Frescoes in the Holy Roman Empire: Visual Culture and Princely Power in the Age of Enlightenment. BRILL. ISBN 9789004308053. 

External links

  • (in English) & (in German) Ludwigsburg Palace (State Home and Garden Authority Baden-Württemberg)
  • (in English) & (in German) Ludwigsburg Palace Festival
  • (in English) & (in German) Ludwigsburg Venetian Fair
  • (in German) Süddeutscher Barock
  • (in German) Residenzschloss Ludwigsburg (Landeskunde Online)
  • (in German) Ludwigsburg (
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