Kaiser Wilhelm and his bad taste in castles.

Earlier this year, I made an important discovery: Kaiser Wilhelm I had really bad taste, I mean, really bad taste. Schloss Babelsberg, his grotesque summer residence just outside Berlin, is a perfect example of why you won’t find a Wilhelm I chair or ottoman or whatever in any fine antiques store, there’s Louis XV and XVI, there’s even Louis XIII if you don’t care for clichés, there’s Queen Anne, Empire, which is basically Napoleon, everything Victorian, there’s been a lot done in Victorian style, she reigned so very long, then there’s Louis Philippe, George III, the Swedes have their Gustaf, the Austrians have Joseph II and the Americans got their colonial style, I think the colonies belonged mostly to these Georges on the British throne, so it’s safe to say it’s Georgian style, but Wilhelm I? Forgotten with an effort. As if he had never lived. One must know, however, that this particular catastrophy’s architect was none other than Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Biedermeier’s Norman Foster, one of the best Germany has ever had, at least at the beginning, in the early 1830s, when they started construction. Later, after Prince Wilhelm was declared Crown Prince and to inherit Prussia’s throne, his brother’s marriage had remained childless, the budget was increased, allowing them to put more effort in it, demanded especially by Wilhelm’s wife Augusta, she needed even more Gothic bling, for some strange reason everything Gothic was fashionable at the time, an effort that Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s health did not agree with, he died during the planning of the extensions in 1841. Just take a look at it, you’ll understand.

4 thoughts on “Kaiser Wilhelm and his bad taste in castles.

  1. Thank you so much for the excellent photos and history/design lesson. Really fascinating even if this castle is much better from a distance. I last saw it with scaffolding and on a foggy day when it looked romantic but it definitely isn’t ready for a close-up.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So, was the dog a post Gothic bling period or not? Am so confused by the presence of this dog’s statue right now…
    Thank you for enriching our knowledge with this crucial architectural fact that will most certainly be sent to the land of Oblivion of my middle aged brain…or not. I tend to remember weird things sometimes. Anyway, pour faire simple, merci de cette visite!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The dog‘s quite mysterious, canine ornaments are so very rare in royal households, are there any dog statues in Versailles or Windsor Castle? Anyway, as there was no one around to ask that day, we should google it… „Gothic bling dog of Babelsberg“

      Like

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