Bypass Repeated Content

A fortress and widow's residence

Kirchheim Palace

Illustration of a stag in Kirchheim Forest. Image: Stadtarchiv Kirchheim
COURTLY PURSUITS IN KIRCHHEIM FOREST

THE JOY OF HUNTING

Especially in the fall, Duke Carl Eugen and his retinue would partake in hunts, as did many other nobles. Hunts in the forests surrounding Kirchheim were as much a part of the excitement as trips to Teck Castle, game nights and opera performances.

Portrait of Duke Carl Eugen. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Dieter Jäger

Duke Carl Eugen.

RECORDS SHOW

Duke Carl Eugen's lavish hunts at Solitude Palace or Kirchheim unter Teck are documented in many ways. A diversion for the ruler and his peers, a huge effort for his staff. Court records, now housed at the Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg, show the logistical effort expended to feed and house the court attendants. They also show the society's celebration schedule and the costs associated with the multi-week hunts.

KIRCHHEIM GETS READY

On September 28, 1771, Carl Eugen and his retinue of 411 arrived at Kirchheim unter Teck. The palace, with only 45 rooms, was too small to accommodate so many guests, so most were housed with citizens in town and at inns, at an extreme organizational cost to the town officials! Because the court would not want to forgo their accustomed luxury, cooks, confectioners, hairdressers, tailors and an opera staff with a ballet company accompanied them.

Plans for the unbuilt theater at Kirchheim Palace. Image: Städtisches Museum Ludwigsburg

Plans for the unbuilt palace theater.

AN OPERA HOUSE FOR KIRCHHEIM

When staying in Kirchheim for a multi-week hunt, entertainment was provided for the retinue almost every night. In preparation for an earlier hunt in 1767, the duke had the court plant nursery developed into an opera house. This conversion was supervised by theater engineer Christian Keim, who had also built the large opera house in Ludwigsburg. In September and October 1771, a total of ten performances were given, although only five operas were on the program.

Portrait of Duchess Franziska von Hohenheim. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Robert Bothner

Franziska von Hohenheim.

A DUKE IN LOVE

Duke Carl Eugen's retinue included his official mistress, the opera singer Catharina Bonafini. She had been his companion for many years and had borne him two children. But everything changed on this visit. Bonafini was only allowed to accompany the duke once, when he went deerstalking on October 9, 1771. During his stay in Kirchheim, Carl Eugen fell in love with Franziska von Leutrum and his relationship with Madame Bonafini began to cool noticeably.

Royal retinue at target practice at Kirchheim Palace. Image: SWR, Gisela Reich

Royal retinue at target practice.

Mehr erfahren

Figures
Monuments & functions
Art & spaces
Work & play

Please select a maximum of 5 keywords.