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A fortress and widow's residence

Kirchheim Palace

From stronghold to royal residence. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Thomas Kiel
FROM STRONGHOLD TO ROYAL RESIDENCE

HISTORY OF DESIGN

Still visible at Kirchheim Palace today: defensive structures from the former 16th-century stronghold, along with classical and historical 19th-century interior decor.

Defensive wall at Kirchheim Palace. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Andrea Rachele

For protection and defense.

A LATE MEDIEVAL CITADEL

As the best-fortified section of the 1538 stronghold, the palace was the last retreat while simultaneously providing military control of Kirchheim. For this reason, it had two gates: one into the town and one outside of the wall. This was typical for late medieval citadels, like the Old Castle in Stuttgart. Today, the palace complex is largely built with materials from the late Middle Ages, lending it its military character.

Kirchheim unter Teck with fortifications, land register map from 1828. Image: Stadtarchiv Kirchheim unter Teck

Land register map from 1828.

AN OUTDATED STRONGHOLD RECEIVES AN UPDATE

Kirchheim was never a truly modern stronghold. And yet, Duke Christoph had it updated in 1551, with something Italian. He had two bastions added. Their pointed shape made it possible to exchange volleys of gunfire. There were no longer any blind spots for attackers to approach undetected.

Kirchheim unter Teck, by Andreas Kieser, 1683. Image: Wikipedia, public

Kirchheim unter Teck, by Andreas Kieser, 1683.

Interior of Kirchheim Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Joachim Feist

A classical living room.

CLASSICAL ROOMS

Duchess Franziska von Hohenheim made a point of modernizing the palace in 1795. She focused on a more presentable entrance area and modern living areas inside. Clean lines, bright colors and furnishings made of polished mahogany with simple decorations inspired by antiquity characterized the decor.

Watercolor of garden room at Kirchheim Palace, Pieter Francis Peters, 1857. Image: Staatsgalerie Stuttgart

Watercolor of the garden room, circa 1857.

FROM BIEDERMEIER TO HISTORICISM

Duchess Henriette changed the living area furnishings again. The cool severity of the classical furniture was given up in favor of more comfortable Biedermeier furniture. Rounder furniture styles, as well as in influx of paintings, potted plants and small tables for handwork, were typical. Later, upholstered seating was added, its design inspired by the baroque period. With colorful carpets and a combination of different styles, the rooms seem cluttered by today's standards.

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