A fortress and widow's residence

Kirchheim Palace

Der Saal im Turm mit seiner Ausstattung 1852; Foto: Staatsgalerie Stuttgart
COMFORTABLE AND PRESENTABLE

THE DINING ROOM

Whether for coffee with guests or an intimate midday meal, Franziska von Hohenheim's dining room at Kirchheim Palace offered the right setting for any occasion.

Portrait of Duchess Franziska von Hohenheim, now hanging in Kirchheim Palace. Image: Staatsanzeiger für Baden-Württemberg, Anja Stangl

Franziska von Hohenheim.

THE DOWER HOUSE BECOMES COMFORTABLE

Franziska von Hohenheim's renovation of Kirchheim Palace took more than a year. Especially the living areas on the third floor were to be furnished comfortably while remaining presentable. The dowager duchess also needed space for her classical furniture and her keepsakes.

A DINING ROOM FOR EVERY SEASON

The first room, directly off the stairwell, served as a summer dining room. It was a rectangular room spanning the entire width of the building. Light shone in through two windows on both the courtyard side and the ditch side. Blue wallpaper covered the walls along with eight landscape paintings. Mirrors, consoles and seating furniture complete the decor. In the winter months, Franziska used a smaller dining room with an oval iron stove deeper within the sequence of rooms.

19th-century Meissen porcelain. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Steffen Hauswirth

Table setting for a ducal coffee visit.

THE COFFEE TABLE

The furnishings in the large summer dining room included twelve armchairs. As needed, the dowager duchess would have additional seating brought in so that she could also entertain and feed larger groups in a suitable fashion. As told in Ottilie Wildermuth's stories, the "ladies of town" were regularly invited for "coffee visits". During these visits, the ladies would "sit in a circle around the duchess's sofa and drink coffee from small Meissen cups.

View of the room in 1857. Image: Städtisches Museum Ludwigsburg

The room in the tower with its furnishings, 1857.

DUCHESS HENRIETTE CHANGES THE ROOMS

During Duchess Henriette's residence, the summer dining room was converted into an antechamber, a receiving room from which the rest of the rooms could be accessed. The new dining room was in the large octagonal room in the tower. Two watercolor paintings from the 19th century show how the decor changed over time.

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