A fortress and widow's residence

Kirchheim Palace

Duchess Franziska von Hohenheim's living room at Kirchheim Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Janna Almeida
DIFFERENT LIFESTYLES

THE LIVING ROOM

The changing decor across decades is evidenced by the Kirchheim Palace living room. The pictures depict furniture trends as well as the personal tastes of the dowager duchesses.

Detailed view of the living room at Kirchheim Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Julia Haseloff

Duchess Franziska von Hohenheim's living room.

DUCHESS FRANZISKA'S ROOMS

Franziska von Hohenheim's living areas in the south wing of Kirchheim Palace initially consisted of a row of six rooms on the south end and five rooms, a hall and stairwell on the north end. She used the rooms as, for example, an antechamber, living room, writing room, dressing room or bedroom. By expanding the south wing, she was able to add two more rooms as garden rooms.

Watercolor of the living room circa 1825. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, credit unknown

Watercolor of the living room circa 1825.

HOW DID DUCHESS FRANZISKA FURNISH HER ROOMS?

This question is answered by historic plans and inventories, which list exactly what furniture was used where. A watercolor from 1825, 14 years after Duchess Franziska's death, gives a good indication of how she probably used the living room. The walls are blue, accented by simple white curtains. The dark, polished mahogany furniture is linear, plain and elegant, in the typical classical style.

Portrait of Duchess Henriette von Württemberg, circa 1838. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Joachim Feist

Portrait of Duchess Henriette, 1838.

AND DUCHESS HENRIETTE?

When Duchess Henriette moved into the palace with her family, the rooms were redesigned again to suit the family's needs. She retained some of her predecessor's classical decor in the living room. However, over time, she added new accents that were more in line with the style of the period. She preferred vivid, patterned carpets, colorful wallpaper, heavy drapes and door curtains. Generously upholstered chairs, cozily arranged groups of chairs and a variety of potted plants were continually being added to her living areas.

Living room and furnishings, 1825. Image: Staatsgalerie Stuttgart

Living room and furnishings, 1852.

Living room and furnishings, 1857. Image: Städtisches Museum Ludwigsburg

Living room and furnishings, 1857.

FRESH DECOR

After 1850, Henriette had the living room partially redecorated. Curtains and carpets, upholstered furniture and some other furniture was updated and the number of paintings and keepsakes increased. Only the beloved parrot remained, in his cage atop a small, round table. Lady-in-waiting Eveline von Massenbach remembered the bird in her memoirs, where she described him as "a chatty parrot who was always nearby during meals."

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