Teutonic Splendor, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha, and the Great Exhibition of 1851
In continuing my mania for all things Teutonic, prompted by my Ring experience, I present this architectural wonder.
designer, Ferdinand Rothbart
makers, Thomas Hoffmeister and Thomas Behrens
carved oak and brown plush
place of origin, Coburg
acquired by the V&A in 1967
In addition to last weeks chair,shown below, and in last weeks post,
the sideboard was commissioned by the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg, Albert’s neck of the woods. As I mentioned last week the chairs and this splendid sideboard, described as “in the German-Gothic style of the middle ages”, were shown at the Great Exhibition of 1851.
from Lane’s telescopic view of the ceremony of Her majesty opening the Great Exhibition of All Nations,
designed by Rawlins, London, August 15th 1851
It would have been difficult for the dashing and reform minded prince to resist the pieces. Aside from their great beauty and craftsmanship, his ties as a member of the house of Saxe-Coburg, and a childhood raised in Coburg , would have made the set irresistible. Typical of so much that I love about these ponderous 19th century sideboards, more like an entire Gothic city block, is that they are overwrought with a particular theme. In this case Germanic “Gothick”, and the ever present love the Germans have for the forest. Forest dwellers such as deer, boars, and a bear frolic about, unaware of the huntsmen with bugle and spears in hand. I’ve mentioned before my love of hunt themed sideboards, this one combined with a motif of rose windows, gothic arcades, a central shield and accented in brown plush, is just too wonderful to resist.
Good purchase your Majesty.
b. 26th August 1819
d. 14th December 1861
by Franz Xavier Winterhalter
(He was a handsome devil.)
Initially intended for Balmoral, it and the chairs ended up as I mentioned last week in the Evening Drawing Room of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh.
The sideboard and chairs, two of which are shown, are illustrated in a watercolor by George Greig ca. 1863.
artist to the Queen
The image is especially poignant as it is most likely a memento of the Queen’s loss. The Prince had just died and the two female figures are in deep mourning dresses.
The image is small but the sideboard and chairs are visible if you look closely.
Have a great weekend.
BTW, the watercolor, ” Palace of Holyroodhouse: the presence Chamber or Evening Drawing Room”, by George Greig, 1863, is part of the Royal Collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Wouldn’t want to offend the Queen.