Schloss Solitude, Supraporte mit der Darstellung der „Arithmetik“ in Gestalt der Minerva, um 1775

History revealed – What the official sources concealThe historian

The court records recount the official version, after all, the duke wanted to appear in the best light. But there are also files from the court administration, which only recorded the facts. Mishaps, scandals, love affairs—the topics that interest everyone—handed down by Carl Eduard Vehse.

Detail of a stucco sculpture from the Marble Hall in Solitude Palace

Stucco sculpture from the Marble Hall.

Pssst – Tell a friend!

It is particularly amusing anecdotes and everyday events that are not generally noted in court administration files. Some of these were published by historian and archivist Carl Eduard Vehse in 1853 in his multi-volumed work, "Geschichte der deutschen Höfe seit der Reformationszeit" ("History of German Courts since the Reformation"). To the displeasure of the courts concerned, the generally public was excited by the sometimes scandalous stories. In the volume, "Die Höfe zu Württemberg" ("The Courts of Württemberg"), the court of Württemberg was shown relatively mildly.

Colored image from Solitude Palace, circa 1770

Solitude Palace circa 1770.

Solitude Palace – A joyful place, according to Vehse

"Solitude, once one of the rawest heights in the forested area between Stuttgart and Leonberg, which pleased him due to its lovely expansive views, now became a place of greatest joy. Like Ludwigsburg, Solitude was built on another's land; it belonged to a neighboring village: Gerlingen. Lakes were dug out of mountains, then thousands of farmers lined them with clay and filled them with water as part of their compulsory labor. The forests were illuminated: from artificial grottoes in the middle of the forest, whole legions of fauns and satyr sprang out and danced ballet until midnight."

Gilded chairs in Solitude Palace

The decor was of the finest quality.

Archived for posterity: the more demur version

The files of the court administration of Württemberg slumber in the state archives. The expenses for the construction of the palace and garden, the wages of servants, and the living expenses of the ducal family are documented many times therein. What were celebrations like, what was there to eat, who was invited; such questions are answered in these files. Together with personal journals, they paint a vivid image of the 18th century, even without the scandals.

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