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Hunting palace and summer residence with glorious views

Solitude Palace

Image of Duke Carl Eugen on a horse. Image: Landesmedienzentrum, Dieter Jäger
A royal passion for hunting

Coursing at

Solitude Palace

Duke Carl Eugen von Württemberg was a passionate hunter. He was particularly fond of coursing in the French style. He had a hunting park created around Solitude Palace and employed staff specifically for the hunt. There are comparable Baroque hunting parks in Ludwigsburg, Schwetzingen, or Weikersheim.

Coursing. Image: Wikipedia, in the public domain

Painting of a successful coursing.

COURSING

The French term for coursing, "parforce," means "with force." This type of hunting is a form of persistence hunting. It was particularly popular with European nobles in the 17th and 18th centuries. A trained pack of hounds pursued deer, foxes, wolves, or wild boar, while the hunters accompanied them on horses. This type of hunting became popular particularly through the French court, as there were ideal conditions for coursing in France. There, it is called "chasse à courre," and is still sometimes practiced today.

Map of Solitude Palace. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Robert Bothner

On the map of Solitude Palace, the lanes for coursing are still identifiable.

EVERYTHING FOR THE HUNT

Coursing required new hunting facilities around Baroque palaces. To ride quickly, the riders needed flat, open terrain with many hunting lanes. Duke Carl Eugen had the forests around Solitude Palace set up specifically for this purpose. What's more, while hunting, the hunters communicated with hunting or coursing horns, called "Trompes de Chasse." Later, this brass instrument developed into the French horn.

Solitude Palace in the fall. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Norbert Stadler

At Solitude Palace, hunting generally took place in the fall.

DUCAL ENJOYMENT

In the General Forest and Hunting Magazine in 1825, an editor described the duke's hunting habits. "To keep the hounds and prepare for coursing, the duke employs a hunting master, a hunting secretary, court hunting boys, five to six hunting squires, a game master, and four master hunters. For coursing, he imported costly horses from England and excellent hunting dogs (...) from France, and all of the forests in the area were furnished with many straight avenues, forming the shape of stars." Duke Carl Eugen hosted grand coursing events for his own enjoyment, but also to honor important visitors.

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