The Landscape Guide

Baroque Gardens in Germany

 Herrenhausen Wilhelmshöhe Schleissheim Nymphenburg Karlsruhe Ludwigsburg Brühl Schönborn Marquardsburg Favorite Gaibach Pommersfelden Brüchsal Waghäusel Würzburg Veitshochheim

The princely seat of Karlsruhe (Fig. 462) shows how completely the idea of the garden which dominated the eighteenth century—that century of princes, as one may call it. 
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In 1709 the Margrave Charles William of Baden-Durlach built himself a little shooting-box in the middle of the Hardtwald to serve him as his Trianon. A hunting-tower which was in an isolated position in front of the house, looking towards the wood, was the middle point for thirty-two walks that were cut in the surrounding wood. Even the ground-plan of the castle had to be arranged to suit the prince’s whim, and its side wings were set at an obtuse angle in a line with two avenues. The segment of the circle enclosed by these wings and the buildings that adjoined them farther along was laid out as a pleasure-garden the front part was enclosed by groups of buildings for the court nobles, or for servants’ use—one group between every two avenues—arranged in precisely the same way as at Nymphenburg. The oddness of the plan at the back was really grotesque; in the little circular bit round the tower there were twenty-four small houses, one at the starting-point of each avenue, varying in ground-plan, but all alike in size; each was provided with its own little garden, used for different purposes, as fountain-house, bath-house, pump-house, etc. The place round the tower was adorned with four fountains, and there were others put about in the thick of the wood where the avenues are cut.

All these separate pieces, taken from the idea of the French garden, are in this place stiffly designed and too bizarre. The margrave soon preferred Karlsruhe to the Residence. at Durlach, which was growing slowly because of the opposition of the burghers, so he quickly made up his mind to establish himself firmly there; and it was soon taken as a permanent home to settle in. The front walks in the park, which led from the dwellings of the court servants, were made into streets for the new town, which now received the name of Karlsruhe. The town accommodated itself all the more readily to the symmetrical order of this park, because it embodied an ideal aimed at at the time—the uniformity of the burgher houses: these had the Residence for central point, threw it into relief and encircled it, and this was the first thing demanded.

The garden at Karlsruhe in itself was never of great importance, even when it was enlarged behind the house near the new castle building. In some respects the fine garden made by Charles William’s neighbour, Duke Eberhard, Ludwig IV. of Würtemberg, at Ludwigsburg near Stuttgart, and at much the same time, was far superior (Figs. 463a and 463b). 

Illustrations on CD edition of Garden Visit and Travel Guide - see


Illustrations on CD edition of Garden Visit and Travel Guide - see


The arrangement of the park on the side opposite the pleasure-garden has a certain resemblance to Karlsruhe. But water, which is entirely wanting at Karlsruhe, is present here in a series of fine cascades connecting the main castle on the side of the park with the little casino called Favorite standing high on the hill. On the other side also the pleasure-garden, which is remarkably large and fine, is on slightly rising ground, so that the castle is the lowest of all. On one of the higher terraces stands the famous orangery, which had distinguished the Renaissance gardens of the lords of Würtemberg in earlier days. The architect who gave the final form to this garden was Giuseppe Frisoni, an Italian, who began his career as a worker in stucco, but afterwards gained experience by travelling in France.

The princes of the Church soon began to rival those of this world. It was with difficulty that they had been able to preserve their right of rule during the religious struggles which took place in Germany, but after the Peace of Westphalia had lastingly ensured their existence and their safety in the South and West, they felt it to be more and more necessary to express by outward signs, in the same way as their worldly friends, that feeling of sovereignty which was added to their spiritual dignity, since they were princes of the blood and gentlemen of standing. The war had been hard on their estates, which were always in dispute, and they came for the most part into possessions that were utterly spoiled; it was sheer necessity that forced them to build, for otherwise they had nowhere to live. The passion for building, which inspired them all, can only be compared with that of the Roman princes of the Church in the time of the Renaissance. They felt in just the same way that their works were only to endure for the short time of their own rule, and would in no way affect the future. This acted as a spur which made them strive to do their utmost for this limited space of time, and so connect their name with the pride and splendour of their buildings.

The archbishopric of Cologne had to endure the troubles of the Thirty Years’ War long after it was over; and it remained a bone of contention even between Louis XVI. and the State. Clement Joseph of Bavaria, who after the Peace of Nymwegen in 1689 was able to enjoy his rule, stood in the nearest relationship to the Bavarian court; indeed for more than a hundred years after this date the archbishopric was a kind of right-of-the- second-son for Bavaria, and this comes out in the resemblance of ideas for building. When Clement Joseph was in power, his residential castles, Bonn and Brühl, were mere rubbish heaps. 

Still, although he betook himself almost at once to the rebuilding of his castle at Bonn, it was only his nephew Clement Augustus who was able to finish the place there, and to build a series of other castles, among which the pleasure-castle of Brühl (Schloss Augustusburg) takes the chief place, with its fine gardens. "The first wish of the owner, the first care of the architect, is to get a garden planted before he begins on the buildings": thus does Blondel define the position of the garden in relation to architecture in his Cours d’Architecture. In any case, house and garden must not be treated independently of one another. Clement secured the very best of helpers in Girard, who during at least ten years proved in a splendid way his skill and experience, both at Schleissheim and at Nymphenburg. He made the plans for the park at Brühl, and was often there in person to see them carried out (Fig. 464).

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 The water was very finely diverted, especially into canal and pond, but the way it was divided up was unusual at that time. Not only was the whole somewhat irregular garden plot encircled by canals, which also went round the individual thickets—a reminder of the French Renaissance garden—but the chief feature was a great canal in the form of a cross, in the middle of which there was a small island, not where the parterre is lengthened out, but in the axis of the court of honour; it was reached by a bridge over another narrow strip of water, The position of the parterre on the side of the south wing is also rather unusual; the garden front is built out in a wide terrace with two wings. The parterre itself is handsome, and on large lines, divided by waters and beds, which clearly show the hand of Girard: the only thing wanting is the wide view of the water that we get in both the Bavarian gardens.

The numerous small buildings that enliven the park remind one of Nymphenburg but everything here seems rather casual. The charming little casino called Falkenlust is at the end of a side walk, which issues from the great central star in the park. Nearer the castle is the amusing little Chinese house, very suitably dubbed the "Maison Sans Gêne" (Fig. 465). 

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The wish for private life, and detachment from the more and more burdensome shows, made itself felt in things little and great, as the eighteenth century grew older. More was known about Chinese building than when the Trianon and the Pagodenburg were put up, and this little new house had curved roofs hung about with bells. The so-called Schneckenhaus (Snail-shell) is a thoroughly baroque affair (Fig. 466)

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 set up in the middle of a circular pond: it is a kind of compromise between the old Schneckenberg and a Chinese tower. The park at Brühl shows all manner of indications of a new style, without abandoning the large straight lines required by the French garden, but yet more decidedly than most places that belong to the first half of the eighteenth century. Particular boskets, especially near the Chinese building, show wavy lines, though of course they are controlled by the feeling for symmetry.

The great importance that the smaller ecclesiastical princes attached to the land was not so much because of particular castles, but rather for the cultivation and improvement of their whole estates, which were not too big to be looked after personally. Like the old Romans, these spiritual lords required their accustomed luxury wherever they went: accordingly Clement Joseph of Cologne had a corps de logis portatif constructed for use on his travels, and this was made by a French architect and decorator called Oppenord; unfortunately no trace of it has survived, So these lords built themselves pleasure-houses and shooting-boxes in every pretty spot on their estates, so that they might go from one to another along the pleasant paths and streets and avenues, which broke up the country as though it were a park. Clement Augustus made an avenue of four rows of trees, from the Residence at Bonn to the castle at Poppeisdorf, which was a fine little erection with a round open interior court—a design we have often met with in Spain and in Italy. Both castle and garden were the work of Robert de Cotte, who built the castle at Bonn. The house was very greatly altered afterwards, and of the garden little is known; but in addition to the ordinary water arrangements it contained a cascade, a theatre, an arena for wild beasts to fight in, and butts. It was chiefly meant as a place for a park and for boskets, which could not be had at Bonn, where there was no room except for laying out a parterre.

How firmly and prominently the garden stood in the forefront of men’s minds is indicated by Clement Augustus’s institution of a “ Confrérie des Fleuristes,” Their sanctuary was the chapel of Poppeisdorf, which had to be decked with fresh flowers every day. A figure of Christ as a gardener, with Mary Magdalene, composed the altarpiece under an open berceau. From the castle of Poppeisdorf, which had the advantage of a view over the Kreuzberg and the Siebengebirge, a road led to the middle of the Kottenforst, and at the end of it stood the handsome castle of Herzogenlust, awaiting its master. A second road was planned to lead from Poppelsdorf to Brühl, while another led from there to Cologne. Clement put a charming little hunting-box on the top of the Humeling. This place, Clemenswert, consisted of one central building and eight detached pavilions placed round it in a circle. The direct influence of France is undeniable, but the task is accomplished in a rather original way at Clemenswert: eight paths start from the eight pavilions, making a sort of star; the three at the back are connected by a rectangular canal with three basins, and in front the middle path leads to the stables.