In April, I blogged about Sophie Charlotte, the sister of George I, and her palace in Berlin. Sophie Charlotte was the wife of the first King in Prussia. They had one son, who became King Frederick William I in 1713 and married his first cousin, Sophia Dorothea, daughter of George I and sister of George II. Keeping it in the family, as I said last month.
|Charlottenburg Palace garden in the snow|
Frederick William I did little to Charlottenburg during his reign. He was succeeded by his son Frederick the Great (Frederick II) in 1740, at the age of only 28. He stayed in the Charlottenburg Palace when he came to Berlin from his beloved Potsdam, but the small (smallish!) palace that Sophie Charlotte had created was not nearly grand enough for her grandson. Frederick the Great had a huge new wing built along with stabling for his own regiment of Guards.
|Charlottenburg Palace interior|
|Charlottenburg Palace, Oval Chamber|
|Charlottenburg Palace, King's study|
All the Prussian royal family were mad about Chinese porcelain. Their collection was already over 2,700 pieces in 1700 and it continued to grow. The restored porcelain rooms at the Charlottenburg Palace can seem overwhelming. And they're meant to be. These were royals who wanted to make an impact on any visitor who came. My pictures can show only parts of the rooms. You have to imagine for yourself what it's like to see a room where every corner is totally over the top, just like this. And the mirrors make it even more so.
|A corner of the Porcelain Gallery, Charlottenburg Palace|
|A second corner of the Porcelain Gallery, Charlottenburg Palace|
|Detail of the porcelain gallery. Possibly an acquired taste?|
Frederick the Great wanted everything to his own incredibly high specification. He wanted porcelain to match the wall hangings and interior design of his palaces and required the royal porcelain factory to make pieces in a particular shade of blue called "bleu mourant". Apparently it was incredibly difficult and expensive to create, but he was the boss, so they managed it. I assume he was paying the bill for all the failures.
I found only one piece of "bleu mourant" on show in Charlottenburg, dating from the 1780s, around the end of the reign of Frederick the Great (who died 1786).
|Prussian porcelain in "bleu mourant", 1780s, commissioned by Frederick the Great|
By comparison with the gallery full of Chinese porcelain, Frederick the Great's love of "bleu mourant" seems quite restrained.