King George V of Hanover and his wife Queen Marie had Marienburg Castle built as a rural summer residence. The castle was a gift for the Queen‘s 39th birthday. It was built by the architects Conrad Wilhelm Hase and Edwin Oppler from 1858 to 1867. It was supposed to be a palace of the arts as well as unite the arts, but could never be fully completed, since the Kingdom of Hanover was annexed by Prussia in 1866 and the royal family had to leave the country.
The Knights‘ Hall is the largest room in the castle and was supposed to be used together with the adjoining dining room for festivities and representation purposes.
The interior of both halls was never completed due to the war in 1866.
A special construction feature are the windows of the porch on the south side, which could (and still can) be completely embedded into the floor.
The dining room was intended for festive dinners, the daily family meals took place in a smaller dining room. Both rooms were quickly accessible from the kitchen in the basement.
The two tapestries date from the 17th century and were woven by Flemish masters. They show biblical motifs of the New Testament: left the book burning of Ephesus and right Paul in prison.
The salon was given a particularly elaborate design because Queen Marie wanted to receive high-ranking guests here. Elaborate carvings and the fine woods of oak, maple and American walnut made the manufacture of the ceiling one of the most expensive in the castle.
The rose pattern on the walls of the three representative rooms was applied to paper wallpaper using stencils.
The marble busts on the fireplace show the two daughters of King George V and Queen Marie, Princess Mary (left) and Princess Frederica (right).
The living room, together with the salon and the boudoir, form the representative rooms of Queen Marie. Unlike some others, these rooms could be completed as planned.
The ceiling is made of walnut, oak and maple wood. A reference to the owner was inserted around the mounting for the ceiling lamp. You can see a stylised „M“ with the crown attached.The ceilings and parquet floors were worked differently in each of the rooms. The queen chose rosewood furniture with bronze and porcelain decorations to furnish her representative rooms.
Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Kretschmar (1806-1897) painted the gouache pictures on the walls. They show part of the possessions (domains) of the Hanover royal family, others are in other rooms of the castle. There were more than 50 domains in total. With the income earned from the agriculture of these possessions, the royal family supported their royal household and financed the construction of Marienburg Castle.
The porcelain plates show cityscapes from the Kingdom of Hanover and the Duchy of Saxony-Altenburg, the home of Queen Marie.
The boudoir was the Queen‘s small private living room. The ceiling and wall panelling were made of oak.
The calendar sheet on the calendar above the secretary shows July 23, 1867. It was the last day that Queen Marie spent at her castle. Then she followed King George V into exile in Austria. On the shelf are photos of the royal Hanoverian family and their Danish and Russian relatives.
The mural of the umbrella vault was decorated with gold leaf. Natural colours were used, which were made from plants and minerals and whose luminosity has been preserved to this day.
The paintings in the library were badly damaged by storm damage in February 1867. When they were restoratively restored years later, they used more modern colours that faded and stained over time. The medallions on the ceiling show the portraits of German poets and thinkers from the Middle Ages.
The side shelves of the oak cabinets and all the details of the decoration were carved out of one piece of wood. The large table in the middle was a desk for reading and writing. Small carved wooden figures were placed on the tips all around. Unfortunately, they did not survive.
The fittings of the lower cabinet doors (long hinges) were elaborately made from wrought iron and not, as was usually the case, from cast iron. As a result, the manufacture of the fittings was ultimately the most expensive of the cabinets.
The busts on the bookcases are (starting to the right of the fireplace): Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), Martin Luther (1438-1546), Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787), Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809-1847), Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805) und Joseph Haydn (1732-1809).
This and the following rooms (behind the glass panes) were intended for the princesses Frederica and Marie. It is a small living room, a study room and a salon. The ceilings in these rooms are made of painted fir wood and the panelling is oak.
The cabinet decorated with beadwork and mother-of-pearl inlays was a wedding gift from Hanoverian merchants to King George and Queen Marie in 1843.
Behind the glass pane: The study room of the princesses.
The design of the princess aisle is based on a cloister. The doors lead into the princess‘ rooms.
The built-in cupboards on the left wall are made of oak and were used to store bed and table linen.
The medallion pictures on the window side are painted on canvas and then embedded in the wall. It is the ancestor gallery of King George V: Elector Ernest Augustus, Duke George of Calenberg, William the Younger, Ernest the Confessor, Henry the Mild and Otto the Victorious.
The ceiling and wall paintings in the salon of the princesses are still original and the furniture made of walnut is completely preserved. The original parquet floor is no longer preserved. Amongst other things, this part of the castle was used to house refugees after the Second World War, the floor suffered badly and had to be removed.
This is also the reason why the following rooms, the bedrooms of the princesses and the governess, cannot be seen. Not only is the floor no longer preserved here, but the paintings on the ceiling and walls have been painted over with lime paint.
The self-supporting spiral staircase is a successful example of processing cast iron. It does not have to be supported from below. The screws on the wall do not have a load-bearing function for the stairs, they only aid in making the stairs stable.
If you look up, you can see that the stairs stop at the top without leading anywhere. Originally it was supposed to look out onto a viewing platform, but this was no longer completed.
These rooms, together with the adjacent small room, formed the Chinese rooms. There are some specific structural features in these two rooms: the ceilings were not made of wood, but of stucco, a kind of plaster that was then painted. The two cast-iron columns, which visually separate the rooms, were also only painted with a wood grain. The use of cast iron was considered progressive and was used in the castle for various components.
The entrance hall was meant to impress guests as soon as they enter the castle. The ceiling paintings of the 14-meter-high star vault were created by Leonhard Gey and were decorated with gold leaf. Allegories of the arts are shown: music, dance, architecture, painting, sculpture, drawing, theatre and poetry.
The vault is supported by eight polygonal sandstone pillars. The sandstone work above the door to the knight‘s hall shows the coat of arms of Hanover (left) and Saxony-Altenburg (right), the queen‘s home.
The floor consists of Mettlacher panels, developed by Villeroy and Boch. The cast iron grates embedded in the floor are part of the underfloor heating. Under the grates are iron pipes through which warm water was led. This type of heating was considered ultra-modern at the time, but the heating effect was not sufficient for the large castle rooms.
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