Family seat Hohenschwangau Castle

Romantically situated on a hill, Hohenschwangau Castle presents itself in a forest landscape with the mountains in the background. The royal summer residence was not quite as isolated as it appears in this steel engraving by Johann Gabriel Friedrich Poppel (1807-1882).

In 1829, Crown Prince Maximilian discovered the ruins of Schwanstein Castle on a hike from Füssen to Reutte in Tyrol. In 1832 he acquired the ruin, renamed it Hohenschwangau Castle and had it converted into his summer residence in the neo-Gothic style based on the designs of the architectural and theatre painter Dominikus Quaglio (1787-1837). The complex was completed in 1842. The interiors were decorated with more than 90 murals, mainly on the theme of medieval legends of knights, which must have given the young Ludwig much inspiration for his later building projects.

The royal family spent several months each summer at the castle. In addition to long hikes, Ludwig and his brother Otto (1848-1916) were able to go horseback riding, fishing and swimming here. It was only hunting that pleased Otto more than Ludwig. The photo shows the royal princes together with their mother Queen Marie (1825-1889) walking in the gardens at Hohenschwangau. They are accompanied by a lady-in-waiting and two men. Court photographer Joseph Albert (1825-1886) produced a whole series of photographs of the royal family’s summer stay in 1859.

Stefan Schnupp