Monday, March 12, 2012

Coronation of King Ludwig II of Bavaria (1864)

The Marstallmuseum is a unique place to visit. It is the premier museum in Europe, perhaps in the world, where the visitor can see a vast array of 18th and 19th century carriages and sleighs. It is located at the former royal stables, Nymphenburg Palace, Munich, Bavaria. It ranks alongside the Picadeiro (the former court riding school) in Lisbon and the comprehensive exhibition in the coach-house of Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace. 

One of the highlights of the collection is the Coronation coach of King Ludwig II of Bavaria (1864).

One would think that the exquisite and captivating meerschaum cheroot holder rendering of this royal coronation coach is ideally suited, thematically, to reside here in a showcase for all the world to see. Ironically, this is not the case! It is the property of the British Science Museum, London

It is identified as a "Cigar holder representing the coronation of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, Munich, Germany, 1864-1867." The curation continues: "Ornately carved from meerschaum – a versatile clay like material – this extravagant cigar holder was made to celebrate the coronation of Ludwig II (1845-1886) in 1864. 

King Ludwig II of Bavaria in generals' uniform and coronation robe

Ludwig II just after his accession to the throne of Bavaria in 1864

The pipe shows the royal coach led by six horses. Monarch of Bavaria until his death, Ludwig had a passion for building fairytale-like castles, 

Schloss Neuschwanstein in Bayern (Deutschland), colored photograph, 1904

but was also a significant patron of the arts. 

Ivory chandelier in the Hall of Mirrors at the Linderhof Palace

Richard and Cosima Wagner, photograph, 1872

Known variously as The Swan King, the Fairy Tale King and latterly ‘Mad King Ludwig,’ 

Ludwig II of Bavaria towards the end of his life c. 1882

he was controversially declared ‘insane’ shortly before apparently committing suicide in suspicious circumstances in 1886."


All we can say is "Wow" in several languages, or Prima! What a unique motif, what fluidity in its format, what extraordinarily precise detail, what exceptional condition for its age! 

And because you asked, here are its dimensions: 160 mm/6.3" (height) x 540 mm/21.26" (length) x 55 mm/2.17" (width). 

The time, the painstaking effort, the skilled craftsmanship, the delicate features, all preserved through time. It is evident that whatever circuitous route this cheroot holder took from It is evident that whatever circuitous route this cheroot holder took from the workbench of A. Zimmermann, Hofdrechsler, München, Germany, to a London museum,  those whose hands it passed through knew better than to light up. Today, it retains its pristine, flawless, near-mint condition. It celebrated a king's coronation in 1864. One hundred fifty years later, it is worth a 'king's ransom.' What more can be said?

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