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Würzburg Residence

Southern Imperial Apartments – Mirror Cabinet (Room 9)

 

Picture: Mirror Cabinet

The wall decoration of the Mirror Cabinet, completed between 1740 and 1745 and the most precious interior created in the Würzburg Residence under Prince-Bishop Friedrich Carl von Schönborn, was completely destroyed in the bombing raids of 1945.

Based on a preserved mirror fragment, numerous photographs and a watercolour by Georg Dehn (c. 1870/73), the entire room shell was however recreated between 1979 and 1987, using the old techniques. This reconstruction, together with the rescued furnishings, gives visitors an idea of the overwhelming effect originally produced by what was perhaps the most original example of interior decoration in the Würzburg rococo style.

 

Picture: Detail of the painting on the wall of the Mirror Cabinet

Detail of the painting
on the wall of the
Mirror Cabinet

Mirror cabinets are found in numerous German baroque and rococo palaces. They are usually panelled rooms with inset mirrors, carvings and stucco-work, where porcelain was frequently displayed.

The walls of the Würzburg Mirror Cabinet, however, consisted entirely of glass panels, which were prepared on the back using a special technique: either paintings were produced on the partially recessed mirror ground, or drawings were engraved into a gold ground that was applied on the back of the mirror and then underlaid with dark gloss paint. By this means, instead of displaying Oriental porcelain figures in front of the mirrors as was customary, a rich array of exotic figures and scenes could be incorporated directly into the mirrors.


 
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