One of the largest historic residences in Europe

Mannheim Baroque Palace

To art and science

Carl Theodor as founder

The Elector founded the Frankenthal Porcelain Factory and the Academy of Sciences. At Mannheim Palace he owned paintings and copperplate engravings, a natural history cabinet and a court library. Pieces from these collections are now on display again in the palace.

Mannheim Baroque Palace, Chinese Tea house, around 1756; photo: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Steffen Hauswirth

Precious porcelain adorned the halls of the royal residence.

“White gold” from Frankenthal

In 1755, Carl Theodor granted Strasbourg porcelain manufacturer Paul Anton Hannong the privilege to build a factory in Frankenthal. In 1762 it became the property of the Elector. A few of these pieces are on display in the exhibition: for example filigree figures such as the couple “Oceanus and Tethys” and prestigious table pieces, as well as animals, including a rhinoceros! A charming new acquisition is a group of sleighs “with 2 people by horse” dating from 1763 and which once belonged to the palace's décor.

Portrait Carl Theodor by Heinrich Carl Brandt, around 1767; photo: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Steffen Hauswirth

He founded an art gallery for some 1,000 exhibits.

Paintings and copperplate engravings return

In 1758, the Elector founded a copperplate engravings and drawings cabinet. He also owned many paintings by Dutch, Flemish and Italian artists. In the west wing of the Palace, Carl Theodor established a large gallery for around 1,000 exhibits. Some of these works came back to Mannheim in 2007 on permanent loan from the Munich Alte Pinakothek, including two still life paintings by Katharina Treu, “Der Hl. Andreas” by Johann Philipp van der Schlichten and a copperplate engraving by Giovanni Piranesi.

Mannheim Baroque Palace, Library before 1945; photo: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

The Elector collected around 100,000 books.

A treasure trove of books: the court library

As of 1755, the royal court library was established in the east cross wing. Carl Theodor had already inherited a sizeable collection of books from his predecessor Carl Philipp. However, his interest in and passion for collecting was quite unbelievable: by the end of the 18th century, the collection had grown to some 100,000 books. This meant that Mannheim had one of the largest court libraries of the time. Some of these books – the oldest among them date back to the 16th century – can be seen in the exhibition.

“Wonders of Nature”

In 1763, the Elector founded the Academy of Sciences of the Electoral Palatinate. It supported physical, astronomical and meteorological research. However, land surveying also aroused royal interest. In a natural history cabinet, which was also housed on the ground floor of the palace, Carl Theodor collected fossils, minerals and ostrich eggs. Examples of this passion for collecting, such as the herbarium, are on display here. You can also see some original land measurement devices and a table display case.


Take a look at Elisabeth Augusta's library cabinet found right next to the permanent exhibition. It is one of the palace's exceptional points of interest.

Other highlights in Mannheim Baroque Palace