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One of the largest historic residences in Europe

Mannheim Baroque Palace

The prince-electors' Mannheim Palace, copper engraving circa 1782, engraved by the Klauber brothers. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Andrea Rachele
Three cheers for art and science

The creations of

Carl Theodor

The prince-elector created the Frankenthal porcelain factory, the Academy of the Sciences, the Drawing Academy, and the Gallery of Antiquities. In Mannheim, he had paintings and copper engravings, a Natural History Cabinet, and a royal library. Pieces from these collections are again on display in the palace.

Precious porcelain from the Frankenthal factory, now in the "Art and Culture at the Court of Mannheim" exhibition. Image: Staatsanzeiger für Baden-Württemberg, Petra Schaffrodt

Precious porcelain decorated the rooms of the prince-elector's residence.

"White gold" from Frankenthal

In 1755, Carl Theodor bestowed upon the Strasbourg porcelain factory of Paul Anton Hannong the privilege of building a factory in Frankenthal. In 1762, it became the property of the prince-electors. Some of these pieces can be seen in the exhibition, such as filigree figurines like the pair of "Oceanus and Tethys," representational centerpieces and animal figurines. The rhinoceros originally had a clock on its back and stood in the prince-elector's bedroom! A charming new purchase is the sleigh group "with 2 people and a horse" from 1763, which was once part of the palace furnishings.

Portrait of Carl Theodor by Heinrich Carl Brandt, circa 1767, Mannheim Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Steffen Hauswirth

He created a gallery for approximately 1,000 paintings and images.

Paintings and copper engravings return to the palace

In 1758, the prince-elector founded a cabinet for copper engravings and drawings. He also owned many paintings by Dutch, Flemish, and Italian artists. In the western wing of the palace, Carl Theodor created a large gallery for approximately 1,000 works of art. Some of these pieces returned to Mannheim in 2007, on permanent loan from the Alte Pinakothek in Munich, such as two still lives by Katharina Treu, "Saint Andreas" by Johann Philipp van der Schlichten, and copper engravings by Giovanni Piranesi.

Library Cabinet in Mannheim Palace, historical photograph before 1945. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

The prince-elector collected approximately 100,000 books.

Written treasures: the royal library

Beginning in 1755, the prince-electors' royal library was established in the eastern wing. Carl Theodor inherited a considerable collection of books from his predecessor, Carl Philipp. Yet his interests and his passion for collecting were incredible: At the end of the 18th century, the collection included approximately 100,000 books. Mannheim therefore had once of the largest royal libraries of its time, which, beginning in 1763, was also open to intellectuals from the Electoral Palatinate and beyond three days each week. Some of these books can be seen in the exhibition today. The oldest of them date from the 16th century.

Table display case from the prince-elector's Natural History Cabinet. Image: Staatsanzeiger für Baden-Württemberg, Petra Schaffrodt

In Mannheim, the prince-elector had a Natural History Cabinet.

"Natural curiosities"

In 1763, the prince-elector established the Electoral Palatinate Academy of the Sciences. It supported research in physics, astronomy, and meteorology. However, land measurement also piqued the prince-elector's interest. In a Natural History Cabinet that was also on the ground floor of the palace, Carl Theodor collected fossils, minerals, and ostrich eggs. Examples of this passion for collecting, such as a herbarium, are presented here. Original measurement devices and one of two preserved table display cases from the Natural History Cabinet can also be seen here.

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