Germany’s Oldest Porcelain Palace: Rastatt Favorite Palace

Larger Than Life: Art that inspires us through the ages
By Phil Butler
Phil Butler
Phil Butler
Phil Butler is a publisher, editor, author, and analyst who is a widely cited expert on subjects from digital and social media to travel technology. He's covered the spectrum of writing assignments for The Epoch Times, The Huffington Post, Travel Daily News, HospitalityNet, and many others worldwide.
July 18, 2021 Updated: July 19, 2021

Rastatt Favorite Palace, located near Baden-Baden, Germany—where Romans discovered healing hot springs—served as a pleasure palace for the Margravine Sibylla Augusta (1675–1733). It is a short carriage ride from Schloss Rastatt, the oldest Baroque residence in the German Upper-Rhine.

The oldest of Germany’s so-called porcelain palaces—home of one of the world’s largest collections of Chinese porcelains—it is also the only one that remains intact.

It was built as a hunting lodge by Johann Michael Ludwig Rohrer between 1710 and 1727. An example of Baroque-era architecture and style, the palace’s exquisite interiors are ostentatious. The public rooms are filled with fine tiles, embroideries, Bohemian glass art, and other facets designed to complement the more than 1,500 porcelains housed within these walls.

Epoch Times Photo
The margravine’s prized collection of early Meissen porcelain is the largest in the world. Some 160 early examples have survived and are on display. Sibylla Augusta is thought to have been one of the first customers of the factory founded in 1710 in Albrechtsburg in Meissen, Germany. (Martine Beck/State palaces and gardens of Baden-Württemberg)
rastatt-favorite facade
Favorite Palace is where the court of Margravine Sibylla Augusta of Baden-Baden met for banquets, concerts, and hunting. (Bình Nguyễn/Pixabay)
Rastatt_Favorite_LMZ_Hecker
The Florentine cabinet is the most famous room of the palace and features pietra dura (Italian for “hard stone”) panels, precious lapidary artwork from Florence. They are from the Cosimo III de’ Medici factory in Tuscany, Italy. Paper-thin plates made of marble, granite, and semiprecious stone were formed into 758 panels of bright illustrations.  (Hecker/Rastatt Favorite)
pebble facade
An unusual accent of Favorite Palace is the pebble plaster used to seal and decorate the exterior walls. According to the story, Margravine Sibylla Augusta von Baden-Baden asked poor children to collect pebbles from streams and the Murg riverbed during the palace’s construction. It is believed that she paid for each basket of pebbles with her own money and a chunk of bread. (Gerd Eichmann/CC 4.0)
pebble facade
A closeup of the pebbled facade reveals Sibylla Augusta’s creativity. Not unusual in the Baroque period, the style was mainly employed for adorning garden halls and grottoes. The use of a style typical in her native Bohemia is one example of how she incorporated her personal preferences into the design. (Julia Haseloff/Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg)
flower room
The rooms reveal Sibylla Augusta’s uncompromising quest for ornate beauty. As this photo of the Flower Room shows, no expense was spared in transforming Favorite Palace into a functional masterwork to house the most prized ceramics of an era. (Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg)
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The margravine’s collections include the unique “black porcelain” Böttger stoneware that makes use of black-gold lacquer painting. This collection reveals a fascination with Chinese art during the period. In addition to early Meissen porcelain, Favorite Palace has a dazzling display of textiles, lacquer, rare furnishings, and other ceramics. (Martine Beck-Copolla/Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg)
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Favorite Palace is surrounded by an English-style landscaped park. Back in the palace’s heyday, the gardens featured tree-lined avenues, symmetrical parterres (ornamental flower beds) with fountains, and orangeries (conservatory buildings). Parts of this Baroque garden have survived. Above, the rear facade of the palace from the park. (Gerd Eichmann/CC BY-SA 4.0)
Large image of Favorite
Baroque royalty often owned pleasure palaces separate from their official residences. After the death of Sibylla Augusta’s husband, she started construction of Favorite Palace, where her son, Ludwig Georg, spent much time hunting. Not much is known about the raucous parties rumored to have been held here, but several generations of margraves enjoyed the palace and its lavish surrounding nature. (Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg)
garden 2
(Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg)

Phil Butler is a publisher, editor, author, and analyst who is a widely cited expert on subjects from digital and social media to travel technology. He’s covered the spectrum of writing assignments for The Epoch Times, Huffington Post, Travel Daily News, HospitalityNet, and many others worldwide.

Phil Butler
Phil Butler
Phil Butler is a publisher, editor, author, and analyst who is a widely cited expert on subjects from digital and social media to travel technology. He's covered the spectrum of writing assignments for The Epoch Times, The Huffington Post, Travel Daily News, HospitalityNet, and many others worldwide.