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The oldest ecclesiastical Baroque residence on the Upper Rhine

Bruchsal Palace

Domed Hall in Bruchsal Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer
Perfect celebrations like in France

BAROQUE "TABLE CEREMONY"

Public life in the residence of the prince-bishops of Speyer revolved around court ceremony as it was known from France: an effective instrument of royal representation. Details could be learned from theoretical treatise, such as the one written by Julius von Rohr.

Recreated scene of a coffee party in the Royal Hall, Bruchsal Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Bruchsal palace administration

A party in the Royal Hall.

Court rules from France

At the Baroque court of the Sun King, Louis XIV of France, court ceremonies reached their greatest magnificence. It became a refined, ingenious instrument that served representational purposes for the ruler. In a relatively short time, other European courts took on this fashion from France and used it as the basis of their court life. At the prince-bishop's court in Bruchsal, everyday life may not have been subject to this complicated set of rules, but ceremonies and receptions followed them.

Office of Julius Bernhard von Rohr. Image: Wikipedia, in the public domain

Julius Bernhard von Rohr in his office.

Textbook instructions

Most residences created their own court and kitchen rules, regulating communal life at court and the structure of receptions, banquets, and balls. People relied on the recommendations of diplomats, who developed textbooks and books of theory with precise instructions for correct application down to the finest detail. One popular text was the book "Introduction to the Ceremonial Science of the Great Rulers," which Julius Bernhard had published in 1733. 

Chandelier in the Royal Hall, Bruchsal Palace. Image: Staatsanzeiger für Baden-Württemberg GmbH & Co. KG, Eva Kobelt

Festive lighting in the Royal Hall.

Recommendations for the royal table

Von Rohr dedicated several chapters to the appearance of a royal table, including the following advice: "§3 The food is set on the royal table either in gilt or silver-gilt, or even in golden dishes. According to the newest fashion, silver dish covers are then set atop the dishes, both to keep the food under them warm and so that they do not become contaminated by any falling powder or dust from those who set them on the table, which would make them unappetizing.

The palace as a stage

Even the layout of state apartments, indeed, the entire palace complex, was determined by ceremony and its rules. Courtyards and staircases, antechambers and reception rooms served to demonstrate the rank and remove of the ruler. This can be clearly seen in Bruchsal Palace, which was laid out entirely as a ceremonial stage for the royal household of the Prince-Bishop of Speyer. The staircase, ceremonial halls, and rooms with their precious furnishings created a backdrop for the complex system of Baroque ceremony. 

13_bruchsal_innen_Hauptbau-Marmorsaal-Gewoelbe_2019-05-06-A-1663-foto_manfred_schneider_1800.jpg
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Winter dining room in Bruchsal Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Dirk Altenkirch

The Marble Hall and the Royal Hall as stately ceremonial halls and the winter dining room in the bel étage of Bruchsal Palace.

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