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The oldest ecclesiastical Baroque residence on the Upper Rhine

Bruchsal Palace

Bildnis des Fürstbischofs Franz Christoph Hutten von Johann Zick, um 1750, im Fürstensaal von Schloss Bruchsal;  Foto: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Andrea Rachele
A Rococo ruler

Franz Christoph

von Hutten

Though he is less generally known than Schönborn, Franz Christoph von Hutten (1706–1770) is of even greater importance to Bruchsal Palace than his predecessor. His rule began in 1743: he expanded the royal household and had the palace rooms magnificently furnished.

Portrait of Prince-Bishop Franz Christoph Hutten with Bruchsal Palace in the background, by Nicolas Treu, after 1761. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

Prince-Bishop Hutten, with the palace in the background.

What was Hutten's career?

As was standard in his social circle, Franz Christoph von Hutten zum Stolzenberg decided to enter the church at an early age. He held his first spiritual office when still a youth. In 1730, he became the youngest member of the chapter of Speyer at 24 years old; in 1743, at 37, the chapter elected him prince-bishop. He was not dedicated as a priest and bishop until afterwards. An impressive career: only his desire for another bishop's office in Worms remained unfulfilled. However, in 1761, he also became a cardinal.

Historical photography of the throne room of Bruchsal Palace, before 1910. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

The lavish throne room before its destruction.

What do we know about his likes and dislikes?

Hutten seems to have been a friendly and kind man, but in a material view, he was not modest. In the Rococo period, powerful people wallowed in magnificence and pleasures. Under Schönborn, Bruchsal was a rather modest court, but now it grew in splendor. The royal household was significantly expanded, and the rooms were magnificently furnished. Hutten's expenditures were enormous. "Immoderate building, but without maintaining the roofs," commented his thrifty successor, Limburg-Stirum.

How did Hutten change the palace?

On the exterior, he added the balconies, the upper connecting wings, and new basins in the garden. Under Hutten, the Rococo style took over the main story of the Baroque residence. Stucco, paintings, and carved wall paneling were added. Countless pieces of furniture and paintings by important artists came into the palace. The showpieces of Hutten's collection were the new pieces of furniture by the famous manufacturer Roentgen. The rooms were "in the best of taste," judged Leopold Mozart, the father of Wolfgang Amadeus, in 1763.

Kommode von Abraham Roentgen, um 1760;  Foto: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer
Konsoltisch von Abraham Roentgen, um 1765;  Foto: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

From Hutten's collection: a Roentgen commode and console table from the 1760s.

Schloss Bruchsal, Belvedere von Osten; Foto: Dr. Manfred Schneider, Nußloch, www.manfred-schneider.de

Das Belvedere entstand 1756 als Schießhaus.

How did Hutten shape the city of Bruchsal?

Under Hutten, Bruchsal increasingly look on the appearance of a royal residential city. In completing the Church of St. Peter, he gave himself an appropriate burial place. The city was expanded and a barracks was built. For court hunts, Hutten created a shooting house on Steinsberg hill in 1756, the present Belvedere. A mulberry plantation for the production of silk, a tobacco factory, a lace factory, and a saltworks were intended to boost the economy, but had only moderate success.