Station: [11] Prince Ferdinand’s Hunting Gear

 Your visit to the collection of the princely Family Museum begins with a display of Prince Ferdinand's hunting gear. If you’ve listened to the stops of our outdoor tour, you’ve already met him. He was the one who had the oldest part of the complex remodelled as a medieval castle in the mid-19th century. 

Check your screen to see his version of the castle. In pursuit of a romantic vision, he reconstructed the 13th century inner bailey. But scholars now take the view that the 19th century image of the Middle Ages was heavily romanticised.

Our collection includes a wide range of different objects from Prince Ferdinand's estate, from hunting weapons and other paraphernalia via uniforms and medals, to pipes and tobacco tins. They tell of a versatile, extremely interesting man. One major architectural feature of the castle that’s based on his ideas is the beautiful, neo-Gothic Great Hall. For most of our visitors, it’s the highlight of the castle tour.

Ferdinand was not only a gifted builder; he was also passionate about hunting. You’ll find a display case with his many hunting rifles further on in the collection. To create a record of his great passion, he employed the artist Johannes Deiker of Wetzlar as court painter. Deiker specialised in paintings of animals and hunting subjects. His works are displayed in two of the castle’s rooms. A particularly handsome example is on your screen now.

Since the High Middle Ages, hunting had become a privilege confined to the nobility. Hunting big game, which in this instance meant red deer and wild boar, was the preserve of the local sovereign rulers. So pictures of deer and wild boar were thought to showcase the prestige of the nobility, which had largely lost its sovereignty. The portrait of the prince as a hunter fulfilled the same purpose. Braunfels Castle appears in the background of many of the hunting scenes. 

Incidentally, the prince also took painting lessons with Deiker and proved to be quite gifted.

All depictions: © Schloss Braunfels