What do you think the Princesses of Solms might have worn at court in Braunfels in the 18th and 19th centuries? The two large glass showcases will give you an idea.
These gowns, skirts, jackets and shoes belonged to Magdalena Henriette, née Countess of Nassau-Weilburg. Her portrait hangs on the back wall of this room, above the rear showcase. It’s right next to the portrait of her husband, Friedrich Wilhelm zu Solms-Braunfels, who’s wearing a full-bottomed wig.
The costume worn by Magdalena Henriette in the painting – a yellow gown and a red cloak with fur trim – has unfortunately not been preserved. But you can tell that yellow was her colour! The fashions worn by a countess in the first quarter of the 18th century at one of the smaller sovereign courts in the middle of Germany may not have equalled the splendour of Versailles. But with costly damask and brocade fabrics, elaborate embroidery, fine gold and silver lace, as well as expensive buttons and braids, it was certainly of excellent quality and nicely showcased her rank.
Let's take a closer look at the first of the gowns. It’s what’s known as a robe manteau, a woman's overdress that’s worn open at the front, like a coat – manteau is French for coat or mantle. It’s made of green silk damask, richly embroidered with floral and plant motifs. The short sleeves only cover the upper arm. The lace ruffles, known as engageantes, peek out from inside the sleeves and match the lace collar. The outfit includes matching slippers made of the same green silk damask, trimmed with a pink ribbon. Typically for the period, they have pointed toes and a high, curved French heel.
You can find out more about Magdalena Henriette and her husband Friedrich Wilhelm zu Solms-Braunfels at stop number 22.
All depictions: © Schloss Braunfels