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Episcopalian Baroque residence at Lake Constance

Meersburg New Palace

Außenansicht Teehäuschen, Foto: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer
Relaxation with a breathtaking view

The teahouse

The pavilion below the palace garden served the princes as a retreat and as a site for intimate meetings. Thanks to the recently completed preservation and restoration, the New Palace's garden pavilion is a further example of the grand culture in the prince-bishops’ court.

Interior of the pavilion. Image: Vermögen und Bau Baden-Württemberg, Ravensburg office, Joachim Feist

Pavilion interior.

The prince-bishop's hideaway

The pavilion, known as the teahouse today, sits on the terrace below the palace garden and consists of only a single 30-m² room. It provided the princes with a retreat and a space for private meetings. The entry portal, like the entire garden, faces the old palace and is accessible from the terrace via a stone staircase. Until 1741, an orangery was situated directly in front of the pavilion, which housed the exotic plants during the winter months.

Teahouse with a view of Lake Constance. Image: Vermögen und Bau Baden-Württemberg, Ravensburg office, Joachim Feist

A view of Lake Constance.

The challenge of a steep slope

The steep slope posed quite a challenge when it came to constructing a uniform, Baroque garden. The teahouse was built in 1712 as part of a garden re-landscaping based on the designs of Benedictine monk Christoph Gessinger; its position was intended to further harmonize the garden. He was inspired by his employer, Prince-Bishop Johann Franz Schenk von Stauffenberg, and specifically by a shared academic trip to Vienna. Today's complex is loosely based on its Baroque past.

Wallfahrtskirche Baitenhausen, Fresko; Foto: Joachim Feist

Meersburg in a fresco in the transept of the Meersburg-Baitenhausen pilgrimage church, circa 1750.

Detail of the ceiling fresco. Image: Vermögen und Bau Baden-Württemberg, Ravensburg office, Joachim Feist

Detail of the ceiling fresco.

Omnia tempus habent – Everything has its time

The ceiling fresco by Johann Wolfgang Baumgartner (1760) depicting Apollo on the sun chariot, Chronos, the god of time, surrounded by the seasons, and the motto “omnia tempus habent” are reminiscent of transience and the power of time. Playful cherubs and motifs that represent levity both here and elsewhere in the palace reference the equilibrium between solemnity and levity, duty and muse. Today, these depictions can be interpreted as a monument to a healthy work-life balance.

Detail of the facade. Image: Vermögen und Bau Baden-Württemberg, Ravensburg office, Joachim Feist

Facade bearing the royal coat of arms.

The renewed grandeur of the teahouse

After restoration of the New Palace was completed in 2012, the teahouse was also restored, between August 2014 and May 2015. Staatliche Toto Lotto GmbH (state lottery association) covered €270,000 in costs. The work included repainting the exterior, after having secured the plaster and restored the sandstone elements. The structural integrity of the roof was improved. The interior work focused primarily on restoring the Baroque ceiling fresco. The space can now be used for small events.

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