The Baroque palatial residence in the centre of Weimar was home to the dowager Duchess Anna Amalia of Saxony-Weimar and Eisenach for many years until 1807. This is where she held her famous social gatherings. The Duchess’s former parlour with its original furnishings is among the most authentic rooms in the mansion that best reflects domestic culture around 1800.

Exhibition

The tour takes visitors through the Duchess’s former parlours and representative rooms. The furnishings are typical of the living culture around 1800 and shed light on Anna Amalia’s wide-ranging interests. At the end of her regency in 1775, she devoted herself to music, theatre and drawing. Numerous paintings and drawings depict members of her family and the many guests whom she invited to social gatherings and evening events.

Among the highlights of the exhibition are the furnishings of the Round Table room, the ceiling mural in the dining room, and Anna Amalia’s almost entirely authentic parlour, the Green Salon.

The history of the Wittumspalais is the subject of an interactive, multimedia exhibition on the ground floor.

Ceiling mural in the Ballroom
Ceiling mural in the Ballroom

History

Duchess Anna Amalia purchased her dowager residence on the Esplanade following the devastating castle fire of 1774. The mansion had belonged to her minister Jakob Friedrich Baron von Fritsch who had built it from 1767 to 1769. She commissioned Adam Friedrich Oeser, the director of the Leipzig Art Academy, to refurbish the rooms according to her wishes and paint murals on the ceilings. She also designed the surrounding gardens, which were removed to make space for the construction of the Theaterplatz at the beginning of the 19th century.  

After Anna Amalia’s death in 1807, her son Carl August inherited the artworks and furnishings inside the residence. The Duchess bequeathed a number of pieces to members of her court. The property was placed under the management of the ducal administrative office and was rented out for a time. The dining room and adjoining rooms, for example, were temporarily leased to the Masonic lodge “Anna Amalia of the Three Roses”. In the 1870s Grand Duke Carl Alexander had the Wittumspalais renovated and converted to a museum in memory of his great-grandmother Anna Amalia.

Currently there are no scheduled dates.

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Schönfärbe and Kammerfrauenhaus

The Wittumspalais ensemble consists of the “Schönfärbe” (dye house) and the Kammerfrauenhaus (court ladies’ house). Both buildings existed before Baron von Fritsch built the adjacent mansion from 1767 to 1769. The name “Schönfärbe” refers to the building’s original function as a dye house in 1711. The construction of the palatial residence in the 1760s incorporated the existing structures, which now comprise the building ensemble today.

With financing provided by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Free State of Thuringia, both buildings were restored in accordance with historical landmark regulations from 2016 to 2018. Today the premises are used by the Department of Research and Education of the Klassik Stiftung Weimar. In the future, the Klassik Stiftung plans to stage museum-pedagogical events there, as well as education projects for young people, training seminars for teachers, and social events, e.g. the “Art and Coffee” programme.

Projects of the Klassik Stiftung Weimar are funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Free State of Thuringia, represented by the State Chancellery of Thuringia, Department of Culture and the Arts.

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