Thursday, April 10, 2008

Hunting Lodge

What was in the back of my mind while making plans for the decoration had been, I realize that now, something between English country- and English town house. Totally wrong! It occured to me like a lightning when I saw pictures of Schloss Greifenstein in Franconia in a shooting magazine.

The castle was destroyed during the Bauernkriege (Peasants' Revolt) at the beginning of the 16th century, then rebuilt. Prince-Bishop Marquard Sebastian Schenk von Stauffenberg had a radical restoration done on Greifenstein from 1691 to 1693 in the Baroque style. The view from the castle offers a stunning panorama of the Franconian Jurassic mountains and Greifenstein's most popular feature is the weapon collection (below). Three vaulted chambers house a museum full of all kinds of arms from the Middle Ages to the late 16th century. Due to the commitment of the current owner, Otto Philipp Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg, a nephew of the tragically failed Hitler-assassin, a comprehensive renovation of Greifenstein was performed in the Seventies.

I can't point out enough that our house is NOT a castle. Not even close to it. It was built as a coaching inn, which makes it both, infinitely smaller and infinitely more utilitarian, but period and location (the Jurassic Mountains of Franconia are perhaps two hours by car away) are right. It just shouted at me.

What I had in mind was all wrong. No fancy curtains, no subtle colours on the walls, no heavily gilt-framed oils everywhere. Stark white for the walls and lots of dark wood. And, of course, lots of antlered and non-antlered critters. Think: "hunting lodge"!

My oldest childhood friend, who married one of the biggest (wood-)landowners in the North of Germany and cleared such stuff out of what used to be a country house museum and not a home before she moved in, says I am both, bonkers and lacking in taste, but I don't exactly intend to bring up a family there. No children around who might be frightened by the glassy stare of an old roebuck or put off by the toothy sneer of a mangy fox and I was never kept from doing, saying or acquiring anything because it might be in bad taste. Actually, I bought loads of dusty antlers and wild boar tusks already. Some of them are pretty time-worn, so they will have to go somewhere high up on a wall. There is an amazing demand for that sort of stuff. I don't think I will ever be able to afford a really decent pair of red deer antlers.

The above picture is from the German Wikipedia page of Schloss Greifenstein.

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