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You may remember from reading Not So Happily Ever After: The Tale of King Ludwig II, that the “mad” king built three castles: the famous Neuschwanstein, the island Versailles replica Herrenchiemsee, and the “jewel in the valley,” Linderhof.
Let’s take a closer look at Linderhof, since it is the place Ludwig spent more time in than any of the other palaces he built.
Linderhof: Inspired by Petit Trianon
Since childhood, Ludwig had loved building and designing. He loved creating castles with blocks as a toddler. What was his inspiration for Linderhof Palace? A true introvert, Ludwig was always looking for a place where he could retreat from the cruel world and even from people in general.
He looked to Versailles Palace in France, which he loved, and observed its Petit Trianon. The Petit Trianon was built on the Versailles grounds, fairly far from the main palace. It was a place for Queen Marie Antoinette to retreat and get away from it all. This “small” palace formed a large part of Ludwig’s inspiration for his own place of retreat, Linderhof.
As you can see from the two photos, Ludwig took the original (the Petit Trianon) and upped the glam factor in his own creation (Linderhof). One theory on why Ludwig’s decor was always so over-the-top with gilt, color, etc. was that he was quite near-sighted, yet too vain to wear glasses.
Petit Trianon – History
Louis XV built the Petit Trianon between 1762 and 1768 for his mistress. When he ascended the throne in 1774, 20-year-old Louis XVI gave the palace to his 19-year-old queen, Marie Antoinette. Its design and decor are an example of the transition between the Roccoco style and Neoclassical styling. It has been described as “a marvelous expression of the refinement and the fantasy of the art of living and thinking in the 18th century.”
Versailles was often a place of stress for Queen Marie Antoinette, and she saw the Petit Trianon as a place of escape — as Ludwig felt about Linderhof. The Queen was one of Ludwig’s favorite historical characters, and he often “dined” with her imaginary presence. He had a bust of the Queen put in the gardens at Linderhof, and each time he passed by, he would kiss it.
The Petit Trianon has inspired more than just the eccentric Bavarian King. The Kentucky governor’s mansion is based in part on the retreat. San Jose, California, has a concert hall based on the building as well.
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