History of European salon culture in Museum Burg Posterstein

One of our favorite research subjects in Museum Burg Posterstein is European salon culture around 1800. – Not the first thing to think of when talking about a medievial castle. But only a view kilometres away from the regional history museum Burg Posterstein a popular salon hostess had her summer residence: Anna Dorothea of Courland (1761–1821) in the castle of Löbichau. Born in today’s Latvia the rich Duchess had wide connections to Europe’s high society.

Napoleons Totenmaske in der Ausstellung des Museums Burg Posterstein
Napoleon’s death mask in the salon culture exhibition in Posterstein

That’s why Napoleon’s death mask is one of the first things to see, when you enter the salon culture exhibition in Posterstein. First enthousiastic about him, the Duchess of Courland became much more opposed against Napoleon during the time.

Anna Dorothea von Kurland - Ausstellung im Museum Burg Posterstein
Portrait of Anna Dorothea von Kurland, a contemporary copy after a painting by Angelika Kauffmann, in the exhibition in the Museum Burg Posterstein

Anna Dorothea of Courland cultivated a livelong friendship to the French statesman Charles Maurice de Talleyrand (1754–1834).

Tsar Alexander I. (1777-1825) visited her 1808 in Löbichau and conveyed the marriage of her youngest daughter Dorothée (1793–1862) to Talleyrand’s nephew. At the Congress of Vienna Dorothee de Dino-Talleyrand accompanied Talleyrand and after his death she became his sole heir.

Anna Dorothea of Courlands oldest daughter Wilhelmine von Sagan (1781–1839) gained great influence an the congress as well, as she led a popular salon in Schenkenstraße in Vienna. From 1813 to 1815 she had a passonate relationship with Clemens von Metternich (1773–1859), the leader of the congress.

Blick in die Ausstellung zur Europäischen Salongeschichte im Museum Burg Posterstein in Thüringen.
The exhibition in Posterstein introduces the international and local network of the Duchess of Courland.

In Löbichau Anna Dorothea of Courland brought together poets, politicans and artists. Museum Burg Posterstein has been doing intensive research about this interesting women’s life and the lifes of her daughters for more than 20 years.

The museum is cooperating with the French history society Les Amis de Talleyrand. The cooperation was officially recorded with a contract between the Museum society Burg Posterstein (Museumsverein Burg Posterstein) and Les Amis de Talleyrand in 2015.

In 2021 the permanent exhibition is being re-designed. The new exhibition, then with English summeries, can be seen from August, 1st, 2021.

Von Marlene Hofmann / Museum Burg Posterstein, last updated: June 2021

Further reading:
A cultural salon in Löbichau
Cooperation with Les Amis de Talleyrand (in German)
Bertel Thorvaldsen’s busts of Wilhelmine von Sagan (in German)

Loebichau Manor – occasionally 300 guests

Loebichau castle, postcard from 1904 (Museum Burg Posterstein)
Loebichau castle, postcard from 1904 (Museum Burg Posterstein)

Loebichau was mentioned for the first time in the13th century as a moated castle. The old manor house dates back to the 16th century and was rebuilt in 1908.

The neo-classical castle was built in 1796/98 on behalf of Anna Dorothea of Courland. In the castle’s park stood a small theatre at that time. The duchess’ cultural salon had illustrious international visitors; the most famous among them was probably Tsar Alexander I. of Russia. Occasionally more than 300 guests stayed in Loebichau at the same time. The guests were free to time their day at the „court of muses“; and the highlight of the day was the tea time in the evening hours in the grand hall of the castle. Then there was time for small-talk, philosophy, poetry, dance and music – sometimes the guests played theatre plays themselves; also in the smaller castle Tannenfeld, close to Loebichau.

Tannenfeld castle in 2000 (Museum Burg Posterstein)
Tannenfeld castle in 2000 (Museum Burg Posterstein)

As a result of the East German land reform in 1945 the manor’s owners were expropriated. The castle and the economical buildings were strongly modified after 1945. The buildings are housing a nursing home since DDR time. In 2009 the castle and the manor house were pulled down to make room for a new nursing home building of the operating company from Schmoelln. The remaining economical buildings are restored and host the communal administration.

View the about 60 manors of the county of Altenburg on our google map: http://tiny.cc/o27p6.

A part of the museum Burg Posterstein’s permanent exhibition is dedicated to the court of muses in Loebichau and the museum has published the following books, which can be bought in the museum or ordered per e-mail to info@burg-posterstein.de:

Das alte Schloss sehn wir noch heut…
Aus der Geschichte der Rittergüter im Altenburger Land (Teil II)
© Museum Burg Posterstein 2010

…Und nachmittags fuhren wir nach Nöbdenitz segeln!
Rittergüter im Altenburger Land und ihre Gärten
© Museum Burg Posterstein 2007

Text: Marlene Hofmann / Museum Burg Posterstein