Margravine Wilhelmine

Chronological table

1709

 

Picture: Princess Wilhelmine

3 July: Princess Friederike Wilhelmine Sophie von Preußen is born in Berlin.

Her father is Friedrich Wilhelm (1713-1740, King of Prussia, the "Soldier King"), her mother Sophie Dorothea, daughter of Elector Georg von Hannover (1714-1727 King George of England).

1711

 

10 May: Birth of Friedrich, the future Margrave of Bayreuth and husband of Wilhelmine

1712

 

21 January: Birth of Crown Prince Friedrich (1740-1786 King of Prussia, "Frederick the Great"); he was Wilhelmine's favourite brother.

1731

 

3 June: Wilhelmine becomes engaged to the future margrave, Friedrich von Bayreuth.

20 November: Wedding in Berlin

1732

 

Picture: Wilhelmine von Bayreuth

22 January: Arrival of the newly wedded couple Wilhelmine and Friedrich in Bayreuth

30 August: Birth of their daughter Elisabeth Friederike Sophie (1732-1780; the couple's only child)

1735

 

7 May: After the death of his father Georg Friedrich Karl, Friedrich becomes Margrave of Bayreuth (1735-1763).

3 July: Wilhelmine's husband presents her with the Hermitage on her birthday, and she immediately starts to redesign it.

1736

 

Rebuilding of the Hermitage Old Palace commences.

1737/38

 

Picture: Madame Cellarina

In 1737 the first Italian musicians come to Bayreuth. In the same year Wilhelmine takes over as director of the court opera.

At the margravine's instigation, a "whole caravan" of Italian stage artists arrives in Bayreuth in 1738, including the composer Paganelli and the singer Giacomo Zaghini.

1740

 

10 May: Premiere of the opera "Argenore" composed by Wilhelmine for the margrave's birthday

1743

 

Wilhelmine commissions her court architect Joseph Saint-Pierre to build an open-air theatre in the form of a ruin in the Hermitage Court Garden.

In the Redoutenhaus (next to the future Margravial Opera House), Wilhelmine and Voltaire appear on the stage together ("Bajazet" by Racine).

1744

 

Picture: Hermitage, open-air theatre

29 August: The theatre of the Hermitage, an imitation ruin, is used for a performance for the first time on the occasion of the marriage of Wilhelmine's sister Luise Ulrike.

From 1744 to 1747 Wilhelmine writes her memoirs.

1745

 

Work begins on the Margravial Opera Hause; architects: Joseph St. Pierre (exterior) and Giuseppe Galli Bibiena together with his son Carlo (interior).

Sanspareil, the first Chinese "Rock Garden" on the continent, is laid out under the direction of Wilhelmine; it includes a number of interesting architectural features.

1748

 

Picture: Elisabeth Friedrike Sophie

27 September: Inauguration of the Opera House on the occasion of the wedding of Princess Elisabeth Friederike Sophie von Bayreuth and Duke Carl II Eugen von Württemberg

1749

 

The distinctive features of the Hermitage, the Orangery and the Temple of the Sun, are built to Wilhelmine's specifications.

1750

 

The Margravial Opera House is completed.

The groups of statues in the Hermitage Court Garden are erected from 1750-1752.

1751

 

The Chinese Mirror Cabinet at Hermitage Old Palace is furnished.

1753

 

Picture: Bayreuth New Palace

26 January: Fire in the Old Palace of Bayreuth

The New Palace is begun in the same year, incorporating existing buildings; the north wing is designed by Wilhelmine herself.

Conclusion of the work on Hermitage New Palace

1754

 

10 October: Journey to Rome (until 1755)

The first plans are drawn up for the Court Garden of the New Palace.

1756

 

Foundation of an Academy of Arts and Sciences in Bayreuth

1757

 

Galleries are added to the ground floor and upper floor of the New Palace.

1758

 

Picture: Fantaisie Palace

Fantaisie Palace in Donndorf near Bayreuth, the future residence of Wilhelmine's daughter Elisabeth Friederike Sophie, is begun.

14 October: Margravine Wilhelmine von Bayreuth dies. From this point on there are no more performances in the opera house.

1759

 

Margrave Friedrich marries again: his second wife is Princess Sophie Caroline von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel, a niece of Wilhelmine's.

The Italian Palace south of the New Palace is built as a residence for Sophie Caroline.

1763

 

26 February: Margrave Friedrich von Bayreuth dies without a male heir. This is the end of the extravagant court life in Bayreuth. Friedrich Christian, an uncle of the margrave, becomes the next ruler.

1769

 

20 January: Margrave Friedrich Christian dies without a male heir. In accordance with a contract regulating succession dating from 1752, Bayreuth falls to Ansbach. Margrave Alexander is now ruler of both margraviates.

1791

 

2 December: Margrave Alexander signs an abdication document in favour of Prussia.

1792

 

Prussia takes over the Ansbach-Bayreuth territories.

1806

 

In the course of the War of the Fourth Coalition, Ansbach-Bayreuth is occupied by French troops. Napoleon keeps Bayreuth for himself, placing it under French military jurisdiction.

1810

 

Bayreuth is ceded to Bavaria for a payment of 15 million francs.

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