Biebrich Palace Park
One would like to say “small but impressive”: the narrow, elongated Biebrich Palace Park in Wiesbaden is a spatial wonder. Behind the Baroque palace, situated directly on the Rhine, it conveys vastness. At the beginning of the 19th century, the famous garden artist Friedrich Ludwig von Sckell transformed the grounds into a modern English landscape garden. Another master of the trade also achieved international fame with his work.
At a glance
Outdoor area freely accessible
The Biebrich Park behind the Baroque palace on the banks of the Rhine in Wiesbaden is a spatial wonder. For the enjoyment of all visitors, it cleverly gives larger dimensions. Only 1,200 metres long and just 250 metres wide at its narrowest point, the 31-hectare site is the last major project of a famous garden designer. Friedrich Ludwig von Sckell (1750-1823) knew how to use his artistic craft to guide perceptions. Sckell had learned his profession and founded the classical English landscape garden in Germany. Even in the early phase of this garden epoch outside England, it was predominantly noble landowners who planned their gardens themselves. They were an interest cultivated for reasons of prestige.
Prince Frederick August von Nassau-Usingen (1738-1816) had also begun to transform and expand his Baroque garden designed by Maximilian von Welsch in the 1720s after devastation caused by the Revolutionary Wars. Even before his commission was given to Sckell, the strolling poet Clemens Brentano (1778-1842) spied “all sorts of English hardships”. One of these was the Mosburg, built in 1805/6 on a pond. The prince had the neo-Gothic castle built on earlier foundations in the taste of the time out of a passion for the Middle Ages. Architect Carl Florian Goetz specially brought in the demolition material from a church in Mainz so that the illusion of a habitable “pleasure house” would be perfect.
Composition of a Landscape Garden
From 1817 to 1823, Sckell, then Bavarian Court Garden Superintendent and creator of the English Garden in Munich, freed the park from its axial layout and the architecture-like, symmetrical strictness of form. A seemingly natural landscape grew up that was no longer allowed to show the art of its composition. Mostly with guidance from afar, with the assistance of the court gardener Johann Wilhelm Woltz and the senior equerry Friedrich Heinrich Freiherr von Dungern, Sckell realised a meandering, gently rising meadow valley. It allows a wide view from the palace to the Taunus mountains.
Last Changes Barely Visible
The history of Biebrich Park did not end with Sckell. For more than 20 years, Carl Friedrich Thelemann (1811-1889) intervened to beautify the park. Unfortunately, there is not much left of this master’s work. He brought in magnificent greenhouses, later transferred to Frankfurt’s Palmengarten (Botanical Garden), whose plant collections, rich in exotics, attracted an international audience and could also be seen at the 1867 World Exhibition in Paris. An artistic grotto was also a bitter loss. The garden architect had developed it near the Princess Pond from an ice cellar and crowned it with a pretty “Moorish kiosk”.