Pückler-Muskau, Hermann, Fürst Prince von

Full Name: 
Pückler-Muskau, Hermann, Fürst Prince von
Year Born: 
1785
Year Died: 
1871
Place Born: 
Muskau in Lusatia, Germany
Place Died: 
Branitz, Cottbus, Germany
Home Country: 
Germany
Overview: 
German noble interested in garden design; wrote the first book to alert the German reading public of the art treasures in England. Pückler-Muskau served in the army at Dresden, before traveling in France and Italy. He inherited the barony of Muskau and its fortunes upon the death of his father in 1811. He married the Grafin von Pappenheim, daughter of Prince von Hardenberg. His service in the wars of liberation from Napoleon were rewarded in a military and civil governorship of Bruges. He retired from the army at the war's conclusion, traveling in England for nearly a year. In 1826 his marriage was legally dissolved. He visited England a second time, planning to visit America and Asia Minor. In 1830-31 he issued the four-volume Briefe eines Verstorbenen, his experiences traveling in England and his accounts of the art contained in the private estates there. Pückler-Muskau's visit America in 1834 failed when he missed his ship in Paris. Instead, he traveled to North Africa, where he wrote some of his most famous travel commentaries. Semilassos vorletlter Weltgang (3 vols., 1835), and Semilasso in Afrika (5 vols., 1836) followed. He also wrote a treatise on Landscape gardening, Andeutungen über Landschaftsgärtnerei (1834). He sold his Muskau estate to Prince Frederick of the Netherlands in 1845, living at principal residence, Schloss Branitz near Kottbus, south of Berlin. An intense formal garden interest led to him design gardens there as he had earlier done at Muskau. In 1863 he was made an hereditary member of the Prussian Herrenhaus, engaging in 1866 with the Prussian army in the war against Austria. He died at Branitz in 1871; his body was cremated. Pückler-Muskau alerted the reading German public to the art holdings in England, awakening a sense of national pride for the acquisition of works in their own (forming) nation. Gustav Waagen (q.v.) among others, built on these sentiments to help form the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin during this time. He was voluptuary who conducted many affairs, including one with his English translator, Sara Austin.
Selected Bibliography: 
Brief eines Verstorbenen (1830-32), English, A regency visitor: the English tour of Prince Pückler-Muskau described in his letters, 1826-1828. Sarah Austin trans. London: Collins, 1957.
Sources: 
Lightbrown, Ronald W. "An introduction to the 1970 edition," in, Waagen, Gustav. Works of Art and Artists in England. [facsimile reprint.] 3 vols. London: Cornmarket Press, 1970: unpaginated [iv]; Butler, E. M. (Eliza Marian), 1885-1959. The Tempestuous Prince: Hermann Puckler-Muskan. New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1929; private email with Rachel Hildebrandt, Exhibit Consultant, "Fuerst-Pueckler-Park Bad Muskau" Foundation, August 11, 2004.