Hermann von Pückler-Muskau

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Hermann von Pückler-Muskau (1840),
colored pencil drawing by Moritz Daffinger

Hermann Ludwig Heinrich Count von Pückler-Muskau , from 1822 Prince of Pückler-Muskau , (born  October 30, 1785 at Muskau Castle ; †  February 4, 1871 at Branitz Castle ) was Count of a Free Class , Lieutenant General , Landscape Architect , Writer and World Traveler ( his pseudonym as author and traveler: "The Deceased" or "Semilasso") and at that time a well-known member of high society. In 1822 Pückler was raised to the rank of prince .


Improved coat of arms for the elevation to the Prussian prince class
Prince Pückler in oriental costume
Pückler reached Meroe in Sudan in May 1837 and had his name engraved on the pyramids there, as well as on the temples of nearby Musawwarat
Machbuba around 1840
The old Prince Pückler in oriental costume
Muskau Castle in Pückler's time
Prince Pückler's desk in the library of Branitz Castle

Hermann von Pückler-Muskau was the first of five children of Count Ludwig Carl Hans Erdmann von Pückler (1754-1811) and Countess Clementine von Callenberg (1770-1850), who gave birth to him at the age of 15. Pückler grew up with three sisters in the Muskau Free Class , the largest of the four Upper Lusatian Free Classes. His brother died of dysentery in childhood . His grandfather Georg Alexander Heinrich Herrmann von Callenberg lived in the house.

His mother, as he put it in a letter to his father when he was 16, treated him like a toy “without even knowing why she was soon beating me, now caressing me.” Father Erdmann Graf Pückler was considered sullen and withdrawn. In the same letter, Pückler described his upbringing: “In the early years of my childhood I found myself in the hands of partly stupid, partly rough servants, who treated me pretty much as they please.” Only his grandfather, Count von Callenberg, and his tutor Andreas Tamm liked the young one Earl, Tamm, however, was forced to walk early. His successor was Friedrich Brescius , who was only allowed to teach him for a short time. After the death of his mother's father in 1795, the nine-year-old was sent to the Herrnhutern in Uhyst for four years , then to the pedagogy in Halle and finally to the Philanthropinum in Dessau . The strict pietistic upbringing at the “man's hat hypocritical institution” (Pückler) in Uhyst justified his later aversion to Protestantism . When he expressed himself religiously, a decided pantheism emerged. In old age he converted to the Roman Catholic Church .

In 1800 he enrolled to study law at the University of Leipzig , but broke it off early and began a military career (1802-1806 lieutenant in the Saxon Guard du Corps in Dresden ). He eventually went on extensive trips - often on foot - to Provence and Italy . After his father's death in 1811, he soon handed the administration of Muskau over to his friend, the poet Leopold Schefer . As a lieutenant colonel and adjutant general of the Duke (since 1815 Grand Duke) Karl-August von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach , he took part in the Battle of Leipzig . In the following campaigns against Napoleon he acted as a liaison officer to the Russian Tsar Alexander I and was then briefly appointed military governor of Bruges .

In 1812 he traveled to England for the first time with Leopold Schefer , where he discovered his calling as a horticultural artist in view of the parks there. After the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Pückler's part of Lusatia fell from Saxony to Prussia . According to historians' estimates, Pückler was one of the fifteen largest landowners in the Kingdom of Prussia.

On October 9, 1817, he married Lucie von Hardenberg (1776-1854), nine years his senior , divorced von Pappenheim , daughter of the Prussian State Chancellor Karl August von Hardenberg . In 1822, Pückler was elevated to the status of a prince, although in contrast to the Silesian Free Classes of Oels, Trachenberg, Carolath and Pless, the Free Classes of Muskau were not recognized as a principality. In 1826 he divorced Lucie pro forma , with whom he remained lifelong friendly regardless. Lucie fulfilled the role of a mother for him, because he was sexually oriented towards underage girls.

The indebted park and garden designer wanted to travel to England to get married again rich. Pückler spent many months there between 1825 and 1829 in search of a wealthy heiress. He admired the lifestyle of the English landed gentry, which he regarded as the best element in English society. Nevertheless, in his letters to his wife Lucie, he sharply criticized the ruthless expulsion of the rural population in Ireland by English nobles who intensified sheep farming in Ireland. He did not find a bride, but his travelogues became a literary and financial success in Germany, then also in England and the USA. The prince therefore decided to travel to North America, but missed the ship's departure due to a duel .

Instead, he made a trip to Egypt via Algiers , where he was received as a state guest by the Khedive Muhammad Ali Pasha and was given a palace and staff for his stay. He continued to travel to Sudan until 1838, when he returned to the south of Khartoum, exhausted. In 1837 he bought Machbuba , about 12 years old , on the slave market in Cairo , who accompanied him on the further journey. He then took her back to Europe with him, but she only lived for a short time as his mistress in Muskau. The girl died on October 27, 1840 in his castle and was buried in Muskau. He also traveled to the Middle East - meeting Lady Hester Stanhope -, to Constantinople - he later tried unsuccessfully to become the Prussian ambassador there - and to Greece .

Politically, he represented liberal positions and was close to the Prussian reformers around Freiherr vom Stein . He advocated political self-government at the local level. This, along with his declared pantheism and his extravagant lifestyle, made him suspect in the reactionary Prussia of the Biedermeier era. On the other hand, however, Pückler, following the official German national line, actively participated in the Germanization of his predominantly Sorbian subjects and neglected popular education in his rule. He remained connected to the military - so he was given the character of a colonel in 1826 and as a major general in 1833 . Since 1862 he stood à la suite in the army and was appointed lieutenant general in 1863 . As such, he belonged to the headquarters of the Prussian king in the German-Austrian war in 1866 . However , the 85-year-old was denied participation in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870.

Since he had taken over financially with the creation of his first park in Muskau, he sold the Muskau registry in 1845. He moved to his hereditary castle in Branitz near Cottbus . He used the proceeds from the sale of Muskau to have the Branitz Castle rebuilt (under the strong influence of Gottfried Semper ) and to again create a landscape garden based on the English model, today's Fürst-Pückler-Park .

Prince Pückler was known beyond his military career as reckless and restless: in 1815 he ascended with a Reichard free balloon , in 1837 he traveled to the Nile Cataracts .

Until his death in 1871 he devoted himself to writing. He was the first German writer to use paper for carbon copies or a further development of Watt's press (which is in the museum holdings of the Fürst-Pückler-Museum Park and Branitz Castle).

Since cremation of the deceased was forbidden for religious reasons, he resorted to a provocative ruse and decreed that his heart should be dissolved in sulfuric acid and that his body should be bedded in caustic soda , caustic potash and caustic lime . He was buried on February 9, 1871 in the Tumulus - a lake pyramid in the park lake of the Branitz Castle Park. Since he was childless, the palace and park fell to his successor to the majorate, his nephew, Count Heinrich von Pückler , after his death , cash and inventory to his niece Marie von Pachelbl-Gehag, née. from Seydewitz. The literary estate of the prince was inherited by the writer Ludmilla Assing on the condition that she write the author's biography and publish his unprinted correspondence and diaries.

The landscape artist

Among connoisseurs, he is considered a genius of landscape art , his further development of the "English park" in the landscape parks of Muskau ( Fürst-Pückler-Park Bad Muskau ) and Branitz is often even placed above Lenné and Sckell . Both parks and those of his students (especially Eduard Petzolds , 1815–91) made international schools as far as North America and are still among the special highlights of landscape design in 19th century Europe.

What made both parks particularly costly was the fact that Pückler had huge amounts of topsoil brought in from more distant areas on ox carts because the sandy subsoil was unsuitable for the planned vegetation. In addition, he succeeded for the first time in transplanting fully grown trees. He had them drive up on a special wagon and prepare the ground at the new location to be “tree-friendly”. In this way, he was able to implement his famous concept of the " visual axes " when designing the parks.

Pückler, who had only been granted and appreciated his options for visiting the English country house and access to the gardens in England in part, decided free access to his landscaped gardens and expanded this to everyone.

The writer

He was active as a narrator, reporter and letter writer. His literary fame among contemporaries is based on the anonymously published letters of a deceased . Originally, these were actually letters to his wife, and it was her idea to publish the letters in print. They quickly became bestsellers in Germany, England and France.

Their stylistic quality helped them to achieve this - keen-eyed access to speaking situations, intimidating sharp-tonguedness, especially with regard to one's own status, lack of prudishness, effortless irony. The bourgeoisie, ducked in the reaction time before 1848, gained insight into the aristocratic milieus that were shielded from them because they had access to the leading houses of Europe as a nobleman and let their readers participate in these experiences. As a dandy , he stood out from his peers. He also had an extensive circle of friends and acquaintances among artists and writers - for example Karl Friedrich Schinkel , Leopold Schefer , Bettina von Arnim , Rahel , Karl August Varnhagen von Ense and Heinrich Heine . In addition, he was familiar with numerous exotic countries and was able to keep up with Ottoman viceroys and Arab emirs on an equal footing. He knew exactly how to portray this suggestively and mockingly.

However, the original letters from Lucie von Pückler-Muskau and Leopold Schefer were edited in some bare-bones before going to press , so as not to impair the readers' ideas about him, which he later disliked according to his letters.

During his travels, Pückler also created “Memory Pictures”, a kind of diary in four unprinted volumes, which contains informative comments on English gardens and landscapes, but also on the culture and population, as well as some art prints and caricatures acquired on site.

Continued effect

Prince Pückler's burial site in Branitzer Park
Fürst Pückler ice cream

The continued effect of Hermann Pückler (the “green prince”) was helped by the fact that, as a multifaceted figure, he was very keen on public echo, which not least shaped the wealth of anecdotes about him, but also that he was upset by the opponents of young Germany Reputation as a Luftikus, womanizer or adventurer confirmed.

But its aftermath gradually suffered from the fact that in the field of landscape gardening as well as in the field of literary and local historiography and biography, very different groups of researchers worked successfully but without institutional networking on Pückler: landscape architects and horticulturists, literary historians, cultural historians, local researchers. Attempts to bring them all together and to include other disciplines are only recent.


  • In 1854 Heinrich Heine titled the foreword to the second volume of his work Vermischte Schriften - Lutezia : "Letter of approval to His Highness the Prince Pückler Muskau"
  • The Fürst-Pückler-Eis and the asteroid (39571) Pückler are named after Pückler-Muskau .
  • Although Hermann von Pückler-Muskau, who was 80 at the time, slept through the battle of Königgrätz , he was honored for his participation.
  • Prince Pückler and his entourage visited the northern Brno suburb of Königfeld several times. The appearance of a world-traveling successful author made a great impression. The inn on the road from Brno to Prague is then called Zum Semilasso and it is located in the Brno district in the same place as the Semilasso cultural center, which was newly built in 2009 .
  • As a Neapolitan region , communities and public institutions in the states of Saxony and Brandenburg in the border region have joined forces to Poland. The communal cooperation should serve the common public relations work and the promotion of the cultural tourism .
  • From 1930 to 1945, was Muskau the Neapolitan company , it was founded in Berlin again 1979th


Landscape parks

The following landscape parks in Germany are connected with the work of Hermann von Pückler-Muskau :

Numerous parks of his pupil Eduard Petzold reveal Pückler's garden art style influences.


  • 17 letters from Pückler-Muskau to Countess Ida Hahn-Hahn . September 10, 1844 to March 31, 1845
  • 12 letters from Countess Ida Hahn-Hahn to Pückler-Muskau. September 21, 1844 to March 24, 1845


Letter from (then still) Count Hermann from 1811
(Volumes 1 and 2 are actually volumes 3 and 4 in the inner chronological order, correspondingly volumes 3 and 4 are the first two. This edition was published twice, this time only by Hallberger; with a description of the English park of Warwick , the Edgar Allan Poes Park of Arnhem .)
  • Allusions to landscape gardening [,] combined with the description of their practical application in Muskau (the only work that appeared under his name), Leipzig: JB Hirschfeld 1834. Reprint, edited by Günter J. Vaupel, Frankfurt am Main / Leipzig 1988, European Hochschulverlag, Bremen, ISBN 978-3-86267-026-0 .
  • Tutti Frutti , 5 vols., Stuttgart: Hallberger 1834.
  • Youth walks , Stuttgart: Hallberger 1835, new edition: European University Press , Bremen, ISBN 978-3-86741-203-2 .
  • Semilasso's penultimate world course. In Europa , 3 vols., Stuttgart: Hallberger 1835, new edition (in one volume): Verlag der Pioniere , Berlin, ISBN 978-3-941924-06-2 .
  • In Afrika , 5 vols., Stuttgart: Hallberger 1836, new edition (in one volume): Verlag der Pioniere , Berlin, ISBN 978-3-941924-03-1 .
  • The forerunner , Stuttgart: Hallberger 1838, new edition: Europäische Hochschulverlag, Bremen, ISBN 978-3-86741-187-5 .
  • Südostlicher Bildersaal (travel report from Greece; 3 volumes: The pleasure and Greek suffering I and II), Stuttgart: Hallberger 1840/41), new edition: Greek suffering I and II , edited and with an afterword by Klaus Günther Just. Deutscher Bücherbund , Stuttgart / Hamburg 1969.
  • From Mehemed Alis Reich , 3 vols., Stuttgart: Hallberger 1844; ND in 1 volume with commentary and notes. Zurich: Manesse 1985.
  • The return , 3 vols., Berlin: Duncker 1846–1848. (Reprint: Hildesheim: Olms 2011. With an introduction edited by Sebastian Böhmer)
  • Correspondence and diaries of Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau , 9 vols., Published from the estate of Ludmilla Assing , Berlin: Wedekind and Schwieger 1873–1876; Reprints: Bremen: Europäische Hochschulverlag, Volume 1: ISBN 978-3-86741-551-4 .
  • Love letters from an old gentleman. Correspondence between Prince Pückler and Ada von Treskow , published by Werner Deetjen, Alfred Metzner: Berlin 1938.
  • Letters from Switzerland , edited and commented by Charles Linsmayer , Zurich: Sanssouci 1981, ISBN 3-7254-0340-6 .
  • Bettine von Arnim / Hermann von Pückler-Muskau: "Passion is the key to the world". Correspondence 1832-1844 , [completely] edited and commented by Enid Gajek and Bernhard Gajek, Stuttgart: Cotta 2001, ISBN 3-7681-9809-X .
  • entre chien et loup . Letters and biography 1785–1808, edited and edited. by Günter J. Vaupel, Thelem, Dresden 2005, ISBN 3-937672-47-8 .


sorted alphabetically by author

  • Ludmilla Assing : Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau. A biography. First half. Hoffmann and Campe, Hamburg 1873; Second half. Wedekind & Schwieger, Berlin 1874, reprint ed. with introduction and register v. Nikolaus Gatter , Olms, Hildesheim / New York / Zurich 2004, ISBN 3-487-12029-1 and ISBN 3-487-12030-5 .
  • Nicole Bröhan: Prince Pückler. A biography , Berlin: Jaron 2018, ISBN 978-3-89773-850-8 .
  • Thomas Diecks:  Pückler-Muskau, Hermann Fürst von. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 20, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-428-00201-6 , pp. 759-761 ( digitized version ).
  • August Ehrhard: Prince Pückler. The adventurous life of an artist and nobleman. Translated from the French by F. v. Opole-Bronikowski . Preface by Paul Ortwin Rave . Atlantis, Berlin 1935.
  • Norbert Eisold: The prince as a gardener. Hermann von Pückler-Muskau and his parks in Muskau, Babelsberg and Branitz . Hinstorff, Rostock 2005, ISBN 3-356-01064-6
  • Bernd-Ingo Friedrich : Did he? Or did he not? Prince Pückler and the women. Oberlausitzer Verlag Frank Nürnberger, Spitzkunnersdorf 2010, ISBN 978-3-941908-13-0 .
  • Bernd-Ingo Friedrich: tables like Prince Pückler. An entertaining cookbook . Görlitz - Zittau, Verlag Gunter Oettel 2010. ISBN 978-3-938583-56-2 .
  • Christian Friedrich and Ulf Jacob (eds.): "... a child of my time, a real one, I am ...". Status and prospects of research on Prince Pückler . be.bra Wissenschaft verlag, Berlin 2010 (= Edition Branitz , 6), ISBN 978-3-937233-67-3 , beginning of the book, 30 pp.
  • Cordula Jelaffke: Prince Pückler. Biography, New Life, 1993, ISBN 978-3355013734
  • Jana Kittelmann: From travel notes to books. For the literaryization and publication of private travel letters Hermann von Pückler-Muskaus and Fanny Lewalds . With unpublished estate documents. Thelem, Dresden 2010, ISBN 978-3-939888-98-7 .
  • Jana Kittelmann (Ed.): Letter networks around Hermann von Pückler-Muskau. Thelem, Dresden 2015 (= Edition Branitz , 11), ISBN 978-3-945-36306-5 .
  • Eckart Kleßmann : Prince Pückler and the slave girl Machbuba: A west-east love story . Jena 2014, ISBN 978-3-940431-26-4 .
  • Matthias Körner and Thomas Kläber : There you sink into a paradise. Prince Pückler's garden landscapes . Kiepenheuer, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-378-01083-5 .
  • Irene Krebs, Gert Streidt and Volkmar Herold (eds.): Resonances. Pückler research in the field of tension between science and art. A conference report . trafo Wissenschaftsverlag, Berlin 2013 (= Edition Branitz , 8), ISBN 978-3-86464-040-7 .
  • Agnieszka M. Luliʹnska (Ed.): Parkomania. Prince Pückler's garden landscapes in Muskau, Babelsberg and Branitz . Prestel, Munich, London, New York 2016, ISBN 978-3-7913-5529-0 .
  • Jacob Achilles Mähly:  Prince v. Pückler-Muskau . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 26, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1888, pp. 692-695.
  • Heinz Ohff : The Green Prince. The adventurous life of Prince Pückler-Muskau . Piper, Munich / Zurich 2002, ISBN 3-492-23715-0 .
  • Cord Panning, Astrid Roscher (Red.): Prince Pückler. Parkomania in Muskau and Branitz. A guide through its facilities in Saxony, Brandenburg and Thuringia . L-und-H Verlag, Hamburg, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-928119-99-0 .
  • Helmut Rippl (ed.): The park creator Pückler-Muskau. The artistic garden legacy of Prince Hermann Ludwig Heinrich von Pückler-Muskau . Weimar 1995, ISBN 3-7400-0994-2 .
  • Angelika Schneider: Prince Hermann von Pückler Muskau as a horticultural artist in Weimar - The "Great Aushau" on the Ettersberg . In: Die Gartenkunst 2020/2, pp. 387–394.
  • Rolf Schneider : Prince Pückler in Branitz . With photographs by Therese Schneider. Be.bra Verlag, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86124-641-1 .
  • Foundation Fürst-Pückler-Museum Park and Schloss Branitz (Ed.): Pückler, Pyramiden, Panorama. New contributions to Pückler research . Cottbus 1999 (= Edition Branitz , 4), ISBN 3-910061-03-6 .
  • Urte Stobbe: Prince Pückler as a writer. Media staging practices of a writing nobleman. Wehrhahn, Hannover 2015, ISBN 978-3-86525-455-9
  • Rafael de Weryha-Wysoczański: Strategies of the Private. To the landscape park of Humphry Repton and Prince Pückler . Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-86504-056-X .
  • Joachim Wolschke-Buhlmann: Between the Hudson River and the Neisse. Fürst Pückler, the Muskau Waterfalls and the Hudson River portfolio . In: Die Gartenkunst 1998/2, pp. 300–310.


  • 2016: Parkomania. Prince Pückler's garden landscapes in Muskau, Babelsberg and Branitz. Bundeskunsthalle , Bonn , May 13 to September 18, 2016.
  • 2017: Pückler. Babelsberg. The green prince and the empress . Babelsberg Palace , Potsdam.


  • The splendor of Babelsberg. Pückler's paradise on the Havel. Documentary, Germany, 2017, 44:20 min., Script and director: Grit Lederer, production: rbb , first broadcast: May 30, 2017 on rbb television , summary of the ARD .
  • Prince Pückler. Playboy, pasha, visionary. Documentary and docu-drama , Germany, 2014, 52:40 min., Script and direction: Eike Schmitz and Philipp Grieß, production: Atlantis-Film, ZDF , arte , first broadcast: March 1st, 2015 on arte, summary of the ARD.
  • Hermann von Pückler-Muskau. The green prince. Documentary, Germany, 2012, 29:20 min., Script and director: André Meier, camera: André Böhm, production: MDR , series: CVs , first broadcast: May 16, 2013 on MDR, synopsis on fernsehserien.de.

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About Prince Pückler

Individual evidence

  1. Angelika Lohwasser: Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau. In: Mitteilungen der Sudanarchäologische Gesellschaft , Issue 2, February 1995, Fig. 2, (PDF; 5 p., 169 kB).
  2. Walter Sauer: From Soliman to Omofuma. African Diaspora in Austria, African Diaspora in Austria 17th to 20th Century , Innsbruck 2007, p. 102.
  3. Peter Kunze: The Prussian Sorbs Policy 1815-1847 , Domowina-Verlag, Bautzen 1978, p. 79 f.
  4. It later came into the possession of the von Arnim family .
  5. ^ Hints on landscape gardening. By Prince of Pückler-Muskau . Translated by Hermann Sickert. Edited by Samuel Parsons. Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company Boston, New York, 1917
  6. The original letters are part of the Varnhagen collection of the Berlin State Library , but are currently being kept in the Jagiellonian Library in Kraków ( “Berlinka” collection ) as cultural assets relocated due to the war . The Fürst Pückler Foundation in Branitz has scan copies of the Pückler estate. Individual correspondence can be found in private estates, the 1844/1845 with the writer Ida Hahn-Hahn led correspondence Cock Rooster estate, which since 2006/2007 in the Fritz Reuter Literature Archive , Hans-Joachim Griephan located in Berlin.
  7. See the conference Status and Perspectives of Pückler Research , 6./7. November 2009 in Branitz , ( ISBN 978-3-937233-67-3 , beginning of the book ), where there are significant and only partially evaluated archival materials that are otherwise very scattered and difficult to find (Berlin, Krakow, Bad Muskau; also regional and aristocratic archives).
  8. (39571) Puckler = 1992 SN24 = 2001 AH24. In: Minor Planet Center (MPC).
  9. ^ Semilasso in the Brno Encyclopedia (Czech).
  10. ^ Ettersburg Castle and Park. In: Klassik Stiftung Weimar , accessed on September 28, 2017.
  11. a b Fritz Reuter Literature Archive Berlin
  12. Bettina Clausen , Edgar Poe: The park of Arnhem , in: spectrum of literature , Bertelsmann Lexicon-Verlag, Gütersloh 1975, ISBN 3-570-08935-5 .
  13. Parkomania. Prince Pückler's garden landscapes. In: Bundeskunsthalle , May 13 to September 18, 2016, catalog.
  14. Special exhibition: Pückler. Babelsberg. The green prince and the empress. In: Foundation Prussian Palaces and Gardens Berlin-Brandenburg , April 29 to October 15, 2017.