|A cabinet card portrait of Ludwig II (1845-1886), King of Bavaria, builder of fantasy castles. He was eventually declared insane and drowned under mysterious circumstances.
Born in Nymphenburg Castle, Munich, in 1845, Ludwig II was a member of the Wittelsbach dynasty, and became King of Bavaria at the age of 18. Disillusioned after defeat in the war with Prussia, Ludwig lost all interest in politics and became increasingly eccentric. Inspired by the Versailles of Louis XIV and the Teutonic myths, he built three fairy tale castles at stupendous expense, Linderhof, Neuschwanstein and Herrenchiemsee, nearly bankrupting his country in the process. He was obsessed by the operas of Wagner and formed a passionate attachment for the composer, which the latter found tiresome but was quite prepared to milk to his financial advantage. Ludwig dreamed of establishing an absolute monarchy in Bavaria but his extravagance, homosexuality and near or actual insanity worried his family and government. On 8 June 1886 his uncle was appointed regent and Ludwig was certified insane in his bedroom at Neuschwanstein and was transferred to house arrest at Castle Berg. A few days later, on 13 June 1886, he and his physician Dr. von Gudden were found drowned in Lake Starnberg. The official version is that the doctor died while trying to prevent Ludwig's suicide.
Photographed by J. Albert of Munich.
condition: Slight soiling recto in the lower margin but otherwise excellent, both print and mount.
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