EMMANUEL VON SEIDL (1856 – 1919)










Emanuel von Seidl, the brother of the architect Gabriel von Seidl, is today almost unknown, but between about 1900 and 1918 he was one of the most successful architects of private mansions. He was responsible for about 180 projects and a third of these were large mansions and country houses and his larger projects were in the related field of large civic buildings.


Emmanuel von Seidl was enobled in 1906, for his achievements as an architect. He was also a landscape architect and interior decorator. In this last capacity he worked in the office of his brother. However he liked to take responsibility for all aspects of his own projects. He was particularly noted for his sensitive handling of landscaping and the embedding of buildings in a landscaped area. As an interior decorator he liked to design interiors which were friendly and comfortable and he insisted that everything should have a use.


His native city was Munich and we shall discuss some of his projects in his own city, but his reputation spread far outside it and his work is to be seen all over Germany and even outside it.














Villa in Nuremberg designed

and built by Emanuel von Seidl






Another of his mansions was designed and built in 1916 in Bad Harzburg on the northern edge of the Harz Mountains in eastern Lower Saxony. This was for the Brauschweig ironware manufacturer Carl Giesecke, and the project included the mansion, a landscaped park, pavillion and gatehouse.  Emanuel von Seidl also designed the interior. The house is now a hotel and conference centre, but his interiors have essentially been preserved and examples can be seen below.










Mansion designed and built for Carl Giesecke in Bad Harzburg







The pavillion in the park, Bad Harzburg












The entrance hall











The dining room on the ground floor









This is however by no means the most grand of Emanuel von Seidl’s houses. His projects include a number carried out for the nobility, either designing and building their castles, or substantially rebuilding them.  Such work includes

  • 1896 Schloss Chartreuse, Canton of Berne, Switzerland,  for Baron  von Zedtwitz
  • 1898 Scloss Lilienhof, Kaiserstuhl, alterations for Count August von Bismarck
  • 1899 Schloss Sigmaringen, rebuilding for Prince Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
  • 1901 Jagdschloss Falkenau, Boehmen, for Count Nositz


The most spectacular project is almost certainly Schloss Sigmaringen on the Danube. This is the ancestral home of the Princes of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, a former royal house. It was originally a fortified castle but was later turned into a royal palace rather in the style of a French chateau. As can be seen from the photographs, its location is very striking, the castle being built on a huge rock high above the Danube. Shown on the right and below are three different views of the castle seen at different seasons, one from across the river, one from the town side and one from below the castle, showing the rock on which it stands. Schloss Sigmaringenon was reconstructed at several times during its history, having probably been originally built in Roman times, though these remains have become buried under later buildings.  Historical records go back to the eleventh century. There was substantial reconstruction in the seventeenth and the nineteenth centuries.


Historical records go back to the eleventh century. In later centuries the building was expanded and there was substantial reconstruction in the seventeenth century, when the earlier fortified castle was turned into a Renaissance chateau.




















Schloss Sigmaringen: the north side














Schloss Sigmaringen: the town side














Schloss Sigmaringen, seen from beneath the castle










The next major reconstruction was in the second half of the nineteenth century when changes were made in the gothic style. The castle was then almost entirely destroyed in a great fir in 1893. It was then substantially redesigned by Emanuel von Seidl in an eclectic style. It is not totally clear how far he was responsible for the interior design, but some of the rooms are certainly impressive.














Schloss Sigmaringen: the Banqueting Hall














Schloss Sigmarinen: the Ahnensaal or Hall of Ancestors













The publication on the work of Emanuel von Seidl depicted opposite, by Joanna Waltraud Kustmann, entitled Emanuel von Seidl (1856 – 1919):die Villen und Landhäuser (Emauel von Seidl (1856 – 1919): the villas and country houses), is in German. It is Volume 52 in the series „Beiträge zur Kunstwissenschaft” (“Contributors to the Fine Arts”), published in 1993 by scaneg Verlag, a Munich publishing house, who specialise in publications on the arts. The book was apparently a bestseller in 2011.

























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