Schloß Babelsberg was built in Potsdam in 1833 as a summer palace for Prince William, son of Frederick William III. Two other palaces had already been built for his brothers, Charlottenhof for Prince Frederick William and Glienicke for Prince Carl. Babelsberg was an entirely new building designed in the fashionable gothic style by the architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel and it had expansive grounds which looked out across to 'the brother palace' of Glienicke.1 William's brother, Prince Frederick William, ascended the throne in 1840 and took ownership of the schloß which brought about a second phase of building works under Ludwig Persius and Heinrch Strack. A large ballroom was added along with an elaborate façade, towers and a belvedere; some of these later additions can be seen on this vase. See Gert Streidt and Klaus Frahm for a full discussion of the history and evolution of Schloß Babelsberg, Potsdam, Palaces and Gardens of the Hohenzollern, Cologne, 1996, pp. 198-213.
A closely related vase, which could be the pair to the present example, which is painted after Carl Daniel Freydanck with the Neue Palais and Sanssouci, was sold in these Rooms on 7 October 1996, lot 304. This example was dated circa 1858 and also had a wooden bolt inscribed in black ink No. 1 1858, similar to the markings seen on the present vase. This example was by repute a gift from Kaiser William III to Princess Victoria's doctor following the birth of their son, Wilhelm in 1859. It seems likely that the present vase could also have been a royal gift from the Kaiser to an important member of the royal household. Another vase of the same form and decorated with the same view of Schloß Babelsberg was sold in 'Style for a Nation', Sotheby's, London on 9 July 1997, lot 197. A Berlin (K.P.M.) dinner-service decorated with views of Schloß Babelsberg is in the collection of the Residenz, Munich, see Derek E. Ostergard, Along the Royal Road, Berlin and Potsdam in KPM Porcelain and Painting 1815-1848, New York, 1993, pp. 166-167, no. 54 and no. 55 for a pattern of a Lithophane with an early view of the Schloß.
1. For an engraving of the original perspective and a plan of the Schloß by Schinkel see Barry Bergdoll, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, An Architect for Prussia, New York, 1994, p. 166, fig. 154.