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The Wedding-Service of Prince Wilhelm, later Emperor Wilhelm II, and Princess Auguste Viktoria of Prussia
Friedrich Wilhelm, the eldest son of Emperor Friedrich III, married Auguste Viktoria, eldest daughter of Friedrich, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg at Berlin on 27 February 1881. To celebrate the occasion an elaborate and extensive wedding-service was commissioned to consist of eight hundred and nine pieces, serving fifty guests. Included in the service were dozens of vessels that were designed to work together in various ways for both state and less formal occasions. Great care and attention was paid to the appearance, height and transparency of the centrepieces in particular, which were formed so as not to obstruct guests' view across the table when in place. This arrangement was a departure from the previous fashion when it was considered incorrect to pay attention to what was occurring on the side of the table opposite. By the late nineteenth century even grand state banquets had become more intimate affairs wherein guests were expected to take an interest in the table as a whole and the other guests all about them, and not just those whom they were seated next to. The other pieces in the service were constructed on unobtrusive and slim lines, to harmonise. In conceiving them, the designers and modellers were inspired by the vaulted architectural forms and picturesque decoration of the Berliner Schloss.
A great number of workers were involved in the creation of the service. In charge overall was architect Adolf Heyden. The workshops involved were the most important of the day: Royal Goldsmiths Sy & Wagner, D. Vollgold & Sohn, H. Meyen & Co., and E. Schuermann & Co. Sculptors who took part were Carl Bergmeier, Peter Breuer, Adolf Bruett, Ludwig Brunow, Prof. Alexander Calandrelli, Gustav Eberlein, Otto Geyer, Richard Ohmann, Prof. Rudolf Siemering, W. Uhlmann and Max Wiese. Modellers were Wilhelm Quehl, Paul Schley, and H. Zacharias of Sy & Wagner. With such a vast array of labour, models of the principal articles were completed in time for the wedding, and the full service was finished and delivered in the spring of 1883.
Lessing, Julius, Das Tafelsilber ihrer Koniglichen Hoheiten des Prinzen und der Prinzessin Wilhelm von Preussen, Berlin 1883, Plate XXIII.
Eine Deutsche Silber-vergoldet montierte Claretkaraffe