Erdmannsdorff, Friedrich Wilhelm, Freiherr von

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Erdmannsdorff, Friedrich Wilhelm, Freiherr von (1736–1800). German Neo-Classical architect. He travelled with his friend and patron, the Prince of Anhalt-Dessau in the British Isles (1763–4—where he imbibed Palladianism and aspects of the Picturesque (especially from English landscaped gardens)), and Italy (1761–3, 1765–6, and 1770–1—where he absorbed Neo-Classicism (notably from Winckelmann and Clérisseau)). His English experiences stood him in good stead when designing the Neo-Palladian Schloss at Wörlitz, near Dessau (1769–73—which resembles Claremont in Surrey (1771–4) by Capability Brown and Holland), and some of the fabriques in the park there. The interiors of the Schloss include some Pompeian elements, while the park itself (laid out by J. F. Eyserbeck, Ludwig Schoch (1728–93), and Johann Georg Schoch) has many allusions to England (e.g. the Iron Bridge (a quarter-scale version of Pritchard's original of 1775–9 at Coalbrookdale, Shrop.), the Gothic House (an allusion to Walpole's Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, Mddx., of 1750–76), the Temple of Flora (derived from Chambers's Casino at Wilton, Wilts. (c.1759), and much else). In fact, the park incorporates many influences from Kew, near Richmond, Rousham (Oxon.), Stourhead (Wilts.), and Stowe (Bucks.), and was an attempt to create England-by-the-Elbe, not just out of caprice, but as an exemplary and educational programme to raise the tone of the Principality to one of Enlightenment and Progress. Erdmannsdorff also designed Schloss Luisium, near Dessau (1775–80), the Court Theatre, Dessau (1777), and many other buildings in the Gartenreich (Garden Kingdom) created by the Prince. In 1786 he was called to Berlin to contribute to the new Royal Academy there, and designed Neo-Classical interiors at Sanssouci, Potsdam, and the Schloss, Berlin. In 1787 he designed the new cemetery and portal in Dessau, and between 1791 and his death contributed further to the fabric of Dessau, Magdeburg, and Wörlitz.


R. Alex (ed.) (1986, 1988);
Harksen (1973);
D. Hempel (ed.) (1987);
Kadatz (1986);
Quilitzsch et al. (1997);
Trauzettel (2000);
Trauzettel & and Winkler (1992)