The European aristocracy of the 1850s

[Album amicorum]. Friendship album of Princess Anna of Hesse-Darmstadt.

Mainly Darmstadt but including Altenburg, Bad Homburg, Bad Kissingen, Baden-Baden, Berchtesgaden, Berlin, Erdmannsdorf/Fischbach, Frankfurt, Hohenschwangau, Munich and other places, 1852-1864.

12mo (83 x 129 mm). 84 ff. containing entries by more than 230 personages. With one engraved devotional lace picture, one small pen-and-ink drawing, and one dried flower. Contemporary half calf over wooden boards; both covers elaborately decorated with ornamental plating and inlays of bone, brass, and mother-of-pearl (front cover very slightly cracked and brass plating loosened at the top left corner). Pocket in inside of lower cover; sheath with original thin pencil. Narrow gilt rules to spine. A single central clasp. All edges gilt.


Remarkable, wide-ranging friendship album of Princess Anna of Hesse and by Rhine (1843-65), only daughter of the Hessian general Karl of Hesse and Princess Elizabeth of Prussia. In May 1865 she married Grad Duke Frederick Francis II of Mecklenburg-Schwerin but died of puerperal fever a week after the birth of her only child. Both her parents as well as her later husband have signed her album.

The entries are mainly by members of the European aristocracy, including Archduke Albert of Austria-Teschen (1817-95), Czar Alexander II of Russia (1818-81), Princess Alice of Great Britain (1843-78), Duke Frederick of Anhalt (1831-1904), Countess Charlotte Fugger (1830-76), Gustav Prince of Vasa (1799-1877), Prince Henry XXII Reuss-Greiz (1846-1902), Helena Louise of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Duchess of Orléans and Chartres (1814-58), Duke Joseph of Saxe-Altenburg (1789-1868), Joséphine de Beauharnais, Queen of Sweden and Norway (1807-76), Louis Philippe Albert d'Orléans, Comte de Paris (1838-94), King Ludwig II of Bavaria (1845-1912), King Maximilian II of Bavaria (1811-64), Princess Sophie of Orange-Nassau, Grandduchess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (1824-97), Countess Théodolinde of Württemberg, Princess of Leuchtenberg (1814-57), Princess Therese of Oldenburg, née Nassau Weilburg (1815-71), Prince Wilhelm of Schaumburg-Lippe (1834-1906), and many others. The later "Swan King" Ludwig II has signed his name twice: once as a six-year old, together with his mother Marie Friederike of Prussia (1825-89), and again as a twelve-year-old, alone. Other entries by children include Mary Victoria Hamilton (1850-1922), who would marry Prince Albert I of Monaco in 1869, and the later ethnologist, zoologist and botanist Therese of Bavaria (1850-1925). Other contributors from the field of science and scholarship include the explorer Adalbert von Barnim (1841-60), the geologist Wilhelm von Branca (1844-1928), and the theologian Carl Heinrich August von Burger (1805-84).

Pages numbered in pencil up to p. 160 by a later hand. Provenance note on the final page of text (p. 133) by Marie of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg (1850-1922): "This book belonged to the Grand Duchess Anna of Mecklenburg née Princess of Hesse-Darmstadt; it was later given to Duke John Albert of Mecklenburg in Dezember 1919 [...]".

Stock Code: BN#46956 Tag: