The New Chambers in Sanssouci Park, Potsdam, were constructed for King Frederick the Great of Prussia from 1771 to 1775. The building, which stands to the west of Sanssouci Palace, serves as a complement to the Picture Gallery, which lies to the east. Both buildings flank the summer palace.
The chambers replaced an orangery, which had been built at that site in 1745 on plans by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff and held the terraces' potted plants during the winter months. Ramps, on which the tubs were taken in and out, serve as reminders of the building's original use. Master builder Georg Christian Unger was commissioned to turn the orangery building into a guesthouse. The building's basic elements were left alone, as were its size and floor-to-ceiling french doors. The most obvious change was the addition of a cupola on the middle section. The similarities between the architecture of the New Chambers and that of the Picture Gallery are such that the both buildings can be mistaken for the other.
The real alteration occurred in the interior, where seven guest rooms and two ballrooms were created. The building is a highpoint of the late style of Frederican Rococo, even though classicism was already largely set as the prevailing taste of the period. The guest rooms were decorated differently with lacquered, painted, or inlaid cabinets, whose costly inlays of native woods decorated the entire wall from the ceiling to the floor. For paintings, the guest rooms have views of Potsdam, which document the town's design under Frederick the Great and were specially commissioned for the guesthouse by the king.
In the middle of the building, under the cupola, lies the largest room, the Jasper Room. The ballroom's walls are gloriously decorated with red jasper and grey Silesian marble. The same colors are found in the floor design. The ceiling painting Venus mit ihrem Gefolge (Venus with her Retinue) was created in 1774 by Johann Christolph Frisch. Decorated panels from both antiquity and the 18th century were attached to the background of red jasper.
The second, large ballroom, located in the eastern part of the New Chambers is the Ovid Gallery, decorated in the style of French mirrored rooms. On the long side of the room is a mirror stretching almost to the ceiling, across from which, on the garden side, are french doors. Frederick wished that the walls be decorated with gilded reliefs of the liaisons of the ancient gods, which had been told by the Roman poet Ovid in his Metamorphoses. The room's rich decoration comes from the workshop of the Bayreuther sculptors and brothers Johann David Räntz and Johann Lorentz Wilhelm Räntz.References:
The original Cochem Castle, perched prominently on a hill above the Moselle River, served to collect tolls from passing ships. Modern research dates its origins to around 1100. Before its destruction by the French in 1689, the castle had a long and fascinating history. It changed hands numerous times and, like most castles, also changed its form over the centuries.
In 1151 King Konrad III ended a dispute over who should inherit Cochem Castle by laying siege to it and taking possession of it himself. That same year it became an official Imperial Castle (Reichsburg) subject to imperial authority. In 1282 it was Habsburg King Rudolf’s turn, when he conquered the Reichsburg Cochem and took it over. But just 12 years later, in 1294, the newest owner, King Adolf of Nassau pawned the castle, the town of Cochem and the surrounding region in order to finance his coronation. Adolf’s successor, Albrecht I, was unable to redeem the pledge and was forced to grant the castle to the archbishop in nearby Trier and the Electorate of Trier, which then administered the Reichsburg continuously, except for a brief interruption when Trier’s Archbishop Balduin of Luxembourg had to pawn the castle to a countess. But he got it back a year later.
The Electorate of Trier and its nobility became wealthy and powerful in large part due to the income from Cochem Castle and the rights to shipping tolls on the Moselle. Not until 1419 did the castle and its tolls come under the administration of civil bailiffs (Amtsmänner). While under the control of the bishops and electors in Trier from the 14th to the 16th century, the castle was expanded several times.
In 1688 the French invaded the Rhine and Moselle regions of the Palatinate, which included Cochem and its castle. French troops conquered the Reichsburg and then laid waste not only to the castle but also to Cochem and most of the other surrounding towns in a scorched-earth campaign. Between that time and the Congress of Vienna, the Palatinate and Cochem went back and forth between France and Prussia. In 1815 the western Palatinate and Cochem finally became part of Prussia once and for all.
Louis Jacques Ravené (1823-1879) did not live to see the completion of his renovated castle, but it was completed by his son Louis Auguste Ravené (1866-1944). Louis Auguste was only two years old when construction work at the old ruins above Cochem began in 1868, but most of the new castle took shape from 1874 to 1877, based on designs by Berlin architects. After the death of his father in 1879, Louis Auguste supervised the final stages of construction, mostly involving work on the castle’s interior. The castle was finally completed in 1890. Louis Auguste, like his father, a lover of art, filled the castle with an extensive art collection, most of which was lost during the Second World War.
In 1942, during the Nazi years, Ravené was forced to sell the family castle to the Prussian Ministry of Justice, which turned it into a law school run by the Nazi government. Following the end of the war, the castle became the property of the new state of Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate). In 1978 the city of Cochem bought the castle for 664,000 marks.