Schloss Weißenstein is palatial residence in Pommersfelden, considered a masterwork of Baroque art. In 1710, Lothar Franz von Schönborn, Prince-Bishop of Bamberg and Archbishop of Mainz, inherited the estate after the local family, the Truchsesse of Pommersfelden had died out. He ordered the construction of a palace as a private summer residence, paid for from his personal wealth. A team or architects including Johann Dientzenhofer, who had previously built the Fulda Cathedral, and Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt, the court architect of the Austrian Emperor Karl VI. The Marstall and park were designed by Schönborn's own court architect, Maximilian von Welsch.
The castle was built between 1711 and 1719 from local sandstone materials. The interior art was finished in 1723. After the death of Lothar Franz in 1729, the palace passed to his nephew Friedrich Karl von Schönborn who had the park expanded. A plan by Balthasar Neumann was however, only partially realized. In the early 19th century, the park was transformed from its original Baroque form into an English landscape garden.
During the Seven Years' War the palace was attacked and damaged by Prussian troops. Minor restoration work was done in the late 19th century. More recently, preservation work has been done in 1975 to 2003.
Today Weißenstein remains the property of the Schönborn family. It is considered a Baroque masterwork and the combination of exterior and well-preserved interiors gives it European importance. The palace and its park are open to the public.
The palace contains the largest private Baroque art collection in Germany, containing over 600 pictures. Baroque and Renaissance artists represented include Peter Paul Rubens, Albrecht Dürer, Titian, Rembrandt and Anthony van Dyck.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.