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Leisure performance: Swan king

(Added 14 October 2007)

Ludwig Friedrich Wilhelm II Venus Grotto Linderhof Palace, photo: unknown

Ludwig Friedrich Wilhelm II was the chimeric King of Bavaria from 1864 to 1884. Known alternately as the “Swan King”, the “Fairy tale King” and the “Mad King”, Ludwig thought of himself as the “moon king”, a shadow king to Louis XIV’s sun. King Ludwig was a patron of composer of Wagner and mastermind of extravagant castles and landscape follies.

At Linderhof Palace we imagine the king demurely paddling his golden shell-boat through the capri-blue waters of his constructed grotto. Built as an illustration of the First Act of Wagner’s “Tannhäuser”, the waters were lit from below with changing coloured lights. At Castle Neuschwanstein we applaud King Ludwig’s choice to release dozens of hummingbirds to fly freely in the Winter Garden Room . “and so the impossible happens as a result of whims that turn into obsessions”, says Jane Urquhart when describing these wonders and the construction of one of the first stone churches in the Canadian wilderness. (_The Stone Carvers_, Jane Urquhart. Toronto: Mclelland & Stewart Ltd. 2002)

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