Museum of Garden Art

Opening hours

  • Monday

    closed

  • Tuesday

    closed

  • Wednesday

    closed

  • Thursday

    closed

  • Friday

    closed

  • Saturday

    11 am - 5 pm

  • Sunday

    11 am - 5 pm

EUROPEAN GARDEN ART

and its diversity

Concerning its topics, the Museum of Garden Art is unique, as it is dedicated to the diversity of European garden art. Apart from an overview of the estimated 2,500 years of garden history, various aspects of garden art are focused upon: Flower fashions, sculptures in the park, the art of wood carving, the garden as a pharmacy or the introduction of rare flowers. Benrath Palace and its far-stretching Park are represented, as well as Düsseldorf as a city of flowers along with an exemplary outlook on current tendencies of garden art.

Paintings, sculptures, porcelain, artwork, devices and valuable books are presented on an exhibition area of about 2,000 square metres and in 41 rooms with various types of media such as models, films and listening stations. Ostensibly, they sum up the artistic designs of old and new gardens. The museum offers an overall glimpse at the cultural history of gardens from ancient times to the modern world.

The former Cavaliers‘ (guest and service) Wing is located between garden areas, the Palace Pond and the largely reconstructed rooms hosting numerous historic architectural elements such as fireplaces, heating, doors and wall panels. Thanks to its location, the museum sets an edifying frame for a journey through the centuries-old history of garden art and of Benrath Palace.

The charming atmosphere of the inner courtyard with its unusual ground plan, its archways supported by wooden pillars and the collection of historic citrus trees referencing the three-hundred-years-old Orangery tradition at Benrath Palace between April and October invite the visitor to linger, especially during the summer months.

Our Collection: Frankenthal Porcelain

The Frankenthal Porcelain Collection of Benrath Palace and Park Foundation offers an overall overview of the production of porcelain and the cultural cultivation of home decors at the courts of the 18th century. The collection refers to Benrath Palace and its builder, Elector Palatine Carl Theodor, and reflects the life and the intellectual history at court. At the same time, the porcelain exhibits mesmerize with their artistic design and their production quality.

In the 17th and 18th century, the Dutch East India Company brought the highly sought-after porcelain to the courts of Europe along with silk, spices and lacquers.

Porcelain was a luxury item and was regarded as the “White Gold”. In Europe, its production remained unknown for a long period of time. In the 9th century, porcelain was already available in China, and it was not until 1709 that the first German manufacturer found the right mixture of kaolin, quartz and feldspar.

On behalf of the Elector of Saxony, Augustus II (“The Strong”), Johann Friedrich Böttger and Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus had been carrying out experiments. Thanks to their breakthrough, the first European porcelain manufactory was established in Meißen in 1710. Copycats were soon to follow. In 1721, a successful faience-manufactory was founded in Strasbourg-Hagenau by Karl Franz Hannong. As of 1751, it also produced hard-paste porcelain. The situation, however, became more complicated after a decree that allowed only courtly manufactories to produce this luxury item. In 1755, Hanning turned to the Palatine court of Carl Theodor and requested a licence. The abandoned barracks of a Dragoons’ regiment at Frankenthal near Mannheim became the first production site. The very same year, Hannong was able to present his “Frankenthal Porcelain”.

Like every aristocratic family in Europe, the Elector Palatine decorated his table with palatial adornments and as of 1762 he ordered objects from his manufactory.

In 1777, Carl Theodor, who had by now obtained the titles of Elector of Bavaria and Elector Palatine, moved his residence to Munich and also took over the Nymphenburg Porcelain Manufactory. However, Frankenthal remained his site of production. He also commissioned Frankenthal Manufactory to produce porcelain on the occasion of the coronation of King Leopold II in Frankfurt. Until Carl Theodor’s death, the manufactory kept producing, but management changed a couple of times. Signing the document on May 27 1800, his successor Max IV Joseph, Prince-Elector of Bavaria, terminated the production once and for all. Some of the former Frankenthal models were reused and redesigned at Nymphenburg as of 1900.

Miniature replica of a garden design by Maximilian Friedrich Weyhe.

Garden Design from Maximilian Friedrich Weyhe

Sculptures of children in hunting clothes.

The Hunt as a Festive Pleasure

Two sculptures from the baroque garden.

Picture Programs in the Baroque Garden

Two large white sculptures of the Baroque period.

Baroque Garden Art in the Museum

Miniature replica of Villa Capra near Vincenza by Andrea Palladio.

Villa Capra near Vincenza by Andrea Palladio

Inner courtyard of the east wing with green plants and trees in tubs.

Citrus Plants in the Courtyard of the Museum