MOLTKES PALÆ

 

MOLTKE'S PALACE · THE EDIFICE

In the 1680’s, Jørgen Henriksen Gosebuch erected an impressive mansion situated on the corner of Bredgade and Dronningens Tværgade.
 
But the building did not stand for long. Ten years later, Ulrik Frederik Gyldenløve purchased the mansion and quickly had it torn down in order to build a new palace, after having sold his much larger palace on Kongens Nytorv in 1699. The cellar vaults were allowed to remain and today they are home to Restaurant Prémisse.
 
Architect Ernst Brandenburger was responsible for the construction of the new palace. The central part of the building faced Bredgade and was 9 bays long, with two storeys above the cellar and a 3-bay brick frontispiece.
 
SH-27-01.jpgThe original building had only two side wings, with 5 south bays facing Dronningens Tværgade, while the north wing faced the courtyard and a large garden that extended all the way to Marmorkirken (the Marble Church) in one direction and to Store Kongensgade in the other. Access to the palace was from Dronningens Tværgade, and a staircase led from the courtyard up to an entrance gate and entrance hall. The layout was entirely Baroque in spirit, with rooms located on either side of a partition.
 
The small edifice was completed in 1702 and was popularly known as 'Gyldenløve’s Little Palace'. At that time Ulrik Frederik Gyldenløve resided in Hamburg, Germany, where he died in 1704. The palace then became home to his son, Count Ferdinand Danneskiold-Laurvigen. After the death of his first wife, Ferdinand married Countess Ulrikka Eleonore Reventlow. The Countess was used to grand surroundings, so the palace was enlarged and modernised.
 
Royal architect J.C. Krieger ornamented the palace facade with a sandstone decoration around the windows. For the lower storey, the stone bracketed segment arch pediments were ornamented with lions’ heads, and the windows below were embellished with stone vines and fruit supported by elephant trunks. Both elephants and lions are featured in the family coat-of-arms as a reminder of its royal origins. The garret was replaced by a balustrade decorated with four sculptures.
 
SH-44-01.jpgWhen the property changed hands, the Count expanded the grounds to include the old orangery, and along Bredgade the palace was extended to include an elongated, three storey building accentuated mid-length by a domed pavilion. Behind the new edifice, which also included stables, a large Baroque garden stretched across the palace grounds featuring fountains, mazes and beds of ’embroidered flowers’.
 
The main floor of the palace functioned as the family’s daily living space, but the floor also included state bedrooms with alcoves behind a carved balustrade with three arched entryways. The sculptured ornamentation was gilded to make a striking contrast to the red damask-covered walls and the white stucco ceiling. The first floor was used for official purposes. The chambers were decorated in a particularly magnificent manner with Gobelin tapestries, wall mirrors with carved frames, extravagant stucco ceilings, painted panels and sandstone hearths. Many of the original stucco ceilings have been preserved to the present day.
 
BB-116-01.jpgUpon the Count’s death in 1754, ownership of the palace passed to his son, F.L. Danneskiold-Laurvigen, and in 1763 it was sold by his widow to his brother, Count Christian Conrad Danneskiold-Laurvigen.
 
In 1785 the palace and outbuildings were sold to the merchant Frédéric de Coninck and his business partner, Councillor of State Niels Lunde Reiersen.
 
De Coninck furnished the partly-preserved Dronninggaard Chambers in the style of Louis Seize, using large landscape paintings and overdoors from Dronninggaard, created by Erik Pauelsen.
 
In 1788 Frédéric de Coninck became the sole owner of the palace, and he had grand plans to convert the long wing facing Bredgade into an inn for travellers with stables on the main floor. A new building on the grounds behind the wing was to serve as chambers available for weddings, concerts and the like. The plans came to nothing, however, and instead de Coninck divided the property into smaller units.
 
At the end of the eighteenth century, the palace was sold to Councillor of State Constantin Brun, after having been owned for just a few years by the dowager Queen Juliane Marie, who had to find a new place to live after Christiansborg Palace burned down in 1794.
 
BB-111-01.jpgThe palace did not undergo any great changes during the Councillor’s time, but a number of the ornamentations found in the chambers date from his period of residence. Among others, Joseph-Jacques Ramée served as interior decorator, and G.F. Hetsch modernised the upper 3-bay chambers. During the same period Nicolai Abildgaard painted motifs on the three overdoors in the Abildgaard Chambers.

 

The next owner, master builder J. Heinrich Lütthans, did not effect any great changes either, but continued to divide the property into smaller units. On the other hand, the palace underwent both expansion and renovation when Count A.W. Moltke took possession in 1852. 
 
BB-116-02-02.jpgIn 1877-78 the side wing facing Dronningens Tværgade, among other parts of the palace, was extended by 7 bays copied from the original palace. On the top floor a room was set aside to display the large collection of paintings owned by the Moltke family.
 
In 1930 the palace was purchased by the Craftsmen’s Guild, and the architect Gotfred Tvede was contracted to carry out a thorough expansion and renovation of the palace.
 
The north side wing was extended to house a large new Baroque-style assembly hall with a slightly arched ceiling. The stucco was created by sculptors Thomas Hansen and Edvard Eriksen, the man who sculpted the Little Mermaid. The Moltke family’s art collection was sold before the palace changed hands, and the ceiling of the former display room was lowered. The room is today known as the Golden Hall.
 
Sources:
Sys Hartmann: 50 palæer og landsteder
Bo Bramsen and Palle Fogtdal: København før og nu – og aldrig
 
 

Moltkes Palæ · Dronningens Tværgade 2 · 1302 Copenhagen K · Denmark

Phone +45 33 14 80 66 · Fax +45 33 15 91 06