Hunt and Billard Room

“No château, no bourgeois dwelling of the 19th century [was] without a Billiard Room.”
(L’architecture privée au XIXe siècle, 1872. In: Ariès 1999.)

If formerly reserved for the nobility, the game of billiards and the sport of hunting made great inroads into the bourgeois lifestyle of the 19th century. Which meant that the interior decorator of any haute-bourgeois residence – and of a country house in particular – would have been duty-bound to take these latest leisure pursuits into account. Schloss Drachenburg was no exception and received its own Hunt & Billiard Room to serve as a games room and as a place to keep the hunting guns and trophies. Yet it also offered space for more informal social events.

As with the adjoining library, the interior decoration plans were drawn up by the Bonn-based architect Franz Langenberg and a building supervisor at Schloss Drachenburg. The wood furnishings were made in 1884 and 1885 by Pallenberg, a Cologne firm. The billiard cues & guns cabinet was conceived especially for this room.

Even the glass paintings from the Mayer’sche Institute of Court Art originally incorporated motifs from the world of hunting and, in the process, depicted a “graceful figure of a Diana, resplendent in bright colours, created by Professor Schraudolph” as well as hunting outcomes.

As such, the Hunt and Billiard Room remained open to viewers and users until 1930. How the room was then furnished during the occupancy of Schloss Drachenburg by the Christian School Brothers can only be the subject of speculation. We are also pretty much in the dark as to the interior furnishings of the 1941 to 1945 period when the castle was used to accommodate the Adolf-Hitler-Schule – i.e. an elite Nazi college.

Much of the inventory to Schloss Drachenburg was damaged and stolen after the war, and the same applied to the Hunt and Billiard Room. From 1948, it functioned as a training room for the German Railways but further stock was to vanish between 1960 and 1971 when the castle as a whole stood vacant. It was only in the Paul Spinat era that damaged parts and lacunae in the wood panelling were provisionally repaired using epoxy resin. In addition, the room mutated into a Knight’s Hall in which numerous pieces of equipment and weaponry were placed on exhibition – including an armour-clad wooden horse!

Following the restoration process completed in 2006, the decoration was returned to its original appearance, having been reconstructed on the basis of detailed descriptions, photographs and other findings in situ.