The set-up for the exhibition 'SCHLOSS BAU MEISTER - Andreas Schlüter and Baroque Berlin' in the Bode-Museum is reaching its final stages. On 28 March the 'Great Silver Buffet' arrived at the museum after being carefully packed at its home at Schloss Köpenick. The buffet or sideboard cabinet originally stood in the Rittersaal ('Knights' Hall') in the Berlin Palace. Once again, members of the press were invited behind the scenes to witness its assembly.
The Great Silver Buffet was commissioned around 1695 by the Billers of Augsburg and was permanently installed in the palace's Rittersaal sometime between 1703 and 1706, in the centre of the eastern diaphragm wall. Its many instruments were not conceived for practical use, and were instead purely decorative, adding to the overall impression of the wall decoration.
Even at the time of its crafting, the buffet was unique in the way it was incorporated as a permanent fixture into the interior design. It also owes its singularity to the fact that it is the only multipartite goldsmithing ensemble of its kind still in existence.
Despite the loses during the reign of Frederick the Great and in the years of the French occupation under Napoleon (1806-1813), when parts were removed to be melted down, the Silver Buffet managed to retain its original character, as the losses were always carefully compensated with other pieces at a later date. The Silver Buffet and an array of other artefacts will be on show from 4 April in the exhibition at the Bode-Museum.