The Marble Palace is romantically situated on a terraced site directly on the lakeshore in the New Garden. King Frederick William II had the structure with its exterior accents of Silesian marble erected from 1787–93 as a summer residence. His architect Carl von Gontard thus created the first and only Prussian royal palace in the early Neoclassical style. The palace and garden served as a secluded retreat for the artistically inclined king, who had an enthusiasm for Rosicrucian ideas.
The New Garden’s distinctive atmosphere continues to enchant today’s visitors. The spacious grounds inspired by English gardens offer expansive views of the Havel landscape extending to Peacock Island and its palace. The garden’s many small, mystical architectural features, such as the pyramids, recall the former resident’s interests.
The Marble Palace’s interior decoration, designed by Carl Gotthard Langhans, among others, draws on design traditions founded in classical antiquity. Numerous marble fireplaces and ancient sculptures were acquired in Italy expressly for this palace. The interiors were also conceived to closely echo the pastoral setting, with, for example, the use of native woods to create exquisite intarsia and high-quality wooden floors. The choice décor was further enhanced with fine silk wall coverings and two grandfather clocks from the estate of Madame Pompadour, as well as an extensive collection of outstanding ceramic vases from the English Wedgwood manufactory.
The vestibule done entirely in polychrome marble, the grotto-style hall at the water’s edge, and the impressive concert hall represent the highlights of the palace’s Neoclassical rooms that are still largely preserved in the original.