Press material: Peacock Island
In 1794, Frederick William II of Prussia had a rural summer pavilion built on Pfaueninsel (the isle of peacocks) for himself and his mistress Wilhelmine Encke, the future Countess Lichtenau. It is a timber frame structure faced with wooden boards, but built to resemble a ruinous Romantic backdrop. The magnificent early classical interior comes as a surprising contrast. It is still largely in its original condition and conveys an authentic impression of living conditions at court around 1800. Under Frederick Willliam II the island retained its original character. The landscaped garden was confined to the area around the palace, while a neo-Gothic dairy was built at the other end of the island.
Frederick William III and his wife Queen Luise used the palace as a summer residence. From 1818 Peter Joseph Lenné was commissioned to transform the island into a landscaped garden. Several new buildings were added, including the Palm House (razed by fire in 1880) and Schinkel’s Cavalier House.