Description of the Christening of Lady Elisabeth of Hesse


In 1596 Landgrave Moritz of Hesse (1572–1632) celebrated the christening of his daughter, Elisabeth von Hessen-Kassel (1596–1625), with four days of lavish games, tournaments and fireworks. Two years later, the artist, engraver, and publisher Wilhelm Dillich (1571–1650) created and published a richly decorated description of these festivities in two volumes. The lavish illustrations mostly detail the costumes and decorations of the various pageants, with many of the attendees dressed as historical, allegorical, or mythological characters. The copy preserved in the Bavarian State Library was hand-colored by Dillich himself and presented to Landgrave Moritz. At some point before 1606 an unknown artist decorated all the free space left in the manuscript (i.e., on empty pages as well as along the margins) with remarkable watercolor paintings of common and exotic flowers such as the tulip, viola, and peony. Among the historical and mythological characters represented in the manuscript are Jason, Perseus, Hannibal, Alexander the Great, and Julius Caesar.

Last updated: October 17, 2017