Pretty, Powerful, Perishable.
Photographs from the Prince Ernst August of Hanover Collection.

Edited by Bodo von Dewitz.
Steidl / Edition 7L, Gottingen, 2006. 224 pp., 180 color illustrations, 9½x13".

Publisher's Description

This project has been cancelled by the publisher.

State portraits have always been a powerful means of royal self-promotion. For centuries painting was largely sustained by court patronage— the permanent, glamorous representation of each commissioning head of state helped to safeguard his dominance. Then along came photography, and everyone could afford to be immortalized. Nonetheless the royal court around the Welfen dynasty in Hanover let itself be photographed repeatedly. The royals contracted photographers, gave away pictures of themselves, and in return received photographs from others which they kept in albums and portfolios, until they had an extensive collection. This collection, which is still in the possession of Prince Ernst August of Hanover, has survived the collapse of the dynasty it records. Its reflection of family and social relations is not just the US Weekly of its era, full of sumptuous clothing and props and hints of the good life, but also a politically significant documentation of European social and familial political networks. Pretty, Powerful, Perishable, is a primary source document, an endless source of curiosity and a spirited reflection of a lost epoch.


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