Das Achilles-Schloss auf Corfu.
Wien, Carl Gerold’s Sohn 1896.
Oblong folio. 64pp, 13 tinted photo plates, monochrome and tinted text ills throughout, plus 2pp publisher’s adverts. Publisher’s pictorial boards. A good copy.
A lyrical monograph on the Achilleion, a palatial villa on the Greek island of Corfu built in the early 1890s for Elizabeth, Empress of Austria (“Empress Sissi”). She had had the palace built as a retreat from the pressures of court life, and dedicated the building and its contents to the ancient hero Achilles, commissioning statues, busts and paintings of the legendary warrior from some of the finest contemporary artists. The palace was built by an Italian architect in a mismatch of classical styles, but borrows from the excavations at Pompeii. This well-produced volume is illustrated throughout with dreamy drawings and tinted photographic views of the ‘fairy tale’ palace, its gardens and surroundings, and the tone of the book reflects the Empress’ own melancholy romanticism. Elizabeth’s was a tragic life, and she was assassinated two years after this book was published. Not common in the book trade today.