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Hall of Mirrors

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Martin Haller (1835-1925)1909Hamburg

This Hall of Mirrors, once installed in the former Budge House in Harvestehude, was installed in the northern courtyard of the MKG in 1987. Around 1900, Henry (1840-1928) and Emma Budge (1852-1937) bought a villa built by Martin Haller in 1884. They engaged the Hamburg architect to combine the villa with a large neighbouring house, which was executed through the construction of the Hall of Mirrors in 1909. This large room acted as a pavilion for balls, concerts and charity events. The three glazed double-doors opening towards the garden were mirrored in order to optically extend the room. This architectural feature was inspired by the architecture of French castles from the 17th century, and was responsible for the description of the room as a “hall of mirrors”. The walls and the ceiling have been decorated, for the most part, in both the Classical and Rococo styles. The floral ornaments, the allegories of the seasons and muses refer to the garden outside the pavilion. The plethora of styles was typical of Historicism. In this instance, the resulting style is particularly accomplished with the classical austerity of the architecture that invites the perfect backdrop for the playful interior decoration. The Hall of Mirrors not only stands an important example of historic upper-class living, but it is also one of the many cultural goods and artefacts left behind after the persecution of the under by the National Socialists. The Budges’ heirs claimed restitution for Budge House and the Hall of Mirrors. After negotiating with the City of Hamburg, a settlement was agreed upon.