14 Frederik V’s Cabinet
ROOM 14: This is the first of the rooms occupied by Frederik IV’s brother, Prince Carl. With Christian VII’s Room and Frederik VI’s Room, it was designed in 1782-1784 by Johannes Wiedewelt. The walls are decorated with tapestries from Charles le Vigne’s factory in Berlin, representing garden scenes. The tapestries were made around 1750.
The settee and the two armchairs presumably originate from Fredensborg Palace, while the chest of drawers, in rosewood veneer, was possibly made at the studio of C.F. Lehmann. The amber chandelier was made by Lorenz Spengler from a design by Marcus Tuscher. The main part of the porcelain collection originates from Christiansborg Palace, where it was rescued from the fire of 1794.
Most of the exhibits in this room date from the second half of the 18th century, and are mainly associated with Frederik V and his Queens, Louise and Juliane Marie, and their children, Christian VII and Prince Frederik, the Heir Presumptive.
Lehmann’s Large Musical Cabinet
The four metre high musical cabinet is not simply the most impressive example of the craft of furniture making made in Denmark in the 18th century; it also has a built in “music machine” with a mini orchestra. Frederik V was able to impress and enchant his guests in the golden dining room at Christiansborg Palace with the cabinet’s automated trumpet, flute, and cembalo mechanism. Every half hour a bell in the cabinet chimed, after which the finest music in the form of a trumpet fanfare played; the cabinet also played a piece for flutes and cembalos every hour. There was a choice of 14 different pieces for flute, and 7 pieces for trumpet. The cabinet is evidence of extravagant spending, and the price of 6,560 rigsdaler was the equivalent of buying a small palace. Frederik V ordered the piece himself in 1755, and it was already finished two years later. At that time Denmark was a major power, and it was important to display one’s wealth and position. With the cabinet’s virtuoso craftsmanship, noble varieties of wood, lavish gilt bronze fittings, and enormous size, nobody could be in any doubt about the king’s capabilities. Guests at the palace could also let themselves be enthralled by the fact that the court followed the newest fashions; the cabinet was made in the wildest and most advanced form of rococo. Simultaneously, the cabinet exemplified the age’s interest in mechanics. It was before the industrial revolution and there was a great fascination with machines and mechanics, which is for example known from clocks of the time. Automated objects were the preserve of the few, and pure mechanical art in a fantastic guise like the large musical cabinet’s exterior was worthy of a king. The cabinet was in every way a showpiece.