The first Baroque residence on the Upper Rhine

Rastatt Residential Palace

Portrait of August Georg, Frans van Stampart, 1724. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer
A MOTHER'S ADMONISHMENTS

AUGUST GEORG:

A CANON WITH AFFAIRS

A royal mother like Sibylla Augusta of Baden-Baden would have paid special attention to her children's future. Her two eldest had married advantageously and a spiritual path was intended for August Georg. He, however, didn't take this very seriously...

Portrait of August Georg, by Frans van Stampart, 1724. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

August Georg von Baden-Baden.

THE START OF A SPIRITUAL CAREER

Nobility who wanted or were required to pursue a spiritual career were granted church offices early on. At 15, August Georg was given his first canonry at the Cologne cathedral chapter and subsequently a second in Augsburg. There was no residential obligation. However, this changed after 1729. Following educational travel and theological studies in Italy, he became a canon residentiary in Augsburg, and ordained as subdeacon a year later.

DEBTS AND AFFAIRS

Reports of her son's gambling debts and "conduct with the Countess of Oettingen unbecoming of a canon" soon reached Sibylla Augusta. Concerned about appearances, her own as well as her son's, she cautioned Georg repeatedly. She even made note of his poor spelling. In July of 1729, she wrote to her son: "Dear August, I am quite displeased." What had happened?

God of Love, Cupid as a cherub; detail from Sibylla Augusta's antechamber. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, credit unknown

Cupid, the God of Love, in a ceiling fresco.

CARRIAGE RIDE WITH A WOMAN

August Georg had taken a carriage ride with a woman, seven hours outside of Augsburg. On the return trip, the carriage had overturned, causing him to not return until 11:00 in the evening. His mother was quite cross. "Our dear Lord has shown you, by overturning your carriage, how displeased he is with a canon who takes pleasure rides with women…" she wrote, and continued: It had even occurred to her that "Cupid" had struck again and she feared her son was in love.

Portrait of Margrave August Georg von Baden-Baden, Heinrich Lihl, circa 1760. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Ina Friedrich

Margrave August Georg von Baden-Baden.

BACK TO SECULAR LIFE

After Sibylla Augusta's death in 1733, August Georg abandoned his spiritual path. He received papal permission to return to secular life. The reason: His brother, Ludwig Georg, had no male heirs, so the task of producing a progeny fell to August Georg. In 1735, he married Marie Victoire d'Arenberg (1714–1793), the daughter of a wealthy ducal family from Brussels. He came into power in 1761. However, when he passed away ten years later, he had still not produced an heir to the throne and the male line of the House of Baden-Baden died out.

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