In the lake of Chiemsee, in the Bavarian Alps, there is an island, and on
that island there is a palace and at the dead centre of that palace is a bed -
room. The walls are lined with scarlet damask, embroidered with twisted
columns interlaced with vines, and the room is divided by a gilded
balustrade. Visitors stand on one side of the balustrade, while on the other,
little folding stools line the walls. Directly beneath the dome stands the red
velvet cube of a bed.
No-one has ever slept in this bed. And no-one has lived in the palace
either. It was built by mad King Ludwig II of Bavaria in the 1870s; but it
was never finished. He only spent one night in the place – alone apparently.
He had the candles lit in his ersatz Galerie des Glaces, and wandered from
salon to glittering salon, retiring only as the sun rose to another chamber,
which he had had made in the form of a cabinet of Psyche.
By Ed Hollis
Extract from Ed Hollis’ new book The Memory Palace: A Book of Lost Interiors (2013).
THE UNIVERSITY of EDINBURGH Edinburgh College of Art
THE UNIVERSITY of EDINBURGH MORAY HOUSE SCHOOL of EDUCATION