This is a dinner menu for a function held at the Neues Palais (New Palace) in Potsdam. The Neues Palais was started in 1763 (European history still stuns me, when a palace built by Frederick the Great at the Seven Years War’s conclusion is referred to as “New”)! The palace was built on grounds near Sanssouci. Frederick the Great still preferred Sanssouci (due to its French influences), but considered the construction of a new palace an opportunity to demonstrate Prussia’s power and grandeur. The Neues Palais had more than two hundred rooms. When Kaiser Frederick III came to power, he spent most of his ninety-nine-day-reign within its walls. Kaiser Frederick III’s son, Kaiser Wilhelm II, also preferred the Neues Palais after he assumed Germany’s throne. The larger palace enabled Wilhelm to entertain his guests in a far more lavish and grand manner.
The menu measures 5 ½” x 8 5/8.” The event’s date(1 November 1918) appears as its first line of information. It is handwritten, as the evening’s actual bill of fare. A rather simple diagram is drawn on its back: a circle with positions noted on two opposing points. Each is identified, yet a clear reading is a bit difficult to come by. They may indicate the positions of the Kaiser and Kaiserin, or two other important dignitaries. When one envisions the plethora of dinnerware patterns Wilhelm II had at his disposal (not to mention the matching cutlery, glassware, and table decorations) and multiplies that by the multitude of guests possible for a grand event – the mind simply boggles! The identities portrayed in the diagram add to the mystery. Purchase this lovely menu and let your imagination conjure up all of its impressive possibilities.