This is a presentation-framed photograph of Herzog (Duke) Ernst I of Saxe-Altenburg. Saxe-Altenburg was one of the small Saxon duchies. It was associated with the Saxe-Ernestine line, which was directly connected with the Kingdom of Saxony’s ruling House of Wettin. Ernst I (1826-1908) served as the Duke of Saxe-Altenburg from 1853 into 1908, after succeeding his father, Georg. Ernst I’s son, Ernst II, followed him, serving as the Duchy’s final Duke from 1908 until the Empire fell in 1918.
The signed portrait of Ernst I comes in an official frame that was given to favored subjects, fellow royals, etc. The photograph depicts Ernst I in a general officer’s uniform. It is very likely that the uniform is for 8. Thüringisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr 153. [As Saxe-Altenburg was a relatively small duchy, it was the only full regiment that Saxe-Altenburg fielded]! He is wearing a very large medal bar that sports an 1870 Iron Cross 2nd Class with Twenty-Five year Oak Leaves and the 1897 Kaiser Wilhelm I Centennial Medal. This dates the photograph from 1897 to 1908. At the photograph’s bottom, we can see Ernst I’s scrawling, black ink signature. The photograph within the frame measures 5 7/8″ x 3 13/16.”
The frame is made of high-quality leather. At its top is a large brass crown that signifies Saxe-Altenburg’s royal crown. The frame measures 8 1/4″ x 6 3/4.” A foldaway easel appears on the reverse that allows the frame to be displayed on a flat surface. At the top is a note from a modern-day German collector containing some of Ernst I’s basic information. The frame shows some wear on the reverse, but it remains a great royalty item for a state from which we seldom see material.