2016, oil paint and gold leaf on elm natural panel timber
'The Marauders of the Wintergarten' is one of the final pieces of work inspired by the Ludwig II story. Painted on a raw edge slice of elm, covered in gold leaf, are a couple of the resident parrots who inhabited the huge glass covered dome erected (but expanded by Ludwig) on top of the Royal Residenz in Munich. The city palace was Ludwig's least liked abode. He disliked Munich immensely and was rarely seen in the capital much to the dismay of his ministers who instead had to travel to their Kings out-of-reach estates if they wanted to discuss governmental matters. However, Ludwig did enjoy the Wintergarten situated on the roof of the Residenz. With a backdrop of the Himalayas painted by the theatre designer (who incidentally was the main visionary behind Neuschwanstein) Christian Jank, a small lake, a Bedouin tent, ferns, birds and even talk of importing a baby elephant; here, Ludwig could finally lose himself in his own exotic oasis.
The Wintergarten was a triumph of engineering, modelled on Crystal Palace in London, however the impracticalities that Ludwig imposed created mayhem for the servants. The lake he had installed often leaked and the chef who slept below often awoke to leaks from the ceiling and the various animals who lived there often terrorised the servants and other visitors. The parrots in particularly were the worst culprits and would often attackpeople, which Ludwig found very amusing.
The use of the gold leaf on the naturally edged elm panel combines the decadence and gilt work seen inside the Residenz interior with the setting of the Wintergarten. Two Macaw parrots lie in wait, one with a wry look in his eye sits on a branch whilst the other flaps into view from under a fern leaf. The marauders are ready to wreak havoc!
Unfortunately the Wintergarten of the Munich Residenz was destroyed during the second world war.