The Hall of Mirrors was installed in 1909 in a villa
built in 1884 by Martin Haller
and Emma Budge
had bought the
villa around 1900 and commissioned the Hamburg
to expand it into a palais. The Jewish
couple used the banqueting hall to host balls, concerts, and charity events.
Three glass double doors opened the pavilion towards the garden. Mirrors were
mounted on the doors at the back of the room in order to optically enlarge the
space. The term “Hall of Mirrors”
is derived from this
particular architectural feature, which is modeled after French 17th century palace
architecture. At Emma
request its interior decoration was carried out by
decorating firm Alavoine & Cie. The wall and
ceiling decorations are mainly designed in the classicist
styles. Their floral
elements, the allegories of the seasons, and the muses in the lunettes under the
ceiling refer to the garden landscape that extended in front of the pavilion.
This combination of styles so characteristic for the period of historicism is
realized in a particularly charming way by the contrast of the classical
austerity of the villa's architecture with its playful interior decoration.
Until 1980 the Hall of Mirrors
was part of
the villa, which has housed the State School of Music
) since 1959. When it had to make room for an addition, the Museum for Arts and
(MKG) in cooperation
authority for the protection of
moved it to the museum
, where it has been
installed in the northern courtyard since 1987.
Representative of many similar cultural goods and artefacts,
the history of the Hall of Mirrors illustrates the
acculturation of Jewish families who once were part of Hamburg's
upper-class citizenry. It is also the history of a lengthy struggle for
restitution and compensation. As a cultural historical source, the Hall of
Mirrors represents the kind of upper-class
bourgeois living that illustrates how deeply rooted Hamburg's
acculturated Jews were in the city's arts and cultural life.
The Hall of Mirrors from Hamburg's Budge Palais, Museum for Arts and Crafts Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, 1909 (translated by Insa Kummer), edited in: Key Documents of German-Jewish History,
<https://dx.doi.org/10.23691/jgo:source-153.en.v1> [September 28, 2021].