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When Bayreuth’s ebullient Margravine Wilhelmine was presented with a complex of buildings as a birthday present, she transformed the previous owner’s faux-hermitage into a glamorous country palace with an English-style garden and approached by a long drive lined with cypresses she had planted in honor of her brother and confidant, Frederick the Great. (Wilhelmine was a Prussian princess; her husband, Frederich, was Margrave of Bayreuth, a hereditary title passed down from the Middle Ages.) Wilhelmine gathered her salon of artists and intellectuals here (Voltaire was a visitor to Bayreuth) and she wrote her memoirs in the elaborately decorated Chinesisches Spiegelkabinett (Chinese Mirror Chamber), in which the shattered, fragmented pieces are said to be her response to aging and vanity.