Thursday, 24 February 2011

Upon the Castle Stair

I wish I could tell you something about the person in this photo, but none of us has any idea who she is. In fact, I don't even remember taking it. 
   I know the location though - it's the steps leading to the tower of Sigmaringen Castle, during our first visit to the town in Summer 2009. We were invited by a music journalist and promoter named Christoph Wagner to undertake an artist residency at  Schlachthof Arts Centre, returning the following year to perform the finished show at the annual Schlachtfest. 
   Sigmaringen is a small, wealthy town in the state of Baden-Wurrtemburg, which is the southern-most part of Germany bordering with Switzerland. Situated on the upper Danube and the largest of it's valley castles, the stunning Schloss Sigmaringen was briefly home to the exiled Vichy French government at the end of the World War II. 

   Our wonderfully energetic host Ulrike somehow managed to pull a few administrative strings, allowing us to film inside the castle for a few hours. Whilst there, she provoked our imaginations with colourful tales of a previous royal resident - Princess Amelia of Hohenzollern (1815-1841) whose friendship with Napoleon had once saved the town from being sacked. She's understandably talked about with saintly hushed reverence. A little later, during a walk through the surrounding forest, we were told how the princess and her beloved horse had once made a death-defying leap from the top of a tall chalk cliff, across the Danube, landing safely on the other side. I forget now the motivation for this act, probably love, but this photograph shows the exact place where it happened. It's commemorated with a large emblem you can see painted high up onto the cliff face.

Photos Copyright 2010 Harry Dawes/Scott Johnston

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