Courtly Collections: Dresden, Leipzig, and Berlin



During the 17th and 18th centuries the remarkable wealth of central Europe’s ruling class was harnessed for exceptional architecture and extraordinary works of art in Saxon Dresden and Prussian Berlin. These cities also fostered academic study, musical interests, and craft trades, creating a rich cultural milieu throughout the region that remains vibrant today. We will encounter some of Europe’s most significant decorative arts collections in grand palaces and renowned museums and have the benefit of insight from two highly regarded art historians. Tom Abbott, an American resident of Germany affiliated with the Foundation of Prussian Palaces and Gardens, will be with us in Dresden, and Tim Schmützler, a German who has worked extensively with American groups from the Metropolitan Museum, National Trust, and Harvard, among others, will lead us through Meissen, Leipzig, Wittenburg, and Berlin. Please join us for a remarkable journey through the majestic schlosses and outstanding museums of eastern Germany.


ITINERARY  (subject to amendment)

Saturday, May 9

Guests arriving on Friday may choose to accompany Tom Abbott on Saturday morning to theGemäldegalerie of Old Master pictures, a collection that includes works by Raphael, Rembrandt, and Vermeer, as well as several significant 18th-century views of Dresden by the Italian artist Bernardo Belletto, nephew of Canaletto. At mid-afternoon we assemble with Mr. Abbott at the historic Taschenberg Palace Hotel, Dresden’s finest, for an introductory walking tour to view the city’s rich architectural sites, including Theatre Square and Brühl Terrace. We will also visit the restored Historic Green Vault, built in 1730 for Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, to display his Cabinet of Wonders. The day concludes with welcome drinks and dinner at our hotel.

D included
Overnight: DRESDEN

Sunday, May 10

Our first visit is to see the extensive collections at the Zwinger Palace, a spectacular courtyard gallery, which includes Augustus the Strong’s holdings of more than 20,000 pieces of Asian and European porcelain. We continue to the New Green Vault, an extravaganza of jeweled baroque objects, many by the acclaimed court goldsmith Johann Dinglinger. Following free time for theArmory and fascinating Turkish collections at Dresden Castle, we leave by boat with lunch forSchloss Pillnitz, Augustus’s Chinese pleasure palace on the Elbe River. It is now a museum of decorative arts and an important English-style garden. Those wishing to attend Puccini’s opera Tosca at the famous Semper Opera House upon our return may elect to procure tickets independently online at

B, L included
Overnight: DRESDEN

Monday, May 11

We set out by coach with Tim Schmützler for a day trip to Meissen to see the gothicAlbrechtsburg Castle and Meissen Factory Museum. Meissen was the first true hard-paste porcelain developed in the west, an industry patronized by Augustus the Strong beginning in 1710. After an independent lunch in Old Town, we visit the baroque palace of Moritzburg, enlarged for Augustus in 1723 and featuring animal trophies, a splendid chapel, and a surprising feather bedroom. This fabulous day closes with a special evening of wine tasting and dinner with Prinz and Prinzessin zur Lippe at Schloss Proschwitz, the well-known estate on the Elbe River reclaimed by the family in 1997.

B, D included
Overnight: DRESDEN

Tuesday, May 12

We depart for Leipzig, stopping at the Grassi Museum of decorative arts and the historic restaurant and wine bar Auerbachs Keller for lunch. A guided tour in Leipzig’s Old Town includes the Town Hall, the Market, and Stock Exchange. Since the 15th century, Leipzig has been famous for book publishing and trade fairs. We visit the diminutive but impressive Museum of Fine Artsand Bach’s Church of St. Thomas, home of the St. Thomas Boys Choir. We continue to the acclaimed Hotel Stadtpalais in the Renaissance town of Wittenberg, home of Martin Luther.

B, L included

Wednesday, May 13

The day includes a lengthy excursion to the picturesque UNESCO World Heritage site of Wörlitz, to see the Schloss and Gothic House as well as its impressive English park, which comprises a sequence of historic monuments among the lakes, planned by the builder, Duke Leonard III of Anhalt-Dessau, as a celebration of classical learning and the Enlightenment. We continue to the elegant neoclassical Luisium Castle and enjoy lunch in the Orangerie. In the late afternoon, the town of Dessau introduces the very important Bauhaus origins of 20th-century modern architecture and art, as practiced by Gropius, Mies van der Rohe, and others.

B, L included

Thursday, May 14

En route to Berlin we stop in Potsdam, the great 18th-century Prussian country town of Frederick the Great, to tour his exquisite rococo palace, Sans Souci, and its terraced orchard, green and gilt Chinese teahouse, and mill, where lunch will be served. A drive through Potsdam illustrates Frederick’s eclectic and enchanting architectural legacy. Upon arrival in Berlin, we will tour the Schloss Charlottenburg with its unforgettable Chinoiserie room and Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s exquisite neoclassical garden pavillion. Our final stop at the nearby Bröhan Museum will provide an enjoyable introduction to German decorative arts of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The beautiful Regent Hotel is our base for the final three nights.

B, L included
Overnight: BERLIN

Friday, May 15

The day commences with an architectural tour of Berlin including Unter den Linden and the impressive site of the 17th-century Stadtschloss. We visit Museum Island for the Pergamon Museum of ancient art and the Bode Museum of fine art. After an independent lunch, the coach takes us via the symbolic Brandenburg Gate to the Kulturforum in western Berlin where we see the Gemäldegalerie of Old Masters and the recently reopened Kunstgewerbemuseum, Berlin’s heralded museum of decorative arts. A relaxing evening boat cruise with drinks and supper highlights the city’s modern architecture along the waterways.

B, D included
Overnight: BERLIN

Saturday, May 16

Our final day of touring opens with a visit to the Gendarmenmarkt, with the handsome pair of baroque cathedrals flanking Shinkel’s 1820 concert hall. We then head by coach southeast from Berlin to the Schloss Köpenick on the Dahme River to see a splendid collection of decorative arts focusing on the Renaissance, baroque, and rococo periods. A free afternoon in Berlin provides a perfect opportunity to explore the city’s other museums, as well as a chance to enjoy some shopping. In the evening, we gather for a special farewell dinner at the renowned rooftop restaurant at the Reichstag, which sits adjacent to the new glass dome Sir Norman Foster added above the historic parliament building.

B, D included
Overnight: BERLIN

Sunday, May 17

Departures for the airport.

B included

Terms and Conditions

Land Arrangement Cost:
$5,725 per person based on double occupancy. This cost is based on the current rate of exchange of €1 = $1.35. The final invoice will reflect changes in the currency rate.

Transatlantic airfare is not included. Please do not make your airline reservations until you have received written confirmation from the Trust.

A deposit of $1,350 per person is required by September 7, 2014. Reservations and deposits are taken on an “as received” basis. You will receive a written confirmation from the Decorative Arts Trust. Do not make any irrevocable airline reservations until you receive your verification. If not registering online, please make your check payable to “The Decorative Arts Trust” and mail to: 20 South Olive Street, Suite 304, Media, PA 19063.

Single Supplement:
The single supplement is $820, to be paid along with the deposit.

Final Payment:
Will be due by January 16, 2015. Invoices for final payment will be mailed in early January.

A Benefactor-level membership is required for participation in Study Trips Abroad. Your membership contribution is fully tax deductible. If an increase in your membership level is necessary, the Trust will invoice you for the appropriate upgrade with your final payment.

A donation to the Decorative Arts Trust of $500 per person is required for Study Trips Abroad.
This gift is fully tax-deductible and helps support the Trust’s mission and programs.

The schedule outlined in this itinerary is contracted for at this time but subject to change as necessary. A Study Trip reading list will be sent to you.


The trip is limited to a maximum of 24 members and requires a minimum of 15. The trip will be canceled if under-subscribed. We will organize and maintain a waiting list on the basis of the time registrations are received. This is a strenuous trip. We regret that we cannot be responsible for those needing assistance on this trip. By registering, you are certifying that you do not have any mental, physical, or other conditions of disability that would create a hazard for yourself or other passengers. The Trust reserves the right to decline anyone as a participant in this Study Trip should the person’s health, actions, or general deportment impede the operation of the study trip or the rights, welfare, or enjoyment of others.

Included in Trip Cost:
Hotel accommodations in 4–5 star hotels, 8 buffet breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners, private motor coach transportation, local guides, admission to museums, historic houses, and gardens, gratuities for professional guides and motor coach driver, and porterage for one suitcase only.

Not Included in the Trip Cost:
Airfare, airport transfers other than specified above, alcoholic beverages other than when provided, personal expenses, and trip insurance are not included.

Cancellation and Refund:
If you must cancel your reservation, you are urged to do so as soon as possible in writing to The Decorative Arts Trust. All cancellations are subject to a $250 administrative fee. Deposits are non-refundable after September 7, 2014.

  • Cancellations arriving by February 20, 2015, will receive a 50% refund.
  • Cancellations arriving by April 9, 2015, will receive a 25% refund.
  • There will be no refunds for cancellations received after April 9, 2015.

Travel insurance is strongly recommended to protect against cancellations. 

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