Collection of engravings
The inheritance of Princess Elizabeth of the United Kingdom (1770–1840) constitutes the museum’s most valuable asset. Elizabeth was the third daughter of the British monarch George III and became Landgravine of Hesse-Homburg by marriage.
While living in Windsor Castle at the end of the 18th century, the princess started a large collection of prints and scientific works. After her marriage she completed the collection in Germany. After Elizabeth’s death her niece Caroline of Hesse-Homburg, married to Prince Heinrich XX Reuss, inherited the collection. That is why it came to Greiz in 1848.
Particularly worthy of note is the considerable number of English mezzotint engravings in the Princess’s collection. More than 600 of those are copies of paintings by Joshua Reynolds, a pioneer of English portrait painting in the 18th century. As a member of the British royal family, Elizabeth was presented with many works by artists and scientists. She also received numerous gifts from her family. In addition to those engravings, her collection contains Imperial Folio albums, for instance an illustrated history of England, an edition of fairy tales from the Rhine and Neckar rivers and a magnificent volume with illustrations by Elizabeth herself that is dedicated to Queen Elizabeth I. Elizabeth mainly collected portraits, almost 500 of them are now in the Staatliche Bücher- und Kupferstichsammlung.
Apart from that, the museum also possesses an array of English, French, Dutch and German prints of various techniques, such as crayon manner by Francesco Bartolozzi after Hans Holbein’s paintings or engravings of Wenzel Hollar and Elias Ridinger.