Wilhelm II and Von Moltke the elder, photographs

Searching for military photographs you sometimes come across something that does not fit in the collection and that you buy nevertheless. These two pictures came to me that way years ago. They were part of a larger group of pictures all with Wilhelm II and other famous German people of that period, late 19th and early 20th century. I bought the group in Utrecht, close to Doorn where Wilhelm II spend has days after WW1 in exile.

So my hypothesis is these photo’s are somehow linked to that fact. There was no further info when I bought the photos so it is impossible to prove it but they might have been from someone is his entourage. A lot of former German military and noble families followed him here. Some to stay indefinitely and some only for some years.

Both pictures were made by court photographers and are original high quality prints. The picture of Wilhelm II is by William S. Berger in Potsdam. The picture of Von Moltke is by Loescher & Petsch in Berlin. Both also are embossed by the photographer on the print themselves!

The picture of Von Moltke is by Loescher & Petsch in Berlin and dated 1887. Both also are embossed by the photographer on the print themselves as seen in these two photo’s!

The print of Wilhelm II has originally been framed but that frame was gone when I bought the group. Interestingly it is written in Dutch on the reverse that it should be framed in small plain oak.

These are the only copies of these specific photo’s that I could find online. Many pictures were also sold to the public or even made into postcards for an even larger audience. But these seem to be rare if not unique prints.

What I did find that of both pictures a drawing based on these pictures does exist. The one of Von Moltke was used for a book about the famous Germans of the 19th century (a book printed in 1899). The origins of the drawing that was made of William II could not be traced. The drawing nevertheless is clearly based on this photo but without the building behind Wilhelm II.

As can be seen in the embossed mark the picture was printed in 1887 a year before he fully retired but already at the very end of his career. More can be read here.

If you have a copy of one of these photos or other relevant information do let me know.