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Margravine Wilhelmina of B ayreuth, the symbolic host of the 2016 Landesgartenschau garden festival, liked to have herself painted in the company of her papillon dog called Folichon. Ottmar Hörl has taken up this motif, and, in the form of serial sculptures, Folichon is conquering the city centre, Court Garden (Hofgarten), the Hermitage and Wilhelminenaue park.
In her lifetime , Wilhelmina enjoyed having herself pictured along with her lap dog. Folichon, which means 'amusing', 'charming' or 'cute', is a papillon dog (also called continental toy spaniel or butterfly dog), her favourite dog and the animal she used as a symbol of herself. "Dearest she-dog. I love you and adore you", Wilhelmina, in the guise of Folichon, wrote to Biche, her brother Frederick II's dog, in 1748.
This famous exchange of letters went down in the history of literature as the "Dog Letters". Folichon also has a central position in the painting decorating the ceiling in Wilhelmina's state apartment at the Hermitage. The scene depicts Chilonis, who followed her husband Cleombrotus into exile, and was read as a hint at Wilhelmina's own situation(detail, illus. 2). Particularly the portrait of Wilhelmina in pilgrim's garb, painted by court painter Antoine Pesne around 1750 (illus. 1), inspired later generations of artists, such as the Räntz brothers. In 1768, they created the marble sculpture (illus. 3) commissioned by Frederick II for the Temple of Friendship at Sanssouci Park.