This royal menu is dated 7 October, 1843 and bears the escutcheon of the House of Hanover. Ernst August aka Ernest Augustus, was King of Hanover from June 1837 until his death in November 1851. He was the son of King George III of England, and brother of King George IV of England. Born in London, he was titled Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale. Ernest returned to rule the Kingdom of Hanover when Victoria ascended the English throne—being a woman disqualified her from ruling Hanover, thus discontinuing the joint rule of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Hanover that had begun when George I succeeded Queen Anne in 1714.
The menu template is a hand painted lithograph designed by Justus Molthan and printed by Julius Griere. Scrolling acanthus provides the framework supporting the chef, servants in red livery, and a sommelier in blue, carrying wine and sumptuous dishes. The illustrations offer an insight into aspirational dining practices in the first half of the 19th century. The dinner date and the long list of dishes are handwritten for the occasion. The menu is entirely in French, which was the language of dining luxury in 19th century Europe.
The elaborate meal opens with partridge soup with Madeira wine, and closes with orange sorbet and crème brulée. A column of mostly German names, Nauwerk, Pichinot, Verclas, Robinson, Ilsen, and Robby run down the side of the course list. Three of the names are repeated. I do not know the significance of the list nor of the spacing but would be very grateful if anyone could fill me in.
The paper shows some foxing but it is very good condition overall. Keep in mind that since the photos are blown up, the blemishes are amplified. The photos are taken through glass which makes the handwriting look a little less sharp than it is. The back of the frame bears the label of a Wiesbaden, Germany art gallery, Kunst-Schaefer. This is genuinely a very rare item.
The menu measures 12 7/8th x 6.5 inches. The frame measures 17 7/8th inches x 11 1/8th.