Prince Josef Johann Adam I von Liechtenstein
Prince Josef Johann Adam I von Liechtenstein fought in the War of Spanish Succession in 1709. As the emperor’s representative he opened the Silesian Diet of Princes at Breslau in 1729. In other respects he avoided service at the imperial court for financial reasons, devoting himself with great success to the administration of his estates.
The eighth child of Prince Anton Florian I (1656–1721) and Princess Barbara von Liechtenstein (1661–1723), Prince Josef Johann Adam I was born in Vienna on 28 May 1690. He was the only son of the couple to survive into adulthood. Married and widowed three times, Josef Johann Adam I had a total of eight children. His successor Johann Nepomuk Karl I (1724–1748) was the son of his third marriage to Maria Anna, née zu Oettingen-Spielberg (1693–1729), and inherited the title at the age of eight as his sole surviving male heir. Josef Johann Adam I died at Feldsberg (Valtice) on 17 December 1732 as the result of a stroke.
FINANCIAL AND POLITICAL ACUMEN
In his youth the prince served in the Imperial Army. During the War of Spanish Succession (1701–1714) he took part in the siege and conquest of the fortresses of Tournai and Mons (both in present-day Belgium) by the allied forces of John Churchill, first duke of Marlborough, and Prince Eugene of Savoy in 1709.
On the occasion of the celebrations in Vienna of the coronation of Charles VI as Roman-German Emperor in 1712 Josef Johann Adam I was made a chamberlain and in 1713 appointed as the official representative of the emperor to the Moravian Diet. Barely a month after his father’s death in 1721 he was invested with the Order of the Golden Fleece, and by February 1723 he was already an imperial privy councillor. However, the prince largely kept away from service at court for financial reasons. Devoting himself successfully to the administration of his estates, he managed to settle the disputes about his father’s inheritance within the family in an amicable fashion. In his chronicle of the princely dynasty published in 1725, the historiographer Max Erasmus von Häcklberg und Landau characterized the prince as an ‘excellent steward’, who was able to pay off ‘the debts amassed through the long years of the Roman legation and other expenses incurred by his father Anton Florian I, also his excessive munificence and his building, immoderate and erected without benefit’, and satisfy creditors.
Following a century of endeavours, the House of Liechtenstein had risen to the upper echelons of the imperial aristocracy with the admission of all male members of the family to the Imperial Council of Princes.
The case of Josef Johann Adam I shows that he did not need high office at court in order to act successfully for his house. Thus as early as 13 August 1723 he managed to obtain admission to the Imperial Council of Princes for all the male blood relatives of the male line of the family, even though he had concentrated exclusively from the outset on the administration of his estates. With this, following a century of endeavours, the House of Liechtenstein had risen to the upper echelons of the imperial aristocracy.
Josef Johann Adam I also commissioned significant architectural projects. He regarded his main task as ensuring the completion of Schloss Feldsberg (Valtice). Soon after the death of Anton Florian I and the recalling of the architect Anton Johann Ospel to Vienna, one Antonio Beduzzi (1675–1735) was engaged as princely engineer. He designed all the interior decoration of the palace, supervising its execution together with the sculptor Franz Biener (1681–1742). Beduzzi was probably also responsible for the design of the ceiling fresco in the palace chapel painted by Domenico Mainardi (d. 1747). During the 1720s Beduzzi also oversaw the large-scale remodelling of Schloss Neuschloss near Mährisch Aussee (Úsov).
Josef Johann Adam I also commissioned significant architectural projects.
The sources are unfortunately silent on the history of the paintings collection and acquisitions during this period. It may be assumed that the gallery continued to be administered as it was in 1712. After the death of Prince Josef Johann Adam I the paintings belonging to the inalienable dynastic holdings were marked with black and red armorial seals. Given the small number of acquisitions of art objects during his reign and that of his father Prince Anton Florian I, it may be assumed that the holdings of art recorded in his estate were already extant at the death of Prince Johann Adam Andreas I in 1712.