Franz, Count of Erbach-Erbach

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Franz I. Graf zu Erbach-Erbach
Antique collection in the Erbach Palace

Franz Graf zu Erbach-Erbach (29 October 1754 – 8 March 1823) was a German nobleman and art collector.


Franz was born in Erbach im Odenwald in 1754. From 1769 to 1773, he studied politics and history in Lausanne, Strasbourg, and Paris. He also traveled extensively to London, Brussels, Den Haag, Berlin, Dresden, and Italy. While he was in Rome, he met several people that would become influential in his life, among them Ennio Quirino Visconti and Johann Friedrich Reiffenstein.

As the Count of Erbach, he paid special attention to agriculture, trade, and transportation. Through the influences of Reiffenstein and Visconti, Franz started his own art collection. This collection is now housed by the Erbach Palace. Franz dedicated his completed art catalogue to Reiffenstein. He was also the pioneer of ivory carving in Erbach, and his ivory collection now belongs to the German Ivory Museum Erbach. He died at Erbach in 1823.

He married Charlotte Luise Polyxena, Princess of Leiningen and had children.


  • L. Ferdinand Dieffenbach: Graf Franz zu Erbach-Erbach. Ein Lebens- und Culturbild aus dem Ende des XVIII. und dem Anfange des XIX. Jahrhunderts. Darmstadt 1879
  • Wolfgang Glüber: Franz I. und der Rittersaal im Schloss zu Erbach. In: Kunst in Hessen und am Mittelrhein. NF 2, 2006, S. 35-62
  • Brita von Götz-Mohr: „Amico optimo“. Franz Graf zu Erbach-Erbach (1754–1823), Johann Friedrich Reiffenstein (1719–1793) und die Antikensammlungen in Erbach im Odenwald. 2006