Count Karl Ludwig von Ficquelmont

Count Karl Ludwig von Ficquelmont
Karl Ludwig Graf von Ficquelmont
Lithograph by Josef Kriehuber, 1838
2nd Minister-President of the Austrian Empire
In office
4 April 1848 – 4 May 1848
Monarch Ferdinand I
Preceded by Count Franz Anton von Kolowrat-Liebsteinsky
Succeeded by Baron Franz von Pillersdorf
Personal details
Born 23 March 1777(1777-03-23)
Flag of Royalist France.svg Castle of Dieuze, Lorraine, France
Died 7 April 1857(1857-04-07) (aged 80)
Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy.svg Venice, Lombardy–Venetia, Austrian Empire
Spouse(s) Dorothea Furstin von Tiesenhausen
Relations Maximilien-Chrétien, Count de Ficquelmont and of the Holy Empire
Anne Marie, Countess Treusch von Buttlar (parents)
Children Elisabeth-Alexandrine-Marie-Thérèse de Ficquelmont, princess Clary-und-Aldringen
Religion Roman Catholic Church

Karl Ludwig Graf von Ficquelmont (Charles-Louis comte de Ficquelmont in French; March 23, 1777, Castle of Dieuze, France – April 7, 1857, Venice, Austrian Empire) was an Austrian aristocrat, statesman and general of the Austrian Imperial army of French noble origin.



French nobleman

He was born Gabriel-Charles-Louis-Bonnaventure, Count de Ficquelmont at the Castle of Dieuze, in his family's Estates in the present-day French département of Moselle. The son of a prominent high nobility Lorrainer family (House of Ficquelmont), he was introduced to the King at the Royal Court of Versailles in 1789. Only few months later, the French Revolution started. His family, as high nobility aristocrats were targeted by the Revolution, several of his relatives were beheated and many of their Estates were confiscated during the Terreur era. Ficquelmont chose to join the "Army of the Princes" fighting against the Revolutionary France.

Austrian military and diplomat

He eventually entered the military service of the Habsburg Monarchy in 1793. Ficquelmont participated in all Austrian campaigns in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, rising to the rank of an Oberst and chief of staff in the army of Archduke Ferdinand Karl Joseph of Austria-Este. He received the capitulation of Lyon and was elevated to the rank of a Major General in 1814. Following the Fall of Napoleon, he was appointed diplomat of the Austrian Empire.

In 1815 he was Ambassador Extraordinary to Sweden, in 1820 Ambassador to Tuscany and Lucca, in 1821 he was Special Envoy at the Royal court of Naples. Finally, in 1829, he was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary to Russia, where he became an extremely influential agent of Chancellor Metternich on the politics of Emperor Nicholas I.

Ficquelmont continued his rise into the imperial Austrian military, being successively:

  • 1830 : Feldmarschallleutnant
  • 1831 : General of the Dragoons
  • 1840-1848 : Minister of the State and conferences, in charge of the Imperial Army
  • 1843 : Generalfeldmarschall

Minister-President of the Austrian Empire

In 1839 Ficquelmont was recalled to Vienna to assume the duties of the Foreign Office during the absence of Prince Metternich, in 1840 he was appointed Minister of the State and Conferences and led the Imperial Army. During the Revolutions of 1848, he was again in charge of the Department of Foreign Affairs from March 20 in the cabinet of Minster-President Franz Anton von Kolowrat-Liebsteinsky, whom he succeeded between 3-5 April as Minister-President. Due to his close ties with the "Metternich System" and the Russian tsar, popular feeling against him compelled him to resign on May 4. It was a violent period, his wife Countess Dolly, who was at their Venice's Palace at the time,[1] was arrested twice by the Venetian guarda civil and finally had to flee the city on board an English ship with her daughter, son-in-law and grand-children. Moreover, Ficquelmont's kinsman in the War Ministry, Count Theodor Franz Baillet von Latour, was lynched during the Vienna Uprising of October 1848.

Afterwards, Ficquelmont retired at first to his palace of Vienna, later to his palace of Venice[2], where he died in 1857, at the age of 81.


Portrait of Dorothea de Ficquelmont, born Countess von Tiesenhausen

As a consequence of the French Revolution, the Ficquelmont family spread across Europe. Beyond Austria and France, members of the family settled in Italy, Hungary, England and the Netherlands, where one of Charles-Louis's brother, Count Antoine-Charles de Ficquelmont (1753-1833), recreated the title Count de Ficquelmont in the Dutch nobility[3] (July 16th 1822).

In 1821, Ficquelmont, 44, married Countess Dorothea von Tiesenhausen (1804-1863), 17, grand-daughter of Prince Kutuzov[4]. The couple had one daughter, Elisabeth-Alexandrine-Marie-Thérèse de Ficquelmont, born in 1825 in Naples, Countess de Ficquelmont by birth and Princess Clary und Aldringen by marriage[5]. Prince Siegfried von Clary-Aldringen and Count Manfred von Clary-Aldringen are Ficquelmont's grand-children.

Countess Dorothea de Ficquelmont is famous for her letter-writing and diary (the former was published in Italian and Russian in 1950) telling her life as a high society's aristocrat in 19th century's Europe.



  • Aufklärungen über die Zeit vom 20 März bis zum 4 Mai, 1848 (second edition, 1850)
  • Die religiöse Seite der orientalischen Frage (second edition, 1854)


  1. ^ Venetia was a part of the Austrian Empire
  2. ^ Karl Ludwig Graf von Ficquelmont. In: Rudolf Flotzinger (Hrsg.): Oesterreichisches Musiklexikon. Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien 2002, (Band 1), S. 443.
  3. ^ the title became Belgian after 1830
  4. ^ Her mother was Princess Elisabeth Mikhaïlovna Khitrova (1783-1839), daughter of Prince Kutuzov, Napoleonic Wars' Russian hero. Her father was Count Ferdinand von Tiesenhausen (1782-1805), aide de camp of Emperor Alexandre I, who died at the battle of Austerlitz inspiring character Andrei Bolkonski in Tolstoi'sWar and Peace.
  5. ^ On December 5 1841 she married Prince Edmund Moritz Clary und Aldringen
Preceded by
Count Franz Anton von Kolowrat-Liebsteinsky
Minister-President of the Austrian Empire
Succeeded by
Baron Franz von Pillersdorf

This article incorporates text from an edition of the New International Encyclopedia that is in the public domain.

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