The term “Biedermeier” refers to the style that was very popular, above all, in Germany and Austria, between the Vienna Congress in 1815 and the March Revolution in 1848. Caused by the lack of material since the Napoleonic wars and the difficulty in acquiring materials due to the Continental Blockade, a sober austerity and functional styling developed, which accompanied the return to the petit-bourgeois comfort. Simplicity and functionality determined the interior decorations at the beginning of the 19th century. The penchant for symmetry is revealed above all in the furniture, the obligatory glass cabinet with glasses and porcelain and the suite, consisting of a sofa, table and chairs.
The family portrait above the sofa depicts the bourgeois self-conception in the Biedermeier era. As a demonstration of a sense of family, the parents are portrayed amidst their children in front of portraits, which show an ancestor, probably the grandmother, the head of the house, in the prime of her life and two small children praying. What stands out in the portraits, apart from the contemporary attire, is, above all, the jewellery of these illustrated. The mother wears rings on both hands, earrings and a brooch, her daughters also wear earrings and brooches, the father a ring on his right index finger and the older son, in profile at the right of the picture, has not only a shirt-pin, but also three rings which seem to be friendship rings (posey rings). The father’s cap and sash indicate that he is a member of a university fraternity.
The family portrait confirms the bourgeois ideal of the Biedermeier which the man of letters from Karlsruhe, Victor von Scheffel (*1826 †1886), caricatured in 1848 with his description of the two types of Philistine, Biedermann and Bummelmeier.