Christian Ferdinand entered the service of the margraves of Brandenburg-Culmbach-Bayreuth in the 1660s, when he was given by the Saxon elector to his daughter Erdmuth Sophia, married to the margrave Christian Ernst. He was educated within the court, baptized in 1664, and was trained as a timpanist. He earned a respectable salary and, as a musician, enjoyed a privileged status within the court and in the local community. In addition to his duties as a musician, Christian Ferdinand also performed in stage productions to entertain the court. Records show he was addressed with respectful titles and performed alongside white members of the court with no approbation, suggesting that his physical appearance was not a barrier to his acceptance within courtly society. He was permitted to marry Susanna Clara Laickner in 1670, and they had four children between 1670 and 1675.
The image here is from a report on the funeral of the Margrave Georg Albrecht of Brandenburg. Christian Ferdinand appears at the head of the procession (#2), playing his drums.
Source: Caspar von Lilien, Christ-Fürstliche Vorbereitung Zum Seeligen Sterben. Bey dem HochFürstlichen Leichbegängnüs Des Fürsten und Herrn Georg Albrechts… (Bayreuth: Gebhard, 1666), Universitätsbibliothek Erlangen-Nürnberg H61-2-Rar-A-201-150 Kupferstich.
Special thanks to Rashid Pegah for directing us to this resource and for the research on which this intro is based.
The timpanist Christian Ferdinand (1666) by Jeff Bowersox is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://blackcentraleurope.com/who-we-are/.