This is the earliest oil by Liebermann in the Tate collection. It depicts the memorial service of Kaiser Friedrich III, who died on 15 June 1888 only three months after ascending to the throne. Liebermann was in Kösen in the Thuringian Forest between spring and late summer of that year. He made and later exhibited several oils of the same subject, one of which was destroyed in 1945. This painting was inspired by the well-known painting 'Mission Service in the Beech Wood at Kösen' painted 20 years earlier by Adolf Menzel. Both the subject and the general composition is similar to Menzel's painting of 1868.