He was a son of the Prussian kind Frederic William II. During the Napoleonic Wars he stood out as a talented cavalry commander; he also took part in the negotiations at the Congress of Vienna. For many years he was the commander of the fortress of Mainz. In 1822 he purchased the estate of Fischbach (today's Karpniki) for his summer residence which took its final shape after a redesign by Friedrich August Stüler in 1846.
Prince Wilhelm and his wife Marie Anna of Hesse-Homburg were known for their collector's passion (they owned masterpieces of painting, including the Madonna of mayor Meyer from Basel by Hans Holbein the Younger which was transported from Darmstadt to Fischbach during WW2 for protection from risks of war). Their residence in Fischbach hosted one of the most important collections of stained-glass in Silesia, consisted of medieval, early modern and 19th century panels, which were built into the windows of the re-designed castle. The stained-glass windows adorned also other buildings in Fischbach, such as the orangery and so-called Marianne's Hut. According to the inventory made a year after Wilhelm's death the collection consisted of over 90 stained-glass panels. Another testimony to the princely couple's interest in that art technique was a sketch by Kolbe they possessed depicting one of Heinrich Müller's stained-glass window designs made for Marienburg (today's Malbork). The interiors of the palace in Fischbach were also adorned with antique furniture, arms, arts and crarts objects and numerous sculptures. The pride of the collection was one of several known versions of Mary Stuart's portrait by François Clouet, as well as works of 19th century artists: Wilhelm Wach, Caspar David Friedrich, Johann Gottfried von Schadow and Christian Daniel Rauch.
Hans Lutsch, Verzeichnis der Kunstdenkmäler der Provinz Schlesien, v. 3: Die Kunstdenkmäler des Reg.-Bezirks Liegnitz, Breslau 1851, p. 451
Günther Grundmann, Schloss Fischbach. Der Besitz des Prinzen Ludwig von Hessen, die letzten Stunden in Schlesien, [in:] Erlebter Jahre Widerschein, München 1972, p. 337-346
Agnieszka Gola, Magda Ławicka, Kolekcja witraży z Grodźca na tle innych śląskich kolekcji witrażowych, "Szkice Legnickie", XXV (2004), p. 187-206
- Magdalena Palica