A few words should be added regarding the other silver pocket watch supposed to have been owned by Beethoven (a present from Moscheles) and now at the Fitzwil-liam Museum in Cambridge (UK).(9) Two modern photos are available on the website of the Museum,(10) in addition to the one published in the previous article (plate 1) that was dated 1892. Although it was not possible to check the proper functionality,(11) the watch is in the same very good condition as shown in the old photo.
Here below some detailed dimensions:
height: (case): 72.75 mm; diameter: (case): 59.75 mm depth: (case): 21 mm diameter: (top plate): 38.75 mm diameter: (pillar plate): 41 mm diameter: (dial): 42.5 mm height: (pillar): 4.5 mm height: (key): 35 mm width: (key): 15 mm length: (case): 108 mm width: (case): 90 mm depth: (case): 28 mm
Among watch makers there are a few persons named George Prior:
George Prior, London, 1765-1810 George Prior, Leeds, worked 1817-1826
George Prior (the most famous and probably the maker of this pocket watch), Ness-field, son of John,12 born in 1782, was active in London at 31 Prescot Street, Goodman’s Fields, London after 1822 and worked between 1793 and 1830. He was a maker of repute, especially in watches for Turkey. He received two awards from the Society of Arts. Succeeded by his son Edward (1812-1868).
For the Fitzwilliam watch the only proof of Beethoven’s ownership is the name “L. van Beethoven’s/Taschenuhr” in gilt lettering on the white silk interior of the lid. This watch was in the possession of George Baynton Davy,(13) as reported in an article devoted to Beethoven memorabilia in The Musical Times dated 15 December 1892 (p. 17 and 24).
In 1922 Griffin gave to the Fitzwilliam Museum a leaf from the Hammerklavier sonata Op.106(38) in which “the main content is an ink draft of an abandoned keyboard movement in Bb minor; this begins on staves 4/5 of the recto and continues on the verso. Apart from some pen trials on staves 1 and 2 and in the margins of the recto, and a sketch on stave 12 of the recto which is related to the main draft, all the other sketches – written in pencil rather than in ink – are for the slow movement of this sonata”.(39)
Griffin owned another important Beethoven autograph which contained the first two bars of the third movement of Piano Sonata op. 106,(40) the same two measures which he sent to Ries(41) to correct the English edition of the sonata. Beethoven must have given this autograph to the Viennese publishers of the sonata, Artaria, in December 1818 to amend the opening of the third movement (Adagio sostenuto). They were written in lead pencil on a small sheet of music paper, and since they were unaccompanied by a written explanation they were probably delivered in person. The sheet was formerly in the collection of the Beethoven biographer Alexander Wheelock Thayer (1817-1897)(42) and bears the endorsement “Given by Artaria to A.W.T. March 24, 1850” written in pencil on the bottom right on the page. Then, it was sold at a Sotheby’s auction on 18 February 1899(43) and so purchased by Griffin who presented this manuscript to Fitzwilliam Museum on 1915. It is remarkable to add that Griffin at the above-mentioned auction also purchased three Schubert manuscripts(44) and two letters by Beethoven(45) to Nikolaus Zmeskall that were given to the Fitzwilliam Museum in 1917.
It was that after this event (around mid 1953) that this clock was given to the Beethoven Haus. An article of that time entitled “Da Ascona a Bonn – l’orologio di Beethoven”(55) reports this donation: Dopo che un bravo orologiaio ebbe eseguito con perizia le necessarie riparazioni l’orologio mostro’ d’essere tornato ‘regolarissimo’ sul palco del teatro Papio -il Sig. van Hoboken stimo’, nella sua generosita’, cosa opportuna di regalare il prezioso oggetto all’archivio Beethoveniano che si trova a Bonn, citta nata del piu grande compositore di tutti i tempi. Il prof. Schmidt-Gorg, direttore dell’archivio in parola, ha esternato a nome della citta’ di Bonn la sua commossa riconoscenza al signor van Hoboken. L’orologio si trova gia da qualche mese in una delle stanze della Beethoven-Haus.
Dr. von Busch-Weise said that the clock was kept running, and she recalls the sound of its stroke. This clock perished on 9 May 1960, when a visitor to the museum spilled a flammable liquid onto the wooden floor of the Bonner Zimmer and ignited it. Dr. von Busch-Weise was an eyewitness to the ensuing fire which destroyed the entire room with all its inventory. Fortunately the other rooms and treasures of the museum by and large could be saved by the fire brigade. This is largely due to the circumstance that one of the museum guides, out of experience gained in the bombing raids of World War II, quickly closed all doors to prevent the flames from spreading. Of the wooden clock’s case only charred relics remained, while a few metal parts of the clockwork were found by Dr. von Busch-Weise when she carefully sifted through the ashes and rubble that had been shoveled by the firemen out of the windows into the court.
An article from a local journal(56) reports a detailed description of the clock and the donation to the Beethoven Haus:
Das Beethovenhaus ist um einen kleinen kostbaren Schatz reicher geworden: Der Musikfreund und Haydn-Forscher Anthony van Hoboken aus Ascona in der Schweiz hat dem Beethovenhaus vor wenigen Tagen eine Wanduhr ubergeben, die Beethoven im Jahre 1811 seinem alten Freund Stephan von Breuning ge-schenkt hatte. Die Uhr ist eine Schwarzwalder Uhr der damaligen Zeit, die au-fier einem Glockenschlag auch noch einen Wecker hat. Ihr Werk, das Schlagwerk und der Wecker werden durch drei 2,40 Meter lange Kordeln in Gang gehalten, an deren Enden je ein schweres Gewicht und ein Gegengewicht hangen.
Kastellan Hasselbach hat des seltene Stuck inzwischen wieder in Gang ge-bracht. Sie zeigt nun wieder durch ihren Schlag, der durch das ganze Beethoven-haus tont, jede Stunde an und geht auf die Minute genau. Sie soll demnachst im Bonner Zimmer des Hauses der Offentlichkeit zuganglich gemacht werden. Ferner ist beabsichtigt in Zukunft durch Ihren Schlag den Beginn der interner mu-sikalischen Veranstaltungen im Beethovenhaus anzuzeigen.
Wie Professor Dr. J. Schmidt-Gorg, der Leiter des Beethovenarchivs und Direktor des Musikwissenschaftlichen Seminars der Universitat, in einem Gesprach mit der “Bonner Rundschau” versicherte, kann an der Echtheit der Uhr kein Zweifel bestehen, da ihr eine Echtheitsbescheinigung der Familie von Breuning beigegeben ist. Die Uhr war seit Ihrer Schenkung im Jahre 1811 im Besitz der Familie von Breuning, Dr. Gerhard von Breuning, ein Sohn Stephans von Breuning, dem Beethoven die Uhr geschenkt hatte, bezeugte die Schenkung Beethovens auch in der zweiten Auflage seines Buches “Aus dem Schwarzspanierhause”. In ihm bemerkt er zum Jahre 1811: “Aus jener Zeit stammt eine noch in meinem Besitz befindliche Schwarzwalder Uhr, welche Beethoven damals meinem Vater schenkte”.
Der Schweizer Musikfreund van Hoboken erwarb das Stuck vor einigen Jahren, als die Nachkommen der Familie von Breuning Erinnerungsstucke an Beethoven verkauften. Dafi diese Uhr nun nach Bonn komme, sei besonders erfreulich, weil Beethoven als junger Mensch vor allem nach dem Tode seiner Mutter im Hause von Breuning, das damals in Bonn am Munsterplatz stand, sehr viel verkehrte und dort eine zweite Heimat gefunden habe, sagte Professor Schmidt-Gorg. Spater seien einige Mitglieder der Familie von Breuning mit ihm nach Wien ubergesiedelt. Das alte von Breunische Haus hat bis etwa um die Jahrhun-dertwende dort gestanden, wo heute der Kaufhof ist. This article confirms again that the clock was given to Breuning by Beethoven in 1811 and that the ropes carrying the weights were 2,40 m. long.
Another article published at the end of the year 1955 discussed this clock recently acquired by the Beethoven Haus with the other “Standuhr”(57) already owned by the Beethoven Haus:
Uber die kleine Schreibtischuhr – eine Standuhr in Form einer umgekehrten Pyramide mit einem Frauenkopf aus Alabaster als Bekronung – ist nichts mehr bekannt, als dafi sie auf dem Schreibtisch des Genius gestanden hat. Von ihrer Herkunft weifi man so gut wie gar nichts. Die Wanduhr – zur Vorsicht hat man inzwischen einem Glaskasten nach Art einer modernen Standuhr um sie herum-gebaut – hat aber schon eine recht ansehnliche und durch Urkunden bezeugte Geschichte.(58)
Every morning Castellan Hasselbach would wind all the clocks present in the museum and as confirmed by an article of that time: “Die beiden Uhren stellen gleich-zeitig dem alten deutschen Uhrmacherhandwerk das schonste Zeugnis aus: Obwohl sie schon schatzungsweise an die 150 Jahre alt sind, gehen sie heute noch auf die Minute genau. Es gehort zu den taglichen Pflichten van Kastellan Hasselbach, beide Chronometer allmorgendlich aufzuziehen – die Schreibtischuhr mit einem kleinen Schlussel und die Wanduhr an ihren Seilzugen”.(59)
This clock is also mentioned in some brochures on the Beethoven-Haus that were published in the 1950s (and also later than 1960, after the fire) as part of the collection of the memorabilia in the Bonn-Room “The clock was a present of Beethoven to his friend Stephan von Breuning in 1811”.(60)
It is historically and technically necessary to give some more information about this type of clock, which bore the name of the mountainous and wooded region of the Black Forest (Schwarzwald).
One of the remarkable things in the history of the Black Forest clock(61) is that a group of farmers should have possessed the necessary ability for such work. The inhabitants were frugal and industrious but had no spirit of trade or industry until the wars of the seventeenth century brought them into closer contact with the outside world. The climatic conditions provided only a very short summer, and during the long winter the inhabitants had to stay indoors and carry on some activity other than farming. As timber was plentiful, most of them chose woodcarving, but the timber was mostly of the coniferous type and therefore soft, and the harder woods such as beech were less easy to come by. Another factor in the shaping of the economic life was the system of inheritance. A family farm was always inherited by the youngest son, and the older brothers and sisters had either to be dependent on their youngest brother or take up other work. Many of them chose woodcarving and eventually there were a large number of woodcarvers in the area who formed a pool of workers with manual dexterity. Production went on increasing throughout the eighteenth century and up to the end of the first half of the nineteenth. The accelerating tempo of the industrial revolution made it necessary for more workers to possess a clock so that they could arrive at their factory on time, and the cheap Black Forest product filled this need admirably. The capacity of an ordinary shop would be four clocks per week. The end of the eighteenth century was a prosperous time for the Black Forest clockmakers. Since the 1770’s, designs had not changed much and sales were increasing.
The repair of the Beethoven clock was long desired by Armando Orlandi and realized thanks to the collaboration and acceptance of Dr. Michael Ladenburger,(65) curator of the collections of the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, whose special interest and kind willingness has made it possible.
This treasure is preserved in room 9 of the museum, called the Bodmer room. In fact inside this room, there are shown most of the objects that belonged by Beethoven which were part of the collection of the Swiss doctor Hans Conrad Bodmer that was bequeathed to the Beethoven-Haus by him in 1956. This is the only clock surely owned by Beethoven. It was given to him as a gift (66) from the Princess Christine Lichnowsky. (67) After the death of Beethoven it came into Anton Schindler’s possession, then it was owned Schindler’s sister Marie Egloff (68) and after that August Nowotny(69 in Altrohlau and Carl Meinert(70) in Dessau. Meinert sold the Beethoven items to the Beethoven-Haus in 1898.
The repair of this clock started at 9 a.m. on the 29 September 2011 in the reading room of the Library of the Beethoven-Haus. The clock was carefully taken by Dr. Ladenburger from the display cabinet in the museum and then placed on the table of the library. The rear pyramid shaped door is fixed by a small hook and a small nail with an L shape, very old, but not as old as the period of the clock (1810). On the interior part of this door it is possible to observe some tags written with old ink