Supplementary Appendix: Auguste and the Cemetery in Bocklet

Paul von Boianowski
Auguste and the Cemetery in Bocklet [*]

|515| The cemetery in the tiny Lower Franconian mineral-springs spa Bocklet near Kissingen conceals a place past which the cultivated of this nation cannot pass indifferently, namely, the grave of Auguste Böhmer. A. W. Schlegel describes the village and cemetery in a letter to Luise Gotter on 21 August 1800 [letter 266]. The place, he says, is

located in a narrow, enclosed, cheerful valley that gives no hint of graves; she lies in a narrow and poor village cemetery, which is, however, situated out in the open and from which one can look out onto the beautiful valley.

[Here the smaller church of St. Mauritius in Bad Bocklet today atop the hill overlooking the valley (photo Martin Reulecke):]


Auguste Böhmer had only just celebrated her fifteenth birthday when on 12 July 1800 she died in that quiet village, to be profoundly mourned by the circle of Romantics at whose center, despite her youth, she occupied a unique, distinguished place — first of all simply as the daughter of one of the most intelligent, spirited, and beguiling women of the age: Caroline Micahelis, in her first marriage the wife of Dr. Böhmer, mining physician in Clausthal, later the spouse of A. W. Schlegel, and finally, after divorcing the latter in 1803, Schelling’s spouse.




But those falling under Caroline’s spell could not escape the unique charm emanating from her daughter as well. In the letters of this circle, both men and women alike equally attest the fascination this lovely personality elicited in them in every turn of her multifaceted being. Tischbein painted a portrait of her in 1798 or 1799.

Although her subtle, delicate countenance expresses girlish shyness and rapturous emotion, the viewer also senses that these downcast eyes can nonetheless radiate spirited cheer and that her mouth is doubtless usually set in a playful, roguish smile. Her teasing spirit comes to cheerful expression in a jesting poem she wrote to Friedrich Schlegel and Ludwig Tieck in April 1799 [letter 232], one whose author one would not easily guess was a fourteen-year-old girl.

Is her portrait an accurate likeness? Although Caroline herself seems to have viewed it as such, |516| later she criticizes a bust Friedrich Tieck made of Auguste, saying that Tieck had failed to remove the “downcast element of the spirit” that Tischbein had falsely introduced. [1]

Auguste, however, sooner resembled a wave that quickly, playfully, and constantly changes and takes on a different coloring in each successive moment that the sun shines on it or the clouds or wind pass above. This in any case is the impression given by the letters of the Romantics, in which she is so frequently mentioned.

In her relationship with Friedrich Schlegel, she seems to have been an exuberant imp, otherwise the tone in which he writes her would be incomprehensible; he himself says in a letter to Caroline: “Your charming child should always write to me when she is a bit crazy. I intend to do the same whenever I am reasonable.” [2] To others, however, she doubtless also exhibited other sides of her personality.

How otherwise could she have made such an extraordinarily attractive and charming impression on the women in the circle, on Dorothea Veit, Friedrich Schlegel’s wife; [3] Rahel Levin; and Henriette Mendelssohn?

Auguste possessed fine intellectual gifts herself, and a great thirst for knowledge. The twelve-year-old pursued her study of Greek with great zeal, and was also artistically quite talented, namely, in music and singing. Dorothea Veit maintains that “she has a rare and strong voice for her age.” [4]

She enjoyed, moreover, that particular, general education and cultivation that such a lively spirit could not but quite naturally assimilate in the varied, animated literary life of these circles. She wholly understood the jargon of this world and was quite capable of chatting away in that medium, as the previously mentioned poem attests. Friedrich Schlegel’s letters to her demonstrate this even more, letters that fairly brim with literary allusions and notices about events in the world of the fine arts, allusions that any other fourteen-year-old girl, that is, one who had not grown up in the atmosphere surrounding someone like Caroline Böhmer, or socializing with the Schlegels and their circle, would have found to be an impenetrable book of seven seals.

“Auguste, who has already experienced so many different cities and customs — a veritable female Odysseus,” Friedrich Schlegel writes in a letter from the year 1797 in which he summons Caroline to bring Auguste with her to see him in Berlin, adding, “I would think that seeing Berlin might represent a small contribution to the kind of education that, in addition to the principle of example, perhaps chance, too, has provided for her and that distinguishes her so clearly from other girls her age.” [5]

References to her intellectual gifts and to such a scintillating education, however, do not yet suffice to explain the charming attractiveness of her personality. Such precociousness usually otherwise comes across as repellant if not neutralized by genuine, unaffected youthful naiveté. Auguste Böhmer must have possessed such to a rare degree and precisely thereby exuded that particular amiability and charm of personality no one could resist.

Although Friedrich Schlegel is quite right in maintaining that she owed her excellent education to the example around her, that example was nonetheless an unequivocally questionable one. No one in the creative and spiritedly free social atmosphere of the Romantics ever thought about taking this delicate young girl into consideration with respect to their own behavior. In his own letters, Friedrich Schlegel treats Auguste as an adult from her twelfth year on. And even so, one cannot but be somewhat disconcerted when, for example, he writes to the twelve-year-old: [6]

Tell your father he should also absolutely write a history. Tell him I recently happened to discover that all of nature is actually historical. If your mother perhaps also would like to know what kind of nature she has, just tell her: political-erotic, though the erotic probably predominates. I can already tell from looking at you that now you, too, want to know your nature. You, however, do not yet have any, my dear child. A person only develops one later.

Above all, however, what she witnessed in her own house was certainly capable of exerting a dangerous influence on any personality that was not both naive and pure in the best sense of those words. The relationship between Caroline and her husband, A. W. Schlegel, was emotionally already utterly dissolved at that time, existing instead only externally, whereas Caroline’s relationship with the considerably younger Schelling was becoming increasingly intimate, and the initially almost motherly feelings, which |517| occasionally prompted her to consider a later relationship between Schelling and Auguste, [7] were taking on an essentially different character.

Auguste, however, treads on this slippery ground serenely and quite unaffectedly, without soiling her pure garment. It is in this purity that the magic of her personality resides, an element of magic that Henrik Steffens portrays so vividly after her death in a letter to Friedrich Schlegel: [8]

I am unable to express — what Auguste’s loss means to me, to me as well. This magnificent girl — I cannot comprehend her death. — So completely alive, so completely in bloom — and now dead. — I simply cannot speak about it — alas! She was more dear to me than anyone realizes, indeed, more so than I am inclined to own even to myself — and all my later aberrations resulted solely from my occasionally being able to forget her. — When I was calmly working, when I reflected in a healthy, merry fashion on everything Jena meant to me — the source of my more sublime life — it was that child who, like a serene angel, stood before me.

One can easily enough understand how some of those who delighted in this radiant young girl were nonetheless concerned about her future. Friedrich von Hardenberg (Novalis), expresses this quite clearly when after Auguste’s death he writes in a letter to Friedrich Schlegel: [9]

Auguste was a dear, beautiful girl. Her fair complexion and slender figure probably presaged her early demise. She would have become very attractive. Heaven has now taken her in, since her mother abandoned her and her father surrendered her over. It was on the very threshold of the world that she had to turn around. She escaped a sad fate, hence let us wish her well and be glad she was yet able to take along with her a pure, youthful recollection of this world.

The bitter pain and grief at her loss experienced by her girlfriends and others her own age, for example, by the Tischbein daughters — “I was actually glad to see these tears flow,” Sophie Tischbein writes to Caroline, “for beautiful Auguste certainly deserves to be remembered thus[10] — completes the picture of this charming, graceful, amiable creature, |518| “more charming and amiable and innocent, indeed, than may well have been expected given her rearing by such a mother and the indulgence and spoiling she enjoyed in such a circle,” Haym remarks quite accurately. [11]

Who can say what life may have brought her? Her premature death and the circumstances that caused it can but increase the sympathetic impression her appearance makes on us. Caroline came down extremely ill during the spring of 1800, and Auguste cared for her with not inconsiderable sacrifice to herself. She writes to Luise Gotter: [12]

They say she was in danger of dying a couple of times, but this thought is just too horrifying for me even to think about, thank God all the danger has now passed, and if things continue as they are and the weather remains good, she may perhaps be able to go out again in a couple of days.

Today it has already been 4 weeks that she has been sick, it was a terrible time, and I would not want to go through it again for anything!

As part of her recovery, Caroline travelled with Auguste to Bocklet in early May 1800, accompanied by Schelling. First, however, they had a lengthy stay in Bamberg, whence Schelling journeyed to his Swabian home. The letters Auguste now directed to him in her mother’s stead, who was unable to write because of her weakened condition, also attest the childlike unaffectedness with which she dealt with the relationship that had now developed between them. She writes to Schelling on 4 June 1800: [13]

Thank you so much for the trick you gave me for amusing Mother; it works so splendidly. Whenever nothing seems to help regardless of how much I fool around trying to entertain her, I simply tell her “how very much he loves you,” and she immediately gets all kittenish. But the first time I told her, she also wanted to know how much you loved her, and all my wisdom was suddenly at a dead end; but I quickly got out of it by saying: more than anything; she was satisfied, and I hope you will be too.

Although there is certainly something refreshing about the unaffected nature of these expatiations, they do cast somewhat of a shadow on our picture of the mother. This same letter, by the way, demonstrates unequivocally the false nature of the assumption that Schelling actually loved Auguste and that she also loved him.

Auguste came down ill as early as in Bamberg itself, exhausted by having to care for her mother, and soon after her arrival in Bocklet, she had an attack of dysentery against which she could no longer muster any defense.

These epistolary passages show how profound was the grief at her death experienced by the Schlegel-Schelling circles. Although A. W. Schlegel dedicated an emotionally profoundly sincere poetic “offering for the dead” in the Musen-Almanach für das Jahr 1802, [14] a different monument was to ensure that this girl’s memory, a girl who died so young, would be kept alive, namely, a monument at her grave.


As early as August 1800, A. W. Schlegel, through Schleiermacher’s mediation, turned to Schadow with a request to take on the project. Schadow declared himself ready to do so. [15] At the same time, Schlegel had also requested the advice of the painter and art essayist Johann Dominicus Fiorillo in Göttingen concerning the form and elements of ornamentation for the monument, and Fiorillo in his own turn had suggested several changes to the original draft.

It seems the monument was to be done in the form of an urn and was to display figurines either in relief on the pedestal itself or on the sides, including Hades and Niobe. That much emerges from a letter Schleiermacher wrote to Schlegel on 6 December 1800 [letter 276c], in which he remarks that Schadow was not pleased with Fiorillo’s idea regarding the sketch of the entire monument, finding it reflected “impure taste”; the main reason Schlegel had abandoned the first idea, namely, the enlargement of the figures, could, so Schadow, be attained just as well by enlarging the entire urn, which would then also be a far more noble work of art.

In February 1801, Goethe was solicited. The drafts had already been handed over to Heinrich Meyer, and Schlegel now asked Goethe himself for an assessment, who concurred with Meyer’s opinion.

Unfortunately, neither that opinion nor the draft has been preserved. Goethe, too, enumerates not the details of his opinion concerning the memorial in a letter to Schlegel on 28 February 1801, but rather remarks only generally: [16]

I am herewith returning the sketch of the memorial along with Meyer’s opinion, with which I concur. I cannot, however, refrain from adding that I consider it sinful for a work of art that is to be good and beautiful |519| be relegated to a barbaric land, outdoors, especially during the present age, when one cannot even know to whom the real estate will belong next year.

If it is to serve as a cenotaph, [17] if one is permitted to play thus with one’s pain, then I would advise spending money and art not for spa guests and sanctimonious clergymen, but for the circle of family and friends. I would recommend engaging the utmost in material, creativity, art, and technology in having a couple of urns made, about the size that would fit in a room, and there to position them for the melancholy enjoyment and meaningful adornment of one’s own residence.

One urn would portray the praiseworthy and hopeful traits of the deceased, and the deceased’s favorite past times; the other urn would portray the disposition of the survivors.

I was bound to come upon this idea all the more because a man as skilled as Professor Schadow seems inclined to work for you for such a reasonable expense, as his estimate demonstrates, and because our own homes and properties are by no means so rich in art that we are constrained to push such formative works outside and place them at public crossroads.

Although Goethe may well make some good points in this matter, his own proposal for the memorial make a rather sober impression. It is, however, the friend of the arts who is speaking here and whose focus is sooner on the work of art as such than on grieving survivors, who even in the artistic adornment of a grave are thinking primarily of the beloved deceased buried there. Goethe himself was aware of this distinction, ultimately remarking:

Please do forgive me this sincere if direct opinion! Each of us, of course, has his or her own, quite personal way of viewing the things of this world. You should do what you think best according to your own inclinations.

Caroline, however, notwithstanding her veneration for Goethe, is nonetheless vehemently upset and justifiably hurt by his answer, which she finds “a bit strange”; she writes to Schelling on 26 March 1801: [18]

Goethe’s answer is a bit strange. Barbaric land — crossroads — what I have seen of other countries was at least that barbaric, and a monument belongs in the open air, under the open sky; and whenever we happen to encounter one at such a crossroads, we are always gladdened by it. Truly, I do believe he wants to draw all art into the Weimar state. — My own feeling is that precisely what he is suggesting would constitute playing with one’s pain; his magnificent hall of remembrance in Wilhelm Meister is similarly such a game. [19]

Really, I have no more extensive ideas for the monument than for a dress I might have picked out for the precious girl to adorn her graceful figure as beautifully as possible while she was yet alive — I am thinking really only of the pleasure she herself might have felt if somewhere or other, indeed, if at the peaceful, lonely place where she herself now rests, she had found such a monument. Hence let us stay with that but otherwise follow Meyer’s opinion.

But the idea was never executed. No documentation explains why negotiations with Schadow were broken off or why they were simply allowed to drop. The idea itself was in any case not abandoned. Almost simultaneously with the query to Schadow, such was also made to the sculptor Friedrich Tieck.

Friedrich Tieck, who was in Paris at the time and thus learned of this query only later, declared his willingness to accept the commission in April 1801. In a letter to Schelling, however, he finds Schadow’s idea of a pedestal with an urn “just so old fashioned and ordinary.” [20] Instead, he writes, he would prefer the form of the graves of antiquity and would “decorate it with recessed marble and add human figures and perhaps other decorations, perhaps of fired clay.”

In the autumn of 1801, Tieck, for whom Caroline was impatiently waiting, arrived in Weimar-Jena; nonetheless, the commencement of the work dragged on, in part because the young artist was extremely busy with the castle renovations in Weimar, and in part also because there were still differences of opinion regarding details. It was not until May 1803 that any sketches or drafts were finished.

They were again presented to Goethe, who offered to compose the inscription himself if Schelling and Caroline so wished. No documentation, however, preserves his remarks concerning Tieck’s plans or a draft of his inscription.

|520| Nor do we know how Tieck himself conceived the memorial, though from later events it does become clear which ideas Caroline and Wilhelm Schlegel wanted executed: on each side of Auguste’s bust there were to be bas-reliefs, one of which would portray her being fetched by death while caring for her mother. Such was probably the disposition of Tieck’s sketches, though Caroline wished a different theme for the center bas-relief in his draft. Schelling writes to Schlegel: [21]

It does not express her idea, since she does not view the memorial as a means to express her own grief, preferring instead to view it only as the beloved child’s final earthly adornment. And indeed there is something not quite pure and beautiful in this narrative and incident compared with that particular incident [presumably that in Bocklet].

By all appearances, no understanding was reached in this matter. In 1804, Tieck did finish Auguste’s bust, though even this, as we have seen, did not receive Caroline’s unqualified approval. In any event, henceforth no more reference is made to the execution of the memorial. [21a]

In 1811, after Caroline’s death, however, Schelling revived this project of securing a monument as an adornment for Auguste’s grave in the Bocklet cemetery. This time, he turned to Thorvaldsen in Rome. [22] In a letter to Thorvaldsen on 25 April 1811, he conceived the monument as a pyramid or obelisk containing a breast-length portrait of the deceased in a niche — beneath it a plate with an inscription — and allegorical bas-reliefs on two sides.

The main bas-relief was to portray the motif mentioned above with Auguste, as her mother’s caretaker, given over to death, and for the second, smaller bas-relief Schelling sent a drawing without, however, any further indication of what it contained. Thorvaldsen suggested several changes in his own turn — though we know not of what sort — which Schelling then approved on 18 July 1811.

Since Thorvaldsen also took over Auguste’s bust, Schelling sent him a copy of Tieck’s work while simultaneously remarking that it did not quite express the unique quality of the prototype [Auguste herself], that the whole should have been more youthful and graceful. Thorvaldsen completed the work in 1814. [23]

He also created a bas-relief that is called “Il Destino” in the collection of his works published by Andrea Aquistapace with engravings by Misserinis (Rome 1831), and with the remark that it was done for a certain “famille de Monaer” (probably to be read: Monaco, or München [Munich]). [24]




The center portion of the relief renders Caroline’s idea in simple classical form: Auguste extends the bowl to her mother with the healing remedy, and yet whereas her mother recovers, the daughter falls prey to swift death, here alluded to by a serpent coiling about Auguste’s foot. A side relief (to the left of the observer) portrays Nemesis, who enters the end of the earthly existence of the daughter on a page, while a second (to the right) portrays the angel of death with the reversed torch.

Our illustration above reproduces this work. [25] Although this piece is one of the Danish artist’s highly praised works, its portrayal of Auguste herself seems to have adhered too closely to Tieck’s bust; at least that which Schelling criticized in the latter, namely, that it was not young and graceful enough, applies to this figure as well, which may as a result not quite make as personal an impression and lacks the young girl’s charm and amiability that so affects us in Tischbein’s portrait.

Thorvalden’s piece never made it into Schelling’s hands. In response to Thorvaldsen’s announcement that the bas-relief was ready to be shipped, Schelling paid part of the price but asked that Thorvaldsen send nothing until the following spring, though without giving any reason. [26] This delay was fateful. The piece of art — for what reason, we do not know — remained in Rome until after Thorvaldsen’s death, never making it to Germany. Today it occupies a place of distinction in the Thorvaldsen Museum in Copenhagen.

Hence Goethe’s remarks to Wilhelm Schlegel to the effect that one ought not |521| relegate the work of art dedicated to Auguste to the outdoors, did indeed prove a fateful prediction. Three great artists — Schadow, Tieck, and Thorvaldsen — were anxious to adorn Auguste’s grave, and even someone of Goethe’s stature was offering to compose its inscription.

But that grave remained utterly without ornamentation. For years, only a simple gravestone covered it — but did not protect it.

[Taschenbuch auf das Jahr 1802: Der Liebe und Freundschaft gewidmet; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung:]


The cemetery in Bocklet contains this grave around which the memories of so many grand writers and grand artists hover, but that cemetery also conceals it. For not only did the grave remain utterly without ornamentation, it also fell utterly into forgetfulness and prey to the saddest fate of all: after the appointed number of years had passed, it also received the mortal remains of other deceased persons.

“Alas! poor Yorick”! [27] Indeed, who would not philosophize with Hamlet here concerning the transience of human beings when, in the cemetery, Hamlet himself sees the gravediggers tossing up skulls? Instead of Goethe’s words, Auguste’s gravestone bears the simple inscription: “Here reposes Auguste Böhmer, born 22 April 1785, died 12 July 1800,” [28] separated from its grave and used as a kneeler before a crucifix in the cemetery.

So also did the final trace of her actual resting place disappear from memory, though not the fact itself. We can be grateful that the Breslau literary historian Prof. Dr. Max Koch, who was taking the waters in Bocklet, took the initiative together with the resident spa physician, Dr. Werner, to ensure that what still recalled this charming young girl in this locale would not be completely forgotten. Herr Dr. Werner took up this cause with loving enthusiasm. The task was limited to preserving the gravestone itself.

Permission was obtained to remove it from its current position and place it near the small church in the cemetery to the left of the entry, on a grave prepared there, after it had undergone a renovation at the hands of a sculptor in Kissingen. The Goethe Society took care of the expenses on the initiative of Max Koch. Over the course of last summer, exactly one hundred years after Auguste’s death, the restoration of the gravestone was completed — finally a modest reality after all the high-flying previous drafts and plans.

But this modest monument nonetheless serves to keep her memory alive and perhaps may prompt some visitor or other to the cemetery to lay a flower, “sweets to the sweet,” to speak with the queen at Ophelia’s grave (click for gallery). [29]




[*] Paul von Boianowski, “Auf dem Kirchhof zu Bocklet,” Westermanns Illustrierte Monatshefte 89 (January 1901), 515–21. Pagination from original; footnotes and bracketed insertions from the present editor. — See especially also the gallery on Bocklet as well as the supplementary appendices on Bocklet and on the scandal surrounding Auguste’s death.

The initial illustrations by Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, portraying the death and funeral of a young woman in a typical rural setting in Germany at the time, accompany Ludwig Hölty’s (1746–76) “Elegie auf ein Landmädchen” (1774), repr. Ludwig Heinrich Christian Hölty, Elegie auf ein Landmädchen mit 12 Kupfern von Daniel Chodowiecki (Vienna 1924); source here: Höltys Elegie auf ein Landmädchen (1794); Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum; Museums./Signatur DChodowiecki AB 3.985.

The story of Auguste’s bust and memorial is quite complicated; Boianowski provides a useful summary here, albeit with certain issues deriving from its date of composition. In any event, many of the letters he cites are included in this present edition, and the footnotes provide at least some updates and corrections. Readers wishing to skip Boianowski’s characterization of Auguste and proceed to his summary of the history of her memorials can scroll down to the separator. Back.

[1] See Caroline’s letter to Julie Gotter on 18 March 1804 (letter 383). — That Tieck originally modelled this bust in fired clay rather than marble is attested by Wilhelm’s letter to (presumably) Christian Gottlob Voigt the Younger (Goethe und die Romantik 1:338):

Do you not perhaps also have a plaster bust of my deceased stepdaughter Auguste Böhmer in your possession that Tieck promised to pack up for me before his departure?” Back.

[2] Friedrich to Caroline in early March 1799 (letter 224b). Back.

[3] That is, the later wife of Friedrich Schlegel; they did not marry until 6 April 1804. Back.

[4] Dorothea to Rahel Levin on 23 January 1800 (letter 258j). Back.

[5] Friedrich to Caroline on 12 December 1797 (letter 192c). Back.

[6] Friedrich to Auguste on 28 April 1797 (letter 181d). Back.

[7] This issue has always been a matter of dispute. Back.

[8] Correct: to Schelling on 20 August 1800 (letter 265l). Back.

[9] Hardenberg to Friedrich Schlegel on 28 July 1800 (letter 265h). Back.

[10] Sophie Tischbein to Caroline on 28 August 1800 (letter 267). Back.

[11] On this site: “One Woman’s Life from the Golden Age of German Literature,” 447. Back.

[12] Auguste to Luise Gotter on 31 March 1800 (letter 259). Back.

[13] Auguste to Schelling on 4 June 1800 (letter 261). Back.

[14] “Todtenopfer,” Musen-Almanach für das Jahr 1802 171–86; reprinted as “Todten-Opfer für Augusta Böhmer (Im Sommer und Herbst 1800),” Sämmtliche Werke 1:127–40. See the supplementary appendix on Wilhelm’s Offerings for the Deceased. Back.

[15] As Erich Schmidt, (1913), 1:759, points out in his edition of Caroline’s correspondence in 1913, “a peculiarly unlucky star held sway over the immediately planned monument to Auguste.” Boianowsky here relates part of that story. — Schmidt provides a summary of Boianowsky’s article in (1913), 1:759–60; for a similar summary, see Edmund Hildebrandt, Friedrich Tieck. Ein Beitrag zur deutschen Kunstgeschichte im Zeitalter Goethes und der Romantik (Leipzig 1906), 15–17, 28, 38. Back.

[16] The letter was actually written on 2 March 1801 (letter 294a). Back.

[17] A tomb or a monument erected in honor of a person or group of persons whose remains are elsewhere. Back.

[18] Correct: to Wilhelm on 26 March 1801 (letter 303). Back.

[19] Concerning this allusion, see the notes to letter 303. Back.

[20] Correct: to Wilhelm Schlegel on 24 April 1801 (letter 311b). Back.

[21] Schelling to Wilhelm on 13 May 1803 (letter 377e). Back.

[21a] See Fuhrmans 2:506–7:

Friedrich Tieck did indeed finish Auguste Böhmer’s bust at that time, a bust that was to constitute the focal point of the memorial. But he never did any more work toward the memorial itself. Caroline received the bust (it was produced only in plaster) sent to her in Würzburg, where August Wilhelm Schlegel saw it during his visit in May 1804 (en route to France with Madame de Staël). The bust was then also in Schelling’s apartment in Munich, and when Schelling broke with Tieck in 1811 and the entire commission passed to Thorvaldsen, Schelling sent the bust to Thorvaldsen in Rome, who thereafter worked out the bust in marble and finished the entire memorial itself in 1814. But the memorial was never erected in Bocklet, and is instead housed in the Thorvaldsen Museum in Copenhagen; that is, both busts are now to be found there, the one in plaster by Tieck and the one in marble by Thorvaldsen. As an aside one might add that in 1806, August Wilhelm Schlegel wrote to Weimar from Geneva hoping to find a second copy of the bust that Friedrich Tieck had promised him (see Goethe und die Romantik 1:338: “Do you not have in safekeeping a plaster bust of my deceased stepdaughter Augusta Böhmer that [Friedrich] Tieck promised me he would pack up before his departure?” [that copy is now in Coppet, the residence of Madame de Staël]). Back.

[22] See Schelling’s later letter from Munich to Martin Wagner in Rome, 25 February 1812 (Plitt 2:293):

You already know that I was involved with negotiations with [Friedrich] Tieck earlier with respect to the monument for the daughter of my deceased wife, who died quite young; because, however, Tieck, as is his commendable habit, has remained rooted in Switzerland and will perhaps never again cross the Alps during his lifetime, I have, through the mediation of Dr. Wiedemann, thus turned to Thorvaldsen, who to my considerable delight has accepted the project.

But he communicates little or not at all. If you happen to know what his plans are with respect to this project, whether he has started work on it yet, etc., please let me know or, if you do not already know, please try to find out without him learning that you and I have been in contact. Back.

[23] Click on the following image to open a gallery of Thorvaldsen’s renderings of the bust as well as other drafts of the memorial:



[24] Andrea Aquistapace and Melchiore Misserini, Intera Collezione di tutte le opere inventate e scolpite dal Cav. Alberto Thorwaldsen, incisa a contorni con illustrazioni del … abate Misserini, etc. (Rome 1831). Back.

[25] Here instead a photograph of the triptych from the Thorvaldsen Museum, 1811–14; photo: Martin Reulecke, and three sketches of the memorial by Pietro Antonio Leone Bettelini and Domenico Marchetti, 1812–29, after Johann Friedrich Overbeck’s drawings in the Thorvaldsen Museum, inv. nos. D35, D36 and D37, after Thorvaldsen’s reliefs inv. nos. A614,1 to A614,3; Thorvaldsen Museum inventory number: E33,20. Back.

[26] Schelling writes again to Martin Wagner in Rome in 1816 (Plitt 2:376):

Herr von Gärtner sent me a drawing of the memorial for which I commissioned the bas-reliefs from Thorvaldsen at the behest of my deceased wife. I am pleased finally to receive some word concerning this matter, since I long received no answer from Thorvaldsen himself. I have left the bas-reliefs in Rome until now because I am still in an awkward position regarding where they will be put; I am now thinking about asking Herr von Gärtner [Friedrich von Gärtner (1791–1847), Bavarian architect] to take care of their positioning on site himself whenever, sooner or later, he returns. Please ask Herr Thorvaldsen to keep them until I can take care of these matters such as to ensure their correct positioning.

If, as I think I read in a newspaper, Herr Thorvaldsen should leave Rome for a period and these bas-reliefs not be able to remain in his studio, please be so kind either to secure them yourself or otherwise to find some place to store them. As soon as Fritz Gärtner is back in the country, I will send for them.

I would also be much obliged to you if you could at the same time find out from Thorvaldsen in a seemly fashion whether he thinks he is still due some payment. I have sent him payments at various times, but without ever having received a receipt confirmation from him. Please forgive me for burdening you with these requests, but I hope you will be willing to take them on out of friendship for me and also out of respect for the memory of my deceased wife. Back.

[27] Hamlet, act 5, scene 1, spoken by Hamlet. Back.

[28] Auguste was born on 28 April 1785. — This gravestone, whose ca. 1900 photograph accompanies Boianowski’s article, seems to have disappeared. See Romantische Liebe und romantischer Tod 135:

The only extant references to Auguste’s grave today are found at the foot of the cemetery in Bocklet, to the right of the stairs leading up to the chapel. A white plate with the inscription ‘Auguste Böhmer 1785–1800″ has been set into a severely eroded stone grave with floral ornamentation. About three meters to the side of this grave, set in an ivy-covered wall, there is another, recently restored memorial plate whose inscription reads: Auguste Böhmer / *22. April 1785 / † 1800 in Bocklet.

When Erich Schmidt published his edition of Caroline’s correspondence in (1913), the gravestone Boianowski mentions was still the only one in the cemetery See Erich Schmidt, (1913), 1:760:

So it happened that in Bocklet there is merely a simple slab announcing: “Here reposes Auguste Böhmer, born 22 [28] April 1785, died 12 July 1800,” while her monument stands in the Thorvaldsen Museum in Copenhagen, a three-part bas-relief, on the left the figure of Nemesis, on the right a youthful spirit of death with a lowered torch, and in the center a girl (who unfortunately does not resemble Auguste) around whose foot a serpent is already coiling while she extends the cup of refreshment to her mother (see also Adolf Rosenberg, Thorwaldsen, Künstler-Monographien 16 [Bielefeld, Leipzig 1896], 94; [2nd ed. 1901] 98, illustration 121). Back.

[29] Hamlet, act 5, scene 1: “Sweets to the sweet: farewell! [scattering flowers.].” Back.

Translation © 2014 Doug Stott