Supplementary Appendix: The Schellings’ Residence in Würzburg

The Schellings’ Residence in Würzburg

Initially, the Schelling, von Hoven, and Paulus families lived within the general building complex of what is today known as the Old University and the former Catholic seminary in Würzburg, though from 1587 the seminary itself was housed in a building of the Old University. [1]

Von Hoven recounts that the Pauluses occupied a lower floor, his own family an upper floor, while the Schellings had an apartment in an adjacent building. [2] Paulus describes this arrangement more specifically in his letter to Christian Friedrich Schnurrer on 15 January 1804 (letter 382a), noting that the Schellings’ apartment was “located within the quarré [quadrangle] of the university buildings in the wing directly opposite us, over the library, so that we communicate with one another through the kitchen.”

In the early eighteenth century, the earlier university library was moved to the location it occupied when these three professors came to Würzburg. Otto Handwerker describes the background to this move, which took place between 1722 and 1724: [3]

The numerous new acquisitions had enlarged the inventory of books such that the older space eventually simply could not accommodate them. Since the other more spacious rooms [of the university] were already occupied, the choice was made to construct anew, and the choice fell on the university’s old gaming rooms, with whose renovation Balthasar Neumann, who later acquired fame as the builder of the Würzburg residential palace, was engaged. The gaming rooms, situated in the west wing of the university complex, offered a lengthy hall with ten arches opening toward the interior courtyard in the style of an arcade.

At the southern end, a staircase ascended to the upper stories, at the northern end a second staircase descended into the cellar. Neumann incorporated seven arches into the renovation and, maintaining the original construction, incorporated a vaulted, late-Gothic double hall measuring 24.5 x 11 meters, which receives copious light from both the street [on the western side] and the courtyard [on the eastern side]. . . .

At both its north and its south ends, the main library was complemented by small adjunct rooms, while the main entrance was at the south end. . . . The new library spaces were opened toward the end of 1724.

Here the floor plan of both the university quadrangle and the “clerical seminary” included in Handwerker’s history; [4] the number key locates the features discussed above: 1: main library hall; 2: adjunct north room; 3: adjunct south room, which later became the librarian’s quarters; 4: till 1802 anteroom/reading room for students, incorporated when the interior staircase leading to the upper stories was moved (5) outside the building:


Here a 17th- or 18th-century engraving by an unknown artist showing the entire quadrangle arrangement of the Old University. Caroline and Schelling had quarters in the west wing, above the library and across the quadrangle from the others; because Schelling’s auditorium was located one story beneath their apartment, [5] it seems they occupied the third and fourth stories [6] (here viewed from the north; Universität Würzburg, Universitätsarchiv):


Here the entrance on Schulgasse in an early photo (S. Göbl, Würzburg: Ein kulturhistorisches Städtebild, 4th ed. [Würzburg 1901], 96):


The interior courtyard of the Old University in 1901 with the Neubaukirche and its tower to the left, the adjoining west wing with the windows of Caroline’s apartment to the right, third and fourth stories; Schelling’s auditorium was on the second story, the library on the ground floor (S. Göbl, Würzburg: Ein kulturhistorisches Städtebild [Würzburg 1901], 97):


Here the same interior courtyard from the opposite side in 1871, the adjoining west wing with the windows of Caroline’s apartment to the left, third and fourth stories; Schelling’s auditorium was on the second story, the library on the ground floor (Carl Heffner, Würzburg und seine Umgebungen: ein historisch-topographisches Handbuch [Würzburg 1871], plate following p. 334):


And again the Schellings’ apartment in 1911 (Franz Friedrich Leitschuh, Wurzburg [Leipzig 1911], plate 77):


Here an exterior view of the Neubaukirche and its tower to the right, the adjoining west wing with the windows of Caroline’s apartment to the left, third and fourth stories; Schelling’s auditorium was on the second story, the library on the ground floor (Historisches Album der Stadt Würzburg. Zweiunddreissig photographische Ansichten, ed. V. Jos. Stahgel, introd. Franz X. Wegel (Würzburg 1867), illus. 15):


The following illustration shows the entire complex of the Old University and seminary. The (now suspended) seminary ceded to the electorate of Bavaria as a result of secularization in 1803 is here the triangular structure to the right (east) of the Old University. The Regent’s Building forms the west (left) wing of the seminary triangle and essentially abuts the east wing of the Old University quadrangle; the main seminary building is the top (north) side; and the Borgias Building (where eventually the Pauluses and von Hovens, but not the Schellings, would move) the bottom (south) side. Each complex (Old University, Seminary) had its church (Neuester Plan der Kreishauptstadt Würzburg, mit nächster Umgebung und Angabe der Stadt Strassenbau-Projecte [n.d.]):


During the War of the Third Coalition especially as it would play out in 1805, Bavaria, and with it Würzburg, took the French side, though after Austrian troops arrived uncomfortably close to Munich in 1805, Maximilian I would move his court temporarily to Würzburg, also prompting the families of H. E. G. Paulus and Friedrich Wilhelm von Hoven to vacate the Borgias Building, which would be used instead for Maximilian’s administration and entourage. The Schellings, because they had remained in their original apartment, did not have to move, though they did have two men quartered in Schelling’s auditorium, on the story above the library but below their apartment living quarters, during 7–28 October 1805.

Here a view showing the larger context. The royal residence is at the right (Kreishauptstadt Würzburg: Gemessen durch Carl Handwerk im Jahre 1832; Bayerische Landesbibliothek Online):



[1] Stefan Menz, Die Geschichte des Borgiasbaus: Zum Wiedereinzug im Herbst 2002 unter Regens Gerhard Weber (Würzburg: Bischöfliches Priesterseminar Würzburg 2002), 2–3. Back.

[2] See his account of his initial period in Würzburg, supplementary appendix 381g.1. Back.

[3] Otto Handwerker, Geschichte der Würzburger Universitaäts-Bibliothek bis zur Säkularisaation (Würzburg 1904), 66. Back.

[4] Ibid., 68. Back.

[5] Karl Philipp Kayser, May 1804, cited in Franz Schneider, Reiseerinnerungen eines Heidelberg Professors aus dem Jahre 1804, Neues Archiv für die Geschichte der Stadt Heidelberg 13 (Heidelberg 1928), 46–53, 55–56; reprinted in Schelling im Spiegel seiner Zeitgenossen, ed. Xavier Tilliette (Torino, 1974), 148–52, here 149. Kayser similarly confirms that the Schellings lived in the (old) university buildings. Back.

[6] See Caroline’s letter to Meta Liebeskind on 1 February 1805 [letter 390], in which she mentions Schelling coming “downstairs” to the room in which Caroline positioned their dining table during the winter. She remarks similarly to Beate Gross on 4 August 1805 (letter 394) that she sent two visitors “upstairs” to see Schelling, and to Carl Joseph Windischmann on 31 October 1805 (letter 397) that “even I myself have not seen him for a week now except when he has come downstairs to eat.” Back.

Translation © 2017 Doug Stott