Letter 329l.1

329l.1. Julie Gotter to Luise Gotter in Gotha: Jena, 5 October 1801 [*]

Jena, 5 October 1801

Although I have yet to learn, my loved ones, whether all of you arrived safely in Gotha, surely there can be no doubt, and I hope you found everything there to your satisfaction. [1] But I still yearn to learn more about your journey and am hoping that one of my sisters will quell that yearning.

Although our time together was brief, my dear Mother, seeing you again has warmed my heart inexpressibly, and though we are now separated my thoughts are nonetheless with and among all of you. And as profoundly as your caring maternal love touched me, there is absolutely no reason, as I have already assured you so often, for you to be worrying yourself about me the way you do. Of course, I cannot really “prove” such a thing at the moment — but does it even need to be proven? Should you not also trust us even without such proof? [2]

Soon after all of you had departed and left me behind so alone, I went over and found Karoline ill, though she recovered tolerably enough by evening to go to the theater. [3]

The next morning all of us traveled back to Jena in two carriages. Although Karoline was not well, she was quite gracious the entire time, so there were no ill effects, and now she is well again. Madam Unzelmann traveled directly from Weimar to Leipzig and thus was not here in Jena. [4]

The last day I had the pleasure of seeing some Gotha residents; they were sitting in the loge next to ours, though I spoke only a couple of words with Madam Schlichtegroll. [5]

The weather finally seems to be changing for the better; and yet how long will autumn last yet before winter is here again! I just returned from a long walk with Schlegel and Luise. [5a]

Just now things are quite lively all around me. The Hufelands’ children are playing with Emma and making so much noise that I am having difficulty collecting my thoughts, something you doubtless notice in my letter. [6] Although Luise has received letters from her husband, she will not be departing here before the second half of this month. Nor, if I understand correctly, has it been determined when Schlegel will be leaving. [7]

Dear Mother, you must pass along my warmest greetings to everyone there lest I disappear entirely from the memory of those who are so dear and precious to me. With God’s help my dear aunt will soon be doing better, and what a relief that would be for me! — —

Please relate profuse greetings to Cäcilie; my quill will give her nothing to read today because I still have something I must write to Pauline. I can imagine that she is just now quite busy doubling all the faces in the house, in which endeavor I certainly wish her much luck. [8]

Tell her that Goethe’s bust will doubtless turn out quite well. When Tieck finishes it, he will travel to Berlin but then return a few months later to Weimar, where has has received commissions for work on the castle. [9] It has not yet been decided whether he will be do Auguste’s monument there or in Berlin. [10]

My good Mother, I must burden you with yet another request. Please forgive me, especially since I realize how unpleasant they can be for you. When Cäcilie takes a walk, she occasionally passes by the porcelain factory, [11] and I would like to ask that she purchase a large white Sêl dish. I broke the one that was here. There is doubtless enough money left from the 4 rh., and Madam Schlegel would also like to have a small Moravian bowl, but as soon as possible, since we are really in need of the dish. [12]

The next time I write I will send along the fabric and whatever other things as well. [13]

Adieu, my dearest Mother. Heartfelt greetings to everyone, especially to my dear aunt. I embrace all of you ardently in thought.


Warm regards from the Schlegels and also from Schelling.


[*] Source: Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften; Nachlass F. W. J. v. Schelling, no. 933.

Concerning the background to Julie Gotter’s stay in Jena, see the editorial note to her letter to Cäcilie Gotter on 8 June 1801 (letter 319b) (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):



[1] Luise Gotter and her youngest daughter, Pauline, had journeyed to Weimar on ca. 20 September 1801 to attend the guest performances of Friederike Unzelmann at the Weimar theater between 21 September and 1 October 1801 with Caroline, Wilhelm Schlegel, Schelling, and her other daughters, Cäcilie, who was receiving art training in Weimar itself, and Julie herself. Luise, Pauline, and Cäcilie had returned to Gotha on 30 September 1801, notwithstanding that Friederike Unzelmann’s final performance was on 1 October 1801.

Concerning the background to Friederike Unzelmann’s guest performances in Weimar, see Wilhelm Schlegel’s letters to Goethe on 14 August 1801 (letter 327c), and to Friederike Unzelmann herself on 7 September 1801 ( letter 328g).

For her performance schedule during this visit, see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 11 May 1801 (letter 315), note 10. See also Caroline’s letter to Luise Gotter in September 1801 (letter 329). Back.

[2] Julie had queried her mother earlier about remaining in Jena through the winter 1801–2 rather than returning at the originally determined time, namely, around Michaelmas, 29 September 1801. Luise Gotter seems to have had misgivings but did eventually allow Julie to stay. See Julie’s letter to her on 5/7 July 1801 (letter 323b). Back.

[3] That is, Julie had gone over to the hotel where Caroline, Wilhelm and Schelling were staying. Julie herself was staying with Cäcile; see her letter to Cäcile on 25 August 1801 (letter 328.1).

In her final performance, Friederike Unzelmann played the lead role in Lessing’s Minna von Barnhelm. Back.

[4] Friederike Unzelmann traveled back to Berlin by way of Leipzig (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):



[5] That visitors came from surrounding towns to attend Friederike Unzelmann’s performances attests, of course, her reputation (illustration of an obviously similarly popular actress [note also the loges and other audience arrangements] from Der neuesten Moden Almanach auf das Jahr 1795; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):



[5a] Toilette Kalender für Frauenzimmer 1799 (Vienna); Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):



[6] That the Hufelands’ children were playing with Emma Wiedemann, presumably in the Schlegel’s apartment at Leutragasse 5, attests the — in some respects — remarkable thaw, since the autumn of 1799, in the relationship between the Schlegels and Hufeland (Gottlieb Böttger der Ältere, Frau und vier Kinder [1804]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Graph. A1: 278):


Indeed, as early as on 26 June 1801 (letter 322a), Julie had written her mother that “I recently visited Madam Hufeland with Madam Schelling, and their former good relationship has been reestablished.” Back.

[7] On 20 October 1801, Gottlieb Hufeland and his wife, Luise (Christian Rudolf Wilhelm Wiedemann’s sister), gave a farewell dinner for Luise and her husband in Jena, which Goethe also attended (representative illustration: Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, scene from Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa; or, The History of a Young Lady [1784]):


Luise, Emma, and Christian Rudolf Wilhelm Wiedemann returned to Braunschweig from Jena shortly thereafter. Wilhelm Schlegel departed for Berlin on 3 November 1801; he never returned to Jena (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):

Braunschweig_Berlin_Jena_ map


[8] Doubling, i.e., copying: Cäcile had just returned from several months of art training in Weimar, presumably at least in part at the art academy, and one of her primary interests was portraiture (“The Drawing Lesson” by W. M. Obreen, De tekenles [1700–1800]; Rijksmuseum; Set “Social Life 1800”; Verzamelingen Alessandra Reeves):



[9] Friedrich Tieck departed Weimar for Berlin with Friedrich Schlegel on 29 November 1801. He returned to Weimar, as Julie essentially predicts, on 13 June 1802, to work on bas-reliefs in the staircase in the castle’s east wing. Back.

[10] See Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 31 May–1 June 1801 (letter 319), note 4. Back.

[11] In 1767 Wilhelm Theodor von Rotberg acquired a parcel of land in Gotha at Lindenau Allee nos. 16 and 18, on which he built a porcelain factory (the location was moved in 1810) (representative illustration: Schauplatz der Natur und der Künste, vol. 3 [Vienna 1776], plate 46):


The following map shows the original location, no. 24 (no. 1 at center bottom is the Friedenstein Castle; Grundriss der Stadt Gotha nach einer Ocular Messung vom Jahr 1796 [Gotha 1796]. The Gotters originally lived at Augustinerstrasse 13 (also indicated in blue); they seem, however, to have moved to a different residence after Friedrich Wilhelm Gotter’s death in 1797:


The original twelve employees were joined in 1772 by painters and a modeler to manufacture tea, coffee, and dinner services, vases, baskets, and figurines, from 1772 also translucent pieces with an off-white glaze in addition to the original grey tints. The quality of the items improved to the point that in 1775 it was able to export pieces as well.

After his death in 1795, his wife leased the factory to several employees and then, six months after Julie is here writing, sold it to the crown prince August von Gotha-Altenburg, who allowed the employees to operate the factory further under the condition that his chamberlain Friedrich Henneberg take over administrative and organizational duties.

Illustrations from Pottery & Porcelain: A Handbook for Collectors, vol. 3: European Porcelain, trans. Emil Hannover, ed. Bernard Rackham (New York 1925), 246, 247, 248, 249:

(1) (left) tea-caddy moulded in relief and painted with flowers in colors (Gotha ca. 1770); (2) (right) coffee pot with flowers in gold and silver and borders in gold and underglaze but (Gotha ca. 1780); (3) tête-à-tête with pastoral scenes painted in different colors (Gotha ca. 1770–80); (4) portions of a breakfast service with views of ruins in dark brown or iron-red (Gotha, end of 18th century)





[12] See J. Andreas Schmeller, Bayerisches Wörterbuch, 2nd rev. ed., vol. 2 (Munich 1877), 256:

Sêl [Seele, soul] service, Sêl worship service for a deceased person, consisting of the Sêl mass or office. Occasionally, especially on what is known as the Thirtieth, the so-called Sêl dish is placed as an offering on the bier — a dish with flour and eggs along with a loaf of bread — or also a Sêl meal or repast held at the home. Back.

[13] Uncertain allusion.

Fabric and materials for sewing were secured from the local fabric merchant ([1] Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Kupfersammlung zu J[ohann] B[ernhard] Basedows Elementarwerke für die Jugend und ihre Freunde: Erste Lieferung in 53 Tafeln. Zweyte Lieferung in 47 Tafeln von L bis XCVI [Leipzig, Dessau, Berlin 1774], plate LII a; [2] Taschenbuch für das Jahr 1818: Der Liebe und Freundschaft gewidmet; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):




Translation © 2021 Doug Stott