King's College London
Exhibitions & Conferences
The Mond Bequest at King's College London: A Celebration

The Goethe and Schiller memorabilia

GoetheGoetheThe aura that grew up around the two ‘prince poets’ of Weimar, Goethe and Schiller, was without parallel in its day. From Goethe’s death in 1832 they became the object of veneration, commemoration and celebration – in print, image, ritual and, eventually, sociable appreciation and study.

One of the very earliest of the many Goethe societies was the English Goethe Society, which was founded in Manchester in 1888, later moved to London, and continues to hold meetings in Bloomsbury. Items from the Mond Collection were regularly loaned for display at the Society’s meetings before World War I.

Memorabilia of Goethe and Schiller were highly sought after by collectors. Most prized were visual and plastic images and personal effects, especially those which had a connection with the literary works.

SchillerSchillerThe Mond Collection of Goetheana and Schilleriana was a special interest of Frida's. It includes a small but highly valuable collection of autograph manuscripts by the two poets, images (in particular reproductions of the more famous paintings), and commemorative medals.

But perhaps the most dramatic pieces in the collection are a number of personal effects of Lotte Kestner (née Buff). Goethe fell in love with Lotte in 1772, despite her being engaged to Johann Christian Kestner.

This love triangle was the model for Goethe’s sensational 1774 novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, in which the melancholy hero Werther scandalously commits suicide after falling in love with Lotte, who is already betrothed to the solid and respectable Albert.

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