Goethe’s Majolica Cabinets and the Importance of the Biography of Object Accessories
When he visited Johann Wolfgang Goethe for the first time in 1821, Carl Gustav Carus, a natural scientist and artist of the time, was impressed by the wealth of displayed artwork at the home of the famous author: “When I was left alone in the room for a short time, the arrangements and embellishments were remarkable to me. Except for a tall frame with huge folders for copperplate engravings in their historical sequence, I was interested in a cabinet furnished with drawers for the storage of a coin collection. The essence of this was, under glass, a considerable quantity of ancient pictures of deities, larvae, faunas, etc., among which a very small golden Napoleon, placed in the bell-shaped end of a barometer tube, looked strange enough. Yet, many more things were still to be observed.”
As one can see from this quote, Goethe (1749-1832) was apparently fond of presenting his collections. Unquestionably he was one of the last great universal collectors of the 18th and early 19th century. He possessed both fine art and scientific objects, and regarded his collections as one ensemble. In figures, he collected about 27,000 objects of fine art: 450 sculptures and reliefs, over 8,000 gems and gem imprints, about 4,000 medals, coins, and casts of coins and medals, 100 majolica pieces, 9,100 prints, 2,500 drawings, 2,000 drawings done by Goethe himself, and 1,200 silhouettes. This is contrasted with his natural science collection, which consisted of 23,000 objects. Of course, he also had a library with about 7,500 volumes. Each and every item had to be housed in cabinets.
Today, Goethe’s original cabinets for his collections are one of the most important elements of the Goethe National Museum furnishings, as they give an authentic impression of how the world-famous author and enthusiastic collector lived and worked. Preserving more than 50,000 artificial and natural objects, the cabinets were originally kept for their storage capacity. From the named groups of objects there are five sets of collection furniture in Goethe’s residence: coin cabinets, medal cabinets, mineral cabinets, majolica cabinets, and cabinets for artworks and graphic folders. However, at present they are largely empty, as most collectibles are kept in modern storage facilities. The cabinets no longer serve as storage containers.
But why then should it be relevant in which repositories Goethe kept his collections? In general we focus on the items, not the container itself. Is there anything that these cabinets can tell us about Goethe’s collecting practices or how he presented his objects? These are the questions at the center of the project epistemic furniture, a study that is part of the research group Parerga and Paratexts – How Things Enter Language. Practices and Forms of Presentation in Goethe’s Collections, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (duration: 2015-2018). Conceived as a collaboration project between four universities and the Klassik Stiftung Weimar, the research group Parerga and Paratexts combines historical research and conservational knowledge. Through the example of Goethe’s collections, our aim was to find out how objects can be addressed, become significant, or maybe even expressive.
Utility furniture is indeed likely to show the aesthetic and scientific requirements of the time. Thanks to a praxeological approach, these cabinets can be analyzed as constitutive instruments for the study of the history of collections—from Goethe’s time to the contemporary period. In this paper I would like to illustrate what we can gain from an examination of such objects of utility. The first part of this article will explain the importance of cabinets as object accessories. Subsequently, I will analyze one particular example that perfectly demonstrates the potential of furniture’s biography for the acquisition of knowledge about historical and museum practices.
If you saw a pile of stones lying in a room, you would not automatically identify them as a geoscientific collection. Even if those stones were neatly numbered on small labels, they would be lacking a form of organized, recognizable structure from the seemingly random pile. An accumulation of a multitude of objects can only be constituted as a systematic collection with the aid of a clearly perceptible border. Accordingly, in order to be defined as a collection, minerals should be kept in a cabinet or at least a box or a drawer, or – to give another example – books should be put on shelves or bookcases perceived as a library. A collection is not a collection if the objects are not kept in a certain way that, on the one hand, clearly separates them from their surroundings, and, on the other hand, shapes them into something whole.
At the same time, such a container provides for the handling, organization, and perspective of the collection. When thinking about the arrangement of the items, it is indeed of relevance if the cabinet has six, twelve, or twenty-four drawers. For the presentation, it is not insignificant whether a cabinet is fully glazed, partially glazed, or perhaps not glazed at all. And it is also not insignificant which material the repository is made of, or whether it is built to a high quality or not. Collection furniture is used to present objects and create appreciation for these objects. It is not only used to preserve the collections, but to deal with them, to explore them, or to at least show them.
Goethe’s cabinets are handmade not ready-made furniture, and most were prepared according to the terms and conditions of the collector, precisely for presenting a specific kind of scientific or artificial object. Since the cabinets are not to be analyzed as historical art objects, but rather as objects of utility, which demonstrate historical practices, I will – in addition to the technical examinations of the objects biographies – turn to the concept of ‘affordance’ in the sense that it is used in archeology and other historical sciences. Affordance means here the possibilities of use determined by the physical properties of an object. For instance, a cup can be used as an object for drinking. But one can also use it as a baking tin, an ash tray or as a pedestal for tiny objects. A cabinet also offers a certain range of uses. Of course, we can examine the opportunities of the cabinet to open its doors, pull out the drawers, etc., but it can be assumed that these possibilities have been changed over time. Furthermore, material, texture, surface, and above all the shape of an object always offer several functions. This means that the concept of affordance alone would be too one-sided: “Affordance is not an absolute property of materiality, but rather highly relative.” However, written sources provide information on the handling of the collected materials and must be included in order to reconstruct affordance in different contexts of use. Therefore, in my case study I combine the concept of affordance with the concept of the object’s biography and examine material evidences of their use during Goethe’s time.
A few years ago, cultural studies about the relevance of material objects were hardly profiled in the direct examination of the objects themselves. Instead, the material properties of things were often overlooked in favor of an abstract idea of materiality. Tim Ingold has pointed out that many researchers tended to theoretically overstretch the notion of materiality, while the properties of the objects were simply ignored. But during the last decade, the concrete study of materiality has been increasingly practiced in historical cultural sciences. The present investigation is set within this field, which proceeds from the material object and incorporates conservational-scientific and art-technological methods. In cooperation with two furniture conservators, Katharina Popov-Sellinat and Karsten Skwierawski, we carried out technological investigations on construction, choice of materials and surface treatment. At the same time, we searched for utilization facilities and traces of use, which provide information about Goethe’s collection practice. The following scientific examinations were used: The visual description of the cabinetry designs; macroscopic examinations of the surfaces under normal and UV light and detailed minimally invasive examinations of the mountings. In addition, suitable samples for scientific analysis of the surfaces have been taken, examined and evaluated. The material analysis of the furniture could only be done selectively, since the scientific and technological acquisition is a long-lasting process that cannot be realized under exhibition conditions. The collection furniture is all in the permanent exhibition of the Goethe House, and for these reasons the sampling was only feasible with individual furniture.
For Goethe, the furniture he used for his collections was an important part of his interior living arrangement. Almost all the rooms where Goethe resided had cabinets for his collections. That is to say, he lived with his collections around him and always had them at his disposal in his daily living environment. Goethe’s visitor Carus, cited above, gives us again a brief impression of the house:
“The entrance-hall [The Yellow Room] itself was adorned with copper engravings and sculptures, and opened towards the rear of the house by a second corridor of sculptures […]. Taken to another room [the Juno Room], I saw myself surrounded again by works of art: beautifully polished shells of chalcedony lay on marble tables; above the sofa, partially covered by green curtains, a large replica of an old wall-painting known under the name of The Aldobrandini Wedding was hung, while the works of art displayed under glass and frameworks, mostly reproducing objects of ancient history, also demanded careful examination.”
Spread throughout these rooms, according to sources, we find coin and medal cabinets, mineral cabinets, one majolica display case, a cabinet with gems and gem imprints, as well as a large prints cabinet (graphic folder cabinet). All the furniture in these rooms was obviously included in Goethe’s social program for the entertainment of guests. However, in the eastern part of the front house Goethe arranged two more rooms for art collections, which in turn were exclusively accessible to him and selected persons. It is because of the abundance of objects that were kept in these rooms that we are now able to talk about his art storage. In this paper, I will focus on pieces of furniture coming from this depot: the majolica cabinets.
In 1816, Goethe was working on a book about his Italian journey when he began to be interested in collecting majolica on a larger scale. For some years, the author had been at work on his own biography, using his extensive collections in order to recall the numerous events of his life. It is in this context that he used to purchase Italian majolica pottery, about which he said: “Such objects have something to diffuse. Innocent fancies remind us of good times and bring them back.” At the same time, he saw them as colorful testimonies of the Renaissance, a period that particularly interested him on account of his “fondness for the 16th century.”
He bought a total of 105 of these pieces, and like his other collections, kept them in his home. Today in Goethe’s House is a hanging display case in the “Yellow Room” exhibiting twelve majolica pieces (Picture 1) Sources demonstrate that this presentation already existed in Goethe’s times. At this time, the room served as a reception and dining room. Placed on the wall above the fireplace, the majolica pieces were intended to recall the tableware practice of the Renaissance, since Goethe assumed that they were dishes for daily use: “Meanwhile, the presence of these bowls, plates and vessels gives an impression of a hard-working, happy life [...].” The pleasant associations these pieces aroused made them fitting accompaniments to the social life of the house – all the more so as the majolica featured mainly motifs originating from engravings by Raphael and his workshop. A series of colored engravings reproducing Raphael’s Cupid and Psyche were also exhibited in the Yellow Hall. By this medium, Goethe created a holistic concept of room design, which was meant to encourage his guests to talk about art while sitting at the table.
Interestingly enough, Goethe placed most of his majolica collection in the hidden part of his house. As mentioned before, Goethe kept parts of his collection in social rooms, while other parts were shown only to a chosen circle. This was a common convention in the 18th century: other collectors also showed their collections only in social rooms of their house and kept parts of their collections private, where only the host was allowed access. Goethe regarded his majolica collection as a private pleasure, taking delight in their aesthetic design. Consequently, we do not have much information about these majolica cabinets. How can we then get a better understanding of what the room and the presentation of the cabinets looked like? It is here that conservational investigations came to our aid.
Goethe had three custom-made display cabinets constructed especially for the majolica room, as we can see from carpenters’ invoices for the majolica cabinets. Two of them are from the year 1817 and the third from 1825. Today, however, there are four cabinets with majolica in the room. Due to their wording, none of the three invoices can be assigned with certainty to a specific cabinet. Our goal was, however, to find out which cabinet was the first and thus became the model for the others.
Figures 4 and 5 show the current museum situation. Here, a few bowls are presented individually in four vitrine-like glass cabinets. Most of the 100 historical majolica pieces are now in modern repositories in another room of the Goethe National Museum. At the beginning of the 20th century, the curators removed most of the majolica from the premises and only displayed a small selection in the cabinet. At this time, most of Goethe’s works of art were exhibited in separate rooms of a newly built extension in order to provide better visibility; only a few exemplary objects remained in the historic cabinets. The goal of this arrangement was to direct the visitor’s attention to the majolica’s depicted motifs.
The fabric curtains that today one can see in the lower part of the cabinets are a supplement from this very period. According to the surviving museum documents, at the beginning of the 20th century the curators decided to cover this part of the cabinets. In addition to the curtains, they also added a textile covering the shelves and the interior rear wall of the cabinets. Scientific examinations on the color of these textiles have shown that they were originally Bordeaux red and that the light had caused them to change to a more brown-like hue. These interventions are nowadays still visible, and one can see that the curators of the last century considerablychanged the view of the objects. This interpretation was not questioned until well into the second half of the 20th century. As a result of coal heating, wear and aging, the paint on the cabinets darkened over time, and now the picture of the gray, ascetic collection cabinets has been deeply engrained in the collective consciousness as an “authentic image.” This impression should be corrected with this project.
What else could be deduced from these heavily reworked pieces of furniture? With the help of technological and scientific examinations as well as source analyses, our aim was to provide information about the production of furniture, its chronological classification and show modifications or alterations. In addition, examinations were carried out to clearly identify the structure of the original surfaces. Through a visual inspection it became clear that the furniture needed to be moved away from the walls. Only then was it possible to examine the furniture from all sides in order to describe the construction methods and to label the materials used.
First we examined the construction and the material of the cabinets. Basically, all three pieces of furniture correspond to the typical design criteria of the early 19th century. They were produced in softwood (spruce or fir) and traces of hand plane tools are visible on all furniture. Also typical are the hand-planed profiles and the wooden nail reinforcements. The choice of wood is both characteristic and regional. All three cabinets are barely 20 cm deep and were therefore clearly built for the presentation of majolica. The record of an original carpenter's drawing for one of the cabinets additionally proves its function as showcase furniture for majolica.
Detailed inspections reveal the following facts: On a constructional level, cabinets B and C are the most similar in their manufacture. In addition to the choice of the same wood, it is noticeable that the back panels are almost identical. Both have boards joined together as back panels. The profiles of the glass doors are nearly similar. A different cornice profile was chosen for cabinet B. If we then take cabinet A into account in this comparison, we find a close match with B. However, on closer inspection they display some differences: the rear panel was built differently (framework filling), showing a more elaborate design. The outline of the doors’ glass panes is the same, but with a wider panel in front of the glass. A different ogee molding was selected for the cornice profile. These elements suggest that cabinet A could have been made by another craftsman than cabinet B. After all, it would have been very easy to use the same profile planer twice. The construction of the rear panel remains a matter of choice for the tradesman, or the client.
When the pieces of furniture in the majolica room are compared to each other it is clear that cabinets A, B and C correspond to the typical model of that period. However, the following criteria might also differentiate the cabinets:
Cabinet C was the starting furniture. Cabinet B is the most similar to the drawer cabinet in design (rear wall, profiles of the door frames to the glass panes). Cabinet A differs from cabinet B’s design characteristics (rear wall, profiles of the door frames to the glass panes). So it is very likely that the carpenter who built cabinets B and C was not the one who built cabinet A. By comparing the historical carpenters’ bills, these cabinets could now be assigned to precise pieces of furniture.
Cabinet D is exceptional in many ways, having nothing in common with the other three cabinets. Research showed that this piece of furniture is, in fact, a cabinet that had been converted from an already existing cabinet or shelf. The doors were made with the purpose of forming an ensemble with the other two large glass cabinets. The base board has been retrofitted or reattached. Likewise, the simple moldings on the cornice and their unsophisticated workmanship suggest a later addition. The solid wood is severely damaged at the front edges of the body sides. Probably, the furniture was originally used without doors. These facts and the simplicity of the furniture suggest that it might formerly have been a bookcase which was later reused. This might have happened at a much later stage, namely when the museum started using the cabinet for the exhibition. Further investigations could provide additional information for this hypothesis. However, it is clear that the museum’s interventions in this historical room took place without any special commentary or documentation. Since the cabinets were only seen as accessories, their preservation was not given much attention, despite the fact that these changes in the cabinets also changed the view of the objects they contained.
In the second step, we examined the surfaces of the cabinets more closely. Most of Goethe’s collection cabinets are presented today in a classic grey-white color. We know this is a museum solution dating from the previous century, when they changed the whole presentation of the Goethe House as described above. Since most of the library shelves and furniture had already been painted light gray since the time of Goethe, it was probably a pragmatic decision to make the rest of the collection furniture look similar. In the archive documents, there is a cost estimate from 1907 for painting the cabinets gray. Also, door and window frames, walls and pedestals for sculptures were painted white during this time. The painting of the furniture and room settings also corresponded to the view of the time. The Classic era in 1800 favored white and plain colors as they were imagined to come closest to those of Greek antiquity.
In our investigations, we were looking for suitable sample material for laboratory tests which could give information about the original surfaces of the furniture. The surfaces were closely scanned beforehand with a scalpel and a head-worn magnifier. We used the parts of the surface where the topcoat had already been flaked. We had to avoid creating new large modifications because the furniture was still being presented in the permanent exhibition. The furniture’s preliminary examination had shown that there was a red lacquer-finish underneath all the overcoats. In small areas, it even showed through the gloss. To further validate the results, a wood sample was taken from each of the cabinets in order to have a cross section made and to examine the build-up of layers. the layers’ build-up. It turned out that on the top of a cabinet’s door frame an original drop of varnish had dried and had not been removed. The samples were sent to a scientific laboratory.
During the preliminary examinations it was already visually clear that one of the four cabinets (D) would not have comparable surfaces. Only a brown oil paint could be found under the overcoat on the body and doors. This was probably a later approximation of the other cabinets’ red lacquer finish. This adaptation attempt underlined, however, the already aged or soiled condition of the original surfaces. We therefore assumed, as mentioned earlier, that this cabinet was added by the museum. The study of its surfaces was postponed for the time being.
By the examinations the following could be worked out: There is a thin layer of lead white paint on the wood as a primer. On top of this lies one or more layers of an oil paint of red ochre, applied thinly. As binders, drying oil and conifer resin or colophony were detected in each case. Unfortunately, the topcoat was no longer visible in the samples. The sample of an undamaged varnish residue of Cabinet C clearly showed an oil varnish from a drying oil and Manila copal.
Comparative overview of the analysis results for the layer structure of
the original surfaces
lead protein (oil-bound)
lead protein (oil-bound)
lead protein, barite white (oil)
burnt ochre (red) - oil-bound
burnt ochre (red) - oil-bound
burnt ochre (red) - oil-bound
Single sample topcoat: drying oil, Manila copal
These results can be clearly interpreted into a logical structure of a user interface. This consisted essentially of a three-layer system (primer, pigmented varnish, topcoat). The fact that the original surface was finished with a clear topcoat is shown by the layers found on the top of the door frame. Further investigations would be necessary here, but within the framework of the project we were only able to carry out a certain number of tests. It would be good to find a reference surface and expose it in order to obtain a color impression and the body of the paint. A visual comparison of the surfaces would then be possible. The choice of these materials alone makes it clear, that the paint surface was definitely determined by gloss.
Historical sources provided useful material to compare the analysis findings with present-day formulas and instructions. Heinrich Friedrich August Stoeckel’s Handbook for Artists, Lovers of Lacquer, and Oil Painters (Nuremburg 1799) described for instance this kind of “magnificent and still quite secret lacquer, which is quite similar in color to mahogany” that was used for the majolica cabinets. He details the production of the paint from burnt ochre (red), which he then rubs into the amber varnish. A well-filtered part of this mixture is again subjected to the amber varnish and then applied thinly on the wood like a stain. After drying, horsetail is used for sanding and a new application can be carried out. These explanations are essentially in line with the examinations’ results. Our research within the project on Goethe’s cabinets revealed that under the overcoating of not only the majolica cabinets, but also most of the coin and medal cabinets as well as the artistic cabinets kept in the poet’s residence, was a red lacquer finish.
In summary, it can be said that it was rather important to Goethe that the cabinets left a high-quality impression, even though they were largely made of timber. The existing idea that Goethe did not place any importance on his furniture and only chose simple repositories to display his collection objects, can no longer be justified. With the materials and technology used, a high-quality surface character was created both aesthetically and for practical use. This is also confirmed by their elaborate and thoughtful construction. Of course, the cabinets cannot be compared to mahogany furniture that one could at the time find in courtly spheres, but they were by no means as simple as they are today. Goethe’s collection furniture fitted the image of a well-off bourgeois household. In addition, surrogates such as the glaze on mahogany in Goethe’s time were not negatively connoted, but were on the contrary quite fashionable as handbooks at the time indicate. What we see today in the Goethe House is a modest presentation of the historical idea of the furniture.
But finally, how was the furniture used by Goethe? He clearly had a pragmatic approach to the design of his collection’s furniture. All cabinet shelves for majolica of Goethe’s time were fitted with three parallel grooves or moldings across the entire width of the board. Because of the fabric covering them, these elements are no longer visible today, though they can be felt, especially because they were on the lower side of the board. At some point in the museum’s history, all shelves were rearranged therefore changing their original function. Originally the shelves were used to present and secure the majolica in a standing position. This feature of the shelves has now been completely lost in the modern presentation.
Originally, the parellel grooves allowed for a flexible arrangement of the different majolica sizes. The shelves could also be positioned at different heights in the cabinet, allowing additional flexibility. As we found out, Goethe’s entire majolica collection was actually housed in only four glass containers: two cabinets and two showcases. In that regard, the presentation of the pieces must have been very dense and probably in an overlapping line-up, which was quite common at the time as we know from other collections. If all the majolica pieces are lined up one by one, almost 30 shelf meters are needed, while the three cabinets can only provide just 12 meters of shelf space. Goethe reported on arranging the majolica when they arrived: “The new arrivals were immediately placed on the floor next to each other and the few [items of majolica] I had already had were added, forming a pretty noble sight.” For over a week he wrote in his diary about placing the majolica in the cabinets.
Unfortunately, since no historical collection catalogue has survived the criteria by which Goethe arranged the objects in the cabinets is unknown. It is clear, however, that he wanted all the objects to be seen at once. Goethe preferred a two-dimensional view of the individual objects. Indeed, he wrote about the majolica: “... that’s how these things are, if you see them en masse before you, they mean something joyful.” In any case, unlike today, the overall visual impact of the whole set is likely to have dominated the individual pieces. Glazed cabinets seemed to him the best, which allowed a view of the highly detailed paintings and the strong color impression of the majolica and at the same time protected it from dust by the glass. Aesthetic considerations dominate the exterior appearance and shape of the cabinets. The handling of the objects within the specially designed cabinets was again guided by pragmatic considerations. The interior of the cabinets was designed to ensure that the plates and bowls were safely yet flexibly installed. Although the collection was a private pleasure, Goethe placed great value on an appealing appearance. The furniture was aesthetically integrated into the interior design and the presentation of the objects. The red furniture went well with the majolica, creating a pleasant ensemble.
Unlike Goethe intended, the objects are today displayed in a fixed and uniform arrangement. As our investigations have shown, curators have quite radically rearranged things such as the cabinets for Goethe’s collections, which has strongly influenced the way Goethe’s collection has been seen by later generations. Such transformations should be more discussed in historical publications on Goethe, because most of his collection objects are transformed by museum reconstructions or decisions of curators. So they are always staged objects.
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1. Documents from the Goethe- und Schiller-Archiv Weimar (detailed information in the footnotes)
2. Skwierawski, Karsten: Untersuchungsbericht zu den Schränken aus dem Majolika-Zimmer im Goethe-Haus zu Weimar. Technologische und naturwissenschaftliche vergleichende Untersuchungen an vier Schränken. (Unpublished examination report on the cupboards from the Majolica-Room in the Goethe-House in Weimar. Technological and scientific comparative investigations on four cabinets), Klassik Stiftung Weimar (2017).
 Carus, Carl Gustav: Lebenserinnerungen und Denkwürdigkeiten, in: Wolfgang Herwig (ed.): Goethes Gespräche. Biedermannsche Ausgabe, v. 3.1: 1817-1825, München 1998, No. 1865 (21.07.1821), p. 263; Nr. 1865, S. 263. Translated by the author.
 For Goethe as collector, see Grave, Johannes: Goethes Kunstsammlungen und die künstlerische Ausstattung des Goethehauses, in: Beyer, Andreas/ Osterkamp Ernst (ed.): Goethe-Handbuch. Supplemente 3: Kunst, Stuttgart 2001, S.46-83.
 The results will be presented in the monograph Goethes Sammlungsschränke (forthcoming, Dresden 2019).
 As some studies have already shown: Relevant in the German-speaking area are the works of Anke te Heesen: Vom Einräumen der Erkenntnis, in: Heesen, Anke te; Michels, Anette (ed): Auf – zu: der Schrank in den Wissenschaften, Berlin 2007, pp. 90-97; Heesen, Anke te.: Die doppelte Verzeichnung. Schriftliche und räumliche Aneignungsweisen von Natur im 18. Jahrhundert, in: Tausch, Harald (ed.): Gehäuse der Mnemosyne. Architektur als Schriftform der Erinnerung, Göttingen 2003, pp. 263-286; Heesen, Anke te: Der Schrank / The Cupboard, in: Baur, A./Berg, S. (ed.): Marc Dion – Encyclomania, Nürnberg 2003, pp. 25-33. See also the articles in Hackenschmitt, Sebastian (ed.): Möbel als Medien. Beiträge zu einer Kulturgeschichte der Dinge, Bielefeld 2011 (in particular Heesen, Anke te: Geschlossene und transparente Ordnungen. Sammlungsmöbel und ihre Wahrnehmung in der Aufklärungszeit, pp. 85-102); Müller-Wille, Staffan: Carl von Linnés Herbarschrank. Zur epistemischen Funktion eines Sammlungsmöbels, in: Heesen, Anke te; Spary E.C. (ed.): Sammeln als Wissen. Das Sammeln und seine wissenschaftsgeschichtliche Bedeutung, Göttingen 2002, pp. 22-38. For more literature and sources related to furniture styles, traditions and the history of collections see Stört: Goethes Sammlungsschränke (forthcoming, Dresden 2019). See also Stört, Diana: Displaying Knowledge. Goethe’s Cabinets as Epistemic furniture, in: Grave, Johannes/ Holm, Christiane/ Kobi, Valérie/ Eck, Caroline van (eds.): The Agency of Display. Objects, Framings and Parerga, Dresden 2018, p. 141-155, here p. 142-144.
 See for this concept the fundamental study by Hodder, Ian: Entangled. An Archaeology of the Relationships between Humans and Things, Hoboken, New Jersey 2012.
 See keyword “Affordanz/affordance”, in: Meier, Thomas / Ott, R. Michael/, Sauer, Rebecca (ed.): Materiale Textkulturen. Konzepte – Materialien –Praktiken, Berlin, Boston 2015, p. 67. Translated by the author.
 Ingold, Tim: Materials against materiality, Archaeological Dialogues 14 (2007), p. 1-16.
 The different approaches of the past years are very well summarized in: Kalthoff, Herbert; Cress, Torsten; Röhl, Tobias (eds.): Materialität. Herausforderungen für die Sozial- und Kulturwissenschaften, Paderborn 2016.
 The analyses are documented in: Skwierawski, Karsten: Untersuchungsbericht zu den Schränken aus dem Majolika-Zimmer im Goethe-Haus zu Weimar. Technologische und naturwissenschaftliche vergleichende Untersuchungen an vier Schränken (unpublished examination report on the cupboards from the Majolica-Room in the Goethe-House in Weimar. Technological and scientific comparative investigations on four cabinets), Klassik Stiftung Weimar (2017).
 Carus, Carl Gustav: Lebenserinnerungen und Denkwürdigkeiten, in: Herwig, Wolfgang (ed.): Goethes Gespräche. Biedermannsche Ausgabe, v. 3.1: 1817-1825, München 1998, 21.07.1821, V, 4, S. 91ff. Translated by the author.
 Today’s arrangement of the rooms following historical sources is described in: Knebel, Kristin and Holler, Wolfgang (eds.): The Goethe Residence, Klassik Stiftung Weimar 2016. See also Trunz, Erich: Das Haus am Frauenplan, in: Trunz, Erich: Weimarer Goethe-Studien, Weimar 1980, pp. 48-76.
 See Holm, Christiane: Olymp und Malepartus. Goethes gesellige Einrichtungen in seinem Weimarer Wohnhaus, in: Oesterle, Günther and Valk, Thorsten (eds.): Riskante Geselligkeit. Spielarten des Sozialen, Würzburg 2015, pp. 141–16.
 See Lessmann, Johanna: Goethe und die Majolika, in: Lessmann, Johanna: Italienische Majolika aus Goethes Besitz. Bestandskatalog Klassik Stiftung Weimar Goethe Nationalmuseum, Stuttgart 2015, p. 18-23. See this publication for the history of Goethe’s majolica collection.
 Goethe’s diary, 19.7.1816, in: Sachsen, Sophie von (ed.): Goethes Werke, Weimar 1887–1919, vol. 4, 27, p. 108. Translated by the author.
 Goethe’s diary, 1.6.1817, in: Sachsen, Sophie von (ed.): Goethes Werke, Weimar 1887–1919, vol. 4, 28, p. 111. Translated by the author.
 We found craftsmen bills for this hanging display case in the Goethe-und Schiller Archiv Weimar (GSA): Beinitz, Johann Ernst Wilhelm, GSA 34/XVII, 2, 1, Bl.10, 17.12.1804. In 1827 the display case was renewed: Hager, Adam, GSA 34/XL, 3, Bl. 80-81, 4.12.1827.
 Goethe’s diary, 6.11.1827, in: Sachsen, Sophie von (ed.): Goethes Werke, Weimar 1887–1919, vol. 4, 43, p. 149f. Translated by the author.
 See in detail Holm, Christiane: Olymp und Malepartus. Goethes gesellige Einrichtungen in seinem Weimarer Wohnhaus, in: Oesterle, Günther and Valk, Thorsten (eds.): Riskante Geselligkeit. Spielarten des Sozialen, Würzburg 2015, pp. 141–165.
 For a summary of collection practices in the 18th century, see Stört, Diana: Gleim und die gesellige Sammlungspraxis im 18. Jahrhundert, Hamburg 2010, p. 23-42. The following are fundamental studies on the history of collections, their practices and their display: Becker, Christoph: Vom Raritätenkabinett zur Sammlung als Institution: Sammeln und Ordnen im Zeitalter der Aufklärung, Egelsbach 1996; Grote, Andreas (ed.): Macrocosmos in microcosmo: Die Welt in der Stube: Zur Geschichte des Sammelns 1450–1800, Opladen 1994; Heesen, Anke te; Spary E.C. (ed.): Sammeln als Wissen. Das Sammeln und seine wissenschaftsgeschichtliche Bedeutung, Göttingen 2002; Minges, Klaus: Das Sammlungswesen der frühen Neuzeit: Kriterien der Ordnung und Spezialisierung, Münster 1998; Siemer, Stefan: Geselligkeit und Methode. Naturgeschichtliches Sammeln im 18. Jahrhundert, Mainz 2014.
 For these aspects, see Holm, Christiane: Goethes Augenlust, in: Johanna Lessmann: Italienische Majolika aus Goethes Besitz. Bestandskatalog Klassik Stiftung Weimar Goethe Nationalmuseum, Stuttgart 2015, pp. 42-47.
 The carpenters’ bills are in the Goethe-and-Schiller-Archiv: Goethe Rechnungen, Rechnungsbuch Januar bis März 1817, GSA 34/XXVII,1,1, Bl.6: „20.2. Tischler Johler für den Schrank zu den Majolicas“ (Carpenter Johler for the majolica-cabinet). Goethe Rechnungen, Rechnungsbuch Januar bis März 1817, GSA 34/XXVII, 1,1, Bl.6: „12.3. demselben für einen Schrank zu Majolicas“ (“the same for the majolica cabinet”). Goethe Rechnungen, Beleg über Hausmobiliar, Hager, Adam, 8.12.1825, GSA 34/XXVII, 6,1, Bl. 14 (carpenter’s bill for another majolica cabinet).
 See Oettingen, Wolfgang von: Das Weimarische Goethe-Haus und seine Einrichtung, in: Jahrbuch der Goethe-Gesellschaft 2 (1915), pp. 206-226. The former director of the Goethe National Museum justifies in this essay the changes made to the presentation.
 See GSA 150/M2: Acten der Großherzoglichen Direction des Goethe Nationalmuseums Weimar 1885-1918, Bl.237ff, GNM 128, 23. Mai 1907: Meeting No 8. of the board of trustees of the Goethe National Museum. See also Holm, Christiane: Goethes Augenlust, in: Lessmann, Johanna: Italienische Majolika aus Goethes Besitz. Bestandskatalog Klassik Stiftung Weimar Goethe Nationalmuseum, Stuttgart 2015, pp. 42-47, here p. 46.
 I would like to thank the textile conservator Laura Petzold, Klassik Stiftung Weimar, for this information.
 Investigations were made during the 1980s and 1990s. See Beyer, Jürgen: Die Restaurierung der Innenräume in Goethes Wohnhaus, in: Beyer, Jürgen; Seifert, Jürgen (ed.): Weimarer Klassikerstätten. Geschichte und Denkmalpflege. 2. Aufl., Bad Homburg, Leipzig 1997, pp. 49-66.
 As one step to achieve this, we had a film made in German about our investigations and results: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lz_l15wVCZU&list=PLrSb0ysWXGUgTCYpteplStjNlDt_oA8QI&index=4.
 The technical analyses and their results are documented in: Skwierawski, Karsten: Untersuchungsbericht zu den Schränken aus dem Majolika-Zimmer im Goethe-Haus zu Weimar. Technologische und naturwissenschaftliche vergleichende Untersuchungen an vier Schränken, unpublished examination report on the cupboards from the Majolica Room in the Goethe House in Weimar. Technological and scientific comparative investigations on four cabinets, Klassik Stiftung Weimar (2017).
 See GSA 150/M 7a, Bl. 20: Weimar, Institutsarchiv, Museen (bis 1954), Geschäftliche Unterlagen, Goethe Nationalmuseum (Cost estimate for the cabinets). See also GSA 150/7a, Bl. 22 (Cost estimate for pedestals and window frames).
 See Hocquél-Schneider, Sabine: Innenräume um 1800 in Weimar, in: Beyer, Seyfert: Weimarer Klassikerstätten, S. 31-48, here p. 32.
 For more details, see Skwierawski, Karsten: Untersuchungsbericht zu den Schränken aus dem Majolika-Zimmer im Goethe-Haus zu Weimar. Technologische und naturwissenschaftliche vergleichende Untersuchungen an vier Schränken, unpublished examination report on the cupboards from the Majolica Room in the Goethe House in Weimar. Technological and scientific comparative investigations on four cabinets, Klassik Stiftung Weimar (2017).
 Stoeckel, Heinrich Friedrich August: Praktisches Handbuch für Künstler, Lackirliebhaber und Oehlfarben-Anstreicher, Nürnberg 1799, p.81. Translated by the author.
 See Trunz, Erich: Das Haus am Frauenplan, in: Trunz, Erich: Weimarer Goethe-Studien, Weimar 1980, p. 50.
 For the aspects of the use of the majolica collection and the majolica cabinets by Goethe, see also Holm, Christiane: Goethes Augenlust, in: Lessmann, Johanna: Italienische Majolika aus Goethes Besitz. Bestandskatalog Klassik Stiftung Weimar Goethe Nationalmuseum. Stuttgart 2015, p. 42-47.
 Goethe’s diary, 13.2.1817, in: Sachsen, Sophie von (ed.): Goethes Werke, Weimar 1887–1919, vol. 4, 27, p. 338. Translated by the author.
 See Goethe’s diary, 19.-26.2.1816, in: Sachsen, Sophie von (ed.): Goethes Werke, Weimar 1887–1919, vol. 3, 6, here p. 17.
 Goethe’s diary, 19.7.1816, in: Sachsen, Sophie von (ed.): Goethes Werke, Weimar 1887–1919, vol. 4, 27, p. 108. Translated by the author.
 Such discussions are also demanded by Kahl, Paul: Kulturgeschichte des Dichterhauses. Das Dichterhaus als historisches Phänomen, in: Jahrbuch der deutschen Schillergesellschaft 61 (2017), pp. 325–345.