Monday, 23 January 2017

22, Lowndes Square

22, Lowndes Square was the home of Charles Schiff, the eldest son of Leopold Schiff. I was fortunate three years ago to purchase from the Devon bookseller Paddy Pollak a remarkable document, the very detailed 'Inventory and Valuation of Furniture, Fixtures, Fittings, Linen, China and Glass, Silver, Electric Plate, Cutlery, Ornamental Items, decorative China, Bronzes, Books, Pictures, Wines, Wearing Apparel, Jewellery and Household Equipment' taken in March, 1908. He kindly and generously gave me a 25% discount, perhaps because he appreciated that a few years ago I officiated at his mother's funeral. I asked if he remembered its provenance, and was told "I bought it from the widow of a doctor in Norwich  -  we had bought the medical books some years ago, and as she was moving house, she called us in again to offer for the remainder.  Her husband had been quite an eclectic buyer of 'nice' books on all subjects, either in Cambridge where he was a student or in Norfolk when he was working.  I don't know precisely where he got it nor why he chose it; I would guess he just liked it." I wonder if one of Charles Schiff's children ended up in Norfolk.
Postscript, January 2017:
One extraordinary coincidence you need to know about. The inventory of 22 Lowndes Sq which you recently blogged about, came to my father Martin after his father Charles died. My parents moved to Norwich in 1976, when I started my clinical training as a medical student. Dad died two years later, but my mother Rosetta stayed there until her death in 2009. For ten years she shared a house with a great friend of hers, Jenny Rack, who was a doctor, after her husband, another doctor, died. You can begin to guess the rest… that book must have stayed behind in her library after we cleared the house of Mum’s effects (when she moved into a Residential Home in 2006), and hey presto! it made its way to you!

Gustav Wertheimer: 'Sirenen Küss'

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