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Clocks and Scientific Instruments

Portrait of Philipp Matthäus Hahn

Key data

Johann Philipp Weisbrod, Komwestheim 1773

Pencil drawing, 12.6 x 11.5 cm

Inv. 1913.94.1.

Description

This small pencil drawing is the only known portrait of Philipp Matthäus Hahn (1739-1790), famous in his own lifetime as a pastor, astronomer, engineer and entrepreneur. All engravings, lithographs and oil paintings of the versatile inventor who lived from 1770 to 1781 in Kornwestheim near Stuttgart are based on this drawing. Weisbrod, a Ludwigsburg professor of art, succeeded in persuading Hahn to sit for him when Lavater needed a portrait for his Physiognomic Fragments. The subject himself records in his diary: "Weisbrod came to take my likeness for Lavater. I accepted this chalice of my own flesh in patience; I endured the sitting reluctantly". It is not known whether the drawing reached Basle through Lavater or through the Basle silk ribbon manufacturer Wilhelm Brenner. The latter ordered an astronomical longcase clock, also owned by the Museum, from Hahn in 1775.

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Basel Historical Museum
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Steinenberg 4
PO box
CH – 4001 Basel

Reception: +41 61 205 86 00
Message: +41 61 205 86 02
historisches.museum(at)bs.ch

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