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The Palais Wittgenstein

Episode 1 of 4

15 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 14 December 2008

The great-niece of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, Margaret Stonborough, talks to the artist and historian Michael Huey as she delves into six boxes of newly-inherited family archives. As she digs deeper into the talented but tortured lives of the Wittgensteins she finds her cramped London house becoming ever more crowded with her larger-than-life forbears.

The first object out of the box takes Margaret back to a soiree in Vienna in 1895 at the palatial house of an Austrian steel magnate, Karl Wittgenstein. He was the father of eight children including Ludwig the philosopher, Paul the left-handed pianist and Margaret's own grandmother, who was painted by Gustav Klimt. As the family gathered for the evening, records show that the composer Johannes Brahms arrived at the Palais Wittgenstein.

The readers are Sarah Finch, Nicholas Rowe and Dan Starkey.

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