Beethoven led an exceptionally itinerant life, changing his Vienna address every year or so. His practice seems to have been to spend the summer months away from the city (along with the vast majority of his possessions) and then, upon returning, to set about arranging a new lodging (which the Conversation Books demonstrate frequently took several weeks of visits to prospective addresses).
From his summer 1825 lodging in Baden, Beethoven moved into the Schwarzspanierhaus, in the Alservorstadt suburb NW of the city, sometime between the 29th Sept - 12th Oct 1825. Between 28th Sept - 2 Dec 1826 Beethoven stayed at his brother Johann's estate at Gneixendorf.
Beethoven's last apartment in the Schwarzspanierhaus
NW Vienna in 1840, with the Schwarzspanierhaus marked in red, overlooking the extensive Glacis parkland surrounding the walled city
In his Aus dem Schwarzspanierhause (1874) Gerhard von Breuning gives a first-hand description of Beethoven's apartment: 'The middle section of the house has only three floors with nine windows in a row, while on each side [the end of the wings] there are four floors each with four windows to the front. However, this window arrangement is distributed in such a way that all the windows on the top floor continue in an uninterrupted row. From these, Beethoven's window on the top floor begins with the fifth, calculated from the church, and ends with the ninth (the one beyond the house gate)........You got to the top floor apartment via the fine central staircase, entering through a simple, somewhat low door on the left...'
The Schwarzspanierhaus, south face (photograph by Franz Xaver Massak, 1873)
[image © Beethoven-Haus, Bonn [B 198/b] (https://www.beethoven.de/en/s/catalogs?opac=bild_en.pl&_dokid=bi:i2964)]
The door to Beethoven’s apartment, looking west (photograph anon, 1904)
[image © Beethoven-Haus, Bonn, NE 81, Band VI, Nr. 1127 (https://www.beethoven.de/en/s/catalogs?opac=bild_en.pl&_dokid=bi:i3574)]
'Upon entering...one was in a spacious ante-room [Vorzimmer] with a window (above the main gate) to the courtyard. From this ante-room one proceeded [west] straight into the kitchen and then into a large servant room; all in all with four windows looking towards the courtyard (formed from three sides of the building itself).......In the ante-room, apart from a few armchairs against the walls, there was a simple dining table and a sideboard over which hung an oil-painting of Beethoven’s grandfather, Ludwig.'
Servant's room [Dienstbotenzimmer] on the north, looking west (not the Notenzimmer as sometimes stated) (photograph anon, 1904)
[image © Beethoven-Haus, Bonn, NE 81, Band VI, Nr. 1129 (https://www.beethoven.de/en/s/catalogs?opac=bild_en.pl&_dokid=bi:i3576)]
'From the ante-room, to the left [south] you step into a very spacious entrance-room [Eintritts-kabinet/zimmer] with a window onto the street (over the front gate).' Samuel Spiker, who visited Beethoven in Sept 1826, noted a bathing apparatus – presumably a metal tub - in the outer room.
Eintrittszimmer, looking north (photograph anon, 1904)
[image © Beethoven-Haus, Bonn, NE 81, Band VI, Nr. 1130 (https://www.beethoven.de/en/s/catalogs?opac=bild_en.pl&_dokid=bi:i3577)]
'...and from this, to the left [east], into a similar room [Notenzimmer]......This latter room lacked all furniture, apart from the writing desk that was then out of use. Only in the rear of the room hung Beethoven's own large picture in the middle of the wall (the one with the lyre and the temple of the Galitzinberg). However, all over the floor lay piles of published and hand-written music, by himself and others, in total disorder. Seldom did anyone enter this room.'
View from the storage-room [Notenzimmer] looking west (photograph anon, 1904)
[image © Beethoven-Haus, Bonn, NE 81, Band VI, Nr. 1128 (https://www.beethoven.de/en/s/catalogs?opac=bild_en.pl&_dokid=bi:i3575)]
Schlaf- und Clavierzimmer, looking west (photograph by Franz Weber, 1903)
[image © Beethoven-Haus, Bonn, B 2434/a (https://www.beethoven.de/en/s/catalogs?opac=bild_en.pl&_dokid=bi:i3988)]
'From the entrance-room, to the right [west], one proceeded into a large room with two windows, and from this into a large room with one window (this is the fifth window from the church), from which a small connecting door leads [north] to the servant’s room [Dienstbotenzimmer]......These two rooms to the right [west] of the entrance-room are where Beethoven actually resided, namely the first, his sleeping and piano room [Schlaf- und Clavierzimmer], the last, the place of creation of his last works [Compositionszimmer].'
The Schlaf- und Clavierzimmer in 1827, looking south, showing Beethoven's Broadwood piano. Pen and ink drawing by Johann Nepomuk Hoechle
'In the middle of the first (two-windowed) room [Schlaf- und Clavierzimmer], two pianos stood side by side, haunch to haunch [the Broadwood and the Graf, though the Broadwood was then at Graf's workshop for repairs between Feb and Sept 1826]. Against the pier between the two windows of this room there was a chest of drawers, and against the wall there was a four-shelf, black-painted book shelf with books and writings. At the front of it were several ear-trumpets and two violins; all this in disorder and badly dusted. Beethoven's bed, nightstand, a table and a clothes-rail next to the wood-burning heater made up the rest of this interior...The bed stood against the wall separating this large room from the Composition room [Compositionszimmer].'
Compositionszimmer, looking south (photograph anon, 1904)
[image © Beethoven-Haus, Bonn, NE 81, Band VI, Nr. 1132 (https://www.beethoven.de/en/s/catalogs?opac=bild_en.pl&_dokid=bi:i3579)]
'The last (again single-window) room was Beethoven's working room [Compositionszimmer]. Here he sat at a table a little way from the window, just in front of the door, facing into the large room...'
Beethoven’s Funeral on 29 March 1827, by Franz Xaver Stober.
The Schwarzspanierhaus was demolished in early 1904.