1491, court judge Johann von Woschütz acquired by marriage with Sophie
von Drahotusch, the estate and village of Lichten or Lichnow, which still
exists, near the town of Jägerndorf. From that estate he called himself
Lichnowsky (the man from Lichnow). This is what we see from the land register
of Jägerndorf (I, 55) and also from a topographical and biographical
dictionary of 1602, “Speculum Moraviae” by Paprocius.
seems that former Johan von Woschütz retained his crest, two grapes,
which ever since has remained the crest of the Lichnowsky family.
1608, the family bought the estate with the little castle of Kuchelna in
the district of Troppau, and it became the main residence of the family
from the First World War until the end of the Second World War.
1702, Franz Bernhard Lichnowsky was made baron and a member of the old Bohemian
peerage (alter Herrenstand [ bömischer]), and in 1727, count. His
son added through marriage the title count of Werdenberg, and his grandson
advanced to high positions in the Habsburg bureaucracy in Vienna.
1773, as a result of the War of Austrian Succession, the bulk of their properties
passed under Prussian rule and Frederick, the Great, raised Johann Carl
Lichnowsky to the titular rank of prince (Fürst).
was Johann Carl who, in 1788, bought the castle of Grätz with the estates
belonging to it near Troppau, in what was then Austrian Silesia. The areas
of these estates amounted to about half of the properties situated in what
was now Prussian Silesia.
is in Austria that the most notable chapter in the cultural history of the
family is set; it concerns their patronage of Beethoven. His association
with the Lichnowsky's, which was intimate and involved the entire family,
lasted from 1794 until his death. Prince Karl Lichnowsky (son of Johann
Carl) was Beethoven’s most generous patron.
was Prince Lichnowsky who brought young Beethoven to Vienna (1792), who
let him study under Haydn, Salieri and who treated him like a friend and
a brother, and induced the whole of the higher aristocracy to patronize
him”, wrote Carl Czerny.
two years after his arrival in Vienna from Bonn, the young musician lodged
with the Lichnowsky's who gave him the comforts of family life. Later, Prince
Karl granted him an annual pension of six hundred florins. Beethoven was
twice in residence at Grätz, where there is still a large collection
of Beethoven memorabilia. Most of the Master’s early Vienna works
were first heard at the Lichnowsky Friday evening musicales, and many of
his compositions were dedicated to Prince Karl or other members of the family.
Karl had only one son, Eduard (below), who left a good many literary and
historical writings. His most important work is the “History of the
House of Hapsburg” in 8 volumes (1836) which, although not completed,
had a new edition, an unchanged reprint was published as recently as 1973.
Eduard’s four sons the elder ones, Felix and Karl, leaned towards
Prussia, and the younger ones Robert and Othenio, towards Austria. The eldest,
Prince Felix, assassinated by revolutionaries in 1848 at the age of 34 years,
when a member of the National Assembly in Frankfurt, was also a faithful
friend and Maecenas to Liszt.
was under Prince Karl (1820- 1901), Felix’s brother and successor,
that the Lichnowsky's became definitively Prussian. Prince Karl lacked his
father romanticism and his brother’s knight-errantry and was concerned
to manage and develop the inherited properties. This he did with great success
in spite of an almost ruinous hobby of building Gothic castles. After 1852
he held, by virtue of the Majorat, a hereditary seat in the Prussian Upper
Chamber, the Herrenhaus.
only son Karl Max , was born in the manor house at Kreuzenort, Upper Silesia,
he was the German ambassador to London in 1912 and the heir to his father
wealth and his family accumulated distinctions. In 1904, he married Countess
Mechtilde Arco-Zinneberg, also known as novelist Mechtilde Lichnowsky. They
had two sons (Wilhelm and Michael) and a daughter (Leonore).
emigrated to Brazil after the Second World War and the loss of his properties
in Silesia. He died in 1975. His son, Felix, married Erica and lives in
Búzios (Rio de Janeiro ), with his three
sons Robert, Eduardo and Michel.