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Last Updated: Friday, 6 August, 2004, 11:07 GMT 12:07 UK
Rare Strauss donated to college
Richard Strauss
Strauss was among those who donated manuscripts to David Bach
A box containing rare works by Richard Strauss and Arnold Schoenberg, thought to be worth millions of pounds, has been donated to a Cambridge college.

Containing 88 works by prominent writers and artists of the time, the box was given as a gift to Viennese art lover David Bach 80 years ago.

The box was forgotten until East Sussex doctor Philip Marriott inherited it.

He has donated it to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, in the hope that it will be sold to benefit the college.

Pivotal figure

A professional journalist and politician, David Bach became a pivotal figure in Vienna's cultural life in the early 20th Century.

He united the artistic community and founded the Workers' Concerts, an Austrian equivalent of the British Proms, which made classical music available to the entire Austrian public for the first time.

On his 50th birthday - 9 August 1924 - he was presented with a snakeskin box containing paintings, sketches, songs, compositions, poems, stories and vignettes by many of the most gifted artists, composers and writers of the day.

Musicians Franz Lehar and Bela Bartok, artists Oskar Kokoschka and Leo Delitz, and playwrights and novelists John Galsworthy, Arthur Schnitzler, Karel Capek and Stefan Zweig were among those who contributed.

The box remained in a bank vault until Dr Marriott inherited it from his adoptive father Herbert Bach, David Bach's nephew.

Its contents were exhibited for the first time last year at the Austrian Cultural Forum in London.

Dr Marriott wants the future sale of the box to benefit Gonville and Caius College, where he studied medicine, and for 10% of proceeds to go to his old school, Newport Grammar School.

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