Once upon a time a museum in a charming old German town was given a very important, long-lost gravestone.
It was that of Maria Sophia von Erthal, a baroness who is believed to have inspired the Brothers Grimm to write Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Her restored gravestone has just gone on display at the Diocesan Museum in Bamberg, southern Germany. It was donated by a family who had rescued it.
The museum director says Sophia’s life “became the nucleus of Snow White”.
The baroness grew up in a castle in Lohr am Main, about 100km (60 miles) west of Bamberg, in north Bavaria, and died in 1796.
The Snow White fairy tale, by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, was published in 1812 and reached global audiences when Walt Disney created the animated film in 1937, but there have been many other adaptations.
“The Brothers Grimm made literature out of the stories they heard from local people,” Mr Kempkens said.
“There are indications – though we cannot prove it for sure – that Sophia was the model for Snow White. Today when you make a film about a historic person there is also fiction in it. So in this case I think there is a historic basis, but there are also fictional elements.”
Featured Image : Public domain trailer screenshot