Richard Wagner was born on 22nd
May 1813, the year of the Battle of the Nations, at Brühl 3 (The House of the Red and White Lions) as the ninth child of the Wagner family. The building was demolished in 1886. Richard was baptized in St. Thomas Church on 16th August 1813. His father, Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Wagner (1770–1813), was an educated and respected clerk in the police force at the Leipzig municipal court with a particular interest in theatre. Just six months after Richard Wagner’s birth, his father died unexpectedly as a result of an epidemic of hospital typhus that broke out during the Battle of Leipzig. During Easter 1814, his widow Johanna Rosine Wagner, née Pätz, (1778–1848) married the actor Ludwig Geyer (1778–1821), who had been a close friend of the family since 1801. Two years later the entire family moved to Dresden, where Geyer was a court actor. Wagner spent the greater part of his youth in Dresden. Geyer often took the young Richard Geyer (as he was now known following his mother‘s marriage to Geyer) to theatre rehearsals, arousing his interest in the profession. The multi-talented Ludwig Geyer also introduced the boy to the basics of painting. Ludwig Geyer died prematurely of tuberculosis in 1821. Richard was then sent to his step-uncle, Karl Geyer, in Eisleben and barely a year later, for a short time, to his uncle in Leipzig, Adolf Wagner (1774–1835), a philologist, private scholar and translator. He lived in the Königshaus in the market square and was on friendly terms with Schiller and Goethe.