Search "" as a keyword...
Filter suggestionsContinue typing to see suggestions...
Prince Albert's Personal Papers

Papers relating to Prince Albert’s personal life and enthusiasms


Copy letter from Dr. Ernst Becker to J.D. Passavant announcing that he has found two Raphael drawings in the collection at Windsor separately bound from the rest.

21 Jan 1859

Loose manuscript paper; mounted | 1 document (4 pages) (whole object) | RA VIC/ADDA10/85/390

Becker thanks Passavant for his letter and tells him that the two drawings, 'Tarquin and Lucretia' and 'Jonah' which Passavant records [in his biography of Raphael] as being in the collection at Windsor have at last been found, thanks to Passavant's comment that there must be Raphael drawings in the collection which are not in the Raphael volume. They are indeed in another volume, entitled 'Diversi maestri antichi'. They are going to be photographed immediately and reproduced as photographic facsimiles.

Becker reports that the photographic reproductions of the Raphael drawings in Vienna and Venice which the Prince had made are now commercially available, published by Bardi in Florence, and are of excellent quality.

Furthermore, the Raphael Cartoons at Hampton Court have at last also been photographed. The Department of Practical Art has had reproductions made in various sizes and sells them to the public at cost price; Becker lists the sizes and prices. They include actual-size studies of single heads. Colnaghi is also publishing them, in three different sizes. Becker remarks that these reproductions are a joy to behold, and much more rewarding to examine than the poorly lit originals: one discovers a multitude of beautiful details that one has never noticed in the originals, especially in the actual-size heads.

Becker goes on to report that the Prince has had three pictures in the museum in Madrid photographed: No. 63 in Volume II of Passavant; Nos. 265 and 267, which has shown that there is a Joseph in this picture too, and there can be little doubt that this is the original picture; and No. 42, mentioned by Passavant as in Ildefonso, which is now in the museum in Madrid where it is ascribed to Giulio Romano. The photograph shows that it cannot be by Raphael. The Prince also had the picture in the possession of the Duke of Alba photographed, No. 284. The photograph shows hands, whereas Zöllner's description said there were no hands in the picture.

Finally, Becker writes that he is sending Passavant, on the Prince's instructions, prints of the above mentioned photographs, and also of No. 85, which is in the possession of Mr Lucy at Charlecote Park in Warwickshire. Becker sent a photographer who is also a competent artist to photograph it. This man photographed the picture, then retouched the photograph with watercolour while observing the original from close up, and then photographed this copy.
Becker is also enclosing a water-coloured print of the picture by the same artist, which he asks Passavant to return; and he passes on the following information about the picture: Mr Lucy bought it from Mr Buchanan in 1830 fo £920. It is painted on wood. It is branded on the back with CR and the crown. A piece of paper with the words 'The Marquis of Mantua' is pasted onto the back; above it are traces of an earlier label which has been torn off, still bearing the remains of an inscription: '- tua - Raphalle'. Becker is enclosing a tracing of the picture to give its size, and the wording of another inscription on the back (not quoted).

The artist says he has no doubt that a girl [underlined] sat for the painting; no one but Raphael, according to him, could have painted the eyes and the left (from the viewer's perspective) cheek. He adds that the red reflection of the cap on the forehead and the dark line separating the cap from the background are as in the picture. The medal on the cap is painted 'with meticulous care, each of the little cherubs is perfect; and every thread of the velvet robe can be seen against the white shirt.'

The letter is dated 1858, but this must be a mistake for 1859 as Passavant's reply (see VIC/ADDA10/85/391) is dated 1859 and both letters are bound in that chronological place in the volume. The identity of Zöllner is not clear; it could perhaps be Ludwig Zöllner, 1795-1860, the German engraver, as he spent some years in Madrid.

Related Material: For related correspondence, see VIC/ADDA10/85/391.
  • Creator(s)

    Dr Ernst Becker (1826-88)

    (writer) [21 January 1859]

    Passavant, Johann David, Professor; Curator of the Städel'sches Kunstitut in Frankfurt, biographer of Raphael (addressee)

  • 1 document (4 pages) (whole object)