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Prince Albert's Personal Papers

Papers relating to Prince Albert’s personal life and enthusiasms


Letter from Dr. Ernst Becker to Charles Ruland sending prints, recommending print dealers in Berlin and sending information relevant to the Prince Consort's Raphael Collection gained from his research in the Prussian royal print collection.

6 Apr 1861

Loose manuscript paper; mounted | 1 document (12 pages) (whole object) | RA VIC/ADDA10/85/485

Becker writes that he is sending several prints: the Phoenix, the Drunken Bacchus and the Flying Cherub, which were on the list of desiderata; the Laugier and H. Cock prints as mentioned in Ruland's recent letters; two copies of drawings which were cheap, and Becker could not remember whether the Prince already had them; also a 'twin' print which he bought because it is rare and interesting, clearly a later work, in which the two Marcanton (Raimondi) engravings have been copied onto a single plate. If the Prince does not want to keep it, it can easily be sold in London. Becker gives details of the costs to be reimbursed to him.

He goes on to recommend that when the list [of prints/drawings &c still wanted for the Prince's Raphael Collection] is printed, the dealer G. Heubel is the best person to send it to in Berlin; he has an enormous stock and would keep a good lookout for what is wanted. Other dealers, Ende and Amsler & Ruthardt, could also be sent the list; the Rocca brothers too, although they are very ignorant.

Becker recommends Asher & Co. in Berlin for any books required; Spithöver in Rome is not the best source for such works as his speciality is theology.
He then passes on notes he has made after examining the engravings after Raphael in the Berlin Kupferstichcabinet.
No. 2. The lithograph by Rehberg is not in his 1824 work, which explains why it is not in the collection. Becker does not know whether he made a separate lithograph.
No. 10. A print is to be published shortly, Becker thinks by Hoffmann.
No. 48. Predella. Becker advises Ruland to ask Weigel whether Persichini's print of Hope has been published in the Calcografie Camerale, or to consult the catalogue himself.
No. 55. The Lucas who made the lithograph of the Madonna is apparently the Darmstadt painter Lucas, and Ruland should enquire from him about it. Becker does not know him.
No.101. The sheet by GDW is one from the series mentioned under E.14. n, as is the subject of E.14. o. Becker does not know if GDW made another print or whether Passavant's information is incorrect.
No. 159. Heubel has a drawing by Raphael for this composition. It is not big enough for a cartoon. He does not know which collection it came from.
No. 216. Heubel has good drawings after 5 of these Amorini, which may be the ones done by Maestri. He would be happy to have them photographed.
No. 276. Becker has seen the print by Fauci, and advises Ruland to put it on his list. It shows that Passavant's description of the subject needs altering: the Christ child is standing [not sitting] with one foot on the bench on which Mary is seated, and leaning back on her.
No. 277. Bertrand's print obviously shows only part of the picture, i.e. the seated Madonna seen in profile, with her outstretched hand holding the Christ child's hand; only his hand is visible. The inscription says that the picture itself is called La Vierge à la Pensée.
No. 291. Only two prints belong here, one showing Diana and Callisto, the other Saturn and Venus. Mulinari's engraving which is included here in the collection (a Venus?) therefore does not belong.
E.26.f. The description is wrong: St John kneels to the right of the Child, St Joseph stands to the left of the Virgin.
E.26.g. Becker saw a small print of this composition by Bittheuser, Le Sommeil de Jésus, at Würzburg, at Bittheuser's studio. It has a pencil inscription: 'Guide, chez le Doge Brignoli à Gènes'.
E.34. Heubel has a drawing that corresponds to the description of the facsimile by Ruchmann. It is attributed to Raphael.
E.100. Several heads. There are 8, about 2-3 high. In the Berlin Kupferstichcabinet they are all printed on one sheet.

Becker goes on to list prints not mentioned by Passavant which he saw.

1. Etching. Christ child on Mary's lap reaching for flowers held out to him by St John seated on a cushion to the right and holding the reed cross in his left hand. Raphael Sanctus pinxit GMV del. et sculp. Romae
2.  Mezzotint by Freithof showing Mary standing  lifting the veil over the sleeping Child who lies diagonally across the picture with St. John to the right and St. Joseph to the left.
3.  Chiaroscuro by Kirkall after the drawing of a Holy Family at Chatsworth in which Joseph is shown bending over a little cart.
4.  Facsimile by Ruschwegh after a drawing showing two mourning figures lying down  one old and the other apparently young  with his head covered.

Becker concludes with two further observations: Waagen is going to St. Petersburg in May to prepare a catalogue raisonné of the Hermitage for the Tsar and Becker has asked him to find out what happened to the drawings that Catherine II bought from the Crozat collection. Artaria is said not to be the best source for material from Vienna; the young art dealer Posonyi is better - Becker used to receive his catalogues and suggests that Ruland revive this connection. Finally Becker suggests that the list [of items required for the Prince Consort's collection] be numbered which would simplify orders and correspondence and that it should have a wide margin  for comments.


  • Creator(s)

    Dr Ernst Becker (1826-88)

    (writer) [6 April 1861]

    Ruland, Charles (addressee)

  • 1 document (12 pages) (whole object)