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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 J.D. Passavant sending the prospectus of the Department of Practical Art's publication of photographs of the Raphael Cartoons, and providing promised information about engravings and photographs previously sent by him to P

3 Nov 1859

Loose manuscript paper; mounted | 1 document (6 pages) (whole object) | RA VIC/ADDA10/85/417

Becker writes that he has delayed sending information about various engravings and photographs which he sent to Passavant some time ago, in the hopes of being able, at the same time, to give him news of the photographs of the Raphael Cartoons due to be published by the Department of Practical Art. He now sends the Department's prospectus of the publication (not present). Becker has not yet ordered the prints requested by Passavant and Professor Steinle, as the prices have been reduced so much that he thinks they may want to change their order; but he will be able to obtain whatever they want immediately as the sale of the photographs is now in full swing.

Becker adds that the Raphael drawings in Oxford have been photographed but not yet printed. The Prince Consort has given the glass plates of the Windsor drawings to the Department of Practical Art for publication. Becker has not yet had a definite answer from Lille, but hopes to hear next week that permission has been given for the publication of the photographs [of Raphael works in Lille]. He has heard that Miss Woodburn's collection of drawings is to be sold next year.

Becker goes on to provide details concerning the engravings and photographs he sent to Passavant. The photograph of the Assumption is from the original at Wilton House. That of the Holy Family with the Lamb (no. 63) is from the original in Madrid. The other photograph of the same subject is from another picture in Madrid; this has proved to be a copy of no. 63 with a broader landscape. Becker explains that while ordering a photograph of the picture of a young man in Mr Baring's collection (he points out here that the photograph shows the young man does not have a book under his arm), he had also requested a photograph of the Holy Family numbered 267 [in Passavant's work on Raphael], from the same collection; he had been told, however, that there was no such picture in the collection, but that it did contain a copy of another picture in Madrid showing the Child seated on a lamb.

With regard to the 7 engravings by St Morys which Becker sent, they come from the edition of reproductions published in London with an Italian title.

The Prince tracked down a copy of it and Becker sent it to M. Reiset (curator of drawings in the Louvre) asking how the facsimiles in it related to those in the French edition, of which only 5 copies exist. Becker encloses Reiset's response (see VIC/ADDA10/85/220), which he asks Passavant to return to him with the engravings. These are the only ones after Raphael which appeared in the London edition. Becker comments that Passavant saw two of these before, and included them among the old engravings listed in his work, as no. 95 (i) and (k). The Prince possesses one of the facsimiles from the Paris edition - which indicates that one of the 5 copies has been broken up. The engraving in question is listed in Passavant Volume [III], page 275, no. [14]; Becker points out that this drawing is a study for no. 110a, the picture of a pedestal [Sockelbild] in the Stanza di Eliodoro.

Becker adds a note about the composition listed by Passavant as no. 270g. He states that it corresponds to a pen drawing at Chatsworth, an old engraving [signed Giro. Fo.] in the Prince Consort's collection and a chiaroscuro listed by Bartsch and Landon, with minor differences. But the Bonasone engraving is so different that it cannot be described as the same composition.

He concludes by stating that Herr Ruland is now at Windsor and is busy familiarising himself with the collection. Becker himself will stay on until the end of the year.

Mary Woodburn was the sister of Samuel Woodburn, art dealer (1780/5-1853).

Related Material: For related correspondence, see VIC/ADDA10/85/220.
  • Creator(s)

    Dr Ernst Becker (1826-88)

    (writer) [3 November 1859]

  • 1 document (6 pages) (whole object)