Mobile menu

Papers relating to Prince Albert’s personal life and enthusiasms

Gustav Waagen (1794-1868)

Letter from Gustav Waagen to Dr. Ernst Becker in response to a request for recommendations of classical scholars and criticising the Director of the Berlin Museums for his failure to supply photographs for the Raphael Collection 18 Jan 1859

Loose manuscript paper; mounted | 1 document (4 pages) (whole object) | RA VIC/ADDA10/85/385

Your share link is...


Waagen states that he delayed his response to Becker's letter in order to be able to consult Professor Gerhard, who knows the appropriate people far better than he does. He and Waagen consider that the wisest course would be to seek the advice Herr Hentzen, Braun's successor as Director of the [German] Archaeological Institute [in Rome]. The most suitable candidate, whom Hentzen would probably recommend, seems to be Professor Brun, highly praised for his book on classical artists, although he has 'etwas eckige Formen' ['rather angular forms' = ? rather cranky manners?]. After him, Dr. Michaelis would be the next best. Waagen warns against pushy Italians, in particular the Viscontis, father and son, who have inherited little but their name from the former's distinguished uncle Ennio Quirino Visconti. Waagen goes on to express astonishment at Becker's enquiry about the photographs. Immediately on his return from England in August 1857 Waagen passed on the Prince Consort's request for the photographs to Herr Olfers, who delayed carrying out the commission until just before the Prince's visit to Berlin in summer 1858, then took 5 months to get them ready, whereupon he spoilt Prince Frederick William's Christmas present to the Prince by announcing that he had the photographs ready to send, and yet he still has not bothered to send them! Waagen promises to take the necessary steps. This episode, he comments, is evidence of Olfers' poor management of the Berlin Museums, which he is filling with mediocre and bad works purchased partly without consulting the museums' experts and partly in direct contradiction to their advice. Finally, Waagen says that he had been meaning to write to Becker about an edition of excellent photographs by Edmond Fierlants of masterpieces in Belgium by the van Eycks and their school, which is being published in Brussels in instalments costing 35 francs for each instalment of 5 sheets. He had the honour of showing some proofs of these photographs to the Queen and the Prince at Babelsberg, and they were very interested in them. He thinks they would make a fine addition to the Prince's splendid collection of Dutch and German pictures.
  • Creator(s)

    Gustav Waagen (1794-1868) (writer)

    Dr Ernst Becker (1826-88) (addressee)

  • 1 document (4 pages) (whole object)

  • Object type(s)
      • printed & manuscript material
        • documents
          • correspondence
  • Place of Production
    Berlin [Germany]