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Prince Albert's Personal Papers

Papers relating to Prince Albert’s personal life and enthusiasms


Letter from J.D. Passavant to Dr. Ernst Becker thanking for photographs of Raphael works and promising to send photographs of the two Raphael drawings in his Institute.

28 Jan 1859

Loose manuscript paper; mounted | 1 document (4 pages) (whole object) | RA VIC/ADDA10/85/391

In reply to Becker's letter of 21 January (see VIC/ADDA10/85/390), Passavant thanks him and the Prince Consort warmly for the photographs sent with the letter, which have clarified a few questions in his Raphael studies. He is glad to hear Becker has tracked down the Jonah and Tarquin & Lucretia drawings and would like copies of the photographs which are to be taken of them; he reminds Becker that the last sheet in the volume of photographs he has received is missing and that Becker had promised to send it.

Passavant hopes to be able to send photographs of the two Raphael drawings in the Institute soon; he has discussed them with [the photographer] Schäfer. He will return the hand-coloured photograph of the portrait of Marquis Federico da Mantova with them, and remarks that in his view the artist responsible for it was too heavily influenced, in working on it, by his strange idea that Raphael used a girl as model for the portrait.

Passavant adds that he is especially grateful for the information about the photographs of the Hampton Court Cartoons commissioned by the Department of Practical Art. The Städel'sches Kunstinstitut would like copies of them for its collection, preferably in the largest format mentioned in Becker's letter, if they are satisfactory or as good as the other two sizes.

The Institute would also like copies of the photographs of individual heads. In addition, one of the administrators would like a set of the Cartoon photographs in the second size. Payment will be made as soon as Becker informs him of the total cost of all these photographs. Passavant apologises for putting Becker to so much trouble, but he knows of no one else from whom he could be sure to obtain good prints, and Becker's helpfulness in sending the information indicates that he will not mind doing the Institute this service.

With regard to the two pictures ascribed to Raphael from Casa Taddeo Taddei in Florence, Passavant has heard that in 1857 they were in the possession of a Monsignor Manni in Rome, and that a brochure about them with two illustrations has appeared. In this it is stated that the pictures were sold in 1787 by Gaetan Taddei to a senator, Alexander Adami. The Madonna with the two children are said to be portraits of the wife and children of Taddeo Taddei. Passavant has not heard from Rome whether they are considered to be genuine.
Passavant feels he must state his opinion on the portrait belonging to the Duke of Alba in Madrid, after examining the photograph Becker sent.

Although the picture is very fine, he cannot see Raphael's hand in it; the whole conception seems to him to be very different from anything by Raphael. He cannot tell, of course, whether this is the picture referred to by Zöllner, but will write to him about it. The reason why he did not see the picture in Madrid is that Don Jos Madrazo, the Director of the Prado, who sought permission for Passavant to see the Alba gallery, was told that the gallery was closed because the Duke was away. It was only on the eve of his departure from Madrid that Passavant learned that the pictures were hung in rooms outside the gallery and were accessible, but by then it was too late.

Related Material: For related correspondence, see VIC/ADDA10/85/390.
  • Creator(s)

    Passavant, Johann David, Professor; Curator of the Städel'sches Kunstitut in Frankfurt, biographer of Raphael (writer) [28 January 1859]

  • 1 document (4 pages) (whole object)