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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 him for and responding to his comments on Passavant's biography of Raphael and expressing regret that the photographs of two Raphael drawings in Frankfurt requested by the Prince Consort have not yet

11 Dec 185820 Dec 1858

Loose manuscript paper; mounted | 1 document (4 pages) (whole object) | RA VIC/ADDA10/85/382

Passavant thanks Dr. Becker for the comments on his biography of Raphael which Becker sent in a letter of 4 December (no copy present). He was able to add some of the new information Becker gave him to the French version of the work before it went to the printers. He goes on to respond to specific points: He cannot say whether the cartoon of St John the Baptist preaching owned by Captain Stirling is an original without seeing it. He does not know the portrait format drawing related to No. 142 in Volume II of his biography which Becker mentioned, but it must be based on Raphael's composition. The studies for the Madonna della Sedia in the Musée Wicar in Lille are listed in Volume III, No. 676. The prices he gives in Volume III, p.299, for the purchases made in The Hague by his Institute are correct; he was present at the sale himself and knows what was paid. If the sale catalogue gives the same prices as francs, this is a serious misprint. In Holland everything is priced in guilders. The collection referred to in Volume III, p. 270, seems to include a few other items apart from those in the volume of Raphael drawings, in particular 'Tarquin and Lucretia' and the marble group of Jonah. Passavant thinks he must have seen them there. In Volume II, p.628, three of the drawings relate to the story of Abraham, but the fourth, as Passavant has discovered from Tauriscus Eubocus, p. 83, is of Jacob's Ladder. His information about the state of the portrait of Lorenzo Pucci is accurate and he also knows which restorer in Cologne worked on it. But he cannot thank 'Lord A.' for being annoyed at what he has said about it. He will be a little less categorical in the French translation. Passavant goes on to relate that the printing of the French translation of his biography is proceeding apace, but the proofs are full of misprints, and arbitrary changes made by P. Lacroix who has taken it upon himself to edit the work but who knows nothing about art history or artistic technique. Passavant hopes that two volumes will be published next spring. He was very interested to learn from Becker's letter that Prince Albert has made arrangements in various places for drawings by Raphael to be photographed and published, for which all art lovers will be indebted to him, and Passavant asks Becker to express his gratitude to the Prince when the occasion arises. He is all the more sorry that Schäffer [Schäfer] has been so tardy in supplying the two photographs he promised to take of the Städel Art Institute's Raphael drawings. In the autumn he constantly postponed appointments to come and do the work, making excuses that his assistant was ill, until the bad weather came and it was too late. He appears to be overwhelmed with commissions for portraits. Passavant will remind him of his promise in the New Year. Finally, he asks whether Becker has heard any reliable information about two pictures ascribed to Raphael: a portrait of Taddeo Taddei and a Madonna and Child with St John the Baptist painted for Taddei. They are said to have been sent from Rome to Venice and shown to the Archduke, who has demanded a certificate of authenticity from the Academia. Similarly, he has not received any satisfactory verdict on Cav. Laurie's 'Madonna di Loreto' in Florence, although the Academia di San Luca in Rome has pronounced it genuine. Passavant asks Becker to pass on anything reliable he has heard about it.
  • Creator(s)

    Passavant, Johann David, Professor; Curator of the Städel'sches Kunstitut in Frankfurt, biographer of Raphael (writer) [11-20 December 1858]

    Dr Ernst Becker (1826-88)


  • 1 document (4 pages) (whole object)