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Prince Albert's Personal Papers

Papers relating to Prince Albert’s personal life and enthusiasms


Letter from Ludwig Gruner to Dr. Ernst Becker announcing the despatch of glass plate negatives to Buckingham Palace and reporting on his attempt to get permission for the Raphael drawing in the collection of Count Riesch's mother to be photographed.

8 Dec 1859

Loose manuscript paper; mounted | 1 document (4 pages) (whole object) | RA VIC/ADDA10/85/423

Gruner announces that he has sent a box addressed to the Queen, containing two glass plate negatives of the picture of the 'Massacre of the Innocents' owned by Queen Marie of Saxony, by hand of Mr Oakley, with the assistance of the British Envoy in Dresden; the remaining negatives will be sent tomorrow by post addressed to the Prince Consort at Buckingham Palace. Mr Oppenheim, who made most of the negatives, has lent his own box for the smaller ones, and they will no doubt be returned in it. Gruner goes on to recount his negotiations with Count Riesch over the drawing in his mother's possession, having finally managed to see him after doing him all kinds of favour to win him over. The Count eventually decided that because reproduction of the drawing would substantially devalue it, and consequently his mother's collection as a whole, in order to show his esteem for the Prince Consort he would allow the photography on two conditions: 1) that it was done in his own or his mother's presence; 2) that to compensate for the loss of value, the Prince Consort would have a marble bust [of himself] made by Professor Hähnel for the gallery at Neschwitz [the Riesch family's home]. 'What next!!' Gruner comments. His attempts to persuade the Count that reproduction would not devalue his drawing, least of all a single reproduction, fell on deaf ears. Gruner told him he could do no more than report back to the Prince. But he has taken steps to find the tracing of the drawing mentioned by Passavant. Professor Vogel does not have it; Gruner is now waiting to hear from Passavant himself. Gruner goes on to say that with regard to No. 606 in Passavant volume III he formerly dismissed the drawing of the Aldobrandini Madonna as not by Raphael - it is very pale, has been overdrawn in several places and is on verydirty paper. But an attempt is to be made with it [to photograph it]. He thanks Becker for the St Michael, and asks for a print of each of the Raphael drawings of which he is sending the negatives, if Becker succeeds in obtaining better prints from them, or at least of Eve and of the battle of the horsemen ('Reitergefecht').
  • Creator(s)

    Gruner, Ludwig: Director of the Königliches Kupferstich-Kabinett, Dresden (writer) [8 December 1859]

  • 1 document (4 pages) (whole object)