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Papers relating to Prince Albert’s personal life and enthusiasms

Joseph von Keller (1811-73)

Letter from Professor Joseph Keller of the Düsseldorf Academy of Art to Dr. Ernst Becker concerning the whereabouts of Raphael's drawing of the Abduction of Helen, illustrated in an edition of prints after Old Master drawings in Düsseldorf collections. 9 Feb 1859

Loose manuscript paper; mounted | 1 document (4 pages) (whole object) | RA VIC/ADDA10/85/394

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In reply to a letter from Dr. Becker of 31 January (not present), Professor Keller states that the Raphael drawing of the Abduction of Helen, a reproduction of which was included in the collection of prints after Old Master drawings in Düsseldorf published by Lambert Krahe in 1781, is not in the collection at the Academy of Art. He thinks it was probably the private property of Krahe, and points out that the title of Krahe's work says that it includes items from his own collection as well as from the Academy and from the Elector Palatine's gallery. The Academy possesses only single sheets from Krahe's work, not including the Abduction of Helen. Judging from the few he has been able to compare with the originals, the facsimiles appear to be from the obverse. The print of one drawing attributed to Dürer - wrongly, in Keller's opinion - depicting a female saint, has a border of two fine, closely spaced lines, while others have a border of a single line. The sheets are not numbered. The Academy still possesses one [copper] plate related to this publication, which is very poorly executed. Raphael's drawing entitled 'The Battle' is in the collection; unfortunately, however, it has been completely over-drawn except in a few places, and hence spoilt. Keller encloses a print of it which was undoubtedly made at the time of the publication of Krahe's work. By comparing the paper, which has a watermark, it would be possible to establish whether the facsimile of the Abduction of Helen comes from this work. The size of the facsimile after the so-called Dürer drawing is 12 3/4 by 7 1/4 inches (Parisian). Keller adds that it is very difficult to find a complete copy of Krahe's publication, but from the limited comparisons he has been able to make, the prints seem to have been handled in a completely arbitrary and unscrupulous manner. Finally, he draws attention to a recently published monograph by Professor Braun entitled 'Die Disputa von Rafael' (Raphael's Disputation) which includes a detailed description of the picture and will be obtainable at Williams' bookshop in London. Keller has not yet succeeded in attracting interest in his engraving of the Disputa in England, ad asks Becker to draw the attention of art connoisseurs to it when the occasion arises; he thinks the British Museum should have a copy.
  • Creator(s)

    Joseph von Keller (1811-73) (writer)

    Dr Ernst Becker (1826-88) (addressee)

  • 1 document (4 pages) (whole object)

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