ART IN BRITAIN - collection of 19/20th century letters, in 7 folders
Lot 116
ART IN BRITAIN - collection of 19/20th century letters, in 7 folders
Sold for £6,250 (US$ 7,646) inc. premium

Lot Details
Collection of nineteenth and twentieth century letters by painters, architects, designers and sculptors, including Benjamin West (8 September 1817: "My Large Picture [Death on a Pale Horse] is nearly completed, and when done will be moved into the Room in Pall Mall for Exhibition [where Keats was to see it in December]..."), Ford Madox Brown (2), John Singer Sargent (in support of the animal painter Frances Fairman), Edward Burne Jones (3, thanking one recipient for "verses which touched & moved me a good deal" and asking another about mounting watercolours), Auguste Rodin, Benjamin Robert Haydon (two autograph letters, one ordering cards, the other ordering a Flaxman; plus a presentation signature), James Holland (to the dealer Vokins, about a Venetian picture he has repainted for a client), Sir Thomas Lawrence (four, to Colnaghi and others), Henry Raeburn, David Roberts (group), William Nicholson, William Orpen (three, settling terms, and discussing a portrait), James Northcote, John Linnell, David Wilkie (six, one expressing his admiration of Delacroix, another requesting a sitting for The First Council of Queen Victoria), William Westall, Edward Wadsworth (three letters to Arnold Bennett, about the preface Bennett contributed to the important Leicester Galleries exhibition of 1920; with Bennett's typed replies), "Fred" ( i.e. Frederick Walker: four letters, three illustrated), E.M. Ward (fine series to the critic Hepworth Dixon of the Athenaeum), G.F. Watts (group), James Tissot (to Joseph Crawhall), John Lavery, Ernest H. Shepard ("...very glad of good humourious ideas for drawings..."), Clarkson Stanfield, Charles Barry (group of autograph letters, plus a printed ticket to view 'the Works of the New Houses of Parliament', a caption for the elevation of the Travellers Club "now erecting in Pall-Mall" and letters by his son), William Roberts (three, discussing works executed soon after the Great War, including illustrations to Osbert Sitwell), Charles Ricketts, A.W. Pugin (two, one to Lord Shrewsbury, his chief patron at Alton Towers: "I will not fail to bring the pencils I have to go to Albury, Sileby & Nottingham so I fear it will be Friday Morning before I reach Alton... I will send back the printed rag to the manufacturer but it is not positively worth the postage it is wretched"; in the other owning himself to be "very little of a Practical painter"), John Hoppner (to Sir William Beechey), Edwin Landseer (group, to the dealer Vokins and others), Frederick Sandys, William Havell (describing a tour of Germany, 1836), Lord Leighton (group, including copyright receipts), Daniel Maclise, Mortimer Menpes (illustrated), J.E. Millais (group), William Mulready, Bernard Berenson (two fine letters, 1893-5, to Cosmo Monkhouse, about his monograph on Lotto), H.K. Browne, Birket Foster (to H.S. Marks), Chantrey, Chalon, Maria Cosway, Rev Sydney Smith, Sawrey Gilpin, John Leech, Alfred Munnings, John Boydell (document signed as JP), Robert Hills, William Hilton, William Russell Flint (to the Hon Charles Lennox-Boyd, concerning an enquiry), Stanhope Forbes, Selwyn Image, Gerald Kelly, Francis Grant, Stephen Bone (lively letters to his father, Muirhead, and mother, c.1928), George Barret (discussing a commission for vignettes: "If they are to illustrate a poetical work I shall be more likely to succeed, as my mind will then be free to invent; & poetry has a stimulating charms for me"), George Cruikshank, David Cox, William de Morgan, Sir Charles Eastlake (group, to William Bewick, Severn and others), William Etty (including drawings by him on an incoming letter), Michael Ayrton (discussing illustrations, 1962), E.H. Bailey (sculptor of the Trafalgar Square Nelson), Benjamin Barker, and many others; plus a file of letters concerning the Lane Bequest (including letters by Ellen Duncan of the Municipal Gallery of Modern Art Dublin and Lane's friend Alec Martin of Christie's, with one letter to Lane himself, all but the latter 1916), in seven black plastic folders


  • A SUBSTANTIAL COLLECTION OF LETTERS BY MAINLY BRITISH ARTISTS, which appears to have at one time been owned by, and at least partly assembled by, Kyril Bonfiglioli, author of the Mortdecai novels, during his career as an art dealer in Oxford. For example, the rare letter by James Holland is accompanied by one to Bonfiglioli from the Holland scholar, Morley Tonkin. Other correspondents of Bonfiglioli include Warden Sparrow (asking for a picture to be delivered c/o Mrs Betjeman), Maeve Peake (replying on behalf of Mervyn during his last illness), Alan Sorrell and Kathleen Hale. Among various drawing included are examples by Austen O. Spare (watercolour of a Grecian mask, signed), Charles Condor (ribald pen-and-ink sketch on the back of an envelope addressed to him), Donald McGill (watercolour design for a postcard, about letter-writing), William Etty (charming domestic sketches on an incoming note of 1826), and J. Lockwood Kipling (caricature self-portrait, showing him taking medicine by a fireplace in which an orchestra is playing, drawn on the reverse of at home for music invitation). See also the papers by Martin Hardie in the present sale, and other lots.
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  1. Luke Batterham
    Specialist - Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Historical Photographs
    Montpelier Street
    London, United Kingdom SW7 1HH
    Work +44 20 7393 3828
    FaxFax: +44 20 7393 3879
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