NOLLEKENS and BRITISH ARTISTS IN ROME Autograph letter signed by the landscape painter James Forrester, to the sculptor Joseph Nollekens ("Dear Nollekins"), written from Rome and giving news of the ex-patriot English community since Nollekens left them,  "Rome Wednesday December 23d 1772-3" [1772]

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Lot 60
NOLLEKENS and BRITISH ARTISTS IN ROME
Autograph letter signed by the landscape painter James Forrester, to the sculptor Joseph Nollekens ("Dear Nollekins"), written from Rome and giving news of the ex-patriot English community since Nollekens left them, "Rome Wednesday December 23d 1772-3" [1772]

Sold for £ 2,375 (US$ 2,883) inc. premium
NOLLEKENS and BRITISH ARTISTS IN ROME
Autograph letter signed by the landscape painter James Forrester, to the sculptor Joseph Nollekens ("Dear Nollekins"), written from Rome and giving news of the ex-patriot English community since Nollekens left them, including vignettes of the combative painter James Barry ("...Tho' I do not suppose my friend Barry (as you call him) has the least regard for me, be assured I am not his enemy, Nay, I can hear with great pleasure of his merit and success, and really wish well to both, for it is beneath a man to harbour old animosities..."), the sculptor Christopher Hewetson, recently commissioned by Clement XIV, the sculptor Thomas Banks, recently arrived in Rome, the painter excavator and dealer Gavin Hamilton, and the dealer banker and painter Thomas Jenkins ("...Hewetson goes on very well, he has got several Portraits among the English since you parted, his doing the Pope's Busto has given him much Credit, and he improves fast, how it may fare with him hereafter when Banks enters the lists, time will discover, but I hope both will meet with their desired Success, and avoid all jealousy or envy towards each other. Our antiquaries go on as usual, and matters are tolerably quiet at present; poor Hamilton has been ill for a long time, and seems to break fast, however I hope he will get over it soon: He still continues to digg with success, and sells several good things to the Pope and Mr Jenkins, besides those he sends to England...") ; he also gives news of the sculptor and 'restorer' Bartolomeo Cavaceppi, under whom Nollekens studied when in Rome ("...Cavaceppi has stopped building in town and has betaken himself to an hermitage at Albano, where he lives quite retired, amusing himself with a little work: he has resigned all his affairs into the hands of his brother Paul, and Sigr Clementi, who manages here for him..."), the arrival "Within these last few days" of "three new Students" including "Mr Townley" (Charles Townley on his second visit to Rome), the return to England of "My friend Robertson" (his fellow landscape painter George Robertson), the death of sundry of their compatriots while in Italy and news of the studio they shared in Rome; in the first of two postscripts he tells Nollekens that "Messrs Banks, Harford, Nulty, Jenkins, Hamilton, and poor Agatha, desire to be remembered to you"; in the second, he promises that "In my next, I shall inform you of some very fine things that are in my possession"; with autograph address panel overleaf ("Mr Joseph Nollekins Sculptor/ at No. 9. Mortimer Street/ Cavendish Square/ London/ Via di Londra"), red wax seal displaying a classical profile, postal stamps and manuscript marks, 3 pages, small seal-tears, foxed with minor wear at folds, folio, "Rome Wednesday December 23d 1772-3" [1772]

Footnotes

  • 'OUR ANTIQUARIES GO ON AS USUAL': A WINDOW INTO THE EX-PATRIOT BRITISH COMMUNITY IN ROME DURING THE GOLDEN AGE OF THE GRAND TOUR. Nollekens had spent eight years in Rome, between 1762 and 1770, where he laid the foundation of the considerable fortune he was to accumulate later in life and established his reputation. Before 1764 he entered the studio of Bartolomeo Cavaceppi, where, according to Colvin, 'he learnt many dubious restoration techniques of which he was to boast in later life' (Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors). From 1765 until the time of his departure in 1770 he shared a studio with Forrester, author of our letter, off the Via del Babuino. Another letter by Forrester to Nollekens, also about British painters in Italy, is at the Yale Center for British Art (MSS 10).
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