26 Nov. 1825

Letter 13


26 November 1825

Florence. 26 Novr 1825.

My dear Severn,

Kirk sends his love to you, — there’s a good beginning. Mr Wightwick,2 a student in architecture, will be in Rome this day week. He will present a letter of introduction to you from Mr Wakefield. He brought one to me from him, and he will deliver a parcel of introduction from me to your worship, — viz: Fuseli’s Lectures, your Music, and "Bacchus in Tuscany"3 a present from Leigh Hunt, — who by the by is safe in London, and writes to me merrily.

I have just read in the Roman Papers that the picture painted to order for our George IV by the brothers Ripenhaussen4 is now exhibiting. This is the chief reason for my writing to so unworthy a correspondent, and I want you to give me some account of it, if possible within <four days> a week after receipt of this, for my "Italian Chat".5 Tell me what you think of it in expression, composition, and colouring, and give your opinion freely, relying on my not giving up you, to any one or in any way, as my authority. I see its size is 19 by 30 palms. Let me also know if it is going to London, or to Germany; and what sum his Majesty has paid or agreed to pay for it. This will make me a good paragraph, but it must appear to the readers that I have seen it, and that I know all about it. Do, my good fellow, attend to this, and you will much oblige me.

A letter from Westmacott has this moment reached me, without a single anecdote from Rome or Naples for my "Italian Chat". I’ll write to him, and scold him, in a few days.

I’m up to my ears in Magazine work. Now I’m busy with a tale of horror that shall stand as a scare-crow in the Magazine; the scene is laid in Rome, and I think I have invented something to counteract a soporific, — or if the reader can sleep within four and twenty hours after it, I promise he shall have the ugliest dreams imaginable. To make it the more interesting, I insist upon its being matter of fact. The articles already printed of mine are, so they tell me, liked.

Westmacott writes flamingly about your goings-on. Give me a list of the principal orders you have had, with the names of the parties and the subjects of the pictures.

I must go and fetch Charley from school,

Your’s truly
           Chas Brown.


1Above the salutation is penciled the letter "C" (for "copied"). Address: Al Signore / Il Signor Giuseppe Severn, / Pittore Inglese, / No 22 Vicolo de’ Marronitti, / Roma. Postmarks: FIRENZE; 28 NOVEMBRE. [Return to the letter]

2 George Wightwick (1802-1872), who later practiced as an architect in Plymouth and followed Brown as one of the three elected Vice-Presidents of the Plymouth Institution in 1839-1840 (Stillinger 373n3 and 374-374n4). [Return to the letter]

3 Francesco Redi (1626-1698), Bacchus in Tuscany, A Dithyrambic Poem, trans. Leigh Hunt (London, 1825). [Return to the letter]

4 Franz (1786-1831) and Johannes Riepenhausen (1788-1860), German draughtsmen, engravers and painters. [Return to the letter]

5 Brown had proposed to Henry Colburn, editor of the New Monthly Magazine, a regular column called "Italian Chat" and solicited his friends for news of artistic events (Stillinger 224, 228 and 233). Much to Brown’s irritation, the first three numbers he contributed were not published (Stillinger 237, 241 and 256). [Return to the letter]