28 April 1825

Letter 11


28 April 1825

Florence. 28th April 1824.2

My dear Severn,

Your picture is not arrived, though by your letter3 I thought it was then on the road. I supposed it would be found packed up among Kirkup’s things from Rome; but that not being the case, I again supposed Hazlitt would bring it. Why can’t you be explicit? Hazlitt seems to have looked on Rome more sulkily than I looked on it;4 and, if I am not mistaken, he has been a little sulky with the residents. He is now going to Venice, thence to Switzerland, and talks of returning to Florence. I called on Mr Irvine,5 and tendered your offer of 14 Crowns for the furniture, — indeed I read that passage of your letter to him. In reply he said he would look into the matter, and let me know. Yesterday he called, and left a paper, of which I give you a copy. "Mr James Irvine requests Mr Brown to return the following answer to Mr Severn, viz: that not having been able to find a copy of the valuation of the articles left at Rome, he refers him to the Advocate Sigr Felice Cicognani No 22 Via de’ Prefetti in the Campo Marzo; who is authorized to dispose of such articles as are meant to be sold, and to receive the price. He will write to Sigr C. on the subject to-morrow." So I wash my hands of this commission, or rather Mr Irvine has washed them for me. Mr Craufurd has let me have your Fuseli’s lectures,6 and I only wait for an opportunity to send both that book and your music; while you had better look out for an opportunity to send Hunt’s music.7 Why can’t you answer a question? Here have I been waiting to hear if you are satisfied with Mr C.8 touching and concerning his behaviour subsequent to his offer of money; and let me know if you have or have not received money from him; for after having mixed me up in this affair you leave me in the dark. We are crowing over your success, and Kirkup and I are longing to see your gallery of country beauties,9 not that either he or I are likely to go to stinking Rome. Kirkup desires every thing that is kind to be said to you, — a task so difficult that I omit it. La Signora Ristoni10 absolutely blushed at the fineness of the speech I made to her in your name; she is well, and very happy; now she is off to her Villa and podere, where she will remain ruralising for a couple of months; she desired me to say fifty kind things to you, but I forgot every one of them. I hope you’ll be able to come to Florence this summer,11 — I’m very eager that you should. In a few days I intend to set out on foot, in company with Mr Reader,12 (Mr Morgan’s brother in law,) for Siena, and to take Volterra in our way home. We have deferred this journey on account of the drought, — I hate a dusty Spring. The small quantity of rain that has fallen here since November is extraordinary. My Carlino is not so charming as usual, being rather too willful; I must be stricter in my discipline, and have resolved to turn over a new leaf on this very day. Nobody writes to me from England. The last letter, a long time since, was from Dilke, by which it appeared that both his father and mother were dying;13 this news afflicted me, and afflicts me still, while he has not imagination enough to consider that such a letter ought soon to have been followed by another. I believe I told you that poor Daniells14 died at Malta, about the middle of December. Gordini and his wife15 lately paid me (alias Carlino) a visit; and they were very kind in their inquiries about "Signor Guiseppe, quel Pittore". My friend Mancur, soon after marrying my niece, set off to Germany in order to examine some mines there, and to make his scientific report to certain would-be speculators; all this would have been very well, had he not been my agent, for — but never mind my complaints; — in fact I find myself queer this morning, so I’ll end my letter before any mischief comes of it. Your’s most truly,

           Chas Brown.


1 Above the salutation Sharp has penciled, "506-508." Address: Al Signore / Il Sig. Guiseppe Severn, / Pittore Inglese, / No 22 Vicolo de’ Marroniti, / Roma. Postmarks: FIRENZE; 2 MAGGIO. [Return to the letter]

2 An error for 1825. [Return to the letter]

3 Untraced. [Return to the letter]

4 See 23 Feb. 1825, n6. Brown had also criticized the artists in Rome when he stayed there in the winter of 1823-4. See "Actors and Artists in Rome," The Examiner (3 Oct. 1824): 626-8. [Return to the letter]

5 Unidentified. [Return to the letter]

6 Severn was presented with a copy of Henry Fuseli’s Lectures on Painting (London, 1801) as part of his RA Gold Medal prize in 1819. He was willing to lend his copy, but he took uncharacteristic pains in not losing it. [Return to the letter]

7 Severn held on to the music Novello had intended for Leigh Hunt. For his explanation, see his letter to Leigh Hunt, 20 May 1824 (Scott 250-251). [Return to the letter]

8 Mr. Craufurd, who had offered Severn £50 to paint a copy of Raphael’s "Madonna della Sedia" and then £200 for a copy of Raphael’s "School of Athens" for presentation to the Royal Academy (see 5 Nov. 1824, n15). [Return to the letter]

9 Severn was painting a number of studies of Italian peasants in connection with his picture "The Vintage." Kirkup’s former mistress "Ri." [Return to the letter]

10 "Kirkup's Ri?" [Return to the letter]

11 Although Severn told Leigh Hunt he was looking forward to being "in the fine Tuscan Vale" (Scott 251), he chose, instead, to go to Naples and Mola di Gaeta with Lady Westmorland and friends. [Return to the letter]

12 Reader was an English attorney in Florence whom Brown consulted over Leigh Hunt’s tangled business affairs with his brother John (Stillinger 17-18). [Return to the letter]

13 Sarah Blewford Dilke (b. 1765), died on 27 October 1825 and Charles Wentworth Dilke, Sr (b. 1742), in early March 1826 (IGI). See Brown’s letter of 30 Mar. 1826. [Return to the letter]

14 In his letter of 5 Nov. 1824, Brown had reported that Daniells was gravely ill. [Return to the letter]

15 The family with whom Carlino lived in Pisa from September 1822 to May 1824 (Stillinger 135n12). [Return to the letter]