Augustus Wall Callcott

Callcott, Augustus Wall

English painter (1779-1844). Autograph letter signed. No place. 12mo. 2½ pp. on bifolium.
$ 1,766 / 1.500 € (77405/BN49840)

Letter of excuse to Mrs. Horner, probably Anna Susanna Horner (1786-1862), wife of the geologist and social reformer Leonard Horner (1785-1864): "I regret that I cannot have the pleasure of accepting Mr Horner's & your invitation for Thursday the 12. I am under an engagement to accompany my friend Mr Wells on a visit to the Duke of Bedford at Woburn at the beginning of the next week and shall not be in Town again before Saturday the 14th. - Lady Callcott has been a shade better since yesterday.

[...]". - As the letter alludes to Lady Maria Graham Callcott's weak health, it can be dated with some certainty around 1837. If this dating is correct, the Duke of Bedford here mentioned would have been John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford (1766-1839), whose second wife Lady Georgiana was a renowned patroness of the arts. - The identification of the recipients with Anna Susanna and Leonard Horner would be consistent with the provenance of the letter from the collection of their grandson Leonard Lyell, 1st Baron Lyell (1850-1926). In a letter from 22 November 1842, the historian Henry Hallam informs Leonard Horner of Lady Callcott's grave condition: "Poor Lady Callcott, I fear, is verging fast to her end. I saw her yesterday much feebler than before, and the medical men do not expect her to rally" (The Memoirs of Leonard Horner, p. 52). The friend of Augustus Wall Callcott mentioned in the letter remains unidentified. - With traces of former mounting..

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Callcott, Augustus Wall

English painter (1779-1844). ALS. N. p. o. d. 12mo. 3 pp. on bifolium.
$ 294 / 250 € (77406/BN49841)

Letter of excuse to conchologist Mary Horner Lyell (1808-1873): "You will be sorry to hear that Lady Callcott became so unwell on Sunday that she was obliged to have recourse again to leaches [!] and though in a degree relieved by them she still remained to weak the whole of yesterday thus I was forced to give up the pleasure of coming to you from fear of disturbing her on my return home after she had composed herself for the night. I am sure you will as readily accept this apology as you will be sorry for the cause of my absence.

- I send by Lady Callcotts desire a little fragment of a continuation of her Essays on painting. - Will you tell to Lyell that he will greatly oblige me if he will send me a list of such men of science etc etc as he thinks ought to be marked on the list of Candidates for Election at the Athenaeum. [...]". - Insightful testimony to the friendship between Augustus Wall Callcott, the famous geologist Sir Charles Lyell and their wifes Maria Graham Callcott (1785–1842) and Mary Horner Lyell. Maria Graham Callcott's "Essays towards the history of painting" were published at Moxon, London 1836. In 1837 Augustus Wall Callcott received knighthood, making his wife Lady Callcott. The letter can be dated with respect to these events, possibly to 1838, when the famous "Athenaeum Club" elected fourty new members including Charles Dickens and Sir Lyell's friend Charles Darwin. - Maria Graham Callcott was an illustrious figure who's talent in writing, scientific interests and eventful biography attracted many important contemporaries. In his groundbreaking "The principles of Geology", London 1830 Sir Charles Lyell refers to Callcott's description of an earthquake she had witnessed in Chile in 1822 to support his theory on the role of seismic activies for the formation of mountains. In response to this theory the later president of the Geological Society George Bellas Greenough attacked Lady Callcott rather than Lyell. Maria Graham Callcott defended herself by means of a publication that was later supported by Charles Darwin. Suffering from physical disabilty since 1831 Maria Graham's health declined increasingly from 1837 which is reflected in the letter. - With traces of former mounting..

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