They Asked For a Letter–An Unpublished Letter from Sir Walter Scott

By Melinda Creech
Manuscripts Specialist, Armstrong Browning Library

Henry Raeburn [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In the DeCastro Album, on the same page as the Leigh Hunt letter, is an unpublished letter from Sir Walter Scott, Scottish historical novelist, playwright and poet, to Samuel Shepherd, a British barrister, judge and politician who served as Attorney General for England and Wales and Lord Chief Baron of the Scottish Court of Exchequer, dated 4 October, 1825.

Letter from Sir Walter Scott to [Samuel Shepherd], 4 October 1825, page 1.

Letter from Sir Walter Scott to [Samuel Shepherd], 4 October 1825, page 2.

Letter from Sir Walter Scott to [Samuel Shepherd], 4 October 1825, intergral address.

Letter from Sir Walter Scott to [Samuel Shepherd], 4 October 1825, integral address

The letter reads:

My dear [Lord]

Lady Shepherd & Miss Runnington as well as your Lordship gave us hopes that you would look in upon Conundrum Castle this year The season promises still a few fine days rather a bonus upon these we have had already which have for Scotland been an ample dividend. New Lord & Lady Gifford [under] the Solicitors pilotage propose us the honour of a visit on [friday] 7th and as they are I believe Friends of Lady Shepherds & yours Lady Scott & I would be much flattered by your meeting them under this roof and I hope Miss Runnington will do us the honor to accompany you Should you agree to this proposal your Lordship had better write a note on Thursday to secure horses

What a melancholy conclusion to our poor friend the Chief Commissioners final hopes and expectations I am sure your Lordship would feel it [surrely] [sic] He is I understand in general correspondence resigned though his firmness is broken occasionally—as who can wonder—with bouts of acute distress.

 

[Page 2]

Lady Scott & Ann give our respectful compliments to Lady Shepherd & Miss Runnington and am always my dear Lord

Most truly & respectfully yours

Walter Scott

Abbotsford Melrose

4 October

 

[Envelope]

OCT

5

1825

 

MELROSE

 

Right Honorable

The Lord Chief Baron

&c &c &d

Edinh

[Edinburgh]

In fact, Lord and Lady Shepherd did visit Scott in October of 1825, along with ” a large houseful” of others. (Scott, Walter et al. The Letters of Sir Walter Scott. Vol. 9. New York: AMS Press, 1971, 233-4.)

What was the “melancholy conclusion” to the “final hopes and expectations” of Scott’s “poor friend the Chief Commissioner”?

Does this letter add any names to the list of Scott’s acquaintances?

What is the story behind the “Castle Conundrum”?

Are there additions or corrections to the transcription?

They Asked For A Paper–“My Dear Child”–Leigh Hunt’s letter to his daughter

Quote

By Melinda Creech
Manuscripts Specialist, Armstrong Browning Library

James Henry Leigh Hunt by Samuel Laurence [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Leigh Hunt to Julia Trelawney Hunt, 18 August 1857, p. 1.

Leigh Hunt to Julia Trelawney Hunt, 18 August 1857, pp. 2 & 3.

Leigh Hunt to Julia Trelawney Hunt, 18 August 1857, p. 4.

Among the items in the Armstrong Browning Library’s collection is a tender letter from Leigh Hunt to his daughter, Julia Trelawney. She is staying on the Isle of Guernsey with George Godfrey. Although the letter is published in The Correspondence of Leigh Hunt (Smith, Elder and Company, 1862, page 281) parts of the letter were elided, including the delightful line at the beginning of the postscript:

Many thanks for the newspapers with which I mean to make myself thoroughly and Guernsically acquainted.

A transcript of the letter is provided below; the unpublished parts are in bold.

Hammersmith — Augt. 18

My dear Child,

We were very glad to hear from you so soon again, — the more so, inasmuch as you will have been glad yourself at having written. And you very properly fill your letter with as many particulars about the place, and your movements in it, and way of life, as you can; for it is
[Page 2]
this that absent friends are enabled to find themselves still together, as much as is possible.
I should certainly exclaim as you say I should, in threading your “beautiful” lanes; and I should think the kindness which every body shews you still more beautiful; for charming as inanimate nature ^is,^ there is nothing so charming, after all, as the expression of kindness in the human countenance.
[Page 3]
Pray look at the “house to let” by all means, and at any other house to let, provided it does ^would^ not tax ^my^ old limbs to get up to it. And be particular as to their rents and their gardens. I rejoice in what you tell me of your sitting at the piano. Walter has not yet come; but we saw Mr. & Mrs. Hooper here again on Thursday evening. Mr. Ollier and Edmund spent the greater part of Saturday evening with us; and simultaneous with their appearance was that of Mary Sayer, whom Jacintha
[Page 4]
entertained at tea in the back parlour while we took ours in the front, but all with open doors and in good fellowship; only Mr. Ollier’s health, I am sorry to say, continuing to be much tried, and strangers trying it more, we remained as I describe. She is coming to tea again on Wednesday evening to play us some Beethoven, and repeat some verses of mine in a kind of recitative, occasionally touching the instruments. We are still looking anxiously for Mr. Lee; and the moment he comes I will let you know. I tell you of Wednesday evening in order that you may imagine yourself with us: [so] [now] you know ^as much of^ us, past and future, as we know ourselves.
Your ever loving father
L. H.
[Written on top of Page]
P. S. Many thanks for the newspapers with which I mean to make myself thoroughly and Guernsically acquainted. Jacintha’a love, and she will write tomorrow, in order that you may have two days’ accounts of us, instead of one. All the pictures you send us, are beautiful. I read in today’s paper, that the queen is at sea and is expected to touch at the Channel Islands. If you see her, I expect that you will shake half a dozen handkerchiefs at her, instead of one. I have re-opened the letter, on purpose to say so.

[Envelope]
Postmark:
LONDON
AU 18
57
Miss Hunt —
Care of Geo: Godfrey Esqre
Claremont House,
Rohais,
Guernsey.
Channel Islands
L. H.

The tiny letter (3.5″ x 4.5″) is tucked into an envelope mounted on the same page as a letter from Sir Walter Scott to Right Honorable The Lord Chief Baron &c &c Edward.

Page from the Henry DeCastro Autograph Album

The letters are collected into an album which belonged to “Henry De Castro / Cramlington Villa — Putney.”

Why is Leigh Hunt’s daughter on Guernsey? Who are the people she is staying with? Who are the other people mentioned in the letter? How did this letter get into Henry DeCastro’s collection? What are the “houses to let” he mentions? Why is the letter written on mourning paper? Is there a copy of the newspaper with which Hunt “Guernsically acquainted” himself?

They Asked For A Paper–Notes in Hartley Coleridge’s Poems

By Melinda Creech
Manuscripts Specialist, Armstrong Browning Library

Poems by Hartley Coleridge With a Memoir of His Life by his Brother, 2 Vols. London: Edward Moxon, 1851.

These two volumes of the poems of Hartley Coleridge, the eldest son of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and a biography written by Derwent Coleridge, the third child of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, also contain markings on many passages and several notes apparently written by an acquaintance of the Coleridges.

“Add – A copy of [Barnes] Works & Such we found in the kitchen of the Nab – with pencil annotations during summer of 1850 R. S. (ccxiv)

Mrs. Richardson told me in 1851 that Hartley often thought many of Wordsworth’s pieces “too [poetic]”. 1857. Was it so? (19)

No such thing as Annihilation in Nature! R. S. 1857. (59)

I had this once to translate into Latin at Rugby, but did not know then it was H. C.’s. (65)

I think this [Elizabeth] was the daughter of Sir R. Fleming I had the pleasure of dancing with at the [Sunblinde] Ball in summer of 1850. R. S. (98)

Mrs. Richardson spoke to me of this as very beautiful. H. C. had read it to her. (114)

Cf: Tennyson’s “In Memoriam,” Sonnet –

The volumes bear a bookplate of William John Robertson, a translator of French poems of the nineteenth century.

Who is this R. S. and how did he know the Coleridges?

They Asked For A Paper

By Melinda Creech
Manuscripts Specialist, Armstrong Browning Library

In 1962 C. S. Lewis published a collection of twelve essays simply entitled They Asked For A Paper. It would be his last publication. He died the following year. I have borrowed Lewis’s title for this blog series which will suggest research topics for scholars interested in mining the treasures of the Armstrong Browning Library.

As we have processed the books, letters, and manuscripts here at the ABL, provocative questions and fascinating details have come to light. The faculty and staff are often heard repeating, “Somebody should write a paper about that.” Because that task has proved monumental for our small staff, we are inviting you to tackle some of the questions that have been unearthed.

Over the next few months I will be offering suggestions for research projects based on the holdings at the ABL. Please feel free to contact us for more details, or, better yet, come and visit us at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and have a hands-on experience with the books, letters, and manuscripts in our archives. The topics will include not only the Brownings, but also many other figures from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Be sure to “SUBSCRIBE!” to the blog on the right-hand side of the screen to keep up with all the possibilities.

So, since you asked…

 

Making Connections: Literary Networks in the 19th and Early 20th Centuries

In fall 2016, students in Dr. Kristen Pond’s upper-level English course, “Literary Networks in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries,” explored the relationships between writers of the Romantic, Victorian, and Modernist Periods and the influences they had on each other’s works. “Authors did not, in fact, work alone,” Dr. Pond argued, “but often collaborated, either directly by each person contributing something to the final piece or indirectly through the influence of conversations, interactions, or from reading one another’s works.” Utilizing the letters, manuscripts, rare books, and other collection materials at the Armstrong Browning Library, the students ended their semester by curating an exhibition that uncovered connections between one particular literary figure and Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning—the centers of the literary network for the course—or another significant literary figure.

The exhibition Making Connections: Literary Networks in the 19th and Early 20th Centuries is on display in the Hankamer Treasure Room, Armstrong Browning Library, until April 21, 2017.

The Armstrong Browning Library would like to thank Dr. Kristen Pond and the students who made this exhibition possible:

Marcus Appleyard, Rebecca Causey, Victoria Corley, Annie Dang, Taylor Ferguson, Casey Froehlich, Madelynn Lee, Mollie Mallory, Anne McCausland, Emily Ober, Shannon Ristedt, Chris Solis, Alexander Stough, Alex Ueckert, Baylee Versteeg, and Jonathan White.

Seeing Many Beautiful Things: John Ruskin and Lilias Trotter

By Melinda Creech
Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

The article, “Women Artists in Ruskin’s Circle,” written by Jane Garnett, in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography continues:

The other woman discussed by Ruskin [in the first Slade Lecture], (Isabella) Lilias Trotter (1853–1928), was completely unknown, and was not an artist by profession but a committed evangelical, at that point working for the YWCA in London. She was born on 14 July 1853 at Devonshire Place House, Marylebone, the seventh child of Alexander Trotter (1814–1866) of Dreghorn, Midlothian, a businessman, and the eldest of his second wife, Isabella Strange. She was educated at home in London by French and German governesses and was encouraged by her father in scientific and artistic pursuits; in the summer the family travelled on the continent. After the death of her father in 1866, she developed a new seriousness, and in the mid-1870s she attended with her mother evangelical conventions at Broadlands and Oxford; she sang in a choir during the Moody and Sankey revival of 1875. It was on a visit to Venice in October 1876 that she met Ruskin. Discovering that Ruskin was staying at the same hotel, her mother asked whether she could show him some of her daughter’s watercolours. As Ruskin recounted in the Slade lecture: ‘I saw there was extremely right-minded and careful work, almost totally without knowledge. I sent back a request that the young lady might be permitted to come out sketching with me.’ He commented on her learning ‘everything the instant that she was shown it—and ever so much more than she was taught’, and went on to display her drawings of peasant life in Norway, commended for conveying the same attributes of Christian simplicity which Francesca Alexander was doing in Tuscany (Complete Works, 33.280–81). Her Norwegian notebooks were to form part of Ruskin’s gift to the University of Oxford. She visited Brantwood regularly with her brother and sometimes her sister, and drew under Ruskin’s encouragement. But in 1879 she was to decide that she could not commit herself to painting ‘in the way he means, and continue still to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness”’ (Stewart, 19). She worked for the YWCA, took a Bible class at the Welbeck Institute, and began to hold meetings at her own home in Montagu Square for women in the business houses of Oxford and Regent streets. In 1886 she bought a nightclub to convert into a restaurant for such women; and she worked at night among prostitutes. She continued to paint and to send sketches to Ruskin, who felt, however, that her work was deteriorating:

 

The power in these drawings is greater than ever—the capacity infinite in the things that none can teach; but the sense of colour is gradually getting debased under the conditions of your life … Technically you are losing yourself for want of study of the great colour masters. (ibid., 22–3)

 

In 1888 Trotter went to Algeria as a missionary, where she worked until her death, publishing Arabic translations of the gospels and organizing conferences for the missionaries of north Africa. At the same time she responded passionately both as an artist and as an evangelical to the landscape and colours of Algeria. Fascinated by the vivid sapphire blue of Kabylian berries growing deep under matted grass, she tried to paint them ‘to show what God can do with the very feeblest ray; but the blue is an unattainable colour’ (Master of the Impossible, 19). In 1926 she published a little story, Focussed, written for the YWCA, in which she used a similar image of a dandelion, catching a shaft of sun in a dark wood: from this she developed the metaphor of the lens to press the need for everyone to choose on what to focus and not to dissipate energy. Her aesthetic comments on detail and line, in Africa and on trips in Switzerland and north Italy, continued to show a strong Ruskinian sensibility. Until her death she sent watercolours of people, places, and plants—often in a bold and independent style—to him among others. She died in Algiers on 27 August 1928.

The Armstrong Browning Library owns one letter from John Ruskin to Lilias Trotter.

Letter from John Ruskin to Lilias Trotter. 15 August 1879.

Letter from John Ruskin to Lilias Trotter. 15 August 1879.

In this letter, Ruskin invites Lilias to come to Brantwood on Thursday, the 21st.

I am very glad and thankful you are back again—and eager to see you and the ‘play’.—but the little nest of a house is full till next Thursday—the 21st—can you come then?—and stay as long as ever you like.—If you can’t then tell me when you could—and I’ll arrange for it—you know ‘hours’ are no manner of use.

The ABL also owns the proof pages of Lectures on English Art : Rossetti and Holman Hunt, [The ODNB says they are Rossetti and Burne-Jones] which Ruskin has inscribed to “Lilias./ First proof./ With the Author’s love./ 27th March, 1883.”

John Ruskin. Inscription on cover page of Lectures on Art.

John Ruskin. Inscription on cover page of proof pages of Lectures on English Art.

John Ruskin. Proof pages of Lectures on Art.

John Ruskin. proof pages of Lectures on English Art.

John Ruskin. Proof pages for Lectures on English Art. Pages 3 and 4.

John Ruskin. Proof pages for Lectures on English Art. Pages 24 and 25.

In the lecture Ruskin describes his first meeting with Lilias:

When I was at Venice in 1876—it is almost the only thing that makes me now content in having gone there,—two English ladies, mother and daughter, were staying at the same hotel, the Europa. One day the mother sent me a pretty little note asking if I would look at the young lady’s drawings. On my some what sulky permission, a few were sent, in which I saw there was extremely right-minded and careful work, almost totally without knowledge. I sent back a request that the young lady might be allowed to come out sketching with me. I took her over into the pretty cloister of the church of La Salute, and set her, for the first time in her life, to draw a little piece of gay marble with the sun upon it, rightly. She may have had one lesson after that—she may have had two : the three, if there were three, seem to me, now to have been only one ! She seemed to learn everything the instant she was shown it—and ever so much more than she was taught.

The Ruskin Museum has made available to the Armstrong Browning Library several drawings and paintings by Lilias Trotter. Among the images is a drawing of a capital of a column. Perhaps this is the sketch to which Ruskin referred in his lecture.

Lilias Trotter. Column. Courtesy of Ruskin Library.

Lilias Trotter. Column. Courtesy of Ruskin Library.

The Armstrong Browning Library also owns a page on which is mounted Ruskin’s handwritten notes from “Stones” in Modern Painters, Volume 6 (Chapter 18, Page 817). At the bottom of the page are sketches of Stonehenge, a stone frieze, and the Toad Rock.

John Ruskin. Drawings from Stones of Venice.

John Ruskin. Drawings from Stones of Venice.

In the lecture, Ruskin tells of Lilias’s trip to Norway and her little sketchbook of drawings—“They can only be seen . . .with a magnifying glass, and they are patterns to you therefore only of pocket-book work ; but what skill is more precious to a traveller than that of minute, instantaneous, and unerring record of the things that are precisely best?”

Those drawings from the Norwegian sketchbook are now located at the Ashmolean Museum at the University of Oxford. The sketches measures 2 in. X 4 in. A facsimile of Lilias Trotter’s 1876 Sketchbook: Scenes from Lucerne to Venice and Lilias Trotter’s 1889 Sketchbook: Scenes From North Africa, Italy & Switzerland are available for purchase. This illustration from her 1889 sketchbook of an ironwork cross illustrates the “pocket-book work” Ruskin described.

Lilias Trotter. "Cross" from Lilias Trotter's Sketchbook of 1879.

Lilias Trotter. “Cross” from Lilias Trotter’s Sketchbook of 1889. 2 in. X 4 in.

Following are the images of a few other drawings and paintings provided to the ABL from The Ruskin Library at Lancaster University:

Lilias Trotter. Figure Studies. Courtesy of Ruskin Library.

Lilias Trotter. Figure Studies. Courtesy of Ruskin Library.

Lilias Trotter. Mountain Range and Desert. Courtesy of Ruskin Library.

Lilias Trotter. Mountain Range and Desert. Courtesy of Ruskin Library.

Lilias Trotter. Image from Sketchbook-3. Courtesy of Ruskin Library.

Lilias Trotter. Image from Sketchbook-3. Courtesy of Ruskin Library.

Lilias Trotter. Image from Sketchbook-15. Courtesty of Ruskin Library.

Lilias Trotter. Image from Sketchbook-15. Courtesty of Ruskin Library.

Lilias Trotter. Daisies. Courtesy of Ruskin Library.

Lilias Trotter. Daisies. Courtesy of Ruskin Library.

Lilias Trotter. Desert Flowers. Courtesy of Ruskin Library.

Lilias Trotter. Desert Flowers. Courtesy of Ruskin Library.

 

 

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Seeing Many Beautiful Things: John Ruskin and Francesca Alexander

By Melinda Creech
Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

The following paragraph appears in the Oxford National Dictionary of Biography in an article entitled “Women Artists in Ruskin’s Circle,” written by Jane Garnett:

In his first lecture in the Slade series Ruskin had already surprised his audience by turning from a discussion of Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones to praise of two women artists, prefacing his comments with the statement: ‘For a long time I used to say … that, except in a graceful and minor way, women could not paint or draw. I am beginning, lately, to bow myself to the much more delightful conviction that nobody else can’ (Complete Works, 33.280). Both of these women lived out Ruskin’s principles of profound religious engagement with nature. One of them was the American Francesca Alexander (1837–1917), to whom Ruskin had been introduced in Florence in 1882. She was at this point forty-five and had been a professional artist for twenty years, although Ruskin was to talk of her as if she were a young girl, and addressed her as ‘lassie’ and as his ‘sweetest Sorel’. She had been brought up by her artist father in Ruskinian ways of looking at nature, and as a devout evangelical. At the age of seven she was said to have announced that she wanted to be an artist and to work for poor children. She collected stories and songs from the Tuscan peasantry, which she wrote and illustrated with figure drawings of the poor, many of whom gathered regularly in her studio, and whom she supported with the proceeds of sales of her work. For Ruskin her work—in both its form and its subject matter—embodied an ideal Christian and artistic simplicity and sincerity. He was to focus on this ideal in remembering—and transfiguring from its religious narrowness—the character of Rose La Touche. He bought and published Francesca Alexander’s The Story of Ida, Roadside Songs of Tuscany, and Christ’s Folk in the Apennine. In his third Slade Lecture he read passages from her preface to the Roadside Songs, and showed some of her drawings; and in June 1883 he gave a drawing-room lecture in London at which he showed twenty of her drawings. The Spectator review, commending their excellence, saw them as exemplars of Ruskin’s teaching.

The Armstrong Browning Library owns two letters from Francesca Alexander to John Ruskin.

Letter from Francesca Alexander to John Ruskin. [ca. April 1885]. Page 1.

Letter from Francesca Alexander to John Ruskin. [ca. April 1885]. Page 1.

Letter from Francesca Alexander to John Ruskin. [ca. April 1885]. Page 2.

Letter from Francesca Alexander to John Ruskin. [ca. April 1885]. Page 2.

Letter from Francesca Alexander to John Ruskin. [ca. April 1885]. Page 3.

Letter from Francesca Alexander to John Ruskin. [ca. April 1885]. Page 3.

Letter from Francesca Alexander to John Ruskin. [ca. April 1885]. Page 4.

Letter from Francesca Alexander to John Ruskin. [ca. April 1885]. Page 4.

In this letter Francesca tells Ruskin about the discussion in which her little group of Bellosguardo friends had participated regarding the drawings of flowers in her book, Roadside Songs of Tuscany:

I must tell you though what some of them said about the Road Side Songs, (which they nearly all saw before it went to you) you may be pleased, now that the book belongs to you, to have the favourable opinion of such distinguished judges as meet in the “brilliant society” of my Sky-parlour. They all seemed principally interested in the pictures of flowers, which brought about a discourse on flowers in general, causing Edwige to remark, what I believe she thinks she has discovered, and what really I don’t believe people think so much about as they might . . . that each flower has just the leaves that are most becoming to it. Then, taking the Easter flowers on the table for a text, poor gentle Bice, with tears in her eyes, improvised a little sermon, (better than many that I have heard in church) on their variety and wonderful contrivances for beauty, as showing the hand of the Creator. “And only think,” said a Contadina woman, contemptuously, “that now-a-days people try to make out that it is only nature who does it all!” At which Edwige said, yet more contemptuously: “It is all very well; and I hear a good deal about inventions in these times . . . but it is my belief that they will wait a good while before anybody makes another invention like those flowers: and if they think it is so easy, they had better try themselves!” Then the Contadina returned to the flowers of the Road side Songs, which she said “Seemed to have all the colours of the real ones, and yet were made of nothing but ink!” And she did not believe I could have done it by myself: probably the angels came and showed me how. And finally Edwige ended the discourse by saying triumphantly: “you will never see any more books born, like that!”

Letter from Francesca Alexander to John Ruskin. [ca. April 1885]. Page 1.

Letter from Francesca Alexander to John Ruskin. [ca. 1885-1887]. Page 1.

Letter from Francesca Alexander to John Ruskin. [ca. 1885-1887]. Page 2.

Letter from Francesca Alexander to John Ruskin. [ca. 1885-1887]. Page 2.

Letter from Francesca Alexander to John Ruskin. [ca. 1885-1887]. Page 3.

Letter from Francesca Alexander to John Ruskin. [ca. 1885-1887]. Page 3.

Letter from Francesca Alexander to John Ruskin. [ca. 1885-1887]. Page 4.

Letter from Francesca Alexander to John Ruskin. [ca. 1885-1887]. Page 4.

This letter expresses Francesca’s concern for Ruskin’s well-being. She says:

Some things in your letter trouble me: you seem dissatisfied with Joanie, and . . . I hope I am wrong, but I keep thinking about that miserable time two years ago, when there came about a separation between you, and you suffered more than ever, since I have know you, (as you told me afterwards yourself) and she fell dangerously ill, and as for me . . . Well, I don’t like to think about it! The end of it was, that it half killed you both; and, if you knew the terror that comes over me at the thought of any difference between you and her, you would have patience with whatever I say! You don’t explain what the trouble is, and I ask no questions. You speak as if she worried you . . . But do remember that she is worn out now, with her anxiety during your illness, and is probly [sic] weak and nervous, and worried all the time for fear of your hurting yourself in some way. But I dare say it is foolish in me to be so frightened. Only I am so far away, and have suffered much for my fiends, in these last years; and now I am always dreading some harm coming to you, or to her, whom you have taught me to love.

The Armstrong Browning Library also owns three copies of Roadside Songs of Tuscany in various forms. However, none of the editions contain parts 9 and 10.

Francesca Alexander and John Ruskin. Roadside Songs of Tuscany. 1884.

Francesca Alexander and John Ruskin. Roadside Songs of Tuscany, 1884.

The Alexanders, who lived near Florence are mentioned several times in the Brownings’ letters.

In 1897 Francesca Alexander published an edition of Tuscan Songs that did not include John Ruskin’s notes but did include the music of the folk songs that she had collected, along with her lovely illustrations of the flowers from along the roadsides of Tuscany.

Francesca Alexander. Tuscan Songs, 235.

Francesca Alexander. Tuscan Songs, 1897.

 

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Seeing Many Beautiful Things: John Ruskin’s Travels

By Melinda Creech
Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

John Ruskin’s extensive and privileged travel experiences began as a child. His father, a wine merchant, visited his business clients in the Lake District of England, Scotland, France, Belgium, Strasbourg, Schaffhausen, Milan, Genoa, Turin, the Alps, and Venice. Ruskin returned to many of these places throughout his lifetime to study and sketch his impressions of landscapes and buildings. These two letters record some of those experiences.

*****

Letter from John Ruskin to W. H. Harrison. 10 November [1851]. Page 1.

Letter from John Ruskin to W. H. Harrison. 10 November [1851]. Page 1.

Letter from John Ruskin to W. H. Harrison. 10 November [1851]. Pages 2 and 3.

Letter from John Ruskin to W. H. Harrison. 10 November [1851]. Pages 2 and 3.

Letter from John Ruskin to W. H. Harrison. 10 November [1851]. Page 4.

Letter from John Ruskin to W. H. Harrison. 10 November [1851]. Page 4.

This letter, written while the Ruskins were wintering in Venice, was addressed to Mr. W. H. Harrison. The letter thanks Mr. Harrison for his “epigram on friendship” and accepts his invitation for a meeting. The remainder of the letter discusses the restoration of a gondola. An illustration of the gondola is included in the letter. Ruskin comments that the parasol on the gondola was granted to the Doge by Pope Alexander III.

*****

Letter from John Ruskin to [Jane O'Meara] Simon. Page 1.

Letter from John Ruskin to [Jane O’Meara] Simon. Page 1.

Letter from John Ruskin to [Jane O'Meara] Simon. 1 March 1863. Pages 2 and 3.

Letter from John Ruskin to [Jane O’Meara ] Simon. 1 March 1863. Pages 2 and 3.

This letter, written from Mornex, Switzerland to Jane O’Meara Simon, describes in great detail his lodgings and the landscapes he views from his lodgings. Mrs. Simon was a close family friend of John Ruskin and the Severns and wife of Dr. John Simon, Ruskin’s physician. Ruskin describes the view from his lodgings in Mornex:

. . . in the morning I get a little Greek and geology done – and perhaps some drawing – none well – but yet enough to give slight [show] of progress. I live in that room you were in, chiefly. –the [day] goes all round it, and I get from corner to corner as it chases me; sitting mostly however at the window next the fireplace . . .  I can see the [Salève] slope out of the near window, and the grander [Jorasses] out of the other by turning my head . . . In the morning, I can see Mont Blanc / on my bed – and, sleeping, have the [entire] view from the [Urins] to the [Stanery] [mountains] unbroken.

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Seeing Many Beautiful Things: John Ruskin’s Friends, Family, and Employees

By Melinda Creech
Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

The following small group of John Ruskin’s letters are not particularly concerned with art, social issues, or criticism. They focus instead on social engagements, the death of a long-time employee, the design of a dress for a friend, a Christmas wish, and a friend’s memorial, and give us a glimpse into Ruskin’s personal life.

*****

ruskin-to-kingsley001

Letter from John Ruskin to Charles Kingsley. [ca. 1862]. Page 1.

ruskin-to-kingsley002

Letter from John Ruskin to Charles Kingsley. [ca. 1862]. Pages 2 and 3.

The watermark on this letter suggests this letter to Charles Kingsley, broad church priest of the Church of England, university professor, social reformer, historian and novelist, may have been written around 1862. During that time Kingsley was Regius Professor of Modern History at the University of Cambridge. A few years later, in 1869, Ruskin would became the first Slade Professor of Fine Art at the University of Oxford. Both Ruskin and Kingsley were becoming more focused on social issues at this time. Kingsley published The Water-Babies, A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby, a tale about a chimney sweep in 1863. Ruskin had just published Unto This Last is an essay and book on economy in 1860.

However this letter is much more lighthearted. Ruskin laments missing his hoped for music that morning and engagements at Colonel Elwyn’s and Mr. Booth’s. He chastises Kingsley for not planning to stay with him that evening and informs him that dinner will be at six.

*****

Letter from John Ruskin to Henry Ritchie. 3 February 1865.

Letter from John Ruskin to Henry Ritchie. 3 February 1865.

Ruskin to Henry Ritchie. 3 February 1865. Envelope.

Ruskin to Henry Ritchie. 3 February 1865. Envelope.

This letter to Henry Ritchie, John James Ruskin’s clerk, expresses Ruskin’s shock at hearing of the death of Henry Watson, his father’s head clerk. Ruskin’s father, who had died the previous year, had been very successful in the wine-importing business, employing two clerks, Henry Watson and Henry Ritchie to assist him with clerical duties. Ruskin says that he expected Watson to have died before his Master, “but Death and Time play strange tricks with the little cracked clay pitchers they juggle with.” Ruskin wishes Ritchie and his new partner “all prosperity & peace.”

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Letter from John Ruskin to Miss Rudkin. 29 October 1875. Page 1.

Letter from John Ruskin to Miss Rudkin. 29 October 1875. Page 1.

Letter from John Ruskin to Miss Rudkin. 29 October 1875. Page 2.

Letter from John Ruskin to Miss Rudkin. 29 October 1875. Page 2.

This letter, addressed to Miss Rudkin, expresses a desire to find “a pretty, quiet, thoroughly strong, and not fussy nor catchy sort of dress for Ethel Hilliard,” daughter of Rev. J. C. Hilliard. Ruskin was staying at the Hilliard’s home at Cowley Rectory. He often sought refuge from London at their home. Hilliard’s son, Laurence, became Ruskin’s secretary in the 1870s. We know nothing of Miss Rudkin, other than that Ruskin paid her £14 14s for a silk frock presented to his pet, presumably Ethel Hilliard, on Ruskin’s own birthday, according to Fors Clavigera, Volume VI.

*****

Letter from John Ruskin to Margaret. 22 December 1878.

Letter from John Ruskin to Margaret. 22 December 1878.

With this letter Ruskin sends a Christmas gift to his cousin Margaret, thankful that he has “been preserved through so grave an illness to see another Christmas.” He expresses the hope that the bright frost in Brantwood “may neither be dark nor unhealthy in London, and that you may yourself have stronger health in the coming year.”

*****

Letter from John Ruskin to Emma Sidney Edwardes. 2 May 1886.

Letter from John Ruskin to Emma Sidney Edwardes. 2 May 1886.

This letter is addressed to Emma Sidney Edwardes, the step-daughter of Dr. Grant, the physician of Ruskin’s father, and wife of Sir Herbert Edwardes, administrator, soldier, and statesman active in the Punjab, India. Her book, paying tribute to her husband’s life, Memorials of the Life and Letters of Major General Sir Herbert Edwardes was published in 1886. In the letter, Ruskin says:

I am so very glad and thankful that book is done. Heaven knows how thankful I shall read every word of it—no wife ever had better right to love her husband to the uttermost—and you have love him, worthily. I think you will be beloved by the way you & he come in gradually in Praeteita.

Emma is described in Chapter 1 of Volume 2 of Praeterita as a nice and clever daughter. On December 22, 1883, Ruskin had delivered as lecture, “The Battle of Kineyree.” The lecture was published as  A Knight’s Faith, and two years later, inn 1885, published as A Knight’s Faith : Passages in the Life of Sir Herbert Edwardes, in Bibliotheca Pastorum, Volume 4. Ruskin describes his work in the preface:

The following pages are in substance little more than grouped extracts of some deeply interesting passages in the narrative published by Sir Herbert Edwardes, in 1851, of his military operations in the Punjaub during the winter of 1848–1849 [A Year on the Punjab Frontier]. The vital significance of that campaign was not felt at the time by the British public, nor was the character of the commanding officer rightly understood. This was partly in consequence of his being compelled to encumber his accounts of real facts by extracts from official documents; and partly because his diary could not, in the time at his disposal, be reduced to a clearly arranged and easily intelligible narrative. My own abstract of it… reduced the events preceding the battle of Kineyree [18 June 1848] within the compass of an ordinary lecture, which was given here at Coniston in the winter of 1883; but in preparing this for publication, it seemed to me that in our present relations with Afghanistan, the reader might wish to hear the story in fuller detail, and might perhaps learn some things from it not to his hurt”

Ruskin presented The Edwardes Ruby to the British Museum in honor of Sir Herbert Edwards in 1887. The inscription reads:

The Edwardes Ruby
Presented in 1887 by John Ruskin
‘In Honour of the
Invincible Soldiership
And loving Equity
Of Sir Herbert Edwardes’ Rule
By the Shores of Indus’.

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Seeing Many Beautiful Things: John Ruskin’s “Old Coachman”

By Melinda Creech
Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

The Armstrong Browning Library has fifteen letters that deal in one way or another with David Fudge, John Ruskin’s coachman for fifty years. The following anecdotes are recorded in The Works of John Ruskin, Volume 35, 717-718.

From “Mr. Ruskin and his old Coachman” Daily Chronicle, January 22, 1900:

‘David’ would daily drive him through the Surrey lanes, then (ten or twelve years ago) untouched by the builder. The sight of a brooklet or of a picturesque bit of road, said Mr. Fudge, would always call for the eager request: ‘Drive through there, David; drive through there!’ The Professor was a great walker, and would often dismount from his brougham and set out across country. ‘Then, I suppose, you would meet your master to take him home after the walk?’ “Yes; before leaving the carriage he would insist on sketching out a plan of the road I was to take to meet him. And more than often I found him waiting for—such was his pace and his knowledge of the foot paths. My master was a very plain liver, and almost a teetotaler. He was very reserved in his way, and kept but little company. But, min you,’ added Mr. Fudge, with emphasis, ‘he was as good a master as it is possible to have. All the old family servants are amply provided for. I have many a time seem my late master heartily shake the hand of a crossing sweeper whom he thought well of. Mr. Fudge proudly brought forth from his breast pocket a number of affectionate letters written to him in later years.

From the Western Morning News, January 22, 1900:

Like all Ruskin’s servants, David Fudge is provided for in his old age, and every month since his retirement, he has received a cheque from Brantwood. The old man keeps all his letters with a jealous affection. In one of them Ruskin says: ‘Dearest David,—I am sorry to hear of your illness, but hope you will be better. I enclose £5, with which you may be enable to buy some comforts.

The Works of John Ruskin, Volume 28, 520, records Ruskin’s comments in Fors Clavigera Vol. VI, paragraph 10: “I have got two Davids, and a Kate, that I wouldn’t change for anybody else’s servants in the world.”

Very little mention is made of a person who for a great part of Ruskin’s life was his daily companion. These letters give a few more glimpses into Daivd Fudge’s life.

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Letter from George Nugée to John Ruskin. 24 November 1853. Page 1.

Letter from George Nugée to John Ruskin. 24 November 1853. Page 2.

Letter from George Nugée to John Ruskin. 24 November 1853. Page 2.

In this letter George Nugée, Vicar of Wymering, sends a letter or recommendation to Ruskin regarding David Fudge. Fudge had served the family well at their residence in London, 6. Upper Wimpole Street, but because the Nugées were moving to the country, Wymering Manor, where he served as Vicar, and had no room there for a coachman with a family, he was recommending David Fudge’s service to  John Ruskin.

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Fragment of a Letter from John Ruskin to David Fudge. [Ca. 1871].

In this fragment Ruskin assures Fudge of his just treatment by both his cousin, Joan (Agnew Ruskin) Severn, and himself and encourages Fudge to “remonstrate with her” if he thinks she gives him more work than is proper. From this fragment, it seems that Fudge had responsibilities at Denmark Hill in the service of Ruskin’s cousin, Joan Severn while Ruskin was away.

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Letter from John Ruskin to David Fudge. 18 October 1877.

Here Ruskin sends  David Fudge his cheque, apologizing for the delay, and instructs him to pay Dawson Herdson, the head gardener at Brantwood, and get a receipt.

*****

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Letter from Joan Severn to David Fudge. 30 August [1895]. Page 1

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Letter from Joan Severn to David Fudge. 30 August [1895]. Page 2

In this letter Joan Severn informs David Fudge that he may get a request from the architect, William Douglas Caröe, to show him the house where J. M. W. Turner had lived, a place that Fudge and Ruskin had visited some thirty years before. Caröe was interested in preserving the place.

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Letter from W. D. Caröe to David Fudge. 2 September 1895. Page 1.

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Letter from W. D. Caröe to David Fudge. 2 September 1895. Pages 2 and 3.

In this letter, Caröe asks Fudge to come and see him and help him to find Turner’s house in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea.

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Letter from W. D. Caröe to David Fudge. 2 September 189[5]. Page 1.

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Letter from W. D. Caröe to David Fudge. 2 September 1895. Page 2.

In this letter, which was probably misdated by Caröe, he regrets he couldn’t make their appointment, commends Fudge for the information he gave Mrs. Caröe about Turner’s House, and thanks him for his assistance.

*****

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Letter from Joan Severn to David Fudge. 25 March 1897. Page 1.

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Letter from Joan Severn to David Fudge. 25 March 1897. Page 2.

The Armstrong Browning Library owns nine letters written by Joan Severn, Ruskin’s cousin. In 1871 Joan married Arthur Severn, moved into Herne Hill, and began to take over the administration of the property. They also spent time at Brantwood and eventually moved there in 1887, where she began managing that estate.

This letter indicates that Fudge had sent some photographs to Ruskin.

We all think them excellent—it gave him real pleasure to see your face again—& those sweet little children, of whom you must be very fond—& proud—

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Letter from Joan Severn to David Fudge. [Ca. 1898]. Page 1.

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Letter from Joan Severn to David Fudge. [Ca. 1898]. Page 2.

In this letter Mrs. Severn thanks Fudge for the Christmas card and reports that Ruskin also received his and sends his thanks. She expresses sorrow about the death of the gardener Dawson Herdson.

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Letter from Joan Severn to David Fudge. 21 January 1900.

This letter reports on Ruskin’s death.

I know you too will grieve in the terrible sorrow that has come to us by the death of your beloved Master—failure of the heart from influenza after only a day’s illness—no suffering thank God, but just like a peaceful sleep at the end—

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Letter from Joan Severn to David Fudge. 20 February 1902.

Joan Severn sends £2 to Fudge and hopes for his recovery.

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Letter from Joan Severn to Mrs. Hading. 5 November 1903. Page 1.

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Letter from Joan Severn to Mrs. Hading. 5 November 1903. Pages 2 and 3.

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Letter from Joan Severn to Mrs. Hading. 5 November 1903. Page 4.

Mrs. Severn sends her condolences to Mrs. Hading, David Fudge’s daughter, and asks that she purchase flowers for his funeral, sending her the bill.

I was much shocked & distressed to get your letter today here, telling of the death of your dear Father whose loss I naturally mourn—& feel in this great sorrow deeply for you all—…your Father’s death removes a land-mark associated with many interesting, & happy associations—

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Letter from Joan Severn to Emmie. 21 December 1903. Page 1.

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Letter from Joan Severn to Emmie. 21 December 1903. Page 2.

This is another letter of sympathy from Joan Severn to Emmie, Fudge’s daughter. She has sent Mrs. Severn a photograph of her Father with her son and also a memorial card.

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Letter from Joan Severn to David’s Daughter. 13 February 1906. Page 1.

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Letter from Joan Severn to David’s Daughter. 13 February 1906. Pages 2 and 3.

Joan Severn replies to Fudge’s daughter’s letter and asks her to visit when she returns to Herne Hill. It is unclear whether Mrs. Hading, Emmie, and David’s Daughter are all the same person. It is known that the Fudges had several children.

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anderson-to-hasting001

Letter from Sara Anderson to Mrs. Hasting. 8 November [ny]. Page 1.

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Letter from Sara Anderson to Mrs. Hasting. 8 November [ny]. Page 2.

Sara Anderson, amanuensis for both Ruskin and Joan Severn, reports that Mrs. Severn has just returned home and asks Mrs. Hasting to send the date of David Fudge’s death and the name and address of the person who is managing his affairs.

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