Description: In 1876, Frederic William Burton (1816-1900), was two years into his tenure as Director of the National Gallery in London. In July of that year, he wrote this great letter to a friend of his, going on at some length about hanging the galleries and about visiting Mrs. Noseda (a London art dealer and print publisher) with regard to a potential work by Holbein:
"I am obliged to you for reminding me of a picture which I had heard of more than a fortnight ago, but had not found a spare half hour to go see. I am obliged to do all the hanging of the galleries myself - If I left a single picture to be placed by another person I should have to alter it - nor is the job an easy one... I had time to pay a visit to Mrs. Noseda. The picture, if no Holbein, is worth seeing - the landscape is delightful in its artlessness and truthfulness - nothing could surpass it... The workmanship, beyond the landscape, I don't consider very fine, but the lifelike character of the head is perfect & the drawing good... People seem to have been putting preposterous notions of its value into Mrs. Noseda's head - But then she swears it is a Holbein & was indignant when I put my request to see it in the form 'to see a picture ascribed to Holbein' - of course I gave no opinion as to its authorship one way or the other. I wish you would look in at the Gallery any day - I am there up to 5 - not a moment after. You will see some good things in lower places than they have occupied for a long while - & you will also see the difficulties I have had to contend with in the relative positions and sizes of the rooms." He signed as "F W Burton"
Written on seven pages spread over two sheets of blue "Athenaeum Club, Pall Mall" stationery. The stationery measures approximately 6" x 7.75" when unfolded. Item #A00822
Burton was well-regarded Irish artist who worked almost exclusively in chalk and water color. His The Meeting on the Turret Stairs was voted Ireland's favorite painting in 2012. In 1874 Burton gave up creating his own works and spent the next twenty years as Director of the National Gallery in London, acquiring some of the collection's greatest highlights.
Condition: Fold lines, a couple of tiny spots of soil, otherwise in very good condition.