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Description

Description: In this three page autograph letter signed, William Brande conveys his sincere apologies to Museum Keeper Charles Konig for what Brande knows is a deliberate misreading of an “offending passage” passage in a published article about the British Museum. He reassures Konig that the comments weren’t personally directed at him, expresses his gratitude for granting him access to the collections, and hopes that no “mischievous acquaintances of [Brande’s] will breach the good understanding that exists between [them].” The “offensive article” is most likely “On the British Museum and on Collectors” in the The Quarterly Journal of Science, Literature and Arts, July 1819, pps. 259-66. (The article critiques the Museum’s policies that remove artifacts from its natural environment, divest them of its public face, and/or make access to them expensive and difficult).

In the letter, Brande also denies authorship of the “unwarranted and unprovoked attack”on Konig and the Museum, adding, “the offending passage never struck [him] as likely to be offensive,” until presented to him in that manner,  “or . . . it should have been expunged.” He also goes on to reassure Konig that even if the unnamed writer who wrote about the collections “had some cause for irritation,” “the attack . . . could never have been in the least degree personal to [Konig]” as “[he has] heard the writer express himself gratified by [Konig’s] attention.” Signed, “I am always/Dear Sir/Your faithful servant/William Thomas Brande”

Letter is written on three sides of a folded 8” x 10,” sheet of ivory wove paper, bearing watermark Whatman 1814. Stampless cover folded and sealed with wax.  Item #A01738

William Thomas Brande (1788-1866) was an English chemist and geologist. He was the first to isolate the element Lithium. He was appointed a Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Institution in London in 1813. His most notable publications are the textbook, Outlines of Geology (1817) and A Manual of Chemistry (1819).

Charles Dietrich Eberhard Konig (1774-1851) was a German naturalist who between 1813-1851 held the posts of the Keeper of Natural History and the Keeper of Geology and Mineralogy at The British Museum.

Condition: Some toning around perimeter and along fold lines. Two tears on page three have old repairs (not affecting text). Generally in good condition.