The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford — Volume 3 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,055 pages of information about The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford — Volume 3.

Letter 116 To Dr. Ducarel.(219) Feb. 24, 1762. (PAGE 174)

Sir, I am glad my books have at all amused you, and am much obliged to you for your notes and communications.  Your thought of an English Montfaucon accords perfectly with a design I have long had of attempting something of that kind, in which too I have been lately encouraged; and therefore I will beg you at your leisure, as they shall occur, to make me little notes of customs, fashions, and portraits, relating to our history and manners.  Your work on vicarages, I am persuaded, will be very useful, as every thing you undertake is, and curious.—­After the medals I lent Mr. Perry, I have a little reason to take it ill, that he has entirely neglected me; he has published a number, and sent it to several persons,-and never to me.(220) I wanted to see him too, because I know of two very curious medals, which I could borrow for him.  He does not deserve it at my hands, but I will not defraud the public of any thing valuable; and therefore, if he will call on me any morning, but a Sunday or Monday, between eleven and twelve, I will speak to him of them.—­With regard to one or two of your remarks, I have not said that real lions were originally leopards.  I have said that lions in arms, that is, painted lions, were leopards; and it is fact, and no inaccuracy.  Paint a leopard yellow, and it becomes a lion.—­You say, colours rightly prepared do not grow black.  The art would be much obliged for such a preparation.  I have not said that oil-colours would not endure with a glass; on the contrary, I believe they would last the longer.

I am much amazed at Vertue’s blunder about my marriage of Henry VII.; and afterwards, he said, “Sykes, knowing how to give names to pictures to make them sell,” called this the marriage of Henry VII.; and afterwards, he said, Sykes had the figures in an old picture of a church.  He must have known little Indeed, Sir, if he had not known how to name a picture that he had painted on purpose that he might call it so!  That Vertue, on the strictest examination, could not be convinced that the man was Henry VII., not being like any of his pictures.  Unluckily, he is extremely like the shilling, which is much more authentic than any picture of Henry VII.  But here Sykes seems to have been extremely deficient in his tricks.  Did he order the figure to be painted like Henry VII., and yet could not get it painted like him, which was the easiest part of the task?  Yet how came he to get the Queen painted like, whose representations are much scarcer than those of her husband? and how came Sykes to have pomegranates painted on her robe, only to puzzle the cause!  It is not worth adding, that I should much sooner believe the church was painted to the figures, than the figures to the church.  They are hard and antique:  the church in a better style, and at least more fresh.  If Vertue had made no better criticisms than these, I would never have taken so much trouble with his Ms. Adieu!

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