These holidays I hope to have time to arrange my drawings, and give bannerman some employment towards my book, but I am in no hurry to have it appear, as it speaks of times so recent; for though I have been very tender of not hurting any living relations of the artists, the latter were in general so indifferent, that I doubt their families will not be very well content with the coldness of the praises I have been able to bestow. This reason, with my unwillingness to finish the work, and the long interval between the composition of this and the other volumes, have, I doubt, made the greatest part a very indifferent performance. An author, like other mechanics, never does well when he is tired of his profession.
I have been told that, besides Mr. Tyson, there are two other gentlemen engravers at Cambridge. I think their names are Sharp or Show, and Cobbe, but I am not at all sure of either. I should be glad, however, if I could procure any of their portraits; and I do not forget that I am already in your debt. Boydell is going to recommence a suite of illustrious heads, and I am to give him a list of indubitable portraits of remarkable persons that have never been engraved; but I have protested against his receiving two sorts; the one, any old head of a family, when the person was moderately considerable; the other, spurious or doubtful heads; both sorts apt to be sent in by families who wish to crowd -their own names into the work; as was the case more than once in Houbraken’s set, and of which honest Vertue often complained to me. The Duke of Buckingham, Carr, Earl of Somerset, and Thurloe, in that list, are absolutely not genuine—the first is John Digby Earl of Bristol. Yours ever.
(19) Mr. Essex’s projected History of Gothic Architecture. See vol. iii. Letter 366 to the Rev. Mr. Cole, Aug. 12, 1769.-E.
(20) Dr. Jeremiah Milles, dean of Exeter, many years president of the Antiquarian Society. He engaged ardently in the Chatterton controversy, and published the whole of the poems purporting to be written by Rowley, with a glossary; thereby proving himself a fit subject for that chef-d’oeuvre of wit and poetry, the Archaeological Epistle, written by Mason. Walpole’s answer is entitled, “Reply to the Observations on the Remarks of the Rev. Dr. Milles, Dean of Exeter and President of the Society of Antiquaries, on the Wardrobe Account of 1483, etc.” It is inserted in the second volume of his collected Works-E.
If poplar-pines ever grow,(21) it must be in such a soaking season as this. I wish you would send half-a-dozen by some Henley barge to meet me next Saturday at Strawberry Hill, that they may be as tall as the Monument by next summer. My cascades give themselves the airs of cataracts, and Mrs. Clive looks like the sun rising out of the ocean. Poor Mr. Raftor(22) is tired to death of their solitude; and, as his passion is walking, he talks with rapture of the brave rows of lamps all along the street, just as I used formerly to think no trees beautiful without lamps to them, like those at Vauxhall.