I hope you will bring your eggs to a fair market. At last I have got from Bonus my altar-doors which I bought at Mr. Ives’s; he has repaired them admirably. I would not suffer him to repaint or varnish them. There are indubitably Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, Cardinal Beaufort, and Archbishop Kemp. The fourth I cannot make out. It is a man in a crimson garment lined with white, and not tonsured. He is in the stable with cattle, and has the air of Joseph; but over his head hangs a large shield with these arms. * * (389) The Cornish choughs are sable on or; the other three divisions are gules, on the first of which is a gold crescent.
The second arms have three bulls’ heads sable, horned or. The chevron was so changed that Bonus thought it sable; but I think it was gules, and then it would be Bullen or Boleyn. Lord de Ferrars says, that the first are the arms of Sir Bartholomew Tate, who he finds married a Sanders. Edmondson’s new Dictionary of Heraldry confirms both arms for Tate and Sanders, except that Sanders bore the chevron erminc, which it may have been. But what I wish to discover is, whether Sir Bartholomew Tate was a benefactor to St. Edmundsbury, whence these doors came, or was in any shape a retainer to the Duke of Gloucester or Cardinal Beaufort. The Duke’s and Sir Bartholomew’s figures were on the insides of the doors (which I have had sawed into four panels,) and are painted in a far superior style to the Cardinal and the Archbishop, which are very hard and dry. The two others are so good that they are in the style of the school of the Caracci. They at least were painted by some Italian; the draperies have large and bold folds, and One wonders how they could be executed in the reign of Henry VI. I shall be very glad if you can help me to any lights, at least about Sir Bartholomew. I intend to place them in my chapel, as they will aptly accompany the shrine. The Duke and Archbishop’s agree perfectly with their portraits in my Marriage of Henry VI., and prove how rightly I guessed. The Cardinal’s is rather a longer and thinner visage, but that he might have in the latter end of life; and in the Marriage he has the red bonnet on, which shortens his face. On the door he is represented in the character he ought to have possessed, a pious, contrite look, not the truer resemblance which Shakspeare drew— “He dies, and makes no sign!”—but Annibal Caracci himself could not paint like our Raphael poet! Pray don’t venture yourself in any more electioneering riots: you see the mob do not respect poets, nor, I suppose, antiquaries.
P. S. I am in no haste for an answer to my queries.
(389) Here Mr. Walpole had sketched in a rough draught of the arms.