(700) This appears to have been the last letter addressed by Walpole to the Earl of Strafford. His lordship died at Wentworth Castle, on the 10th of March following, in his seventy-ninth year.-E.
So many years, Sir, have elapsed since I saw Burleigh, that I cannot in general pretend to recollect the pictures Well. I do remember that there was a surfeit of pieces by Luca Jordano, and Carlo Dolce, no capital masters, and posterior to the excellent. The Earl of Exeter, who resided long at Rome in the time of those two painters, seemed to have employed them entirely during his sojourn there. I was not struck more than you, Sir, with the celebrated Death of Seneca, though one of the best works of Jordano. Perhaps Prior’s verses lifted it to part of its fame, though even those verses are inferior to many of that charming poet’s compositions. Upon the whole, Burleigh is a noble palace, contains many fine things, and the inside court struck me with admiration and reverence. The Shakspeare Gallery is truly most inadequate to its prototypes but how should it be worthy of them! If we could recall the brightest luminaries of painting, could they do justice to Shakspeare? Was Raphael himself as great a genius in his art as the author of Macbeth? and who could draw Falstaffe, but the writer of Falstaffe? I am entirely of your opinion, Sir, that two of Northcote’s pictures, from King John and Richard the Third, are at the head of the collection. In Macklin’s Gallery of Poets and Scripture, there are much better pictures than at Boydell’s. Opie’s Jephthah’s Vow is a truly fine performance, and would be so in any assemblage of paintings; as Sir Joshua’s Death of Beaufort is worthy of none: the Imp is burlesque, and the Cardinal seems terrified at him as before him, when the Imp is behind him. In Sir Thomas Hanmer’s edition there is a print that gives the fact simply, pathetically, and with dignity, and just as you wish it told.
My sentiments on French politics concur as much with yours as they do on subjects above. The National Assembly set out too absurdly and extravagantly, not to throw their country into the last confusion; which is not the way of correcting a government, but more probably of producing a worse, bad as the old was, and thence they will have given a lasting wound to liberty: for what king will ever call `Etats