TC TO EDWARD CHAPMAN; 11 November 1859; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18591111-TC-EC-01; CL 36:5-7.
TC TO EDWARD CHAPMAN
Chelsea, 11 Novr, 1859—
In regard to the Two Berlin Proof Prints, which I have had in hand these five days, and have been considering with best attention, my report is this:
1°. As to the First Print, the Younger Friedrich, I pronounce it at once to be of first-rate excellence, almost as good as Wille's original; and think we have nothing to do but accept that, as in all respects the thing wanted. If the Berlin friends could add (from indubitable authority, Herr Dr Preuss, for example) in what year Wille engraved (at Paris, I suppose) and Pesne painted,—so that we might put “aetatis 30,” “1742” or whatever the year is,—it wd be a useful adjunct.1
2° With regard to the Second Print (after Francke's Picture),2—tho' this too is beautifully worked, and the figure, attitude, &c are perfect,—I am sorry to say that the face is entirely a failure, an inconceivable mistake, from beginning to end; and will not do at all! What it is that Herr Mandel has been copying, or where he got that face, I cannot understand. Francke's Picture in the Schickler Banking House is still vividly present to me,3 and I have a Photograph of it, sent me by Herr Magnus4 long ago; there is also, beside me here for two years past, an English Francke (done for an English Lord,5 passing thro' Potsdam, I think in 1773), which perfectly corresponds to the Schickler Picture at Berlin, and to this Engraving if we except the face:—but the face given in this Engraving has, alas, no resemblance almost, scarcely a relationship, to either of these; and both in feature, & above all in expression, totally differs from the Schickler Original! How it has come I know not; but here is the Schickler Photograph (the face wanted and bargained for); there is the face sent:—irreparably unlike; another face, another character; whh will not do at all! The expression in the Photograph is of aggressive inspection, polite yet Kinglike vigilance & command; that of the Engraving is of peaceable passive amenity; polite, but almost weak; nothing of the King in it, more like a polite Professor of Belles-Lettres: it is passive, timid; not aggressive, royal, lion-like. What is to be done! I have shown the thing to some Artist friends:6 they find almost every feature altered: the scalp (which looks more like a wig, as it shd not do) is set on the brow at a wrong angle (droops to right); brow itself is visibly of different slope; eyebrows, eye, &c &c,—and what strikes myself much or most, is the nature of the mouth; shaped here like a mild Apollo's-bow, and carefully shut (lest it bite something), instead of carelessly half-open (as in the original), and protruding rather, with a fine unconscious defiance in it.— In brief, the expression given to the face in the Engraving is fatally different from that in the original at Schickler's whh I want;—and as it is, more especially, pretty much the reverse of what readers are likely to gather from the Book I am writing, it will never do for Frontispiece there.7
My opinion, and that of all my Artist Advisers is, This face must be abolished (erased from the metal altogether), and the Francke one then put in. Put in the Francke one (of Schickler's-Bank) must be; or else I can get no good of it. Here is the Photograph; forward it to Berlin; the Proof Print they, of course, have there: bid them look on this picture then on that! And finally contrive to get the real face for me;—which must be little of a problem (if tried on clear terms) to such Artists as I see these are.8