The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO JOSEPH NEUBERG ; 4 February 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530204-TC-JN-01; CL 28: 29-30


Chelsea, 4 feby 1853—

Dear Neuberg,

Lady Ashburton has been in Town for a couple of days; and has, at last, returned me the Bonn Print Catalogue,1 with her views upon it. I had marked upon the first fly-leaf, as you will see, what Prints seemed likely for her Ladyship; and she, in a summary manner, after not much discussion, votes for all the Prints marked on that leaf, which may still be procurable from Weber,—for several of them are probably sold by this time. You will find the Prints also marked with a cross, in the body of the Catalogue; and perhaps some others are so marked there; but it is to the list on the fly-leaf that you are to look for what alone concerns us: the pages, I think, are all specified; and you will without difficulty discern what are the Articles selected.

As to the form, “état” (or whatever he calls it, 1st, 2d or 3d) which is to be preferred in each case, I can only leave that to Weber and you with the following general directions:

1° That the grand ultimate and sole object in view is that of obtaining the best possible Likeness of the Individual selected; that, in all cases, therefore, the best attainable Engraving, and best attainable Copy (as to paper, preservation &c) are of essential consequence; and that all dilettante considerations, of “rare,” “curieux,” “très rare” &c are of no consequence whatever.

2°. In every case it is considered indispensable that the Painter or Engraver have actually seen the Individual he is pretending to represent; copies from former Painters (as in the case of Erasmus even by Vandyke)2 are not admissible at all. This condition I have kept steadily in view in marking the fly-leaf: but if anywhere M. Weber or you perceive that I have omitted it, let the Print be rejected. And on the whole, M. Weber is earnestly requested to exercise his own best judgement in choosing always good Likenesses (for he has probably a learned judgement in such matters), and not to send any which he does [not]3 consider good.

3°. There is, of course, no disposition to waste money in the business; but also I believe I may certify, there will be no stinginess, or grudge of fair cost, for really attaining the object wished;—and bad, indifferent, or unsatisfactory Prints, at any price, will be worse than none; and, in short, must not be sent.

With those guiding considerations, I doubt not we shall get handsomely thro' the Transaction by and by. You can write to M. Weber at once, inclosing him the List and these directions: let him make what speed he likes; despatch by the first safe conveyance for England; and address,

“The Lady Ashburton

Bath House, Piccadilly


taking good care to inclose his Bill (with directions how it can be paid here, if such are needful): and that I think is all.

On Sunday night first4 I am not to be here; but am, most other nights, or any day about 3. However, I think you can write to Bonn without further consulting me, on the strength of what you already have.

I am quite involved in impassable quagmires in regard to my Fredk affairs; and write, this day, to Abeken,5 for a few Books, in the name of human Charity. For the rest, very sick of nerves, in this harsh east-wind, in these untowardly conjunctures of affairs.

Yours ever truly /

T. Carlyle