« PreviousContinue »
credit to nobody else. What a difference between such scrapings, and Houbraken's Illustrious Heads !
SIR JOSEPH BANKS TO MR. PINKERTON.
Soho Square, Feb. 1st, 1795. My estimation of your talents as a writer, and of the superiority of your literary claims to the office you solicit,* is, as it always has been,
work, to Mr. Pinkerton, dated Sept. 1796, that the price paid for drawings was ten shillings and sixpence for an outline, one guinea for a sketch in India ink, and one pound eleven and sixpence for a colored sketch. Nothing better could be expected from such a scale of remuneration. Even these terms, however, low as they were, Mr. Pinkerton soon found himself unable to comply with : his pecuniary difficulties were now commencing; and this correspondence contains a great number of letters which I have not printed, from artists, complaining of evasions and delays as to paying them.
* It appears from a hint in Mr. Astle's letter of Dec. 10th, 1793, that Mr. Pinkerton had for more than a year entertained the wish to procure himself the post of Librarian in the British Museum; and indeed I can conceive no situation more truly enviable to a man devoted to literature and science. The late Mr. Planta felt this; and once, in speaking to me on the subject, said, “ My place is the first in the whole world; for Europe is superior to every other quarter of the globe; England to every other country in Europe; London to every other city in England; the British Museum to every other institution in London ; and my post to all the others in the Museum.”—He had probably heard how the same observation, mutatis mutandis, had been made by a resident at Maidstone respecting his house.
decisively in your favor : I fear, however, it will not be in my power to do you any real service on this occasion.
When the Archbishop first acted as a trustee to the British Museum, he did me the honor to consult me on a vacancy which then happened in the department of natural history. I gave him my opinion with all possible freedom; but he, in direct opposition to it, put in a man who I had declared, and he, I believe, was convinced, had no kind of knowledge in natural histor
I, who thought he did this because the person whom he promoted was in orders, made no secret of my opinion of the transaction: whether this came to his ears or not, I do not know; but, after such a treatment, I have no inclination to obtrude my advice upon him, nor is it likely I should succeed were I to do so. You, who know the Archbishop's partiality towards the Church, and recollect, no doubt, that hitherto the other electing trustees have left all the appointments of the Museum wholly to his decision, will easily see the necessity of your using all the interest you can raise; and the more so, as two clergymen have already declared themselves candidates. I grieve that it is not in my power, with propriety or with any hopes of success, to undertake a solicitation in your favor: all I can do is to bear testimony in favor of your literary pretensions; and this, as they stand in my opinion very high among your cotemporaries, and very far indeed above those of any of your
, competitors, I shall most readily do when and wherever a proper opportunity offers itself.
THE EARL OF ORFORD TO MR. PINKERTON.
Berkeley Square, Feb. 5th, 1795.
I have told you over and over, that knowing I have not a glimpse of interest with any one man in power, nor claim to asking favors of any one, I am extremely averse from attempting to make use of that no-interest. I have also repeated to you, that I have not the smallest connexion with any of the house of Marlborough, but with Lady Diana Beauclerc.
To her I have still applied for you once more, inclosing your own letter, which states your pretensions and claims better than I can; nor indeed could I have written myself, not being able to move either arm with the gout, but trusting to her ladyship's showing or sending it to the Archbishop. From neither have I received a syllable of answer; nor did I expect a propitious one from the prelate, who, though he formerly received you in a very liberal and handsome manner, I did not suppose would choose to become the patron of one who had made himself obnoxious to the clergy. The head of any church, though as moderate as the present primate, and by no means a persecutor, is not likely to choose to be a martyr himself rather than to make martyrs. If I do hear any thing of my application, you shall certainly know it.
MR. DOUCE TO MR. PINKERTON.
Gower Street, April 6th, 1795. I desired Mr. Herbert to mention to you that in Thevet's Hommes Illustres are the following Scotch portraits : Fergus I., Duns Scotus, and James V. The first two are probably out of the question with you ; but I thought it was worth while to mention the latter..
I avail myself of this opportunity to ask you concerning the first instance you have found of persons accompanied by their patron saints. Are
know of before those at Kensington of James III. and his queen? Can you give me any information relating to the cross of St. George, when first borne in heraldry ? If you have Nisbet, perhaps he may be consulted with
I make these inquiries, being just now engaged in a slight attempt to illustrate an ancient painting, in a missal, of Edward Crouchback, Earl of Lancaster, who is accompanied by another figure that I suspect to be St. George ; but I have not yet found so early an instance of a representation of that saint. There is nothing to be got from Heylin's account of him. Waiting anxiously for one of your very interesting gossips, I remain, &c.
MR. PINKERTON TO THE EARL OF BUCHAN.
Hampstead, June 15th, 1795.
I cannot omịt writing to thank your lordship for the additional favor, to innumerable former ones, of the communication of the portrait of Alexander Lesley, Lord Leven. It is a fine and interesting head, and is now engraved in a style far superior to those before given in our work, which from ill taste or avarice have been published in a mean style. I have therefore spoken to proper engravers myself; and the other numbers will be of a different description to numbers 1 and 2. Caldwall, Legats, and Trotter, I shall also recommend, as your lordship advised, and mean this week to consult them on the terms.
I hope your lordship has seen the first numbers. The death of Herbert's uncle, &c., has occasioned great delay; but two numbers will now be published at once, and I shall put several plates in hand. James IV., Buchan the Constable, Bishop Lesley, David Lesley, &c., are in hand.
Nos. 3 and 4 contain David I. and Malcolm IV., Lady Margaret Douglas, Admirable Crichton (the last very well engraved,) Robert II., Lady Dalhousie, and Bishop Elphinston.
I have heard nothing from Edinburgh about Cardinal Innes, Aubigny's tomb, &c.: we much want Cardinal Beaton from Holyrood-house. The