The Thorvaldsens Museum Archives

Comment on Jason and the Hope Commission

Bindman, op. cit., p. 136, states that the contract was formulated with unusual precision, inasmuch as (on his reading) it imposed deadlines on every stage of the work’s path to completion, so that, for example, the work was supposed to be complete on February 27, 1806. Yet this can only reflect a misinterpretation of the document. As mentioned previously, it is a much later (1821) transcript of the contract, rather than a draft antecedent to it, as Bindman assumes. Treating the document as a draft leads Bindman to interpret the dates it includes as having been specified in advance, rather than as inserted later, following the payment of each installment, as indeed must have been the case. Furthermore, in reporting the dates of each installment payment, Bindman does not follow the contract literally. This leads him to conclude that the fourth installment was paid on February 27, 1805, which was not the case; it was in fact the third installment that was paid on that date. The fourth installment can have been disbursed no earlier than following Thorvaldsen’s receipt of the letter dated April 8, 1806 from Patrick Moir—in which Moir announced that the amount could be collected at the Torlonia banking house, on the basis of Hope’s and Moir’s optimistic expectation that Jason was ready for shipment to England—and most likely not until the period 1819-1829 (more on this below). What is more, the receipt that is appended to the contract and dated February 27, 1805 also refers explicitly to the payment of the third installment: per la terza Rata.

Last updated 21.12.2014