10.5.1802

Sender

Bertel Thorvaldsen

Sender’s Location

Rom

Recipient

Johan Hartvig Ernst von Berger

Recipient’s Location

Uvist, muligvis Livorno og/eller Napoli, se den generelle kommentar.

Information on recipient

Ingen udskrift.

Dating based on

Dateringen fremgår af brevudkastet.

Abstract

Thorvaldsen asks Berger to remove the marble bust of Edmund Bourke, A900, from one of the crates bound for Copenhagen. Thorvaldsen wants the bust to be delivered in an Italian or Spanish port and sent on to Madrid.

Document

Rom d 10. Mai 1802

Høytærede Herre

De vil tilgodeholde mig at ieg paa nyeI er saa frie at falde Dem besværlig. Iblant mine fem Kasser addresserede til Hr Justizraad AbildgaardII, som De har havt den Godhed at tage ombord, er en marqueret N. A.III No 2, i hvilken befinde sig fem MarmorbusterIV af mit Arbeide, hvoraf een er Poträtet af Hr Kammerherre v. BourkeV, der den Tiid, som bekiendt, var Hans Majestets GesandtVI i Stokholm, og nu i samme Qvalitet gaaer til Madrid. Som ieg ikke forudsaa denne forandring, trode ieg det velgiort at sende dette Porträt tillige med mine øvrige Arbeider til Kiøbenhavn, men nu Hr v. Bourke befinder sig i disse sydlige lande og ønsker her at imodtage det, er ieg nødsaget at bede Dem, ifald De førend Deres Tilbagekomst til Dannemark skulde indløbe i nogen Italiensk eller Spansk Havn, hvor der findes en Dansk Consul, De da vilde behage at lade bemeldte Kasse aabne og Busten udtageVII, der befind[er] sig øverst i Kassen og saaledes placeret at den kan udhæves uden at de øvrige derved derangeres. Ved en lykkelig Hændelse kunde det maaskee treffe sig at De fand sig sammen med Hr v Bourke i Neapel eller i Livorno, og saaledes selv kunde overgive ham den: men i al anden fald vil De bevise mig den Godhed at overlevere den til den Danske Consul paa Stedet med Anmodning, derom at underrette Hr v. Bourke, saa han i desfølge kan give den fornødne Order at den maa blive ham tilsendt; Porträtet distingverer sig fra de øvrige i Kassen befindlige Buster ogsaa derved at det er den eneste som har Drapperie paa BrystetVIII, medens de andre er aldeles nøgne. Jeg beder paa nye at tilgive mig den tagne Friehed og at regne paa min Taknemmelighed hvor ieg nogensinde kunde finde leilighed at være Dem til Tieneste. For at dette Brev paa een eller anden Maade maa komme Dem tilhænde sender ieg et anden afskrivtIX

Oversættelse af dokument

Rome, May 10th 1802

Honourable Sir,

You will make allowance for me that I once again take the liberty of giving you trouble. Among my five crates addressed to Counsellor Abildgaard, which you have been so kind as to take onboard, one is marked N.A. No 2, in which there are five marble busts of my work, one of which is the portrait of chamberlain v. Bourke, who at that time, as is well known, was His Majesty’s ambassador in Stockholm and who now in the same capacity goes to Madrid. As I did not anticipate this change I thought it well executed to send this portrait as well as my other works to Copenhagen. But now when Mr v. Bourke is in these Southern countries and wish to receive it here I am compelled to ask you if before you return to Denmark you should enter any Italian or Spanish harbour, where there is a Danish consul please will let the abovementioned crate be opened and have the bust taken out, which is at the top of the crate and placed so that it can be lifted up without the others becoming disordered. By good luck it might happen that you came together with Mr v. Bourke at Naples or at Leghorn and thus you yourself would be able to give it to him. But in all other cases would you be as kind as to hand it over to the Danish consul in that place requesting him to inform Mr v. Bourke so he subsequently may give the necessary order that it may be sent to him; the portrait also distinguishes itself from the other busts in the crate by being the only one which has draping on the breast, whereas the others are completely naked. Once again I ask you to forgive me for the taken liberty and also to count on my gratitude if I ever might find an occasion to be at your service. In order that this letter may reach you somehow I send it in another copy.

[Translated by Karen Husum]

General Comment

This draft is about the portrait bust of Edmund Bourke, A900, which was in one of Thorvaldsen’s five crates with artworks, books, etc. sent to the Academy of Fine Arts in 1802. The crates were transported from Leghorn to Copenhagen on board the Danish frigate Triton under Captain Berger, cf. the article Transportation of Thorvaldsen’s Artworks to Copenhagen 1798 and 1802.

The letter is only known in this draft, but the finished letter was sent as appears from the letter of 25.2.1804 to Abildgaard. Thorvaldsen, however, received no answer from Berger, and therefore it is not known whether the captain attended to Bourke’s bust as the sculptor asked him.

Since the draft has no address / addressee, it is not known where Thorvaldsen sent the finished letter, but at the end he mentions that he will send another copy of the letter. Thiele I, p. 176 assumes that the frigate Triton was anchored in the roads of Leghorn in May 1802, but the ship may have left, and consequently Thorvaldsen may have sent the letter to other destinations, possibly Naples, which he mentions in the letter besides Leghorn.

Document Type

Egenhændigt udkast

Archival Reference

m28, nr. 17

Thiele

Gengivet hos Thiele I, p. 176-177.

Other references

Subjects

Persons

Works

A900 Edmund Bourke, 1800, inv.nr. A900
A761 Cicero, 1799-1800, inv.nr. A761
A760 Cicero, 1799-1800, inv.nr. A760
A759 Agrippa, 1799-1800, inv.nr. A759
A752 Rafael, 1800, inv.nr. A752

Commentaries

  1. Thorvaldsen had communicated before with Captain Berger concerning the transportation of five crates from Leghorn to Copenhagen on board the Danish frigate Triton, see letters of 20.1.1802 oand primo februar 1802.

  2. Thorvaldsen sent five crates to the Academy of Fine Arts / Nicolai Abildgaard. The crates contained artworks, books, etc., cf. the article Transportation of Thorvaldsen’s Artworks to Copenhagen 1798 and 1802.

  3. It was common practice that crates were marked with initials, here clearly those of the recipient, Nicolai Abildgaard. See freight bills of 17.3. and 29.3.1800.

  4. The five busts were: Edmund Bourke, A900, Raphael, A752, Agrippa, A759 and two busts of Cicero, A760 and A761.
    The busts were in Thorvaldsen’s Fifth Crate on board the frigate Triton.

  5. Thorvaldsen had met the Danish diplomat Edmund Bourke in Naples in 1797 and portrayed him in 1800, A900.

  6. Bourke was ambassador in Stockholm 1798-1801 but was appointed ambassador in Madrid 7.8.1801 as seen below. Thorvaldsen had been informed of the appointment in letter of 4.10.1801 from Abildgaard.

  7. Thorvaldsen was not told by Berger whether the bust had been removed from the crate and delivered to Bourke, or whether the bust was left in a Spanish or Italian port on the ship’s return to Denmark. See the sculptor’s letter of
    25.2.1804 o Abildgaard: “I do not know whether Captain Berger after my letter to him has removed the latter from the crate, if he has not, I ask you to be so good as to attend to its being sent to him at a safe opportunity.”

  8. The bust of Edmund Bourke, A900, is draped across the chest. Each of the other four busts which were transported in the same Crate, has naked neck, chest, and shoulders.

  9. Thorvaldsen clearly did not know where precisely Berger was, so he sent copies of the finished letter to several addresses, probably Leghorn and Naples, which he himself mentions as possibilities above. See also the general commentary.

Last updated 29.04.2015