23.9.1806

Sender

Bertel Thorvaldsen

Sender’s Location

Rom

Recipient

Nicolai Abildgaard

Recipient’s Location

København

Information on recipient

Ingen udskrift.

Dating based on

Dette er et udkast til et brev fra Thorvaldsen til Abildgaard, som kan dateres 23.9.1806. Desuden er brevudkastet skrevet på bagsiden af et brev dateret 21.9.1806 i Carrara, så udkastet kan tidligst have været skrevet 21.9.1806, eller rettere efter brevets ankomst til Rom, dvs. med en overordentlig kort postekspeditionstid fra Carrara til Rom på højst et par dage. Nærværende udkast blev derfor sandsynligvis skrevet 23.9.1806.

Abstract

First draft of a letter: Thorvaldsen has received payment for the three catalogue volumes of the Museo Pio Clementino. He corrects the misunderstanding that Abildgaard thought he wanted his professorial salary. Instead, Thorvaldsen asks for the last part of his travelling grant and reminds Abildgaard of his promise to help him. The marble busts of Jacob Baden, A863, and Mathias Saxtorph, A899, have both been completed and ready to be shipped to Denmark. 
He asks Abildgaard to tell his father that he has asked Charlotte Schimmelmann to help him. He writes that he is happy sharing his lodgings with C.F. Høyer.

Document

Gode Hr Justisraad!
Med stor Glæde har ieg modtaget Deres Brev af 14 august, og hermed takker Dem for de 80 Scudi for Museo Pio Clementino som jeg Rigtig har bekommet. Min meening hvar ikke at giøre fodring paa andet en som de 3 Quatale af mit Reyse Stipendium angaaende misforstaaelsen i mit siste Brev hvar min meening ikke at giøre fodring af Accademiet paa andet en som de 3 quatale af mit Reyse Stipendium som jeg ennu ikke har hævet, enskiond jeg ofte har været i forlegenhed for penge, da jeg nok vil have neppe kan vente at Høste saa meget af mine fortejnester at jeg kunde Reyse hjem for, og derfor bede den gode Her Justis Ra[ad] at thale med Frølic[h] & Compe at de giver mig en anvisning her paa det der er tilaavers af mit Reyse StipendiumI. Professor Badens Byste er færdig og skal skikke det første tiligemed Saxtorff Byste til Her dr Schel som jeg imellem os sagt ikke selv har giordII, og er mig betaldt,
Iovrig anbefaler jeg mig i Justiceraadens Bevaagenhed og beder ikke at glæmme det i mit forrig Brev angaaen penge da jeg ofte er i forl at skikke mig saa snart som mulig Hvad De kan, da jeg man setter mig ofte i Forlegenhed di jeg arbejder for ikke at skikke penge til rette Tiid, [og] jeg kan ikke være en Dag uden for at bestride mine

[den resterende del af teksten er skrevet med papiret drejet 90 grader i urets retning i forhold til ovenstående.]

udgifterne i mit Versted. Hr Høyer Her medfølger et Brev fra Hr. Høyer, de[t] er en fort[r]effelig Menske jeg har den Lykke at vi boer sammen og det lidet jeg kan giøre for ham skeer med st[ørste for]nøelse, naar De seer min Gamle Fader hils ha[m at] jeg har bed Baron Schubart at skrive hans Søst[er Grevinde Sc]himmelmann at giøre noget for ham, som jeg igen vilde godtgøre med de arbejder som jeg har for Dem, men store folk glemme let hvad de loverIII

Oversættelse af dokument

Good Sir, Councillor of Justice!
I received your letter of August 14th with great pleasure, and am writing to thank you for the 80 Scudi for Museo Pio Clementino that I have duly received. It was not my intention to demand anything other than the three-fourths of my travel stipend with regard to the misunderstanding in my previous letter, it was not my intention to demand of the Academy anything other than the 3 fourths of my travel stipend that I have not yet withdrawn, even though I have often been in financial straits, as I surely will have hardly can expect to extract enough from my earnings to be able to afford to travel home, and so I beg the good sir, Councillor of Justice, to speak with Frølich and co. about sending me a bill of exchange here for the remainder of my travel stipend. Professor Baden’s bust is finished, and will be sent at the first opportunity, together with Saxtorph’s bust for Dr. Scheel, which (between us) I did not make myself, and which has been paid to me.
Besides this, I commend myself to the Councillor’s favor and ask you not to forget the matter of money in my previous letter, as I often am in finan to send me as soon as possible whatever you can, as I am one often puts me in financial straits, as those I work for do not send money at the proper time, [while] I cannot let even one day pass without defraying my

[The rest of the text is written with the paper turned 90 degrees clockwise compared to the above]

expenses in my workshop. Mr. Høyer Here follows a letter from Mr. Høyer, who is an excellent person with whom I have the honor of living together, and what little I can do for him is done with the greatest pleasure, when you see my elderly father, do greet him [and say that] I have asked Baron Schubart to write to his sister Countess Schimmelmann about doing something for him, which I will repay with the works I am doing for you, but the great ones readily forget what they promise


[Translated by David Possen]

General Comment

The letter is probably Thorvaldsen’s first draft of the finished letter to Abildgaard dated 23.9.1806. There exists a second draft in C.F. Høyer’s hand, which is much closer to the finished letter. Regarding the connection between the three versions of the letter, see the general comment on the finished letter or the related article about Thorvaldsen’s Letter Writing Process.

Only the parts of the letter that differ from the final version are annotated. For other comments, see the finished letter.

There are some holes in the paper that have caused a certain loss of text in the last part of the draft. The missing bits of text are marked in grey.
The draft is written on the back of a letter from the marble dealer Giuseppe Grandi, dated 21.9.1806.

Document Type

Egenhændigt udkast

Archival Reference

m28, nr. 34v

Thiele

Ikke omtalt hos Thiele. Brevet 23.9.1806, hvortil dette er et udkast, er gengivet hos Thiele II, p. 65-66.

Other references

Subjects

Persons

Works

A899 Mathias Saxtorph, ca 1800, inv.nr. A899
A863 Jacob Baden, 1806, inv.nr. A863

Commentaries

  1. Part of this passage has been left out in the finished version of the letter, probably because it is unclear what Thorvaldsen wants to say: Does he mean that he would not be able to make enough money to cover the expenses for his journey to Denmark and needs the last portion of his travelling scholarship – and therefore that he is planning his return to Denmark at some unspecified time in the future? Or does he rather mean that he has abandoned his plans to go to Denmark, and as his income is so small, he sees no good reason why the Academy should not pay him the last portion of his travelling scholarship even though the Academy had earmarked that money for the journey itself (see letter of 3.12.1799 from the Academy of Fine Arts to Thorvaldsen)?
    Even though Thorvaldsen’s continued stay in Italy had been officially approved by the Danish authorities, cf. the related article about this, he could probably not declare openly that he did not plan to return as the wording here might suggest. That was probably why any mention of the return to Denmark was deleted from the final letter.

  2. Here Thorvaldsen openly admits that he has had someone else execute the bust of Mathias Saxtorph, A899. This passage was deleted in the finished letter.
    See also the related article about Saxtorph’s Bust.

  3. This socially conscious comment from Thorvaldsen’s side was included in the final letter but in C.F Høyer’s somewhat rewritten version, where the statement lost the pith of Thorvaldsen’s wording.
    The statement is a good example of the sculptor’s ability to make epigrams, see the related article about Thorvaldsen’s Spoken and Written Language.

Last updated 09.10.2015