Presumably spring 1812


Bertel Thorvaldsen

Sender’s Location




Recipient’s Location

Antagelig København

Dating based on

Pga. de tegnede skitser på samme ark kan udkastet dateres tidligst 1807-1810. Hvis formodningen om, at modtageren er den danske læge Poul Scheel, holder, skal dateringen formentlig sættes til tidligst 1812, jf. den generelle kommentar.


Thorvaldsen admits that the addressee has every reason to be angry with him.


[Øverst til venstre på arket:]

Gode VenI! Jeg griber denne Leglighed at skrive et Par Linier i Hr StubbsII BrevIII da jeg ikke ved D[eres] Addresse[.] De har Aarsag at være vred paa mig

[Forneden til højre på samme ark ses ulæselige påskrifter på hovedet i forhold til ovenstående:]

[papiret mangler] [x]
[papiret mangler] [vxx]
[papiret mangler] [mit?]
[papiret mangler] [sende? x]
[papiret mangler] Venskab [hxx]

Oversættelse af dokument

[at the top left on the sheet:]

Good friend! I seize this opportunity to write a couple of lines in Mr Stub’s letter, as I do not know your address. You have reason to be angry with me

[at the bottom right on the same sheet there are illegible notes turned upside down:]

[paper is missing] [x]
[paper is missing] [vxx]
[paper is missing] [mine?]
[paper is missing] [sende? x]
[paper is missing] Friendship [hxx]

[Translated by Karen Husum]

General Comment

The recipient of this letter draft has not been positively identified. However, several things indicate that it may be the Danish doctor Poul Scheel and a date around 1812:

  1. The draft is written in Danish, and the address is “Good friend”, i.e. friendly, but not so friendly as to use the informal term “du”, cf. the related article On Familiar Term with Thorvaldsen, which excludes a number of Danish friends from the list of possible recipients.

  2. Thorvaldsen’s sketches on the same sheet date from not before 1807-1810, and the letter drafts, at any rate as far as the bottom one is concerned, are written on top of these and must therefore date from the same period at the earliest.

  3. There exists a letter draft with a similar introduction to Poul Scheel written after 23.11.1808 (“You are quite right, dear friend, to be angry with me”) In both cases, Thorvaldsen uses “good friend” and “De” [the formal address], and since the reason for Scheel’s resentment or anger was present several years after 1808, a similar wording would still make sense.

  4. The Danish painter C.G. Kratzenstein Stub left Rome in 1811, and on this occasion, as was customary, he brought letters to friends and acquaintances with him to Denmark, see e.g. the painter J.L. Lund’s letter to Thorvaldsen dated probably October 1810 (“You can just give it to Stub, then I am sure to get it”). Kratzenstein Stub may, after his return to Copenhagen in 1811, still have functioned as a stable and reliable addressee.

  5. Kratzenstein Stub wrote to Thorvaldsen 23.1.1812, and a finished version of the present draft might have been included in Thorvaldsen’s (today unknown) answer to this letter, i.e. sent not before the spring of 1812, considering mail processing times.

All things considered, it seems reasonable that the draft was intended for Poul Scheel and therefore is about the delayed delivery of the bust, commissioned in 1800, of the obstetrician Mathias Saxtorph, cf. A899, and the related article Saxtorph’s Bust.

A piece of the sheet has been torn off so that a good deal of text is missing from the bottom half. The remaining words cannot be deciphered with certainty. To study the text, click on “See original”. It is not known whether this bit of text has any connection with draft above.

It is not known whether the paper has been torn due to (self-)censorship because of the contents of the draft. See other examples of censorship and read more about this in connection with Thorvaldsen in the related articles Censorship and History of the Archives.

Document Type

Egenhændigt udkast

Archival Reference



Ikke omtalt hos Thiele.




C141v Liggende Venus. Jupiter. Dødens genius eller Amor. Fragment af selvportræt, 1807-1810, C141v


  1. The recipient has not been positively identified. It might be the Danish doctor Poul Scheel, cf. the general comment.

  2. Possibly the Danish painter C.G. Kratzenstein Stub, cf. the general comment.

  3. This letter has not been identified.

Last updated 10.08.2018