Medio februar 1804


Bertel Thorvaldsen

Sender’s Location



C.F.F. Stanley

Recipient’s Location


Information on recipient

Ingen udskrift.

Dating based on

Vedr. dateringen, se den generelle kommentar.


Thorvaldsen is sorry that Stanley is still in poor health. He longs to see him in Rome. He asks him to appeal to Herman Schubart on his behalf.


Det giør mig inderlig unt at høre at Du endnu ikke er helbredet men hav tolmodighed gode Ven en saadan lanvari sydomI helbredes lit efter lit og Derfor tror ieg at Du ikke skulde opholde dig lengere i Neappel Da Du formodellig har seet det betydeligste hvad der er og naar Du kom til RomII saa haaber ieg inden Du er bekent med alle de merverdighederIII som her er saa befinder Du Dig vist bedere, og saaledes med din Ven kan arbeide og profetere af alt hvad Du har seet. Det er lensel efter at have dig i mine arme som faaer mig til at skrive saaledes, Du maa elles Best hvide hvad Du kan giør og derefter Rette Dig. Glem ikke, beste Ven, saa snart Du kan gaa til vor inderlige Gode Baron SchubartIV og tak ham for alt den Godhed han beviser migV. De er mig ikke mulig at skrive det ieg føler for denne fortreffelige mand, og derfor beder Dig som er min Ven at udrette det for migVI som det var for Dig selv. Dersom din Sydom skulde holde Dig som Gud forbyde noget lengere i Neapel saa skriv mig til imellem og vær altid min Ven som ieg betsandig skal være din T

[verso:] Jeg griber denne leilighed at skrive disse faa linierVII,

[verso:] om man bør opmondre børnVIII til at gøre vel ved belønninger[,] man bør vogte for at smigre børn ved at give dem, ligesom til gjengjæld visse ting, som behager dem, for at forbundeIX dem

Oversættelse af dokument

I am really sorry to hear that you are still not restored to health but be patient, my dear friend, such a prolonged illness will be cured gradually that is why I think you should stay no longer in Naples as you presumably have seen what is most important and when you come to Rome I hope that you before are familiar with all the objects of interest which are here, then you probably will feel better, and so can work with your friend and profit from all that you have seen. A longing to have you in my arms makes me write like this, you yourself must know what you can do and be guided by that. Do not forget, my dear friend, as soon as you can, go to our sincere, good Baron Schubart and say thank you to him for the great kindness he shows me. It is not possible for me to write what I feel for this excellent person, and that is why I ask you, who are my friend, to accomplish this for me as if it were for yourself. If your illness should keep you somewhat longer in Naples, which God forbid, then write to me sometimes and be always my friend as I constantly shall be yours, T

[verso:] I seize this opportunity to write these few lines.

[verso:] Whether you should encourage children to do good by rewards [,] one should beware of indulging children by giving them, as if in return things that please them to attach them.

[Translated by Karen Husum]

General Comment

Concerning the dating:
The draft is undated and till now has been dated November-December 1803, based on Thiele I, p. 199, where the draft is reproduced. However, the draft is more likely to date from the middle of February 1804 for the following reasons:
The draft must date from the period when Stanley was staying in Naples, i.e. from the end of 1802 until January 1805. The reference to Herman Schubart makes it possible to narrow down the date even further: When Thorvaldsen in the letter asks Stanley to go to Schubart, the letter may be dated after 12.11.1803, when Schubart (again) arrived in Naples. Schubart remained in Naples until the end of April 1804 (see Thiele I, p. 223), so the letter must have been written between November 1803 and April 1804.
If one looks at the content, there is at first not much to help determine a more precise date. Stanley’s disease does not provide a more precise date, but “the great kindness” that Schubart shows Thorvaldsen might indicate the beginning of 1804 as a more likely date of the draft since Schubart’s efforts to get formal permission from Denmark for Thorvaldsen to remain in Rome started around the turn of 1803-04, see the related article about this.
In the draft Thorvaldsen also asks Stanley to approach Schubart with the words: “…you, who are my friend, to accomplish this for me.” Stanley repeats this phrase in his letter of 28.2.1804: “Yesterday I went to … our good ambassador, Baron Schubardt, where, as your friend, I accomplished what you had enjoined me to do.” Stanley’s letter then would be the answer to the draft letter, which must therefore have been sent shortly before 28.2.1804.
Furthermore, if one looks at the content of Stanley’s previous letter of 7.2.1804, it seems very likely that Thorvaldsen’s draft is an answer to that letter, and that Thorvaldsen himself receives an answer in Stanley’s letter of 28.2.1804. As regards content, the three letters are connected.
Therefore: This is most likely Thorvaldsen’s draft of a letter that was sent in the middle of February 1804.

The draft is written on the same sheet of paper as a bill from Camillo Buti.

Document Type

Egenhændigt udkast

Archival Reference

m28, nr. 122


Gengivet hos Thiele I, p. 199.




  1. Stanley had contracted a rheumatic complaint that affected his hands and feet in particular and threatened to disable him. In the course of 1804, however, he improved temporarily , see more about this in his biography.

  2. Because of his illness Stanley did not get to Rome until the beginning of 1805, probably 9.1.1805.

  3. Ordet mærkværdighed betød dengang noget, der er værd at mærke sig, dvs. en seværdighed, se Ordbog over det danske Sprog.

  4. The Danish diplomat Herman Schubart, who was Danish ambassador to the Court of Naples.

  5. At this time, Schubart had taken several initiatives to convince the Danish government of the expediency of allowing Thorvaldsen to remain in Italy, see the related article about this. Schubart’s efforts were in accordance with Thorvaldsen’s wishes, and therefore he asks Stanley to thank Schubart.

  6. Stanley repeats this phrase in his letter of 28.2.1804: “Yesterday I went to … our good ambassador, Baron Schubardt, where, as your friend I accomplished what you had enjoined me to do.” This phrase seems to be Stanley’s direct answer to Thorvaldsen’s request, and the phrase is therefore an important indication that this undated draft can be dated about the middle of February 1804, see the discussion of the dating for more information about this.

  7. This detached sentence is clearly the beginning of a letter, but its somewhat more formal tone seems to indicate that it was not meant for Stanley.

  8. This observation is also completely detached from its context. The comment is unusual in that Thorvaldsen rarely makes reflections of a moral-philosophical character as here.
    It is not known whether Thorvaldsen had any concrete motivation for considering principles of child-rearing. His own son, Carlo Alberto was not born until 1806.

  9. Dvs. forbinde i betydningen træde i nært forhold til, se betydning 4 af forbinde i Ordbog over det danske Sprog.

Last updated 15.04.2015