Bertel Thorvaldsen

Sender’s Location



Nicolai Abildgaard

Recipient’s Location


Information on recipient

Ingen udskrift.

Dating based on

Brevudkastet er udateret, men det er forlæg til det afsendte brev af 6.8.1804.


Second draft of a letter: Thorvaldsen informs Abildgaard that he has been seriously ill. He asks Abildgaard’s permission to draw money in his name to pay for the transportation of the crates he has sent to Copenhagen. He asks him to take care of the packages he has also sent. The bust of Mathias Saxtorph, A899, will soon be finished.


Hr Justiceraad

Enskiøndt jeg i lang Tid ikke har haft den Ære at bekomme Brev fra Justice Raaden, saa har jeg dog med fornøelse erfaret af Hr Wallich og Horenbeck at De befinder Dem frisk og vel som altid vil glæde mig at høre. Jeg kan ej beskrive alt det jeg har lidt i en Sygdom som næsten et helt Aar har holdt mig uden at see ende paa at leve eller Død. De vil let kunde forestille Dem H JusticeRaad i end saadan tilstand min forfatning i et fremmet Land og ingen anden Resource end at tage Penge op paa de Arbejder som ieg haver forpligtet mig at udføre, som har netrykket mit Humeur endnu mere; Indtil ieg har haft den Lykke at giøre bekjenskab med vor Minister Hr Kammerherre v Schubart som har giordt alt for mig, Hvad som en Ædel og Retskaffen Mand kand giøre for sit Med Menneske. jeg er nu paa hans Lyststed paa Montenero da han har havt den Godhed at Inviter mig for ikke at opholde mig i Rom disse hede og usundte Sommer Maaneder. Ved min Nærværelse i Livorno har ieg erfaret hos den Danske Consul Ulrick at han endnu ikke er betaldt for mine Kasser som han har besørget til Kiøbenhavn. Han var næsten opbragt imod mig, og havde været det meget meere dersom Hr Baron Schubart ikke alt forud havde forsikret ham at han ingen frygt skulde have for hans udlæg.
Jeg tør altsaa smigre mig at De vil have den Godhed for mig at medvirke til denne Sags Afgiørelse, og for at hæve alt mulig vidtløftighed paa Deres Side tager jeg mig den Frihed at foreslaaeI JusticeRaaden at tillade mig at jeg trækker i sædvanlig Stiil à to Maaneder Dato en Vexel for den hele Summe paa Dem til Fordel for Hr Cunsul Ulrich i Livorno; tilligemed det som Justice Raaden har indcasseret, for de i sin Tiid solgte Byster, jeg er vis paa at accademiet ikke forlanger at ieg skal betale de Kasser med mit Arbejder som jeg efter min Instrux har skikk[et] Samme. Vil Hr Justice Raaden ogsaa bevise mig den tieneste at modtage en stor Portefeuille med Kaaberstykker som er kommen til Professor Münter addresse[n] derpaa er til Her West, den samme addresse som er paa endel af de Pakker Justice Raaden er saa god at forvare for mig, jeg har heller ikke hørt noget om en Bog med Raderede Landskaber som de Herrer Obelitz og Schumacher toge med sig for mig til Kiøbenhavn. Kunde Justice Raaden ogsaa medtage den saa var det mig usigelig kiært. Hr Doctor Schel beder jeg flitigst hilset og hans hos mig bestildte Buste snart skal blive ferdig Han kiender Hr Obelitz og Hr Schumacher. FII Han har giord Rejsen ned

Oversættelse af dokument

Sir, Counsellor,

Though for a long time I have not had the honour to receive a letter from the Counsellor I have with pleasure learnt from Mr Wallick and Mr Hornbech that you are healthy and well, which will always please me to hear. I cannot describe all that I have suffered from an illness which almost for a year has kept me without seeing an end to living or dying. You will easily be able to imagine, Sir, in such a condition my plight in a foreign country and without any other resources than making money on the works which I have undertaken to carry out, which has depressed me still more. Until I have had the good fortune to get to know our minister von Schubart, chamberlain, who has done all for me that a noble and honourable man can do for his fellow being. I am now at his country house in Montenero as he has been so kind as to invite me in order not to stay in Rome during these hot and unhealthy summer months. At my presence in Leghorn I have learnt from the Danish Consul Ulrich that he has still not been paid for my crates, which he has forwarded to Copenhagen. He was almost indignant with me and should have been more so, if Baron Schubart had not assured him beforehand that he need not fear for his expenses.
So I dare indulge in the hope that you will be so kind as to contribute to the settlement of this matter and to annul all troubles on your part I take the liberty to suggest to the Counsellor to permit me to draw a bill in the usual style for two months for the whole sum on you for Consul Ulrich in Leghorn; together with what the Counsellor has received for the busts formerly sold; I am certain that the Academy does not demand that I must pay the crates with my works which according to my instructions I have sent to the same. Will you, Sir, also show me the favour to receive a large portfolio with prints which has arrived at professor Münter’s, the address on it is for Mr West, the same address which is on a number of the parcels the Counsellor is so kind as to keep for me, neither have I heard anything about a book with landscape engravings which Messrs Obelitz and Schumacher took with them for me to Copenhagen. If the Counsellor could receive these as well I should be unspeakably happy. I ask you to give many regards to Doctor Scheel, the bust he has ordered from me shall soon be finished. He knows Mr Obelitz and Mr Schumacher. He made the journey down

[Translated by Karen Husum]

General Comment

The notes for this draft are to be found in the final version of
6.8.1804, apart from one passage, where the content differs.

This is one of three drafts of the final letter”:/dokumenter/ea0173. As the wording is identical to the first 2/3 of the final letter, the draft represents a later stage in the writing process than another “draft, which differs from the final version in several respects.
The draft is written in pencil and, in some places, corrected in ink, probably by Herman Schubart. The paper is Schubart’s characteristic, pale blue draft paper.

Document Type

Egenhændigt udkast

Archival Reference

m28, nr. 28


Det afsendte brev gengivet hos Thiele I, p. 238-240.




A899 Mathias Saxtorph, 1801, inv.nr. A899


  1. Unlike the final letter of 6.8.1804, it is quite clear what Thorvaldsen is asking of Abildgaard here. He thought the Academy of Fine Arts / Abildgaard should pay all the transport charges. He therefore suggested that he should draw a bill on Abildgaard for an amount that would cover Ulrich’s expenses for the transportation of the crates. In addition to that, Thorvaldsen also wanted a sum corresponding to the profit that he erroneously thought he had made on the sale of the busts he had sent to Copenhagen.
    In the final letter he was somewhat more modest and suggested a different apportionment of the expenses although it is not completely clear how.
    The matter did not end until 1806, when Abildgaard through H.M. Frisch paid part of the money while Thorvaldsen had to pay the rest, see the related article about Transportation of Thorvaldsen’s Artworks to Copenhagen 1798 and 1802.

  2. This sign is not be read as an F but as a proof mark which Schubart often used in his drafts when he wanted to indicate that one passage – like this one – was to be inserted in another marked by the F-looking sign.
    In this case, this draft was combined with the following 1/3 of the draft.

Last updated 29.06.2015