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(Wyatt, Matthew Digby)

(A small archive of autograph letters, signed, sent to Matthew Digby Wyatt by architects, artists, and other colleagues and notables).

(1848 (?) -1871).

Reference: 11598
Price: £950 [convert currency]

Full Description

21 autograph letters, signed, as follows : (1) Letter from 8th Duke of Argyll, 2 April 1871, 4pp (but very small pages), offering opinions on an architectural commission, presumably the new India Office building which Wyatt was designing (Argyll was Secretary of State for India 1868-74) (2) Letter from Sir Henry Cole (1808-1882, ODNB), 8 September 1850, 1 page, on Great Exhibition printed notepaper, in which Cole writes, rather cryptically, “No bones have been sent for Russell or Northcote please to order them - also for Capt.Ibbetson & Charles Cole who is going to write a weekly history for the Illustrated News” (endorsed by Wyatt on the verso, “done & sent MDW”) (3) Another letter from Sir Henry Cole, 28 July 1865, 2 pages, declining an invitation to dinner (4) Letter from Edward William Cooke RA (1811-1880, ODNB), marine painter, 27 July 1865, 3 pages, declining an invitation to the same dinner in humorous terms, with a footnote, “Remember the anagram of Sir Edwin Landseer viz. draws dear in lines” (5) Letter from Lady Eastlake (1809-1893, ODNB), 15 Dec 1835 (sic, in error for 1855 ?), 1 page, forwarding to Wyatt a letter from the sculptor John Gibson (this not present) (6) Letter from Thomas Noon Farquhar, Chairman of the Crystal Palace Company, 30 December 1857, 2 pages, to Chairman and members of Metropolitan Board of Works, written as a testimonial to Matthew Digby Wyatt’s services and abilities (7) Letter from John Henry Foley (1818-1874, ODNB), sculptor, 27 September 1864, 2 pages, explaining that he had not been able to reply to a dinner invitation from Wyatt (8) Letter from Sir Charles Fox (1810-1874, ODNB), building contractor, 28 July 1865, accepting invitation to dinner (9) Letter from John Gibson (1790-1866, ODNB), sculptor, 6 October 1848 (?), 3 pages, discussing casts of his statues of The Hunter and Hylas, and other related matters (10) Another letter from Gibson, 12 Oct 1854, 1 page, in original envelope, written as a letter of introduction for Matthew Digby Wyatt to Countess Beauchamp, in order that Wyatt could view a statue in her possession (11) Letter from Sir George Grove (1820-1900, ODNB), Secretary of the Crystal Palace Company and writer on music, undated, 1 page, decling Wyatt’s offer of an overnight bed (12) Letter from Sir John Herschel, Bart. (1792-1871, ODNB), mathematician and astronomer, 15 April 1861, 3 pages, relating to business matters in relation to 37 Tavistock Place, London WC (Herschel had preceded Wyatt as the leaseholder of this property) (13) Letter from Owen Jones (1809-1874, ODNB), architect and designer, 6 July 1854, 2 pages, thanking Wyatt for presents left by Wyatt at Jones’s house (14) Another letter from Owen Jones, 1 June 1869 (1 page), in which Jones writes “I must not fail you on the 7th June. Glad to say I am much better than I have been of late” (15) Letter from Charles Landseer RA (c.1799-1879, ODNB), history and genre painter, 22 May [year not stated], 1 page, accepting invitation to “your Palladian meeting” on 27 May (16) Letter from Tom Landseer ARA (c.1793-1880), engraver, 23 May [year not stated], 1 page, accepting invitation for “next Monday evening” (17) Another letter from Tom Landseer, 8 June [year not stated], accepting invitation for “Monday evening next” (18) Letter from Sir Stafford Northcote (later 1st Earl of Iddesleigh) (1818-1887, ODNB), politician, 29 October 1870, 2 pages, introducing to Wyatt “my young friend Mr Arthur Cumming, who has been studying architecture under Mr Hayward of Exeter, and is now anxious to improve himself in London” (19) Letter from Sir George Gilbert Scott RA (1811-1878, ODNB), architect, 28 December 1857, 2 pages, written as a testimonial for Matthew Digby Wyatt to Chairman and members of the Metropolitan Board of Works (20) Letter from George Edmund Street RA (1824-1881, ODNB), architect, 28 July 1865, 1 page, accepting an invitation to dinner (21) Requisition to Matthew Digby Wyatt, 4 February 1856, 2 pages (neatly repaired at folds), inviting him to serve as Secretary of the Royal Institute of Architects, signed by eighteen leading architects of the time, including Sir Charles Barry, Sir William Tite, C.R.Cockerell, Sydney Smirke, George Gilbert Scott, etc.

A collection of letters sent to Matthew Digby Wyatt by well-known contemporaries, which has been preserved until now in Wyatt family possesion. They are itemised individually below.The most important of them is a generously phrased letter from Wyatt’s close collaborator, the architect and designer Owen Jones, dated 6 July 1854, in which Jones, thanking Wyatt for “these charming objects” (presents left by Wyatt at Jones’s house), writes “It is a charm and a consolation that we have passed through the trials of these last two years and not been found wanting to each other and have I think a stronger friendship and mutual esteem than we had at the beginning. This I am bound to say … is mainly due to your goodness of heart ofttimes overlooking my too visible weaknesses”.Another significant document is a signed requisition from eighteen leading British architects, dated 4 February 1856, inviting Wyatt to take up the position of Secretary to the Royal Institute of British Architects. The architects involved were : F.C.Penrose, T.L.Donaldson, G.Ostrell Leicester, Ewa`n Christian, John Hole, John Henry Hakewill, Benjamin Ferrey, J.B.Bunning, Arthur Ashpitel, William Tite, C.R.Cockerell, Sydney Smirke, Owen Jones, Charles Barry, Samuel Angell, John Shaw, Henry Ashton and George Gilbert Scott. The document is a striking testimony to the esteem in which Wyatt was held within the architectural profession, and it carries a subsequent endorsement by Wyatt that “I had not the slightest idea until I received it, that this requisition was in preparation. It is of so flattering a nature, and is subscribed by men I hold in such respect and esteem that … I must class it among the most valuable testimonials I have ever received”.The remaining letters reveal something of Wyatt’s social contacts and friendships, partly with individuals with whom he had been associated in his professional career, and partly with sculptors and painters (it is something of a surprise to find that he was on friendly terms with the Rome-based sculptor John Gibson).