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Robert Browning Collection: MS 393

Browning MS 393. A small volume bound in pigskin, presented by TJ Wise in 1926. Original autograph letters and papers relating to Robert Browning:

  • 30 letters of the years 1887-9, for the most part written jointly by the poet and his sister Sarianna to his son Robert Wiedemann Barrett Browning, jointly with his daughter-in-law Fannie;
  • 9 letters from Sarianna to Fannie;
  • 2 from Benjamin Jowett to RBB Browning after his father's death, and 1 from him to Miss Browning, giving the history of a suggestion that her brother should stand for the Oxford Professorship of Poetry;
  • 2 letters and a 'newspaper' in Italian written by RBB Browning when a small child.

Contents:

1. ALS from RB and SARIANNA to PEN. Villa Berry, 8 Sept. 1887. 2L.  RB resolves a misunderstanding about the location of Pen and Fannie Coddington’s wedding and discusses the work which he, RB, and Sarianna must undertake on 29 De Vere Gardens, Kensington (purchased April 1887).  Sarianna adds her own letter below RB’s, expressing her surprise that Pen could have thought that RB wished Pen and Fannie to wed in America; RB was merely responding to Fannie’s earlier request that they do so.  This letter was enclosed inside the letter to Fannie (2.).

2. ALS from RB and SARIANNA to FANNIE CODDINGTON. Villa Berry, 8 Sept. 1887. 2L. RB welcomes Fannie to the family and expresses his relief that she and Pen will be married quietly in a ceremony unlike Hallam Tennyson’s wedding at Westminster Abbey; on that occasion RB ‘remarked to Lady Wolseley how infinitely a more quiet affair was to be preferred’. Sarianna adds her own letter below RB’s; all but half a leaf of Sarianna’s letter has been cut out and lost.
 
3. ALS from RB to Pen. 17 Oct. 1887. 1L. RB expresses delight in reading the letters Pen and Fannie send him ‘much as I share in your pleasure at Venice I count the days till I have you both here again; Val [Prinsep?] has painted ‘a Medea gathering magical herbs’ and a ‘portrait or two’ and RB and Sarianna have settled into 29 De Vere Gardens.

4. ALS from SARIANNA and RB to FANNIE. 29 De Vere Gardens, 17 Oct. 1887. 2L. Sarianna writes from the writing desk that Fannie gave her, praising its beauty and usefulness and thanking Fannie for her letter.  Sarianna asks Fannie to let her know when Mrs Curtis will be in London and promises to forward Pen’s cards as requested.  She mentions that the full Browning library has been moved into De Vere Gardens: ‘such a job!’ and that Pen ‘must have been very sorry to hear of Lady Brassey’s death’ [Anna Brassey (1839-87), the traveller and travel-writer].  RB adds his own letter below Sarianna’s, praising Fannie and expressing his happiness as a father-in-law in Pen’s choice of wife. ‘Dearest Fannie [...] remember always how many new hearts hang on to your well-being whether in soul or body, and do your best to keep us all where we are now’.  He speaks of Fannie’s sister Marie’s ocean journey, entreats Fannie to remain in good health in his own imitation of the advertising slogan used by ‘Pear’s soap’ ‘Be well, be well, keep happy!’, and eagerly anticipates their return to London.

5. ALS from RB to PEN and FANNIE. 29 De Vere Gardens, 3 Dec. 1887. 1L. Discusses Pen’s bills, errors in recent accounts of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s life and his sittings for a Gustav Natorp’s medallion portrait of him. ‘I have just had a long letter from George [Barrett?] respecting the absurd errors in recent accounts of dearest Mama’s life and the incidents of it.  I cannot write as long a letter as I want for proper expression of what is in my mind, for I am going to give Natorp another sitting for his medallion-portrait – which sometimes gets near the mark and then is “improved” in the opposite direction: he is a good warm-hearted fellow, anyhow, and not without his merit as an artist’.

6. ALS from RB to PEN and FANNIE. 29 De Vere Gardens, 10 Dec. 1887. 2L. Following George Barrett’s letter about the inaccuracies in the recent memories of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s life, RB has written a preface (rectifying the records) to be published in ‘the small edition of collected poems which Smith means to compete with the others by unauthorised publishers’.  RB tells Pen that he had written to Leighton to ask him to second Pen’s election to the [Athenæum] Club and that [Frederick] Locker supported the nomination.  RB thanks Pen for ‘the Almanac; very amusing’, and recounts a recent misunderstanding in which ?Rev. Augustus Gurney? congratulated RB on his marriage to ‘a charming American girl’.  ‘Trollope [Thomas Adolphus?] says I inspired a kind of awe in Florence: I don’t think you feel much of it!’ [Browning’s signature has been cut out of the letter; this has caused the loss of the lower portion of six words on the other side of the leaf.]

7. ALS from RB to PEN. 29 De Vere Gardens, 4 Feb. 1888. 2L. Natorp had finished his medallion of Browning ‘the plaster is very good and degas and other friends pronounce it his best work’.  RB discusses the news that Furnivall has to pay damage and costs because of his ‘unruliness of tongue’.  RB anticipates Mr Barclay’s visit of the morrow.  Sarianna writes on f. 2v, ‘We live so quietly that there is little worth recording of interest to dearest Fannie or yourself.  Your papa keeps very well.  I get him to take more meat and less pastry than formerly’.

8. ALS from RB to PEN. 29 De Vere Gardens, 18 Feb. 1888. 2L. RB thanks Pen for his account of Fannie, and tells Pen of the chill weather, commenting: ‘we feel the good of our warm house more and more’ and remarking upon the death ‘last week; of Lady Marian Alford.  RB notes that there was a mention of Natorp’s work, ‘as successful, in to-day’s “Athenæum”.’  RB inquires, in a postscript, whether Pen received the photograph that he (RB) had enclosed in his last letter.  Sarianna writes to Pen and Fannie on f. 2v of her anticipation of their visit, but has to inform them that Mr. D Murray says that the litter of pups has ‘turned out a failure – spotted or something.  You must wait till the next batch is produced.’  Mrs Moore ‘does not now expect the Motor will ever be a commercial success’.

9. ALS from RB to PEN and FANNIE. 29 De Vere Gardens, 12 Nov 1887 [bound in out of order??]. 2L. RB anticipates their arrival ‘another long week or more will have to pass before your own voices reach me’ but the next day he was to drive with Eleanor Tennyson [widow of Lionel Tennyson (younger son of the poet Laureate)] to meet Augustine Birrell [whom Eleanor married in 1888].  On Thursday, passing by [William Powell] Frith’s house, Browning indulged ‘an impulse to call on him and say that I had been amused by his work [...] he asked about you, and added knowingly – “Tell him I shall be on the Hanging Committee next year.”’  [Frederic] Leighton had returned and RB planned to attend his lecture ‘next month’.  [Thomas Adolphus] Trollope’s book [What I Remember] ‘is just out, and, by the extracts, I see he has much to say about people we knew in Florence’.  ‘[Lowck ?] called some time ago, and lately Henry James.  Furnivall, on Sunday, no other follies note-worthy.’

10. ALS from RB to PEN and FANNIE. 29 De Vere Gardens, 25 Feb. 1888. 2L.  RB is relieved to hear of Fanny’s recovery from illness and sends details of the dates by which sculptures and paintings must be submitted [to the Royal Academy?]. ‘They receive – or accept – no more then 2500 pictures and 800 drawings’.  He would dine with Broughton on the morrow.  Furnivall’s punishment may prove a useful lesson ‘if he bridles his tongue a little’. [Browning’s signature on f. 2v has been cut away causing the loss of a word on f. 2r]

11. ALS from RB to PEN and FANNIE. n.d.  [The address, date and opening three or so lines of the letter have been cut away and are lost].  2L. RB’s remark ‘Lady Marian Alford is suddenly dead’ dates the letter after 8 February 1888 when Alford died (ODNB).  RB also referred to her death in (8.), dated 18 February 1888, this letter presumably pre-dates that: in (8.) he says ‘I daresay you know all that the papers tell us: poor Lady Marian Alford died last week’.  RB also refers to Furnivall’s misfortune in the ‘action brought against him for libel’, commenting that he was ‘morally in the right, legally in the wrong, and socially [...] altogether foolish’.

12. ALS from RB and SARIANNA to PEN and FANNIE. Tuesday [April 1888].  1L. RB commiserates with the shock which must be felt by both Pen and Fannie [death of Matthew Arnold at Liverpool docks on way to meet daughter Lucy returning from USA (ODNB)].  RB received a ‘letter marked “important” from Scotland requiring me to say whether the news was true, as reported in a newspaper, that I had refused to go to a tea-party, because Gladstone would be there!  I shall not answer it.’ RB also mentions a chair at Godwin’s which was supposed to have belonged to ‘E. B. B.’, RB declares that they ‘could not have been hers’. Sarianna’s letter to Fannie follows RB’s. In it Sarianna expresses feeling ‘sick’ upon reading news ‘yesterday afternoon’ of the ‘sudden death of MA’ in a ‘newspaper poster’ [Matthew Arnold, d. 15 April 1888].  Sarianna hopes that even if he exhibits some of his pictures in London, that Pen will continue with his studies in Paris in order to build his reputation so that he will be accepted by ‘the English fogies’.

13. Fragment of an AL from SARIANNA and RB to FANNIE and PEN [presumably signed by each but these portions cropped]. 1L. [RB’s note clearly came after Sarianna’s, not before as the binding implies, ‘S gives me room to say a word or two’.]  RB clarifies the matter of the chairs ‘I was both wrong & right’, it was in fact a ‘prie-Dieu’ [prayer desk] ‘meant to be knelt on’ which RB had originally bought along with other furniture at Casa Guidi ‘on account of the pretty embroidery’; at the sale in 1888 it ‘sold for five guineas’.  Sarianna’s letter tells of RB’s attendance at M[atthew] A[rnold]’s funeral and informs Pen that RB was forwarding him several newspapers containing descriptions of the event.

14. ALS from RB and SARIANNA to PEN and FANNIE. 29 De Vere Gardens, 24 Apr. 1888. 2L. RB tells Pen that he was elected at the club [the Athenæum – see (6)] with 173 supporters and 4 opponents; ‘Pender, by the bye, failed to get into the “Athenæum” last year, being frightfully black-balled’.  RB recounts details from his dinner-time conversation with the Dean of Westminster who had admired a painting by Pen [‘Vincent’]. RB and the Dean also discussed what memorial should set in Westminster Abbey ‘in honour of poor Arnold’ [Matthew Arnold].  RB quotes from a letter from Mrs Arnold which he had received on 23 April 1888, she told RB that Arnold ‘had the most warm affection, admiration and respect for you: and I like to think how much he would have valued and how deeply he would have been touched by all you say of him’. RB is going to the private viewing of Pen’s paintings and expects [John] Ruskin to be there too.  RB had heard from Ruskin ‘a very affectionate greeting: he is going to call here: and Mrs Burne Jones told me yesterday, he had spoken with great kindness of having met me’.

15. ALS from RB and SARIANNA to PEN and FANNIE. 29 De Vere Gardens, 27 Apr. 1888. 2L. RB has paid the fees at the Athenæum and suggests that Pen add the club to his cards.  RB tells Fannie that he has accepted invitations to luncheon with Mrs Dugdale (an acquaintance of Fannie’s) and to dine with Lady Vernon (‘another American lady’).  ‘To-day my new edition is published: 2000 copies for England, 1000 for America and a large paper edition of 250’.  Below RB’s letter, Sarianna writes to Fannie telling her that she and RB are both ‘greatly pleased’ at Pen’s election result at the club, adding details about the print run of the new edition and commenting on RB’s many social engagements ‘it takes an immense deal of shoving to make him stir’.

16. ALS from RB and SARIANNA to FANNIE. 29 De Vere Gardens, 2 May 1888. 2L. [James Abbott] Whistler has not attended the viewing, but RB dined with many RA’s [Royal Academicians] on Monday.  Natorp has suggested that he might try to create a medallion of [Alfred] Tennyson’s head; ‘I old him how impossible it was T. would sit to him, or indeed anybody: did he think T would give him 37 shillings as I had done?’  RB comments that ‘there are quite enough “nudities” at the Grosvenor to prevent your picture at the Salon last year, from seeming at all vulgar’.  Sarianna writes to Fannie commenting on the Grosvenor exhibition and encouraging Fannie to show kindness to Dowland, ‘an “âme maladise’. [At least one leaf is missing; Sarianna’s letter is cut-off mid-sentence.]  

17. ALS from RB and SARIANNA to PEN. 29 De Vere Gardens, 17 Jun. 1888. 2L. RB consoles Pen and Fannie over the absence of Marie [Fannie’s sister] by reminding them that with her regular doctors’ treatment she is ‘far safer’ than under ‘any experimentalizing from new doctors’.  RB is going to Jowett’s from Tuesday until Saturday.  He visited the Academy the day before and ‘thought some of the busts and smaller specimens of sculpture very good.  I am longing to see you once more among the exhibitors’.  RB remarks that the ‘Italian Exhibition’ requested a model of Casa Guidi and RB sent them Mignalti’s picture.  He also comments on his approval of a Dutch and a French translation of ‘Aurora Leigh’, which had been presented to his judgement.  Sarianna adds her own note commenting on RB’s pleasure in the small details of Pen’s last letter and commenting on the plethora of RB’s commitments ‘papa is “engaged” to death’.

18. ALS from RB and SARIANNA to PEN and FANNIE. 29 De Vere Gardens, 25 Jun. 1888. 2L. RB writes of his visit to Jowett ‘the most interesting affair was the Friday dinner to the former [Lord Lansdowne] to celebrate his becoming Governor General of India’.  RB declares that Pen’s portrait of him in Hall ‘looks better than ever: and as I sat at the dais not far removed from it, the company were in a position to judge of the likeness’.  Of Balliol, he comments, ‘The college has never been so flourishing [...] it is now – a musical college’.  Sarianna congratulates Fannie on the good news of Marie’s improving health.  Lord Wentworth had called the day before; he was proceeding to ‘the Bavarian mountains – I think he knows every inch of every Mt in Europe [...] He has great skill in learning different patois’.  Sarianna also asks where Fannie and Pen will settle for the summer.

19. ALS from RB and SARIANNA to PEN. 29 De Vere Gardens, 7 Jul. 1888. 2L. RB writes in response to the news that Fannie and Pen will continue to live in Venice, he agrees with Pen that it makes sense to buy the ‘best thing of the kind’. RB is glad to hear that Marie’s condition has improved further; Sarianna echoes this sentiment and inquires whether there is anything that she can ‘do for you or darling Fannie?’

20. ALS from RB and SARIANNA to PEN. 29 De Vere Gardens, 14 Jul. 1888. 2L. RB writes with details of the financial transactions he has undertaken on Pen’s behalf at the L[ondon] & W[estminster] bank.  He is glad to hear that Marie is fully recovered and had received a letter from Marie herself that morning.  He had seen [George Frederic] Watts and Val[entine] Prinsep ‘both kind as ever’.  Sarianna had received a letter from Marie giving ‘a promising account of her knee’ and a letter from ‘Mary Schlesinger rather complaining of the dulness [sic] of all things’.

21. ALS from RB and SARIANNA to PEN and FANNIE. 29 De Vere Gardens, 18 Jul. 1888. 2L. RB confirms details of the financial transactions he has carried out on Pen’s behalf with a note of warning ‘too much prosperity is a hindrance to an artist’s career: don’t be the little man in the big house! I know very well you want to excel quite as much as I want it – but time flies and youth with it: so, make me happy before I die by proving yourself the son of your wonderful mother, - and you, dearest Fannie, make him show himself worthy of you!’  RB and Sarianna are still deciding where they shall spend the late summer.  Sarianna’s letter, beneath RB’s, expresses gladness that Pen had acquired the Palazzo Rezzonico, ‘the object of your longing’, she trusts ‘it will be all you anticipate’.  She tells of their visit to Strawberry Hill and RB’s interest in Horace Walpole’s works.  Plans for summer travel remain in flux, but Sarianna declares ‘I only care for going abroad for the sake of meeting you’.

22. ALS from RB and SARIANNA to PEN. Asolo, 8 Sept. 1889. 2L. RB writes upon arriving in Asolo to tell Pen of their journey and day-to-day living and dining arrangements.  Edith [Story?] left their party for Venice the day before and RB anticipates his meeting in Venice with Pen and Fannie ‘as the crowning delight’.  Sarianna writes about the weather, adding that RB’s work is going well in their ‘quiet and undisturbed’ quarters.

23. ALS from RB to FANNIE. 29 De Vere Gardens, 14 Feb. 1889. 1L.  RB encloses an extract from one of his poems ‘complete in itself’ [not included in this volume].  He thanks Fannie for her letter of that morning and writes that he was ‘forced to excuse myself from the engagement at Cambridge on account of the bitter weather’ (they had had snow).  He is delighted to hear of the ‘first “tea in the new house” [...] I rejoice to think you will soon be repaid for all your trouble, and will often again have the enjoyment of your friends’ company there’.

24. ALS from RB and SARIANNA to PEN. 29 De Vere Gardens, 23 Mar. 1889. 2L.  RB lists the bills which he has paid for Pen (totalling £19.4) and encloses a cheque for £164 (£150 for Pen’s allowance and £14 for some marble statues that Pen had bought on RB’s behalf).  RB hopes that ‘your portrait will arrive in time for me to show to one or two friends’.  RB intends to add illustrations to the forthcoming uniform edition ‘to follow mine’ [of EBB’s work or of RB’s?].  Sarianna tells of ‘a pleasant dinner on Thursday at Judge Stephen’s and a call upon Natorp.

25. ALS from RB and SARIANNA to PEN. 29 De Vere Gardens, 1 Apr. 1889. 2L. RB lets Pen know that the picture arrived on Saturday evening , six days after it was sent.  RB has dined with [Frederic] Leighton who is going to build a glass studio ‘as the only way of being enabled to paint in the dark days in London’.  RB reminds Pen that next week Lady Millais (i.e. Effie, wife of Sir John Everett Millais) will call on Pen and Fannie in Venice; she [Effie] ‘surmised that Millais would look in too’. Sarianna is anxious to hear from Fannie whether her parcel arrived intact; she praises the portrait and its frame and informs Pen that Mrs Schlesinger will view it later that day.  She adds in a postscript that ‘Sharp thought it was a splendid portrait, and now she should like to see one of me.  I told her there was one just no good’.

26. ALS from RB and SARIANNA to PEN and FANNIE. 29 De Vere Gardens, 4 Jun. 1889. 2L. RB writes upon returning from a week’s visit to Jowett in Oxford; Jowett was pleased with the photographs on Pen and Fannie and many asked after them. RB was most anxious to hear of Fannie’s illness and hopes that the ‘last good news is confirmed’.  Jowett has donated a fine organ to the Hall ‘(£3000) and so added to the college Organ as to almost constitute it a new one’ and the cricket ground bought for Balliol was ‘his gift also’; ‘thus he ventures all his gains to the source whence they sprang’.  Of Balliol, Browning comments ‘It is irregular how I lose at once every symptom of any physical trouble, forget what coughing means, the moment I arrive there’.  Sarianna reinforces RB’s sentiment ‘I can only add that he is looking extremely well.  The visit to Oxford did him good.’ [RB’s signature has been torn out and with it some four lines by Sarianna on the verso of the leaf.]

27. ALS from RB and SARIANNA to PEN. 29 De Vere Gardens, 10 Jul. 1889. 2L.  RB congratulates Pen on the medal he has been awarded for his paintings by the French Jury at the Salon.  RB went to the annual luncheon at Dulwich the day before.  Millais is painting a portrait of Gladstone in order to give it to Mrs Gladstone on their fiftieth wedding anniversary; Browning immediately declined the request to write ‘a few lines’ underneath the portrait ‘my position is quite clear as a thorough anti-Gladstonian’.  Sarianna adds a note to the effect that both she and RB thought Pen meritous not just of a medal, but of a ‘first’, but that life is not fair.

28.  ALS from RB and SARIANNA to PEN. 29 De Vere Gardens, 24 Jul. 1889. 2L.  RB tells Pen of an enjoyable lunch with [George Frederic] Watts and his wife the day before.  RB observes that Leighton received ‘only’ a medal for sculpture, not an honour.  RB once more refused to write an inscription for Millais’s portrait of Gladstone [see (27.)].  The Grosvenor has let RB know that Pen’s picture may ‘be removed early in August’. Sarianna encloses ‘the items for you incorporated in a bill from Giles which your father has paid’.  She hopes to attend Val[entine] Prinsep’s garden party the next day and had enjoyed the lunch at the Watts’s the day before.   

29. ALS from RB to PEN. Hotel de France, Clerici Frères, Milan, 1 Sep. 1889. RB informs Pen that he and Sarianna were leaving that afternoon for Brescia.  They will proceed to Verona on Monday, Castel Franco on Tuesday and Asolo on Wednesday. RB is glad that Pen has met wit Carolus Duran and doesn’t doubt that he will have admired Pen’s, generally-admired, achievements at the Palazzo.

30. ALS from SARIANNA and RB to FANNIE and PEN. 29 De Vere Gardens, 15 Dec. 1888? [Bound out of order; RB died on 12 Dec 1889...]. Sarianna tells Fannie of the journey made by RB and herself back to England, describing RB as a bad traveller and describing his ailments: feverishness, depression, and a broken tooth. RB addresses both Pen and Fannie, telling them that all was ‘in perfect order’ at home and that he looks forward to being able to eat again soon after reparative dental work. A letter from Mrs Bronson suggests that Fannie is recovered and RB hopes for confirmation of this. Upon his return to London RB has numerous letters and parcels with which to deal.  In a postscript he begs Pen ‘Say kind things for us to anybody whom we may have neglected properly to bid goodbye’. [RB’s signature cut out.]

Followed by:

  • 9 letters from Sarianna [many without the year included in the date]

1. ALS from SARIANNA to FANNIE. 29 De Vere Gardens, 11 Oct. [1887].  Sarianna writes to Fannie in Venice, where Fannie and Pen are on their honeymoon; Sarianna reports that there was a notice of the marriage in the ‘World’ and that the Schlesingers would be arriving that day.

2. ALS from SARIANNA to FANNIE. 12 Nov. [1887].  Sarianna writes to Fannie thanking her for the two letters sent before Fannie sailed and telling Fannie of Henry James’s visit and RB’s appointment to dine with Mrs Tennyson the next day.

3. ALS from SARIANNA to FANNIE. 29 De Vere Gardens, 31 Dec. 1887. Sarianna thanks Fannie for her gift of a turkey and a barrel of apples; they were a great success with RB and Natorp at the Christmas luncheon.

4. ALS from SARIANNA to FANNIE. 29 De Vere Gardens, 29 May [1888]. Sarianna updates Fannie on the fate of the young man whose sweetheart made him pass ‘a Browning examination’ in order to prove his love; he did so well that they are ‘to be married next Saturday and your papa has received three invitations to be present at the wedding’.

5. ALS from SARIANNA to FANNIE. 29 De Vere Gardens, 21 Jun. [1888]. The letter was partially written and then completed on 22 June. Sarianna thanks Fannie for the photographs of their holiday location and expresses sympathy at Marie’s ongoing discomfort; she bemoans the government’s refusal to allow Matthew Arnold’s widow to draw from his pension.
6. ALS from SARIANNA to FANNIE. 29 De Vere Gardens, 30 Jul. [1888]. Sarianna allays the fears of Pen and Fannie; RB merely had an attack of liver, had there been anything seriously wrong Sarianna would have contacted Pen and Fannie at once.  She is glad that Marie’s condition is improving.

7. ALS from SARIANNA to FANNIE. 1 August [1888]. RB is better but not fully recovered and is indecisive over whether or not still to travel to meet Fannie and Pen; Sarianna adds ‘You know, it will not be my fault if we do not come to you’, commenting later ‘I seem to have nothing in the world to love so much as you two’. Sarianna looks forward to the completion of Fannie and Pen’s purchase of the [Palazzo] Rezzonico.

8. ALS from SARIANNA to FANNIE. 29 De Vere Gardens, 3 August [1888]. RB is receiving many visits from readers from the country and abroad; Sarianna is looking forward to their holiday although they have not yet decided where they will go.

9. part of ALS from SARIANNA to FANNIE which comes from (14.) the 24 Apr. 1888 letter started by RB and continued by Sarianna.  Sarianna hopes that Pen will not give up his studio in Paris and congratulates him on receiving such distinguished backing for his membership at the Athenæum.

and:

  • two letters (16 Dec 1889 and 20 Jan 1890) from Jowett to Pen Browning concerning RB’s death

1. ALS from JOWETT to PEN. Ball[iol] Coll[ege], 16 Dec. 1889. Jowett expresses his grief upon RB’s death.

2. ALS from JOWETT to PEN. Ball[iol] Coll[ege], 20 Jan. 1890. Jowett discusses the future of Browning’s library: ‘Some years ago your father spoke of leaving his M.S.S. and I think his books to Balliol College’.  He does not know whether RB expressed hi intention in his will and is trying to ascertain this from Pen.

  • one letter from Jowett (27 Oct. 1890) to Sarianna

1. ALS from JOWETT to SARIANNA.  Ball[iol] Coll[ege], 27 Oct. 1890. Jowett recounts the circumstances of the poetry professorship which was to have been offered to RB.

  • 2 autograph notes from Pen as a child written to RB and EBB

1. ANS from PEN to RB and EBB on the virtues of having ‘great ugly feet’ to ‘walk with & jump with’ above having ‘pretty little feet’ like ‘the Chinese ladies’, signed by Pen with his full name and nickname ‘Penini’.  On the verso Pen promises to be very good for his parents because it is Christmas day.

2. ANS from PEN to RB and EBB on his reading of the story of Samson and Delilah; he was ‘very much amused’ and wonders if any of his strength is in his own ‘long hair’. On the verso he promises to try hard with his writing because he has not done well in his reading ‘We are apt to do things ill sometimes, indeed too often, because we are not good unless God helps us’.

  • 2 pencil drawing by Pen as a child, signed, (1) of a house with a man shooting a snake in a tree, and (2) of a profile portrait of a man’s head and, on the verso, a horse
  • one leaf of a handwritten newssheet of family news by Pen, in Italian.

 

- Dr Claire Williams, February 2013.


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