Saturday 8th June 1822.
My dear Henry
I received your letter the day before yesterday, for which I thank you very much. I was extremely impatient to hear that you were arrived safe in England, & out of your steam-packet, which it seems however you liked very much. We have seen a great many things since I wrote to you last. Last Thursday we went to see the procession of the Fête-Dieu. <1> It was enormously long, but not very fine. The
Grand Duke followed it on foot, in the costume of the Chevaliers de St Etienne. But what is much more interesting is the Gallery! <2> where we went some days ago. Such quantities of statues & pictures, ancient & modern, almost all of them chef-d’ œuvres, & yet we have not seen half of them. We stood some time in the Tribune, <3> & if one was to go there every day, it would hardly be enough. These are (in the Tribune) the famous Venus, the Apollino, the Knife-Grinder, the Fawn & the Wrestlers, [illegible deletion] the FoMarina of Raphael, <4> & other pictures by him, & by Correggio, <5> a beautiful one by Leonardo da Vinci <6> representing Herodias taking St John the Baptists head from a soldier, whose face is very expressive, Charles the Fifth on horseback, by Vandyke, <7> & a quantity of others. Are not you impatient to see all these beautiful things? Instead of the smoky street of London. – I suppose Mama <8> is was very much tired after a journey of 1542 miles, but it was very lucky that she had a good & short passage, & was not sick. I hope I shall have a letter from her soon. – We have been twice to the Opera. There is only one good singer, la Bassi, <9> the others are terribili as our Italian master says. The ballets are quite ridiculous; the actors look like mad people. – The weather is very hot: the thermometer is now at about 78. A few days ago it was almost at 80. – They say there is going to be a Congress here in September, [illegible deletion] perhaps the Emperor of Austria <10> will come. Caroline <11> is now shading à l’estampe <12> a head of Niobe d’après la bosse, <13> with her German master. She has received your letter this morning, & will answer it soon. – All the beau monde <14> go [illegible deletion] the evening to the Cascina, a delightful place something like the Champs Elysées, but much prettier, then to to [sic] the Bottegone[?] to eat ices, & afterwards to the Pergola. We do the two first almost every evening. Is Miss Eden <15> better [illegible deletion] Your adventure was very extraordinary, it was really échouer dans le port. Mama told me in her last letter that you have had a great many adventures & misfortunes in the course of your journey; but it is very happy, & rather surprising that in so long a one no serious accidents should have happened to you. I hope the same happiness will attend you on your return. In the meanwhile, Believe me
your affectionate sister
Henry Talbot Esqr
31 Sackville St
1. Corpus Christi.
2. The Uffizi Gallery, Florence.
3. Tribune, room in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence.
4. Raphael (1483–1520).
5. Antonio Allegri (Correggio) (1494–1534).
6. Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519).
7. Sir Anthony Van Dyck (1599–1641).
8. Lady Elisabeth Theresa Feilding, née Fox Strangways, first m Talbot (1773–1846), WHFT’s mother.
9. Possibly Luigi Bassi (1766–1825).
10. Francis I, 1st Emperor of Austria (1804–1835).
11. Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding, Lady Mt Edgcumbe (1808–1881); WHFT’s half-sister.
12. Engraving, print.
13. After plaster casts.
14. High society.
15. One of the several sisters of George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland (1784–1849), Governor General of India.