CATLIN, George (1796-1872)
[Archive of three autograph letters signed from George Catlin to Captain William Shippard]
[Great Britain: 1840s]. Together, 4pp. Each approximately 7 x 4 3/8 inches. Usual folds.
Housed in a morocco backed slipcase.
Three personal, handwritten letters by the artist George Catlin to his friend, Captain William Henry Shippard.
During the 1830s, George Catlin, a self-taught artist, traveled the Great Plains of the American West, absorbing the ways of the North American Indian tribes he found still flourishing there. Over the next decade, Catlin embarked on a journey to create a faithful visual study of the people, customs, and surroundings of the tribes he was welcomed by, which culminated in his numerous publications of prints and drawings of North American Indians. These letters offer a more intimate look into Catlin's daily thoughts and matters, at a time when he had returned from the West and was in England working on his portfolios and exhibition of his works.
The letters are each written to Capt. William Henry Shippard, who Catlin describes in his Notes of Eight Years Travels and Residence in Europe , as "my best of friends." Shippard worked on Catlin's behalf in the exhibition and attempted sale of his collection, and further assisted in his research as a reader at the British Museum.
The letters comprise:
1] Autograph letter signed to Captain William Henry Shippard, 4th January 1847. 1p. & envelope, sending him a picture: "I send you 'My Horse Charley &c" like the other, the crude & original sketch, made at one colouring; and which I am ashamed to send you in such a state ... The above sketches I would have given to nobody else on Earth."
2] Autograph letter signed to Captain William Henry Shippard. "Tuesday" [no date]. 2pp. & envelope: "... I spent the whole of Sunday looking over Mr. Waldeck's drawings, and have had the headache ever since ... I go tomorrow at 1 o'ck with Sir Thos. Phillipps to call on him and you must not failt to be at my rooms at the house." Sir Thomas Phillipps, baronet (1792-1872) was an avid collector of books and manuscripts, amassing one of the biggest collections in the world in the 19th century. "He had a particular sympathy with Catlin's crusade not merely to depict but to preserve the way of life of the indigenous peoples of North America" (DNB).
3] Autograph letter signed to Captain William Henry Shippard. Postmarked 1848. 1p. with conjugate address leaf: having received a letter from his children, "they were all well, and cheerful but their alarm has been great ... I don't know when I can get them and my collection here, as the railways are all broken up. I am in much distress of mind."