Item 59 - Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Caroline Trevelyan

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Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Caroline Trevelyan


  • [3? Dec 1899] (Creation)

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Hotel Biscione & Bellevue, Piazza Fontana No. 8 e 10, Milan. - Arrived on Friday, and is staying with the Frys [Robert and Helen] for a few days before going on to Ravello, to where she had better write as he plans to leave on Monday or Tuesday. Left all well at the Hague; will stop there on his way back and hopes a visit for Bessie to England in March or April may be arranged. They could not find a good photograph, but Bessie will have another taken and Caroline will be sent one. They celebrated 'old Hubrecht's' seventieth birthday last Wednesday with his son the professor [Ambrosius Hubrecht], his wife and two sons. Is having a good time with the Frys, though Mrs Fry is not well; there is much to see; the Castello is 'about the finest building in Italy... and full of treasures'. Liked the small painting by Francia he saw here; Fry says the Trevelyans' one is by far the best he knows, and that he was disappointed by the famous one ["The Adoration of the Child"?] he saw in Munich.

The Frys' prospects seem 'as dark as ever': Fry says there is 'no prospect' of selling his pictures, which the dealers will not interest themselves in, yet Robert believes he is painting very well now; Sidney Colvin was 'immensely struck' with the large one Robert has at Dorking ["The Valley of the Seine"?], thinking it 'one of the most interesting landscapes of modern years. Fry thinks he will have to turn to other work, perhaps lecturing again 'which of course he hates'. Fry's father's altered his three hundred pounds allowance to an investment, on which tax is payable, on Fry's marriage; Helen Fry has only the money she earns and is too ill to paint. Thinks Fry's art is 'too good to be sacrificed', and knows that they live in 'constant discomfort and worry', which he is sure contributes to Helen's bad health. Fry is 'very courageous, and may pull through'. but things would be much easier if his father 'had not such a hatred of art, and such absurd suspicions of his son and his wife'. This helps Robert appreciate how good his own father has been 'under somewhat similar circumstances'; Sir Edward Fry is 'narrow and prejudiced', but does not mean to be 'unjust or brutal', yet Robert believes he is so. Wonders whether his father has received the books by Pushkin and Hazlitt, and the life of Crabbe. Is just going to the Brera with Roger Fry.

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