Monthly Archives: December 2008

There are no entries in Edward Lear’s diary for 1858 from 4th to 21st December, so posting will resume on 22nd at the rate of one post a day.

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Friday, 3 December 1858

We breakfasted at 8. Afterwards looked at many rooms. No joint affair would do. Some in P. de Spagna the best for S.W.C. Those on the Pincian have many objections & a bad landlord, as well as 300  sc. rent. Some, I saw in a new house in the Condotti ― for 360. These, barring a want of one watercloset, are very good. ― Later, I went to Palazzo Gaetani ― & saw Duke Sermoneta & Margaret K.! ― They were very kind & pleasant, & I am to dine there tomorrow. ― Donna Onorata & Donna Julia grown up. ― Went therefrom to look at other rooms, & after 2 to Isabella K. whom I found in really better health than I had hoped for. Strange years! ― V. Caldwells ― & Mr. Woodward there. Also I saw James Uwins ― & Williams again. ― At 4 S.W.C. took the P. di Spagna rooms, & I am to be with him  till I settle. ― We then walked round the Borghese Gardens ― & so till home. The Gardens are a wretchedness now ― pines gone & all changed. At 6.30 I dined at the James MarshallsAubrey de Vere & Madame Gerber there. Cold all ― & dreamy & curious. A. de V. is not wise I think. ― Mrs. M. very enthusiastic & “Cameronish.” ― Mr. M. vague. ― I sang a good deal. But on the whole, not being very well was a little bored.

X1

Ah! Lamentation.

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3.]

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Thursday, 2 December 1858

P. Williams, Mass for the Reapers (1858)

Rose at 8. Opposite my window is P. Williams’s studio!!! ― So I dressed, & went there. How wonderfully strange are my feelings! Is it or not another life. “Stepping stones” to higher things. Old Vincenza ― kind old creature! & P.W. looking very well & kindly. A picture of his of the Mass of the Reapers is beautiful, & his old sketches truly delighted me. ― I then went to C. Coleman’s, ― poor good Coleman: ― he is sadly changed. Yet his paintings are better than before: ― he also was kind & affectionate & it does seem most wondrous to me that all are so to me! ― “Stepping stones” again. Then to breakfast with S.W.C. ― & at 10, to Dogana: much bother there, & a fear about my drawings: but judicious shewing the Jerusalem sketches succeeded in getting them away.

Statue of William Huskisson by John Gibson in Pimlico Gardens, London.

Then I called at the Knights’ ― lo! Mrs. Lurridge! C. & H.K. come tomorrow. Isabella I am also to see then. The Rasella rooms are let: ―where shall I “fix”? Then to S.W.C. & with him to the new Pincian homes ― to look for rooms: the 2 floors below I think will do, that upstairs will not: ― the Entresol S.C. would like ― but it is too small. Then we walked over the Pincian ― strange memories! & so to Gibson’s. J.G. is far older. Much of the peculiar decision of his character is more visible now than formerly: his showing me Mr. Huskisson‘s monument ((Now in Pimlico Gardens, London.)) ― & Benjamin’s likeness; ― & Solomon G.’s Mercury; ― great kindliness & manliness were there in what he said: how odd that he can bear Buckner’s paintings over his own very refined forms. Then to Mozier’s, to ask about the Korsini rooms: & so ― (meeting Buckner, when S.W.C. ‘odiousized’) to a café ― & then on to see other rooms ― one of which, 64 Sistina, may do perhaps. ― Then we walked to S.M. Maggiore ― & to S.J. Laterano, & by the Coliseum & Capitol home. ― I am delighted to find that I like Rome as I do. Table d’hôte dinner followed. ― A Mr. Bernal ― not very pleasant, there. Then tea & writing this, in our own rooms.

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3.]

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Wednesday, 1 December 1858

All the early morning ― high wind & rain: a great bore. However, at 9 we really got to dingy stupid old Civita Vecchia ― & then to the nasty Douane. It is hardly possible to express how slow, beastly, stupid, ― & odious was all the arrangement of botheration & doganism. I could not stand the drawings & large box being overhauled, so made a deposito ((Italian, “deposit.”)) & had them plumbed. Then came, passport, loading vehicle &c. ― & at 1.30 we got off. Long Judœa like hills & dulness of C. Vecchia roads! ― We talked, & counted milestones, & at Palo (23½ miles) had some supper, & changed horses in 2nd Inn. Shortly afterwards, a monstrous storm came on ― lights went out, & total Eclipse made the progress a serious matter. By the time we got to the 3rd post ― 12 miles from Rome ― I thought it too bad to go on, & tried what the post-house was like: there was the old card-playing gloomy dirt ― ugh! ― we were to go on. ― So we did so, till the 2 carriages before us pulled up, 6 miles from Rome ― at a ‘ruin’ broke house. Assuredly, the darkness & lightning & thunder were awful. So we took the Sheikh in to the corral, (the rain was wonderful!!) & waited: ― I resigned altogether to sleep ― & so passed an hour & a half. ― After that we moved on ― & there was no water!!! Yet the danger of upset at every step was great, & I was very glad, at 12 or later, to get to Rome: & to the Douane: ― (where I left 2 boxes plumbed ―) & to the Hotel d’Europa, where some brandy & rosato sent me to bed quietly.

21 years ago ― 1 December 1837 ― I came first to Rome!

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3.]

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