3580. Robert Southey to William Westall, 8 December 1820

3580. Robert Southey to William Westall, 8 December 1820⁠* 

Keswick. 8 Dec. 1820

My dear Westall

Your letter arrived yesterday, by which post you know (being Thursday) it could not be answered. By this nights I shall write to Murray saying that you will deliver the drawings to him, & informing him of the price. That they have in them that which is common to poetry & painting, I do not doubt, – & I only wish it were possible for you to engrave them yourself. The first edition of the book would then bear a high value hereafter. [1]  – In describing that scene on the side of Walla Crag, I have introduced your name in a manner gratifying to my own feelings, & which I hope will not be otherwise to yours. [2] 

I am glad to hear you are employed <upon> your views of Winandermere. My topographical knowledge in that quarter is but imperfect. But when you want your letter-press, – if you cannot persuade Wordsworth to write it, (who would be in all respects the best person) – I will do for you the best I can. [3] 

Derwent is at Cambridge, & we are all much obliged to you for the offer of an introduction, which will certainly be very creditable to him, & may easily be useful also.

Allow me to say one thing before I conclude. When you were last at Keswick there was an uncomfortable feeling in your mind towards Nash. I hope it has past away. There is not a kinder-hearted creature in the world than he is, – & I know that he has the truest regard for you. & the highest possible respect for your genius. Any offence that he may have given was entirely unintentional. Forget it, I intreat you: call upon <him> again, as you were wont to do, – it will rejoice him, & you will not feel the worse for having overcome a feeling of resentment. I xxxx need not apologize for saying this, – for indeed I could not longer forbear saying it, consistent with my regard both for him & for you.

All here desire their kind remembrances. We cannot send them to Mrs Westall, [4]  because you did not give us an opportunity of becoming known to her. But I pray you present our best wishes,

& believe me

yours affectionately

Robert Southey.


* MS: University of Kentucky Library. ALS; 2p. (c).
Previously published: Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850), IV, pp. 50–51 [in part]. BACK

[1] Southey wished to include engravings of drawings by Westall in his proposed ‘Dialogues’, which were to be published by Murray; see Southey to John Murray, 28 October 1820, Letter 3546. This book eventually appeared as Sir Thomas More: or, Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society (1829), and included six engravings of scenes in the Lake District, taken from Westall’s work. BACK

[2] A Vision of Judgement (1821), Canto 1, ‘The Trance’, Southey’s note to lines 2–3, ‘from surrounding things the hues with which day has adorn’d them/ Fade, like the hopes of youth’: ‘This effect of twilight, and in the very scene described, has been lately represented by Mr. William Westall, in one of his Views of the Lakes, with the true feeling and power of genius. The range of mountains which is described in these introductory lines, may also be seen in his View of the Vale of Keswick from the Penrith road’ (p. [49]). Southey had written the Introduction to Westall’s Views of the Lake and of the Vale of Keswick (1820), which contains the two views mentioned here – ‘Keswick Lake from the East Side’ and ‘Keswick Lake from the Penrith Road’. BACK

[3] A series of drawings by Westall, published as Four Views of Windermere (1821). Neither Southey nor Wordsworth wrote an introduction to these views. BACK

[4] Ann (1789–1862), née Sedgwick, who had married Westall on 22 September 1820. BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 2 times)