3613. Robert Southey to William Westall, 20 January 1821

3613. Robert Southey to William Westall, 20 January 1821⁠* 

Keswick. 20 Jany. 1821

My dear Westall

Your drawings are quite as beautiful as I expected them to be, – that is they are as beautiful as possible. [1]  I meant with my first leisure to have written & thanked you for the pains you have bestowed upon them, & for the pleasure which I shall feel in seeing a work of mine embellished thus by your hand. – I shall return them in a few days, when the book in which they will travel for protection is done with. [2] 

I thank you also for what you are doing in favour of Roderick. [3]  The want of such proofs of public estimation has, I have no doubt made very many persons set me down in a rank below some of my contemporaries. You know none of my poems have been published in octavo; that however is of no consequence, – Longman will I dare say be very willing to print an edition in that size to fit the prints; – a collected edition of my poems in that form would extend to eight volumes.

I am printing the Vision of Judgement, [4]  of which you heard the first half. Four proofs of it are upon the table beside me, & in about three weeks a copy will be sent you.

You speak of poor dear Nash. I hope this may arrive in time to save you from the greater shock which you would feel upon knocking at his door, & there learning what – you will now have anticipated, that it has pleased God to take him. It is now a fortnight since his brother in law [5]  informed me of this event, – a very great shock it was to me & to all my family, – & one from which I shall not soon recover. – I have no heart to say more – only – take care of your health.

God bless you my dear Westall

yrs affectionately

Robert Southey.


* Address: To/ William Westall Esqre/ 20 Euston Crescent/ Euston Square/ London
Postmark: xx o’Clock/ 23 JA/ 1821 Ev
MS: Berg Collection, New York Public Library. ALS; 3p,
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Westall produced the following six sketches of Lake District scenes that were engraved for Sir Thomas More: or, Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society, 2 vols (London, 1829): vol. I: ‘Druidical Stones near Keswick’, ‘Derwentwater, Bassenthwaite-water, and Skiddaw, from Walla Crag’, and ‘Derwentwater from Strandshagg’; and vol. II: ‘Crosthwaite Church and Skiddaw’, ‘Greta Hall, Derwentwater, and Newlands’, and ‘Tarn of Blencathra’. BACK

[2] Southey sent them via Murray, and placed them in a copy of Giovanni Battista Belzoni (1778–1823; DNB), Narrative of the Operations and Recent Discoveries Within the Pyramids, Temples, Tombs and Excavations in Egypt and Nubia (1820); see Southey to John Murray, 24 [February] 1821, Letter 3639. BACK

[3] Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814). Westall’s brother, Richard Westall (1765–1836; DNB), provided a set of six illustrations, Illustrations of Roderick, the Last of the Goths. A Poem, by Robert Southey, Esq. from the Drawings of R. Westall R.A. (1824). Longman published them and purchasers could arrange for the engravings to be bound into their copy of Roderick. BACK

[4] A Vision of Judgement (1821). BACK

[5] Unidentified. BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)