Thursday, May 17, 2007

G. F. Watts, 'Buon Fresco'

Little Holland House,
Kensington, W.
October 17th, 1859.

Dear Sir--I beg to announce to you and to the Benchers of Lincoln's Inn that I have completed the fresco in the Hall, and to thank the gentlemen composing the Honourable Society for their patience and consideration. It has been with great vexation to myself that their patience has been tried by the delay caused by my want of health.

I will say nothing about my work excepting that I sincerely wish it were better. I do not expect that it will be popular, but I hope and think it will improve upon acquaintance.

I have preferred to leave it a pure fresco--'Buon Fresco'--instead of retouching it with distemper colour, the effect of real fresco being nobler, and the work more permanent (careful washing will not injure it).

I beg to be allowed to suggest that the long window on the south-west side should have stained glass put in throughout; it would harmonise better with the opposite window, and though it would in a slight degree diminish the light, the picture would lose nothing, my object being dignity and monumental solemnity.

Fresco also, unlike every other method of painting, lights up the space it occupies, which is one of its great advantages over every other kind of painting applied to the purpose of mural decoration.

I have the honour to be your obedient servant,

-from George Frederic Watts: The Annals of An Artist's Life by M. S. Watts (London: Macmillan and Co., 1912) Volume 1, p.178-79
[This letter was written to the architect of the building, Philip Hardwick.]

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