HASTINGS Warren - Autograph Letter Signed 1805 to Richard Cosway regarding an engraving
Warren HASTINGS (1732-1818)Autograph Letter Signed (“Warren Hastings”) to the miniaturist Richard Cosway, requesting that he hasten his work on the engraving of Lord Fife’s portrait.
1½ pages 4to with integral address leaf, with red wax seal, Daylesford House, 15 January 1805.
“Lord Fife has done me the honor to ask my consent to have your portrait of him engraved. You will oblige me by applying to his Lordship, & preventing [sic] his application, for his instructions respecting it; and for that, as well as for my own sake, by expediting what remains of finishing the original. Will you have the goodness to let me know in what forwardness the other portraits are? You are fortunate, that I am not likely to be soon in town; for I should be very importunate and very troublesome. That I may lay in my claim to a preference in your exertions, I beg leave to apprize you, that I am almost a month past my 72nd year, & wish much to have my collection completed before I die.
The engraving of L’d Fife’s portrait, if well done, will do you credit. I do not think you have ever made a better likenesse.”
His impatience to complete his collection would have been understood by his correspondent, Richard Cosway, himself a keen collector. As well as being a collector, Cosway was a major artist and probably the most important and accomplished miniaturist of his day. His work was particularly appreciated by the Prince of Wales, who became his principal patron; Cosway produced likenesses of George’s daughter, Princess Charlotte, and of Mrs. Fitzherbert.
The Daylesford estate had once belonged to the Hastings family who sold it, and upon his acquittal on charges of alleged crimes during his time in India, Hastings acquired the estate and embarked on improvements on the garden and a new house. An occasional visitor to the neighbourhood was Jane Austen, with whose family Hastings was acquainted, and whose work he admired.
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