ALS to William Dickson on headed paper approx 190x132mm, slightly ragged round edge but no loss of text. The letter is tipped in to a copy of Memoirs of the Life of William Collins Esq., R.A. by Wilkie Collins.
The Public Face of Wilkie Collins II 173-174
90, Gloucester Place,
I find a picture of my fathers
them on the subject – satisfying
Wm Dickson Esqre
William Dickson was the brother-in-law of the Rev. R. A. Thorpe, who had
purchased the picture from William Collins for 150 guineas.
|WC writes in Memoirs :
‘Of the pictures at the British Institution, the largest was “The Nutting Party,” painted for the Rev. R. A. Thorpe; a rustic inland scene, with a fine group of children in the foreground’ (Memoirs I 344).
The painting was given to the Guildhall Art Gallery, London by Charles Gassiot in 1902 and it is sometimes exhibited there. Its label says "Collecting nuts in season was an important social activity. Despite the peaceful scene in this picture it was painted during a turbulent year of agitation against agricultural mechanisation and low pay for farm labourers." The picture still retains its original varnish and is more or less untouched by restorers.
The image on the Guildhall website is deliberately degraded with a large 'C' across the centre..
The picture is recorded in George Redford, Art Sales (2 vols, London, 1888),
as sold by W. Dickson at Christie’s in 1870 for 900 guineas (£945), buyer Agnew.
However, a note by Dickson found with the letter says: ‘The Nutting Party –
painted for The Revd R. A. Thorpe for 150 gns & put up at Christies for sale &
for which 900 guineas was bid, but it was bought in. – This I had the sale of –
Mr. Thorpe was my Brother in Law – He gave it to his aunt Miss Jane Thorpe of
Durham & it came under my control as her Administrator.’