am almost ashamed of myself for giving you so much trouble and
I suppose should be completely so, were I not a lawyer. The
first hand you have drawn is exactly what I want, provided you
have the forefinger a little bit more bent so as to appear to
hold a glove that I can in reality fasten to the thumb; and
let me have a little more of the wrists, for the sleeves at
that period did not reach to the swell of the hand by two inches.
if you fit a fellow's hand a cast may be easily taken, or rather
the matrix in clay. Perhaps you had better not insert the glass
eyes as such an ophthalmic operation might be performed, if
needed at this place.
himself would be satisfied with the boots and your leathers,
and I hope when you and Mrs Briggs can again gratify me by a
trip to this place you will find His Majesty and his guards
worthy of your pencil.
when you have got oiled, and painted a hand and that you send
it with the face so completely as you describe au naturel, to
let me know how much more your exertions and expense of carriage
have cost you, to enable me to add that to the five pounds that
I may forward to you a cheque for the whole.
to apologize for not writing to you when I returned the package,
but there was no time to spare. I did not even take a peep at
His Majesty's visage. Had my faithful Harry Faithful brought
me your letter when the post arrived instead of stopping to
assist in the slaughter of a pig, I should have sent you my
last by return of post and been in time to have prevented your
sending of the package.
of going to London this Spring but if I visit the metropolis
for a day I will call to thank you for your goodness.
busy now planning a new road of approach to this house and which
I hope to accomplish by midsummer. I think it will meet the
approbation of your picturesque eye.
Mrs Briggs and your epitome are quite in health as well as yourself,
I remain with kind regards to her, ever most truly, yours greatly
obliged, Samuel Meyrick.
of the references to 'His Majesty' and to Vandyke, I guessed
that the text had something to do with a statue or waxwork of
King Charles I, 'glass eyes' would hardly be necessary if a
painting was being discussed. The letter also brought interesting
insight into the character of Samuel Meyrick, I wanted to know
Sources at Ross Library revealed details about Goodrich Court,
designed by Edward Blore for Dr (later Sir) Samuel Rush Meyrick.
Built between 1828 and 1831, inspiration came from castles on
the continent which Samuel had avidly sketched during his Grand
Tour of Europe.
The complicated building was unlike most of Blore's houses.
The poet, William Wordsworth referred to it as 'impertinent
structure'. It was a great mass of towers and turrets and had
a massive keep, dominated by the huge, 100ft, Sussex Tower,
named after Samuel's friend, HRH, the Duke of Sussex.
Samuel had sought to build a house that would be a suitable
setting for his remarkable collection, ranging from suits of
armour to all kinds of antiquarian interest.
Details of that collection and Samuel's reputation, as a leading
authority on armour, shed more light on the content of the letter.
He had reorganized the collections of armour at Windsor Castle
and at the Tower of London.
Goodrich Court was obviously on display as a sort of 'stately
home' or museum of antiquities, attracting many distinguished
visitor was Thomas Roscoe who wrote 'Wanderings and Excursions
in South Wales, including the Scenery of the River Wye'. What
he wrote about Samuel's collection was not particularly complimentary
but it was relevant to the content of the letter to Mr Briggs.