Oldalképek
PDF

port they have not so great doubt and therefore I have prevailed with another, and [have] sent Mr. MARKHAM, assisted with a letter from the Caplen Bassa, whose jurisdiction extends to all the islands and sea-ports . . . . . . . On Asia side, about Troy, Zizicum, and all the way to Aleppo, are innumerable pillars, statues, and tombstones of marble, with inscriptions in Greeke. These may be fetcht at charge, and secrettly; butt yf wee ask leave it cannot be obteyned ; therefore Mr. MARKIIAM will use discretion rather then power, and so the Turks will bring them for their profiitt.’

Ron’s report encouraged Lord ARUNDEL to send an agent, named PET'I'Y, on a special exploring mission into various parts of the Ottoman Empire. The agent thus selected was eminently fitted for his task, and showed himself to be a man of untiring industry. Very soon after PE'r'rr’s arrival at Constantinople, Sir Thomas ROE wrote to the Duke of BUCKINGHAM an account of his successful researches, and he prefaced it with an acknowledgement that ‘by conference with Mr. PE'rTY, sent hither by my Lord of ARUNDELL, I have somewhat bettered my sckill in such figures. We have searched all this cyttye,’ he proceeds to say, ‘ and found nothing but upon one gate, called anciently Porta Aurea, built by CONSTANTINE, bewtifyed with two mighty pillars, and upon the sides and over it, twelve tables of fine marble cutt into historyes,—s0me of a very great relevo, sett into the wall with small pillars as supporters. Most of the figures are equall; some above the life some less. They are—in my eye—extremely decayed, but Mr. PETTY doth so prayse them, as that he hath not seene much better in the great and costly collections of Italye. . . . . The fower to which I have most affection . . . . . are both brave and sweete . . . The

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

relevo so high that they are almost statues, and doe but seeme to sticke to the ground.’

In October of the same year Sir Tnonas sent an elaborate account to the Earl of ARUNDEL of the progress made by PETTY, and of his own exertions to provide him with every possible facility. He told the Earl of the difficulty of his own position towards the Duke of BUCKINGHAM, and besought him to admit of an arrangement by which the product of the joint exertions of ambassador and agent should be divided between the competitors. Ps'r'rr, he reports, ‘ hath visited Pergamo, Samos, Ephesus, and some other places, where he hath made your Lordship great provisions. . . . . I have given him forceable commands, and letters of recommendation from the Patriarch. I have bene free and open to him in whatsoever I knewe, and so I will continue for your Lordship’s command. But your Lordship knowing that I have received the like from the Duke of BucxinenAn, and engaged my word to doe him service hee might judge it want of witt, or will, or creditt, if Mr. PETTY, who could doe nothing but by mee, should take all things before or from mee. Therefore to avoid all emulation, and that I might stand clear before two so great and honourable patrons, I thought I had made agreement with him for all our advantages. Therefore we resolved to take down those sixe mentioned relevos on Porta Aurea, and I proceeded so far as I offered 600 dollars for four of them, to bee divided between his Grace and your Lordship by lotts. And if your Lordship liked not the price, Mr. Par'rr had his choice to forsake them. But now, I perceave, he hath entitled your Lordship to them all by some right that, if I could gett them, it were an injury to divide them . . . . . . . But I am sorry wee strive for the shadowe. Your Lordship may beleeve an honest man, and

[ocr errors]

your servant, I have tried the bassa,——the capteyne of the Castle,—the overseer of the Grand Signor’s works,—-the soldiours that make that watch,--and none of them dare meddle. They [the sculptures] stand between two mighty pillars of marble, on other tables of marble supported with less pillars, uppon the cheife port of the Citty, the entrance by the Castle called “ The Seaven Towres,” which was never opened since the Greeke Emperour lost it, but a counterscarfe and another wall built before it . . . . . . . There is butt one way left in the world, which I will practice. . . . . If I gett them not, I will pronounce [that] no man, no ambassadour, shall ever bee able to doe it 3— except, also, the Grand Signor, for want, will sell the Castle.’

Just before the date of this letter ‘PETTY had suffered shipwreck on the coast of Asia, when returning from Samos. Together with his papers and personal baggage, he lost the fruits of long and successful researches. But his inexhaustible energies enabled him to recover what, to the men about him, seemed to have hopelessly perished. He found means to raise the buried marbles from the wreck. ‘ There was never man,’ wrote Sir Thomas Roe, with the frank admiration of a congenial spirit, ‘so fitted to an employment; that encounters all accidents with so unwearied patience; eates with Greekes on their worst dayes; lyes with fishermen on plancks, at the best ; is all thinges to all men, that he may obteyne his ends, which are your Lordship’s service.’

To Dr. GOADE, one of the chaplains of Archbishop Armor, Sir Thomas Ron continued the narrative of Psr'rr’s zealous researches, and of the success which attended them. ‘ By my means,’ he wrote, ‘ Mr. Par'rr had admittance into the best library known of Greece, where are loades of old

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Loan Ammnzlfa RESEARCH n m In LY.

MSS. at Norfolk House; Printed in Tierney’s Arunrlel,

p. 439.

manuscripts, and hee used so fine arte, with the helpe of some of my servants, that hee conveyed away twenty two. I thought I should have had my share, but hee was for himselfe. Hee is, a good chooser; saw all, or most, and tooke, I thincke, those that were and wilbe of greate esteeme. Hee speaketh sparingly of such a bootye, but could not conteyne sometyme to discover with joy his treasure. . . . . I meant to have a review of that librarye, but hee gave it such a blow under my trust that, since, it hath been locked up under two keys, whereof one kept by the townsmen that have interest or oversight of the monastery, so that I could do no good. . . . . My hope is to deale with the Patriarch, and not to trust to myselfe, and to chances.’

In November, 1626, Sir Thomas further informed the Duke of BUCKINGHAM that ‘ Mr. Ps'r'rv hath raked together two hundred peices [of sculpture], all broken, or few [of them] entyre. . . . Hee had this advantage, that hee went himselfe into all the islands, and tooke all he saw, and is now gon to Athens.’ In subsequent letters and despatches the diplomatist returns often to this unofficial branch of his duties, and makes it very apparent that Par'rr’s zeal had, for a time, spoiled the market of the agents who followed in his track.

Lord ARUNDEI. was not less ably served by the factors and representatives whom he employed in Italy, in Germany, and in the Netherlands. But the story is far too long to be told in detail. Their success in collecting choice pictures and other works of art was so conspicuous that when one of them had an interview with RUBENS at Antwerp, to give a commission from Lord ARUNDEL, the great painter—himself, it will be remembered, an eminent collector also—said to him : ‘I regard the Earl in the light of an evangelist to the world of art, and as the great sup

porter of our profession.’ In these artistic commissions and researches William TRUMBULL, Edward NORGATE, Sir John Boaoven, and Sir Isaac WAKE, especially distinguished themselves. Their correspondence with Lord ARUNDEL is spread over a long series of years, and it abounds with curious illustrations of ‘the world of art,’ as it lived and moved in the earlier part of the seventeenth century.

Among those entire collections which the Earl purchased in bulk, two are more particularly notable—the museum, namely, of Daniel NICE, and the library of the family of PIRCKHEIMER of Nuremberg.

Nlen’s Museum was especially rich in medals and gems. If EVELYN’s information about the circumstances of that acquisition was accurate, it cost the Earl the sum—enormous, at that date—of ten thousand pounds. I cannot, however, but suspect that into that statement some error of figures has crept.

The acquisition of the PIRCKHEIMER Library was made by the Earl himself, during his diplomatic mission into Germany on the affairs of the Palatinate. In this collection some of the choicest of the Arundelian MSS. which now enrich the British Museum were comprised. Its foundation had been laid more than a hundred and thirty years before the date of the Earl's purchase. But part of the library of the first founder had passed into the possession of the City of Nuremberg. The collection which Lord ABUNDEL acquired was rich both in classical manuscripts and in the materials of mediaeval history.

The liberality with which these varied treasures, as they successively arrived in London, were made accessible to scholars was in harmony with the open-handedness by means of which they had been amassed. For a few years Arundel House was itself an anticipatory ‘ British Museum.’

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »