FRITH, William Powell (1819–1909), painter. ALS to unnamed correspondent 1847

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FRITH, William Powell (1819–1909), painter. Autograph letter signed to an unnamed correspondent, 3 sides, 8vo, 13 Park Village West, Regents Park, November 23 1847. Thanking his correspondent for some presents, discussing domestic affairs, and asking after his art studies "How get on the water colour studies? Are you working very hard? We are all – I mean your artist friends - over head and ears in our pictures, struggling away sometimes in good hopes – but often I myself – in despair. This black month of November, with its cold and fog, finds us once more ruining our eyes in a vain endeavour to work as well could in June - in spite of cold and darkness the fear of being tripped up, and above all the ‘stern necessity’ of getting our daily bread spurs us on and so nine out of ten of us are plunged in a hopeless struggle – and in this way we shall go on I suppose until in the words of Swift’s biographer “all is dark and silence” . With folds, slightly grubby.

Written at the beginning of his career as a highly successful painter, Frith rapidly moved into the centre of literary and artistic life in London (his lifelong friendship with Charles Dickens began in 1842). He married firstly Isabelle Jane Baker (1823-80) on 26 June 1845, by whom he had 7 sons & 5 daughters, and upon Isabelle's death in 1880 married secondly in 1881 his mistress Mary Alford by whom he had a further 2 daughters and 5 sons.

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