Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

The Imprint
Jackson, F. Ernest Mason, J. H. Johnston, Edward
Persistente ID:
The Plain Dealer 
splendid prices, and to buy ; but where was Mr. Whitten the Londoner ; 
and where was Mr. Wells, and where Mr. Bernard Shaw P The one would 
have found a room of Londoners ; for the others there was drama. 
" Sabin's face is a study," came in a stage whisper from an onlooker, 
when, in a hush, the bidding for the letters reached the sixth thousand- 
and thence steadily rose over and above the American commission held by 
one of the competitors. Nor was the lowest bid of the week uninteresting. 
For one shilling Iames secured lot 73-two vast canvases from the brush 
of Robert Barrett Browning; and I am sure that nobody who has ever 
been handed books by that smiling foreman of the amenities at Sotheby's 
failed to wish him better of his bargain than the pictures deserved. 
Failing the Writers, where were the artists P If Mr. Pett Ridge and Mr. 
Galsworthy and Mr. Zangwill threw away the opportunity, why should 
the draughtsmen have done the same P I want a picture of Mr. Wise in the 
background, vehemently indifferent to the proceedings; of Mr. Dobell, 
the hue of Tyrol on his head, poetry and prices admirably blended in his 
eye ; of the tall hat that nodded so industriously for Sotheran's, of Mr. 
Maggs, bidding so warily that no observer but the auctioneer knew about 
it until a treasure was knocked down to him ; of Mr. Hornstein,whose 
glance and purse I, for one, can never long withstand in the duels of 
auction; of Mr. Edwards of Marylebone High Street, of Mr. Smith of 
Bond Street, of Mr. Sabin, junr., looking like the early portraits of 
Disraeli, and of Mr. Sabin himself, notable for a more appropriate resem- 
blance. " Tell me who that is ; I feel sure he must be some relative of 
Browning ? " a friend of the poet asked me, pointing to the purchaser of 
the letters, when, on the last day, he took his son's place in the room. 
It was on that same afternoon that lot I 39 5, described as " A Bust of 
William Shergold Browning, Robert Browning's uncle, modelled in plaster " 
was offered. It seemed likely that it would be knocked down after spirited 
bidding to my sixteen shillings, when Mr. Sabin marred my pleasure by 
telling the auctioneer that the bust was not of Browning's uncle, but Shelley, 
made by Mrs. Leigh Hunt. Mr. Sabin, of course, was right ; but the auctioneer, 
unable to accept oflicially the correction on the spur of the moment, said 
that everybody knew What Shelley was like, and skilfully left the room in 
doubt. Everybody knows the Shelley of the conventional portrait--as 
large-eyed, small-mouthed and sentimental as the worst portraits of the 
period. Of that fictitious Shelley everybody at Sotheby's would have made 
sure ; but the truer likeness nobody recognised, and it fell to me at ,Q6 I 5s. 


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