Letter from Frances Miller Seward to Lazette Miller Worden, February 12, 1852

  • Posted on: 23 July 2019
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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to Lazette Miller Worden, February 12, 1852



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Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections


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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to Lazette Miller Worden, February 12, 1852

action: sent

sender: Frances Seward
Birth: 1805-09-24  Death: 1865-06-21

location: Washington D.C., US

receiver: Lazette Worden
Birth: 1803-11-01  Death: 1875-10-03

location: Auburn, NY

transcription: tap 

revision: fdc 2019-05-10


Page 1

Washington – Feb 12th
My dear Sister,
I write so many letters &
deal so much in cards and notes of
invitation that I cannot tell when I wrote
last but I know it was after Henry
Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
and that is a week ago – This is the first
day that I have felt well in a month
and even now I have premonitory symptoms
of a headache – My cough is so much
improved that I experience little inconvenience
from it – Monday Henry had five gentlemen
to dinner – among them Mr Gwin
Birth: 1805-10-09 Death: 1885-09-03
Mr Soulé
Birth: 1801-08-31 Death: 1870-03-26
of the Senate – I mention these as
being the most agreeable of the party –
Mr Soulé in an especial manner – You
know we always liked him – I went
in the morning to the Capitol with Miss
Birth: 1833-09-01 Death: 1893-11-14
who has left for Philadelphia this
morning – I liked her very much – She &
Gwin went to hear Gen. Cass's
Birth: 1782-10-09 Death: 1866-06-17
speech which
I preferred to read – it was a very good one
on the whole –

[top Margin] Mrs Gwin
Birth: 1815-06-04 Death: 1901-06-26
a large party Tuesday evening – which I of course decline
She is keeping house & "entertains elegantly" –
The children
x Birth: 1844-12-09  Death: 1866-10-29  Birth: 1839-06-18  Death: 1920-04-29 
send much love – & Henry – he often wishes
you here as he did when he made his speech yesterday –
Love to Frances
Birth: 1826-12-12 Death: 1909-08-24
– Your own Sister –

Page 2

Henry went with me to Frankensteins
Birth: 1817-12-19 Death: 1881-04-16
room – he
is painting a portrait of Preston King
Birth: 1806-10-14 Death: 1865-11-12
– a very
good likeness – his painting has not materially
improved – he has some landscapes with very
blue sky and very green trees – some other
portraits which from peculiarity of drapery
have the appearance of fancy pictures –
From there we went to the t Treasury Buildings
to see a picture the property of Senator Cooper
Birth: 1810-05-08 Death: 1863-03-28

I had heard much of it & was very desirous
to see it – It is said to be an original


– The design is Raphael himself
making on the bottom of a tub the first
sket[ c ]


h of his
Unknown which is so celebrated –
The group which he paints or sketchs is the
of a cooper
with an infant
on her
lap and another child
by her side – the
dress, the features, and the posture are like
those on the picture Augustus
Birth: 1826-10-01 Death: 1876-09-11
brought me
from Florence – The other figures are the Cooper
himself an apprentice
and three or four

Unknown of Raphael, all watching with
intense interest the beautiful and spiritual
artist – The whole occupies a space of about
3 feet square – It is painted on copper & highly
varnished – I have never seen any thing
Page 3

of that size so perfect – I do so want you
to see it – although the very veins are
perceptible you can see no mark of
the pencil – the colouring the light & shade
attitude, expression, all, all are perfect –
I went there very skeptical about the originality
of the picture but came away fully persuaded
that if it was not the work of Raphael it
was of some great genius – Now you are curious
to know how a work of such merit should have
fallen into the hands of Mr Cooper – The story is this –
This picture was at one time the property of Joachim
Birth: 1767-03-25 Death: 1815-10-13
– who sent it to England for safe keeping
having first taken the precaution to have another
picture painted over it – a thing which I am told
is not unusual – How it fell into the hands of
a natural son
Birth: 1802-02-15 Death: 1855-10-24
of Robert Morris'
Birth: 1762-06-28 Death: 1851-02-22
I am unable to
say or whether it was before or after the supper
party had been removed by one skilled in the art
Mr Cooper found young Morris at Paris with
a collection of pictures which he was exhibiting –
he was involved in debt and applied to three

Unknown, of whom Mr Cooper was one, to relieve
him pledging his three finest pictures for the
payment of the money at the end of a year –
The year passed & the money was not paid – they
waited 2 other years with no better success &
then drew lots for a choice of the pictures the
Page 4

first choice fell to Mr Cooper – he of course chose
the Raphael – He does not design keeping it
intends to take it to Europe to sell, where he
has – or rather Morris had before been offered $40,000
for it – The Holy family of which this
depicts the first sketch is in a palace at
Rome or Florence valued at $1,000,000 – –
It is from this that the copies are made –
Tradition says that Raphael met the wife of
the cooper in the streets, at a time when having
received orders for the Holy family, he was in pursuit
of a model Madonna, that he followed her
home & obtained permission to sketch herself & children
which he did on the bottom of a tub which
her husband had just completed –
Next Thursday Henry is to give a dinner to Mr
Birth: 1810 Death: 1902-07-16
an English gentleman who brought a letter
of introduction – there are to be 11 other
Wednesday Henry dines with Mr & Mrs Webster
x Birth: 1797-09-28  Death: 1882-02-26  Birth: 1782-01-18  Death: 1852-10-24 
was invited but declined – I liked Mrs Webster
because she said I was perfectly right not to
see company this Winter – She says Mr Webster
is always very unwilling to have her wear black –
Mrs Davis
Birth: 1791-02-17 Death: 1872-01-24
has just come – I have not seen her –
I wrote to Clara
Birth: 1793-05-01 Death: 1862-09-05
this week urging her to come here
next m month with you – I hope you will insist
upon this – she thinks she is not ready – she will
want but two dresses & any thing else that she
wants we can get here – you must come at all
events –

[right Margin] Henry has another letter from
Birth: 1802-09-19 Death: 1894-03-20
– His
who are enjoying exile in
Paris are magnanimous
persons –