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Letter from GEORGE PERKINS MARSH to HIRAM POWERS, dated January 5, 1852.

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Title: Letter from GEORGE PERKINS MARSH to HIRAM POWERS, dated January 5, 1852.


  • Marsh, George Perkins, 1801-1882


  • Powers, Hiram, 1805-1873

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Extent: 1 letter

Genre(s): letter



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Letter from GEORGE PERKINS MARSH to HIRAM POWERS, dated January 5, 1852., Part of the Hiram Powers and Powers Family Papers, microfilmed by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institute, and loaned by the Cincinnati Historical Society., (accessed January 22, 2018)

Letter from GEORGE PERKINS MARSH to HIRAM POWERS, dated January 5, 1852.

Transcribed by : Ellen Mazur Thomson and Ralph H. Orth

TEI mark-up by : James P. Tranowski andEllen Mazur Thomson

Published by: University of Vermont. All rights reserved.

Publication Information

Constantinople Jany 5, 1852

My dear Powers

After so long neglecting to reply to your friendly and most interesting letters, I am almost ashamed to address you, but for the last year I have been either travelling in the remoter parts of the Turkish empire, or engrossed with the cares of business, and more especially the anxieties occasioned by Mrs Marsh's many severe illnesses, and it is but now, that I feel at leisure and in spirits to take up my pen for the purpose of thanking you for your communications, and requesting a continuance of them.

It will be a year tomorrow since we sailed for Egypt, where we spent four months (three on the Nile) and then passed through Arabia Petræa and Palestine to Mount Lebanon and Beirut, at which port we embarked for Constantinople. We were absent eight months, and until about six weeks before we reached home, our journey was one of almost unmingled enjoyment. At that period Mrs Marsh, myself, three of our servants and several of our muleteers were attacked by fever, on the borders of the Sea of Galilee, and as it was many days before we could obtain a physician, we suffered much, and were soon brought to the very borders of the grave. Happily however we were so far restored as to be able to be transported in litters (Mrs Marsh eleven days journey) to Beirut, and reached home the last of August. -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- Mrs Marsh was soon after attacked with a relapse, and reduced lower than before, and for several days the physicians entirely despaired of her recovery, but she is now nearly as well as when you saw her at Florence. Kellogg's descriptions and sketches will have given you so much better an idea of Egyptian art and Arabian nature than I could hope to do, that I will spare you all attempt of the sort, and only remark that sculpture had attained to far greater excellence in Egypt than painting, and that those figures, from which the colouring has been removed are almost as much superior to those which retain it, as your head of Webster is to the similitude of the same personage on a country sign post. I have been much interested in your account of your works, and in Mr Gould's descriptions of them. The idea of the figure, from Il Pensieroso, as Gould describes it, seems to me very fine, and as to the America, you know I saw that most noble statue in plaster. As a Woodstock boy, I claim a share in your glory--a kind of partnership--and you cannot gratify me more than by giving me full details of your artistical triumphs. I long to revisit Italy, and though I do not see how, I hope I may contrive to spend some -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- time in its galleries and ateliers on our return to the West.

I hear there have been many interesting archeological discoveries lately at Athens, and there is no doubt, that great mines of artistical wealth are buried in Asia Minor and Northern Syria. I wish these things and the advantage of a little rest and recreation, might bring you and Mrs Powers out into this wild world. Just here there is nothing in your way, but in other ways that would interest you a great deal, and then we are but three or four days from Athens, where there is, you know, a vast deal, of the most absorbing interest.

I had heard nothing from Kellogg for a long time, until I learned from [...] Browne, that he had returned to Italy. Presuming that he is still at Florence, or at least within your reach, I enclose a note for him, and return your letter to Mr Gould, which ought to have been sent back long since.

Our stay here is quite uncertain, but according to present appearances, I am quite likely to get a hint from headquarters, that -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- my valuable services can be dispensed with, after the close of the current Presidential term.

The late French Revolution would astonish me, if I could be surprised at any revolution in France. I hope good may come of it, but I cannot quite see how.

I should be glad to be useful to your relative Dr Reilly, but I do not think anything can be done for him here.

Mrs Marsh, the young ladies and my son, join me in the compliments of the season, to yourself and Mrs Powers, as well as your children, & I beg you will believe me to be

Yours truly

George P Marsh note:Mr. H. Powers Florence

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