Letter from G. P. A. HEALY to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated May 17, 1869.
My dear friend.
I beg you to be so kind as to give me a line of introduction for my wife and daughters to the American Consul at Stuttgard, as they expect to be there next winter. -- I have recently painted a group of Mr. Longfellow and daughter which I think of sending to Munich.
I am now waiting for sittings from Pius IX. an order from the U.S. -- I like Rome more, the longer I am here. I intend to return next winter: on the 27 we go to Venice, where I shall make some studies. I have written to Mr. Alexander telling him to send to you for his Jackson.
With love from all to Mrs. MarshI am, Sincerely your friend.Geo. P. A. Healy
Hon. Geo.P. Marsh.
References in this letter:
Healy knew the American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) from his time in Boston and painted his portrait with his daughter Edith while they were visiting Rome.
Pope Pius IX (Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti), who held the office from 1846 to 1878, was a dedicated foe of all aspects of modernism. His encyclical Quanta cura, issued December 8, 1864, had attached to it a Syllabus listing eighty of the "principal errors of our times."
The American portrait painter, George Peter Alexander Healy (1813-1894), was one of the most popular artists of his time. He is known for his paintings of presidents, statesman, and members of Society on both sides of the Atlantic. A native of Boston, he studied in France under Antoine-Jean Gros and established a studio in Paris. In 1840, the U.S. Minister to France, General Lewis Cass, introduced Healy to King Louis Phillippe, and his reputation was established in Europe. In all, Healy made thirty trans-Atlantic trips but settled in Chicago at the behest of a wealthy Illinois businessman, William Butler Ogden.