Suzanne Dendy Sadler has generously provided the following text from letters written by Walter Dendy Sadler to his family, when aged 23, an impecunious struggling artist in Dusseldorf.
My dear Willie,
Many thanks for forwarding my letters. Will you be so kind as to send my paint box by Ferdie. It is in that mahogany box of mine on the cheffaneer. You may as well send the lot if you will be so kind.
The other evening, I, Peter and Jack Gates caught 170 fish with rod and line in the river and 61 the day before. The fish are what the people up here call bass and I caught 6 grey mullet. I am enjoying myself immensely thanks to Ellen and Ferdie, who are both very kind. I must now conclude hoping you will send my paints.
your affect. Brother
Walter Dendy Sadler
My dear Ellen,
I am very much ashamed to say that you will find this a very begging letter. I am almost too much ashamed to write it. On the 20th of February, The Carnival commences here, and I want very much to appear as an English plough boy, or cartman or any rustic costume from England. I am writing to ask if you could kindly procure me one, and send me of the following articles. Hat, collar, necktie, smockfrock, trousers, and the dirty gaiters they wear. It does not matter how dirty they are. If you could possibly procure them for me I should be extremely thankful. I think that would be just the thing to go down well here.
Also, if you happen to have any old silk dress or an old curtain, pieces of chintz, or anything of that sort. They would be very acceptible in my painting. And I will certainly try to repay you a little, by painting you a little picture as soon as I have finished my large one. I would like it if you can send them over as soon as possible, as it takes 3 weeks for a box to arrive, in order that I could have the costume in time for the Carnival. If you are not able to get the costume perhaps you can send me some of the last mentioned articles later. If you will send the box to George in London, 45 Warren St. Fitzroy Sq. W. he will forward them to me and save you a deal of trouble.
After the Carnival is over, I will write you a long letter full of my adventures. I enjoyed myself immensely last year at the Carnival last year, I had great fun as a French Officer. Will you kindly write and let me know if you can get the things for me. I hope you will excuse me asking such a great favour. With best love to Ferdie, Harriet, Cleasey, and yourself.
Believe me my dear Ellen,
your affect. Brother
Walter D. Sadler
February 5, 1874
My dear Kitty,
I was so pleased to receive your letter, but must apologise for not sticking any stamps on. It came like this; I carried your letter about with me all the evening and as I was going home I just thought of it. The shops being closed, I shoved it in the box as I went by. It was a shabby thing to do but I did not want you to wait any longer before receiving my good wishes.
How old are you? 20 N'est pas? I am so glad you are progressing so famously. I am immensely sorry Mater intends taking you away so soon just as you are getting along so well. Just fancy getting 3rd prize already. ['Kitty' was Kate Sadler, a very fine painter of still life flowers.] I wish you would send me some of your compositions. The principal in shadows is first as strong as possible and thin with a piece of rag on your finger, put in the half tones, but before quickly think, just consider what you are going to do, and then put in firm and with a decided touch.
I am just putting in the finishing touches to my picture. I do so hope it will give satisfaction, but I am afraid not, for I sent George a little picture the other day and he made such a fuss about it. It has quite given me Katzenjammer. It was not really such a bad thing as he makes out, there was of course any amount of careless work in it, but it had a jolly tone and was by no means the worst thing I have done. Next Thursday I commence a new picture also for the Academy and do other little things till I come to England. It is such a relief when your picture is finished. I have been such a long time on this picture but it is the largest I have done if not the best. Burfield says it is the best.
With fond love from,
your affect. Brother,
My dear Mother,
This letter is another begging one I am sorry to say. It is to ask you to send off my money, on the 18th punctually and please with 5 lbs. extra. I hope and think it will be the last time but one that I shall have to ask you to lend me anything more. I wrote Willie, but he has not answered.
I am now hard at work at my new picture which repesents a man out of the 15th century in a cellar drawing wine; he has a large jug under his arm and is is filling his own flask. I am doing it exactly the same size as the picure I had in the Academy last year.
I also want to know, mater, if it would be agreeable for you for me to bring over a young American with me for a week or ten days. He is going to the Isle of Wyte (sic) and I should like him to stay a few days with you if agreeable. He is an agreeable young fellow, very steady, and the son of a millionaire. I have already told him I should write to you asking you to invite him, and he said if it were agreeable to you he would like to stay a few days in Horsham to make some studies of the landscape about the place. He is a pupil of the first landscape artist here.
My picture started from here March 6th a week ago last Saturday with a porcelain picture and a drawing of an old woman for Ellen. I expect there will be plenty of time for the picture to go down to Horsham before going in the Academy. I had it photographed at Willie's expense, and an expensive affair it is. I only got him three as I thought that would be enought money for him to lay out. The first copy cost 12s. and any others after 5s. a piece. I also sent him a copy of the "The Mother's Pet" at 5s. These went off last Monday with Burfield"s picture to Rocke, the frame maker in Parliament St. addressed to George. The photographer has raised his prices 75% since the new year for taking photos from pictures and then says he would rather not do it for that money even.
We are having such lovely weather. It makes one feel so light hearted and jolly. Crofts and Rurfield have presented some very nice pictures to the Academy, and I think both will take well, they ought to. Hoping you will kindly advance me the money and with best love to all especially yourself.
Believe me dear Mother
Your affect. son,
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