The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

March 2, 2016

March 2, 1792

William Hookham Carpenter (March 2, 1792 to July 12, 1866) was a keeper of prints at the British Museum.

In his official capacity he published a study of Anthony Van Dyck, a favorite painter of Stuart royalty. This was titled

Pictorial notices, consisting of a memoir of Sir Anthony Van Dyck, with a descriptive catalogue of the etchings executed by him, and a variety of interesting particulars relating to other artists patronized by Charles I  (

Herein we find descriptions of Van Dyck's work and Van Dyck's notes on some of them:

1200 florins A Last Judgment, begun by one of my scholars, after one which I did in a much larger form, for the most Serene Prince of Neuberg, who paid me three thousand five hundred florins, cash for it; but this not being finished, would be entirely retouched by my own hand, and by this means will pass as original.

500florins St. Peter taking from the fish the money to pay the tribute, with other fishermen around; taken from the life. Original by my hand.

600 florins A Hunt of men on horseback and Lions, commenced by one of my pupils, after one that I made for His most Serene, of Bavaria, but all retouched by my hand.

We see above context for evaluating Van Dyck's paintings, and naturally this would be fascinating to Carpenter, in his museum professional's capacity. I looked for the painting that includes men on horseback and lions, but didn't find it online.

The book is dedicated to Carpenter's wife, in this graceful manner:

whose congenial talent 
enables her so fully to appreciate the intellectual power
displayed in the portraits of Van Dyck
This Volume
is affectionately inscribed by

His wife was herself an artist, and did portraits, including one of a child with a cat.

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