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'' Mr. Thomason."

His Majesty George IV., knowing that I was making
a statue of himself, very kindly, through Sir William
Knighton, presented a print to me, just published, of His

"Carlton Palace, August 19, 1823.
" Dear Sir,

" I have had the pleasure of sending to you,

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by the coach of this evening, a print that 1 promised to 1823.
you of His Majesty on Friday last.

"I should be glad, when you have completed the
order which I gave you for my knives and silver gilt
spoons and forks, that you would put them all in
appropriate cases, for the purpose of being conveniently

" I remain, dear Sir,

" Your faithful and obedient servant.


"E. Thomason, Esq.*'

" Belgrave Place, 28th Aug., 1823.
'' Dear Sir,

** Mr. Bain is a young man with whom I
have taken some pains to improve him in his profession,
and he is desirous of showing you some of his work, in the
hope that you may, at some time, have it in your power
to assist him ; but I will leave him to explain his own
views. I think he has been peculiarly successful in the
head of Sir Walter Scott and Mr. Canning, and also in
one of the King, which I have allowed him to copy from
my busts.

** I remain, dear Sir, very truly yours,

"To Mr. Thomason.**

R 2

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1823. « 8, Gough Square, Fleet Street, London,

Sept. 1, 1823.

" I avail myself of Mr. Chantrey's introduc-
tion, to submit to your inspection impressions from some
of my dies, which he has kindly permitted me to exe-
cute from his busts, and under his direction. It was
my intention to do a series of medals from busts of
eminent men which Mr. C. has executed, and publish
them ; but to this 1 have not altogether resolved, and,
therefore, beg to submit to you, in the first instance,
whether you would purchase the three dies from which
the impressions sent are taken ; and, if so, what you
could allow me for them, as, should it in any way com-
pensate me for my time, it would induce me to dispose
of them, and devote myself entirely to the engraving of
dies. I could add the favourable opinion of several
persons of taste ; but your own good judgment will best
direct you in forming your opinion of them, which, if
you will be kind enough to give, along with your advice,
you will much oblige,

•* Your obedient servant,

" Mr. Thomason."

" Leamington, 3d September, 1823.
" My dear Sir,

** I send you the Swedish passport ; though
I find that, instead of the national, it bears the arms of
H. E. Count d'Engestrom, the Minister of Foreign
Affairs. Still it is the Swedish passport, and I keep my

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promise. On getting home to the Royal Hotel, after 1823.
my very interesting visit to your nohle depdt of arts, I
found myself so late for my engagements that I could
not take a moment to open my papers.

<< Nor could I take a moment to do something infi-
nitely more obligatory and more interesting, to wit,
return you my written acknowledgements for the very
distinguished reception and kindness I met at your
hands on my visit to your establishment. I thank you
sincerely for your polite welcome, and the trouble you so
kindly underwent to exhibit to me the beauties and the
wonders of your house.

'* I have had great pleasure in comparing my obser-
vations with those of Mr. Robinson and Lady Sarah,
and finding that the only effort or emotion with us is
to surpass one the other in admiration. I extolled, very
highly and very justly, the beautiful bronze vase chosen
by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. By the bye, I
decidedly think that the bronze is the most suitable
colour for the Warwick Vase. I find it to accord with
its antiquity, and the grave ideas associated with so old
and massive a work, better than silver, silver and glass,
or silver gilt.

" I shall be in London until the 15th, and most happy
to hear from you, and at all times to give you evidence
of the high consideration and respect of,

" Dear Sir,
" Your very obedient servant.

" Mr. Thomason, Birmingham.'*

My modellers had, from the beginning and during

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1823. eight months of this year, been employed in modelling a
statue of George IVth, six feet in height, and alter-
nately the four celebrated Venetian Horses ; and being
desirous of making the first bronze statue that has ever
been achieved out of the capital of an empire, I erected
a cast-house on purpose. In about eight months my
artist completed the model in clay (white clay), the atti-
tude of which was the King in his robes of state, with
the sceptre in his right hand, and holding back the folds
of his robes with his left.

At this period it was understood that no artist except
Mr. Westmacott attempted to cast colossal statues in
copper or bronze metal ; indeed, I believe no one had a
cast-house properly adapted for that end but himself,
and the process he kept a profound secret.

On reflection, it appeared to me, as I had already
cast small two-feet statues or figures in copper, for chim-
ney-piece ornaments to hold candles, that if the same
means were taken upon a large scale as were adopted
upon a small one, success must evidently follow. Mr.
Westmacott was not of this opinion, and he came to
Birmingham to pay me a visit for a day, just as the
model was finished. I, however, pursued this system.
The clay statue having been made perfectly dry some
weeks, and the machinery for winding it up and down,
for the convenience of the moulder, being by this time
erected, the moulds were now made with a peculiar mix-
ture of fine sand and plaster of Paris. These moulds were
made perfectly dry by the heat of many small stoves
all round the inside of the casting-room. The core was
suspended in a beautiful manner by innumerable small
wires, called pins, so that the copper or metal should
flow round the core, and, by its high degree of heat,
fuse or melt the wires on its approach.

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All things being now quite ready, and after a minute 1823.
examination of the sand models, to be confident that
every particle of the core and wax moulds was perfectly
dry, the furnace of the tall chimney was charged with a
proper quantity of the purest refined copper with ^frac-
Hon of tin and zinc. I recollected reading of the alarm-
ing state in which Benvenuto Cellini found himself, on
suspecting, at the moment of the casting of his Perseus at
Florence, that he had not charged the furnace with suffi-
cient metal (the sure forerunner of a failure), that he
was that morning laid up with the gout, and that, in the
height of irritation, he sent around to his neighbours,
to buy, borrow, and beg, all their copper kettles, stew-
pans, saucepans, &c. I was determined that mine
should not fail for want of this precaution, therefore
I had two tons and a half put into the furnace. Large
bellows were suspended, and worked by relays of men,
without ceasing, during the time of fluxion, which I found
took from eleven o'clock on the Thursday until seven
o'clock on the Saturday morning. I then gave directions
that the trial should be made, and the furnace tapped.
Exactly at two o'clock on Saturday, the 2d of Oct., 1823,
this decision of mine being made known, many persons of
great respectability requested to be present. I endea-
voured to persuade them from it, having heard of many
instances, that, whilst the hydrogen gas was formed by the
hot metal coming in contact with the damp sand (the sand
having been carelessly dried), an explosion did in one case
absolutely blow up part of the building. No remonstrance
would do, and the cast-house was completely filled with
respectable persons of both sexes ; the metal, however,
ran as pure as water, without accident or blemish. It
took about four days to cool, and was found to be perfect.

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1823. I have already mentioned that my modellers had alter-
nately heen modelling the statue of the King, and the
four Venetian Horses, of their proper height, each being
five feet four inches. Having understood that the attempt
had never been made before, I decided to have them
done after a novel idea of my own. I, therefore, ob-
tained a small model of them ; I made up my mind that
they should be finished and mounted upon the pediment
of my manufactory on the same day that the statue of his
Majesty should be cast. This was effected to the astonish-
ment of my fellow-townsmen, and as a critique of both
was published on the 5th October, 1823, in the Bir-
mingham newspaper, called the ^^ Bazar, or Literary and
Scientific Repository/* I copy their remarks, which are
as follow, in their paper of Thursday, October 9th,

" New and Splendid Works of Art lately executed at
the Manufactory of Mr. Thomason of this town.


It is with infinite pleasure that we are called upon to
notice the accomplishment of an undertaking which, as
a work of art, reflects the highest credit on the indivi-
dual under whose special direction it has been effected,
and, if viewed in a liberal sense, adds no little to the
enterprising character of the town ; we mean, the com-
pletion of a Colossal Statue of his present Majesty, in
real bronzCt which, on Saturday last, was cast at the
foundry belonging to the establishment of Mr. Thoma-
son. The statue is in height between six and seven feet,
and is, we are pretty well assured, the first that has ever
been cast out of the metropolis of any kingdom. It is

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allowed^ also, by men who have full knowledge of the art, 1823.
to be a most perfect and beautiful specimen of casting.
The King is represented in his robes of state ; his posi-
tion is marked by that ease, gracefulness and dignity,
which so eminently characterize his manner ; his right
hand holds the sceptre, and his left is occupied in throw-
ing back the folds of his robes. The likeness has been
allowed to be most excellent by all who have witnessed
the progress of the model ; and standing, as it does, in
all the majesty of truth, exhibiting a noble specimen
of the near approach of art to the stamp of nature, and
challenging the great works of the most eminent artists
of every country, it presents a claim to regard the more
especial, as it has been accomplished within a district
where the united efforts of genius and labour may be
supposed to have less play, and where, naturally enough,
exertions of this nature may not be deemed likely to
meet with an adequate reward. We have not heard
where Mr. Thomason intends to place this memorable
production of his genius and spirit.


The most celebrated collections of Europe contain
very few of those monuments of sculpture of which the
ancient authors have given any account The marbles
brought from the Acropolis at Athens, by the Earl of
Elgin, must be considered as forming the best assem-
blage ; but amongst the most renowned of the remains
of the art of sculpture which have been preserved, and
which have commanded universal admiration, may be
ranked the four Steeds commonly designated of Venice.
For 300 years they occupied the attention of the ancient
world : their history is somewhat remarkable : —

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1828. They were from the hand of Lysippus, a native of
Sicyon, in Peloponnesus, and who flourished about 825
years before the Christian era, in the age of Alex-
ander the Great, in whose reign they decorated the
Temple of the Sun at Corinth.

In the first year of the Christian era, the second
Augustus of Rome gave the weight in gold for several
statues of the work of Lysippus ; and thus he came into
possession of the famous horses.

Nero, the sixth Emperor of Rome, in the 54th year
of the Christian era, placed them over a triumphal arch
in his capital.

In the year 324, when Constantine founded the city
of Constantinople, he took with him the four horses,
where they continued the principal ornament of the

In the 12th century, when the Venetians made them-
selves masters of Constantinople, they took possession of
these statues, and placed them over the facade of the
Church of St. Mark, at Venice.

In 1805, when the Emperor Napoleon conquered
Venice, he had the horses conveyed to Paris, and placed
them over the triumphal arch which separates the Court
of the Tuilleries, from the Place CarovsseL

And in 1815, when the Allies entered Paris, they were
restored to the Venetians, and at present occupy their old
quarters at Venice.

It is extremely gratifying to us now to notice that the
first attempt ever hazarded in making b. faC'Simile of
these statues has been completed, in a novel style of
workmanship, by the artists in Mr. Thomason's manu-
factory, under his immediate direction. Having our-
selves been favoured with an account of the process



employed in the accomplishment of this attempt, we are 1823.
enabled to lay it before our readers : —

The skeleton of the Horses were made partly of iron
and copper, and thickly studded with metallic hexagonal
starts. A compost made of the oxyde of iron and quartz
was forced between, and surrounded the skeletons. The
sculptor's chisel was then employed to shape the animals :
a solution was next used, composed of oil boiled with
the red oxyde of lead (whereby the oxygen is absorbed
by the oil), with which the compost was copiously satu-
rated, and in a few weeks it became hard by dessication.
A coat of oleaginous acetate of lead was then employed,
and afterwards a similar one of massicot, by which means
they were prepared for the process of gilding, the which
was richly effected with unalloyed gold.

Mr. Thomason, under the influence of a strong feeling
of loyalty, determined on the elevation of these Jac-simile
statues to their intended situation on the very day that
the cast of his Majesty was taken. This was accord-
ingly done, and we are sorry to have to remark, that,
in consequence of the size not being sufficiently dry, and
of the quantity of rain which unfortunately fell during
the following night, the gilding has been disturbed in a
number of places, and the appearance of the figures is
consequently much injured.

We understand Mr. Thomason does not intend to
renew the gilding of them for the present, but to allow
them to remain during the winter, in order to ascertain
whether the atmospheric changes will make any import-
ant alteration in their constituent parts.

They stand about 5 feet 4 inches in height, and are
liberally placed on the pediment, in front of his manu-
factory, thus furnishing an example of the progress of

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1828. the Arts, and exhibiting a novel experiment in sculp-

" 14, South Audley Street, 13th Oct., 1823.
"Dear Sir,

" It gave me great pleasure to read your
success at Birmingham, but your remembrance made me
rather ashamed of myself. Though late, I send you the
sketch I drew up, some time since, from the scanty
materials I could collect, relative to the Venetian Horses.
You will perceive my opinion is not favourable to their
being the work of Lysippus. As the little family affair
you were so obliging to undertake for me is, I suppose,
nearly completed, I could wish, not having made up my
mind whether I will have arms or cyphers only engraved,
that the silver part upon which it is proposed to intro-
duce them should be indicated by a faint circle of dots,
that we may know which part to apply to whenever I
may choose to insert either. How goes on the great
fountain ? I have spoken of it to many of my friends,
and particularly of the little temple. I should desire to
see the whole cast in the same imperishable material from
the plaster models so beautifully got up in France, and
that a set were in every academy and collection of con-
sequence in Europe. I beg my compliments to Mrs.
Thomason, and am,

" Dear Sir, very sincerely yours,

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" Venetian Horses. 1823.

** It has been generally admitted that the horses
which now exist on the portail of Saint Mark, at Venice,
were brought from Chios by the younger Theodosius,
and erected in the Hippodrome, at Constantinople, in
which place they were discovered 800 years after his

" They were originally gilt, and are cast chiefly or
wholly of copper, that metal receding gold more readily
than any other ^ and we may, from this circumstance,
conclude that these horses were attached to a car,* from
being general to adopt gilding when so applied, and
unusual on other occasions when the workmanship was
held in estimation. By extraordinary good fortune
these horses not only escaped the ravages of the many
barbarous hordes which successively possessed Byzan-
tium ; the frequent fires to which that city, by a singular
fatality, was exposed ; but more particularly the cupidity
of the Crusaders, who, in 1204, not only dispersed but
nearly destroyed every object valuable in art, the French
and Venetians being the chief actors in that spoliation.
On the death of Dandolo, in 1205, Ziani was elected
Doge, and those Venetians who were at Constantinople
chose Martin Zeno, called Potesta, as their general, who,
in 1207, sent these horses to Venice, reserved, most pro-
bably, as part of his booty. Some doubts have been
suggested, from the similarity of the action of these
horses with those upon a triumphal arch to a medal of
Nero, that they are of Roman workmanship ; but as
chefs d^cBUvres in art were often repeated, that objection
need not shake Codinus* and other writers* authority ;

* A symbol of the sun.

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1823. independent of which, Pliny makes no mention of them.
That the horses in question are of Greek workmanship
there can he little douht, hut no authority whatever
exists for ascribing them to the hand of Lysippus ; they
either are not his work, or his reputation has been greatly

"Somerset Hotel, Strand, London,
22d October, 1823,
"Dear Sir,

" I had the pleasure to receive your letter,
together with the box containing drawings of a Mint for
Batavia, which I have little doubt will tempt the Dutch
Government at Java to give an immediate order for a
complete concern, including the rolling machinery, it
being so much superior to the minting apparatus now
used by them. Whatever negotiations may be entered
into with our house at Batavia in respect to this shall be
communicated direct to you.

I must apologize for the length of time I have suffered
your letter to be unreplied to, but I was just on the point
of starting for Scotland, where I have been travelling
about till now. I am afraid I shall not be able to pay
you another visit at Birmingham this year, as I must be
on my way out to Java by the end of January. Please
present my compliments to Mrs. Thomason, and be-
lieve me,

"Dear Sir,

" Yoiurs very truly.

" Edward Thomason, Esq., Birmingham."

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"Sir, 1823.

" I am happy in the opportunity of sending
you the prints of the Capo di Monte and Acteon Vases.
The first named is the largest Greek vase ever dis-
covered ; it is spoken of hy Pausanius, and existed ahout
two thousand years before the Christian era. The
Acteon vase is curious for its high polish and preserva-
tion, and above all for the names of the principal figures
being written over each in the ancient Greek character.
The vases themselves belonged to the late Mr. Edwards,
of Pall Mall, and now to his children. The large medal
is the work of Bertaldi, of Florence — Mahomet II.,
the conqueror of Trebisond, Greece, and Asia ; repre-
sented on the reverse as three female captives. The
small medal represents Sixtus the IVth., the founder of
the Vatican library.

" Should you not be in the way when the Rev. Mr.
John Hutchingson leaves this place, I must beg you to
give me a line acknowledging the receipt of the two
medals. I beg your acceptance of the prints of the

" Mr. Butt begs me to present his compliments,
together with my own, to Mrs. Thomason and yourself.
" I have the honour to be. Sir,

" Your obedient servant,

"Shenthain, Stone, Staflfordshire, ^

Wednesday, Oct. 27, 1843.''

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lft23, " Foreign Office, London, 8th ^ov., 1823.

" Gentlemen,

" Being appointed one. of a committee
of the Royal Humane Society to adjudge as to a prize
medal, to be given under the will of the late Dr. Fother-
gill, as by the enclosed paper, I invite you to send in to
me plans or designs for the said medal, apprising you
that if your plan or design be approved, you will have to
execute the same, and that the same will be given every

three years.

" I reman, gentlemen,

" Your very obedient servant.

" Messrs. Thomason and Co.'*

*' Birmingham, Nov. 21st, 182.3.
" Sir,

" In compliance with your esteemed request,

I have the honour to transmit you a design for the medal
which the Committee of the Royal Humane Society
> require — *0n the Prevention of Shipwreck, and the
the Preservation of Shipwrecked Mariners.'

" The allegory of the design represents a vessel in
distress discharging an anchor from a cannon (Captain
Manby*s invention), and Britannia in the attitude of
receiving it.

•* A light-house is seen as a beacon, and a life-boat
puts off from the shore.

" Offering you at all times my best services, 1 have

the honour to be,


"Yours obediently,

" Edward Thomason.
" To James Bandinel, Esq."

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" Cheltenham, 6th Dec, 1823. 1828,

'^ Dear Sir,

" I heg to acknowledge the receipt of the
dollar, &c. I did intend paying you a visit prior to my
leaving for Columhia. Since my return here, I have heen
so much occupied that I must return to London, and
expect to emhark on or about the 27th or 28th. I
wish some further and more full explanation on the
following : —

** Price of dollar, you say, at 4s. 6d. If you have
calculated them at that price, and dollars should be re-
mitted, they will not bring more than about 4s. 2d.

** What diflference of price will there be between the
dollar, half-dollar, and quarter dollar ? or what quantity
of each have you calculated at the price named ? I sup-
pose the smaller ones worth more than the larger in
proportion ?

" Have you calculated the expense of packing ? Say
what that expense would be, including carriage to the
port of shipping. They will have to be packed in iron-
bound boxes of .1000 dollars each, or in weight not to
exceed 125 lbs. I must be prepared for all those neces-
sary statements, as I shall be bound dovra close. Give
me any information that may suggest itself to you.

" You omitted giving me your idea as to the probable
cost of a mint, or what a mint would perform to cost
about £5,000 fixed in that country.

" I wish at least one die of a dollar had been made, I
would have paid the expense myself; I think it would
have saved trouble. The drawings I sent you were not
quite correct, I could not procure a dollar anywhere in
London. I send you a small gold coin of the province
of Popayan. This has the proper cornucopia, and

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1823 instead of the word Popayan, should be La Liber-

" Suppose you were to make me an exact drawing, or,
at least, two of each of the dollar, half dollar, and quarter
dollar, with the head and reverse the exact size the coin
would be : from that I could get the order. Those you
sent will do for a sample as to size and weight, I suppose ;
but I should like to have two of each, as I shall, most
likely, have to leave one with Piaz, who has sole command
in Venezuela, and has power to coin if he likes. An
early reply will oblige,

" Dear Sir, yours, &c.,

" Address me, 15, King's Arms Yard, Coleman Street,

" Dear Sir,

" I have the pleasure, Sir, to send you,
by order of his Majesty the King, a letter of his Ma-
jesty, and a golden medal, to testify you his Majesty's
satisfaction of the present of the Elgin Medals that I
had the honour to present him in your name.

" You will allow me. Sir, the use of this occasion to
show you how indebted I am to youi- kind reception at

" I am, Sir,
" Your most obedient humble servant.

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