[Joachim, Joseph. (1831-1907)] Horsley, John Callcott. (1817 - 1903)

Important Original Portrait of the Violinist at his London debut, age 13

Original 1844 pencil drawing study on J Whatman paper (watermarked 1842), most likely for a cover design or magazine article, depicting the young violinist standing on England, atop the globe, with the four continents on each corner. Signed and dated in pencil at lower ground. Measures 8-3/4 x 6-3/4 inches. 
John Callcott Horsley (1817-1903) was a well-known painter, illustrator and best known as the designer of the first Christmas Card. His brother, Charles Edward Horsley (1822-1876), was a composer and a pupil of Mendelssohn and lived in Leipzig from 1841-1843.  In May of 1844, Joseph Joachim was in London for a series of concerts. This prodigy, at age 13, mesmerized the London music scene, performing with the London Philharmonic, Beethoven’s Concerto: “an eloquent vindication of the master-spirit who imagined it” (Illustrated London News, vol. 4, No. 109 (June 1, 1844), p. 354).

Ivan Mahaim, in his Beethoven: Naissance et renaissance des derniers quatuors (1964), ascribes the drawing to Charles Horsley and not his brother John Callcott Horsley, although the plate he reproduces from Briefe von und an Joseph Joachim (1911) attributes it to the latter, stating that the drawing is from Joseph Joachim's "stammbuch". Neither of them provide any location for the work or said book. Other publications, including Borchard's Stimme und Geige: Amalie und Joseph Joachim: Biographie und Interpretationsgeschichte (2005), variously suggest original placement in Joseph Joachim's "stammbuch" or in the John Callcott Horsley's family album ("stammbuchzeichnung"). However, the British Library has confirmed to us that they have no record of the drawing ever appearing in their collections of Joachim and likewise the Bodleian Library, which houses the Horsley family archives, confirms the drawing has never been on deposit with them.  In any event, the work was at some point acquired by the noted collector of music education and appreciation, Diana R. Tillson (1918-2013), much of whose collection is now part of the Cotsen Children's Library at Princeton University. The present drawing, with other items from the Tillson collection, was sold in a 2014 auction following her death. (10633)

Classical Music