[Charles Napier Hemy, RA, marine artist.] Autograph Letter Signed ('C. Napier Hemy') to 'Cope' [i.e. Sir Arthur Stockdale Cope], featuring two humorous self-portraits, complaining about 'family uproar' over his new beard and doctor's orders.

Charles Napier Hemy (1841-1917), RA, marine artist, leader of the Falmouth School [Sir Arthur Stockdale Cope (1857-1940), RA, portrait painter]
Publication details: 
On letterhead of Churchfield, Falmouth. 8 December 1912.
SKU: 21127

4pp., 12mo. Bifolium. In good condition, lightly aged. A gentle, humorous and characteristic letter to a friend, featuring two self-portraits. (Hemy and Cope had been elected to the Royal Academy on the same day, 4 May 1910.) The letter begins with some doggerel by Hemy, dressed up by him as a quotation from a '16 Cent[ur]y song': 'My youthful years are past | My dining days are done | My life it may not last | For me there's no more fun. || Chorus (& duet) | And I a man in woe | desirous to be dead | My mischief to press.' Turning to prose, he apologises for not being able to 'come up till the spring, but how nice & more kind of you & Mrs. Cope'. He laments that his doctor is 'a terrible chap, he has stopped my dinners, & all drinks I mean pleasant drinks'. Beneath this line is a crude picture of a bearded Hemy, sitting dejectedly, while picking at a cup. Beneath the picture he writes: 'This is what its like now. Bread & milk for dinner!!! But I must say that the result is all right.' The 'result' is shown at the top of the third page: another crude picture of Hemy, this time showing him working dynamically at a large canvas. 'Never worked so well & am still [?] & having a lively time of it. I have grown a lovely white beard. You see Leighton had a beard & Poynter has a beard & so I thought – dont you see – I better let you know in fear the shock might injure you. There is a family uproar going on about it.' He urges Cope to 'start one also; there will be a panic but you hold out. - Ten minutes more in bed of a morning – its worth it.' On the subject of a Royal Academy exhibition, he supposes 'there will be Old Masters & Tadema, when does the show open?' The letter concludes: 'We have had, & are having the most lovely mild weather. I sit at the open window of the Vander Meer with my models posing on a [?] I am painting do you see.'