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Ex Voto   By: (1835-1902)

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The illustrations to this book are mainly collotype photographs by Messrs. Maclure, Macdonald & Co., of Glasgow. Notwithstanding all their care, it cannot be pretended that the result is equal to what would have been obtained from photogravure; I found, however, that to give anything like an adequate number of photogravures would have made the book so expensive that I was reluctantly compelled to abandon the idea.

As these sheets leave my hands, my attention is called to a pleasant article by Miss Alice Greene about Varallo, that appeared in The Queen for Saturday, April 21, 1888. The article is very nicely illustrated, and gives a good idea of the place. Of the Sacro Monte Miss Greene says: "On the Sacro Monte the tableaux are produced in perpetuity, only the figures are not living, they are terra cotta statues painted and moulded in so life like a way that you feel that, were a man of flesh and blood to get mixed up with the crowd behind the grating, you would have hard work to distinguish him from the figures that have never had life."

I should wish to modify in some respects the conclusion arrived at on pp. 148, 149, about Michael Angelo Rossetti's having been the principal sculptor of the Massacre of the Innocents chapel. There can be no doubt that Rossetti did the figure which he has signed, and several others in the chapel. One of those which are probably by him (the soldier with outstretched arm to the left of the composition) appears in the view of the chapel that I have given to face page 144, but on consideration I incline against the supposition of my text, i.e., that the signature should be taken as governing the whole work, or at any rate the greater part of it, and lean towards accepting the external authority, which, quantum valeat, is all in favour of Paracca. I have changed my mind through an increasing inability to resist the opinion of those who hold that the figures fall into two main groups, one by the man who did the signed figure, i.e., Michael Angelo Rossetti; and another, comprising all the most vigorous, interesting, and best placed figures, that certainly appears to be by a much more powerful hand. Probably, then, Rossetti finished Paracca's work and signed one figure as he did, without any idea of claiming the whole, and believing that Paracca's predominant share was too well known to make mistake about the authorship of the work possible. I have therefore in the title to the illustration given the work to Paracca, but it must be admitted that the question is one of great difficulty, and I can only hope that some other work of Paracca's may be found which will tend to settle it. I will thankfully receive information about any other such work.

May 1, 1888.


Unable to go to Dinant before I published "Ex Voto," I have since been there, and have found out a good deal about Tabachetti's family. His real name was de Wespin, and he tame of a family who had been Copper beaters, and hence sculptors for the Flemish copper beaters made their own models for many generations. The family seems to have been the most numerous and important in Dinant.

The sculptor's grandfather, Perpete de Wespin, was the first to take the sobriquet of Tabaguet, and though in the deeds which I have seen at Namur the name is always given as "de Wespin," yet the addition of "dit Tabaguet" shows that this last was the name in current use. His father and mother, and a sister Jacquelinne, under age, appear to have all died in 1587. Jean de Wespin, the sculptor, is mentioned in a deed of that date as "expatrie," and he has a "gardien" or "tuteur," who is to take charge of his inheritance, appointed by the Court, as though he were for some reason unable to appoint one for himself. This lends colour to Fassola's and Torrotti's statement that he lost his reason about 1586 or 1587... Continue reading book >>

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