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|Archive reference number||NGA27/32/1/149|
Letters and memorandum related to Ernest Beckett
|Date||22-26 Nov 1904|
Letters and memorandum (22-26 Nov 1904) related to Ernest Beckett and his attempt to sell a picture by Botticelli, purchased originally from the firm of Agnew's, as follows:
 Copy of a letter (22-Nov 1904) from William Lockett Agnew to Ernest Beckett, regarding questions of the authenticity of the Botticelli painting. Agnew advises that this is standard practice by critics but should not cause undue concern. He states it is "impossible to give absolute proof" of a work of this age and is "a question of eyesight, expert knowledge and a general consenus of opoinion on the part of competent judges."
Agnew states that he had hoped questions of authenticity regarding this work and one by Franz Hals had been addressed, declines to re-open them, advises Beckett that offering the works for sale "about on the Continent" is ill-advised and offers to sell on Beckett's behalf.
 Letter from D. Croal Thomson to William Lockett Agnew relating details of a visit by Ernest Beckett to the firm of Agnew's after the letter of 22 Nov 1904 was received. Beckett has related to Agnew that his Botticelli is under offer to "Senator Clarke of America" (possibly William. A. Clark) but its authenticity has been questioned by Bernard Berenson. Beckett has expressed regret for any misunderstanding and promised to call and speak, rather than write, on any further issues of authenticity.
 Memorandum (26 Nov 1904) by D. Croal Thomson regarding a visit to the firm of Agnew's by Sir Edward Poynter to view works by George Frederic Watts and Sandro Botticelli, the latter of the Virgin and Child. Thomson relates a conversation William Lockett Agnew and Poynter have had regarding the Botticelli. Poynter is strongly in favour of Agnew purchasnig the work, as advised by Charles Fairfax Murray, stating that Murray "knows better than any man these Italian masters."
Named persons featured:
Agnew, William Lockett 1858-1918
Beckett, Ernest William, 2nd Baron Grimthorpe 1856–1917
Berenson, Bernard 1865-1959
Poynter, Sir Edward John, 1st Baronet 1836–1919
Murray, Charles Fairfax 1849 – 1919