The Cotman Collection | 5

Arthur Dixon letters

Archive: SDK Sydney Decimus Kitson Archive
Reference Number: SDK/1/3/1/1
Page: 3 recto

  • Description

    Letter of Arthur Dixon to John Joseph Cotman, 8 March 1834

    AD has received a letter in which JJC appeals to his feelings and his friendship. He is thankful that JJC and his family are well, and grateful to JJC. He had been preparing to write to [Miles] Edmund [Cotman] on a Sunday afternoon, when Alfred [Henry Cotman] came to ask for help in translating Ovid and brought JJC’s letter. He has borrowed the Cotmans’ dog Carlo. He recalls how happy JJC has made him. That morning, AD left Thorpe to accompany Mr [Joseph] Geldart to Felthorpe. Walking back with Carlo, he pretended that JJC and Edmund were there. He quotes Rousseau (La Nouvelle Héloïse, Part II, Letter 1) on his preference for remembered pleasures and for his regrets rather than being happy without Julie. He has borrowed Geldart’s drawings without permission, sends them to JJC and wants Edmund to return them.

    Date: 1834

  • Transcription

    [Note added in pencil by Kitson:
    Alfred & Ovid
    Dixon & Geldart
    at Felthorpe
    [ARTHUR DIXON to J. J. Cotman]
    (quoted by Dickes)
    Norwich March 8th 1834

    My dear, my very dear John
    The kindness of your letter overwhelms me with a tide of associated recollections which are too much [much – crossed out] for me to stem at the moment. I fear the consistency of what I ought to do & be is lost in the delicious remembrance of what I was, [which – crossed out] presented so vividly as it is in your very very unexpected & too – much too kind notice of it.
    I am arrested for a moment in what I consider – (aye too too corrosively burnt in that I should soon forget) is my hard line of duty, by your appeal to my just & long cherished feelings. I am affected and naturally so. My love for yourself was warm & sincere. [is so now need I say? but that – crossed out] & any allusion to that – ennobling – pure & good in itself as it was, cannot but affect me strongly, & what is more, dissipate for the time the delusion which makes that heart wretched which once exulted in the possession of your friendship. I do most truly thank God that in an especial manner with mercy he has stretched forth his hand to bear out & sustain from fearful anxieties & depressing disadvantage the dear connexions of the Father Mother Sister & Brothers of him who stood to me as no other man stood, but that cheerfulness which bespeaks content & which [as the flames enlighten – crossed out] is to gratitude most commonly what flame is to fire the bright accompaniment of warmth, goes not with my thanksgiving for your happiness

Letter of Arthur Dixon to John Joseph Cotman, 8 March 1834