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Lot #539
Niccolo Paganini Autograph Letter Signed

En route to London for a concert series, Paganini writes to his physician friend, Dr. Archibald Billing

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Estimate: $2500+
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En route to London for a concert series, Paganini writes to his physician friend, Dr. Archibald Billing

ALS in Italian, signed “N. Paganini,” one page, 4.25 x 6.75, June 10, 1832. Handwritten letter to one of his closest friends in England, Dr. Archibald Billing, explaining that rheumatic fever has kept him in bed for six days and rendered him unable to leave Paris for London. In part (translated): "Now that I am better I am disposed to leave next Wednesday or Thursday. I am anxious to embrace you and to tell you by word of mouth all that the pen can never express, sentiments of tenderness for you and all your excellent family…similar things I shall tell our beloved Mr. C." Paganini hopes that Dr. Billing has withdrawn £3200 from a Mr. Heath, and asks him to recommend a good servant for his forthcoming stay in London: "I would accept him willingly, but he must not be married." Addressed on the integral leaf in Paganini's own hand. Also docketed in another hand: "With the compliments of his humble servant Calandrelli." In very good condition, with light staining, paper loss (some of which has been restored), and old repairs to fold and hinge splitting.

Paganini would leave Paris later in the week for Boulogne, where he gave a concert before the city's Philharmonic Society. He proceeded to London, where he gave a series of twelve performances at Covent Garden between July 6th and August 17th. Dr. Archibald Billing was a leading physician in London during the period, and one of Paganini's closet friends in England; an amateur musician, Billing would host a trio of Mendelssohn, Paganini, and the cellist Robert Lindley at his home in 1833. Paganini also refers to "Mr. C," Samuel Cartwright, a noted British dentist and fellow friend of Paganini. "Mr. Freeman" was Paganini's secretary from 1831 to 1833, and "Mr. Heath" was his banker. The Reform Bill, passed on June 7, 1810, caused a run on British banks, which evidently worried Paganini—thus his request to withdraw his funds.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts Featuring Classical Music
  • Dates: #661 - Ended April 12, 2023

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