21 March 2005
GOETHE. Johann Wolfgang von (1749-1832). Letter signed "G" [to the printer Carl Bertuch. Weimar], dated 20th November 1811.
One page, 8o (185 x 115mm), on a median quarter sheet (3 pp. blank). Probably written by Goethe's last secretary, Friedrich Wilhelm Riemer, whose hand closely resembled that of his master, but the abbreviated signature is Goethe's own. Folding cloth box.
Goethe sends Bertuch his autograph catalogue and in this accompanying note expresses the wish to have it printed in the same roman type as the plant catalogue of the Ducal orangerie at the Belvedere near Weimar (published earlier by Friedrich Johann Justin Bertuch). He estimates that the copy will fit on a single quarto leaf if the authors are listed in four columns. (The precision of Goethe's estimate can be seen from the next lot in this sale.) He asks his correspondent's advice and should like to know the cost of such a publication. Bertuch's response must have been satisfactory as Goethe wrote again five days later, referring to this letter and formally ordering the printing (Weimarer Ausgabe IV, 22, p. 201). The present letter came to light in Stargardt sale 479 (January 1949, lot 30) and was published from its catalogue description in WA vol. 51 Nachträge 6213a.
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