Milan September 27th. 1730 – NS.


I have been out of Venice these three Months, and on my arrival here I saw a letter from you, sent me by my Friend Mr. Smith. in it I see a copy of directions about the Monumental piece to the memory of Sir I. Newton: I was formerly favoured with the same Notices more than once, and sent you my opinion about 'em in a letter which I writ to you from Rome in the month of December last & which I put into the French post my selfe tho' I find by what you write that it must have miscarryed: I keep no copys of my Letters, therefore shall give my present opinion about the piece as you <2> {wou'd} have it, and as I intended it.

In all the pieces I have had done, there is (in each of 'em) a Sepulchre wherein I suppose my Heroe lyes – the sepulchres are adorned with statues, urns, basso-relievo's &c, allusive to the Virtues, arms of the Family &c of each of 'em The sepulchres I suppose placed in a solitary scituation, & that there is an anniversary Ceremony performed (on a certain day) at 'em – I introduce Figures (under each of 'em) properly Employed as I think to explain the meaning of the Visitants, & their intentions &c.

'Tis impossible to tell (in such a narrow compass) more than one main story without running into what wou'd be very trivial, & the pieces wou'd resemble the cutts in The Gierusaleme Liberata


In the Monument to the Memory of the Duke of Malbró', I make a soldier attended with Guards &c. as visiting the Monument of a great General – I mean nothing more in it but this visit – now if I was to represent his battles, sieges and ability's as an able counsellour I have no way to do it but by Medaglions, Medals Basso relievo's – statues &c.

To shew you that I have not been negligent in serving you, I have ordered a piece to be done of the same size with those of the Duke of Richmond's but turn'd long ways – the perspective & Landscape have been done these six month's but how to dispose of the Figures is the great difficulty & I'me affraid impossible, at least to my own satisfaction & if it can't be done to my satisfaction I'll promise you shall never have it


I wish the gentleman who assisted you with the plan of the Landscape & the disposition of the several groupes of figures wou'd make a small Sketch of his picture, which will explain his Meaning much better than I can understand it by writing –

I would be glad to know, what size he intends the Figures to be (in a cloath of that length & breadth) and how he wou'd have the resemblances kept of the several philosophers, astronomers &c. and the different Meanings expressed of the different groupes of Figures &c.

In short better heads than mine in Rome & Bologna are puzzled how to contrive it –

Sir Isaack Newtons Monument is one of the collection which Sir William Morice has & assoon as I {send} it him be so good as to cast an Eye on it <5> {and} Let me have your opinion about it –– If that or something like that will please you I will have it well Executed by the same or some other able painter: if not I'll try whether anything can be done in the manner you desire; if neither pleases you, then the Fifty pound which I received shall be repaid you, by the same hand: this is all I think necessary to be said on this score.

Ime glad you have given the commission to Mr. Smith for the pictures of Canaletto, & I hope you'l like 'em when they are done. I am, it may be, a little too delicate in my choice, for of twenty pieces I see of him I don't like eighteen & I have seen several sent to London that I <6> {wou'd not} give house room too, nor two pistols each. He's a covetous, greedy fellow & because he's in reputation people are glad to get anything & at his own price.

'Tis above three years that he has two copper plates in his hands, for the Duke of Richmond & I thought it wrong to sett him at work on new work 'till he had delivered what he has been obliged to do so long since.

The Two copper plates of the Duke of Richmond two of Mr. Southwell & two of Sir William Morice are in his buon gusto – pray compare these with any other you know & you'l soon discern the difference – If I can be of any use to you I hope you'l Honour me with your Commands. I am your very much oblig'd servant Owen Swiny


Pietro Patroni has been Employed for two years past in making telescopes &c. for the King of Spain, and 'tis difficult to get any thing out of his hands. I sent him a pistol on the receipt of your former letter which is half the price of the Glass you desire, & I have paid him the remainder now, & he promises to send it me to Venice in a Month: assoon as I receive it Ill forward it to you.


To Iohn Conduit Esqr. at his house in Great-George-street near Hanover-square London

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Professor Rob Iliffe
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Faculty of History, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2RL - newtonproject@history.ox.ac.uk

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