The late 1840s witnessed Wilkie preoccupied with his efforts to find patrons for his biographical tribute to his father. Letters to George Richmond, Robert Peel, Benjamin Disraeli, Alaric A. Watts and William Etty, among others, are chiefly concerned with this object. An important, lengthy letter [17 June 1850] to his father’s close American friend, the author R.H. Dana, ranges over a variety of topics such as the state of England, the lack of leadership in the country, Landseer’s popularity, Macaulay’s profits and reminiscences of earlier family tours to Italy and Wordsworth’s fear of cholera.
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