NPG 1126 (9a/9b)
|Selected Letters||Letter from William Ewart Gladstone to G.F. Watts, dated 25 May 1896, describing his pleasure at hearing that the artist has been offered a Privy Councillorship.|
My dear Mr Watts
In foregoing your opportunities of fortune you have set a great example to an age which much needed it; an original example when it is considered that (as I suppose few if any would doubt) you have been for many years the Prince of British Art.
What you tell me about the Athenaeum bemuses me. It rankles and will rankle. But I cannot help thinking there must be means through which without troubling you, this annoyance (which as I well understand may be greater than it seems) could be averted.
Your fame has a basis more
solid than any external decoration. When I read your fine sentence
I expected to reply "the oldest member of the Privy Council
(55 years old) greets the youngest: I must now substitute for
these last words 'covets a very distinguished accession to it'.
I wish we had power to fall back upon the poor
Baronetcy. Believe me with much regard