[Venice—Tuesday, 20 October 1885]

Mr Browning at Sir H. Layard’s an eveg party. Talked of the affair of buying the Manzoni, or Montecuculi Palace opposite Palo Barbaro. As I had been in correspondence some years ago, with Marchese Montecuculi in Styria, to buy the Palace of his family, together with Mr W. W. Story, Mr Browning requested me to reopen the matter on his account—wh. I did, & the Montecuculi replied, and is shortly to be in Venice. Mr B’s son Barrett visited the Palace with me. Mr B. greatly interested in the matter and anxious to effect the purchase, about wh. he talked long & being asked by Lady L. to take a lady in to supper, gave his arm to Mrs Curtis. A Miss Hammond, dr of Ld H. played zither well. The Layards’ house filled with objects all of the greatest beauty & rarity. As Cabinets of madre-perla (gift of Sultan to Lady L.) tortoise shell, ivory. Quantities of Spanish plate, repoussé—dozens of Hispano-Moresco faieces line the hall– Gothic armours & weapons. The walls all hung with silk. Has pictures all remarkable & many of rare painters (in the market)—as CarpaccioBoccancini, Gaudenzio Ferrari, Cima, Bissolo—a portrait of the Sultan, by Gent. Bellini! (offered to Sir H. by a stranger, as he was once getting into his gondola to leave Venice). Of his collection one might think the present condition but too good for their age.

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