[London—Monday, 27 June 1859]
Monday June 27th Mr Hawthorne and Julian (an interesting boy) came to breakfast at ½ past nine. Hawthorne wishes us to take a Villa near Florence where they lived; he said the bells of Florence sounded exquisitely there and beside the place was haunted. He dislikes all people of pretension but loves old friends in a way not often seen. Talked much about his new novel nervously, with the muscles of his face twitching, and lowered voice. He says he shall publish his journal also. After his departure we went to Page’s studio and saw that newest marvel of modern art, that original painted poem, that exquisite blending of storm sun-beams, he calls his Venus. He was quite alone in the studio and seemed to be gazing at the picture and asking comfort from it for the Neuralgia which was racking every nerve. He talked delightfully about it and about Art. He said, painting might draw from sculpture as well as from poetry but Sculpture could not receive again from painting. He had compared his picture with the highest and was content to wait for appreciation.
From Page we went to Durham whose studio was full of works I had not seen. He seems now one of the greatest of living sculptors. There is a strength and simplicity about his character which pervades everything he does. Alastor and Chastity, Peace and War were among the most striking I saw there. I believe they were the last however and I like Durham so much his last always seem the best. Shopped with Jamie afterward, and dropped into Chapman’s where we saw Page’s remarkable picture of Browning and George Meredith the author of many nice books too. Returned just in time to dress for dinner with Mrs Dallas (Isabella Glynn.) Mr Dallas I like immensely. So intelligent and a perfect gentleman. We met Mr and Mrs Ward both fashionable painters, but high fed artists like high fed clergymen are distasteful. Also Mr and Mrs Blackwood of Edinburgh and Dr and Mrs Russell. Mrs Dallas took down her long locks after dinner. I never saw greater wealth of hair. The dinner was magnificent. Peaches and flowers too beautiful to believe quite real.