"The friendship that unites us for life": Leopold of Salerno and Francesca Thalberg

Leopold, Prince of Salerno (1790-1851). 3 autograph letters signed.

Paris and Sorrento, n. y. [ca. 1843-1851].

4to and large 8vo. Altogether 3 pp.


Charming correspondence with an intimate friend named Francesca, without doubt the dancer and singer Francesca "Cecchina" Lablache, wife of the Austrian piano virtuoso Sigismond Thalberg.

On a "Wednesday 3 October", during a stay in Paris, the Prince relates news from Naples, asks her to tell "Sigis" that he won't be able to accompany him to London and invites her to spend the day together, suggesting a walk in the Bois de Boulogne, dinner at the famous restaurant Voisin on rue Saint Honoré, and a theater visit.

In a letter from Sorrento, dated 19 October, Leopold reacts enthusiastically to Francesca's announcement of a visit to Naples together with Sigismond. Leopold reports that the cholera epidemic is over and that his health has improved while staying on the countryside. The letter in full: "In questo momento giunto, ricevo la vostra carissima da Montpellier. Mando la presente col vapore che parte oggi per Marsiglia. Io sono felicissimo di sapervi decisa a venire presto in Napoli. Qui il cholera è, finito interamente da più giorni e potete stare certa di quel che vi dico. La mia salute è buona sono ancora in campagna ma appena voi sarete giunta lascerò per la città. Salutatemi Sigis e contate sull'affetto che vi porto e sull'amicizia che ci unisce per la vita [...]".

Finally, on a 31 December, Leopold wrote in pencil to invite Francesca and Sigismond for lunch, hoping to "end the year in the company of my best friend": "Cara Francesca, questo è l'ultimo giorno dell'anno. Se volete venite a pranzo da me alle 5. Chiuderò l'anno in compagnia della mia migliore amica, Leopoldo".

Francesca Lablache (1816-before 1895) was the eldest daughter of the famous Neapolitan bass Luigi Lablache (1794-1858). When she married Sigismond Thalberg (1812-1871) in London on 22 July 1843, she was the widow of the painter François Bouchot and lived in Paris. Francesca accompanied her world-famous husband on some of his many tours but also spend considerable time alone. She must have been a close friend to Leopold well before her marriage with Thalberg. In 1858, seven years after Leopold's death, the couple retired to Naples.

The letter from Paris on stationery with blind-stamped coat of arms. All letters with old collector's numbering in ink.

The letter written in pencil with a tear to the right margin.

Art.-Nr.: BN#25417 Schlagwort: