- Marvell, Andrew
- Autograph letter signed at the head ("Andr: Marvell"), to Sir Henry Thompson
Letters by Marvell are exceptionally rare at auction: only three letters, including this, have been sold at auction in the past fifty years.
Henry Thompson of Escrick was a York merchant well known to Marvell through his Popple family relations. The political outlook shared by the two men is evident in the sceptical tone to Marvell's comments on those seeking political office and the unmistakable note of satire when he recounts the frivolities of the royal court. This letter shares two topical references with Marvell's late satire, 'The Statue at Charing Cross," suggesting both were written at a similar date. The presence of a clown at Whitehall was a gift to the satirist, so it is perhaps unsurprising that the news that Scaramuccia (usually anglicised as Scaramouche), the black-masked clown from the commedia dell'arte, was attracting crowds nightly at the palace was also referred to in Marvell's poem. Both texts also mention the destruction of the sundial in Whitehall Palace Privy Garden (an extraordinary pyramidal structure designed by the natural philosopher Francis Line), which was vandalised by the Earl of Rochester in a fit of late-night drunken exuberance.