Thomas Jefferson Papers

Giovanni Andrei to Thomas Jefferson, 10 August 1819

From Giovanni Andrei

Washington 10– Agosto 1819—


Essendo pregato dal Sigr Jeremiah Sullivan di racomandarlo a V:S: mi prendo la Libertà di Farlo, informandola del Carattere della detta Persona posso asicurarlo che L’esperienza della Capacità, e Sobria Condota che ho avuto per lo Spazio d’un anno che egli ha lavorato Sotto la mia direzione alle Publiche Fabbriche di questa Città in q[ualità] d’ornatista di mano, Capace d’eseguire un Lavoro, pur che abbia un modello; le Sue qualità mi fano disposto di raccomandarlo alla Sua bontà di volerlo impiegare, Certo che egli farà il Suo dovere.

mi do il piacere di Segnarmi. Di V.S:

Ob Dev Servo

Giovanni Andrei

Editors’ Translation

Washington 10– August 1819—


Having been asked by Mr. Jeremiah Sullivan for a recommendation to you, I take the liberty, Sir, of doing so and informing you of his character. I can assure you of his skill and sober conduct, which I observed during the year he worked under my direction at this city’s public works as an artisanal ornamentalist, and of his ability to execute a job, provided he has a model. His qualities dispose me to recommend him to your kind willingness to employ him, certain as I am that he will do his duty.

I have the pleasure of signifying myself, Sir, as your

obedient devoted servant

Giovanni Andrei

RC (ViU: TJP); mutilated at seal; dateline adjacent to closing; addressed: “His Excellency Thomas Jefferson Milton Virginia”; franked; postmarked Washington, 11 Aug.; endorsed by TJ as received 16 Aug. 1819 and so recorded (with additional notation: “inclosd to Brockenbr.”) in SJL. Translation by Dr. Jonathan T. Hine. Enclosed in TJ to Arthur S. Brockenbrough, 17 Aug. 1819.

Giovanni Andrei (ca. 1770–1824), sculptor, was a native of Carrara, Italy, who was respected in Rome and Florence as an ornamental sculptor. In 1805 the architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe asked Philip Mazzei to find two Italian sculptors to perform decorative work on the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. Mazzei chose Andrei and the latter’s brother-in-law Giuseppe Antonio Franzoni, both of whom arrived early in 1806. When funding for work on the Capitol was inadequate, Andrei worked on several other projects in Washington and Baltimore. In 1811 he and Franzoni presented an ornamental stone medallion to TJ. Andrei traveled to Italy in 1815 to replicate his Corinthian capitals for the United States House of Representatives chamber that had been destroyed in the War of 1812. After his return to the United States he remained in charge of sculptural work at the Capitol until his death in Washington (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; Latrobe, Papers description begins John C. Van Horne and others, eds., The Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 1984–88, 3 vols. description ends ; Richard R. Borneman, “Franzoni and Andrei: Italian Sculptors in Baltimore, 1808,” WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly, 1892–  description ends , 3d ser., 10 [1953]: 108–11; William C. Allen, History of the United States Capitol: A chronicle of design, construction, and politics [2001]; Latrobe to TJ, 1 Aug. 1811; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 22 Oct. 1824).

Index Entries

  • Andrei, Giovanni; identified search
  • Andrei, Giovanni; letter from search
  • Andrei, Giovanni; recommends J. Sullivan search
  • Italian language; letters in, from; G. Andrei search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search
  • Sullivan, Jeremiah; seeks employment at University of Virginia search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; stonecutters for search