1911. A striking black and white photographic portrait of the Italian composer of opera, including La Boheme, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, and Turandot.
With a handwritten and signed note. The note is on letterhead 'Torre del Lago, Toscana', and dated September 30, 1911, and reads "My Dear Tonino, I stopped by to say hello to you and the young lady, but nobody was at home. I am leaving for London and Liverpool, and I shall be back in about twelve days. I am having an addition built to my existing cement dock extending out on the lake. I shall have it built with wood, covered by sheet metal, three meters by five. I am telling you this so that you may notify the town authorities. Our friend, Nasone, continues to spoil my hunting expeditions by preceding me with his early morning walks and flushing out whatever game there is. How long can this go on, I ask you? If this continues, I shall wind up asking you to introduce me to the sport of fishing, and I shall make you an offer you cannot refuse. By the way, let me know when Nasone's contract expires. We are all well and I shall write again. Adieu. P. S. Should we buy the little motorboat that Sargentini cut down in size? It would be very useful to me. It could be used instead of the three row boats which I keep on the dock." It is signed Puccini.
The letter is addressed to Antonio Bettolacci, a friend and the administrator of the Marchese Ginori, which was across Lake Massaciuccoli. The "young lady" referred to is most likely Maria Bianca Ginori, the daughter of Carlo Ginori. Sargentini was the Ginori family chauffeur and mechanic.
The photograph 4 3/4 x 6 3/4". The note, 6 x 9 1/2". Matted and framed in a gilt and red wood frame, 18 1/2 x 16" Very good condition. Item #16276