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more like Sigismunda than I to Hercules. Not to x mention the wretchedness of the colouring, it was
the representation of a maudlin strumpet just turned out of keeping; and with eyes red with rage and usquebaugh, tearing off the ornaments her keeper had given her. To add to the disgust raised by such vulgar expression, her fingers were bloodied by her lover's heart, that lay before her like that of
a sheep for her dinner.” ja This is very severe, very pointed, and very un& true. The Sigismunda of Hogarth is not tearing
off her ornaments, nor are her fingers bloodied by her lover's heart. It is said that the picture re
sembled Mrs. Hogarth, who was a very handsome Es woman; and to this circumstance Wilkes mali
ciously alludes in his unprincipled attack on her
husband. "If the Sigismunda," says this polite bei patriot, “ had a resemblance of any thing ever seen * on earth, or had the least pretence to either meanFå ing or expression, it was what he had seen, or peri haps made-in real life-his own wife in an agony te of passion; but of what passion no connoisseur he could guess." That Mrs. Hogarth sat for the pic
ture of Sigismunda seems to have been known to
conscientious John, and this is supported by that 1. lady's conduct to Walpole. The noble biographer Tsent her a copy of his Anecdotes, accompanied by a *courtly and soothing note; but she was so much
offended by his description of the Sigismunda, that E she took no notice of his present. The widow of
the artist was poor; and an opinion so ill-natured, so depreciating, and so untrue, injured the property which she wished to sell : she loved too the memory of her husband, and resented in the dignity of si.
lence the malicious and injurious attack. She conche sidered the present as an insult offered when she
had no one to protect her. I love her pride and remap verence her affection.
Sir Richard Grosvenor, for whom the Sigismunda
was painted, thought as unfavourably of it as Walpole himself. In Hogarth's memorandum-book the following account of the matter is written by his own hand-it seems fair and candid, and has not been contradicted. “This transaction having given rise to many ridiculous falsehoods, the following unvarnished tale will set all in its true light. The picture of Sigismunda was painted at the earnest request of Sir Richard Grosvenor, now Lord Grosvenor, in the year 1759, at a time when Mr. Hogarth had fully determined to leave off painting, partly on account of ease and retirement, but more particularly because he had found by thirty years' experience that his pictures, except in an instance or two, had not produced him one quarter of the profit which arose from his engravings. However, the flattering compliments, as well as generous offers made him by the above gentleman, who was immensely rich, prevailed upon the unwary artist to undertake this difficult subject, which (being seen and fully approved of by his lordship while in hand) was, after much time and the utmost efforts, finished-but how, the painter's death can only positively determine. The price required for it was therefore not on account of its value as a picture, but proportioned to the value of the time it took in painting.”
This statement is farther confirmed by the following letter, which the artist addressed to Sir Richard Grosvenor. “I have done all I can to the picture of Sigismunda; you may remember you was pleased to say you would give me what price I should think fit to set upon whatever I would paint for you; and, at the same time that you made this generous offer, I in return, made it my request that you would use no ceremony in refusing the picture, when done, if you should not be thoroughly satisfied with it. This you promised should be as I pleased, which I now enTreat you would comply with, without the least hesi. tation, if you think four hundred pounds too much > money for it. One more favour I have to beg, which jy is, that you will determine on this matter as soon as : you can conveniently, that I may resolve whether I
shall go on with another picture for Mr. Hoare the pe banker on the same terms or stop here."
The answer of Sir Richard Grosvenor was short, and could not fail to wound deeply the feelings of Hogarth. “I should sooner have answered yours
of the 13th instant,” says this patron of native genius, u “but have been mostly out of town. I under. to stand by it that you have a commission from Mr.
Hoare for a picture. If he should have taken a fancy to the Sigismunda, I have no sort of objection to your letting him have it, for I really think the
performance so striking and inimitable, that the conInstantly having it before one's eyes would be too
often occasioning melancholy ideas to arise in one's bli mind, which a curtain's being drawn before it would be not diminish the least." This is sufficiently lordly
and insulting. That Hogarth endured it without reI tort may be imputed either to pride or to the love of
repose-for age and its infirmities were now coming upon him. It made, however, a deep impression upon his mind, which even the controversy, into which he was soon afterward precipitated, with Churchill and Wilkes, could not efface. Like his uncle, the artist was something of a poet, and the following lines upon the conduct of his patron are not without cleverness-they possess a rarer merit -good-nature. He alludes to the Sigismunda.
"Nay, 't is so moving, that the knight
Can't even bear it in his sight;
Sigismunda, thus refused by the person for whom
it was painted, and traduced and ridiculed by the artists of the day, remained on Hogarth's hands. Of its excellence he certainly had some doubts; yet his pride forbade him to allow this; he desired his widow not to dispose of it for less than five hundred pounds. But a picture, like a play, once condemned, seldom rises into popularity. His injunctions were obeyed, nor was the Sigismunda sold till the death of Mrs. Hogarth, when it was bought by Boydell. · I am now to give some account of Hogarth's quar. rel with Churchill and Wilkes-aquarrel which imbittered the few remaining days of the great artist, and brought no increase of reputation to his adversaries. The pencil and pen of the painter, and the pens of the politician and the poet were eagerly dipped in the gall of this bitter dispute:-let us attend to Hogarth's words first-he speaks coolly and reasonably. He alludes first to the abuse which he says the expounders of the mysteries of old pictures had heaped on his Sigismunda, and the influence it had on his health. “ However mean the vender of poisons may be, the mineral is destructive-to me its operation was troublesome enough. Ill-nature spread so fast, that now was the time for every little dog in the profession to bark and revive the old spleen which appeared at the time of the Analysis. The anxiety that attends endeavouring to recollect ideas long dormant, and the misfortunes which clung to this transaction coming on at a time when nature de. mands quiet, and something besides, exercise to cheer it, added to my long sedentary life, brought on an illness which continued twelve months. But when I got well enough to ride on horseback, I soon recovered. This being at a period when war abroad and contention at home engrossed every one's mind, prints were thrown into the back ground, and the stagnation rendered it necessary that I should do some timed thing, to recover my lost time and stop a gap in my income. This drew forth my print of
The Times, a subject which tended to the restoration of peace and unanimity, and put the opposers of those humane objects in a light which gave great offence to those who were trying to ferment destruction in the minds of the populace."
The account rendered by Wilkes himself corresponds pretty nearly with that of Hogarth. “Wilkes,” says the Patriot, “ was waging open war with the Scottish minister, Lord Bute, when Hogarth sacri. ficed private friendship at the altar of party madness, and lent his aid to the government. A friend informed him that the painter was about to publish a print, satirizing Pitt, Temple, Churchill, and himself. He remonstrated, and remarked, that the subjects suitable for his pencil were those of a universal or moral nature. The answer was, that neither Wilkes nor Churchill were included in the satire, though Pitt and Temple were. On this Wilkes informed Hogarth that he should never resent reflec. tions on himself, but if his friends were attacked, he should then deem himself wounded in the most sensible part, and avenge their cause as well as he was able. The Times appeared, and was instantly followed by an attack in the North Briton on “ The King's Sergeant-Painter, William Hogarth.”
The attack was sharp and malicious; and Hogarth was not a person to be bearded with impunity. It would seem, however, that he had not anticipated any resentment on the part of Wilkes and Churchill, whose persons his satire had spared, and with whom. he lived in a sort of friendly intercourse, resembling an armed neutrality. Wilkes, with unconscious naïveté, when he heard of the contemplated assault upon him and his friends, requested Hogarth to meddle with moral subjects; and as the same request suited Churchill, it was made in both their names. Precious advice to Hogarth! He had poured out his strength, from youth to age, on profligacy, male and female; he had rebuked the folly of popular