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coast of Bake, the Tiber near Rome, Temple of Bacchus, Adrian's Villa, Bridge of Rimini, Rosamond's Pond, Langallon-Bridge, Castle of Dinas Bran, Temple of Venus at Baiae, Tomb of the Horatii and Curatii, Broken Bridge of Narni, and Nymphs Bathing. His pencil sometimes forsook subjects of classic or poetic fame, and dwelt on scenes of natural loveliness; some of these are very captivating compositions—there is a light let in upon the hills and a verdant freshness among the trees such as few painters have surpassed. He frequently copied his own pictures, as want of bread or the taste of his customers dictated; this, which all others have done with impunity, has been • nade matter of reproach; there are men who will not be pleased, and some who deserve not to be pleased, and Wilson experienced the enmity of both.
Inpersonhe was above the middling size; his frame was robust and inclining to be corpulent; his head was large and his face red and blotchy; he wore a wig with the tail plaited into a club, and a threecocked hat according to the fashion of his time. In his earlier days, when hope was high, he was a loverof gay company and of gay attire; he sometimes attended the Academy in St. Martin's-lane in a green waistcoat ornamented with gold lace. He loved truth and detested flattery; he could endure a joke but not contradiction. He was deficient in courtesy of speech—in those candied civilities which go for little with men of sense, but which have their effect among the shallow and the vain. His conversation abounded with information and humour, and his manners, which were at first repulsive,, gradually smoothed down as he grew animated. Those who enjoyed the pleasure of his friendship agree in pronouncing him a man of strong sense, intelligence, and refinement, and every way worthy of those works which preserve the name of Richard Wilson.
SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS.
Joshua, the son of the Reverend Samuel KeyHolds, and Theophila Potter, his wife, was the tenth of eleven children, five of whom died in infancy. He was bom at Plympton, in Devonshire, on Thursday, July 16th, 1723, three months before the death of Sir Godfrey Kneller; "thus perpetuating," say some of his biographers, "the hereditary descent of art." This descent of talent had a better security for continuation than the life of a new-born child. Wilson was ten years old, and Hogarth had already distinguished himself. The admirers and disciples of Sir Joshua imagined that the mantle of art remained suspended in the air, from the day of Kneller's ascent, and refrained from descending upon other shoulders till their favourite rose to manhood and eminence. The pride of Reynolds would have resented in life this compliment from his friends —he who shared in imagination the imperial robe of Michael Angelo would have scorned the meaner mantle of Godfrey Kneller.
Few men of genius are allowed to be born or baptized in an ordinary way; some commotion tn nature must mark the hour of their birth, some strange interposition must determine their name— the like happened to young Reynolds. His father, a clergyman of the established church, gave him the scriptural name of Joshua, in the belief, says Malone, who had the legend from Bishop Percy of Dromore, that some enthusiast of the same name Miight be induced to give him a fortune. The family motives, as recorded by Northcote, had more of the
shrewdness of calculation in them. An uncle, from whom something might be expected, lived in the neighbourhood, and lie was a Joshua. Owing to the haste or carelessness of the clergyman, the church may claim some share in the marvels which accompanied his birth; he was baptized in one name, and entered in the parish register in another—the Joshua of all the rest of the world is a Joseph at Plympton.
The Reverend Samuel Reynolds, a pious and indolent man, who performed, without reproach, his stated duties in religion, and presided with the reputation of a scholar in the public school of Plympton, seems to have neglected, more than such a parent ought, the education of his son. It is true that the boy, inspired (as Johnson intimates in his Life of Cowley) with Richardson's Treatise on Painting, appeared, like Hogarth before him, to be more inclined to make private drawings than public exercises; and it is likewise true that his father rebuked those delinquencies, on one occasion at least, by writing on the back of a prohibited drawing, " Done by Joshua out of pure idleness." But transient rebuke will not atone for habitual inattention—the education which we miss in youth we rarely obtain in age, and a good divine and a learned parent could not but know how much learning adorns the highest and brightens the humblest occupation. Northcote, the pupil, and lately the biographer of Reynolds, reluctantly admits his mastei's deficiency in classical attainments. But his incessant study of nature and practice in art—his intercourse with the world at large, and familiarity with men of learning and ability, accomplished in after-life much of what his father had neglected in youth. "The mass of general knowledge by which he was distinguished," says Northcote, "was the result of much studious application in his riper years." "1 know no man," observed Johnson to Boswell, "who has passed through life with more observation than Sir Joshua Reynolds."
His father, however, conceived that he had acquired learning sufficient for the practice of physic —for to that profession he was originally destined. He observed to Northcote that if such had been his career in life, he should have felt the same determination to become the most eminent physician, as he then felt to be the first painter of his age and country. He believed, in short, that genius is but another name for extensive capacity, and that incessant and well-directed labour is the inspiration which creates all works of taste and talent.
His inclination to idleness as to reading, and industry in drawing, began to appear early. "His first essays," says Malone, who had the information from himself, "was copying some slight drawings made by two of his sisters who had a turn for art: he afterward eagerly copied such prints as he met with among his father's books: particularly those which were given in the translation of Plutarch's Lives, published by Dryden. But his principal fund of imitation was Jacob Catt's Book of Emblems, which his great-grandmother, by the father's side, a Dutch woman, had brought with her from Holland." The prints in Plutarch are rude and uncouth; those in the Book of Emblems are more to the purpose, and probably impressed upon him, by the comparison, that admiration of foreign art, which grew with his growth, and strengthened with his strength.
When he was some eight years old, he read " The Jesuit's Perspective" with so much care and profit, that he made a drawing of Plympton school, a plain Gothic building, raised partly on pillars, in which the principles of that art were very tolerably adhered to. His father, a simple man and easily astonished, exclaimed, when he saw this drawing, " This is what the author of the Perspective asserts in his preface, that by observing the rules laid down in this book a man may do wonders—for this is wonderful." Had the old man lived to see the great works of his son, in what words would he have expressed his admiration?
The approbation of his father, with his own natural love of art, induced him more and more to devote his time to drawing, and neglect his studies at school. He drew likenesses of his sisters and of various friends of the family;—his proficiency increased with practice; and his ardour kept pace with his growing skill. Richardson's Treatise on Painting was now put into his hands, " The perusal of which," says Malone, " so delighted and inflamed his mind, that Raphael appeared to him superior to the most illustrious names of ancient or modern times; a notion which he loved to indulge all the rest of his life."
With no other guides but such prints as he could collect, and little support but his own enthusiasm, Reynolds made many drawings and many portraits, in which his friends, who now began to be attracted by his progress, perceived an increasing accuracy of outline, and a growing boldness and freedom. Of those boyish productions no specimen, I believe, is preserved; he himself probably destroyed them, being little pleased with what he had done; but it is inconceivable that a youth like this, who gave so little of his leisure to other knowledge, should have executed nothing worthy of remembrance at the age of nineteen. There is no doubt that, as soon as he had a fair field for the display of his talents, he showed a mind stored with ready images of beauty, and a hand capable of portraying them with truth and effect.
A provincial place like Plympton was too contracted for his expanding powers, and a friend and neighbour, of the name of Cranch, advised that Joshua should be sent to study and improve himself