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titled and the opulent. The names of a few of the most famous may interest the reader :- Macbeth and the Witches; Cardinal Beaufort; Holy Family ; Hercules strangling the Serpents; the Nativity, Count Ugolino; Cymon and Iphigenia; the Fortune-Teller; Garrick between Tragedy and Comedy; the Snake in the Grass; the Blackguard Mercury ; Muscipula; Puck; Mrs. Siddons as the Tragic Muse; the Shepherd-Boy; Venus chiding Cupid for casting accounts.
Of men he painted the portraits of some four-andtwenty whose names still occupy their station in fame or history; and of ladies he painted many remarkable for accomplishments, mental and personal. Among the former, are Percy, Bishop of Dromore; Edmund Burke ; Colonel Tarleton; Dr. Charles Burney; Dr. Hawkesworth ; Dr. Robertson; Joseph Warton; Earl of Mansfield; Edward Gibbon; Oliver Goldsmith; Samuel Johnson; Warren Hastings; Lord Anson; Lord Heathfield ; Lord Ligonier; Lord Rodney; Lord Thurlow; Lord Granby; Thomas Warton ; Adam Ferguson ; Sir Joseph Banks; Sir William Chambers ; Laurence Sterne; Dr. Beattie; Viscount Keppel ; Horace Walpole ; and Sir Joshua Reynolds.
Let me conclude with the words of Burke: they are a little loftier than necessary, and somewhat warmer; but much less cannot be said when a colder tale comes to be told.
“ Sir Joshua Reynolds was, on many accounts, one of the most memorable men of his time. He was the first Englishman who added the praise of the elegant arts to the other glories of his country. In taste-in grace-in facility--in happy inventionand in the richness and harmony of colouring, he was equa' to the greatest masters of the renowned ages. In portrait he went beyond them ; for he com. municated to that description of the art, in which English artists are most engaged, a variety, a fancy, and a dignity, derived from the higher branches,
which even those who professed them in a superior manner did not always preserve when they delineated individual nature. His portraits remind the spectator of the invention and the amenity of landscape. In painting portraits he appeared not to be raised upon that platform, but to descend upon it from a higher sphere.
“In full affluence of foreign and domestic fame, admired by the expert in art and by the learned in science, courted by the great, caressed by sovereign powers, and celebrated by distinguished poets, his native humility, modesty, and candour never forsook him, even on surprise or provocation: nor was the least degree of arrogance or assumption visible to the most scrutinizing eye in any part of his conduct or discourse.
“ His talents of every kind, powerful by nature and not meanly cultivated by letters--his social virtues in all the relations and all the habitudes of life, rendered him the centre of a very great and unparalleled variety of agreeable societies, which will be dissipated by his death. He had too much merit not to excite some jealousy--too much innocence to provoke any enmity. The loss of no man of his time can be felt with more sincere, general, and unmixed sorrow. Hail! and Farewell.”
Two eminent men, Wilson and Gainsborough, laid the foundation of our school of landscape; their works are full of the truest nature and the purest fancy, and their fame is now properly felt; yet of their personal history little is known save what the suspicious testimony of avowed enemies and careless friends—and the random notice of some period. ical writers—may add to the vague stream of tradition.
Thomas Gainsborough, the fourth eminent name in British art, was born in the year 1727, at Sudbury in Suffolk—the day or the month no one has mentioned. Of his father, whose name was John, by trade a clothier, and in religion a dissenter, I can only say with common belief that he was a stately and personable man, with something mysterious in his history, for the pastoral and timid rustics of Suffolk suspected him of carrying a dagger and pistols under his clothes. Of his mother, whose maiden name I have not learned, the same authority says that she was kind and indulgent to her children, and, moreover, somewhat proud of her sons, of whom she had three, all distinguished above their companions for talents and attainments. The family was of old standing, well to live, and of unblemished respectability.
Respecting Thomas, the youngest son, memory is still strong in Suffolk. A beautiful wood of four miles' extent is shown, whose ancient trees, winding glades, and sunny nooks inspired him, while he was
but a schoolboy, with the love of art. Scenes are pointed out where he used to sit and fill his copy, books with pencillings of flowers and trees, and whatever pleased his fancy; and it is said that those early attempts of the child bore a distinct resemblance to the mature works of the man. At ten years old he had made some progress in sketching, and at twelve he was a confirmed painter. Good scholarship was, under such circumstances, out of the question; yet his letters, which I have seen, show no want in the art of expressing clear thoughts in clear words. His knowledge was obtained from his intercourse with mankind, and by his spirit of ready observation he supplied the deficiencies of education.
The sketches which he made were concealed for a time—the secret, however, could no longer be kept. He had ventured to request a holyday, which was refused, and the audacious boy imposed his own penmanship on the master for the usual written request of his father of “ Give Tom a holyday.” The
trick was found out; his father looked upon the I simulated paper with fear, and muttered, “ The boy I will come to be hanged !” but when he was informed Į that those stolen hours were bestowed upon the
pencil, and some of Tom's sketches were shown to him, his brow cleared up, and he exclaimed, “ The boy will be a genius !” Other stories of his early works are not wanting. On one occasion he was concealed among some bushes in his father's garden, making a sketch of an old fantastic tree, when he observed a man looking most wistfully over the wall at some pears, which were hanging ripe and tempting. The slanting light of the sun happened to throw the eager face into a highly picturesque mixture of light and shade, and Tom immediately sketched his likeness, much to the poor man's consternation afterward, and much to the amusement of his father, when he taxed the peasant with the
intention of plundering his garden, and showed him how he looked. Gainsborough long afterward made å finished painting of this Sudbury rustic—a work much admired among artists—under the name of Tom Peartree's portrait. He loved to show his powers in those hasty things : and from the unembarrassed freedom of mind and hand with which he produced them, they take rank with his happiest compositions.
of those early sketches made in the woods of Sudbury, few, I apprehend, now exist, though they were once numerous. No fine clump of trees, no picturesque stream, nor romantic glade-no cattle grazing, nor flocks reposing, nor peasants pursuing their rural or pastoral occupations-escaped his diligent pencil. Those hasty sketches were all treasured up as materials to be used when his hand should have become skilful; he showed them to his visiters, and called them his riding-school. As his reputation rose, he became less satisfied with those early proofs of talent, and scattered them with a profuse hand among friends and visiters. To one lady he made a present of twenty ; but so injudiciously were those precious things bestowed, that the lady pasted them round the walls of her apartment, and as she soon left London, they became the property of the next inhabitant. His first drawing was a clump of trees-he long retained it, and one of his biographers says it was a " wonderful thing."
Talents so vigorous were acknowledged even in the seclusion of a country place; and his father was very willingly persuaded to send the youth-to prosecute his labours with the benefit of example and instruction—to London. No one has made him older than fourteen when he left Sudbury for the metropolis, and all agree that he studied under Hayman, one of the companions of Hogarth. Grignon the engraver, who knew him well, informed Edwards, author of the Anecdotes of Painters, that