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sciences with a lust of power, nonsense and igno rance were adopted into the liberties of the subject. Painting became idolatry; monuments were deemed carnal pride, and a venerable cathedral seemned equally contradictory to Magna Charta and the Bible. Learning and wit were construed to be as heathen. What the fury of Henry the Eighth had spared, was condemned by the Puritans. Ruin was their harvest, and they gleaned after the Reformers. Had they countenanced any of the softer arts, what would those arts have represented ? How picturesque was the figure of an anabaptist? But sectaries have no ostensible enjoyments: their pleasures are private, comfortable and gross. The arts that civilize society are not calculated for men who rise on the ruins of established order."
The noble poetry of Milton, the fine taste and lofty feelings of Colonel Hutchinson, as well as the actions and speeches of inany of the great worthies who warred on the side of civil and religious freedom, furnish a sufficient answer to the exclusive claim, which Walpole sets up for the episcopal church, to all that is witty, and learned, and elegant.
Under the influence of the Restored King the character of the nation seemed changed as if by sudden enchantinent--the people leapt from dreary prayers and · interminable sermons to dice, and dance, and debauch. For the stately and chivalrous court of Charles the First--for the martial austerity of Cromwell and his companions we had profligates, gamblers, paid informers, hired stabbers, and titled strumpets; while over the whole scene of courtly iniquity presided a prince pensioned by the enemies of his country-the most wiity and polished of profligates.
The impurities of the court infected literature: it took away the natural grace of innocence and simplicity from our youth; and art also was re
newed in a spirit corresponding with the unwhole. some state of society. It was no longer grave and devout, as under the first Charles. It was dedicated to the task of recording the features of lordly rakes and courtly wantons. Loose attire, and looser looks, were demanded now. No one was so
ready to comply as Sir Peter Lely, and it must be i confessed that no other artist could have brought such skill and talent to the task.
When Cromwell sat to Lely, he said, “I desire you will use all your skill to paint my picture truly like me, and not flatter me at all; but remark all those roughnesses, pimples, warts, and every thing as you see me; otherwise I never will pay one farthing for it.” When the softer customers of Charles's palace sat to the same painter, they laid his talents under no such restrictions. He seemed to consider himself chief limner at the court of Paphos. No one knew better than he how to paint
“The sleepy eye that spoke the melting soul;"
to imitate the fascinating undulations of female bo| soms, or give voluptuous glow and solid softness to
youthful fesh and blood. The beauties of Windsor, as they are called, kindled up old Pepys, who says in his Memoirs, that he called at Mr. Lely's, who was “a mighty proud man and full of state," where he saw the Dutchess of Cleveland “ sitting in a chair, dressed in white satin ;" also Lady Castlemain, “ a most blessed picture, of which he was resolved to have a copy.” The lapse of a century and a half has purified the air round those gay and merry madams, and we can look on Lady Castlemain and her companions as calmly as on the Venus de Medicis. “ The bugle eyeball and the cheek of cream” have done with their magic now.
Lely, however, did not wholly dedicate his pencil to the condescending beauties of Charles's court: he has preserved the features of statesmen who contrived to walk upright even in those slippery times: nor did he neglect the men of genius who flourished in his day. He painted Clarendon, Cowley, Butler, Selden, and Otway. He formed a gallery of the works of Vandyke and other eminent artists, which was sold at his death for twenty-six thousard pounds. He maintained the state of a gentleman and preserved the dignity due to art in his inter course with the court. Of the numerous works which he painted—for he was a diligent and laborious man-upwards of seventy are still in the island-portraits of ladies of rank or note, and of men of birth or genius.
To the coming of Kneller some writers have attributed the death of Lely. But he died suddenly ; and jealousy and mortification are more slow in their operations. The new artist was indeed a man of talent, but there was nothing of that high order about him which could be supposed capable of sick. ening the soul, or shortening the life of the other. The works of Kneller are numerous; they are almost exclusively portraits; and over whatever he produced he threw an air of freedom and a hue of nature not unworthy of Vandyke. All the sovereigns of his time, all the noblemen of the court, all the men of genius in the kingdom, and almost all the ladies of rank or of beauty in England, sat for their portraits. When he painted the head of 1 Louis the Fourteenth, the king asked him what mark of his esteem would be most agreeable to him: the painter answered modestly and genteelly that he should feel honoured if his majesty would bestow a quarter of an hour upon him, that he might execute a drawing of his face for himself. It was grafted. He painted Dryden in his own hair, in plain drapery, holding a laurel, and made him a present of the work. The poet repaid this by an epistle containing encomiums such as few painters deserve.
ont to thy Whe'draught: nought."
« Such are thy pictures, Kneller! such thy skill
That nature seems obedient to thy will,
To the incense of Dryden was added that of Pope, Addison, Prior, Tickell, and Steele. No wonder the artist was vain.
But the vanity of Kneller was redeemed by his naïveté and rendered pleasant by his wit. “Dost thou think, man,” said he to his tailor, who proposed his son for a pupil, “ dost thou think, mani, I can make thy son a painter ? No! God Almighty only makes painters." His wit, however, was ihat of one who had caught the spirit of Charles the Second's wicked court. He once overheard a low fellow cursing himself. “God damn you! indeed!" exclaimed the artist in wonder; “God may damn the Duke of Marlborough, and perhaps Sir Godfrey kneller; but do you think he will take the trouble of damning such a scoundrel as you?" The servants of his neighbour, Dr. Ratcliffe, abused the liberty of a private entrance to the painter's garden,
and plucked his flowers. Kneller sent word that he 1 must shut the door up. " Tell him," the doctor
peevishly replied, “ that he may do any thing with it but paint it.” “Never mind what he says," retorted Sir Godfrey, “I can take any thing from him -but plıysic.”
Kneller was one day conversing about his art, when he gave the following neat reason for prefer
ring portraiture. “ Painters of history,” said he, i “make the dead live, and do not begin to live them
selves till they are dead. I paint the living, and they make me live!” In a conversation concerning the legitimacy of the unfortunate son of James the Second, some doubts having been expressed by an Oxford doctor, he exclaimed with much warmth,
“ His father and mother have sat to me about thirty| six times a-piece, and I know every line and bit of
their faces. Mein Gott! I could paint king James now by memory. I say the child is so like both, that there is not a feature in his face but what belongs either to father or to mother; this I am sure of, and cannot be mistaken: nay, the nails of his fingers are his mother's, the queen that was. Doctor, you may be out in your letters, but I cannot be out in my lines.”
To four distinguished foreign artists, then, we are indebted for portraits of the most eminent persons who appeared in England during a long course of years. The truth, force, and elegance of many of their works are yet unsurpassed. I am aware that there is a certain air of stiffness in the portraits of Holbein, that several of Vandyke's are unequal to his talents, that Lely is loose, and many of his pic. tures unlike, and that kneller exhibits much sameness and very little imagination ; yet, with all these drawbacks, each has left works which will never be neglected. The Olivers,* and Jamesone, and Cooper, it is true, were native artists; but miniature
* Concerning some of the portraits of the younger Oliver, Vertue relates the following characteristic story :--“After the Restoration, Charles made many inquiries about the miniatures of Oliver which had been in his father's gallery, and expressed a great desire to obtain them. Ile could hear no account of them. At last he was told by one Rogers, of Isleworth, that both father and son were dead, but that the son's widow was living at Isleworth, and had many of their works. The king went privately and unknown with Rogers to see them. The widow showed several finished and unfinished, with many of which the king being pleased, asked if she would sell them. She replied she had a mind the king should see them first, and if he did not purchase them, she would think of disposing of them. The king discovered himself, on which she produced some more pictures which she seldom showed. The king desired her to set her price: she said she did not care to make a price with his majesty, she would leave it to him; but promised to look over her husband's books, and let his majesty know what prices his father, the late king, had paid. The king took away what he liked, and sent Rogers to Mrs. Oliver with the option of a thousand pounds or an annuity of three hundred a-year for her life. She chose the latter. Soine years afterward it happened that the king's mistresses had begered all or most of these pictures: Mrs. Oliver said, on hearing it, that if she had thought the king would have given them to such strumpets, he never should have had them. This reached the court; her pension was stopped, and she never received it afterward."