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contradicted boldly the story of his imprisonment —returned to town at the spur, and exhibited himself at every low pot-house on his way to the Rules. His vanity soared not beyond the present moment; to make a good passing impression was his chief aim; and while his money lasted, he was sure of success among those whose applause he valued. Though well-descended, he regarded that matter. little, and would rather have had the laugh of a pot-house on his side than all the emblazonments of heraldry. In his earlier and better days, a solicitor informed him that he was heir to a baronet's title, and advised him to assert his claim. I know not whether there was any real foundation for this lawyer's story. “Sir George Morland 1” however, said the painter, “It sounds well, but it wont do. Plain George Morland will always sell my pictures, and there is more honour in being a fine painter than in being a fine gentleman.” When the Insolvent Debtors' Act at length restored him to liberty — he was almost past the power of enjoying it. His constitution was ruined, and his personal character was sunk into general contempt. No one would associate with him but the meanest of mankind, nor did he wish this otherwise. In his thirty-ninth year, the palsy struck him. He recovered partially, but would often fall back senseless in his painting chair, and sometimes sink into sleep with his palette and brush in his hand. His left hand was so much affected, that he could no longer hold the implements of his profession. He was not, however, dismayed; he made drawings in pencil and in chalk, tinted them lightly, still enriched the country with works at once bold, original and striking, and seemed to set want and disease at defiance. But the swiftest runner is soonest at the end of his journey. Morland was carried for debt to a spunging-house in Air Street, and to strengthen his courage on the loss of his liberty, swallowed an unusual quantity of spirits, which, instead of stupefaction, produced fever. Atwell, the keeper of the house, became alarmed, and applied to his friends for assistance: their sympathy, if exerted—of which there is no proof–came too late; the powers of life were exhausted, and he died, after a brief illness, in utter wretchedness and penury, in the fortieth year of his age. His wife, from whom he had been separated for some time, in consequence of family feuds, survived him only a few days. Morland had a look at once sagacious and sensual, and the same friends who compared his forehead to that of Napoleon, represent him as vain and irritable, fretful and vindictive. His character as a man was essentially vulgar, and he seemed insensible to shame. He loved all kinds of company save that of gentlemen; it gave him pain to imitate the courtesies and decencies of life, and he disliked accordingly all those whose habits required their observance. He married without being in love and treated his wife with carelessness, because he was incapable of feeling the merits of modesty or domestic worth. He had fits of profuse generosity and capricious affection; but folly and grossness were his familiar companions. As an artist Morland's claims to regard are high and undisputed. He is original and alone; his style and conceptions are his own; his thoughts are ever at home—are always natural—he extracts pleasing subjects out of the most coarse or trivial scenes, and finds enough to charm the eye in the commonest occurrence. He never paints above the most ordinary capacity, and gives an air of truth and reality to whatever he touches. He has taken a strong and lasting hold of the popular fancy; not by ministering to our vanity, but by telling plain and striking truths. He is the rustic painter for the people; his scenes are familiar to every eye, and his name is on every lip. Painting seemed as natural to him as language is to others, and by it he expressed his sentiments and his feelings and opened his heart to the multitude. His gradual descent in society may be traced in the productions of his pencil; he could only paint well what he saw or remembered; and when he left the wild sea-shore and the green-wood side for the hedge ale-house and the Rules of the Bench, the character of his pictures shifted with the scene. Yet even then his wonderful skill of hand and sense of the picturesque never forsook him. His intimacy with low life only dictated his theme— the coarseness of the man and the folly of his company never touched the execution of his pieces. "All is indeed homely—nay, mean—but native taste and elegance redeem every detail. To a full command over every implement of his art, he united a facility of composition and a free readiness of hand perhaps quite unrivalled. His pictures were mostly produced under the influence of intoxication, and the strong stimulant of immediate payment; they were painted in the
terror of want, and in the presence of the sordid purchaser, who risked five guineas in a venture for twenty—yet they want nothing which art can bestow, or the most fastidious eye desire. Such was the precious coin with which this unfortunate man paid for gin, obtained the company of the scum and feculence of society and purchased patience from his creditor, or peace from the tipstaff. The annals of genius record not a more deplorable story than Morland's.