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himself in hot water with them. He at length became neglectful of his person, which is the most undoubted presage of a great mental decadence; he lived in wretched lodgings, and contented himself with miserable accommodation. The following picture is calculated to excite the most mournful feelings :
• His residence in Castle-street, though wearing a decent exterior, when he took possession, soon corresponded in look with the outward man of its master. The worst inn's worst room, in which the poet places the expiring Villiers, was equalled, if not surpassed, by that in which Barry slept, ate, and meditated, in perfect satisfaction and security. His own character, and whole system of in-door economy, were exhibited in a dinner he gave Mr. Burke. No one was better acquainted with the singular manners of this very singular man than the great statesman; he wished, however, to have occular demonstration how he managed his household concerns in the absence of wife or servant, and requested to be asked to dinner. “ Sir," said Barry, with much cheerfulriess, “ you know I live alone; but if you will come and help me to eat a steak, I shall have it tender and hot, and from the most classic market in London-that of Oxford.” The day and the hour came, and Burke, arriving at No. 36, Castle-street, found Barry ready to receive him; he was conducted into the painting-room, which had undergone no change since it was a carpenter's shop. On one of the walls hung his large picture of Pandora, and round it were placed the studies of the Six Pictures of the Adelphi. There were, likewise, old straining frames, old sketches, a printing-press, in which he printed his plates with his own hand; the labours, too, of the spider abounded, and rivalled, in extent and colour, pieces of old tapestry.
· Burke saw all this, yet wisely seemed to see it not. He observed, too, that most of the windows were broken or cracked, that the roof, which had no ceiling, admitted the light through many crevices in the tiling, and that two old chairs and a deal table composed the whole of the furniture. The fire was burning brightly; the steaks were put on to broil, and Barry, having spread a clean cloth on the table, put a pair of tongs in the hands of Burke, saying, “ Be useful, my dear friend, and look to the steaks till I fetch the porter." Burke did as he was desired: the painter soon returned with the porter in his hand, exclaiming, “ What a misfortune ! the wind carried away the fine foaming top, as I crossed Tichfield-street." "They sat down together; the steak was tender and done to a moment; the artist was full of anecdote, and Burke often declared, that he never spent a happier evening in his life. Such is the story which has been often written and often repeated, and always with variations. Something like the scene thus disclosed to Mr. Burke was exhibited some time afterwards to another eminent person, whose friendship has enabled me to enrich my narrative with the following graphic account :
•“I wish (says Mr. Southey) I could tell you anything which might be found useful in your succeeding volumes. i knew Barry, and have been admitted into his den in his worst (that is to say, his maddest) days, when he was employed upon the Pandora. He wore at that time an old coat of green baize ; but from which time had taken all the green that incrustations of paint and dirt had not covered. His wig was one which you might suppose he had borrowed from a scare-crow; all round it there projected a fringe of his own gray hair. He lived alone, in a house which was never cleaned; and he slept on a bedstead, with no other furniture than a blanket nailed on the one side, I wanted him to visit me. No, he said, he could not go out by day, because he could not spare time from his great picture ; and if he went out in the evening, the Academicians would waylay him, and murder him. In this solitary, sullen life he continued till he fell ill, very probably from want of food sufficiently nourishing; and after lying two or three days under his blanket, he had just strength enough to crawl to his own door, open it, and lay himself down, with a paper in his hand, on which he had written his wish to be carried to the house of Mr. Carlyle, (Sir Anthony,) in Soho-square. There he was taken care of; and the danger from which he had thus escaped seems to have cured his mental hallucinations. He cast his slough afterwards ; appeared decently dressed in his own gray hair, and mixed in such society as he liked.
"" I should have told you, that a little before his illness, he had, with much persuasion, been induced to pass a night at some person's house in the country. When he came down to breakfast the next morning, and one asked how he had rested, he said, remarkably well; he had not slept in sheets for many years, and really he thought it was a very comfortable thing. He interlarded his conversations with oaths, as expletives; but it was pleasant to converse with him : there was a frankness and animation about him, which won good-will, as much as his vigorous intellect commanded respect. There is a story of his having refused to paint portraits, and saying, in answer to applications, that there was a man in Leicestersquare who did it. But this, he said, was false : for that he would, at any time, have painted portraits, and have been glad to paint them." '.-vol. ii. pp. 123–126.
Barry expired in poverty in the year 1806, being then nearly 65 years of age. · From Barry we turn to William Blake, an extraordinary lunatic; his whole time, and a genius of no conimon cast, were devoted to the embodying of those wild and absurd visions, in which the poor man constantly indulged to the hour of his death. A due estimate of his excesses can be formed alone by a perusal of his very singular histories. He has published some works.
He informs us, that certain painters were demons, let loose on earth to confound the “sharp wiry outline,” and fill men's minds with fears and pertur. bations. He signifies that he himself was, for soine time, a miserable instrument in the hands of Chiaro-Scuro demons, who employed him in making “ experiment pictures in oil." “ These pictures,” says he, “ were the result of temptations and perturbations labouring to destroy imaginative power by means of that infernal machine, called Chiaro-Scuro, in the hands of Venetian and Flemish demons, who hate the Roman and Venetian schools. They cause that every thing in art shall become a machine ; they cause that the execution shall be all blocked up with brown shadows ; they put the artist in fear and doubt of his owo original conception. The spirit of Titian was particularly active in raising doubts concerning the possibility of executing without a model. Rubens is a most outrageous demon, and VOL. XIII.
by infusing the remembrances of his pictures, and style of execution, hinders all power of individual thought. Corregio is a soft and effemimate, consequently, a most cruel demon, whose whole delight is to cause endless labour to whoever suffers him to enter his mind."-vol. ii. pp. 166 -167.
It appears, however, that Blake was an excellent tinter, and that he was the companion of Flaxman and Fuseli. After residing for seventeen years in South Molton-Street, 'he removed to Fountain Court, in the Strand, where he died, in the 71st year of his age, in 1828. .
The calm temper of Opie's life has left but little of interest for the biographer to communicate. He was of humble parentage, and made his way to fame and competence by the exercise of a very fine genius, which he had improved by extended cultivation. His chief power lay in the very highest walk of art—history; and he shewed, in his figures and groups, a freedom and energy to which the public had been, up to his time,'utter strangers. One of his inimitable achievements as a painter was, as West remarks, the truth with which he represented the effect of colour, as seen through a greater or less degree of atmospheric medium. The distance, therefore, of objects from each other was better fixed in the paintings of Opie, than in those of any other artist...
The most painful part of our task now remains—to allude to the life of Morland. Hassell has very accurately characterized this ill-starred son of genius, in one short sentence
"" This ill-fated artist,” says Hassell, “ seemed to have possessed two minds-one, the animated soul of genius, by which he rose in his profession--and the other, that debased and grovelling propensity, which condemned him to the very abyss of dissipation.” '- vol. ii. p. 235.
The wonderful power of Morland in giving a nameless charm to the most familiar scenes, has made him one of the most extensively popular artists in the country. Had he followed the career which his great original talents invited him to pursue, there would have been no bounds to his success; but the spirit of low debauch corrupted his mind, and left him to history, to meet with that punishment, which the scandalous debasement of his fine faculties deserved.
Passing over the life of Bird, (an artist of great merit,) as it contains nothing particularly interesting, we arrive at the last of the series—that of Fuseli. He was a Swiss, of good family, and received a very enlarged education. When arrived in London, where he came with literary views altogether, he was encouraged by Sir Joshua Reynolds to devote himself to painting.' He adopted the advice, and rose to wealth and faine. His works, from the very beginning, are characterised by an erratic faney, chastened by a native taste, and a deep and laborious study of the best models. The“ Nightmare" may be said to have given the first impulse to his name. Fuseli continued, for many years, to give productions to the world, which certainly no ordinary genius could furnish Most of these are well known to the public. One of the most striking circumstances in his personal history, is the amour 'with Miss Wolstoncraft, which is detailed by the husband of that lady, with a tranquillity that puts into the shade all that we have ever heard of the boasted good temper of the Stoics. Fuseli was conceited of his classical erudition, and he was very fairly quizzed by his companion's, &c. for the weakness. * Fuseli died in 1825, in his 84th year. His peculiar style did not meet with adequate encouragement in this country ; his subjects are much too ideal and refined to be understood or appreciated by the general public. His colouring, as we all remember, was singularly original. Whoever entered the apartment in which any of his works 'were exhibited, was instantly attracted by the strange hues, whether of hell or heaven, which glared from Fuseli’s canvass. Fuseli's literary compositions are of a very high order, and will, perhaps, contribute a great deal' more to diffuse a just taste for art, than his paintings.
We have now gone over the contents of these two volumes, to which another will, we are told, shortly be added ; and we have not, we think, left the reader much in the dark as to our opinion of the manner in which they are executed. We are more and more struck, at every succeding page, with the absolute impropriety of such a task as this biography being undertaken by any but one who is an artist himself, or who possesses, as Burke possessed, a wonderful capacity for being any thing. What we want is, not merely the story of a painter's life, but sound and originál criticism on his works; an examination of his faults and excellencies; what influence he had in raising or depressing art in his time; and the reasons why he had not received encouragement, if he deserved it, or why he had received it, if he did not. In a collection of biography, where men of one profession alone are included, we expect that some general result, connected with the subject of that profession, will be aimed at, and reached by, the biographer, otherwise his classification is gratuitous. These are some of the deficiences of the present work, and the knowledge of them will, we trust, be an inducement, with some competent person, to supply, what he must admit to be yet a desideratum-a Biography of the eminent Painters of Great Britain.
Art. XI.-A Letter on the Present Distress of the Country, addressed "to his Constituents.' By Charles · Callis Western, Esq., M.P. for the
County of Essex. Chelmsford. 1829.. AT every meeting of Parliament, there has usually been some single leading question, which has been more particularly the distinguishing characteristic of the session. Last year, the Bill for Catholic Emancipation was the topic that seemed to monopolise attention; at a former period, the Corn Trade, and then, again, the Banking System, each had their day, and formed the prominent feature of Mr. Ridgway's pamphlets, and the running bass of the maiden speeches. At the present moment, the distress of the coun. try is the carcass round which are gathered our political eagles, and the subject obtains extraordinary notice, being, from its peculiar nature, assailable by the generally closed beaks of our political owls, and giving some plausibility to the croaking of our political ravens. - In our last number, we gave a brief reply to those who are inclined to look with despondency on the foreign relations of our country; and the recent proceedings in Parliament have confirmed the arguments, and justified the speculations which we then advanced. We wish that it were possible to satisfy, in the same space, the doubts of those who look with apprehension on our internal affairs. What has been already brought forward on this topic, would fill volumes; and the brief limits of our number pre-, clude our doing more than noticing a few facts, and hazarding a few suggestions.
That distress exists, there can, unhappily, be no doubt : the fact is acknowledged by all men, nor can any one regret more sincerely than ourselves the existence of the evil, or more earnestly desire its termination. But we cannot coincide with those who would represent our distress as of terrifying magnitude ; nor do we believe that the subject would have elicited proportionate attention, had other subjects of deep interest been before the public, to furnish remarks for our journalists, and topics for Parliamentary Debate. Let us listen with attention to the complaints of the sufferers, and let every practicable remedy be applied to their relief : but let us not go too far ; let us not needlessly despond, nor, by an ill-judged result of a laudable compassion, contribute to augment the evils whose existence we deplore. · Great distress has, many times before this, afflicted the country, and then, as now, we were assured that national ruin was inevitable. Yet, from these misfortunes, the elastic nature of our resources has never failed to rescue us. It rests, then, with those who assert the contrary, to prove that there is something in our present malady that shall produce a result different from that of former depressions, No such argument has yet been advanced, nor can any proof be adduced, that the present is more than a passing cloud which, for awhile, obscures the sunshine of our prosperity.
Let us see what the complainants themselves assert, respecting the nature of their suffering. Numerous petitions have been laid on the tables of both Houses of Parliament, complaining of the present distress :- but of these petitions we would remark, that they do not at all convey to our minds the idea of deep misery which some members would seem to infer. They present, on examination,