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Odin, and The Fatal Sisters. He was fond, indeed, of the wild mythology of the Scandinavians, and numerous traces of the impression which it had made on his mind might be pointed out in his paintings and in his sketches. His "Thor battering the Serpent" was such a favourite, that he presented it to the Royal Academy as his admission gift. With quiet beauty and serene grace he knew not well how to begin; the hurrying measures, the crowding epithets, and startling imagery of the northern poetry suited the intoxicated fancy of Fuseli. Such was his love of terrific subjects, that he was known among his brethren by the name of Painter in ordinary to the Devil, and he smiled when some one officiously told him of this, and said, "Ay! he has sat to me many times." Once, at Johnson the bookseller's table, one of the guests said, "Mr. Fuseli, I have purchased a picture of yours."—"Have you, sir; what is the subject?" "Subject? reallv. I do n't know."—" That's odd; you must be a strange fellow to buy a picture without knowing the subject." "I bought it, sir, that's enough—I do n't know what the devil it is."—" Perhaps it is the Devil," replied Fuseli, "I have often painted him." On this one of the company, to arrest a conversation which was growing warm, said, "Fuseli, there is a member of your Academy who has strange looks—and he chooses as strange subjects as you do." "Sir," exclaimed the Professor, "he paints nothing but thieves and murderers, and when he wants a mod-i he looks in the glass."*
On the death of Wilton the sculptor, Fuseli teecame Keeper of the Royal Academy—a situ ,jon which, due alike to his great merits and to his de clining years, was not supposed to be unwelcome in a pecuniary point of view; it provided a pleasant
* I know not whether it be true that Fuseli himself supped on rats port, by way of exciting his imagination, the night before he began bia '* Nightmare."
residence and a respectable salary, and placed Cot ever above want one who, by his learning and the poetic character of his works, had done much honour to the Academy. A by-law obliged him to resign the Professorship, which he regained on the death of Opie, and thenceforth filled both situations with honour to himself and to the institution. The enthusiasm of his nature, his foreign pronunciation, the massy vigour of his language, and the sharp acidity of his wit, were not wasted on empty walls, —the lecture-room was commonly full.
He was also, on the whole, liked as Keeper. It is true that he was often satiric and severe on the students—that he defaced their drawings by corrections which, compared to their weak and trembling lines, seemed traced by a tar-mop, and that he called them tailors and bakers, and vowed that there was more genius in the claw of one of Michael Angelo's eagles than in all the heads with which the Academy was swarming. The youths on whom this tempest of invective fell smiled—and the Keeper, pleased by submission, walked up to each easel— whispered a word of advice confidentially, and retired in peace to enjoy the company of his Homer, Michael Angelo, Dante, and Milton.
The students found a constant source of amusement in his oddities, his jests, and the strong biting wit which he had ever at their service. They are all fond of repeating his jokes. He heard a violent altercation in the studio one day, and inquired the cause. "It is only those fellows, the students, sir," said one of the porters. "Fellows!" exclaimed Fuseli, "I would have you to know, sir, that those fellows may one day become academicians." The noise increased—he opened the door and burst in upon them, exclaiming, "You are a den of damned wild beasts, and I am your blasted keeper." The students laughed, and Fuseli retired, smiling. Another time he saw a figure from which the students were making dr»wmgs lying broken to pieces. "Now, who the devil has done this !"—" Mr. Med* land, sir," said an officious probationer, "he jumped aver the rail and broke it." He walked up to the offender—all listened for the storm. He calmly said, "Mr. Medland, you are fond of jumping—go to Sadler's Wells—it is the best academy in the world for improving agility." A student as h passed held up his drawing, and said, confidently "Here, sir—I finished it without using a crumb of bread." "All the worse for your drawing," replied Fuseli, "buy a twopenny loaf and rub it out." "What do you see, sir!" he said, one day, to a student, who, with his pencil in his hand and his drawing before him, was gazing into vacancy. "Nothing, sir:" was the answer. "Nothing, young man!" said the Keeper, emphatically; "then I tell you that you ought to see something—you ought to see distinctly the true image of what you are trying to draw. I see the vision of all I paint—and I wish to heaven I could paint up to what I see."
He reserved a little of his wit and satire for his elder brethren of the easel and the modelling stool. He had aided Northcote and Opie in obtaining admission into the Academy, and when he proposed himself for Keeper naturally expected their assist, ance—they voted against him, and next morning went together to his house to offer an explanation. He saw them coming—he opened the door as they were scraping their shoes, and said, "Come in— come in—for the love of heaven come in, else you will ruin me entirely."—"How so?" cried Opie. "Marry, thus," replied the other; "my neighbours over the way will see you, and say,' Fuseli's done— for there's a bum-bailiff,' he looked at Opie, 'going to seize his person; and a little Jew broker,' he looked at Northcote, 'going to take his furniture'— so come in, I tell you—come in!" On Northcote especially he loved to exercise some of the malevolence of rival wit. He looked on his friend's painting of the Angel meeting Baalam and his ass. "How do you like it V said the painter. "Vastly, Northcote," said Fuseli, "you are an angel at an ass—but an ass at an angel." A person who desired to speak to the Keeper of the Academy followed so close on the porter, whose business it was to introduce him, that he announced himself with an expression which the inimitable Liston has since rendered proverbial. "I hope I do n't intrude."— "You do intrude," said Fuseli, in a surly tone. "Do I V said the visiter; "then, sir, I will come tomorrow, if you please."—"No, sir," replied he, "do n't come to-morrow, for then you will intrude a second time: tell me your business now."
Fuseli spared no one: on Nollekens he was often very merciless; he disliked him for his close and parsimonious nature, and rarely failed to hit him under the fifth rib. Once at the table of Mr. Coutts the banker, Mrs. Coutts, dressed like Morgiana, came dancing in, presenting her dagger at every breast: as shi» confronted the sculptor, Fuseli called out, "Strike—strike—there's no fear; Nolly was never known to bleed." When Blake, a man infinitely more wild in conception than Fuseli himself, showed him one of his strange productions, he said, "Now some one has told you this is very fine."—" Yes," said Blake, "the Virgin Mary appeared to me, and told me it was very fine: what can you say to that I" —"Say?" exclaimed Fuseli, "why, nothing—only her ladyship has not an immaculate taste."
From 1817 to 1825, Fuseli exhibited at the Academy a dozen of pictures, and neither the fervour of his fancy nor his skill of hand had failed him in the least. Of his last twelve pictures, six were received with much approbation—Perseus starting from the cave of the Gorgons—the Lady and the Infernal Knight in Theodore and Honorio—Dante, descending into Hell, discovers in a whirlwind the form* o? Paolo and Francesca—an Incantation from Theocritus—Theseus, Ariadne, and the Minotaur—and Comus from Milton. These works attest his love of poetic art, and his resolution to die as he had lived—in the service of the loftier Muses.
With wit of this order, and willingness to let it be felt, he had nevertheless many friends, and among them we must number the students of the Royal Academy. Those of the year 1807 presented him with a silver vase, designed by one whom he loved —Flaxman the sculptor: he received it very graciously. Ten years afterward he was presented with the diploma of the first class in the Roman Academy of St. Luke.
He had the art of acquiring friends and the rarer art of retaining them. To the names of Cadell, and Boydell, and Armstrong, his first and intimate companions, he added many more as he increased in years; and in naming those who purchased his works, we name the chief patrons of the poetic style of painting. Roscoe, the elegant author of the life of Leo the Tenth, bought eleven—Wood Mason purchased four—Sir Robert Smythe became proprietor of several—six went to the gallery of Mr. Locke of Newbury Park—two were purchased by Sir Brooke Boothby—as many by the late Lord de Tabley—Graham Moore and Carrick Moore, brothers of Sir John Moore, commissioned several. Mr. Knowles increased his collection to a dozen, and the Earl of Guildford, a kind and constant friend, became prometor of forty. He exhibited in all some seventy pictures—but he painted upwards of two hundred, and those are scattered through many collections. One of great merit—Paolo and Francesca—is honourably placed in the gallery of Sir Thomas Lawrence; and another singularly wild and beautiful piece is in the keeping of one who feels its worth, Mr. Wainewright.
His life, though not without disappointment, had