« ZurückWeiter »
burgh. Collins senior laboured unceasingly as a man of letters and a picture-dealer; his best literary works were “Memoirs of a Picture,” in which he detailed the tricks of the trade in picturedealing and picture-stealing, and a “Life of Morland,” with whom he was intimate, and whose advice and assistance he sought for the early instruction of young William, who in after life was of opinion that he gained more from his father's advice and guidance than from that of the dissolute, but more highly gifted Morland.
Drawing was the boy's delight from earliest youth, “whatever natural object he perceived he endeavoured to imitate upon paper; even a group of old blacking-bottles, picturesquely arranged by his friend of kindred taste and appreciation of our country life and scenery, John Linnell, the great landscape-painter, supplied him with a fund of material too precious to be disdained.” By all the means which a clever and earnest boy will make use of, he carried on his studies. He sketched from nature in the fields round London. In 1807 he entered the Royal Academy as a student, and the first views he contributed to the walls of their exhibition were sketched at Millbank, then a Dutch-looking suburb of London. His industry was untiring, and ultimately led to attention,-his works, when better known, had excellences which riveted it. He succeeded in making a position for himself, but his career was an arduous one; the poor son of a poor father, at whose death he had only the bequest of his family's wants. Yet through all he kept a brave heart and a steady hand, and years of perseverance brought ultimate reward. In 1813 he exhibited “The Sale of the Pet Lamb,” a picture which at once established his
name as a great painter, and which was purchased from the gallery for the moderate sum of 140 guineas.
Late in life Collins went to Bayswater to reside; the locality had been recommended by his physician as the driest and healthiest in London. He took the house No. 85, Oxford Terrace, in 1840; but, finding it too small for his requirements, he removed, in 1843, to another adjacent and larger abode at No. 1, Devonport Street. Of its external aspect our cut will furnish an idea; it is one of the thousand houses builders run up in the suburbs; but to the painter it had “the unusual attraction of containing a room capable of being converted into a spacious and convenient studio :” these are the words of his son, who adds—“It is not one of the least curious passages in his life, that he had never possessed a comfortable painting-room up to this period of his career. In all his changes of abode he had been contented with taking any apartment in the house that afforded a tolerable light, resigning every other advantage of high roofs and fine skylights. His first sea-coast scenes were painted in a garret of his house in New Cavendish Street. The ‘Fisherman's Departure,' painted for Mr. Morrison, in 1826, for which he received 350 guineas, the largest sum, with four exceptions, that he ever received for a picture; Sir Robert Peel's 'Frost Scene,' and a long series of other remarkable pictures, were produced in a little bedroom of his first abode at Hampstead.” His son records the pleasure he felt in his studio. “Once established in the new locality of his labours, with more of his sketches, his designs, his relics of art about him than he had ever been able to range in any former