« PreviousContinue »
be sorry to see exhibited anywhere. the person whom Congress have emThe drawing is worth a hundred of ployed to paint a series of pictures the painting. The group 'under the connected with certain events of the feet of the pale horse, and that of the American Revolution, at (if I recollect lion and the horse at the left, are all rightly) nine thousand dollars a-piece, that is worth preserving in the latter. (about two thousand pounds.) Three The rest is feeble-common-place, or of these are completed; and, unless I absolutely wretched. The fore-legs of except the first, (prints of which are the pale horse, like the fore-legs of al- now in this country,) called the “ Signmost every other horse that Mr. Westing of the Declaration, and which is ever painted, are too short. The cha- only a respectable picture, they are racter and position of the head, though among the greatest and most unacaltered from the drawing, are altered countable failures of the age. The for the worse. The introduction of President may not be superannuated, another figure, so important as the but these pictures are. In fact, not to «Gospel," (I believe that is the one,, disguise the matter at all, one out of is injudicious, and the group at the the three is contemptible; one toleraextreme left, representing animal cou- ble ; the other nothing extraordinary; rage in a young man, is an unparal- and valuable only as a collection o. leled falling off, from the original tolerably well-arranged portraits. It drawing
is a great pity; every lover of the art And so with several other pictures must grieve to see the first efforts of by this extraordinary man. The draw- a young country so unhappily misdi ing of CHRIST HEALING THE SICK, rected. There were several painters is worth all the painted copies together in America, who would have made a
- including that purchased by the magnificent affair of that which is Academy, and that in America. handled like a tapestry-weaver by Mr. By the way, it is not very judicious
Trumbull. to exhibit such pictures, as are exhi
Yet Mr. Trumbull was a man of bited in the gallery of Mr. West,--for considerable power. His well-known his first essays in the art. It is not
“ Sortie of Gibraltar," the original judiciousbecause nobody can be- sketch of which has lately been exhilieve that they are what they are call- bited at the Suffolk Street Exhibition, ed; and because there are others was a very fine picture; but worth, it much worse in existence, (and shown, is true, every thing else that he has to, in Philadelphia, America,) which ever done. His portraits are no great were much more, probably, among things. They are bold and strong, but the first of his essays.
all of a family-all alike. And so are always do harm. Great pretension is his historical pictures. His “Battle of quite sure to provoke severe examina- Lexington” is partly stolen ; his tion. When Mr. Galt
, in his “LIFE “Death of Montgomery,” and “Sortie OF West,” had the courage to say,
of Gibraltar," are only variations ; no matter on what authority, that the and I remember one of his pictures, first essay of Master Benjamin was in the Surrender of Cornwallis,” where painting the portrait of a child asleep, a whole rank of infantry are so exand smiling, and that he succeeded ceedingly alike, that you would supin making a likeness, he did more to pose them to have been born at the injure the substantial, fair reputation same time, of the same parents. of Mr. West, than his bitterest enemy REMBRÁNDT PEALÉ-HISTORICAL (if Mr. West ever had an enemy) AND Portrait PAINTER. Mr. Peale could have done.
in an American. He studied and purTRUMBULL-HISTORICAL AND POR- sued the business of portrait painting TRAIT PAINTER. Mr. Trumbull is an in France. There are several painters American. He studied, however, and in America of this name and family, pursued his profession for a long time, but Mr. R. Peale is altogether superior
He is now President to the others. One of his portraits atof the New York Academy; and is tracted a good deal of admiration some
in this country:
years ago, at Paris; and another of are powerful, free, and distinguished Mr. Matthews the comedian) was late- by masterly handling. He has done ly exhibited in London. I have never but little in history. seen it, but am told that it was a mas- SULLY—PORTRAIT AND HISTORY.* terly thing. His portraits are beauti- Mr. Sully, who is the “ Sir Thomas fully painted, but rather cold, formal, Lawrence” of America, is an Englishand, until very lately, wanting in flesh- man, born, I believe, in London. His iness. He has changed his manner, father, when Master Sully was about however, of late, and is now a very five, went over to America with his fine portrait painter.
whole family. Many years after, the His essays in historical painting are son returned, and continued in Lonnumerous, and quite wonderful, when don for a considerable time, pursuing we consider the disadvantages under the study of his art, and copying some which he must have laboured in Ame- fine old pictures for his friends in rica ; with no models, no academy fig. America. That over,he returned, and, ures, no fellow-labourers, to consult; after years of great assiduity, has benobody even to mould a hand for him come without question,one of the most in plaster, and few to hold one, long beautiful portrait painters in the world. enough for him to copy it, of flesh and His general style is like that of Sir blood. His “ COURT OF DEATH," it Thomas Lawrence, by whom he has is probable, will pay a visit here. It profited greatly; in fact, his composiis a very large picture, and has parts tion, sentiment, and manner, are so of extraordinary power.
much of the same character, now and ALSTON~--HISTORICAL PAINTER. then, that were it not for the touch, Mr. Alston is an American ; studied some of his portraits could not be disin LondonRat Rome; and is undoubt- tinguished from those of Sir Thomas. edly at the head of the historical de- He is remarkably happy in his women. partment in America. He is well un- They have not so much of that elederstood, and very highly appreciated, gant foppery which characterizes most in this country, and should lose no of Sir Thomas Lawrence's females, time in returning to it. His “ JACOB's but, then, they are not heroic, and, VISION" has established his reputa- perhaps, not quite so attractive, or, if tion ; but he owes to this country a as attractive, for that were a hard debt which he will never pay if he question to settle, there is not that remain at home. We have claims exquisite flattery in his pencil that we upon him here, for
see in the pencil of Sir Thomas Law“ He is, as it were, a child of us ;"
rence, which, while it preserves the and his countrymen will never give
likeness, will make a heroine, or an
intellectual woman, of anything; and im that opportunity which we would,
yet there is flattery enough in the penif he were here. Mr. Alston's faculties are a very un
cil of Mr. Sully to satisfy any reason
able creature. Nobody can feel more common union of the bold and beautiful; and yet, there is a sort of arti- astonishment or pleasure than I do at ficial heat in some of his doings, much
the address and power of Sir Thomas as if it were latent, elaborated with Lawrence, in transforming the most great care, and much difficulty ; not absolute, and, I should think, somethat sort of inward fervour which times the most unmanageable corpoflashes into spontaneous combustion, real beings, into spiritualities; but, I whenever it is excited or exasperated. confess, at the same time, that I can
not bear to meet any of his originals, MORSE--HISTORICAL AND POR- after I have been looking at their picTRAIT PAINTER. Mr. Morse is an
tures by him. My emotion, whenever American ; studied in the Academy, I do, is unqualified astonishment, in some degree, under Mr. West. His model of the dying Hercules ob
* The “ Passage of the Delaware,” a copy of
which is now in Scotland, (on a smaller scale,) is tained the medal here. His portraits
by Mr. Sully. It is a remarkably spirited picture. 19 ATHENEUM VOL. 2. 2d series.
astonishment, first, at the likeness ; ture. It must be for the world, then, and astonishment, secondly, that there that a man has painted, if his pictures should be a likeness between things are such startling resemblances, that that are so unlike when compared. while we are ready to cry out with How he contrives it I cannot imagine. pleasure at the likeness, we are ready I have seen a picture of his, indicating to cry out yet louder with astonisha fine, bold, poetical temperament; à ment, if we see the handsome and expressive countenance, there should be any likeness. a frame above the middle size, and, STEWART
-PORTRAIT PAINTER. altogether, a princely fellow. I have Mr. Stewart is an American. He was met the original, whom I had never a long time in this country, many seen before ; been struck instantane- years ago,-painted the principal noously by the resemblance, and yet bility, and ranked, even then, among the original was a paltry, diminutive, the first masters. He is old now, but sordid-looking chap, with no more unquestionably at the head of Amesoul in his face than
-, nay, nor rican painters. In fact they all bow half so much as I have seen in a fine to his opinion as authority. Some noIrish potato.
tion of his prodigious power may be By the way—a remark occurs to gained from this fact. The best
porme here, which may explain this' trait in the Somerset Exhibition, this phenomenon. A stranger will see a year, that of Sir William Curtis by resemblance where a friend would not. Sir T. Lawrence, and that which is The more intimate one is with any least after his own style, is exceedobject, the less easily satisfied will he ingly like the pictures of Stewart, so be with a drawing of it. Anybody much so, indeed, that I should have may see a resemblance in a carica- thought it a Stewart, but for two or ture, an outline, or a profile, while he three passages, and the peculiar touch who is familiar with the original, will of the artist. There is, however, see nothing in the same caricature, more breadth in Mr. Stewart's picprofile, or outline, but a want of re- tures than in those of Sir T. Law. semblance. This would seem to ex- rence, but much less brilliancy and plain a' common occurrence in por- gracefulness. Mr. Stewart hardly ever trait painting. Strangers know the painted a tolerable woman. His wopicture immediately, perhaps, or the men are as much inferior to those of original, (having seen the picture,) Sir T. Lawrence, as his men are suwherever they may happen to en- perior to the men of almost any other counter it; mere acquaintances burst painter. His manner is dignified, siminto continual exclamation at the sight ple, thoughtful, and calm. There is of it, while the intimate friends of the no splendour,—nothing fashy or rich original are dissatisfied, exactly in in the painting of Stewart, but whatproportion to that intimacy. Painters ever he puts down upon canvass is attribute this to the foolish partiality like a record upon oath, plain, uneof affection or friendship; the multi- quivocal, and solid. tude, perhaps, to affectation, blind
-HISTORICAL AND PORDess, or want of judgment. 6 6 What !” TRAIT PAINTER. Mr. Leslie was born
“when we, who are strane in this country, (a circumstance not gers, know the portrait at a glance, generally known ;) went to America how is it possible that it cannot be a in his childhood ; attracted some atlikeness !” They do not know that, tention there, while he was a clerk in because they are strangers, they can- in a book-store, by a few spirited not perceive the ten thousand defi- sketches of George Frederick Cooke, ciencies, or the innumerable delica, and some other actors; was persuaded cies of hue and expression, which go to return to this country and study to make up a likeness to the eyes of the art of painting as a profession. love or veneration. The world see He has been here twice, (in the only the whole ; the intimate friends whole, from ten to a dozen years,) and love to look at the parts, at the minia- has now a reputation of which we,
countrymen, as well as the Americans, every great artist will be found rehave reason to be proud. His por- markable for their accurate resemtraits are beautiful, rich, and pecu- blance, and the later ones remarkable liar ; his compositions in history, for everything else rather than for graceful, chaste, and full of subdued that quality. Their likenesses fall off pleasantry. There is nothing over- as their painting improves. charged in the work of Mr. Leslie.
Still, however, (the last remarks If anything, there is too strict an ad- have no especial application to Mr. herence to propriety. His last pic. Newton, some of this gentleman's ture SANCHO BEFORE THE Duchess, portraits are not only good pictures, though very beautiful, is, nevertheless, but striking likenesses. rather tame as a whole. This, of In history, it is hardly fair to judge course, proceeds from his constitu- of him; for what he has done, though tional fear of extravagance and cari- admirable on many accounts, are racature, which is evident in almost ther indications of a temper and feeleverything that he has done, or, per- ing which are not yet fully disclosed, haps it would be better to say, from than fair specimens of what he could his exceedingly delicate sense of what produce, were he warmly encouraged. is classical. But that must be got His 6 author and auditor” is the best
A classical taste is a bad one, that I know of his productions; and where men are much in earnest, or a capital thing it is. The last, which disposed to humour. Whatever is
was lately exhibited
at Somerset classical is artificial, and, of course, House, is rather a fine sketch, than a opposed to what is natural. One is finished picture. It is loose, rich, and marble, the other, flesh; one, statu- showy; wanting in firmness and sigary, the other, painting. No great nificance ; and verging a little on the man was ever satisfied with what is caricature of broad farce ;-broad, classical.
pencil farce, I mean. For this, of Newton-PORTRAIT AND HISTOR- course, he is excusable, with Moliere ICAL PAINTER.–Mr. Newton is an
for his authority. It is a very good American, but born within our Cana- picture, to be sure, but not such a das; a nephew of Mr. Stewart, (al- picture as he should have produced ready mentioned,) and a man of sin. for the annual exhibition. He did gular and showy talent. He has been himself injustice by it. pursuing his professional studies in C. (Iarding--PORTRAIT PAINTLondon for several years, and begins ING. This extraordinary man is a fair to be regarded as he deserves. His specimen of the American character. portraits are bold and well coloured, About six years ago, he was living in but not remarkable for strength of the wilds of Kentucky, had never resemblance, or individuality of ex- seen a decent picture in his life; and pression. But, then, they are good spent most of his leisure time, such as pictures, and, of the two, it is higher could be spared from the more lapraise even for a portrait-painter, to borious occupations of life, in drumallow that he makes good pictures, ming for a Militia company, and in than that he makes good likenesses. fitting axe-helves to axes; in which It is easy (comparatively) to make a two things he soon became distinresemblance, but very difficult for any guished. By and by, some revolution man to make a picture which deserves took place in his affairs ; a new amto be called good. All portrait-paint- bition sprang up within him; and, beers begin with getting likenesses. ing in a strange place, (without friends Every touch is anxious, particular, and without money-and with a famiand painfully exact; and it is a gen- ly of his own) at a tavern, the landlord eral truth, I believe, that as they of which had been disappointed by a improve in the art, they become less sign painter, Mr. H. undertook the anxious about the likeness, and more sign, apparently out of compassion to about the composition, colouring, and the landlord; but in reality to pay his effect. Thus, the early pictures of bill, and provide bread for his children. He succeeded, had plenty of or two of H. R. H. the Duke of Susemployment in the “ profession” of sex, the head of which is capital : one sign-painting ; took heart, and ven- of Mr. Owen, of Lanark; a portrait tured a step higher—first, in painting of extraordinary plainness, power, and chairs; and then portraits. Laughable sobriety; and some others, shown at as this may seem, it is, nevertheless, Somerset House, and Suffolk Street. entirely and strictly true. I could Mr. H. is ignorant of drawing. It mention several instances of a like is completely evident, that he draws nature; one of a tinman, who is now only with a full brush, correcting the a very good portrait-painter in Phila- parts by comparison with one another. delphia, U. S. A. (named EickHALT); Hence it is, that his heads and bodies another of a silversmith, named Wood, appear to be the work of two differwhose miniatures and small portraits ent persons—a master and a bungler. are masterly ; and another of a por- His hands are very bad ; his compotrait painter named Jarvis, whose sition, generally, quite after the fashion paintings, if they were known here, of a beginner; and his drapery very would be regarded with astonishment like block-tin; or rather, I should say,
-All of whom are Americans. But, this was the case ; for there is a very as they are not known here, and have visible improvement in his late works. not been here, to my knowledge, I Thus much to shew what kind of shall pass them
over, and return, for a men our American relations are, when minute or two, to Mr. Harding. fairly put forward. There is hardly
Mr. H. is now in London ; has one among the number of painters, painted some remarkably good por- above-mentioned, whose life, if it were traits (not pictures); among others, sketched, as that of Mr.H. is, would not one of Mr. John D. Hunter, (the hero appear quite as extraordinary; and as of Hunter's Narrative,) which is de- truly American,in that property which I cidedly the best of a multitude; one have chosen to call a serious versatility.
[Written after viewing a Portrait (supposed to be of this celebrated beauty) by Sir Peter Lely, from the collection of R. Cracroft, Esq. in the Gallery of the Northern Society at Leeds.) I.
III. BEAUTIFUL and radiant girl!
But they've wronged thee---and I swear We have beard of teeth of pearl,
By thy brow so dazzling fair,Lips of coral,-cheeks of rose ;
By the light subdued that flashes Necks and brows like drifted spows,
From the drooping 'lids' silk lashes, Eyes—as diamonds sparkling bright,
By the deep blue eyes beneath them,Or the stars of sumıner's night
By the clustering curls that wreath them, And expression, grace and soul,
By thy softly blushing cheek, But a form so near divine,
By those lips that more than speak,-With a face so fair as thine,
Glossy white without a speck,And so sanny-bright a brow
By thy slender fingers fair, Never met my gaze 'till now!
Modest mien-and graceful air,Thou wert Venus' sister twin
'Twas a burning shame, and sin, If this shade be thine, NELL GWYN!
Sweet, to ebristen thee NELL GWYN
Wreathe for aye thy snowy arms, Thou hast need of no display
Thine are, sure, no wanton's charms ! Gems, however rare, to deck
Like the fawn's—as bright and shySuch an alabaster neck!
Beams thy dark, retiring eye;Can the brilliant's lustre vie
No bold invitation's given With the glories of thine eye?
From the depths of that blue beaven ;Or the ruby's red compare
Nor ope glance of lightness bid With the two lips breathing there !
'Neath its pale, declining lid ! Can they add a richer glow
No !-I'll not believe thy name To thy beauties? No, sweet, no !
Can be aught allied to shame! Though thou bear’st the name of one
Then let them call thee what they will, Whom 'twas virtue once to shun,
I've sworn-and I'll maintain it still It were, sufe, to Taste a sin
(Spite of tradition's idle din) Now-to pass thee by, NELL GWYN !
Thou art no canst not be NELL GWYN !