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bute to the spirit that is in the man.

Mr. Northcote's manner is completely extempore. It is just the reverse of Mr. Canning's oratory. All his thoughts come upon him unawares, and for this reason they surprise and delight you, because they have evidently the same effect upon his mind. There is the same unconsciousness in his conversation that has been pointed out in Shakspeare's dialogues ; or you are startled with one observation after another, as when the mist gradually withdraws from a landscape and unfolds objects one by one. His figure is small, shadowy, emaciated; but you think only of his face, which is fine and expressive. His body is out of the question. It is impossible to convey an adequate idea of the naïveté, and unaffected, but delightful ease of the way in which he goes on—now touching upon a picture—now looking for his snuff-box-now alluding to some book he has been reading-now returning to his favourite art. He seems just as if he was by himself or in the company of his own thoughts, and makes you feel quite at home. If it is a Member of Parliament, or a beautiful woman, or a chil or a young artist that drops in, it makes no difference; he enters into conversation with them in the same unconstrained manner, as if they were inmates in his family. Sometimes you find him sitting on the floor, like a school-boy at play, turning over a set of old prints; and I was pleased to hear him say the other day, coming to one of some men putting off in a boat from a shipwreck—“ That is the grandest and most original thing I ever did !". This was not egotism, but had all the beauty of truth and sincerity. The print was indeed a noble and spirited design. The circumstance from which it was taken happened to Sir Harry Englefield and his crew. He told Northcote the story, sat for his own head, and brought the men from Wapping to sit for theirs ; and these he had arranged into a formal composition, till one Jeffrey, a conceited but clever artist of that day, called in upon him, and said, “Oh! that common-place thing will never do, it is like West; you should throw them into an action something like this."-Accordingly, the head of the boat was reared uplike a sea-horse riding the waves, and the elements put into commotion, and when the painter looked at it the last thing as he went out of his room in the dusk of the evening, he said that "it frightened him." He retained the expression in the faces of the men nearly as they sat to him. It is very fine, and truly English ; and being natural, it was easily made into history. There is a portrait of a young gentleman striving to get into the boat, while the crew are pushing him off with their oars; but at last he prevailed with them by his perseverance and entreaties to take him in. They had only time to throw a bag of biscuits into the boat beforc the ship went down ; which they divided into a biscuit a day for each man, dipping them into water which they collected by holding up their handkerchiefs in the rain and squeezing it into a bottle. They were out sixteen days in the Atlantic, and got ashore at some place in Spain, where the great difficulty was to prevent them from eating too much at once, so as to recover gradually. Sir Harry Englefield observed that he suffered more afterwards than at the time—that he had horrid dreams of falling down precipices for a long while after--that in the boat they told merry stories, and kept up one another's spirits as well as they could, and on some complaint being made of their distressed situation, the young gentleman who had been

admitted into their crew remarked, " Nay, we are not so badly off neither, we are not come to eating one another yet !”-Thus, whatever is the subject of discourse, the scene is revived in his mind, and every circumstance brought before you without affectation or effort, just as it happened. It might be called picture-talking. He has always some pat allusion or anecdote. A young engraver came into his room the other day, with a print which he had put into the crown of his hat, in order not to crumple it, and he said it had been nearly blown away several times in passing along the street. “ You put me in mind,” said Northcote, "of a bird-catcher at Plymouth, who used to put the birds he had caught into his bat to bring them home, and one day meeting my father in the road, he pulled off his hat to make him a low bow, and all the birds flew away!" Sometimes Mr. Northcote gets to the top of a ladder to paint a palm-tree or to finish a sky in one of his pictures; and in this situation he listens very attentively to any thing you tell him. I was once mentioning some strange inconsistencies of our modern poets ; and on coming to one that exceeded the rest, he descended the steps of the ladder one by one, laid his pallet and brushes deliberately on the ground, and coming up to me, said—“ You don't say so, it's the very thing I should have supposed of them : yet these are the men that speak against Pope and Dryden.” Never any sarcasms were so fine, so cutting, so careless as his. The grossest things from his lips seem an essence of refinement: the most refined become more so than ever. Hear him talk of Pope's Epistle to Jervas, and repeat the lines

“ Yet should the Graces all thy figures place,

And breathe an air divine on every face ;
Yet should the Muses bid my numbers roll
Strong as their charms, and gentle as their soul,
With Zeuxis' Helen thy Bridgewater vie,
And these be sung till Granville's Myra die :
Alas! how little from the grave we claim ;

Thou but preserv'st a face, and I a name.' Or let him speak of Boccacio and his story of Isabella and her pot of basil, in which she kept her lover's head and watered it with her tears, " and how it grew, and it grew, and it grew," and you

see his own eyes glisten, and the leaves of the basil-tree tremble to his faltering accents!

Mr. Fuseli's conversation is more striking and extravagant, but less pleasing and natural than Mr. Northcote's. He deals in paradoxes and caricatures. He talks allegories and personifications, as he paints them. You are sensible of effort without any repose—no careless pleasantry-no traits of character or touches from nature-every thing is laboured or overdone. His ideas are gnarled, hard, and distorted, like his features-his theories stalking and straddle-legged, like his gait--his projects aspiring and gigantic, like his gestures—his performance uncouth and dwarfish, like his person. His pictures are also like bimself, with eye-balls of stone stuck in rims of tin, and muscles twisted together like ropes or wires. Yet Fuseli is undoubtedly a man of genius, and capable of the most wild and grotesque combinations of fancy. It is a pity that he ever applied himself to painting, which must always be reduced to the test of the senses. He is a little like Dante

sona man

or Ariosto, perhaps : but no more like Michael Angelo, Raphael, or Correggio, than I am. Nature, he complains, puts him out. Yet he can laugh at artists who paint ladies with iron lap-dogs:", and he describes the great masters of old in words or lines full of truth, and glancing from a pen or tongue of fire. I conceive any person would be more struck with Mr. Fuseli at first sight, but would wish to visit Mr. Northcote oftener. There is a bold and startling outline in his style of talking, but not the delicate finishing or bland tone that there is in that of the latter. Whatever there is harsh or repulsive about him is, however, in a great degree carried off by his animated foreign accent and broken English, which give character where there is none, and soften its asperities where it is too abrupt and violent.

Compared to either of these artists, West, the late President of the Royal Academy, was a thoroughly mechanical and common-place per

“ of no mark or likelihood.” He, too, was small, thin, but with regular well-formed features, and a precise, sedate, self-satisfied air. This, in part, arose from the conviction in his own mind that he was the greatest painter, and consequently the greatest man, in the world : kings and nobles were common every-day folks, but there was but one West in the many peopled globe. If there was any one individual with whom he was inclined to share the palm of undivided superiority, it was with Bonaparte. When Mr. West had painted a picture, he thought it was perfect. He had no idea of any thing in the art but rules, and these he exactly conformed to; so that, according to his theory, what he did was quite right. He conceived of painting as a mechanical or scientific process, and bad no more doubt of a face or a group in one of his high ideal compositions being what it ought to be, than a carpenter has that he has drawn a line straight with a ruler and a piece of chalk, or than a mathematician has that the three angles of a triangle are equal to two right ones.

When Mr. West walked through his gallery, the result of fifty years' labour, he saw nothing, either on the right or the left, to be added or taken away.

The account he gave of his own pictures, which might seem like ostentation or rhodomontade, had a sincere and infantine simplicity in it. When some one spoke of his St. Paul shaking off the serpent from his arm, (at Greenwich Hospital, I believe,) he said, “ A little burst of genius, Sir!" West was one of those happy mortals who had not an idea of anything beyond himself or his own actual powers and knowledge. I once heard him say in a public room, that he thought he had quite as good an idea of Athens from reading the Travelling Catalogues of the place, as if he lived there for years.

I believe this was · strictly true, and that he would have come away with the same slender, literal, unenriched idea of it as he went. Looking at a picture of Rubens, which he had in his possession, he said with great indifference, " What a pity that this man wanted expression !" This natural selfcomplacency might be strengthened by collateral circumstances of birth and religion. West, as a native of America, might be supposed to own no superior in the Commonwealth of art: as a Quaker, he smiled with sectarian self-sufficiency at the objections that were made to his theory or practice in painting. He lived long in the firm persuasion of being one of the elect among the sons of Fame, and went to

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his final rest in the arms of Immortality! Happy error! Enviable old man !

Flaxman is another living and eminent artist, who is distinguished by success in his profession, and by a prolonged and active old age. He is diminutive in person, like the others. I know little of him, but that he is an elegant sculptor, and a profound mystic. This last is a character common to many other artists in our days—Loutherbourg, Cosway, Blake, Sharp, Varley, &c.--who seem to relieve the literalness of their professional studies by voluntary excursions into the regions of the preternatural, pass their time between sleeping and waking, and whose ideas are like a stormy night, with the clouds driven rapidly across, and the blue sky and stars gleaming between!

Cosway is the last of these I shall mention. At that name I pause, and must be excused if I consecrate to him a petit souvenir in my best manner; for he was Fancy's child. What a fairy palace was his of specimens of art, antiquarianism, and virtu, jumbled all together in the richest disorder, dusty, shadowy, obscure, with much left to the imagination, (how different from the finical, polished, petty, modernised air of some Collections we have seen !) and with copies of the old masters, cracked and damaged, which he touched and retouched with his own hand, and yet swore they were the genuine, the pure originals. All other collectors are fools to him : they go about with painful anxiety to find out the realities :-he said he had them-and in a moment made them of the breath of his nostrils and of the fumes of a lively imagination. His was the crucifix that Abelard prayed to-a lock of Eloisa's hair—the dagger with which Felton stabbed the Duke of Buckingham —the first finished sketch of the Jocunda—Titian's large colossal profile of Peter Aretinea mummy of an Egyptian king—a feather of a phoenix---a piece of Noah's Ark. Were the articles authentic? What matter?---his faith in them was true. He was gifted with a secondsight in such matters : he believed whatever was incredible. Fancy bore sway in him; and so vivid were his impressions, that they included the substances of things in them. The agreeable and the true with him were one. He believed in Swedenborgianism--he believed in animal magnetism---he had conversed with more than one person of the Trinity---he could talk with his lady at Mantua through some fine vehicle of sense, as we speak to a servant down-stairs through a conduit-pipe. Richard Cosway was not the man to flinch from an ideal proposition. Once, at an Academy dinner, when some question was made whether the story of Lambert's Leap was true, he started up, and said it was ; for he was the person that performed it :---he once assured me that the knee-pan of King James I. in the ceiling at Whitehall was nine feet across (he had measured it in concert with Mr. Cipriani, who was repairing the figures)--he could read in the Book of the Revelations without spectacles, and foretold the return of Bonaparte from Elba---and from St. Helena! His wife, the most lady-like of Englishwomen, being asked in Paris what sort of a man her husband was, made answer—“ Toujours riant, toujours gai.” This was his character. He must have been of French extraction. His soul appeared to possess the life of a bird ; and such was the jauntiness of his air and manner, that to see him sit to have his half-boots laced on, you would

fancy (by the help of a figure) that, instead of a little withered elderly gentleman, it was Venus attired by the Graces. His miniatures and whole-length drawings were not merely fashionable---they were fashion itself. His imitations of Michael Angelo were not the thing. When more than ninety, he retired from his profession, and used to hold up the palsied hand that had painted lords and ladies for upwards of sixty years, and smiled, with unabated good-humour, at the vanity of human wishes. Take him with all his faults and follies, we scarce “shall look upon his like again!"

Why should such persons ever die? It seems hard upon them and us! Care fixes no sting in their hearts, and their persons "present no mark to the foe-man.” Death in them seizes upon living shadows. They scarce consume vital air : their gross functions are long at an end---they live but to paint, to talk or think. Is it that the vice of age, the miser's fault, gnaws them? Many of them are not afraid of death, but of coming to want; and having begun in poverty, are haunted with the idea that they shall end in it, and so die---to save charges. Otherwise, they might linger on for ever, and “ defy augury!"



“ The common chat of gossips when they meet.”

What! shall the Morning Post proclaim
For every rich or high-born dame,
From Portman Square to Cleveland Row,
Each item-no one cares to know;
Print her minutest whereabouts,
Describe her concerts, balls, and routs,
Enumerate the lamps and lustres,
Shew where the roses hung in clusters,
Tell how the floor was chalk’d-reveal
The partners in the first quadrille
How long they danced, till, sharp as hunters,
They sat down to the feast from Gunter's;
How much a quart was paid for peas,
How much for pines and strawberries,
Taking especial care to fix
The hour of parting-half past six ?-
And shall no bard make proclamation
Of routs enjoy'd in humbler station?
Rise, honest Muse, to Hackney roam,
And sing of “Mrs. Dobbs at Home.”
He who knows Hackney, needs must know
That spot enchanting Prospect Row,
So call'd because a view it shows
Of Shoreditch Road, and when there blows
No dust, the folks may one and all get
A peep-almost to Norton Falgate.
Here Mrs. Dobbs at Number Three
Invited all her friends to tea.
The Row had never heard before
Such double knocks at any door,
And heads were popp'd from every casement,
Counting the comers with amazeinent.

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