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Tacitus, where Agrippina lands with the ashes of Gennanicus. This grand composition is known to the American public by the large print of it. Having failed in his attempt to raise by subscription a sufficient sum of money to free West from the necessity of painting portraits, so that his talents might be employed in a manner caleulated to build up in England a school of historical painting, he applied to the young monarch, then free from cares. The acquaintance was a fortunate one for art. The King gave him a commission, which was followed by a continuous succession of others as long as the patron retained his reason. He was admitted on the most intimate footing of friendly familiarity, during the long term of half a century; and it is worthy of remark that he and the king, born in the same year, both died in the year 1820, within two months of each other, at the age of eighty-two.
West was ever ready to encourage the dawn of talent and skill whenever he met with it, and his advice and assistance were ever at the service of the numerous students from his native country, who, towards the latter part of his career, were constantly commended to his attention and care. His unbounded success awakened the envy of some, as a matter of course, but he bore his honours with so much meekness, that malice and jealousy were half disarmed. He was of a quiet, tranquil disposition, unimpassloned, eminently blessed as a peacemaker, and to be of service to a brother artist he would, notwithstanding his accustomed prudence, risk incurring displeasure himself, in order to diminish what he believed had unjustly fallen on another: witness the service he rendered to Robert Strange, the eminent engraver.
I was one day, some twenty odd years ago, looking over the works in the print-room of the British Museum, and in turning the leaves of a large folio scrap-book, in which the prints were pasted by the corners, I was in the act of passing one by Strange, engraved from a painting by West, when it caught the eye of Smith, the librarian. He instantly arrested my hand by &d exclamation that the print I was passing so carelessly was curious and interesting, as he would convince me by an anecdote respecting it; and accordingly he toddled across the room, with his queer gait, to relate it. This was the same Smith who wrote the Life of Nollekins the sculptor, and whose memory was stored to an extraordinary extent with minute details and anecdote, connected with art and artists of kis day. The print referred to represented angels conducting to heaven the disembodied spirit of one of the royal children.
"' This,' said Smith, ' is one of but eight impressions of the engraved plate, for no more
were ever printed. Strange had some years before put an affront on the king, and finding that his prospects in life were darkened by the displeasure of the Court, engraved this plate with the view and in hopes of making it instrumental in producing a reconciliation, and for this purpose the subject was most appropriate. The plate finished, West proceeded to Windsor Castle with a proof, and submitted it to the King. He was delighted with it, and eagerly inquired who engraved it. 'One,' replied West, 'who has been so unfortunate as to fall beneath your majesty's displeasure, but I am confident that your majesty has not a more loyal and devoted subject than he. He implores your royal clemency, and most respectfully entreats your majesty will be graciously pleased to grant him an audience to present the rest of the proof impressions in person.' 'Strange!' exclaimed the Ring sharply; 'you mean that man Strange.' West said a few more submissive words in extenuation, and the King replied, 'Well, well, bring him, bring him.' West proceeded to London and returned again, having Strange in company, the latter bearing with him the copper plate of the royal apotheosis, and the remaining proofs. During the interview that ensued the engraver unpacked the plate, and exposing its bright surface and glistening lines to the gaze of the King, drew from his pocket a steel tool used in his art, saying, 'And now, to convince your majesty that I have spent so much time in elaborating this work—not for pecuniary gain by the sale of the prints, but solely in hopes of effecting a reconciliation with your gracious majesty—those being the only impressions, the plate I now destroy.' So saying, he scored the plate across in every direction till it was utterly ruined."
West's benevolent purpose was more than accomplished, for Strange was not only forgiven, but knighted. Our collectors of choice prints know that many of this engraver's plates bear the inscription Sir Robert Strange, sculpsit . But now comes the question: how had the artist offended the prince? We shall see; and a more miserable meanness, or hardhearted piece of villany than that exhibited by George the Third in this transaction, has seldom been exposed.
Ramsey the artist had painted a whole-length portrait of the Prince of Wales (shortly to become king), and also one of the Earl of Bute. Desirous of having both pictures engraved by so eminent an artist as Robert Strange, information was conveyed to him through Chambers the architect (afterwards Sir William Chambers), that the Prince wished them done, and that he should be presented with one hundred guineas, and reap whatever advantage might accrue from the sale of the prints. Now to appreciate fully the modest nature of this proposition, it must be known that it required four years' labour to execute the plates, that the paintings were poor, and that the engraver, an enthusiast in his profession, and in the advancement of taste in England, would only work from the finest pictures. To escape from such patronage, and at the same time avoid giving offence, he had it properly represented, and not untruly, that his arrangements for visiting Italy were nearly completed, and that he could not, without serious detriment to his family and fortunes, change his plan.* He was soon made to suffer for the supposed slight; the subscription to his prints then in hand received a sudden check. This was comparatively trifling to what followed in the form of active, premeditated persecution, for it is to be expected, that the fawning sycophants of a court would withhold protection and patronage from those on whom the sun of their little elysium refused to shine. In the encouragement which subscriptions of that kind required at that day, the mass of the public were as nothing, and little could be done unless men bearing titles, whom Dryden and other geniuses a short time before had flattered in their dedications as greater than Miecenas, led off in the matter. So that all connoisseurdom knew that Strange was under a cloud, and a man marked for neglect.
Thus matters stood when he departed for Italy. There followed in his track a man named Dalton, librarian to the King, who at an interview with him in Bologna, learned from the unsuspecting artist the pictures he meant to copy, and forthwith employed an eminent Italian engraver, Bartolozzi, secretly to make drawings of those very works, and to engrave them for the King.
It may be perhaps doubted by some that a man in suoh a station would descend to so nefarious a course in revenge for so slight an offence, but to establish the fact beyond question, here is one of the certificates afterwards procured by Strange from the persons without whose permission the copies could not be made.
Translation: "We Vincentius Malvetius, Cardinal Presbyter of the S. R. C., Archbishop of Bologna, and Prince of the S. R. Empire,
"To all and every one who shall see these presents, certify and attest; that M. Dalton, bookseller to the King of England, asked a per
• These pictures were afterwards engraved by Ryland, who was engaged nearly fonr years in their execution. (He subsequently got executed himself for the crime of forgery.) He was paid one hundred guineas for the drawings, and fifty pounds every three months. When the plates were completed, the payments were continued in the form of pension.
mission from us, in the year 1763, to allow M. Bartolozzi to make a drawing for the said King of England, of the picture representing the circumeision of our Lord Jesus Christ, painted by the celebrated John Francis Barbieri, knight, commonly called Guercino da Cento; and we having granted M. Dalton's request, the permission was given accordingly. In testimony whereof we give these our letters, sealed with our usual seal, and signed by us at our Archbishop's Palace in Bologna, this 20th day of December, 1773.
(Signed) Vine. Card. Malvetius Archiepiscopus.
Paulus Canonicus Comes a Secretis."
It is needless to point out the obvious mistake of the Italian in calling Dalton bookseller instead of librarian. This man was treasurer to the Society of Artists, and a leading man in the direction: in that capacity, also, he was able to gratify still further the malevolence of his royal master. The annual exhibition of pictures was to open shortly after the return of Strange to his native country, and almost on the eve of his return a by-law was inserted among others, which by the confession of one of the directors, was framed expressly to exclude his works from the exhibition. It was to prohibit coloured drawings. This did not prevent them from exhibiting similar drawings by Bartolozzi, the following year after they had rejected those of Strange. So, in the formation not long after of the Royal Academy, under the special patronage of the King, the laws were made to exclude engravers from membership, evidently for the sole purpose of excluding Strange; for it did not prevent them from admitting Bartolozzi, who had been used as the instrument of the King's vengeance. By what process they got him in does not appear, but it is to be presumed that he who was so much puzzled to know how an apple could possibly get inside a dumpling, still experienced no very great difficulty in devising the means. Bartolozzi was unquestionably an admirable engraver; the print of the Circumeision after Gueicino is alone sufficient to establish that. Had he not been, the court party would have failed in its object in bringing him to England, which object was obviously to supersede Robert Strange, who to that time was eminently superior in his art to all others there. The Italian, warmed in the sunshine of the royal favour, ran a prosperous and triumphant career, and his brother, a talented musician, was not long in joining him. The latter was the father of the celebrated Madame Vestris, now Mrs. Matthews, of theatrical notoriety.
(To be continued.)
THE MELANCHOLY JACQUES;
OR, A DREAM OF LIFE.
BY FRANCES S. OHGOOD.
"Hr, lay along
A Drum within a dream. I fell onleep
| To play with the glad flowers and birds of Huttreti. i To wiud the loveliest in my sisters' hair.
And sing to them the deep love in my heart—
I, a dismayed, bewildered fugitive.
Too weak to cope with fate so fierce and stern.
Groped through the darkness for the Father's IinnU .
But ere I reached it, lo! a ahape more dread
Than all the rest, rose gleaming in uiy path—
A serpent, with cold hiss, and fiery eyes
Where hate and passion mingled. With a start
Of horror, which was death, I woke—and mi-t
The seraph's calm eyes gnzing into mine.
And heard the sweet majestic melody - That floated round, and saw the fountain play.
Illumined by His smile, that lit all Heaven.
And knew I had but ilreamed.
Ah! wo is me!
There was auother wakening. Worn and faint
With years of suifering. I unclosed my eys
And saw and felt the dread reality
Of life around me still.