« PoprzedniaDalej »
the back apartment to proceed with the ter of Paris, in was, and in clay, some of work.
which are to this day preserved -- not so much A child's cough from behind the counter because of their merit, as because they are here startled the clergyman's ear, and he "curious as the first balting efforts of true peeped over. The invalid boy was not mounted genius. on his usual cushioned seat at the counter The boy could not yet walk, though he was that day, but sat on a small chair behind it, learning to hobble about on crutches, at the with a larger chair before him, on which lay time when George II. died. He could not acA book he was apparently engaged in read- company his father to see the procession at ing. The clergyman was struck by the fine the coronation of George III. ; but he pleaded clear eyes of the boy, and his large beautiful earnestly that he should have one of the forehead, which gave him a look of intelligence medals which were that day to be distributed far beyond his years.
among the crowd. The father struggled to “What are you busy with there, my boy?" |procure one for his poor cripple-boy at home; he asked.
but no! In the scramble for the medals, The youth raised himself up on his crutches, stronger and more agile persons pushed the bowed, and said, “Sir, it is a Latin book, and image-seller to one side ; he obtained a plated I am trying to learn it.”
button, bearing the stamp of a horse and " A Latin book? Let me see it.” jockey, which he presented to his son as "the
And the benevolent clergyman stooped over coronation medal.”. The boy expressed his for the book. It was a Cornelius Nepos, surprise at such a device, and not long after which the boy's father had picked up at some he found out that he had been deceived. The cheap bookstall, for fourpence.
father did not think of the moral injury he had “ Very good," said Mr. Mathews ; “ but done to the boy by his piece of acted deceit, this is not the proper book. I'll bring you a well-intentioned though it might be : such right one to-morrow."
things are not forgotten, and they are always *** Thank you, sir, thank you," said the injurious. But the fine nature of this boy boy.
could endure much, and he outlived the little From that introduction to the little boy wrong. behind the shop-counter an acquaintance be One of his practices at this time was to take gan, which, the Rev. Mr. Mathews used to impressions of all seals and medals that pleased say, “i ripened into one of the best friendships him, and it was for this that he had longed of my life.” And, strange to say, he after- for the "coronation medal.” What he made wards regarded it as an honor and a distinc- of the horse and jockey, we have not been intion to reckon that poor stucco-plasterer's boy formed; but, when once reminded, after he as his friend.
had become a man, of these early childish Mr. Mathews was as good as his word. He pursuits, he observed — “We are never too brought several books to the little boy : young to learn what is useful, nor too old to amongst others, Homer and Don Quixote, in grow wise and good.” both of which the youth ever after took im One day, the boy had been rambling in the mense delight. His mind was soon full of the parks -- for a sudden flush of health came upon heroisin which breathed through the pages of him about his tenth year, which enabled him Homer; and with the stucco Ajaxes and to throw aside his crutches - and on his reAchilleses about him, looming along the shop turn, his mother sprang to meet him. shelves, the ambition took possession of him, “ Johnny!” she exclaimed, “you 'll not that he too would design and embody in poetic guess? I have just had Mr. Mathews here, forms these majestic heroes. The black chalk and what do you think?"! was at once in his hand, and the enthusiastic “ Well, mother, has he brought me the young artist labored in a “divine despair" to Homer back? He promised it some of these body forth the shapes and actions of the days.”' Greeks and the Trojans. Like all youthful * No, Johnny, not that; guess again. But efforts, of course the designs were crude. no, you can never guess. Well, then, he has The proud father one day showed them to invited you to his own house, where you are Roubilliac, the eminent sculptor, but he turned to meet Mrs. Barbauld, the lady that writes from them with a "Pshaw!" He saw no in- the beautiful stories, you know; and Mrs. dications of talent in them. What could be Mathews, the clergyman's beautiful lady, has expected of a child, then only seven years promised to read and explain Homer to you old? But the boy had the right stuff in him; herself! Well, now is n't our Johnny rising he had industry and patience -- patience, in the world ?" which Buffon has defined genius to be. The “ Capital !" cried the youth, clapping his solitary boy labored at his books, and draw-bands. ings, and models, incessantly. He essayed "Well, now," continued his mother, "I his young powers in modelling figures in plas- must have your face washed, and your pretty
hair brushed, and your Sunday clothes put society in which she had her allotted place, on; for you are going to meet ladies at a to devote her evenings to the intellectual culparty, you know."
ture of a poor, illiterate, unknown plaster“Well, dear mother, be it so ; but be quick, cast-seller's boy! Thanks, however, to her will you ? for I am so anxious to go.". kind care and culture, the boy did not remain
And sure enough, about five o'clock in the unknown; the genius thus cherished, in due evening twilight a little boy might be observed time revealed itself - for from the chisel of humbly knocking at the door of an elegant Flaxman have come some of the noblest works house in Rathbone Place. He was plainly but of art which England has ever produced. neatly dressed — diminutive in tigure, and And when Flaxman's praise is sounded, in slightly deformed ; his features, usually pal-justice to her memory let the name of the lid, were flushed on this occasion, as they good Mrs. Mathews, to whom he owed so well might be -- his whole frame being in a much, be affectionately remembered. glow with anticipated pleasure and delight. Many of these juvenile productions - ese
The door was opened by a waiting-man, cuted at Mrs. Mathew's side -- are still in exwho gazed with surprise at the boy when he istence, and display much quiet loveliness as told his errand — that he had “ come to the well as sometimes graphic power. Yet not party.”
long before this, Mortimer, the artist, to whom "Wait in the lobby, my boy — there may the boy exhibited his drawing of a human be some mistake ;" and he ran upstairs to the eye, exclaimed to him, " What sir! is that drawing-room, where were Mrs. Montague, an oyster?” The sensitive boy was very much Mrs. Chapone, and Mrs. Barbauld, with the hurt, and took care not to show his drawings lady of the house. The servant explained his to artists for some time to come ; for artists, message.
though themselves very thin-skinned, are dis“Show up John Flaxman,” she said at posed to be rather savage in their criticisms once, her eye brightening; and, turning to of others. But an artist and a sculptor the Mrs. Barbauld - ** This is the little boy I boy Flaxman had now determined to be ; and told yoữ of. He is really a fine fellow, with he labored at self-improvement with all posthe true soul of a genius. I really believe he sible zeal and industry. He modelled and has in him the germs of a great man; and drew almost incessantly. He was mainly his such as we, who have means and leisure, can- own teacher, as every truly great man must not bestow them better than in carefully fos- be. He used all helps to forward him in his tering what may prove a source of general studies, gathering his knowledge from all happiness and blessings. You call me an sources, and ready often to invent methods enthusiast, I know," "continued Mrs. Ma- for himself, after a kind of inspiration in thews, with a fascinating smile ; " but I have which true genius is usually so apt. invited this boy to show you that in this case The boy found patrons and helpers, too. I have not been zealous overmuch.?" Some of the visitors at Mrs. Mathews', greatly
And so saying, the little visitor, John Flax- admiring his designs after Homer, desired to man, was ushered into the drawing-room. possess some drawings by the same hand;
and Mr. Crutchley, of Sunning-hill Park, gave
him a commission to draw a set for hiva in II. -PROGRESS.
black chalk. His first commission! What a Many a delightful evening --for long years great event was that in the boy's life! A after remembered by John Flaxman with physician's first fee, a lawyer's first retainer, pleasure and affection and gratitude – did the an actress' first night behind the footlights, young artist spend by the fire-side of Mrs. a legislator's first speech in the Commons, an Mathews and her kind-hearted husband. She author's first book, are not any of them more read Homer, Virgil, and Milton, pointing out full of interest and anxiety than is the first their beauties, explaining their ideas, and commission to the artist! And the boy-artist discoursing from tiine to time upon the char- well and duly executed his first commission ; acters whien move across their pages. It was it was a set of six drawings of subjects from a great opportunity for the boy, and he was antiquity, chiefly after Homer -- and he was wise enough to profit by it. Under Mrs. both well-praised and well-paid for his work. Mathew's eye, he began the study of Latin Still he went on studying. His kind friend and Greek, which he prosecuted at home. Mr. Mathews guarded him against indulgence He used to bring with him, too, his bit of in vanity — that besetting sin of clever youths charcoal, and while the accomplished lady – but Flaxman knew too well his own de commented on the pictorial beauty of Homer's fects, and he relaxed not in his labors, but poetry, the boy by her side eagerly endeavored only applied himself more closely than before. to em body upon paper, in outline forms, such He was fifteen when he entered a student at passages as caught his fancy.
the Royal Academy. He might then be seen A beautiful picture this, of the accomplished generally in the company of Blake and Stotwoman turning aside from the glittering | hard - young men of kindred tastes and
genius — gentle and amiable, yet earnest in meet him. The boy's face was downcast, and their love of art, which haunted them as a even paler than usual. passion. In Blake's eyes there shone a mys “ Well, John, what of the medal ?” terious wildness, which early excited the “I have lost it, father." suspicion of his fellow-students as to his There was a minute of perfect silence sanity. But the man of genius is very often neither spoke ; at length the father said hovering on the brink of madness; and the “Well, John, you must stick to it again, “divine phrenzy” sometimes overpowers him. like a Trojan; never say die! But who has Young Flaxman saw in Blake only the kind got it?". and affectionate friend -sensitive like him Engleheart. I am sure I wish him well; self, glad to retire from the bustle of academic but I cannot help thinking that I deserved the pursuits, and commune together about art and prize. However, be that as it may, I am depoetry, and the subjects to which the latter termined, if I live, yet to model works that gave rise. All three — Flaxman, Blake, and the Academy will be proud to recognize." Stothard, thus cultivated together the art of “ Said like a true Flaxman, John. Cheer ready design - and the three, all in their day, up! You will take the medal yet.” we believe, illustrated Paradise Lost. Flax “I will not try again, father ; but I will do man, however, gradually became known among better. Only give me time, and I will show the students, notwithstanding his retiring dis- them something beyond an Academy prize position, and great things were expected of model." him. Nor were these expectations disap This failure on the part of the young Flaxpointed. In his fifteenth year he gained the man was really of service to him. Defeats do silver prize, and next year he became a can- not cast down the resolute-hearted, but only didate for the gold one.
serve to call forth their power of will and The boy had now become a young man, resolution. He redoubled his efforts – spared with the incipient down of manhood on his no pains with himself - designed and modlip. He had the air, the self-possession, and elled incessantly, and labored diligently and gravity of a man, yet all tho siinplicity and perseveringly in the work of self-improvebashfulness of a child. His early delicacy, ment. and inability to take part in the games of But poverty threatened the household of his childhood, cast a shadow over his face in poor father, the profits of whose trade, at that future years. Though slender in figure, he day by no means remunerative, but barely looked older than he seemed. Yet he did not served to “ keep the wolf from the door.” So lack in activity of limb and body.--- standing the youth was under the necessity of curtailnow in no need of crutches, which he had ing his hours of study in order to devote a long since abandoned. The light of his soul larger portion of his time to the bread-andshone through his eyes, which possessed a cheese department. He laid aside his Homer marvellous brilliancy, indicating the true tem- and took up his plaster-trowel. He forsook perament of genius.
Milton to multiply stucco casts. He was Of course, everybody prophesied that young found willing to work in any department of Flaxman would carry off the gold medal ; his calling, so that he might thereby earn there was no student who, for ability and in- money. To this drudgery of his art he served dustry, was to be compared with him; and a long and rude apprenticeship; but it did when his candidature for the medal was known, him good. It familiarized him with work, all his fellow-students shouted out in one and cultivated in him the spirit of patience. voice, “ Flaxman! Flasman!" as if none but The discipline may have been rough, but it he was worthy to win the prize.
was wholesome. Happily, the young Flas. The eventful day arrived. Old Flaxman man's skill in design had reached the ears of who had now removed his shop into the one of the great patrons of art in those days — Strand, opposite Durham Yard - · was busy Josiah Wedgwood, the Staffordshire potter, with a popular bust of the Duke of York ; but who sought out the lad with the view of emhe was so agitated by the thought of his son's ploying him in the improvement of his eventful competition, that he could not go on crockery-ware. It may seem a very humble with his work ; he felt like a fish out of water department of art to have labored in ; but - could not sit, nor stand, nor settle down to really it was not so. A true artist may be anything, “ but was all over queer like,” laboring in the highest vocation, even while peeping out along the pavement from time to l'he is sketching a design for a teapot or a dintime, to discern, if he could, the elate figure ner-plate. Articles which are in daily use of his son marching homeward with the gold among the people, and are before their eyes medal of the Academy. The hours slowly at every meal they sit down to, may be made passed by, and late in the day John Flaxman the vehicles of art education to all, and minentered his father's door. The old man sprang ister to their highest culture. Even the best up at the sound of bis footstep, and ran to artist may thus be conferring a much greater
practical benefit upon his countrymen than by (ous pieces of earthen ware. They consisted painting an elaborate picture, which he may chiedy of small groups in very low relief — the sell for a thousand pounds to a lord, to be by subjects taken from ancient verse and history. bim forth with carried off to his country palace, Many of them are still in existence, and some and virtually hidden there.
are equal in beauty and simplicity to his after The enterprising Josiah Wedgwood was a designs for marble. The celebrated Etruscan most energetic man, possessed of great public vases, many of which were to be found in spirit. He desired to push his trade, and public museums and in the cabinets of the while he benefitted himself he also sought to curious, furnished him with the best examples improve the public tastes. Before his day, of form, and these he embellished with his the designs which figured upon our china and own elegant devices. Stuart's Athens, then stone-ware were of a hideous description recently published, also furnished him with bad in drawing, bad in design, and bad in specimens of the purest-shaped Greek utensils, execution. Josiah Wedgwood found out Flax- and he was not slow to adopt the best of
them, and work them up into new and won“Well, my lad," said he to him, “ I have drous shapes of elegance and beauty. Flaxheard that you are a good draughtsman and a man then saw that he was laboring in a great clever designer. I'm a pot manufacturer work — no less than the promotion of popular name, Wedgwood. Now I want you to design education; and he was proud, in after life, to some models for me - nothing fantastic, you allude to these his early labors, by which he know, but simple, tasteful, and correct in was enabled at the same time to cultivate his drawing. I'll pay you well. Do you under- love of the beautiful, to diffuse a taste for art stand? You don't think the work beneath among the people, and to replenish his own you? Eh?”
purse while he greatly promoted the prosperiBy no means, sir,” answered young Flax-ty of his friend and benefactor. man ; " indeed, the work is quite to my taste. Engaged in such labors as these, for several Give me a few days - call again, and you years Flasman executed but few works of art, shall see what I can do."
and then at rare intervals. He lived a quiet, “That 's right - work away. Mind, I am secluded, and simple life, working during the in want of them now. They are for pots of day and sketching and reading in the evenings. all kinds - teapots, jugg, teacups and saucers. He was so poor that he had as yet been only But especially I want designs for a table-ser- able to find plaster of Paris for his works vice. Begin with that. I mean to supply marble was too dear a material for him. He one for the royal table. Now, think of that, had hitherto executed only one statue in the young man:
What you design is meant for latter material, and that was a commission. the eyes of royalty!"
At length, in the year 1782, when twenty“I will do my best, sir, I assure you." seven years of age, he quited his father's roof
And the kind gentleman bustled out of the and rented a small house and studio in Warshop as he had come in.
dour Street, Soho; and, what was more, he Flaxman did his best. By the time that married a wife - an event which proved to Mr. Wedgwood next called upon him, he had him of no small consequence, as we shall find a numerous series of models prepared for vari- from the events in his future history.
ANECDOTE OF GENERAL WASHINGTON. – To- his suite alighted, and, after hitching their horses wards the fall of the year 1775, General Wash- | under the trees, entered the house by invitation ington and staff visited Chelsea on horseback, to of Mr. Dexter, and partook of refreshments. When view the features of the land thereabouts. They the party came out to remount their horses, one went from the camp in Cambridge, through Med- of the gentlemen accidentally knocked off a stone ford and Malden, and stopped by the way for from one of the walls which run along from the rest and refreshment at the residence of Mr. John house to the street outside of the rows of trees. Dexter, situated in Malden, by the brook, just Washington remarked to him that he had better before you enter the central village on the north replace the stone. The officer, having remounted, side of the old road leading from Medford. This replied, “No, I will leave that for somebody else house was about fifteen rods from the street, and to do." Washington then went quietly and redistinguished for its convenience and the beauty placed the stone himself, saying, as he did so, “I of its situation, having many stately elm trees always make it my rule when visiting a place to growing in regular lines in an open park in front, leave things in as good order as I find them.”, besides others growing by the roadside near, and This incident was related to us by Captain was thus well calculated to tempt a troup of Richard Dexter, the son of the said John Dexter, weary horsemen on a summer's day to dismount, who was a witness of the facts related, and at the to enjoy the coolness of the shade and the hos- time about nineteen years of age. — Bunker Hill pitalities of the mansion. Here Washington and Aurora.
From the Gentleman's Magazine. could describe so tenderly and appreciate so A WORD UPON WIGS.
well what was lovely in girlhood, whips his
butterflies into dragons at the bare idea of a When it is said that Hadrian was the first nymph in a toupee. Venus Anadyomene herRoman emperor who wore a wig, nothing self would have had no charms for that gentle more is meant than that he was the first who sigher of sweet and enervating sounds had she avowedly wore They were common wooed him in borrowed hair. If he was not enough before his time. Caligula and Mes- particular touching morals he was very strict salina put them on for purposes of disguise concerning curls.. when they were abroad at night; and Otho If the classical poets winged their satirical condescended to conceal his baldness with shafts against wigs, these were as little spared what he fain hoped bis subjects would accept by the mimic thunderbolts of the fathers, as a natural head of hair becoming to one who councils, and canons of the early church. bore the name of Cæsar.
Heathen poets and Christian elders could no As for the origin of wigs, the honor of the more digest human hair than can the crocoinvention is attributed to the luxurious lapy- dile, of whom dead, it is said, you may know gians in southern Italy. The Louvain theolo- how many individuals he devoured living, by gians, who published a French version of the the number of hair-balls in the stomach, Bible, affected however to discover the first which can neither digest nor eject them. The mention of perukes in a passage in the fourth indignation of Tertullian respecting these said chapter of 'Isaiah. The Vulgate has these wigs is something perfectly terrific.
Nyt words : “Decalvabit Dominus verticem filia- less is that of St. Gregory of Nazianzen, who rum Sion, et Dominus crinem earum nudabit;" especially vouches for the virtue of his simple this the Louvain gentlemen translated into sister Gorgonia, for the reason that she neither French as follows: " Le Seigneur dechevelera cared to curl her own hair or repair its lack les têtes des filles de Sion, et le Seigneur de- of beauty by the aid of a wig. The thunder couvrira leurs perruques ;” the which," done of St. Jerome against these adornments was into English," implies that the Lord will quite as loud as that of any of the fathers. pluck the hair from the heads of the daughters They were preached against as unbecoming of Sion, and will expose their perriwigs." Christianity.. Council after council, from the In this free and easy translation the theolo- first at Constantinople to the last provincial gians in question followed no less an authority council at Tours, denounced wigs even when than St. Paulinus of Nola, and thus had re-worn in joke. “ There is no joke in the matspectable warrant for their singular mistake. ter,” exclaimed the exceedingly irate St.
Allusions to wigs are frequently made both Bernard " the woman who wears a wig hy bistorians and poets of the ancient times. commits a mortal sin.” St. John ChrysosWe know that they were worn by fashionable tom cites St. Paul against the fashion, argugentlemen in Palmyra and Baalbec, and that ing that they who prayed or preached in wigs the Lycians took to them out of necessity. could not be said to worship or teach the When their conqueror Mausoleus had ruth- word of God with head uncovered.
“Look," lessly ordered all their heads to be shaven, says Cyprian to the wearers of false hair," the poor Lycians felt themselves so supremely " look at the Pagans; they pray in veils ridiculous that they induced the king's general, what better are you than Pagans if you come Condales, by means of an irresistible bribe, to to prayers in perukes?”. Many local synods permit thein to import wigs from Greece; would authorize no fashion of wearing the and the symbol of their degradation became bair but straight and short. This form was the very pink of Lycian fashion.
especially enjoined on the clergy generally. Hannibal was, as Captain Bluff says of him St. Ambrose as strictly enjoined the fashion in Fielding's Amelia, å very pretty fellow in upon the ladies of his diocese. « Do not talk his day. But for so stout a soldier he was on to me of curls," said this hard-worded prethe article of perukes as finical as Jessamy late ; they are the lenocinia formæ non and as particular as Ranger - - as nice about præcepta virtutis !” The ladies smiled. It their fashion as the former, and as philosoph- was to some such obdurate and beautiful ical as the latter upon their look. Hanni- rebels that Cyprian once gravely preached on bal wore them sometimes to improve, some- the text chosen by Sidney Smith when he times to disguise his person ; and, if he wore took leave of his fashionable congregation in one long enough to spoil its beauty, he was as Fitzroy Chapel “ Thou shalt not commit glad as the airy gentleman in The Suspicious adultery !” Give heed to me, oh ye women, Ilusband to ding it aside when it wore a said the older preacher ; adultery is a “ battered” aspect. Ovid and Martial cele- grievous sin, but she who wears false hair is brate the gold-colored wigs of Germany. The guilty of a greater!" It must have been a latter writer is very severe upon the dandies comfortable state of society when two angry and coquettes of his day, who thought to win ladies could exclaim to cach other :" “ You attraction under a wig. Propertius, who may say of me what you please ; you may