Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

least one of my chief arguments, is, seas; and Charles Matthews is (can that the painters who have succeeded praise go higher ?) the principal ausplendidly in past times, and more es- thor of several of his own entertainpecially in the present time, have all ments. Dan Terry was bred an ardone so. Michael Angelo was a great chitect, and is learned in all the learnpoet. Raphael a most elegant scholar. ing of the Palladios-and, moreover, What would the other two Carraccis he has dramatized the Heart of Midhave done with all their manual skill, lothian, &c. As for Liston, the exbut for what Mr D’Israeli so properly quisite, inimitable Liston, who does calls “ the profound meditations” of not know that he was at one time a Ludovico ? Albert Durer was a dun- teacher of youth, and that he discogeon of middle-age lore. Sir Joshua vered where his true forte lay, from Reynolds was the author of his charm- observing, that all the dread of a ing Lectures. Greek Williams has put brushing could not keep the boys from forth recently a delightful and most dying of laughter whenever he was classical volume of Travels. Turk spouting ex cathedra, the Soliloquy of Allan, too, has written a very pretty Hamlet, or the Speech of Moloch? little book about a Circassian love- Mrs Bellamy's life of herself is a chefstory--besides being responsible for dæuvre of libel and libidinousness, I know not how many comic inter and, to wind up with a stomacher, Moludes, &c. wherewith, to this blessed LIERE and SHAKESPEARE were playhour, the private theatres of the ers. Ukraine, Crim-Tartary, and several I am of opinion, that George Cruikother outlandish regions, are enliven- shank is one of the many young gened. Haydon appears to have written tlemen, whose education, (like that of his own catalogues. Sir Henry Rae- the English opium-eater,) has been burn was !-alas! was,- one of the best neglected. But there is no time lost ; informed men in the North,-a true he has, I hope, a long life and a mer Scottish gentleman of the old school ry one before him yet; and he may as true a one as ever kingly sword depend upon it, his life will be neither laid knighthood on !- As for Mr the shorter nor the duller for his maThomson of Duddingstone, perhaps king it something of a studious one. He after Turner, the finest landscape should read-read-read. He should painter now extant-he is a highly be indefatigable in reading. He should accomplished member of the clerical rise at six in the morning. If he can't profession. In my opinion, he ought work till he has had something to setto be made a Principal. His Aber tle his stomach, (my own case,) he lady Bay is a perfect jewel. Sir Tho- may have a little coffee-pot placed on mas Lawrence is another extremely the hob over night, and take a cup of well-read painter-he is a complete that and a single crust of toast- and gentleman, and man of the world, and he will find himself quite able for anyone of the handsomest men in Lon- thing. What a breakfast he will be don into the bargain. And what is able to devour about nine or half-past the result? Nobody but himself could nine, after having enriched his mind have painted that picture of Lady with several hours of conversation with Blesington-nobody since Titian. the greatest and the wisest of his spe

The same sort of thing may, be said cies! He may rely upon it, this hint is with equal propriety as to the actors. worth taking—Then let him draw, Garrick was a glorious farce-writer- etch, and paint, until about two o'clock a glorious song-writer--the pupil and P. M., then take a lounge through the friend of the celebrated Dr Samuel streets to see if anything is stirring Johnson. Old Cibber's Apology, and step into Westminster-hall--the Fives some of his comedies stand in the very court, the Rev. Edward Irvine's ehapel, first order of meritoriousness—John (if it be Sunday,) or any other public Kemble was a prime black-letter scho- place, jotting down à la Hogarth all lar-and possessed besides all the learn. the absurd faces he falls in with upon ing of the sacred profession for which his finger nails. A slight dinner and a he was originally destined. Mrs Sid- single bottle will carry him on till it dons is the author of an abridgement is time to go to the play, or the Castle of Milton's Paradise Lost. Charles Tavern, or the House of Commons, or Young is as accomplished a gentleman the evening preaching, or the Surrey as any L.L.D. A.S.S. within the four Lecture, or the like. At first sight, it

may appear that I am cutting short completely-how toto cælo did he outthe hours of professional exertion too cruikshank himself, when he was much-but this I am convinced is called upon to embody the conceptions mere humbug. Does the author of of that remarkable man in the designs Waverley eat, or drink, or ride, or for Tom and Jerry? The world felt talk, or laugh, a whit the less because this and he himself felt it. he writes an octavo every month? Again, no disparagement to my no such things. Does Jeffrey plead friend Pierce Egan, (who is one of the his causes a bit the worse because he is pleasantest as well as one of the greatthe editor of the Edinburgh Review ? est men now extant; and with whom, Does Wordsworth write worse poems, last time I was in town, I did not for collecting the taxes of Cumber: hesitate to crack a bottle of Belcher's land, or Lamb, worse Elias, for being best,) Cruikshank made another, and clerk to the India House? T'he a still more striking stride, when he artists are all of them too diligent- stept from Egan to Burns, and sought that is the very fault I want to cure his inspiration from the very best of them of. Their pallets are never off all Burns's glorious works, “ The their thumbs-their sticks are eter- Jolly Beggars." It is to this work (the nally in their fingers. They are like “ PointS OF HUMOUR") that I am the old race of kings, wbo are repre- now to speak. It was for the purpose sented as lying in their beds all in full of puffing it and its author, and of fig, with crown, globe, and sceptre. calling upon all, who have eyes to Such doings are not adapted for the water, and sides to ache, to buy it, present enlightened state of society. that I began this leading lecture. It Such kings are exploded—the kings is, without doubt, the first thing that hujusce evi wear top-boots, hessians, has appeared since the death of Hon and Wellingtons, military uniforms, garth. Yes-Britain possesses once neat blue surtouts-black stocks-in more an artist capable of seizing and short, they dress no better than their immortalizing the traits of that which subjects or worse. Painters, poets, I consider as by far the most rem &c. who all think themselves at markable of our national characterisleast as great as if they were kings, tics the Humour of The People. ought without question to behave like Ex pede HERCULEM : The man who their brother potentates conform drew these things is fit for anything. themselves to the customs of the world Let him but do himself justice, and -be educated and literate, since all he must take his place inter lumina other people are soand eat and drink, Anglorum. that their soul, (that is their genius,) As for describing a set of comic may live.

etchings I must beg to be excused The advantage of a little proper -it is not at all in my line-but I reading may be illustrated by the his- pity the man, woman, or child, who tory of George Cruikshank-as well does not feast upon them propriis ocuas by that of any other individual I lis. You, Ladies and Gentlemen, you have the pleasure of not being per are more fortunate-here they are. sonally acquainted with. I admit, The first of the series represents the old that he shewed great talent in “ The soldier, with the wooden-leg, in this Matrimonial Ladder," the “ House attitude : that Jack built,” and, indeed, in all “ An'aye he gied the Tozie Drab his earlier performances. His carica The tother skelpan kiss, tures of the Chancellor, and Lord While she held up her greedy gab, Sidmouth in particular, were quite Just like an awmous dish; admirable ; and so, when he was

Ilk smack still did crack still, working on the other lay, were some

Just like a cadger's whip; of his caricatures of Burdett, Grey

Then, staggering," &c. &c. Bennet, Waddington, Mackintosh, The lines are worthy of being written Carlisle, Joseph Hume, Hone, Brough in letters of gold-they are worthy of am, and Peter Moore. All these having inspired Cruikshank to the high. were in their several ways excellent est triumph his genius has ever yet things. But what a start did he make achieved, and that is far better. The old when his genius had received a truer fellow's face, you observe, is round, and and a diviner impulse from the splen- drawn to a point at the nose ; his eyes did imagination of an Egan! How are almost quite shut ; his firm lip projects about an inch beyond his pim. “ See the smoking bowl before us ! pled proboscis, and conceals two-thirds Mark our jovial ragged ring! of his bristly chin. His three-cornered, Round and round take up the chorusiron-bound hat is cocked half fiercely,

And in raptures let us sing. half“ jauntily,” on the right ear. The stump of that dexter arm stands out as

Now the chorus, audience ! in a vain but violent effort to clasp that A fig for those by luws protected, time-worn fair. And she!—what a sim

Liberty's a glorious feast; per-what quiet luxury about her beavy Courts for cozoards were erected, eyelids, and that indescribable, ineffa

Churches built to please the priest. ble muzzle! The great toe of her right foot is curled up in an ecstasy of “no

“ What is title, what is treasure,

What is reputation's care? thing loath"-she shews, after all she

ne If we lead a life of pleasure, has come through, a plump and juicy

"Tis no matter how or where. calf-her right hand is fumbling about

A fig, &c. his breast-plate, and the left, half unconsciously, as it were, is fiddling about « With the ready trick and fable, the tankard on the table there behind · Round we wander all the day; her. As Wordsworth says, in compli- And at night, in barn or stable, menting a painting by Sir George Hug our doxies on the hay. Beaumont,

A fig, &c. “Oh! 'tis a passionate work !” “ Does the train-attended carriage The Bank of England to a mealy

Through the country lighter move ? potatoe, it is worth all the paintings,

Does the sober bed of marriage either of his own, or of other people's

Witness brighter scenes of love ?

A fig, &c. manufacture, that Sir George Beaumont possesses.

Life is all a variorum, • The contest between the Tinker We regard not how it goes ; and the Fiddler (turn over two or Let them capt about decorum, three leaves, my bearers,) is scarcely Who have characters to lose. inferior and the Balladmonger upri

A fig, &c. sing to chant (on a few pages more, Ladies,) is as good. I think, upon

“ Here's to budgets, bags, and wallets ; looking at it for a few minutes more,

Here's to all the wandering train ; it is even better. Yes it is the best

Here's our ragged brats and callets, of the whole-it is the gem--the star

One and all, cry out, Amen!

A fig," &c. -the glory of the book. What a profound sense of the glorious felicity of

To proceed.--This sketch of the whisky is manifested in this half- whole party in the acme of their revel sleepy, half-enthusiastic, fat, bald, and this counterpart of them startfreckled, leering, squinting, gaping, ing in the morning—when they are roaring physiognomy,

all shrivelled, bundled up, blind, lazy, "He rising, rejoicing,

melancholy, moping-are both quite Between his two Deborahs,

exquisite and the notion of the conLooks round him, and found them trast may be classed with anything Impatient for the chorus.”

that even the wit of Hogarth has beThere is more persuasion, and more queathed to us. Cruikshank here steps triumph too, in the style in which beyond his author, turns poet himself, that dexter hand is expanded, than in and completes what Burns began, as all the fists that ever thumped a vel. well as Burns himself could have vet-cushion. The uncertain, stagger- done. ing stride—the ineffectual staff-the . There are several etchings in this leather-breeches, (Ladies and Gentle- little book besides these-excellent, men)-the shirtless arm—they are all no doubt, but still inferior—those of perfect. It is from such a glorious Frederick and Cardinal Bernis far the fellow, and no other, that Burns would best. Seriously, Cruikshank must athave cut off a year of his life, to hear tend to the hint we have been giving the strain sung—that inimitable strain him, and learn to respect himself. He

that true « ballad of the best."-I must give up his mere slang drudgery, shall try it myself, however,

and labour to be what nature has put within his reach-not a caricaturist, tion, such as Gilray was too sensible a but a painter.

fellow to dream of aspiring after. And yet it is no trifle to be a good I t is, I cannot help saying, a thou. caricaturist. Forbid the thought, ye sand pities that Cruikshank did not shades of Bunbury and Gilray !--for- publish his first livraison of the" Points bid it, even thou, if thou be still in of Humour” two or three years ago; the land of the living, Good Dighton! for, if he had done so, in addition to -forbid it, charming, laughter-mo- the high character it must have gained ving Rowlandson ! Bunbury was a for him in Eugland, it would, in all great genius, and would have been a probability, have been the means of great caricaturist, had he been pos putting several hundred pounds of sessed of art at all in proportion to his good Scotch cash into his fob. There imagination. But he could not draw can scarcely be a doubt, that the dis- not he. As far as faces went, he tinguished connoisseurs, who took in was at home and admirable; and, even hand to have the cupola of the New as to the figure, provided he was al- Advocates' Library here in Edinburgh lowed the benefit of loose breeches, painted, would have turned their paand capacious coats, and grizzly wigs, tronizing eyes and liberal hands toand tobacco-smoke, he could get on wards George Cruikshank. The cawell enough. But this is not the ricature which they have procured for thing. The caricaturist should be able thejurisconsults of the Modern Athens, to represent everything; and then he is undoubtedly a very fair caricature. can represent what he chooses in a These nine buxom Muses, and Glorious very different style from that of a man Apollo, with his yellow head, are good whose ignorance, not his choice, limits in their way. Old Homer, with his flana the sphere of his representation. Row. nel petticoat and fuddled physiognomy, landson, again, is a considerable dab and Robin Burns, sitting at his knee, at drawing; but, somehow or other, his in corduroy breeches, velveteen waistvein is ultra-his field is not comedy, coat, and a spotted handkerchief, form but farce-buffoonery-and this wil a meritorious group- and so do So. pot do with the English temperament, crates, in his tunic, and Dr Paley, in except for merely temporary purposes. his gown and cassock; each of them The Rev. Brownlow North, (wor- throwing apparently a sly glance tothy of bearing that illustrious name, wards Miss Urania. There is GENIUS 0 Christopher,) is another capital in these juxtapositions—there is the caricaturist. His “ Ringing the bell,” very quintessence of wit. It is im" the Boarding-School Miss return possible not to sinile at the thing. The ed," “ the Skating Club," and some mixture of Roman togas and laced other pieces of that kind, are di- waistcoats, long beards and three-tied vine. But, like most amateurs, he periwigs, Athenian sandals and Sanwants science; and I suspect, after quhar hose, Ionian lyres and Parisian all, that poor Gilray did more for his snuff-boxes, is certainly productive of best designs than the etching of them. a truly comic effect. The deities on Gilray was in himself a host. He is the other side are almost as sublime as the first name on the list of Politic those of Blarney Castle cal Caricaturists, strictly so called. “All sitting naked in the open air.” George III., (honest man!) and Boney, So far as the affair goes, it is blameand Fox, and Sheridan, and Pitt, and less and the artist and his patrons Windham, and Melville, and Gren are entitled to our tribute of apville, are his peculiar property. His plause. But I must still be of opi. fame will repose for ever on their broad nion, Ladies and Gentlemen, that, in bottoms. Cruikshank may, if he plea- the hands of a Cruikshank, such a ses, be a second Gilray ; but, once subject would have received still greater more, this should not be his ambition ornament. His fearless crayon would He is fitted for a higher walk. Let not have been restrained by certain him play Gilray, if he will, at leisure absurd punctilios, which seem to have hours-let him even pick up his pocket checked the flow of genius in that money by Gilrayizing ; but let him nevertheless immortal piece. Since he give his days and his nights to labour was to jumble Mount Olympus, Mathat Gilray's shoulders were not meant rathon, and Maybole--since he was to for; and rear (for he may) a reputa- annihilate time and space he would

W

have gloried in pushing his privilege in his great picture of “The Entrance to its utmost limit. He would have into Jerusalem,” made a Wordsworth introduced those great Dons who are bow down for the good centurion, a at this moment flourishing among us as Voltaire turn up his nose for a certain boldly as those who died twenty or even sneering Sadducee, and a Hazlitt sit thirty years ago; and will anybody, for the countenance of St John, &c. possessing mens sana in corpore sano, &c.—why did not this painter seek deny, that this cupola would have been similar advantages for the use of simia still more perfect thing than it is, lar ingenuities? Why, in a great litehad the painter clapped in a few cele- rary Caricature, painted and paid for brated professors, poets, and critics, of in Edinburgh in the 19th century of the present brilliant era, among the the present era, must future ages look, rest of them? Since David Hume was and look in vain, for the least corpo. to be represented as offering a pinch real representation, either of the au. of rapee to Epicurus, why not have thor of Waverley, or of the author of Joseph Hume exhibiting his smuggled the Chaldee Manuscript, or of the ausilk handkerchief, or perhaps offering thor of the article “ Beauty" in Maca thimbleful of his smuggled Fairn- vey Napier's Encyclopædia ?-Proh! tosh, to Marcus Tullius Cicero? Why Deúm et hominum fides !-I call upon introduce Burns, and yet omit Hogg? Mr Clerk and his Zeuxis for a reply. I am sure his maud and top-boots The moment their papers are lodged, would have looked as picturesque every I am willing to abide the decision of bit as his great predecessor's blue the Director General of the Fine Arts short-coat and rig-and-furrow stock for Scotland. ings. And why, I ask, when Shake To return from this digression, speare was to lounge on the same sofa which, under all the circumstances of with Æschylus, why, Ladies and Gen- the case, may not, I should humbly tlemen, should not Barry Cornwall hope, be regarded as unpardonable, I have been allowed to draw in his have now to submit that Mr George chair, and sit opposite to his defunct Cruikshank ought on no account com peers, with his “footman in green whatever to petition parliament for livery” at his back? These are ques. public patronage to his “ Points of tions which it is impossible not to Humour.” An artist, above all such ask. These are questions which it is an artist as Cruikshank, ought to impossible not to answer. They speak stand upon his own bottom. That the home to our business and our bosoms public will, in the proper style, shape, - they touch upon the most sacred and form, patronize him,-most effecprivileges of the British Constitu- tually, most strenuously, patronize tion.

him, I cannot entertain the shadow But grant that it is improper to in- of a doubt. I am sure they will purtroduce living characters, expressly and chase his work avowedly as such, in an historical pic- “ To buy or not to buy-that is the ques. ture, or in an historical caricature, why, tion."-SHAKESPEARE. I must still demand of the patrons and But, if they do not, the real truth of performers of that masterpiece-why the matter is, that parliament cannot was not advantage taken of that inge help it. nious plan of which Mr Haydon has We have recently terminated a glomade such glorious use in several of rious war in which we have achieved his finest chefs-d'æuvre ? Does any the freedom of England, and rescued man pretend to tell me, that the real Europe from the most iron and desfeatures of Euripides, Empedocles, and potic thraldom that ever insulted the rest of these antique gentry, are the annals of the world. This is known ? No the assertion would be true; but we have still something to absurd. If, then, their real physiog do. We still owe much to ourselves, nomies are long since obliterated from and to our children, and to our childthe recollection of the human race, ren's children. Our finances are yet why did not this artist replace them labouring under the effects of those by likenesses of existing kindred spi- noble sacrifices, which duty, patriotism, rits-inheritors of the same divine ge religion, and honour, so imperatively nius-masters of the same heavenly demanded at our unhesitating hands. arts-possessors, now and hereafter, And, to go further still, the spirit of of the same lofty fame? As Haydon, tumult and turbulence is yet abroad

« PoprzedniaDalej »