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JOHN MARTIN, Esq.
Historical Painter to his Serene Higkness the Prince
Leopold, and her lale Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte, of Saxe Cobourg,
PORTRAIT TAKEN FROM LIFE EXPRESSLY FOR THIS WORK.
The history of Literature, Arts always provide an adequate reward ; and Sciences is replete with the mis- and the best market, that can be fortunes of men of genius; and we sought for, exists directly or indi. can discover but few men, who have rectly in the mental cultivation of done honour to the human species, all classes, which must be inevitably whose shining abilities have been followed by an admiration of the fostered by the benevolence of power, highest powers of intellect and by reor rewarded by the still more legiti- fined taste. To this enviable state mate patronage of an enlightened England, at the present time, seems public. The age of Pericles, the ce making a rapid approximation. The lebrated reign of Augustus, and the encreasivg knowledge of the lower times of Cosmo and Lorenzo de Me- orders necessarily commands a more dici are, perhaps, the only periods refined and extensive intelligence in the annals of the world, during among the higher classes of society; which the page of history has been and it is nothing but strict justice brightened by the rays of protected to assert that in no period of the hisgenius. Persecutions have almost tory of this country were the arts so invariably followed and obscured generally patronised, or so successthe dawn of genius, and its posses. fully cultivated. This observation sion has more frequently been a particularly applies to sculpture and curse than a blessing to its posses- painting, and the subject of the presor. New lights, shed on the dark sent memoir is a living instance of hemisphere of ignorance, have ge- the fact. On him the patronage of nerally been immediately darkened the powerful and the rich is beamand destroyed by jealous power, or ing, while the public in general enpersecuting superstition. We may courage him with their eagerness lament over the sad fate that has to view his exhibitions, and the jusawaited the sons of genius, but the 'tice of this united patronage, due circumstances are more calculated to transcendant talents, will be conto awake sympathy than create sur firmed and eulogized by posterity. prise. In proportion as the public Mr. Martin was born at Haydonmind encreases in knowledge, so will bridge, an obscure town in Northumencrease the patronage of the arts berland, on the 19th of July, 1789; among the powerful and the rich; although born in a place that presents who are ever ambitious to signalize 'no opportunities for the developethemselves by the acquisition of qua- ment of talent, this son of genius lities, that render them conspicuous rose from the obscurity in which he in the eyes of the world. A demand was nurtured, by the native powers for the productions of genius will of his mind, assisted by undeviat. Eur. Mag. Vol. 83.
ing perseverance, and an exercise conduct and invincible perseverence. of the moral virtues. At a very He left Newcastle with a strong reearly age, his mind was directed to commendation from his earliest friend the art of painting from seeing some Mr. Muss, to his son, who was alefforts of drawing executed by his ready established in London as an brother, who had practised that art, enamel painter, and with a portrait in a minor degree, at some other of his master and a view, as speciplace: these efforts he instantly sur- mens of his abilities. Under Mr. passed, and the generous and san- Muss, junr. he soon distinguished guine praise of his brother fanned himself, but secretly sighed for emithe latent flame of his nascent genius, nence in the highest walk of the which has since risen into meridian pictorial art, historical painting. He splendour. When he was about the was scarcely twenty years of age age of fourteen his father removed before he ventured on matrimony, to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and this and although this proceeding incircumstance, perbaps, decided his creased his difficulties, it animated destiny. Even the signs suspended his exertions, and after spending the before the inns were objects of ad- day upon a tea cup or a vase, he miration to his untutored mind, and employed his evenings in some roafforded him rude materials on which mantic designs, generally made in he exercised his incipient powers. Sepia, in the working of which he Although at this time particularly has excelled every artist of his time. partial to boyish active sports, he At this period he made many beauwould frequently forsake them in tiful drawings which were very much order to compare the signs with each admired, particularly by the late East other, and continually traversed the of Warwick, and the late Princess town from one end to the other for Charlotte ; however, these testimothat purpose. His friends were at nies rather delighted than satisfied first decidedly averse to his follow- his aspiring ambition, and his ar. ing the arts in any shape as a pro, dent mind panted for the premium fession: but at last were prevailed at that time annually given at the upon to comply with his decided British gallery, for the best historiinclination, and with laudable care cal painting. His first essays, like selected herald painting, as all attempts at original style, met branch of the art which would at with few admirers; the defects of a all events be lucrative; with this young artists are but too palpable provident design he was apprenticed to the most common observer; and to a coach-painter in Newcastle; but, it requires penetration and judge in consequence of some disagreement, ment to discover latent excellences, he did not serve the full time of his and the bursting irregular energies apprenticeship. At this critical pe- of rising genius. riod of his life, Mr. Martin found a The first picture that attracted friend in Mr. Muss, (father of the any considerable praise, SADAK IN celebrated enamel painter of that name now in London) by whom he VION, was purchased by Wm. Manwas kindly noticed and faithfully in- nig, Esq, the Bank Director. structed : and to whom he owes ob- The second was, ADAM AND Eve ligations, which he unceasingly ac- IN PARADISE, purchased by knowledges with all the gratitude Spong, Esq. of Kent. and respect, that can be felt
by a man The third was, Joshua, first excapable of the most honourable and hibited at the Royal Academy, and lasting attachments. About the age the year after at the British gallery, of seventeen Mr. Martin ventured where it obtained the premium. up to town, buoyed up by all those The fourth was the DESTRUCTION vast hopes, that animate an aspiring of Babylon, exhibited at the Brimind conscious of extraordinary tish gallery. The purchase of this powers. He could no longer bear picture, by H. P. Hope, Esq. for four to be a burthen on his parents; and hundred guineas, was made in the with the slenderest pecuniary means, most liberal manner, and with the at this early age, he entered on the politest attention. arena of life, confidently relying on The little picture, BELSHAZZAR'S his talents, assisted by propriety of Feast, exhibited at the British Cial
SEARCH OF THE WATERS OF OBLI
lery, raised the subject of this me- the arts, who have honoured Mr. moir to the highest pitch of cele- Martin with their liberal patronage. brity; and we are sorry to be obliged The late Earl of Warwick, her Royto say, that the purchase of this ex- al Highness the Princess Charlotte, cellent production was attended by Lord Ennismore, the Duke of Buckcircumstances of the most disgrace. ingham, Thomas Wilson, Esq. Wm. ful nature, which prevented it from Manning, Esq. and John Belisario, becoming the property of the Duke Esq. who has proved himself not of Buckingham. It was exhibited af- only a liberal patron but a kind terwards to the public, and more than friend. 50,000 persons paid for admission to Mr. Martin is engraving his Joshsee it, although it had been previously ua and his BELSHAZZAR, from the exhibited at the British Gallery. original design in the possession of
The sixth and last picture, painted Thomas Wilson, Esq. and is further by this eminent artist, was the employed on a work of perhaps much DESTRUCTION OF HERCULANEUM. greater sublimity and difficulty of This is, at present, Mr. Martin's chef execution, than he has hitherto paintd'ocurre, and is sufficient to hand his ed—the subject is SARDANAPALUS, name down to the latest posterity : OR THE FALL OP NINEVEH. it was painted for his Grace the Duke We must here conclude this meof Buckingham, for the sum of 800 moir, with wishing the subject of it gnineas, and was exhibited together a long, healthy, and prosperous life; with Belshazzar's Feast, &c. at Mr. in order that he may still further add Bullock's Museum. While this pic- to our elegant enjoyments, and the ture was in progress, the artist was honour of his country.. Let those three times offered the sum of one who would profit by his example and thousand guineas.
arrive at his envied distinction, imi. We cannot conclude this memoir tate his industry, his temperance, without mentioning the names of his activity, and his perseverance. some admirers and encouragers of
TO THE MOON.
So purely, mildly, sweetly gleaming,
The effigy of God is beaming.
Thou castest comfort, rest on me;
The dark robe of futurity.
To watch thee is my fondest duty;
Thou smil'st on me in silent beauty.
Towards the high Eternal's throne,
The music of the seraph's tone.
My heart from thy soft beam can borrow
In smiles and tears, in joy and sorrow.
And darkness o'er our path-way lieth,
The clouds are gone, the tempest dieth.
On thee, with wishes undefin'd,
Their holy influence o'er my mind.