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EUROPEAN MAGAZINE ,
For FEBRUARY 1794.
ACCOUNT OF SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS.
(WITH A PORTRAIT.) OSHUA REYNOLDS was born at spices, and in the company, of the late
Plympton, a small town in Devon- Lord (then Commodore) Keppel, wlio Thire, July 16, 1723. His father kept was going to take the command in elre & grammar school there, and was be- Mediterranean. In this garden of the lored and respected for his learning, va world, this magic seat of the arts, he riety of knowledge, and philanthropy. failed not to visit the schools of the great He had a very numerous family, which, masters, and to ftudy their productions though a heavy tax on his fender in- with the most ardent zeal. Here he come, never depressed his spirits. He contemplated with untired attention the was alfiduous in the cultivation of tlre various beauties which marked the manminds of his children, amidst whom his ner of different masters and different fon Joshua Thone.confpicuous, discover ages. He looked for truth, taste, and ing a happy knowledge of his author, beauty at the fountain head; it was with a genius for writing, and a natural pro no common cys that he beheld the propenfity to drawing, much applauded by ductions of the great artists. His lahis friends and intimates. Emulation bour here (as Mr. Cumberland observes was a distinguishing feature in the mind of Juan B. Juanes, the painter of Va. of young Reynolds : this his father lencia)
, was the labour of love, not be perceived with the delight natural to a talk of the bireling. parent ; but, having no better prospect Having remained about two years in in view, intended him for the church, Italy, where he cultivated, with great and sent him to one of our Univer- attention, the Italian language, he re
turned in the year 1752, improved by Soon after this period he grew pas, travel and refined by education, to Engfiunately fond of painting ; but he did land. The first thing that distinguisnot determine on this life as a profession ed him after his return to his native sill he met with jonathan Richardson's country, was a whole length portrait of "Theory of Painting," which conveyed his patron Commodore Keppel (well to his tender mind that genial influence known by the printengraved by Fisher), necessary to awaken and call forth the which was spoken of in the polite cir. dormant feeds of inspirarion.
clcs in the highest strain of encomium. At his own particular request, there. This teftified to what a degree of elefore, he was sent to London, and be gance he arrived in his profcifion. This came a pupil (about the year 1742) to was followed by Lord Edgecombe's the late Mr. Hudson, who, though not portrait (who was a liberal patron to himself eminent as a painter, produced young Reynolds), and by a few others, fonie good masters, the principal of which introduced him at once into the whom was undoubtedly Sir Joshua Rey- first business in portrait painting, to nolds.
which he particularly applied himself, Soon after Mr. Reynolds had left and which will establish his fame, in Mr. Hudson, which was about the year this line, with all descriptions of refined 1749, he went to Italy, under the au. fociety; and having painted some of the
fort-rate beauties, the polite world promoting Painting and Design, in Lia flocked to see the graces and the charms verpool, in the year 1784, is, " À of his pencil, and he soon became the landscape, being a view on thc Thames most fashionable painter, not only in from Richmond, painted by Sir Joshua England, but in all Europe.
Reynolds.” This is perhaps the only He has preserved the resemblance of landscape he ever painted, except those so many illustrious characters of the age chaste and beautiful ones which com. in which he lived, that we feel the less pose the back grounds of many of his regret for his having left behind him to. portraits, few historical paintings.
In 1764, Mr. Reynolds had the merit The principal historical pieces which of being the first promoter of that club he produced were the following : Hope which long existed without a name, but nurfing Love; ~Venus chastising Cupid which, at Mr. Garrick's funeral, befor having learned to cast accounts ; came distinguished by the name of the . Count Ugolino in the dungeon ;-che Literary Club. calling of Samuel ;- Ariadne ;-a Cap In 1769, the King founded an Acatain of banditti;-Beggar Boy ;--a Lady demy of Painting, Sculpture, and Arin the character of St. Agnes ;-Thais; chitecture, under the name of the Roval -Dionyfius the Areopagite ;-an in- Academy of Arts, and appointed Mr. fant Jupiter ;--Mafer Crewe in the Reynolds (in confideration of his precharacter of Henry VIII. ;-ihe death fetiional căcellence) the President, and of Dido ;-a Chid aileep ;---Cupid to add dignity to the Academy, conferflceping ;--Covent Garden Cupid ; red the honcur of knighthood on him. Cupid in the Clouds; --Crpils paint. Sir Julhus delivered his first discourse ing ;---Boy laughing ;--- Master Herbert at the opening of the Royal Academy, in the character of Bacchus;--Hicbe; on Jan. 2, 1769. Miss Meyer in the character of Hebe; lach fucceeding year, on the distri-Madona, a head ;--the Black-guard bution of the prizes, Sir Joshua delic Mercury :--a little Boy (Samuel) pray- verod a diicourie to the ftudents. ing ;--- an old Man reading ;--Love In the autumn of 1785, Sir Jofua loosing the zone of Beauty ,--the Chile made a very pleasing excursion to the dren in the Wood ;-Cleopatra diffolin Netherlands, and (as did numbers of ing rnc Pearl ;-Garrick in the charac- Englith gentlemen, remarkable for ter of Kirely ;-Garrick betivcen Tra their taste in the fine arts) attended gedy and Comedy ; --Mrs. Abingdon in the grand Tale of pictures at Brutsels. the character of Comedy ;-a Child sur- Thete paintings were taken from the rounded by Guardian Angels ;-Miss different monasteries and religious houses Bcauclerc in the chara&cr of Spenter's in Flanders and Germany by command Una ;-Refignation ;-the Duchets of of the Einperor Jofeph, and were chiefly Manchetter in the character of Diana; upon subjects from the Scriprures and -Lady Blake in the character of Juno; Popiíh Legends. Sir Jolhua, in this --Mrs. Sheridan in the character of St. country (to much visited by the curious Cecilia ; _Edwin, from Beattie's Min- and lovers of the arts), laid out about strel;--the Nativity, Four Cardinal one thousand p«unds. Virtues, and I'aith, Hope, and Charity, In 1788, he gave one fitting to his for the window of New College Chapel, distinguiihed rival Gain thorough; but Oxford ;--the Studious Boy ;--a Bac the unexpected death of the latter prechantc;-a Daughter of Lord W. Gor- vented all further progress. The alldon, as an Angel;---thie IIoly Fainily ; mirers of the art have to regret, that the Cottagers, from Thomson ;--ihe the engagement between these tivo Veftal;~ihe Careful Shepherdess ;- artists for the painting of cach other's a Gipfey telling Fortnnes ;-~the infant portrait was not carried into execution, Herculis strangling the Serpent ;--the the canvas being stretched for both. Mouse-trap Girl ;-Venus ;-Cornelia Sir Joibua pofleffed great literary and her Chiidren;--the Bird ;-Milan- abilities, and was, through-life, a very choly ;-Vrs, Siddons in Tragedy ; brilliant companion. He was one of Head of Lear;--- Mrs. Talmail in the that select party of allociated geniuses character of Miranda, with Prospero fo adinirably charaiterized by Dr. Goldand Caliban ;-Robin Goodfellow ; finith in his Retaliation. Sterne, David Death of Cardinal Beaufort;-Macbeth, Garrick, Goldsmiti, Dr. Johnion, Mr. with the caldron of the Witches. Burke, tile two llartons, Dr. Bcartie,
In the exhibition of the Society for Mr. Waton, Mr. Nialone, all cultivated
elec conversation, and enjoyed the friend. Be it, that hicre thy partial smile approv'd fhip of Sir Johua Reynoids.
The pains he lavith'd on the art he lov'd." Mr. Garrick never had a warmer ad
To Sir Joibua Reynolds (both in cong vocate than Sir Joihua Reynilds.
versation and in writing) Shakespeare The circle of his acquaintance, owing is in de beed for many a beautiful elucito the celebrity of his name, was very cxtended. Many illustrious foreigners editions of this poci.
dation. Soine of them enrich the later were perfonally intimate with Sir
The discourses which Sir Joshua Jothua Reynolds. He was reforted to
Reynolds delivered to the students of by persons of the highest quality, who
the Royal Academy, in the month of revered his genius as much as they re December in cach year, from its instispected the excellence of his private tution, are the works which chiefly becharacter. His house was long the re
Itow on him the character of an efti. fort of excellence of every kind ; the
mable writer. Theic discourses (which learned, the elegant, the polite, all
were meant to animate and to guide the that were eminent for their worth, or
ftudents in their future attempts) have diitinguished by their genius. From such connections, his mind, sich in its profound knowled ye in the art he pro
been regularly printed; and Sir Joshua's own store, received an acccition of most
feifed, his claftical attainmerts, his poextensive knowledge, and an inexhauf
lithe mind, all appear confpicuous in tidic treature for conversation. He was
thole discours. They are treasures rich in observation, aniciute, and in
of information to the tuleent, and to telligence. “I know no man,' said Dr. Johnion, “ who has pased through chastity of language which pervades
the prohcient, and the clegance and life with more ubíerialion than Sir
them lias very feldom been equalled by Joshua Reynolds."
the most eminent of our writers, In the year :759 he wrote three let
In 1799, Sir Joshua polieiled a very ters, and presented them to Dr. John- anxious desire to precure the vacant profon, to be inserted in his Idler. They fefforthip in Perfpecuve in the Academy trcat on the cant of criticilin, on Mi
for Mr. Bonomi, an Italian architet; chael Angciv, and on the practice of and as Mr. Bonomi had not yet been the Italian and Dutch painters. They elected an affociatc, and of course was do not difgrace that valuable work.
not an academician, it became a necesa His veneration for Michael Angelo apo fary step to raise him to thote situations, pears in one of these ictters; and this
in order to qualify him for being a proYeneration may be traced through the
feffor. The election proceeded, and * nole series of his discourses to the Nir. Gilpin was a competitor for the afAcademy. Whenever his pen touches fociateship with the Italian architect, on the learning and conceptions of Mi.
The numbers on the ballot proved chael Angclo, he discovers an enthus
equal; and the President gave the cafifum of intellettual energy.
ing Yüte for his friend Mr. Bonomi, In the year 1782, the rev. Mr. Ma.
who was thereby advanced so far to. con (the author of that cclebra:cd work
wards the profefferthip. On thc vaInc English Garden) pui lilled in 4to.
cancy of an academic fiat by the death a translation of Du Frelnoy's Art of of xvir. Meyers, Sir Jothua Reynolds Painting; and Sir Julhua's friendlip exerted all his influence to obtain it for for ir. Valon, induced him to cnrich
Mr. Bononi; but a spirit of refifiance this edition with annotations. They are raiuabic both to the Itudent and appeared, (oiving, I believe, to some connoisseur; they are a happy display
misconception, or to some informality of that nicc'difcrimination which palle fome drawings of Bunomi's,) ana Mi,
on the part of Sir Joshua in producing liariy marks the pen of Sir Joshua Rcy. Fului (certainly an artist of original ncids. To this edition is pretired an
genius) was elected an academician by brittle from Mr. Mason to Sir Joshua,
a majority of two to 0!0. The Prewich concludes in these lines :
fident then quitted the chair with great " And oh! ir aught iny pner can pretend, diffatisfaction ; and, on the following Beyond his favourite with, to call thee friend, day (the 12th of February) Sir Joshua Be it that bere his tunerol toil has drest Rognolds, who for 21 viars had filed The mure of Fresnoy in a modern vett; the chair of the Royal Academy with And with u hat skill his fancy could bestow, honour to himself and his country, lent Taught the close folds to take an easier hisletterofiefignation to Nir. Richards,
the Secretary of the Academy.