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EUROPEAN MAGAZINE ,

AND

LONDON REVIEW,

For FEBRUARY 1794.

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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

NZ

first

firies,

first-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, “A of his pencil, and he soon became the landscape, being a view on the 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 comin which he lived, that we feel the less pose the back grounds of many of his regret for his having left behind him fo. 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 nursing 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 ;-the 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; chizicture, under the name of the Roval --Dionyfius the Areopagite ;-an in- Academy of Arts, and appointed Mr. fant Jupiter ;-Master Crewe in the Reynolds (in conlideration of his

precharadier of Henry VIII. ;-the death fetional cäcellence) tie President, and of Dido ;-a Child ascep ;---Cupid to add dignity to the academy, confirsleeping ;--Covent Garden Cupid ;--, red the honour of knighthood on him, Cupid in the Clouds ;---Cripids paint. Sir Joshua delivered his first discourse ing ;-Boy laughing; -Mafter lcrbert at the opening of the Royal Academy, in the charactir of Bacchus;--llibe; on Jan. 2, 1769. Miss Meyer in the character of Hebc; Each lucceeding year, on the distri-Madona, a head ;--the Black-guard bution of the prizes, Sir Joshua delir Mercury :-a little Boy (Samuel) pray- vered a discourie to the students. ing ;-- an old Man reading ;--Love In the autumn of 1785, Sir Juliua loosing the zone of Beauty ,--the Chil- made a very pleasing excursion to the dren in the Wood ;-Cleopatra diffolv- Netherlands, and (as did numbers of ing the Pearl ;-Garrick in the charac- Englith gentlemen, remarkable for ter of Kitely ;--Garrick between Tra- their taste in the fine arts) attended gedy and Comedy ;-Mrs. Abingdon in the grand sale of pictures at Brutiels. the character of Comedy ;-a Chiid fur. These paintings were taken from the rounded by Guardian Angels ;-Miis different monasteries and religious houses Bcauclerc in the chara&er of Spenter's in Flanders and Germany by command Una ;-Refignation ;-the Duchets of of the Emperor Joseph, and were chiefly Manchester in the character of Diana; upon subjects from the Scriptures and -Lady Blake in the character of Juno; Popish Legends. Sir Jothua, in this ---Mrs. Sheridan in the character of St. country (1o 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 pounds. Virtues, and Faith, Hope, and Charity, In 1788, he gave one fitting to his for the window of New College Chapel, distinguiihed rival Gainsborough ; but Oxford ;-the Studious Boy ;-a Bac- the unexpected death of the latter prechante ;-a Daughter of Lord W. Gorn vented all further progress. The addon, as an Angel;-the Holy Fainily ; mirers of the art have to regret, that the Cottagers, from Thomson ;--the the engageinent between these two Velial;ihe Careful Shepherdcís;- artists for the painting of cach other's a Gipsey telling Fortunes ;--the infant portrait was not carried into execution, Herculis Prangling the Serpent ;-the the canvas being stretched for both. Mouse-trap Girl ;--Venus ;-Cornelia Sir Joshua poiletfed great literary and her Children; --the Bird ;-Melan- abilities, and was, through life, choly ;-Mrs. Sidulons in Tragedy ;- brilliant companion. He was one of Head of Lear; Mrs. Talmath in the that fclect party of aliociated geniuses charaðter of Miranda, with Prospero fo adinirably characterized by Dr. Goldand Caliban ;-Robin Gcodicllow; finith in his Retaliation. Sterne, David Death of Cardinal Beaufort ;-Macbeth, Garrick, Goldfaith, Dr. Johnson, Mr. with the caldron of the Witches. Burke, tie two llartons, Dr. Beattie,

In the exdebition of the Society for Mr. Waton, Mr. Nialone, all cultivated

a very

the

elec conversation, and enjoyed the friend. Be it, that here thy partial smile approv'd Inip of Sir Joshua Reynoids.

The pains he lavith'd on the art he lov'd." Mr. Garrick never had a warmerad

To Sir Joibua Reynolds (both in cons vocate chan Sir Joihua Reynilds,

versation and in wilting) Shakespeare The circle of his acquaintance, owing is indebted for many a beautiful eluci. to the celebrity of his name, was very

dation. Some of them enrich the later extended. Many illuftrious forcigners editions of this poci. were perfonally intimate with Sir

The discouries 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- Dicember in cach year, from its infti. {pected the excellence of his private tution, are the works which chiefly becharacter. His house was long the re

Now on him the character of an eftilort of excellence of every kind ; the

maulc writer. Thcicdiscourses (which learned, the clegant, the polite, all

were meant to animate and to guide the that were eminent für ihoir worth, or

ftudents in their future atteinpts) have distinguished by their genius. From been regularly prinied; and Sir Joshua's luch connections, his mind, sich in its profound knowledye in the art he proown ttore, received an acceilion of most

feffed, his claftical attainmerts, his po. extensive knowledge, and an inexhaus- lithed mind, all appear confpicuous in tidic treature for converiation. He was

thole discourses. They are treasures rich in obiervation, anıcdote, and in

of information to the student, and to telligence. " I know no man,' said Dr. Johnton, “who has passed through chastity of language which pervades

the prodcient, and the ciegance and life with more obfervation than Sir

them has 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 poliefied a very ters, and presented them to Dr. John- anxious desire to procure the vacant profon, to be inserted in his Idler. They fefforthip in Perspective in the Academy treat on the cant of criticisin, on Mi- for Mr. Bonomi, an Italian architeet's chael Angelo, and on the practice of and as Mr. Bonomi had not yet been the Italian and Dutch painters. They eleEted an affociate, and of course was do not disgrace that valuable work.

not an academician, it became a necera His veneration for Michael Angelo apo fary step to raise him to those fituations, pears in one of these letters; and this

in order to qualify him for being a proveneration may be traced through the feffor. The election proceeded, and whole series of his discourfes to the Mr. Gilsin was a competitor for the afAcademy. Whenever his pen touches fociate thip with the Italian architect. on the learning and conceptions of Mi.

The numbers on the ballot proved chael Angelo, he discovers an enthu

equal; and the President gave the cafthuim of intellectual energy. In the year 1982, the Rev. Mr. Ma. ing vote for his friend Mr. Boveni,

who was thereby advanced so far to. fun (the author of that cclebra:cd work

wards the profefferihip. On the vaTnc English Garden) pullithed in 4to.

cancy of an academic fiat by the death a tranflation of Du Fretnoy's Art of of vir. Heyers, Sir Joshua Reynolds Painting; and Sir Jofua's friendlip

exerted all his influence to obtain it for for Mir. Mason, induced him to enrich

Mr. Bonomi; but a spirit of refiftance this edition with annotations. They are ratable both to the Itudent and appeared, (ovving, I believe, to some cooncilieur; they are a happy display

milconception, or to some informality of that nice discrimination which pecha fome drawings of Bunomi's,) ana Mr.

on the part of Sir Joíbua in producing liarly marks the pen of Sir Jotua Rey Tufuli (certainly an artist of criginal nolds. In this edition is pretixed an

genius) was elected an academician by epiftle from Mr. Mason to Sir Joshua,

a majority of two to one. The Pic. wich concludus in these lines:

fident then quitted the chair with great " And oh! if aught thy peer can pretend, diffatisfacion ; and, in the following Beyond his favourite with, to call thee friend, day (the 12th of February) Sir Joshua Be it that here his tunefol toil has drest Reynolds, who for 21 viárs had filled The muse of Fresnoy in a modern veit; the chair of the Royal Academy with And with what skill his fancy could bestow, honour to himself and his country, fent Taught the closc folds to take an eaner hisletter of resignation to Mr. Richards,

the Secretary of the Academy.

IY

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