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many to witness. Painting I presume will not be disputed to be one of the fine arts, and I may say without vanity I have some pretensions to rank with the best of my brethren in that profession.
My first studies were carried on in the capital of a certain county, where I was born; and being determined to chuse a striking subject for my debut in the branch of portrait-painting, I persuaded my grandmother to sit to me, and I am bold to
there was great merit in my picture, considering it as a maiden production: particularly in the execution of a hair-mole upon her chin, and a wart under her eye, which I touched to such a nicety, as to make every body start who cast their eyes upon the can.
There was a little dwarfish lad in the parish, who besides the deformity of his person, had a remarkable hair-lip, which exposed to view a broken row of discoloured teeth, and was indeed a very brilliant subject for a painter of effect: I gave a full-length of him, that was executed so to the life, as to turn the stomach of every body, who looked upon it.
At this time there came into our town a travelling show-man, who amongst other curiosities of the savage kind brought with him a man-ape, or Ourong-outong: and this person, having seen and admired my portrait of the little hump-backed dwarf, employed me to take the figure of his celebrated savage for the purpose of displaying it on the outside of his booth. Such an occasion of introducing my art into notice, spurred my genius to extraordinary exertions, and though I must premise that the savage was not the best sitter in the world, yet I flatter myself I acquitted myself to the satisfaction of his keeper, and did justice to the ferocity of my subject : I caught him in one of his most striking attitudes, standing erect with a huge club
in his paw : I put every muscle into play, and threw such a terrific dignity into his features, as would not have disgraced the character of a Nero or Caligula. I was happy to observe the general notice, which was taken of my performance by all the country folks, who resorted to the show, and I helieve my employer had no cause to repent of having set me upon the work.
The figure of this animal with the club in his paw suggested a hint to a publican in the place of treating his ale-house with a new sign, and as he had been in the service of a noble family, who from antient time have borne the Bear and ragged staff for their crest, he gave me a commission to provide him with a sign to that effect: though I spared no pains to get a real bear to sit to ine for his portrait, my endeavours proved abortive, and I was forced to resort to such common prints of that animal as I could obtain, and trusted to my imagination for supplying what else might be wanted for the piece : as I worked upon this capital design in the room where my grandmother's portrait was before my eyes, it occurred to me to introduce the same hair-mole into the whiskers of Bruin, which I had so successfully copied from her chin, and certainly the thought was a happy one, for it had a picturesque effect; but in doing this I was naturally enough, though undesignedly, betrayed into giving such a general resemblance to the good dame in the rest of Bruin's features, that when it came to be exhibited on the signpost all the people cried out upon the likeness, and a malicious rumour ran through the town, that I had painted my grandmother instead of the bear; which lost me the favour of that indulgent relation, though Heaven knows I was as innocent of the intention as the child unborn.
The disgust my grandmother conceived against
her likeness with the ragged staff, gave me incredible uneasiness, and as she was a good customer to the landlord, and much respected in the place, he was induced to return the hear upon my hands. now thinking to what use I can turn him, and as it occurs to me, that by throwing a little more authority into his features, and gilding his chain, he might very possibly hit the likeness of some lord mayor of London in his fur-gown and gold chain, and make a respectable figure in some city hall, I am willing to dispose of him to any such at an easy price.
As I have also preserved a sketch of my famous Ourong-Outong, a thought has struck me, that with a few finishing touches he might easily be converted into a Caliban for the Tempest, and, when that is done, I shall not totally despair of his obtaining a niche in the Shakspeare gallery.
It has been common with the great masters, Rubens, Vandyke, Sir Joshua Reynolds and others, when they paint a warrior, or other great personage, on horseback, to throw a dwarf, or some such contrasted figure, into the back ground: should any artist be in want of such a thing, I can very readily supply him with my hair-lipped boy; if otherwise, I am not totally without hopes that he may suit some Spanish grandee, when any such shall visit this country upon his travels, or in the character of ambassador from that illustrious court.
Before I conclude I shall beg leave to observe, that I have a complete set of ready-made devils, that would do honour to Saint Antony, or any
other person, who may be in want of such accompaniments to set off the self-denying virtues of his character: I have also a fine parcel of murdered innocents, which I mean to have filled up with the story of Herod; but if
any gentleman thinks fit to lay the scene in Ghent, and make a modern composition of
it, I am bold to say my pretty babes will not disa grace the pathos of the subject, nor violate the Costuma. I took a notable sketch of a man hanging, and seized him just in the dying twitches, before the last stretch gave a stiffness and rigidity unfavourable to the human figure; this I would willingly accommodate to the wishes of any lady, who is desirous of preserving a portrait of her lover, friend or husband in that interesting attitude. These, cum multis aliis, are part of
stock hand, and I hope, upon my arrival at my lodgings in Blood-bowl-alley, to exhibit them with much credit to myself, and to the entire satisfaction of such of my neighbours in that quarter, as may incline to patronize the fine arts, and restore the credit of this drooping country.
Cuncti adsint, meritæque erpectent præmia palmæ ! A Curious Greek fragment has been lately discovered by an ingenious traveller at Constantinople, which is supposed to have been saved out of the famous Alexandrian library, when set on fire by command of the Caliph. There is nothing but conjecture to guide us to the author: some learned men, who have examined it, give it to Pausanias, others to Ælian; some contend for Suidas, others for Libanius; but most agree in ascribing it to some one of the Greek sophists, so that it is not to be disguised that just doubts are to be entertained of its veracity in point of fact. There may be much ingenuity in these discussions, but we are not to expect convice tion; therefore I shall pass to the subject-matter, and not concern myself with any previous argumentation on a question, that never likely to bc settled.
• This fragment says, that some time after the death of the great dramatic poet Æschylus, there was a certain citizen of Athens named Philoteuchus, who by his industry and fair character, in trade had acquired a plentiful fortune, and came in time to be actually chosen one of the Areopagites : this man in an advanced period of his life engaged in a very splendid undertaking for collecting a series of pictures to be composed from scenes in the tragedies of the great poet above-mentioned, and to be executed by the Athenian artists, who were then both numerous and eminent.
· The old Areopagite, with a spirit that would have done honour to Pisistratus or Pericles, constructed a spacious lyceum for the reception of these pictures, which he laid open to the resort both of citizens and strangers, and the success of the work reflected equal credit upon the undertaker and the artists, whom he employed.'
The chain of the narration is here broken by a loss of a part of the fragment, which however is fortunately resumed in that place, where the writer gives some account of the masters, who painted for this collection, and of the scenes they made choice of for their several pictures.
• He tells us that Apelles was then living and in the vigour of his genius, though advanced in years; he describes the scene chosen for his composition minutely, and it appears to have been taken from