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the subjects proposed by the other artists, who were West, Barry, Dance, Cipriani, and Kauffman, have not been mentioned. On the failure of this scheme another was taken up, of ornamenting the rooms of the Society of Arts with historical and allegorical paintings. At first Sir Joshua gave
his assent, but as it was intended that an exhibition should take place to remunerate the artists, he declined going any further, and then the work was undertaken and executed by Barry.
In April, 1774, the world lost that ingenious writer, but eccentric character, Oliver Goldsmith, an event which so much affected Sir Joshua, that he did not touch his pencil for the whole day. He acted as executor on that melancholy occasion, and very prudently caused the body to be interred privately in the Temple burying-ground, observing, that it would be more prudent to apply what money could be procured by subscription, to the erecting of a lasting memorial of his deceased friend, than in a pompous funeral, which would be soon forgotten. He afterwards went himself to the Abbey, and fixed
upon the place where the monument was erected, and one better adapted for the purpose could not have been found in that structure.
To the numerous honours conferred upon Reynolds, was added, about this time, that of being elected a member of the Imperial Academy of Florence, on which occasion he sent thither, for the gallery, his portrait, with a Latin inscription, on a pannel of mahogany, which appears to have been written by Johnson, from the concluding line, where, in allusion to Sir Joshua's civic dignity, it is said that he was PREFECTUS JUSTITIARIUS MORUMQUE CENSOR.
In 1779 Sir Joshua gave his talents to the Royal Academy, by ornamenting the ceiling of their library with an allegorical painting, representing Theory sitting on a Cloud; besides which, there are also of his hand, in the same building, two portraits of their late Majesties, and one of Sir William Chambers.
Sir Joshua was now very much employed in carrying into effect the commission with which he was entrusted, of preparing designs for ornamenting the chapel of New College, Oxford. The members of that society at first intended to have all the windows of their chapel painted with sacred subjects; but Sir Joshua, on a personal survey of the building, saw so much space and beauty in that over the west entrance, as made him desirous of confining the whole to that part alone, instead of breaking his design, and destroying its effect by distribution. His reasons for this plan he thus detailed in a letter to the parties most interested in the work :- Supposing this scheme to take place, my idea is to paint, in the great space in the centre, Christ in the Manger, on the principle that Corregio has done it, in the famous picture called the NOTTE, making all the light proceed from
Christ. These tricks of the art, as they may be called, seem to be more properly adapted to glass painting than any other kind. This middle space will be filled with the Virgin, Christ, Joseph, and Angels; the two smaller spaces on each side I shall fill with the Shepherds coming to worship; and the seven divisions below with the figures of Faith, Hope, Charity, and the four Cardinal Virtues, which will make a proper rustic base, or foundation, for the support of the Christian religion, Upon the whole, it appears to me, that chance has presented to us materials só well adapted to our purpose, that if we had the whole window of our own invention and contrivance, we should not probably have succeeded better.” In the execution of this plan he met with the fullest co-operation of the learned Society by whom he was employed; and the manner in which the mechanical process was performed by Mr. Jervis of Dublin, gave great satisfaction to Sir Joshua, who introduced his portrait, as well as his own, among the shepherds. For the original design of the grand central picture of the Nativity, the late Duke of Rutland gave twelve hundred guineas.
In the summer of 1781, Sir Joshua made a tour on the Continent, accompanied by his friend Mr. Metcalf, with the intention of examining the principal performances of the Dutch and Flemish schools. While at Antwerp, Sir Joshua took notice of a young man named De Gree, who possessed some talents for painting, but was then in an impoverished state, his father being a taylor in mean circumstances. Sir Joshua gave him encouragement to come to England, received him here with his wonted kindness, and would have persuaded him to settle in the metropolis ; but De Gree having formed an engagement with Mr. Latouche, of Dublin, excused himself on that account: and Sir Joshua, instead of being displeased, presented him with fifty guineas to bear his expenses; which sum, however, the young man sent over to his aged parents at Antwerp.
At the beginning of 1783, the Royal Academy lost one of its first and most valuable members, Mr. Moser; of whom the president drew up this character, which exhibits the merits of the eulogist as well as of his deceased friend.
“January 24, 1783. “ Yesterday died at his apartments in Somerset Place, George Michael Moser, keeper of the Royal Academy; aged seventy-eight years. He was a native of Switzerland, but came to England very young, to follow the profession of a chaser in gold, in which art he has always been considered as holding the first rank. But his skill was not confined to this alone; he possessed an universal knowledge in all branches of painting and sculpture, which perfectly qualified him for the place that he held in the academy, the business of which principally consists in superintending and instructing the students who draw or model from the antique figures.
“ His private character deserves a more ample testimony than this transient memorial. Few have passed a more inoffensive, or, perhaps, a more happy life; if happiness, or enjoyment of life, consists in having the mind always occupied, always intent upon some useful art, by which fame and distinction may be acquired. Mr. Moser's whole attention was absorbed, either in practice, or something that related to the advancement of art. He may truly be said, in every sense, to have been the father of the present race of artists ; for long before the Royal Academy was established, he presided over the little societies which met first in Salisbury Court, and afterwards in St. Martin's Lane, where they drew from living models. Perhaps nothing that can be said will more strongly imply his amiable disposition, than that all the different societies with which he has been connected, have always turned their eyes upon him for their treasurer and chief manager ; when, perhaps, they would not have contentedly submitted to any other authority. His early society was composed of men whose names are well known in the world; such as Hogarth, Rysbrack, Roubilliae, Wills, Ellis, and Vanderbank. Though he had outlived all the companions of his youth, he might, to the last, have boasted of a succession