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nothing of it; whereas Rubens and the Venetian painters may almost be said to have nothing else.
« Perhaps Picturesque is somewhat synonymous to the word Taste, which we should improperly apply to Homer or to Milton, but very well to Pope or Prior. I suspect that the application of these words is to excellencies of an inferior order, and which are incompatible with the grand style.
" You are certainly right in saying that variety in tints and form is picturesque; but it must be remembered on the other hand, that the reverse of this (uniformity of colour and a long continuation of lines) produces grandeur.
"I had an intention of pointing out the passages that particularly struck me; but I was afraid to use my eyes so much.
“ The Essay has lain upon my table; and I think no day has passed without my looking at it, reading a little at a time.
« Whatever objections presented themselves at first view, were done away in a closer inspection; and I am not quite sure but that is the case in regard to the observation which I have ventured to make on the word Picturesque.
“ I am, &c.
“ Joshua REYNOLDS."
About this time Sir Joshua having failed in his endeavour to establish a gallery for his collection
of ancient pictures, formed the resolution of making a temporary exhibition of them, which accordingly took place in a large room in the Haymarket. The price of admission was one shilling, and as the entire profits were given to his old servant Kirkley, it was called in the catalogue Ralph's Exhibition; but some ill-natured wit headed a splenetic critique upon it in the newspapers, with these lines from Hudibras :
" A 'squire he had, whose name was Ralph,
The catalogue was drawn up by Sir Joshua himself, and being a curiosity of its kind, two extracts from it follow: .
“ No. 12. Lud. Caracci.-A study of a head from life, for a picture of St. Antonio, which is in the church of — at Bologna. In the finished picture all the more minute parts which are here expressed, are there omitted; the light part is one broad mass, and the scanty lock of hair which falls on the forehead is there much fuller and larger: a copy of this picture seen at the same time with this study would be a good lesson to students, by showing the different manners of painting a portrait and an historical head; and teach them at the same time the advantage of always having recourse to nature." .
“ No. 82. Bassan. Sheep-shearing. At some distance, on a hill, with some difficulty, is seen the Sacrifice of Isaac. This is a curious instance how little that school considered the art beyond colouring, and a representation of common nature; the sacrifice is here made secondary to the common occupations of husbandmen.”
Hitherto the general strength of Sir Joshua had continued firm, and, though he was occasionally much depressed in spirits, his friends felt no alarm from his appearance. Mr. Malone says, that in September of this year he was in such health and spirits, that, on returning to London, from Gregories, in Buckinghamshire, the seat of their mutual friend, Edmund Burke, he and Sir Joshua left the carriage at the inn at Hayes, and walked five miles on the road, in a warm day, without his complaining of any fatigue. He had at that time, though above sixty-eight years of age, the appearance of a man not much beyond fifty, and seemed as likely to live for ten or fifteen years as any of his younger friends.
In about a month after this a tumour collected over his left eye, accompanied by inflammation, to such a degree as made him fearful that it would affect the other eye also. Upon examination, however, it was discovered to have connection with the optic nerve, and to consist only of extravasated blood. Notwithstanding the relief afforded by this information, there were symptoms of internal weakness, which, though he could not describe, made him resolve to withdraw wholly from his pro
fessional pursuits. Accordingly, on the 10th of NoTember he sent a letter to the Council of the Royal Academy, intimating his intention to resign the office of president on account of bodily infirmities, which disabled him from executing the duties of it to his own satisfaction.
A general meeting of the academicians was then held to take this letter into consideration, when it was resolved to request Sir Joshua to retain the office, and to appoint a deputy to execute the efficient duties. This was assented to, and Mr. West was nominated to that station till the president should be capable of resuming the chair; which, however, he never again occupied; for he laboured under a much more dangerous disease than that connected with the state of his eyes. But what was very remarkable, though the lurking malady deprived him of rest and appetite, he was unable to explain to his medical attendants the nature of his disorder ; nor was it till about a fortnight before his death that the precise complaint which afflicted him was even suspected to have its seat in the liver. After being confined to his hed near three months, during which he bore his sufferings with the fortitude of a philosopher and the resignation of a christian, he expired on Thursday evening, the twenty-third of February, 1792. On the body being opened by Mr. John Hunter, it was found that the liver was enlarged to more than double the size. Immediately after
the demise of this admirable artist and excel. lent man, Mr. Burke drew up the following eulogium, which appeared the next day in the public papers :
“ Last night, in the sixty-ninth year of his age, died, at his house, in Leicester Fields, Sir Joshua Reynolds. His illness was long, but borne with a mild and cheerful fortitude, without the least mixture of any thing irritable or querulous, agreeably to the placid and even tenour of his whole life. He had, from the beginning of his malady, a distinct view of his dissolution; and he contemplated it with that entire composure, which nothing but the innocence, integrity, and usefulness of his life, and an upaffected submission to the will of Providence, could bestow. In this situation he had every consolation from family tenderness, which his own kindness had indeed well deserved.
“ Sir Joshua Reynolds was, on many accounts, one of the most memorable men of his time. He was the first Englishman who added the praise of the elegant arts to the other glories of his country. In taste, in grace, in facility, in happy invention, and in the richness and harmony of colouring, he was equal to the greatest masters of the renowned ages. In portrait he went beyond them; for he communicated to that description of the art, in which English artists are the most engaged, a variety, a fancy, and a dignity derived from the higher branches, which even those who professed