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some effectual remedy will be soon provided by the State to counteract the great national evil. Surely an immediate remedy will be applied, when we see, that from the day of poor John Bossam, in the reign of Edward VI., to the present hour, the national obstacle has operated as a general preventative to the exertions of British genius, and where, among those who have been prevented, we number the first and third Presidents of the Royal Academy of England, two artists so highly gifted by nature, so distinguished for practical powers, and so alike in those admirable qualities which have deservedly won the esteem and affection of the, bighest circles in society. Surely, while we pay the full tribute of applause to the excellence of these two eminent painters, we may be allowed to observe, that the unostentatious resolute stand which WEST made, during fifty-six years, against the great national evil of the arts, and the courageous example which he set to others by so doing, are worthy of record and due praise. What true friend of the British School can refuse his commendation of the persevering enthusiasm with which, during that long period, the late President maintained the dignity of that style, by which alone (it is now generally acknowledged) this country can ever hope to employ the arts as a moral instrument to elevate the national character, and to obtain the homage of foreign nations.
Besides the claims wbich West's paintings have to a place in the British national gallery, from their approved merits, from their being productions of British genius, and from the invaluable services which he rendered to the British School, we conceive that the purchase would contribute to remove a very prevalent opinion, that to study history painting is to adopt a profession which must involve the individual for life in public neglect, difficulty, and distress; and expose his family to be left without any certain provision at his decease. The pames of Barry and of Haydon, and the desertion of West's gallery, are at present sufficient to terrify the most enthusiastic mind from attempting history painting. Sir Joshua Reynolds has delivered bis opinion, that the discouragements arising from the great national obstacle, the church exclusion of pictures, must have the effect of preventing the study of historical painting in this country. “To those who think that wherever genius is, it must, like fire, blaze out, this argument is not addressed; but those who consider it not as a gift, but a power acquired by long labour and study, should reflect, that NO MAN IS LIKELY TO UNDERGO THE FATIGUE REQUIRED TO CARRY ANY ART to ANY DEGREE OF EXCELLENCE, to which, after he has done, the world is likely to pay no attention.” (Reynolds's Journey to Flanders and Holland, p. 340, 341.)
The fact of the desertion of West's gallery, has been known to every artist, student, and amateur in London, for more than two years. So extraordinary a result of the great national obstacle, church exclusion, produced shame and indignation in some minds, without their well knowing whom to be angry with; but the discouraging and alarming effect in the breasts of those who before entertained any hope of obtaining reward and distinction by bistorical painting, was heavy indeed. The periodical press, with well-meaning activity, bad spread it abroad, not only in the united kingdom, but in foreigo countries, and our rivals and competitors on the continent rejoiced in our disgrace. Thus the arts, instead of being instruments to obtain us the homage of foreign nations, became the means of dishonouring the British character. What could the people
in France, in Holland, in Italy lhink? What could a stuk dent hope for, when, after a long life of meritorious labours and professional honours, the British King's historical painter, the President of the Royal Academy of paigtióg. sculpture, and architecture in London, the head of the arts in England, an artist superior to all contemporary merit on the continent, and unequalled since the time of the CARACCI, was abandoned by bis country at the close of his 82nd year, and the magnificent series of his works deserted and left to the precarious contingencies of the long-established anti-bistorical spirit produced by the church exclusion of pictures? This, indeed, must be the commencement of the reign of terror in the British School ! With what feelings of grief and apprehension must 'nat the students have heard those words, addressed to them with the kindest feelings, by Sir Thomas Lawrence, the present President of the Royal Academy, in his discourse on the late delivery of the prizes :-" It is now more than three years that we have witnessed at his own residence, an exhibition of the accumulated labours of this venerable and great master, whose remains were honoured with a public funeral, and whose loss was felt AS A NATIONAL CALAMITY, totally neglected and deserted. The spacious rooms in which they are arranged, erected in just respect to a parent's memory, and due attention to the imagined expectations of the public, as destitute of spectators as the vacant halls of some corporate body; and, but forother property of known value, threatening to injure the remaining fortunes of the Glial love that raised them."
Alas! with what dismay must the students have received their prizes from the Academy, with this melancholy truth sounding in their ears like a death bell to their hopes ! Surely when artists are walled out from efforts in the highest class or style of excellence, there is a danger that prizes and premiums may have the effect of maltiplying the disappointments of genius, and spreading low aims and high pretensions through the land.
The purchase of the late President's magnificent collection of pictures, by a Committee appointed by Govern- . ment or by Parliament, would contribute, with other measures, for giving certain employment to history painters, to terminate the reign of terror in the British School. Aspiring Students, if a field for emulation and constant reward were opened by the Government, would entertain a belief and reliance, that a man of genius, wbo devotes his life to history painting, and who obtains the highest honours of his profession by his pencil, will not be abandoned at his death; but that his interests, connected with the advancement of the arts and of the national glory, will be duly attended to by the Government after his decease, so that his family may fairly hope for a provision in the fruits of his labours and his genius. On this broad public ground the purchase would have a salutary effect in preventing the extinction of the public style of history in this country.
Sir Thomas Lawrence's just and feeling eulogium on Mr. West is beautifully expressed. After advising the sudents to go to his venerable predecessor's gallery for instruction, bis affectionate language does honour to his head and heart. “While the extent of knowledge that he possessed and was so liberal to convey, the useful weight of his opinion in societies of the highest rank, the gentle humanity of his nature, and THAT PARENTAL FONDNESS WITH WHICH YOUTH and ITS YOUNG ASPIRINGS were [NSTRUCTED and CHERISHED BY HIM, will render his memory sacred to his friends, and ENDEARED TO THE SCHOOLS of this Academy, while respect for worth and INVALUABLE SERVICE are encouraged in them.” Here is an irresistible claim upon his country ; his inestimable instructions and paternal affection in forming the minds of the students in the Royal Academy during the twenty-seven years that he was President. Of the innumerable instances wbich we have heard of his anxious endeavours to obtain friends and patrons for young artists of merit, and to assist them with pecuniary means, we shall close this tract with one only, his earnest efforts to have PROCTOR rescued from want, and sent to Italy. Mr. Shee alludes to this young sculptor's melancholy fate in these lines, in his “Rhymes on Art.”
“ Taste views indignant pagan rites restor'd,
And in a PROCTOR'S fate a PHIDIAS mourno." : But the deplorable end of this young artist is so well told by Mr. Prince Hoare in his “ Epocbs of Art," that we shall insert it here in his own words. The name is, by a typographic error, misspelt Procter in our preceding pages.
“There is yet another instance to be recorded in the same art: but it is almost of too pathetic a nature to take place in the course of common disoussion. This instance was PROCTOR—the victim of exalted and disappointed hope. His story is extraordinary; and it is so little generally known, that the reader will perhaps pardon digression on the occasion.-PROCTOR was a student in painting in the Royal Academy. At the time of the annual competitions for prizes, he, one year, presented both a drawing and a model from the life, for the premiums of the silver medals, and he obtained a medal for each. The present