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pictures for Windsor Castle, and those from the Four Dispensations for the intended Chapel Royal. His Majesty always expressed his intention to remunerate Mr, West in an ample manner in the end, and to honour him at the close of bis labours. Sir Joshua Reynolds was making from £6,000. to £7,000. a year by portrait painting; and if Mr. West bad adapted bis pencil to the taste of the time, he could bave made from two to three thousand a year by portrait painting. He was frequently urged upon this point of his own interest; but his enthusiastic attachment to history painting, his gratitude for the honour conferred upon him by bis Majesty, and bis implicit reliance upon the royal muniticence, induced bim to reject all such friendly suggestions. During upwards of thirty years, buried in his labours for the King, and only receiving his pension of £1,000. a year, he had made no provision against the day of national calamity, which for ever terminated the beneficent intentions of his royal patron, and covered the empire with sorrow and consternation.
This great master was seventy-two years old when this misfortune occurred. The amount of his annual allowance had paid him for the pictures be had finished ; but the total stoppage of the work in which he had treasured up all his bopes of fame and fortune, fell with an oppressive weight upon him at such an advanced age. He bad abstained from the lucrative practice of portrait painting to execute the King's sublime design ; and it was too late for him to change his hand and seek out new connections: he had, as it were, to begin the world anew. and the anti-historical spirit of the time rendered his prospects in the evening of life clouded and uncertain in the extreme.
This was, indeed, a heavy blow to the British School, The sudden overthrow of all Mr. West's professional expectations was, in a public view, an overthrow to the arts, and a loss and discouragement to every British artist. Mr. West's former works were the private property of a very few individuals, and as such were not immediately open to the public. But a magnificent series of sacred subjects on the walls of an edifice dedicated to the worship of God, would have been conspicuously open to the eyes of the world; and would have formed the commencement of the PUBLIC STYLE, under the illustrious House of Brunswick. These pictures, painted by order of the august Head of the Church and State, and hung in the royal chapel in which that monarch performed his devotions, would have gradually fulfilled the royal intentions, by (introducing the general practice of church pictures in the Britisb empire, without any fear of a superstitious tendency. In this manner, the sublime and beautiful, the grand materials of the public style would have been brought into action as moral instruments, and a source of constant employment, for historical painting would have been created under the revered auspices of the King, the great restorer and patron of the British School, in the eighteenth century. - Thus the exclusion of pictures from churches, the grand obstacle to the great public style of art, in this country, continues to impede the progress of the British School to this day. We therefore quote here the following observations of Sir Joshua Reynolds, that great master of grace, expression, and harmony, who has conferred so much honour on himself and his country, by the admirable productions of his pencil and his immortal Discourses: «Taking leave of Flanders, we bade adieu at the same time to HISTORY PAINTING. Pictures are no longer the ornament of churches, and perhaps, for that reason ,no longer the ornament of private houses. We naturally acquire a taste for what we have frequently before our eyes. No GREAT historical picture is put up, which excites the curiosity of the town to see, and tempts the opulent to procure as an ornament to his own house : nothing of this kind being seen, historical paintings are not thought of, and go out of fashion; and the genius of the country, which, if room were given it, WOULD EXPAND ITSELF, is exercised in small curious high finished cabinet pictures.” -.,;“ It is a circumstance to be regretted, by painters at least, that the Protestant countries have thought proper to exclude pictures from their churches : how far this circumstance may be the cause THAT NO PROTESTANT COUNTRY has ever produced a history painter may be worthy of consideration."
. “When we separated from the church of Rome, many customs, indifferent in themselves, were considered as wrong, for no other reason, perhaps, but because they were adopted by the communion from which we separated. Among the excesses which this sentiment produced, may be reckoned, the impolitic exclusion of all ornaments from our churches. The violence and acrimony with which the separation was made being now at an end, it is high time to assume that reason of which our zeal seemed to have bereaved us. Why religion should not appear pleasing and amiable in its appendages;-why the house of God should not appear as well ornamented and as costly as any private house made for man, no good reason I believe can be assigned. This truth is acknowledged in regard to the external building in Protestant as well as in Roman Catholic countries : churches are always the most magnificent edifices in every city; and why the inside should not correspond with its exterior, in this, and every other Protestant country, it would be difficult for Protestants to state any reasonable cause.
“Many other causes have been assigned why history painting has never flourished in this country: but with such a reason at hand we need not look farther. Let there be buyers, who are the true Mæcenases, and we shall soon see sellers vieing with each other in the variety and excellence of their works.” (Journey in Flanders, p. 338, vol. 2. the Literary Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds, Kt.) On the above clear testimony from the very highest authority in painting, it may be difficult to offer any observation that would not tend to weaken its force. The palpable fact, that no Protestant country on the Continent has ever produced an bistorical painter, owing to the exclusion of pictures from the churches, is full and decisive. Reynolds, in all his discourses and literary compositions, made it a rule of professional decorum, not to mention, nor allude to his professional contemporaries, although he highly estimated their powers. According to this professional delicacy, he never mentioned Gainsborough, Wilson, or Hogarth in his Discourses during their lives; but his opinion of the Continent shews, that England, being a Protestant country, and having excluded pictures from her churches, must be contented to see the history painting, produced in this country by the patronage of the late King, perish unless speedily supported. We however humbly hope that his Majesty (whose fine taste and paternal desire for the advancement of the arts have been so signally proved), will be seconded by the public spirit of his Ministers and the wisdom of Parliament, in devising some efficacious and immediate measure to counteract the exclusion of pic. tures from the churches, and to stop the further flight of every student of painting from the public style in the historical field.
As to the great national obstacle, Sir Joshua, in his opinions, (which we have just now quoted), strictly coincides with BARRY, the historical painter, in his “ Inquiry into the real and imaginary Obstructions to the Arts in England.” We here insert an extract from this artist's valuable publication ; although the truth which it states is mixed up with unworthy terms, in mentioning those departments of painting, in which he was not himself a practitioner. “It will appear, that the accidental circumstance of the change of religion, which happened just at the time we should have set out in the arts, gave us a dislike to the superior and nobler parts; the subjects of Christian story, which might be generally understood and felt, were then probibited, so that except landscape, portrait, and still life, every thing else was either unintelligible, or uninteresting to the people at large.” (Chap. v. p. 64.) Barry was perfectly correct in this important fact, that those branches of the domestic style, "landscape, portrait, and still life,” (he might bave added, fancy subjects and profane history in small) were not included in the prohibition of sacred history; but, although they were not prohibited, and although Edward VI., Elizabeth, and her immediate successors were anxious to patronise them, they perished through the want of a PUBLIC STYLE to sustain them, and to diffuse a love for the nobler branches of painting in the nation. Barry's language is coarse and inapplicable to any branch of the arts, but the fact of their erroneous and sinking tendency is undeniably true. He adds, that “the artists were then naturally led to practise only the baser and lower branches : the farther they advanced in these, the wider they wandered