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met with so little encouragement, at least in its commencement, as to make him hesitate respecting its continuance.
• As we are on the subject of public taste,' he says, ' I must tell you that I feel a sad want of encouragement in the prosecution of my work, and were it not for a chosen few, and feeling devoted to the object, I would give it up. Would not such a thing be a disgrace to the Society of Antiquaries, who ought to be the first to espouse my cause ? I am thus severe upon them, as, out of seventy subscribers, I have but five of that body. I do not conceive I have done more than any one else might, with patience and attention ; yet still, I cannot be deceived as to what must be the product. I am well convinced that some time or other my labours will find their value.' P.
97. The applause of his brother artists in some degree indemnified him for the neglect of pretenders; and the late Samuel Lysons spoke the language of all competent judges, when he said, "You have given us a work, Stothard, that does honour
to our country; we have till now seen nothing like it. Persevere; complete the thing, -and I hope yet to live to see you as great as you deserve to be.'
In 1815, he was elected Historical Draughtsman to the Society of Antiquaries. In 1816, he was deputed by that Society to visit Bayeux, for the purpose of copying the celebrated Tapestry preserved at that place. While engaged in this task, he discovered in the Abbey of Fontevraud, • those most interesting effigies of our early monarchs and their queens, of the race of the Plantagenets ; the existence of which, in consequence of the destruction and universal havoc caused by the Revolution, had become matter of doubt. Charles found the Abbey converted into a prison; and, in a cellar belonging to it, were then deposited the effigies of Henry II., his queen, Eleanor of Guienne, Richard I., and Isabella of Angoulesme, the queen of John. The chapel where these figures were placed before the Revolution had been destroyed ; and, since their removal to the cellar, they were exposed to continual injury from the prisoners, who came twice in every day to draw water at the well. Charles made several beautiful and accurate drawings from these effigies, in both front and profile views; and, by a most careful and minute investigation, succeeded in discovering the painting upon their surface. Of this he made a separate drawing, depicting the figures with their dresses, ornaments, &c. in their original magnificence and gilded splendour.
Shortly after the above mentioned discoveries, my husband visited the abbey of L'Espan, near Mans, in search of the tomb and effigy of the famous Berengaria, the beautiful and accomplished queen of Richard J. He found the Abbey converted into a barn, and the effigy of the princess in a mutilated state, concealed under a quantity of wheat. In the following year, however, he succeeded in making drawings of this interesting remain ; and likewise executed his curious fac-simile drawing from the enamelled tablet of Geoffrey Plantagenet, the father of our Henry II., which he discovered at Le Mans. This tablet he considered the earliest specimen of what is termed a sepulchral brass, and of armorial bearings, depicted decidedly as such.
• During his first continental journey, he made also above one kundred of the most beautiful and elaborately finished drawings, and sketches of the scenery, architecture, and costume, that arrested his attention in a foreign land. Nothing escaped his observation ; and few things were deemed beneath his notice. The interior of a room, or even the arrangement of a table d'hôte, as novelties, he thought worthy of insertion in his sketch-book.' pp. 219–21.
As a specimen of the perseverance with which Mr. Stothard followed up his ohject, we shall insert his account of the difficulties which he had to overcome in order to secure a copy of Queen Berengaria. Visiting, in August 1817, the Abbey de l'Espan, he found the statue still covered with wheat, and the proprietor, M. Toret, was unwilling to remove it. The eager artist was not, however, to be so easily repulsed. Provoked at the unhandeome way in which he had been treated, ! and extremely vexed,' he writes in his journal, in the expectation of going away without completing my errand, I instantly went to Mr. Mair, and detailed the affair. We held a consultation, and resolved to attack this man through the channels of his interests. Mr. M. accounted in some degree for his behaviour, by telling me, he was a violent Bonapartist. We found one English gentleman of the name of Robinson, to whom this Toret was in some way obliged. Our antiquarian, Colonel Clairmont, was, perhaps, our best ally, for a son of Toret's was in his regiment, and looked to him for promotion. These, the chanoine Romon, and two others, in the course of three hours after my repulse, were ready to make the attack. Myself, Mr. Mair, (who also knew Toret,) and Mr. Robinson, went first. M. Toret seemed much vexed at seeing me again; and, perhaps, more so, in finding others engaged in the business. He made various excuses ; complained of the loss it would be to him, &c. He had not proceeded far, before in marched Colonel Clairmont : this began to bring him to his senses. He then consented, to see what could be done. Colonel C. laughed at him. But the entry of another of our allies bringing the scene rather to a ridiculous pitch, he gave his consent, (I believe to get rid of us,) to go
with me at four o'clock that afternoon and remove the wheat. The hour came, and he set off with me, his great dog accompanying us. His constrained good-nature would have amused any one ; for he was all the time inwardly vexed, and could not help muttering, at times, " Pas commode ;' but his old housekeeper at De l’Espan having brought out a bottle of Bordeaux, with some bread and butter, we sat down to it, and by the time we had finished the bottle, he was an altered man, beginning to cry, “ Past ten o clock !” and “No popery !" He had been in London in the year eighty.' pp. 246-248.
In February 1818, he married, and in the same year, again visited France, in company with Mrs. S.
During our continental journey,' says his affectionate Biographer,wherever we were, or whenever my husband was spoken of, one remark seemed common with all; and I often heard it repeated, “ Madame, Monsieur votre mari est si modeste.” Whilst residing in Paris, we once chanced to spend the day with a public librarian of that city, a man of great learning and talent.' Towards the evening, he said to Charles, “ You are a Stothard. Are you any relation to a great antiquary of that name, who has executed a most beautiful work on the monuments of his own country?” This question, made in such terms, sadly hurt the modesty of poor Charles. He looked embarrassed, and not immediately replying, “ Sir," said I,
you should have asked me that question, for I am his wife.” Upon hearing this, the librarian seized Charles by the hand, and appeared so delighted, that I thought he would have given him the French hug of salutation. “ Is it possible,” cried he, “ that I have spent the day with you, and never heard this ? Had you been a Frenchman, it is the first thing you would have told me.”
• I trust I may here be allowed to insert another striking instance of the respect with which my husband was treated by foreigners. During our last journey, in 1820, a violent rain obliged us to pass the whole of the morning in the library at St. Omer. Charles, desirous of referring to a book that gave some account of the effigy, of Crito, Earl of Flanders, requested the librarian to indulge him with a sight of it. This aged gentleman had formerly been a monk, I believe, in the Abbey of St. Bertin. He was that morning in no very good humour, having been troubled by the idle curiosity of some silly travellers. He evaded, and almost refused shewing the book. Charles's im. portunity at length prevailed. The volume was produced, but did not afford the desired information. Upon some remarks that casually dropped from my husband about a MS., the heart of the librarian softened, and he condescended to enter into conversation with him. After a while his manner entirely changed; instead of the stern and morose stranger, he grew affable, polite,
and anxious to lay before him every thing that he deemed worthy his attention. A MS. Was produced, which, if I remember correctly, (but I will not vouch for it,) was stated to be of the time of Charlemagne. Charles contradicted the assertion, and argued the point, in order to prove that it was of a later period. This produced a discussion, that soon brought about them other persons in the room. Amongst these was a young officer of the army, who we afterwards heard was distinguished for his learning and talents, and an old good-humoured gen, tleman, a professed antiquary, who spoke English with great fluency. I stood near the party, listening to their conversation with consider able pleasure, not unmixed, perhaps, with a little share of pride, when I found my husband had not only completely refuted their assertions, but that they asked him many questions, with that air of inquisitive respect observed by those who seek information from a su: perior. These subjects led to a general discussion on matters of an. tiquity. Here poor Charles was completely at home. At length, the old gentleman, (who, I know not for what reason, had concluded that we were brother and sister,) turned to me, and exclaimed, “ Je ne sais pas, mademoiselle, qui est Monsieur votre frere, mais il faut qu'il soit Monsieur Stothard, ou l'ange des antiquaires."
pp. 279-82. The antiquarian details which fill up a large portion of the remainder of the volume, are highly valuable and far from uninteresting; but we find it impracticable to compress them without injury, and shall therefore pass on at once to the awful catastrophe which deprived society of the amiable and accomplished subject of this memoir. 'In April 1821, he received a commission to execute some drawings connected with the Magna Britannia of Messrs. S. and D. Lysons, and, on the 16th of May, he left town for that purpose. The previous circumstances-all the melancholy presentiments and ominous occurrences which grief delights to recollect, are detailed in an exceedingly interesting manner by Mrs. Stothard. The church of Beer Ferrers, where the fatal event occurred, contained portraits, in stained glass, of the founder and his wife. The rector, Mr. Hobart, had given ready permission to copy them, and had invited Mr. Stothard to the hospitalities of his house. A ladder had been procured at his desire, and carried into the church.
Monday, May 28th. • At eleven o'clock my beloved Charles ascended the ladder, and both commenced and finished the tracing of the glass, representing the founder's lady. Mr. Servante was repeatedly in the church during the morning. At half.past two, my husband removed the ladder to the north side of the altar. He then stood about ten feet from the ground, immediately above the tablets containing the creed and the commandments. The communion-table below was on the right. hand side : to the left, a very narrow passage (intercepted only by the railing of the altar) came between the communion-table and the wall. Under a low Gothic arch, within a recess of the wall, elevated about three feet above the ground, reclined the monumental effigies of a knight and his lady. The moulding of the stone slab upon which these figures rested, projected about two inches beyond the tomb.
• At half-påst two o'clock, Mr. Servante took his leave of my beloved husband. He was then stationed upon the ladder, and tracing the portrait of Sir William Ferrers. This was the last time he was seen alive.
• Five o'clock was the dinner hour of Mr. Hobart. His guest did not appear. It so chanced that a gentleman, by profession a surgeon, Mr. Honey of Beer Alston, who had called upon him, was then going to Plymouth, and in his way, must pass the church of Beer. Mr. Hobart requested him to look in, and to hasten poor Charles's return. He obeyed the request; and upon entering the church by the little door near
the altar, he beheld my husband, my beloved husband, lying extended -senseless-dead, at the base of the monument from which he had received the fatal blow ;-every sign of life gone. He was dead, quite dead-all human aid vain. The ladder remained resting against the window; the step on which he had stood being found broken on the floor. -From all circumstances, it is supposed that the step must have suddenly given way; that my husband, in the effort to save himself, probably turned round; and in falling-terrible to relate ! struck against the monument with such force that little doubt can be entertained (especially as the fatal blow was received upon the temple) of his having been killed upon the spot. The hour of his fall cannot be precisely ascertained, as he was alone in the church; but from the state of the tracing upon which he was engaged, it is conjectured to have occurred between three and four o'clock. It is one sad consolation, to think that my beloved Charles did not suffer either from the knowledge or the pain of his most awful situation. His countenance looked calm and composed, with not even a trace of the last mortal agony.' pp. 467–69.
Such was the premature end of a man whose character, in all the relations of life, was most exemplary, and whose talents as an artist were, in that branch to which he had devoted himself, of the highest order.
The volume is agreeably written, and a well executed portrait is prefixed.
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