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pated what really happended, that he would prove a rival, with whom there could be no chance of coping. He endeavoured, therefore, to keep down, as much as he could, the aspiring mind of his scholar, and instead of setting him to study after the living model, or the antique, he employed him in copying drawings, particularly those of Guercino. The youth complied with his humour, and executed every task with an accuracy and spirit that served to increase the astonishment and spleen of Hudson. In this manner he may be said to have wasted above two years of the four for which he was articled; but though his master did all that lay in his power to hinder the progress of his pupil, he could not prevent the ascendency which he dreaded. The portrait of a domestic female,' painted by young Reynolds, exhibited such a strength of expression and exactness of resemblance, that Hudson, while he admired the performance, determined from that moment to get rid of one who created him so much uneasiness. Having formed this unjust resolution, he was not long in finding an opportunity to carry it into effect. One evening, Hudson ordered him to take a portrait to Van Hacken, the drapery painter ; but rain coming on very heavily, Reynolds delayed carrying it till the next morning. This Hudson knew, and made it the pretext of a quarrel, though at the same time he must have known that no delay had been suffered by the circumstance, for the picture was taken, according to the command, before breakfast the next morning. Notwithstanding this, Hudson immediately seized the opportunity thus afforded of upbraiding his pupil with a disobedience of his express injunction, and without giving him time either for explanation, or for a communication with his friends, ordered him to quit his house. Reynolds submissively remonstrated, and desired leave to write to his father, who, from so prompt and severe a punishment, might naturally be apprehensive that his son must have committed some enormous offence. But no appeal to the principle of justice can operate upon an envious disposition. Hudson was glad of any incident, however trivial, that offered; of freeing himself from the presence of a youth whose talents made him conscious of his own imbecility. Reynolds withdrew to the house of a relation, and soon received a letter from his father, directing him to return into Devonshire. Here he began, without any farther instruction, bis career as an artist; and it has been well observed, that, however mortifying the circumstance might have been at the time, it was fortunate in the event, for hereby he was saved from falling into the bad manner of his master. In confirmation of this remark, the cases of Mortimer and Wright are adduced, who, though they shone in the respective departments of the art which they struck out for themselves, could obtain no celebrity in portraiture; their paintings in that line, though not destitut
of merit, exhibited too much of the school of Hudson, and were executed with what is technically called “ a heavy hand.”
Reynolds was in his twentieth year when he returned home, with the scanty elements of the art which he had acquired under a selfish and incompetent instructor. But though his education had been thus neglected, his active mind retained its vigour, and he ventured upon the exercise of portrait painting at Plymouth Dock, under the patronage of Lord Mount Edgecumbe, whose influence there could not fail to prove of the most essential advantage to the young artist. Here Reynolds painted the portraits of several naval officers, particularly two of Captain Hamilton, father of the late Marquis of Abercorn: one of a large size, which is now at Stanmore; and another a family piece, in which that gentleman is represented with his children. This last picture is in the collection of Lord Eliot, at Port Eliot, in Cornwall. About the same period he painted an admirable picture of a Boy reading by a reflected light, which was sold, in 1796, to Sir Henry Englefield, for thirtyfive guineas. It has been said, that he used to lament the time lost by him after his return into Devonshire; but it is difficult to reconcile this with the fact, that on reviewing the works executed by him at this period of life, he expressed his regret that he had not made subsequently a greater progress in the art. He was very much employed
while he resided at Plymouth Dock, and his pictures painted there, not only evince his improvement in every respect, but may challenge a comparison with many of his most celebrated performances. · Soon after the death of his father, which happened on Christmas day, in 1746, he left his native county the second time, and took lodgings in St. Martin's Lane, which was then, and long continued to be, the favourite residence of artists. He had even now attained considerable popularity; for in some of the papers of that time, there appeared these complimentary lines addressed to him, on his portrait of a Lady in a capuchin and veil :
Whilst th’ original's unknown,
Unhurt the copy view;
Nor death, nor wounds ensue.
The vapour dark securing ;
The blaze there's no enduring !
It had long been the wish of Mr. Reynolds to visit Rome, but his circumstances, and the disturbed state of the times, rendering a journey by land impracticable, the idea was abandoned till
the spring of the year 1749, when he received an invitation to accompany Captain Keppel, who was then about to sail in the Centurion for the Mediterranean. This offer he gladly accepted, and on the 24th of May the ship arrived at Lisbon; on the. 9th of June at Gibraltar ; from whence she proceeded, according to her destination, to Algiers, to settle a dispute with the Dey, respecting the plunder of an English vessel by his cruisers. Having terminated this business, Captain Keppel set sail for Port Mahon, in Minorca, where Mr. Reynolds was entertained two months by General Blakeney, the governor, at his own table. He had not been long on this island, when, in riding down a hill, he fell from his horse, and cut his upper lip so deeply, that the scar remained through life.
During his residence at Minorca, he painted several portraits of naval and military officers; by which means he recruited his finances sufficiently to enable him to prosecute the grand object of his voyage, which was to visit the principal cities of Italy, particularly Rome. Accordingly, on his perfect recovery from the casualty which he had met with, he embarked for Leghorn, where he made no stay, but hastened forwards to the celebrated emporium of all that was venerable and sublime in the Fine Arts. Soon after his arrival at Rome, and while the impression first made by the wonders which surrounded him was yet warm in his mind, he wrote to some of his friends in England, saying,