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pected satisfaction of meeting with his old master, Hudson, and Roubiliac, the sculptor, posting to Rome; where, if the latter gained improvement, it was more than the painter did; for he spent only two days in that capital, and having gone over Italy with the same rapidity, returned to France time enough to accompany his pupil in the same packet from Calais to Dover. At Paris, Reynolds was detained a short time by some commissions, and among the portraits there painted by him, was one of Mrs. Chambers, the wife of Mr., afterwards Sir William, Chambers, the celebrated architect, and another of M. Gautier, both of which have been engraved. On the 16th of October, 1752, Mr. Reynolds landed in England, and immediately proceeded to Plymouth to recruit his health, which had suffered very much by travelling and exertion. While at Plymouth he painted only two portraits, one of a young lady, and the other of Mr. Zachary Mudge, vicar of St. Andrews, in that town, the old friend of his father, and no less zealously concerned for the interests of the son. By the advice of this excellent divine, and that of Lord Mount. Edgecumbe, Mr. Reynolds returned to the metropolis the same winter, accompanied by his sister Frances, who alone remained unmarried, and continued so to her death. For some time they continued in lodgings in St. Martin's Lane, and there it was that Reynolds produced his fine portrait, inthe Rembrandtian style, of Joseph Marchi, wear
ing a turban, which attracted considerable notice, and drew a crowd of visitors, among whom was Hudson; who, after examining the picture some time with great gravity, and finding no traces of his own manner in the performance, exclaimed, with a tremendous oath, “ Reynolds, you don't paint so well as when you left England." This was the splenetic effusion of a mind embittered by the consciousness of its inferiority, and so it appeared to Astley, who stood by at the time, and could not help smiling at his old master's chagrin.
The popularity and business of Reynolds increasing every day, he found it necessary to take a house, and accordingly removed to a very commodious one in Great Newport Street, where he continued about eight years. One of the first portraits painted by him, after his return to London, was of the Duke of Devonshire; but though much admired, it was far exceeded by a whole length of Captain, afterwards Admiral, Keppel, who was represented standing on a rocky shore, as just escaped from shipwreck, alluding to an event which happened to that gallant officer about six years before, when he commanded a frigate on the coast of France. Of this fine picture there is an excellent mezzotinto print, scraped by a self-taught artist, named Fisher, who continued for many years to be encouraged by Reynolds. We are told that this portrait cost the painter prodigious labour, and that, after several sittings, he defaced his work and
began it anew: such was his patient industry; but it was well rewarded, for when the picture appeared, the public voice resounded with its praise, and it was generally admitted that a greater painter had not been seen in England since the days of Vandyck. It has been well observed, that long previous to this period, the painters of portrait contented themselves with exhibiting as correct a resemblance as they could; but seem not to have thought, or had not the power, of enlivening the canvass, by giving a kind of historic air to their pictures. Reynolds very soon saw how much admiration might be obtained by deviating from the insipid manner of his immediate predecessors ; hence, in many of his portraits, particularly when combined in family groupes, we find much of the variety and spirit of a higher species of art. Instead of confining himself to mere likeness, in which, however, he was eminently happy, he dived, as it were, into the minds, habits, and manners of those who sat to him; whence it is that the majority of his portraits are so appropriately characteristic, that the persons whom he bas depicted, will be almost as well known to posterity as if they had seen and conversed with them.
Mr. Reynolds had not been long settled in London, when that intimacy began between him and Dr. Johnson, which lasted, without abatement on either side, till the death of the illustrious sage, to whom his friend always looked up as a pre
ceptor. The manner in which this connexion commenced has been minutely related by Boswell, on the authority of Reynolds himself. Happen/ ing to meet with the Life of Savage, in Devon
shire, which, though published some years before, was then new to him, he began to read it whilst he was standing with his arm leaning against a chimney-piece. The book so strongly seized his attention, that he was not able to lay it down till he had finished it, and on attempting to move, he found his arm totally benumbed. Being then unacquainted with the author, it was natural that he should wish to see and converse with him. That opportunity occurred some time after, for when Johnson lived in Castle Street, Cavendish Square, he used frequently to visit two ladies who lived opposite to Mr. Reynolds, and were well known to him. These were the daughters of Admiral Cottrell; and, at their house, Johnson and Reynolds casually met. The latter had, as already observed, conceived a very high idea of Johnson's powers of writing, nor was he less pleased with his conversation; he therefore resolved to cultivate his acquaintance, with the laudable zeal of one who was desirous of general improvement. Reynolds, at this first interview, happened fortunately to make a remark, which was so much above the common-place style of conversation, that Johnson at once perceived in him a faculty of thinking for himself. The ladies were regretting the death of a friend to whom they
owed great obligations; upon which Reynolds observed, “ Then you have the comfort, at least, of being relieved from the burthen of gratitude.” They were shocked a little at this alleviating suggestion, as too selfish; but Johnson defended it in his clear and forcible manner, and was much pleased with, the mind, the fair view of human nature which it exhibited, like some of the reflexions of Rochefoucault. The consequence was that he went home and supped with Reynolds.
Not long after this, when they were together oue evening at the same house, the Duchess of Argyle, and another lady of quality, came in to visit the Miss Cottrells ; and Johnson thinking that he and his friend were slighted as low company, after waiting in sullen silence a considerable time for a turn in the conversation, suddenly exclaimed, “ Pray, Mr. Reynolds, how much do you think you and I could get in a week, if we were to work as hard as we could ?” This was perfectly characteristic of Johnson, whose impatient temper could ill brook being treated with the semblance of contempt from any, and who, least of all things, could endure being shut out of conversation by ladies.
The celebrity acquired by Reynolds was now so great that he had from five to seven sitters daily, some of whom would come to his house at six o'clock in the morning. When he resided in St. Martin's Lane, his prices were, for a three-quarter