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into the room,
frequent occasion to criticise the individual performances of Flaxman; and, at the conclusion of his narrative, he gives us some general views of the merits and successes of the great sculptor. For all this we must refer the reader to the volume itself, contenting ourselves with the following interesting particulars relating to the personal character and habits of Flaxman :
It was not till the year 1825, that the author of this too imperfect narrative became personally acquainted with Flaxman. He had come to the exhibition-room with a statue on seeing me he smiled-took off his hat-bowed, and shook me heartily by the hand, saying, with a voice which I think I hear now, “Allan Cunningham, I am glad to meet you
-Lady Dacre has repeated to me some of your poble ballads—come and sit down beside me, and let us talk of verse- - I love it, and I love Scotland too.”. We sat down together, and though several Academicians came
he heeded them not, but expatiated on the kindness he had experienced at Glasgow, and his admiration of the passionate songs of Burns. He told me, also, that the old English ballads of Percy had made a strong impression on his mind; and instanced Sir Cauline, as one of the happiest stories in verse. “ I am making,” said he, “a statue of Burns—will you do me the kindness to come and see it?" I promised, and parting then with mutual assurances of remembrance, some weeks elapsed before I had an opportunity of paying my respects to him in Buckingham-street. He received me with his hat in his hand, and conducted me into his little studio among models and sketches. There was but one chair, and a small barrel which held coals, with a board laid over it--on the former he seated me, and occupied the latter himself, after having removed a favourite black cat, who seemed to consider the act ungracious. Our talk was all concerning poetry and poets—he listened well pleased to my description of the person of Burns, and said, a manly man, and his poetry is like him.”
During the year which succeeded this interview, he was occasionally ailing, but his suffering was little, nor did he abstain from making sketches, or from enjoying the company of his friends. Of friends he had not a few-his earliest indeed were past and gone-Hayley, whom he esteemed as a man; Banks, whom he admired as a poetic sculptor, and Romney, the only native painter, of whom, it is said, he was very fond. Thomas Hope and Samuel Rogers, dear for their genius and for their worth, were left, and to them he was much attached : he also respected Howard the painter, and Stothard was a man much after his own heart. He had sat for his bust to Baily, and was sitting to Jackson for that fine portrait of which an engraving of great merit appears in this volume. The winter had set in, and as he was never a very early mover, a stranger found him rising one morning when he called about nine o'clock. “Sir,” said the visitant, presenting a book as he spoke," this work was sent to me by the author, an Italian artist, to present to you, and at the same time to apologize for its extraordinary dedication. In truth, Sir, it was so generally believed throughout Italy that you were dead, that my friend determined to show the world how much he esteemed your genius, and having this book ready for publication he has incribed it. Al Ombra di Flaxman. No sooner was the book published than the story of your death was contradicted, and the author affected by his mistake, which, nevertheless, he rejoices at, begs you will receive his work and his apology.” Flaxman smiled
accepted the volume with unaffected modesty, and mentioned the circumistance as curious to his own family and some of his friends.
* This singular occurrence happened on Saturday, the 2d of December: the great sculptor was well and cheerful ; next day he went to church felt himself suddenly affected with cold—refused all medicine—went to bed, and when he rose on Monday assured his sister that he was well enough to receive Mr. Soane, Mr. Robinson, and part of the family of Mr. Tulk, whom he had invited to dinner. When these guests came they were touched with the change in his looks; but he assumed cheerfulness, presided at table, tasted wine with the ladies, said something pleasing to all, and they went away without any apprehension that they were to see him no more. An inflammation of the lungs was the result of the cold which affected him on Sunday—the disorder spread with fatal rapidity: he refused to go to bed, saying, “When I lie I cannot breathe," and sat in a cushioned chair, attended by his sister and by the sister of his wife. All attempts to arrest the deadly malady were in vain, and on Thursday morning, December the 7th, 1826, he passed without a struggle, from a world of which he had long been the ornament. His body was accompanied to the churchyard of St. Giles-in-the-Fields, by the President and Council of the Royal Academy, on the 15th of December. The following words are inscribed on his tomb : “ John Flaxman, R.A. P.S., whose mortal life was a constant preparation for a blessed immortality: his angelic spirit returned to the Divine Giver on the 7th of December, 1826, in the seventy-second year of his age.
” · Flaxman was small in stature, slim in form : he walked with something of a sidling gait; and his hair dark and long was combed down carelessly on either side of his head. It was a favourite theory of his, that the noblest spirit is ever magnificently lodged ; yet when I think of his own little body and large soul, I incline more to the words of the poet whom he loved —
That auld wanchancie carline Nature,
On her first plan. But whenever he talked all this disappeared : his forehead was fine : his large eyes seemed to emit light while he spoke : and the uncommon sweetness of his smile softened a certain proud expression of mouth and some coarseness of physiognomy. His dress was plain but not mean : a singlebreasted brown coata waistcoat of black and white stripe, over the cape of which his shirt collar was laid neatly down : dark cloth breeches, and ribbed mixed stockings, with shoes and buckles, suited well with the simplicity of the wearer. He aspired after no finery-kept neither coach nor servant in livery-considered himself more the companion than the master of his men-treated them to a jaunt in the country and a dinner twice a year, presiding among them with great good humour; and on times of more than common state-the Academy dinners for instance—he caused John Burge, his marble polisher, to stand behind his chair. To his men, of whom he employed some twelve or fifteen, he was ever kind and indulgent. He made himself acquainted with their families and with their wants, and aided them in an agreeable and delicate way; when they were sick he
of them happened to be unavoidably absent, he said, " Providence has made
six days for work in the week-take your full wages.” So generally was he beloved, and so widely was he known, that had you stopped a tipsy mason in the street and asked him what he thought of John Flaxman, he would have answered, “ The best master God ever made." Such was the answer once given to that question in my hearing. Nothing of the alloy of meanness mingled with his nature. When he approached a hackneycoach stand near his own house, down went the steps of a dozen doors, and off went the lats of as many coachmen—all were desirous of a custómer who never higgled : when he purchased marble he satisfied himself with the quality of the block, asked the price, and paid down the moneyno abatement was demanded ; and he has been known to return part of the money for a monument when he thought the price too high. Flaxman, Sir," said an artist of eminence whom I need not name, " is inaccessible to either censure or praise—he is proud but not shy—diffident but not retiring—as plain as a peasant in his dress, and as humble as the rudest clown, yet even all that unites in making up this remarkable mixture of simplicity and genius--and were you to try any other ingredients, may I be hanged if you would form so glorious a creature !" He paused a little, and added, " I wish he would not bow so low to the lowly-his civility oppresses.
Flaxman usually rose at eight o'clock,-breakfasted at nine, --studied or modelled till one,—dined at that early hour, commonly upon one dish, and very sparingly,—then recommenced his modelling or his studies, – added a little reading,-drank tea at six,--talked with his wife and sisters, or with friends who happened to look in-and this in a lively, gay, eloquent strain, more frequently than a serious one; and when supper was served, conversed freely, and helped his friends largely, but took little himself. This, he used to say, was “an hour of much enjoyment.” His kindness to students was unbounded : he opened the doors of his studio with no reluctant hand to young and old, and was lavish of his time and counsel on all in whom he recognized genius. “He was a rough-headed fellow who modelled that group,” he once observed to me, looking at the work of a student; “but it has pleased God to give a rough-headed fellow finer genius sometimes than what he bestows on smoother men.
" You remember the feebleness of his frame," said Sir Thomas Lawrence, addressing the students on Flaxman's death, "and its evident though gradual decay. Yet it was but lately that you saw him with you, sedulous and active as the youngest member-directing your studies with the affection of a parent-addressing you with the courtesy of an equal—and conferring the benefit of his knowledge and his genius as though he himself were receiving obligation." His domestic state was happy-his life simple and blameless: he was mild and gentle ; and a more perfect exemplar of the
During the composition of these sheets, I requested of a distinguished sculptor some information respecting his mode of study and his talents in company "I cannot tell you,” was the answer. “Flaxman, Sir, lived as if he did not belong to the world—his ways were not our ways.
He had odd fashions—he dressed—you know how he dressed : he dined at one-wrought after dinner, which no other artist does—drank tea at six; and then, Sir, no one ever found him in the evening parties of the rich or the noble: he was happy at home, and so he kept himself; of all the members of the Academy, the man whom I know least of is Flaxman.”
good man was to be found in his conduct than in all the theories of the learned.'. pp. 356-362.
The reader has now before him some of the merits of this interesting volume. When the Lives of the Painters were, on a former occasion, under consideration, we took exception, as we were bound to do, to some expressions, as well as some views of this writer, which appeared to us to be inconsistent with that fair allowance for difference in religion, which ought to be observed at all events in the general haunts of literature. We are happy to say, that the present volume is utterly exempt from all such grounds of complaint, although the subject matter of it may be said to offer temptations, neither few nor unattractive, to the indulgence of polemical spite. Thus are we delighted always to see the inheritors of genius alive to the duties which their precious trust devolves on them, and ready, under judicious counsel, to vindicate that liberality and kindness of soul which always have been the proper attributes of their pedigree.
Art. VIII.—Original Letters of Locke, Algernon Sidney, and Lord
Shaftesbury, author of the “Characteristics." With an Analytical Sketch of the Writings and Opinions of Locke and other Metaphysicians.
By T. Forster, M.B., F.L.S., M.A.S., &c. 8vo. pp. 279. MR. FORSTER has very candidly stated in his preface, his opinion of the value of the letters which are submitted to the public in the present collection. He says, that the circumstance of their being the productions of men so well known and respected in the literary world, constitute their principal claim to notice. This is exactly
' the fact, and the acknowledgment coming from the editor himself, reflects great credit upon his discernment as well as his frankness.
Mr. Forster might, however, have very fairly added, with a view of recommending his book to greater attention, that to most men of intelligence and taste there is a charm in the familiar correspondence of individuals who have obtained celebrity in the higher walks of politics, philosophy, or literature. The saying has become trite, that no man is a hero to his valet de chambre. It
be predicated with equal truth, that no man is a hero in his private letters. These shew us the writer in his slippers and dressinggown. They make us acquainted sooner than a thousand elaborate sketches, with his real virtues and infirmities. In the history of his times we behold him at a distance, surrounded with the pomp and pageantry of fame ; but in his letters we see him face to face behind the scenes, after having put off the robes in which he fretted his hour upon the stage, and we converse with him upon equal terms.
In one respect the three celebrated persons, some of whose letters are contained in the volume before us, closely resembled each other.
They all three were zealous friends of religious liberty, at a season when liberal notions upon that subject were much more rare and unfashionable than they happily are at present. Considered in
, any other point of view, there is no reason why their epistles should have been thus brought together, except that they happened to come into the possession of the editor, and that he has thought fit so to give them to the world. They are all, with some few exceptions, addressed to Mr. Benjamin Furley, who was a merchant at Rotterdam, and a man of considerable learning. He was, more
, over, of the good old substantial school of commerce, always able and willing to oblige his friends, many of whom he appears to have gathered around him in the links of cordial attachment. One of his son's daughters was married to an ancestor of the editor, and the letters descended to him as a kind of heir-loom.
Locke's first letter is dated the 26th of December, 1686, and though the editor has not condescended to explain all its allusions, yet it will be read with some interest, as the bantering playful effusion of so grave a philosopher.
* 26th December, (1686.) • After my hearty commendations of the sheep to your memory, these are to acknowledge that I am indebted to you for two long, two kinde, and two pleasant letters. Count not this, as if you had been lately at the Hague, for six, when I meane but two in all.
• I finde by yours of the 23d, that our thoughts chime as well at a distance as when we are together; and that you and I were thinkeing and writeing of our Commissioner about the same time. If, when the fellow's head run against the post, good wits jump'd, what wits, I pray, are we both, whose heads run at the same time against the same post? Think not that I use the terme post here, with any the least designe of derogating from the work of our author: for methinks all authors may, for some quality or other, be termed post, some for their uprightnesse, some for their stiffnesse, and others for some other qualitys that shall be namelesse.
• Another thing I observe from that letter is, that the quicker a man writes the slower others read what he has written ; this being a remark that may concern the writers of books, as well as letters, you may do well to put into our next letter of advice to our learned author.
And now I come to the parts of that letter itself, and therein I shall begin with the latter end first, by a figure of elegance, called hysteron proteron, a certain sort of leap-frog of use among the learned, whereby they can, when the matter in hand so requires, make a bishop, as grave as he is, who appeared not on the stage till Charles the Fifth's days, leap' over the heads of all those who lived before quite as far as to Charlemagne. He that can doe this, I think, may well deserve the reputation of a good jumper. Could
you be so silly as to imagine that you could subdue our Doctor Colonell with a paper popgun, though charged to the muzzle ? To which side pray did you apply your battery? Did you expect to penetrate the warrier side on which the sword hangs, or the learned side, armed with an ink-horne? Had you made the reflection you ought, you must needs have concluded him