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Art in Scotland
Chapter VII


IT is doubtful if art ever asserted itself or flourished under more disadvantageous circumstances than it has done in Scotland, where it may be said to have definitely formed its style in the middle of the eighteenth century. The long-continued poverty of the country was then so keenly felt in the capital, that the magistrates were compelled to take measures for relieving the distress by a regular organisation  besides which, and what was no doubt to a large extent the cause of this poverty, the country was much disturbed by the Jacobite risings. It was a period of many and important changes in social life, trade, and government. The disadvantages of the old feudal system, and the old and still burning question of the relation between landlord and tenant, began to be felt and discussed; the importance of colonial enterprise showed signs of developing many of our commercial towns to something of their present importance; and the disturbed state of the Highlands offered a tempting opportunity to Jacobite enthusiasts. The Muse of Scottish poetry, almost mute since the time of Gavin Douglas, Henryson, and Dunbar, began to find voice again in the odes of Thomson, the ballad verse of Mallet, and the beautiful pastorals of Allan Ramsay—the only obstacle to the progress of culture and the advancement of art being the opposing influence of political party strife. Art up till and at this date was, comparatively speaking, in such a low condition that it can hardly be said to have existed at all in a national sense. We have seen instances of several foreign artists practising their profession in Scotland; and no doubt the union of the Crowns had much to do with the migration of Scottish artists to London. The art of painting, from its first appearance in Scotland, however, never became completely extinguished, as individual vanity still kept some mediocre painter's brush at work in the line of portraiture. Architecture had begun to show signs of a revival, although retarded by native Puritanism; and many handsome mansions and other edifices were being built. It was far different, however, with the sculptor's art—that being almost exclusively confined to the carvings on tombstones of the hideous relics of humanity, pudding-headed winged cherubs of almost barbaric rudeness, or carved hatchments on mansion doorways. What little work in the art of sculpture was executed in Scotland in the eighteenth century was entirely by foreigners of little distinction, and of no importance.

It was under these circumstances that Allan Ramsay, the son of the poet and Christina Ross, an Edinburgh lawyer's daughter, appeared. He was born the first year after the marriage, in 1713, and was connected, as old Allan never forgot, with the Ramsays of Dalwolsey and the Douglases of Muthill—the poet being great-grandson to Ramsay the Laird of Cockpen, a younger brother to Ramsay of Dalhousie. The connection, however, had for long been completely dissolved, and so far as the house of Dalhousie was concerned, "he might have remained a shepherd on the wastes of Crawford Moor, or periwig-making in Edinburgh, till the day of his death, had he not raised himself into prominence by his own merit."

Young Allan began to sketch about the age of twelve. At this time his father had just changed his shop from opposite to Niddry's Wynd to that which was later occupied by Creech at the east end of the Luckenbooths, and whereon the newly painted sign over the door containing the heads of Drummond of Hawthornden and Ben Jonson 1 may have excited the admiration of the future artist. The quaint letter of old Allan written to his friend SmiUert, then in New England, and dated roth May 1736, tells of the young painter's movements at that time.

 My good auld wife is still my bed-fellow; my son Allan has been pursuing his science since he was a dozen years auld; was with Mr Hyffidg at London for some time about two years ago; has been since at home, painting here like a Raphael; sets out for the seat of the beast beyond the Alps within a month hence,—to be away about two years. I'm sweer to part with him, but cannot stem the current which flows from the advice of his patrons and his own inclinations." On this his first visit to Rome, he remained for three years, during which he studied under Solimene, a Neapolitan artist, sometimes known as L'Abate Ciccio, of much talent and versatility; and afterwards under Girolarno Imperiale, a Genoese, who subsequently quitted painting for the art of engraving.

On his return to Edinburgh he painted the well-known portrait of his father, those of President Forbes, his own sister in Newhall House, and that of Archibald, Duke of Argyll, now in the galleries of the Corporation of Glasgow. Fortune and fame now flowing in upon the young artist, he was a source of no little pride to his father, who, as Burton says, "united in his person three incongruous social conditions, being by descent a country gentleman, by personal qualifications a man of genius, and by profession the keeper of a book-stall and circulating library." About this time he married Miss Lindsay, the heiress of Eyvelic, in Perthshire, whose portrait he has left, and which is now in the Scottish National Gallery. The latter portrait is a dainty picture of a charming Scotch lassie, which would alone sustain the reputation of the artist as one of the very best portrait-painters of the time among native British artists. She is represented in a warm-coloured silk dress, with lace tippet and sleeves, engaged in arranging a group of flowers in a large vase. Beautifully drawn, and coloured in a grey tone, it has only one defect—that being an unfortunate arrangement by which the right fore-arm being concealed behind the elbow, the left hand and arm at first glance seem to unite rather awkwardly. The head is evidently a faithful likeness, with much individuality, and the only visible hand is delicately painted and very perfect in form and colour. Standing in front of this bright happy-looking picture, it is amusing to recall some criticisms which have been attached to his works, that artistically they are of no interest to others than those concerned in the persons of his sitters.

He now intimately associated with the leading men of culture in Edinburgh, with whom be was partly instrumental in founding a small literary association known as the "Select Society," which was the forerunner of similar societies in Scotland. This, after Ramsay's departure to London, developed a "Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Sciences, Manufacture, and Agriculture" in 1755, supported by voluntary contributions, and the career of which falls to be noticed at a later date.

With a view towards improving himself in his art, and cultivating his profession in a richer soil and wider field than were afforded by the Scottish capital, he removed to London, where he was first patronised by the Earl of Bridgewater, and afterwards by Lord Bute, who introduced him to the notice of the Prince of Wales, his Royal Highness sitting for two portraits, one of which was a whole-length. The full-sized portrait of Lord Bute was so successful that it is said to have excited the good-natured emulation of Sir Joshua Reynolds, who, while about the same time being engaged in a similar portrait, declared that he wished to show legs with Ramsay's Lord Bute, that noble's extremities having been so skilfully drawn and painted by the Scotch artist. He now made a visit of several months to Rome, where, as Fuseli says, he was smit with the love of classic lore, and desired to trace on dubious vestiges the haunts of ancient genius and learning, for which he was tolerably well qualified on account of his acquaintance with Latin and many of the modern languages. He arrived at Rome, accompanied by his wife and sister, about the Christmas Of 1755, and was visited soon after by Mr Lumisden, who writes thus to his brother-in-law, Robert Strange, the engraver: "Though I never visit strangers first, I thought I might do so in the case of Mr Ramsay. The reception I met with was very dry, and I ascribed it to fatigue. On account of the ladies I made other two visits, when I found the same dryness still continued." The pawky Scot, no doubt looking forward to future Court favours, was too canny to associate with such a well-known and active Jacobite as Mr Lumisden, who later on writes how he sometimes went to the Academy and "drew such figures as every one laughed at, and wondered how he could pretend to be a painter." It is probable that this had something to do with the unpleasant occurrence between Strange and Ramsay regarding the engraving of the portrait of the Prince of Wales some years later on. On his return from Rome he paid another visit to Edinburgh, where his father died in 1757, and who being at the time of his death in', embarrassed circumstances, Allan paid off his debts, and settled an annuity on his unmarried sister Janet, who survived till 1804. It was at this time that he added a new wing to and otherwise modified the original grotesqueness of the "Poet's Nest," as old Allan's house was called. He was now so wealthy that he was said to have been worth £40,000, and on his return to London, after the accession to the throne of George III., he was appointed principal painter to the Crown in 1767, in succession to Shakelton, who, it is said, died on account of hearing of Ramsay's appointment to his office. Reynolds, for some unknown reason, was passed over in this appointment. The official position thus conferred upon Ramsay was worth something very considerable beyond the mere title, as the king had a great weakness for having portraits painted of himself and his queen, which he presented to foreign ambassadors and others.

The monarch sat to Ramsay for his coronation portrait in Buckingham Palace, and the painter sometimes wrought in the dining-room there, the queen talking with the painter in her native language, while her royal spouse was invigorating himself with his favourite diet of boiled mutton and turnips; after which Ramsay was invited to sit down and take his dinner. His portrait of the queen, while being finished in his studio in Harley Street, necessitated the painter having beside him the Crown jewels and regalia, which were accordingly sent there—during which time sentinels were placed at the house for their protection.

The two following characteristic letters of the artist have been preserved. They are addressed to Richard Davenport, Esq., and are dated London, the first letter June 16, 1767; and the second, July 8 of the same year :-

"SIR,—I hope by this time you have given shelter under your roof to my Jean Jacques Rousseau, who, if he should prove less witty, will be at the same time less ungrateful, less mischievous, and less chargeable than his predecessor. I am afraid, however, that both of them are attended with more expense than their company is worth, as you will see by the note which, in obedience to your commands, I have enclosed, who am with great respect, Sir, your most obliged and humble servant,

ALLAN RAMSAY."

"SIR, —I have received the money of your draught for Rousseau's picture and frame, for which I give you a great many thanks. As to the orçinal, in every sense of the word, the last advices we had of him were by Lady Holland, who arrived at Calais the day after he left it, and where he had entertained the simple inhabitants with the hairbreadth 'sca'es his liberty and life had made in England. Where he has disposed of himself we have not yet learnt; but so much importance will not continue long anywhere without being discovered."

He now made a third visit to Rome in company with his son, where he spent most of his time in the Vatican library, being unable to paint owing to an accident which he had sustained while showing his servants how to escape from the house in the event of a fire taking place -a calamity of that kind having recently occurred in London in which several lives were lost. During this visit he wrote to London for his assistant Davie Martin to join him, with drawings from his studio, in order "to show the Italians how we draw in England." He subsequently made a fourth visit to the Eternal City, which so fascinated him, chiefly on account of his health; but not getting better, he set off for home, and expired on the way at Dover, of a slow fever brought on by the fatigue of travelling.

During his absence at Rome, his work was carried on chiefly by his assistant Reinagle. In addition to portraits, he sometimes painted subjects on ceilings and walls, and employed a number of assistants these consisted of a Mrs Black, who had some taste; a Dutchman named Vandycke; a German painter of draperies named Eickhart; Roth, another German; David Martin, his fellow-countryman; Vesperies, sometimes employed on fruits and flowers; and Reinagle, who has preserved most of the facts of his life. Although thus occupying a very prominent position as an artist, with the exception of a few of his works he can hardly be placed in the very first rank of the British painters of his time. It is probable that had he painted fewer works and carried on his art less as a business, he would have now ranked higher as an artist. In a pamphlet by Bouquet, published in 1755, on the "Present State of the Arts in England," he is highly spoken of as "an able painter, who, acknowledging no other guide than nature, brought a rational taste with him from Italy." He associated or corresponded with many of the eminent men of his time, among whom may be mentioned Rousseau, Voltaire, and Dr Johnson, the latter having said, "You will not find a man in whose conversation there is more instruction, more information, or more elegance, than in Ramsay's." Besides being, as already said, a good linguist, he was the author of several articles on history, politics, and criticism, which were collected after his death; he is also credited as the author of a pamphlet relating the true story of Elizabeth Canning, and withstood the satire of Hogarth and experienced the sarcasm of Churchill on account of his admiration of the old masters. His death occurred on the roth of August 1784.

At the time in which Ramsay had achieved his reputation in London, an attempt was made to institute an Academy of the Fine Arts in Glasgow, being the first in Scotland, if we except the short- lived Academy of St Luke in Edinburgh. It was in the summer Of 1753, at a time when the country was but ill prepared for it on account of the causes already mentioned, that the brothers Robert and Andrew Foulis inaugurated an academy for the study of the Fine Arts, partly in connection with their business as printers and booksellers. The art of printing had attained a respectable degree of excellence in Glasgow prior to the appearance of these two brothers, the elder of whom, Robert, was born in or near Glasgow on the 20th April 1707, and Andrew on the 23d November 1712. Their father was a maltman named FaulIs, and apprenticed his son Robert, who was by far the more energetic of the brothers, to a barber, in which humble capacity he attracted the attention of Dr Francis Hutchison, Professor of Moral Philosophy in Glasgow University, and who is supposed to have first suggested to Robert the idea of starting business as a bookseller and printer. As a higher education was then more necessary than now for such a business, he attended some of the classes in the university, although not carrying on his studies so far as Andrew did, and who for several years taught Greek, Latin, and French. In furtherance of their object, after visiting the famous collection of books at Oxford the brothers went to Paris in 1738, on the 29th September of which year Thomas Innes, of the Scots College there, writes to Mr Edgar at Rome that they are "both young men of very good parts. They set off chiefly," he continues, "for the Belles-Lettres, and seem to design to be professors of that in the University of Glasgow, or perhaps to be governors or tutors to young noblemen, for which last employment they seem to be very well cut out in their own way, having very good parts and talents, very moderate, and making morality their chief study." In this letter Innes makes great efforts to ascertain their religious and political opinions, which they seem to have been extremely reticent in showing, although the professor had them at dinner at least once a-week, having been the bearers of a letter of recommendation to the Chevalier Ramsay, who, with the young prince his pupil, was then out of town. On the 27th October following, Innes, again writing to Edgar, mentions that "the two Glasgow gentlemen parted from this four or five days ago, to return home by London, carrying along with them no less than six or seven hogsheads of books, which they had bought up here. During their abode here, we have endeavoured to use them with all sort of kindness and civility, and by a common letter, in name of this college, signed by all the administrators, we answered the letter which they brought us from the university [Glasgow] of which I speak." He again speaks of their probable future occupation as tutors, and says, "Their damning principle is Latitudinarianism, or an universal tolerantisme, with an aversion to persecuting any for their different sentiments in religious matters; and what is more, they seem resolved to use all their ingine to propagate these principles."

In the following year they again visited Paris, spending much time in the public libraries, again collecting a number of Greek and Roman classics, which they sold in London at a profit. In 1741, Robert began business in Glasgow as a printer, and in 1742 there appeared the first issues from the press of the two brothers, followed by their numerous magnificent specimens of typography, which would almost induce us to believe that printing is one of the lost arts.

Their academy, which was inaugurated in 1753, was opened in the following year, in the old university in High Street, the Faculty Hall having been granted the Foulises for exhibition purposes, besides several other apartments for the use of the students. An incomplete and undated letter of Robert's, in Lord Buchan's MSS., shows that the projection of the academy was neither a sudden nor ill-digested scheme. "In the years 1738 and he writes, "having gone abroad and resided for several months at each time at Paris, we had frequent opportunities of conversing with gentlemen of every liberal profession, and to observe the connection and mutual influence of the arts and sciences upon one another, and in drawing and modelling on many manufactures. And 'tis obvious that whatever nation has the lead in fashion, must previously have invention in drawing diffused, otherwise they can never rise above copying their neighbours. . . . In the year 1743 I went to France alone, partly to bring home some manuscripts, partly to collect more ancient authors, and to have brought a single graver, if a good one could have been had on reasonable terms. The Rebellion coming on soon after, prevented all scheming for a time. . . . In 1751 I went abroad for the fourth time, in company with a younger brother, and spent near two years. . . . Before this journey was undertaken, the scheme of an academy had been pretty well digested, and often the subject of debate in private conversation." Robert returned from this prolonged visit in 1753, having previously sent home his brother, accompanied by a painter, engraver, and copperplate printer.

The idea of an art academy such as they contemplated, was from the first by many people considered a quixotic one, and some of their friends endeavoured to dissuade them from the enterprise. The Right Hon. Charles Townshend predicted its almost certain ultimate failure; and Robert Foulis's friend, Mr Harcourt, Secretary to the Earl of Northumberland, writing under date of 2oth December 175, tells him, in the concluding part of his letter, that "we are overrun with prints of all kinds; but good printing will be deemed a novelty since the days of R. Stephens, who minded only one thing; and pray consider, he lay under more disadvantages than you do now. Print for posterity, and prosper." The enterprise, however, was favoured, and partly supported, by Messrs Campbell of Clathic, Glassford of Dougalston, and more lately, Archibald Ingram, merchants in Glasgow, in reply to an appeal to the gentlemen of that city, in which it was represented by Robert Foulis that they would thus encourage a finer kind of manufacture, which would ultimately repay them with profit for any immediate outlay which they might incur. The three gentlemen named, by contracc became partners'n the academy, binding themselves to pay each £40 per annum, such sums to be repayable out of the profits. With these exceptions, the appeal does not seem to have been heartily, if at all, responded to, and, to quote Robert Foulis's own words, "there seemed to be a pretty general emulation who should run the scheme most down." The academy was thus started in the face of very considerable difficulty, as there was little definite and almost no immediate income with which to meet a not inconsiderable expenditure; besides, it is said, having to contend against a strong national prejudice in favour of foreign art and artists. Robert now gave his attention almost exclusively to the development of the academy, leaving the control and management of the printing and book department to his brother. The masters who taught were Payen, a painter; P. Aveline, an engraver of considerable skill; and M. Tonic, a statuary, as he was called.' Another visit to the Continent is mentioned as being made by Robert in 1759; but this is uncertain.

Among the personal friends of Foulis, interesting himself in the success of the academy, was Sir John Dalrymple, who writes Robert from Edinburgh on the 1st December 1757: "Your things are come to town. I am completely and perfectly pleased with your busts. The carrier let the large Antoninus fall at Yair's door, by which means the head was knocked off the shoulders. . . . I was much disappointed with the picture in the Apollo teaching the young man to play on the harp. It is by no means executed with Cochran's usuall accuracy. . . . The Holy Family of Widows (Guido's) Scholar is beloved, and Cochran's Saint admired; but those that will take most, by which I mean that will sell best, are lawndscapes. . - . A lawndscape hits the present taste of ornamenting a room, by which I mean, making it more ugly than it naturally is,"—a very doubtful compliment to the art. Sir John had then so far interested himself as to ensure them of a hundred and fifty guineas of subscriptions, and was not without some hopes of the possibility of Foulis getting some aid from the Government towards his academy, in the form of an annual grant—an idea which he gives Lord Selkirk the credit of originating.

In the year 1759, with a view to its more permanent establishment and development, some of the productions of the students were exhibited in the shop of Robert Fleming in Edinburgh, and also in the gallery set apart for them in the University of Glasgow. In the advertisement calling attention to these, a proposal was added and published, "that such gentlemen as are willing to promote this design, shall advance certain sums annually for any number of years they may think proper; during which times they are to chuse among the prints, designs, paintings, models, or casts which are the productions of this academy, such lots as may amount to the value of the sums advanced. The subscribers," it is added, "shall have a receipt for the sums respectively paid by them, signed either by Mr Foulis at Glasgow, or Mr Fleming, his trustee at Edinburgh. Gentlemen may withdraw their subscriptions when they please." This proposal seems only to have procured one or two subscribers, and the plan not being carried out in consequence, the academy went on upon the original basis. The students wrought in the academy daily at painting, engraving, and making designs from ancient authors for illustrative purposes. On three evenings in the week they drew from the living model, and on the other three from the antique, modelling also being practised. While thus employed, the students who were apprentices received such wages as they might have earned had they followed a more mechanical employment, in addition to which, the great inducement was held out, that such as showed sufficient indications of genius would be sent abroad to study at the expense of the academy.

In the year 1761 an exhibition was held in the open air, in the inner court of the college, similar to those which were held on Corpus Christi Day in the Place Dauphine in Paris, by the artists not belonging to the Academy there, at one of which the famous Chardin first had attention drawn to his paintings. The occasion was the coronation of George III.; and David Allan, who was then working in the academy, has left a view of the exhibition, in which a copy of Rubens's Daniel in the Den of Lions appears in a lofty and prominent place, literally skied on the wall of the church tower, behind which rises the smoke of a bonfire: the same artist also executed a view of the interior of the academy, of considerable interest,—both of which were preserved at Newhall House, near Edinburgh. In 1763, while writing on behalf of a student going abroad, Robert Foulis mentions the academy as being in "a reputable degree of perfection,"—its progress, however, being considerably hindered by the death, in 1775, of Mr Ingram. On the 23d February of that year, the author of 'Letters from Edinburg; writes thus: "Some years ago the printing-office at Glasgow was a formidable rival to that at Edinburgh, and had the two celebrated printers there pursued their business, they might have carried away the whole trade of Scotland to themselves. But alas! men are but men, as Tristram Shandy.observes, and the best have their weaknesses. An unfortunate desire seized these two gentlemen of instituting an academy of painting, and of buying a collection of pictures; forgetting that the place where this academy was to be instituted was amongst a society of tradesmen, who would throw away no money on such subjects. With this idea, they bought paintings which nobody else will buy again, and which now lie upon their hands in high preservation. During the rage of this fancy, they forgot their former business, and neglected an art which, from their editions of Homer and Milton, might have made them immortal—to run after paltry copies of good paintings, which they had been informed were originals. When I visited these gentlemen, I had heard of their printing, but never of their academy. It was in vain I asked for books—I had always a picture thrust into my hand; and, like Boniface, though they had nothing in print worth notice, they said they could show me a delicate engraving. You may well imagine that this ambition has prevented their former success; for though poetry and painting may be sister arts, I never heard that painting and printing were of the same family: if they are, their interests have been very opposite." At this date, 1775, the difficulties in which the academy early found itself involved were still further increased by those of the firm to whose enterprise it owed its existence, and culminated in the death of Andrew Foulis in the same year. It had now become necessary that the academy (to which the three already-mentioned gentlemen's liabilities amounted, after deduction, to about £1140), together with the printing business, should be wound up. Within the year of his brother's death, Robert, in the month of April, accompanied by a confidential workman named Robert Dewar, took the pictures and other works to London, where, forced on by his financial difficulties, they were brought to the hammer, against the advice of the auctioneer, at an unseasonable time, when the market was glutted by yearly importations of pictures from Paris. At this time, in writing his last letter to his son, Robert says: "All the people of rank, or at least the generality, are out of town, and the exhibition is dwindled even to less than what it was. I know no expedient that can be tried to help it but one—showing them for nothing and taking sixpence for the catalogue. . . . It is very mortifying for me to be obliged to see this expenditure a load on the company: this has happened so independent of all choice, that I could no more help it than remove mountains."' During this time of discouragement he received the warm sympathy of the celebrated Dr William Hunter, who did not forget his obligation to Foulis at an earlier period. The inevitable result, however, was, that the pictures brought miserable prices, immediately after which, on the 2d of June 1776, Robert died at Edinburgh on his journey home.

The pictures thus sold included some examples attributed to Raphael—the most highly prized among which was a St Cecilia, which only brought £25. Professor Richardson states, on what he considered reliable authority, that this picture afterwards sold for £500. Two pictures out of the collection were acquired by the University of Glasgow, wherein they still remain,—the Martyrdom of St Catherine, by Jean Cossiers; and the Carrying to the Tomb, attributed to Raphael,—neither of which is of very high merit, although Raeburn is stated to have given it as his opinion that the latter might be a veritable but early work of the master or of one of his pupils. The remainder of the works were scattered throughout the country.

The academy thus lasted for about twenty-one years, and although hampered with difficulties all through its career, rendered the most important services in giving an impetus to the study of art in Scotland. So early as 1764, Foulis speaks of the principal prints produced in that year alone as being sufficient to fill a volume of sixty or seventy sheets. In addition to the pictures belonging to the academy, some of the students executed copies in Hamilton Palace of Titian's Supper at Emmaus, and the already mentioned picture by Rubens of Daniel in the Lions' Den, which was shown in the palace on a celebration of the birthday of the duke.

In the 'Catalogue of Pictures, Drawings, Prints, &c., done at the Academy,' published for the use of subscribers, there are enumerated in all eighty-eight pictures (mostly copies), ranging from six shillings, the lowest price for a Storm at Sea, up to £70 for a copy of the Convention between England, Spain, and Holland at Somerset House, the second highest in the list being the Rubens, priced at fifty guineas; thirty-one drawings, including several sets, range from one shilling to three guineas; eleven hundred prints from one penny upwards; and a hundred and thirteen plaster casts of all kinds from a shilling up to eight guineas.

Some mention may now be made of the students who wrought under the Foulises, or emanated from their academy—the most notable of whom were David Allan and James Tassie, who fall to be mentioned further on, and also Alexander Runciman, who studied there for a short time. David, Earl of Buchan, who afterwards aided more than one struggling artist in a substantial manner, studied for some time in Glasgow University, and probably acquired there his knowledge of engraving, which as an amateur he practised on landscapes and portraits with tolerable skill. For a short time John Paxton was also a student, and after some Roman study, practised painting with some success, and was an exhibitor (from Rome) in 1766 at the exhibition of the Incorporated Society of Artists, and in 1769 at the Royal Academy's first exhibition,—dying in Bombay in 1780. Among other names preserved are those of Charles Cordiner, who painted landscapes; James Mitchell, who engraved several of the plates for the Raphael Bible, and Rubens's picture of Daniel in the Den of Lions; William and Ralston Buchanan, the former of whom wrought for the same Bible; and Andrew Paul, also an engraver, of whom Foulis says in his Catalogue, "His essays in landscape that were done before his death have that simplicity which promises superior excellence. His view of the West Street, called the Trongate of Glasgow, is the last and most capital of his works, and was finished after his death by William Buchanan."

Of the students who went abroad in compliance with the intention of the promoters of the academy, were Maxwell, who died soon after his arrival at Rome, and the better known William Cochran. The latter remained abroad for two or three years, chiefly in the studio of Gavin Hamilton in Rome, from whence he returned and settled in Glasgow, to which he was drawn by affectionate attachment to his aged mother, and where he painted numerous portraits. This seems to have been the only branch of art which he practised, although he copied landscapes during his apprenticeship at Foulis's academy. His death was recorded in an inscription which formerly existed in the choir of the High Church of Glasgow—"In memory of Mr William Cochran, portrait-painter in Glasgow, who died Oct. 23, 1758, aged 47 years. The works of his pencil and this marble bear record of an eminent artist and a virtuous man." The third and the last who received the benefit of the academy in this form was Andrew Maclauchiane, who was subsequently married to a daughter of one of the Foulises. While he was at Rome he made a copy of Raphael's School of Athens, which passed into the hands of a dealer, and was destroyed through neglect.

By far the most notable and the most popular artist of his time, as well as the most closely associated with the Foulises' academy, was David Allan, sometimes called the Scottish Hogarth, whose pencil has kept alive the character of the poet Ramsay, and preserved from decay many of the manners and costumes of the Scottish peasantry. The first biographical notice of this artist was a short article in the 'Scots Magazine' for 1804, in reply to a previous query. This was followed by another in 1805, succeeded by that in the 'Gentle Shepherd' of 18o8, from communications chiefly by his widow, upon which most of the succeeding notices have been founded, including that by Allan Cunningham. He was the second son of a shoremaster of Alloa, and Janet Gullan from Dunfermline, born in the former place on the 13th February 1744, and baptised after his father David. Prematurely born, his mother died a few days after his birth, and it is said that owing to the extreme smallness of his mouth some difficulty was experienced in finding a suitable nurse. This necessitated a journey of some distance on horseback, young Allan being packed in a basket of cotton wool, from which, on account of the horse stumbling, he was ejected on to the snow, suffering a severe cut on the head, which nearly proved fatal and left a permanent mark. He had another narrow escape with his life when, about eighteen months old, he barely missed being carried off from his nurse's arms by a cannon-ball practising, at AIloa shore, in anticipation of the landing of Prince Charles. At the village where he was being nursed, a good deal of interest was taken in him by the goodwives, one worthy lady taking him out for a daily airing in her carriage. His first essay in drawing was made while he was kept from school by a burnt foot, his father giving him a bit of chalk to amuse himself by drawing on the floor. The chalk henceforth was seldom out of his hand, with such successful results that, when about the age of ten years, he was expelled from school for caricaturing his master, a vain short-sighted old man, who strutted about the school in a long gown and nightcap of tartan, flourishing the rod of correction. His father had the shrewdness to recognise some talent in his juvenile efforts, and about the age of eleven apprenticed him to the brothers Foulis for seven years, where he made considerable progress and painted the two sketches of the academy which have already been referred to. When about the age of twenty, some of his productions were brought under the notice of Lord Cathcart of Shaw Park, near Alloa. Lady Cathcart introduced him to the notice of Lady Charlotte Erskine, Mrs Abercromby of Tullybody, mother of the celebrated Sir Ralph, and some others, whose joint purses afforded him the means of further cultivating his art in Rome. He set off for Italy immediately with introductory letters to Sir William Hamilton, then in Naples, and others, besides letters of credit for his support. During his residence for about eleven years in Rome, pursuing studies of to him, very doubtful beneficence, he was the recipient of frequent kind letters from Lady Cathcart. Among other Scottish artists who had found their way to Rome, the most dignified was the classic Gavin Hamilton; but there could have been little sympathy in art between him and the timid, insignificant, and obsequious-looking pock-pitted youth from the shores of the Forth. The style of art then fashionable at Rome was the cold academic formalism practised in the previous century by the Caracci—a style completely opposed to the nature of Allan, but in which, nevertheless, he was sufficiently successful to gain a medal of silver, and one of gold given by the Academy of St Luke in 1773 for his small picture of the Invention of Drawing, now in the Scottish National Gallery, being the first Scotsman after Hamilton who obtained that distinction, if we except the architect Robert Mylne.

On his return to Britain he spent two years in London, but never having been of a robust constitution, his health induced him to return to Scotland, and he settled in Edinburgh, anticipating a beneficial change from his native air. It was only then that the real bent of his genius manifested itself in the humorous and characteristic illustrations of humble life, in the expression of which it cannot be said that he excelled in the higher qualities which give dignity to art, which were afterwards carried to such perfection by Wilkie. His reputation is chiefly sustained by his drawings and etchings, which latter art he acquired in the Foulises' academy. The best known of these are his illustrations to the 'Gentle Shepherd,' his aquatints of which were published by Foulis in 1788; and a series of slighter etchings accompanying a collection of humorous Scottish songs. Two years prior to his publication of the 'Gentle Shepherd,' he paid an unexpected visit to Newhall House and the scenes of the pastoral, accompanied by Captain Campbell of Glencross House, whom he complimented by introducing his likeness in the character of Sir William Worthy. All the other figures are said to be individual portraits; four of the scenes at Newhall House are made use of; "the out and inside of Glaud's Onstead; the Monk's Burn and its lower or middle lin, were all drawn on the side of that stream; and his designs for the Washing Green and Habbie's How, afterwards aquatinted for the second scene of the drama, were also delineated from the howm on the Esk beside Newhall House -

His fame has been to some extent marred by the insipid reproduction of his work by inferior engravers, but the satiric humour and drollery of his Rebuke Scene in a Country Church, a print much sought after by collectors, and others of his works, fully justify the character he enjoyed from Burns and others of his contemporaries, as a truthful delineator of Scottish character. In the correspondence of the poet, although they seem never to have met one another, there are frequent references to Allan's illustrations of the "Cotter's Saturday Night" and other of Burns's poems. In 1794, Mr Thomson writes to the poet that "Allan is much gratified by your good opinion of his talents. He has just begun a sketch from your 'Cotter's Saturday Night,' and if it pleaseth himself in the design, he will probably etch or engrave it. In subjects of the pastoral and humorous kind, he is perhaps unrivalled by any artist living. He fails a little in giving grace and beauty to his females, and his colouring is sombre, otherwise his paintings and drawings would be in greater request." In a subsequent letter, Burns, in returning one of Allan's illustrations to Thomson, suggests placing a stock and horn into the hands of the boy, instead of showing him knitting stockings, and acknowledges as the highest compliment he had ever received, Allan's choice of his favourite poem as a subject for illustration. In the same year he did a drawing illustrating Maggie Lauder, in which she is represented "dancing with such spirit as to electrify the piper, who seems almost dancing too, while he is playing with the most exquisite glee;" and in May 1795, the poet, in acknowledging receipt of one of Allan's drawings, writes Thomson: "Ten thousand thanks for your elegant present. . . . I have shown it to two or three judges of the first ability here, and they all agree with me in classing it as a first-rate production. My phiz is sae kenspeckle, that the very joiner's apprentice, whom Mrs Burns employed to break up the parcel, knew it at once. My most grateful compliments to Allan, who has honoured my rustic muse so much with his masterly pencil. One strange coincidence is, that the little one who is making the felonious attempt on the cat's tail is the most striking likeness of an ill-deedie, d.—d, wee rumble-gairie urchin of mine, whom, for that propensity to witty wickedness and manfu' mischief, which, even at twa days auld, I foresaw would form the striking features of his disposition. . . . Several people think that Allan's likeness of me is more striking than Nasmyth's." Among his other etchings may be mentioned the plates illustrating the catalogue of gems, executed for his old fellow-student Tassie in London.

During the time in which he remained in London, he exhibited at the Academy there in 1777 an Italian Shepherd Boy, a Neapolitan Girl, and a Family of the Island of Procida, which were sent from 23 Jermyn Street. He again to the same exhibition contributed, two years later, when he was living in Leicester Fields, Vestals attending the Sacred Fires, a Gentleman listening to a Lady playing at a Piano, and five drawings of the amusements, manners, &c., of the Carnival at Rome. In 1786 he was appointed successor to Runciman as master of the Trustees' Academy, and two years later got married to Miss Shirely Welsh, youngest daughter of Thomas Welsh, a retired carver and gilder in Edinburgh, by whom he had five children, three dying in infancy. At this time he received pupils for drawing and painting in his own house, his terms for which were one guinea per month for three lessons in the week—a fee which at that time restricted his private classes to the most wealthy and fashionable students of art.' After eight years of married life, on the 6th August 1796, he died of dropsy, preceded by an asthma caused by his sedentary life and close application, at the age of fifty-three. His only son was sent out a cadet to India in September x8o6; his widow died at Musselburgh in 1821; and so lately as 1874, a monument executed by J. Hutchison, R.S.A., was erected to his memory in Edinburgh. In personal appearance he was under middle size, of slender feeble make, with pale, coarse, pock-pitted face, protruding eyes, and fair hair. Although his manners as well as his personal appearance were mean and unprepossessing, he had a lively, bright, active appearance when enlivened by company, and his conversation is said to have been characterised by much humour, benevolence, and observation. The 'Biographia Scotica' adds that his private life was marked by the strictest honour and integrity, his manner gentle, unassuming, and obliging, and also that "he will be long remembered and his loss regretted by every one who enjoyed the happiness of his friendship." Carse's head of the artist looks like an inferior imitation of that of Hogarth, and the generally accepted word-portrait is not borne out by his own half-size full-length in the Scottish National Gallery, in which he is represented seated, rather tall-looking than otherwise. His portraits, among which is one of Tassie, are rather hard and stiff; and from an artistic point of view the highest praise that can be given to his subject-pictures is, that they were far superior to those of his contemporaries, and paved the way for Wilkie, Fraser, Lizars, and others in that walk of art. The Newhall collection, besides the Foulis picture named, contained portraits of Raphael, and Perugino after Raphael; an old friar's head, done in Italy, and a blind Edinburgh man led by a boy. Two red-chalk drawings of Cupids sporting, probably after Raphael, are still there.

Besides David Allan, the only other notable artist emanating from the Foulises' academy was James Tassie, celebrated for his paste medallions and reproductions of engraved gems, and although not a painter, may properly be mentioned here. Along with the art of engraving gems and cameos, which began to be successfully practised in Britain about the middle of the eighteenth century, rose the art of taking impressions of antique specimens of such work in pastes of various compositions. The manufacture of imitation jewels was largely practised in medieval times, and even more remote periods; and it has been discovered that some famous historical jewels, such as the emerald presented to the Abbey of Reichenau by Charlemagne, belong to this class. On the revival of the art of gem-engraving in Italy, the scarcity of precious stones caused the artists to invent substitutes, in which the celebrated Medici family took great interest, and formed an extensive cabinet in Florence. In France, M. Horn- berg, a chemist, was employed by the Regent Due d'Orleans in making a paste and reproducing previously engraved gems. This composition, known as Orleans paste, was kept secret, and ultimately communicated to Mademoiselle Feloix, who was thus enabled to form a collection of about 2000 impressions. The art also was cultivated in Germany by the Prussian Baron Stosch, and in Italy by his servant Dehn, who both collected copies of cameos and intaglios in such substances as gypsum and red and black sulphur. Among the most successful reproducers was Liphert of Dresden, who applied to the purpose a composition consisting mainly of powdered alabaster. Joachim Smith preceded the better-known Bursiem potters, Bently and Wedgwood, in creating a taste for these reproductions; and simultaneously James Tassie rose into reputation, not only as a reproducer, but also as a modeller of originals in the form chiefly of portraits.' Tassie was born in Pollokshaws, a suburb of Glasgow, in 1735, where he followed the trade of a stone-mason. He early conceived the idea of becoming an artist, and after his day's labours were over, travelled backwards and forwards fully three miles to learn something of art in the Foulises' school in the old College of Glasgow. His natural genius, and probably the connection indirectly with his trade, led him to practise art in a plastic form, and he soon developed a decided talent for modelling. On ceasing his attendance at the Foulises' academy, he went to Dublin in search of employment in his trade, where he fortunately came in contact with a Dr Quin, who amused himself in his leisure hours by endeavouring to imitate precious stones in coloured paste, thus reproducing impressions from antique gems. The doctor found Tassie shrewd, persevering, and intelligent, and by their united efforts they succeeded in inventing a vitreous composition, in which they cast imitation gems, having previously modelled them in wax. The method being perfected, Quin advised him to try his fortune in London with their mutual invention; and accordingly Tassie went there about 1766, where he had a hard struggle as a modeller for several years. The main object he had in view in coming to London was to procure impressions of gems in cameo and intaglio for reproduction by his new method, but collections of such were at that time very limited in Britain: he had no means of obtaining access to such as existed, or introductions to their possessors, and besides, was diffident and modest to excess. He is mentioned in the 'Life of Wedgwood' as receiving several small payments for impressions in "sulfer," and one shilling and sixpence each for two "enammelled impressions" supplied to Wedgwood and Bently. His quiet perseverance, however, ultimately overcame all the difficulties which lay before him: by degrees his skill became known, and collectors began to seek after his works in paste, glass, composition, and sulphur, some of which the fashion of the time appropriated to bracelets and necklets, as well as setting in seals. In £775 he published his first Catalogue of "Impressions in Sulphur of Antique and Modern Gems, from which Pastes are made and sold by J. Tassie, Compton Street, second door from Greek Street, Soho." He very frequently exhibited both models and pastes in the Royal Academy. In 1769, from Great Newport Street, he sent to that exhibition two modelled portraits, and others in the following year. The first pastes which he exhibited there were two portraits in 1774. Everything within his reach in the form of coin, medal, or gem, he reproduced. He bestowed the most extreme care on his works, only issuing the most perfect impressions, the pastes of which, he stated in the preface to his Catalogue, were of the colour and lustre of the antique gems, and in which the merits of the originals were so perfectly preserved that the most eminent connoisseurs declared their heartiest commendation. So successful, indeed, were his imitations, that they have been fraudulently passed off on the Continent as real gems, while imitations of his reproductions have been sold as his work. He executed numerous small medallions in wax, for which he usually only required two sittings : these he afterwards reproduced in a paste of white alabaster, sometimes set on a dark vitreous ground among which have been preserved the best likenesses of Adam Smith, Dr Reid, and other eminent men.

In 1791 appeared his second Catalogue, entitled "A Descriptive Catalogue of a General Collection of Ancient and Modern Engraved Gems, Cameos, as well as Intaglios, taken from the most celebrated Cabinets in Europe, and cast in coloured Pastes, white Enamel, and Sulphur," in two quarto volumes, with plates by David Allan, written in English, and in French by Rudolph Eric Raspe. Facilities for access had by this time been afforded him, on account of his reputation, to the most important European collections, and about this date he executed a commission for the Empress of Russia, consisting of about 15,000 different reproductions. He died in 1799, and his business was carried on by his nephew William Tassie (born in London 1777), who added largely to his uncle's collection. William, who was also a good modeller, produced a popular medallion of William Pitt, which had an enormous sale, and was so successful that he was enabled to retire from the business, dying at South Kensington in 186o. The fashion for these had already begun to die away, and the business, which had been latterly carried on in partnership with a Mr Vernon, ended about 1850, by which time all demand seems to have ceased. Mr Vernon having also died, a few years ago the contents of his house in Bedfordshire were sold, including an enormous mass of the reproductions of all kinds, which fell into the possession of a chance bidder for a comparatively small sum, but were almost entirely soon afterwards repurchased by a well- known dealer. William Tassie exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1798, 1800, and 1804. He bequeathed to the Scottish National Gallery the original casts of the collection of gems made by his uncle and himself, the original moulds of all his Egyptian, Greek, and Roman coins and medals, and casts of modern medals. The value of the bequest was much enhanced by its including thirty-six casts of portraits of distinguished individuals, among which are those of David Allan, Dugald Stewart, Henry Raeburn, John Hunter, and two of James Tassie; numerous water-colour studies of old Dutch and Flemish pictures; and a miniature of George Sanders the artist. [Chambers's Biographical Dictionary; Scottish National Gallery Catalogue, &c., &c.]


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