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Art in Scotland
Chapter XIII


THE Scottish painters of history so frequently practised the domestic branch of their art that it is impossible to dissociate them, and perhaps it is unnecessary. If it be true that the ballads of a people confer more certain immortality and popularity on their authors than a nation does on its historians, the painters of the lives and homes of a people may claim at least equal rank with those who have put on canvas the great events connected with history,—probably even a higher,—as the historical painter almost invariably has dealt with subjects belonging to the far past, wherein his pencil has been guided by the pen of the historian and the knowledge of the archaeologist, while the painter of domestic life has put into permanent form that which he has actually seen. It is true that the function of the artist is not merely to give information, but chiefly to stir the feelings by portraying the emotions called into action and expression, by some phase of human life or incident of touching or momentous importance, whether national or individual; and it will hardly be denied that the artist will more vividly express that which he has seen or experienced, than that in which he has been inspired by perhaps equal enthusiasm, but only emanating from written or verbal description—even when surrounded by the halo of romance, patriotism, or tradition. It is a low estimate of a picture, and a poor compliment to an artist, speaking artistically, to say that he has selected a fine subject; but if in the interpretation of this he has touched the sympathies of the spectator, whether he has raised a feeling of national or spiritual independence, expressed a protest on the part of undeserved poverty or want against the misapplied use of wealth or power, or even given birth to some merely pleasing emotion, his work as a piece of art will rank accordingly. Fashion, so called, only prevails temporarily, but human nature is enduring; and it matters little whether the subject illustrated has for its scene the castle or the cottage, the cathedral or the country church, the field of war or the peaceful pursuit of the agriculturist, the picture will retain its position only so far as it has some human sympathies. In early Italian life, religion, and latterly ecclesiastic influence, constituted this; in Germany, the birthplace of the Reformation, rationalism prevailed; in Spain, Murillo in his Flower-girl and some other works, and Velasquez in his Water-carrier, appealed to the people in such popular subjects, almost despite of Italian and Church influence; old French art is as much distinguishable by the works of Chardin and Fragonard as by the heroics of David and the monasticisms of Philip de Champagne; apart from its portraiture and a few municipal paintings, Dutch art retains its position by its pictures of everyday life; and old Flemish art, which only preserved its national purity for about a hundred years, or even less, before the advent of Rubens, represents the men and women of the period as the actors in its sacred subjects. Few circumstances can be more injurious or even fatal to the endurance of the native art of a country than the cultivation or imitation of a foreign style of work: the sympathies, ideas, and feelings of nations, as to a lesser extent in individuals, notwithstanding their now freer intercourse, are as different from each other in art as they are in literature. The great artists and authors of the different countries are great and appreciated in proportion as their works are inspired by their national feelings, reflecting the national character, and imbued with the universal human sympathy. Had these been imitators of others in point of style, they would never have retained their positions in after-times.

Apart from portraits, figure-painting in Scotland as a native art was much later in its development than in England. Hogarth was filling the place in English art which Fielding and Smollett did in its literature, and was painting his powerful sermons on behalf of truth and morality, and in condemnation of folly and vice, about the middle of the eighteenth century, at the time in which David Allan was a mere boy. The latter was contemporaneous with the French domestic and conversation painters, Huet and Lancret—the Dutch having much earlier distinguished themselves in these branches. Of the comparative merits of these schools in their early period, the palm must be given to the Dutch for technique, to Hogarth for earnestness and originality, the French school being too much imbued with the traditions of Italian art and the academic affectation which it is only now throwing off.

As already hinted, there is hardly a Scottish painter of history who did not also at some time or other practise the domestic style of art, and the same might be said of our poets, who exercised such an influence on painting. At first the Scottish artist, feeling his way, sought inspiration in the classic subjects which he had seen painted abroad or had been imported into his country, the traditional following and imitation of which had given them a certain prestige; very much as Burns found his enthusiasm awakened by early reading the life of Hannibal, but his heart stirred afterwards by the history of Wallace, which he said poured such a Scottish prejudice into his veins that it would boil along there till shut in by eternal rest. The same mind which gave birth to the stirring "Address of Bruce at Bannockburn" evolved the "Cottar's Saturday Night"; the exquisite "Kilmeny" of the Ettrick Shepherd is a domestic jewel in a historic setting; and the grand old Scottish ballads blend the homestead and the battle-field together in their picturesque incidents.

David Allan was the first who attempted to do for his native art what Ramsay did for its literature, and Alexander Runciman was probably the first to paint Scottish history in Scotland with any degree of success; but it was not till after their deaths that these branches of art assumed a high position in the works of Wilkie, the elder Fraser, John Graham, Lizars, and others. The works of Ramsay and Burns (not to speak of such minor poets as M'Neil), and more lately those of Sir Walter Scott, influenced or led the art; and the previous Jacobite risings and Covenanting troubles, which may have retarded its earlier development, yielded some compensation in affording subjects for the pictures of future artists, such as Duncan, Harvey, William Allan, and some of our still living painters.

Of those who immediately preceded the institution of the early Society of Artists in Edinburgh, it may safely be assumed that no other did so much for art in Scotland with as little recognition on the part of the public as John Graham, whose name is closely associated with the early art education of many of the most eminent Scottish artists, during his connection as a teacher with the Trustees' Academy. An artist possessed with the power of communicating his knowledge and enthusiasm is more rare than is usually supposed, and such a teacher it is impossible to train or develop by any known method. In this respect Alexander Nasmyth and John Graham may be said to stand almost alone in the annals of Scottish art. Nasmyth subordinated his teaching to his art practice, and his practice in consequence deteriorated. Graham, on the contrary, subordinated his practice to his teaching, and his practice became extinguished. The artist who is very much employed in communicating a knowledge of the principles, and more especially the practice of his art, will always paint below his possible best: not only is his attention distracted and his time for practice limited, but his manner of work becomes affected by his efforts to instruct his pupils, while the daily contemplation of inferior work to a great extent obliterates his higher ideal of art. Thus, such a man as John Graham deserves not only the respect of his pupils and successors, but still more so the gratitude of his country. There can be no doubt that if his talents as an artist had received the recognition which they merited, or been directed towards the cultivation of art as a profession, he would have taken a high position. As it is, he has certainly advanced the art of his country in a more humble and less thankfully recognised manner; statues have been erected to the memory of men less deserving of them; while all that is known of Graham may be condensed into a few brief sentences.

He was born in the north of Scotland in 1754, and apprenticed to a coach-painter in Edinburgh, which trade he followed for some time in London prior to his admission as a student in the Royal Academy. He resolved to follow the historical branch of art, and on his return to Edinburgh painted the funeral of General Fraser at Saratoga, a work of considerable power, which was engraved by Nutter; the death of David Rizzio; David instructing Solomon (at Gosford House); and the large picture of the Disobedient Prophet now in the Scottish National Gallery, which is said to have been painted in competition with Opie. He was appointed master of the Trustees' Academy in 1798, in succession to Wood, who held the position for a short time previously, on the faith of specimen works submitted to the managers which were discovered to be not of his own doing. John Graham was the first to introduce oil-painting into the Academy, and otherwise widened its sphere of usefulness, by causing premiums to be offered for that branch of art, forming a proper collection of casts, and infusing a new vigour into its operations. Among his many pupils were Wilkie, William Allan, John Burnet, and Watson Gordon, who all have borne testimony to his great merit and abilities. In his own words he wrote, "I look upon it not as altogether sufficient barely to instruct youth in the actual mode or practice of the profession, but also to inform their minds with a correct sense of what is proper, in order that they may act for themselves and towards others as good men, without which they can never be great artists." This honourable position he held for nineteen years, till his death in November 1817. He regularly attended his duties, which engaged him in the forenoons and also in the evenings, and before the class broke up, invariably went his round marking with his thumb-nail the corrections on the works of his pupils. Among his smaller works were designs for Campbell's "Pleasures of Hope," the first edition of which, it was thought, would be unsaleable without illustrations, and published by Mundell & Doig, who paid the poet I5 for the copyrights.

Contemporaneous with John Graham was Isaac Cruikshank (1756 or 57-1811), whose works, of little merit, only deserve notice as marking an era in the progress of water-colour painting in Britain. Born in Scotland, he went early in his youth to London, where he practised with some successas a water-colour painter of figure subjects, and also as an etcher of caricatures. Being entirely self-taught, his works are not very high-class. Two small examples are in the South Kensington Museum, executed in Indian ink, washed with colour. His two sons George and Robert learnt drawing from their father, the former of whom is so widely known by his humorous etchings and book illustrations.

The life of the distinguished Sir David Wilkie has been so often repeated, and the full biography by Allan Cunningham leaves so little to be added, that any other is unnecessary. He was the third son of the Rev. David Wilkie, the parish minister of Cults, on the banks of Eden Water in Fifeshire, who was the author of a 'Theory of Interest '—dedicated to Lord Napier, and said to have been highly thought of by Pitt—and also of some tables of mortality. He was born on the 18th November 1785, and in the necessarily frugal home of his parents received the usual elements of a child's education at the knee of his mother, concerning which time he used to say that he drew before he could read, and painted before he was able to spell. At Pitlessie School, to which he was sent at the age of seven, he made little progress, and his slate oftener showed drawings of heads than arithmetical sums. His simple education was further carried on at a school at Kettle, some three miles from Cults, at which period his attention was much distracted by such mechanical pursuits as making models of mills and pumps, weaving, trying his hand at shoemaking and the village forge, besides making droll drawings on the walls of the manse. Scottish history and literature possessed great attractions for him, and the late Allan Cunningham preserved a book of his childish drawings from these sources done in 1797-98, at a time when he had no picture of any merit near him. Seeing the strong predilection David had for art, his father sent him in r'ç, when at the age of fourteen, to Edinburgh, with specimens of his drawing and an introductory letter from the Earl of Leven to the Trustees' Academy. The secretary at first refused to admit him, the drawings of houses and trees not being considered satisfactory evidences of talent, and the objection was only overcome by the personal interference of Lord Leven. On being admitted to the class, he was at first very despondent on seeing the dexterity of the other pupils, and from the specimens sent home of his drawings his friends seriously thought of making a lawyer of him.' He soon, however, made rapid progress under John Graham, William Allan being then also a student, and in 1803 gained the ten-guinea prize for Calisto in the Bath of Diana. He now began to paint small portraits, and first attempted a subject in the style in which he afterwards made himself so famous, from Hector M'Neil's ballad of "Scotland's Skaith; or, Will and Jean," which had then newly appeared. In his seventeenth year he painted a subject from the 'Gentle Shepherd,' and another from Home's 'Tragedy of the Douglas.' For these works he seems to have been his own model, and his library consisted of two books, the Bible and the 'Gentle Shepherd,' which divided his leisure with his favourite fiddle. lie ceased his attendance at the Trustees' Academy in 1804, and at his father's manse began his Pitlessie Fair on a 44 by 25 inch canvas, utilising a chest of drawers as an easel. The picture contained one hundred and forty figures, full of humour and drollery. Two old lay figures given him by Dr Martin, the painter's brother, enabled him to work out sketches of characteristic figures which he made slyly at church. The picture was painted originally for Kinnear of Kinloch, and at the same time he did a few portraits and his other early picture of the Village Recruit, which has been engraved. After unsuccessfully trying Aberdeen, he tied up his pictures, and with £25 which he had received for his unfinished Pitlessie Fair, in addition to other £45 he set off for London in the year 1805, taking lodgings with a coal merchant at 11 Norton Street, Portland Road, when he had to wait a month or two till the Academy classes opened. His Village Recruit was in the meantime sold for £6 through the agency of a shopkeeper. At the Academy he made the acquaintance of Haydon, who had a great admiration for Wilkie's work, notwithstanding some unkind personalities which he expressed of him when lecturing on his genius in a future year in Edinburgh; and it is often related of this artist, how, on having been invited by Wilkie to breakfast with him, he found the Scotchman partly clothed, drawing from himself before a looking- glass, all oblivious of everything except the grand practice he was having.

He was some little time in London before he met with much encouragement, and his introductions to Flaxman and other leading artists proved of little value, further than as a suggestion for the picture which he afterwards painted of the Letter of Introduction. When his stock of money was reduced to £8 and things began to look serious, the chance acquaintance with a piano-dealer named Stodart was the means of securing a few portraits, and he sent to Fife for his unfinished Pitlessie Fair. He had commenced the Village Politicians, his first picture exhibited at the Royal Academy in i8o6, which at once established his reputation. This picture was commissioned by Lord Mansfield, who had seen his Pitlessie Fair through the good offices of the piano-dealer, and the price of fifteen guineas was spoken of, without a clear understanding it seemed, at least on Wilkie's part. When placed on the Academy wall, inquiries were made in regard to the price, which induced Wilkie to write to Lord Mansfield to the effect that he had been offered thirty guineas for the picture. The result was a curt answer reminding Wilkie that it was painted expressly for him, at his desire, at the price of fifteen guineas including the frame, and expressing a hope that the artist would see the subject from a proper point of view. Although Wilkie declined to admit that he understood the arrangement as thus stated, he agreed to close the affair on Lord Mansfield's understanding, whereupon his lordship paid Wilkie thirty guineas, who had in the meantime twice been offered £ioo for the picture.

Previous to the exhibition of this picture, Jackson the artist brought Sir George Beaumont and Lord Mulgrave to see it, each of whom commissioned a picture at fifty guineas. While affairs thus seemed to prosper with the artist, his health began to suffer. A debt of £20 due to his father at Cults, which was probably needed at home, weighed on his mind, and he had the difficult problem to solve of paying his living, &c., which amounted to nearly Jjioo per annum, when in the same time he could only manage to paint one picture bringing half that sum. He at once, however, commenced his Blind Fiddler for Sir George Beaumont, and exhibited it at the Academy in 1807, when he had removed to No. xo Sols Row, Hampstead. In the following year he exhibited his Card Players, painted for the Duke of Gloucester, besides finishing Lord Mulgrave's picture of the Rent Day, which, with the Cut Finger, he exhibited in 1809. During much of this time he continued his studies at the Academy, and again removed to 84 Great Portland Street. His Alfred was painted the previous year, and commissions now began to flow in upon him. Besides some of the principal artists, he associated with such leading men as Coleridge, Leigh Hunt, Rogers, Sir F. Bourgeois, and Anger- stein, and in 1809 was elected an Associate of the Academy, two years after which he was made full Academician. He was now living at Chelsea, and a holiday becoming necessary as a relief to his hard work, he spent two months at Cults with his father, whose health began to decline. On his return to London he engaged two rooms at 87 Pall Mall for the purpose of having an exhibition of his pictures. This was opened on the ist of May 1812: one shilling was charged for admission including a catalogue, and he showed twenty-nine pictures and sketches, including the Village Holiday (or Festival as it is sometimes called), in addition to some of those already mentioned. The expenses, however, absorbed all the profits, and he had further to pay £32 for a debt which he never incurred, to relieve his Village Holiday retained by his landlord. It is understood that he recovered this money, and the incident suggested his Distraining for Rent, exhibited in 1815.

On his father's death in 1812, he took a house often rooms at £70 or £8o rent at Phillimore Place, and in the following year brought his mother and sister to stay with him. At that time he exhibited Blind Man's Buff, and a young lady's portrait. A year or two previous to this, he had begun to change his style and mature his art, aiming successfully at greater richness of colour; and now made a short visit to Paris in company with Haydon, in which he seems to have been more astonished than instructed by the treasures of the Louvre, finding Paul Veronese's Marriage at Cana more commonplace than he had anticipated. Two years later, in 1816, he visited the Dutch galleries, which he would probably find more congenial to his taste, but has left no record of his impressions.' His name is absent from the Academy catalogues from 1815 till 1821, when he exhibited Guess my Name, and Newsmongers, having in this interval revisited Scotland, chiefly the old historic castles and similar localities, including a tour in the Highlands. It was during this visit, in the autumn of 1817, that he was the guest of Sir Walter Scott at Abbotsford, where he painted the pleasing little picture in which the famous author and his family are represented as a group of peasants, for Captain Ferguson, who appears in the character of a gamekeeper. In the same year he met with Hogg on the Braes of Yarrow, who, on being introduced to the painter, eyed him for a moment in silence, and then thrust out his hand, exclaiming, "Thank God for it !—I did not know you were so young a man."

After another visit to the Louvre, where he made some sketches, he was at Edinburgh in 1822 on the occasion of the royal visit to Holyrood, where he painted the picture commissioned by the king, but not completed till eight years later, when it was exhibited. During the progress of this work he spent three years on the Continent, visiting France, Italy, Germany, and Spain, from which he returned imbued with a preference for a brown tone of colour which found its way into this picture. This produced a degree of heaviness in the colour; besides which, he was not permitted to have his own choice of the treatment, it being executed almost under the direction of the king. The visit to the Continent, which was preceded by the death of his mother, was partly induced by the state of his health. At Rome he was accorded a public dinner by the Scottish artists, presided over by the Duke of Hamilton—Thorwaldsen, Guerin, Gibson, and Eastlake being among the guests. There he was much impressed by the great works of Raphael, Michael Angelo, and their predecessors, and felt the decline of art when the successors of these masters sacrificed sentiment and expression for mere technicality. During these three years he was not idle: besides looking up old masters for the collection of Sir Robert Peel, he painted a number of pictures and sketches, and in 1829 exhibited four Italian and three Spanish subjects, including the Maid of Saragossa, a Spanish Posada, the Guerilla's Departure, and Washing Pilgrims' Feet. He subsequently visited Edinburgh and Ireland, after which he devoted himself almost exclusively to portrait and historical painting. On Lawrence's death in 1830, he was appointed Painter in Ordinary to George IV.; King's Limner for Scotland, in succession to Raeburn, in 1823 and received the honour of knighthood in 1836.

In the year 1840 he set out on his visit to the East, arriving at Constantinople in the autumn, when he painted his portrait of the Sultan. After visiting Egypt, Smyrna, and the Holy Land, he embarked in the Oriental at Alexandria, the log-book of which contains, "1st June 1841, 8 A.M.—Sir David Wilkie suddenly worse. 8.30 P.M.—Stopped engine and committed to the deep the body of Sir D. Wilkie," the authorities at Gibraltar not permitting the body to be put ashore. Long suffering from an affection of the stomach, he had drunk too freely of iced water, besides indulging in fruit, which is supposed to have hastened his death.

Wilkie repeatedly changed his style during his career, without imitating any one. He experimented on his own powers with the intention of developing new methods, and was cautious in allowing himself to believe that he had at any time attained the greatest excellence of which he was capable. The period embracing his best works is generally admitted as being from 18io till 1825. This includes the dates of his Village Festival, Chelsea Pensioners, Distraining for Rent, the Parish Beadle, &c., after which his work sometimes became rather heavy in colour from the cause already mentioned. Whether it is to be considered a matter of regret that he ventured into the historic walk is disputed, but there can be no questioning the fact that he never afterwards showed the same qualities of art which are seen in the central group in his Village Festival. During his sojourn in the East, symptoms of new schemes of colour began to reveal themselves in the brilliantly coloured costumes which he saw and studied there; and had his life been longer spared, no doubt a return to a better style would have resulted from the indications of this change, as seen in his sketches. Among his later works before leaving England, many, however, are distinguished by the very highest qualities of art: his Cottar's Saturday Night and the only commenced picture of John Knox administering the Sacrament are deserving of the very highest praise, but it must be admitted that, as a portrait-painter, he was by no means so successful. Among his numerous engraved works may be mentioned John Knox preaching before the Lords of the Congregation in the Church of St Andrews, by Doo, published in 1838, which Wilkie spoke of as "superb," and which occupied the engraver three years and six months. His reproductions by John Burnet more properly appear in connection with that artist's labours.

During his career he painted about a hundred and fifty-three pictures and portraits. His highest-priced pictures were George IV. at Holyrood, 1600 guineas; Sir David Baird discovering the Body of Tippoo Saib, 1500 guineas; Chelsea Pensioners, and John Knox preaching, each 1200 guineas; the Village Festival, Spanish Posada, and the Maid of Saragossa, 800 guineas each. His twenty-six sketches in Turkey, Syria, and Egypt, lithographed by Nash, were published in 1843. No. 7 of that series, the portrait of a Persian prince, Halakoo Mirza, it is said was studied by Wilkie, with the intention of reproducing it as a head of the Saviour. His statue by Josephs, with his palette let into the side of the pedestal, in the London National Gallery, resembles him more at the age of thirty than that at which he died, and is said to convey a tolerably correct impression of his personal appearance.

In recent years the revival of the taste for etching has led to a recognition of Wilkie's great abilities in that branch of art. Mr Walter Armstrong writes of the etchings of Wilkie and Geddes as being a phenomenon in art-history. To throw Wilkie's Pope, or his Lost Receipt, into the shade, he adds, we must turn to Rembrandt.' The first of these represents a Cellini-looking figure holding a censer for the inspection of the holy father, with a third figure in the background—the whole being eminently suggestive of the work of Rembrandt. The Lost Receipt represents a miserly-looking merchant and his wife or housekeeper rum- maging in a desk for the missing document, while a tradesman, with his bill in one hand and hat in the other, leans on the back of a chair with a look of supreme indifference, resulting from the certainty that there is no lost receipt to be discovered; a halfstarved-looking dog appears in the foreground scratching its ear, almost Dureresque in texture; and the entire plate shows more of the genuine etcher than any other which preceded it in Britain. Among the few other etchings which Wilkie executed, are an inferior one of Reading the Will, and Boys and Dogs: the latter Mr Hamerton refers to as a good composition with a happy selection of lines.

The late Mr Rippingille the artist relates of Wilkie, that when he was a young man, on asking him for some advice relating to the practice of his art, Wilkie replied, "Ye needna fear to ask me ony questions ye please. I am very pleased to tell you onything I know; there are nae secrets; the art of a painter does not depend, like that of a juggler, upon a trick." As already said, he often drew from himself in his younger days, when hired models were considered a luxury; and Burnet mentions that the strongest likeness of the artist when young is the head of the boy who is represented playing on the bellows in the picture of the Blind Fiddler. Burnet also, among other anecdotes, relates that he only once saw him at work on a Sunday, on which occasion he was in a manner compelled to do so, as the professional character who was sitting as his model could only be spared on that day from the public service: this was the monkey, borrowed from the menagerie, which he was putting on the boy's shoulder in his picture of the Parish Beadle. The story of Turner on varnishing day at the Royal Academy Exhibition in r807 having reddened the sun in his picture of the Sun rising through Mists, and blown the bellows of his art on his Blacksmith's Forge, "to put the Scotchman's nose out of joint," although contradicted by Mr Redgrave, and condemned as an untruth in the 'Quarterly Review,' has since been often repeated. The facts are, that the Sun rising through Mists was too far away on the wall to hurt Wilkie's Blind Fiddler, and the Forge is a grey picture containing as its strongest colour a pale-yellow flame, and a small quantity of red on the butcher's cap. It is pleasant to find the great English artist freed from the imputation so ungenerously put upon him, of jealousy of the young Scotch- man.

Anecdotes innumerable have been often told of Wilkie, some of which refer to his partiality to the works of his fellow-countrymen at the Academy exhibitions, when he had the power to help them, at the sacrifice of the interests of other artists. The following extract from Wilkie Collins's collection of notes by his father, the English Academician, is interesting as being illustrative of the character of the man : "The theme on which he most delighted to talk with his friends was painting. One day at his house we had been some time conversing on this fruitful subject —the mysteries of the art—before the uninitiated, when his excellent mother thought she ought to apologise to a certain captain present, which she did in these terms: You must e'en excuse them, puir bodies; they canna help it!' The delicacy with which he always abstained from boasting of the notice shown him by the nobility was very remarkable. He was especially careful never to mention any engagement he might have to dine with great people; but if his engagement was with a humble friend, the name was always ready, unless, indeed, he had reason to think you were not of the party. The way in which he spoke of the works of contemporaries, without compromising that sincerity which was part and parcel of the man, was truly Christian; and the extreme pains he took in giving his most invaluable advice, showed an entire absence of rivalry. He never had any secrets; his own practice was told at once. His fears when his pictures were well placed at the exhibition, that others not so well off might feel uncomfortable, gave him real and unaffected pain. His own low estimate of his works was, to a student in human nature, marvellous. The very small sums he required for his pictures are an evidence of his innate modesty: 400 guineas for Reading the Will, which occupied seven months of the year in which it was produced, and was afterwards sold for 1200 in a country where that sum will go as far as double that amount in England, is a proof. Many others might be mentioned: as the Rent Day, painted for 200 guineas, sold for 750; Card Players, roo guineas, sold for 600. It must be recollected that these sales took place during the lifetime of the painter— a most unusual circumstance. When Lord Mulgrave's pictures were sold at Christie's, Wilkie waited in the neighbourhood while I attended the sale. It was quite refreshing to see his joy when I returned with the list of the prices. The sketches produced more than 500 per cent; the pictures 300. I recollect one— a small early picture called Sunday Morning. I asked Wilkie what he thought of its fetching, as it did, £xio, and whether Lord Muigrave had not got it cheap enough? 'Why, he gave me JJ15 for it!' When I expressed my surprise that he should have given so small a sum for so clever a work, Wilkie, defending him, said, 'Ali, but consider,—as I was not known at that time, it was a great risk' !"

The following extract from Dr Waagen's 'Art Treasures in Great Britain' describes the character of Wilkie's work so well, that it is hoped no apology will be necessary for its insertion here. Regarding the Vernon Gallery the Doctor writes: "Sir David Wilkie, as the greatest subject-painter, not only in England but of our time, stands first on the list here—taking a similar place in the English school to that occupied by Hogarth in his time. In the most essential particulars Wilkie has the same style of art as Hogarth. With him, he has great variety, refinement, and acuteness in the observation of what is characteristic in nature; while in many of his pictures the subject is strikingly dramatic. Nevertheless, in many respects he differs from him. He does not, like Hogarth, exhibit to us moral dramas in whole series of pictures, but contents himself with representing, more in the manner of a novel, one striking scene. His turn of mind is also very different. If I might compare Hogarth with Swift, in the biting satire with which he contemplates mankind only on the dark side, and takes delight in representing them in a state of the most profound corruption and of the most frightful misery, I find in Wilkie a close affinity with his celebrated countryman Sir Walter Scott. Both have in common that genuine, refined delineation of character which extends to the minutest particulars. In the soul of both there is more love than contempt for man; both afford us the most soothing views of the quiet, genial happiness which is sometimes found in the narrow circle of domestic life, understanding with masterly skill, by delicate traits of good-natured humour, to heighten the charms of such scenes. Also, as true poets, whether in language or colour, must do, they show us man in his manifold weaknesses, errors, afflictions, and distresses; yet their humour is of a kind that never shocks our feelings. What is especially commendable in Wilkie is, that in such scenes as the Distress for Rent, he never falls into caricature, which often happened to Hogarth, but, with all the energy of expression, remains within the bounds of truth. It is affirmed that the deeply impressive and touching character of this picture caused an extraordinary sensation in England when it first appeared. Here we first learn duly to prize another feature of his pictures—namely, their genuine national character. They are in all their parts the most spirited, animated, and faithful representations of the peculiarities and modes of life of the English. In many other respects Wilkie reminds me of the great Dutch painters of common life of the seventeenth century: for instance, in the choice of many of his subjects, and particularly by the careful and complete carrying out of the details in his earlier pictures, in which he is one of the rare exceptions among his countrymen. If he does not go so far in this respect as Gerard Dow and Miens, he is nearly on an equality with the more carefully executed paintings of Teniers and Jan Steen. His touch, too, often approaches the former in spirit and freedom."  [The following are the prices realised by some of his pictures (excluding those under £40o) after his death. In 1843, at the Wilkie sale, the Village School, £756; it was resold to Mr Moon for Zx000, brought at the sale of the latter in 1872 only 300 guineas, and at the sale of Mr J. Graham's collection in 1887 ran up to 160 guineas. In 1843, Sheep Washing, 66Q guineas; Alfred in the Neat-herd's Cottage, 410 guineas (an early one with the same title at the sale of Mr Allnutt's collection in 1863 sold for 120 guineas). In 1853 the Highland Toilette, 540 guineas. In 1863, Queen Mary leaving Lochleven, 760 guineas; resold in the Gillott collection in 1872 for 600 guineas. In 1872, the Cottar's Saturday Night, 590 guineas. The finished sketch for the Penny Wedding, 700 guineas, from the Gillott collection, brought at Baron Grant's sale in 1877 less than half that sum; while from the same Baron's collection Napoleon and the Pope brought £800 guineas.]

Contemporaneous with Wilkie was Alexander Fraser, a native of the north of Scotland, born in 1786, and known as the elder Fraser, to distinguish him from the still living able landscape- painter of the same name. His pictures, with regard to style as well as subject, bear sometimes a very close resemblance to those of Wilkie, by whom he was often employed in forwarding his work. In his more elaborate compositions he was apt to be unequal in different parts, but he always drew with great freedom, coloured well, and often produced very brilliant effects in light and shade. His subjects are usually domestic, sometimes very humorous, and the still life introduced is generally extremely well painted. So similar at times is his execution to that of Wilkie, that his works have sometimes been sold as such, and at least one instance has occurred where Fraser's name was erased from the canvas and that of Wilkie substituted. While in attendance at the Trustees' Academy under John Graham, he is said to have ranked as third in point of merit among his fellow-students; was an exhibitor at the early exhibitions in Edinburgh, and elected into the Academy there in 1830. He exhibited in the London Academy, in 1810, a Green Stall, at which date he was living in the Lawn- market; in 1812, at the same exhibition he showed the New Coat, and Preparing for the Fish Market; in 1813, a Poultry Stall; in 1814, when he was living in London, Snipe Shooting; in 1825, a Scene on the Sea-beach; in 1827, a Girl mending a Net, and Dead Game. Among the subjects which he contributed to the same exhibition in later years, an Illicit Whisky-still near Tulla, in Ireland, was spoken of in terms of high praise by the critics of the time, as was also his picture in 1846, three years later, illustrating the lines from "Tam o' Shanter"-

"That every naig was ca'd a shoe on,
The smith and thee gat roarin' fou on."

Several of Fraser's works have been engraved, including some small illustrations to the Waverley Novels: the Highland Cottage, a work of much force, was engraved for the 'Art Journal.' He is also the probable painter of one of the many Penny Weddings, which formed a favourite subject for many painters of the time. A penny wedding, as it was called, was one in which the peasant guests contributed towards the entertainment, which sometimes took a curious form, by the lads and lasses of a village, as an excuse for a merry-making, getting up a subscription for the wedding of a pair of old or useless paupers. Fraser died in 1865. [Get up and bar the Door was bought at the R.A. Exhibition for 684 by the London Art Union. In 1859 his Village Sign-Painter, at the sale of Lord Northwick's collection, brought 190 guineas; and at the hotel Drouot the Fisherman's Repose sold for £170.]

Alexander Carse was another of the many domestic painters of the same period, but much inferior to Fraser. He had considerable talent, although deficient in many respects on account of want of early training in art; but his pictures possess much character and humour. A good example of his style is the Village Tailor (the New Web), recently added to the Scottish National Gallery, well grouped and coloured, and effective in light and shade. It wants the subtlety and richness of Fraser, and the clear incisiveness of W. H. Lizars' Wedding, but is superior to similar works by his contemporary Geikie, and his predecessor David Allan. The old tailor, standing behind a table, has just cut a piece of cloth off the new web, which he is handing to an assistant fully gifted with the upturned nose and weak jaw usually attributed to the junior snip; while a peasant, who has evidently come to be measured, is utilising the interval by attempting to kiss the tailor's daughter. Near the fire is a crying child, who seems to have been burned by the boiling over of a pot, about to be comforted by an old woman; while the housewife is entering by a door with some vegetables in her hand. He was an exhibitor in the first Edinburgh exhibition in i8o8; and in 1817, at the British Institution in Pall Mall, his Field Preacher in a Scottish Village was noticed by the press of the time for its merits in design and execution. He was a frequent exhibitor at the Royal Academy in London, where he first appeared in 1812 with the Itinerant Preacher; in 1813, the Reproof; in 1815, a portrait and Tam o' Shanter; in 1817, Andro wi' his Cutty Gun, —continuing thus to contribute for some years. The last picture which he exhibited in Edinburgh was in 1836, two years after which he is supposed to have died, having passed the latter twenty-five years of his life in London. Among Carse's other works may be mentioned the engraved portrait of Allan Ramsay the poet, the original of which, on the death of the poet's last surviving daughter Janet, passed into the possession of the proprietor of Newhall House, near Edinburgh. The collection at the same house also contained a picture of a sloop wrecked on a rocky coast, with some figures in the foreground; and the ceiling of the room there called Pennecuik's parlour, contained an oval decoration representing the troops of Tweeddale and the Forest of Selkirkshire convened by royal authority in May 168, as described in Pennecuik's Poems, painted by Carse.

The long lives enjoyed by artists have often been commented upon; but, like literature, art has also had its early victims. One of the most noted of these is James Burnet, whose simple biography by Allan Cunningham renders a very brief account of him necessary here. He was born at Musselburgh in 1788, a younger brother of John, the celebrated engraver, and first became imbued with a love for art by visiting the workshop of Scott the engraver. He was put to learn the art of wood-carving, which was then a lucrative calling, such work being in demand not only for furniture, but largely for other internal decorations. At the same time he attended the Trustees' Academy, where Graham early discovered his talents, and he soon resolved on becoming a painter. With this object in view, he sent some of his productions to his brother in London; but, too impatient to wait for an answer, he followed his works in 18io, and appeared in his brother's room while he was reproducing Wilkie's Blind Fiddler, the sight of which still further stimulated his enthusiasm. His hesitation between the domestic and landscape branch of his art was brought to a termination on seeing the works of Cuyp, Paul Potter, and other Dutch masters in London; although he still sometimes employed his brush on interiors and farmyard scenes. Recognising how little an academic education could do beyond cultivating the mere rudiments of art, he at once betook himself to nature, and in the suburbs of London, especially near Chelsea, where he lived, closely studied those delicate phases of nature so attractive in the dewy mornings and brilliant sunsets, which he subsequently so ably reproduced in his pictures of cattle, &c. Cunningham writes of him, that while "watching the changing hues of nature, he was sensible that a disease which flatters while it destroys, was gradually gaining upon him, as ice upon the stream, and robbing him of his vigour, bodily and mental. He still continued his excursions among the fields: the consumption from which he was a sufferer, made him feel the beauty the more deeply of solitary places. He was to be often found in secluded nooks; and the beautiful churchyard of Lee in Kent, near which he in his latter days resided, was a place where he frequently wandered. But change of air and scene brought no improvement to his health; his looks began to fade; he could scarcely take his customary walk in the fields, or use his note-book and pencil. He is still remembered about Lewisham and Lee as one who was to be found in lonely walks making sketches. . . . On finding that death was near, he desired his brother John to bury him in the village church of Lee, which forms the background of several of his studies, and resigned himself calmly to his fate. He died on the 27th July 1816, aged twenty-eight years. His dying request could not, it seems, be complied with; parochial etiquette forbade the burial of a stranger, even of genius, in the church of Lee, and he was interred in the churchyard of Lewisham." He exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1812, 1813, 1814, and 1816, the year of his death. His favourite subjects were evening and early morning scenes, with cattle, and other figures such as ploughmen, introduced; and among his domestic subjects may be mentioned the Orphan Bird, in which a fisherman is feeding a little victim, probably of some recent storm, assisted by his two children. Within the short space of six years, much curtailed by his insidious malady, he made a name for himself as one of the first pastoral painters of his time. Some interesting details of him occur in his brother's 'Progress of a Painter in the Nineteenth Century, containing Conversations and Remarks on Art,' in which James figures under the name of Knox.

William Kidd, who possessed a considerable reputation in his time for figure-painting, gave more promise in his youth than was fulfilled in after-years, on account of neglecting his own interest. He went to London, probably about 1820 or 1821, where he exhibited occasionally at the Royal Academy—for the first time, however, in 1817. He sometimes painted sportsmen, dogs, &c., but his works were chiefly of a domestic kind, such as his Jolly Beggars (R.A., 1846)—

"See the smoking bowl before us,
Mark our jovial, ragged ring;
Round and round take up the chorus,
And in raptures let us sing."

Some of his pictures have been engraved, among which are a series of twelve illustrations from Burns, engraved by John Shury, and published in 1832. His works cannot be said to be of a very high class, and are usually deficient in diversity of character. David Roberts, in his diary, February 4, i86, the year in which Kidd died, mentions,—" William Kidd here with the old story— a distress put into his house—;65." On his death on the 24th December 1863, in the same diary: "Poor fellow, he was one of those Sons of genius quite incapable of managing his worldly affairs, and had lived from hand to mouth, as the saying is, all his days. All my attempts to help him seemed to have no effect; but latterly, with 50 yearly from the Academy and other helps, he must have been as well off as he ever had been at any former period of his life."

William Lizars, who showed great talent as a painter before taking seriously to engraving (under which class of artists he will be found noticed), had some influence in developing the art in Scotland. In the year 1816, William Weir died. He studied in Italy, and was known as a painter of history, portraits, subjects from Scottish song, and representations of rural manners. His works, however, are said to be of no great excellence, being deficient in most of the important requisites of art.

One of the most distinguished among the early Scottish artists was Sir William Allan, the first president of the Scottish Academy after it received its charter of incorporation. He was born in Edinburgh in 1782, and early evinced a talent for art, which led to him being apprenticed to a coachbuilder, with a view to painting armorial bearings, monograms, &c., on the door-panels. He was for several years in attendance at the Trustees' Academy, which he joined immediately after Graham's appointment, and where he sat beside David Wilkie, with whom he contracted a life-enduring friendship. At the termination of his apprenticeship he went to London, where he attended the schools of the Royal Academy, and exhibited a Gipsy Boy and Ass at the Academy in 1805. Finding little encouragement, and being as energetic as he was enthusiastic, he determined to go abroad. Selecting the Russian capital as his destination, he embarked on a ship bound for Riga, which by stress of weather was obliged to run into the port of Memel. Here he took temporary lodgings, and painted a few portraits, including one of the Danish consul, to whom he had been introduced by the ship's captain. Being determined to reach St Petersburg, he proceeded by the overland route, in which he encountered considerable risk by having to pass through a portion of the Russian army, then being concentrated to contest the battle of Austerlitz with the French invaders. Arrived at St Petersburg, he set himself in the first place to acquire the language, of which he had already picked up a little on the journey, and, by means of introductory letters, made the acquaintance among others of Sir Alexander Crichton, physician to the Imperial family, by whose good offices he received several commissions for portraits. He afterwards spent a considerable time travelling into the interior, filling his book with sketches of Circassians, Tartars, and Turks in their native tents and huts, by the shores of the Sea of Azof, the Kuban river, and the Black Sea, studying their history and customs, and collecting art properties in the form of arms and costumes. On account of the confusion into which the country was thrown by the invasion of Napoleon, he resolved in 1812 to return home, and after a year or two of further adventures, reached his native country, being away about nine years. He seems during this time to have sent home some of his work, as at the Royal Academy in 1809 he exhibited a picture of Russian peasants keeping holiday; but more important results of his travels appeared at the Academy in 1815, when he was represented by his picture of a Circassian Prince selling two Boys of his own Nation. This picture was purchased by a hundred persons, including Sir Walter Scott, Lord Wemyss, Lord Fife, James Wilson, and Lockhart, who subscribed ten guineas each, after which it was raffled, Lord Wemyss being the successful winner, and Lord Fife gaining another small picture which was added by way of a second prize. These were the only peers on the list. This picture at the Academy was accompanied by a Jewish Merry- making, and Bashquiers conducting Convicts to Siberia. In 1816 he exhibited a Circassian Chief selling Captives; another Eastern subject in 1817 a Press-gang in 1818; followed by his important picture of the Murder of Archbishop Sharp in 1821 John Knox admonishing Queen Mary appeared in 1823; the Regent Murray shot by Bothweflhaugh in 1825; Auld Robin Gray in 1826 ; and other important works in various subsequent years. In 1816 he exhibited a number of his pictures and sketches, in addition to his collection of costumes and arms, in Edinburgh, where he was living. The Grand Duke Nicholas being in the Scottish capital at that time, is mentioned as having visited this exhibition, and talking for a considerable time with the artist in French and Russ, minutely inspecting every picture, and expressing his surprise and gratification at seeing the various tribes of Circassians, Cossacks, &c., so correctly represented. Several of the pictures were purchased for the imperial collection at St Petersburg, and the Duke on leaving expressed his wish that if the painter should ever revisit Russia, he would wait on him.

Scott, writing in 1819 to the Duke of Buccleuch regarding a portrait of him which the latter wished done for his library at Bowhill, speaks in the highest terms of Allan's portraits,— a branch of art which he practised a little, although his predilections naturally were for history,—and Sir Walter expresses the wish that Allan should be the painter in preference to Raeburn, who had "twice made a Chowder-headed person" of him. In the same letter he says, "Allan has made a sketch which I shall take to town with me when I can go, in hopes Lord Stafford, or some other picture-buyer, may fancy it and order a picture. The subject is the Murder of Archbishop Sharp on Magus Moor, prodigiously well treated. The savage ferocity of the assassins, crowding one on another to strike at the old prelate on his knees,—contrasted with the old man's figure, and that of his daughter endeavouring to interpose for his protection, and withheld by a ruffian of milder mood than his fellows; the dogged fanatical serenity of Rathillet's countenance, who remained on horseback witnessing with stern fanaticism the murder he did not choose to be active in, lest it should be said he struck out of private revenge,—are all amazingly well combined in the sketch. . . . Constable has offered Allan £300 to make sketches for an edition of the 'Tales of My Landlord' and other works of that cycle, and says he will give him the same sum next year; so, from being pinched enough, this very deserving artist suddenly finds himself at his ease. He was long at Odessa with the Duke of Richelieu, and is a very interesting person."' He about this time painted a portrait of the poet's son for the library at Abbotsford, and Scott subsequently interested himself very considerably in obtaining subscribers for the engraving of the Murder of Archbishop Sharp. Beginning to suffer from an affection of the eyes, and being further impelled by .a love of travel, he set off for the Continent, wintering in Rome, visiting Naples and other places in Italy, in addition to Constantinople and Greece, and returned home in renewed health and vigour. His next important picture was the Slave Market at Constantinople, painted in 1834, which was followed by his election as Royal Academician, having been elected an Associate in 1826. The old desire for travel now led him off to Spain, from whence he passed into West Barbary, returning home through Andalusia. He now engaged himself on several Scottish historical as well as Spanish subjects, and in 1838 was elected president of the Royal Scottish Academy, which then received its charter. In order to paint a Battle of Waterloo, he made several visits to France and the scene of the conflict, and the picture exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1843 was purchased by the hero of the fight, for Apsley House; a duplicate of the same subject was sent to the Westminster competition. Sir David Wilkie having died a year or two previously, Allan was appointed Queen's Limner for Scotland in 1842, with the accompanying honour of knighthood; and two years later reviited Russia, where he painted his picture of Peter the Great teaching his Subjects the Art of Shipbuilding, now in the Winter Palace at St Petersburg. The remaining six years of his life were spent entirely in Edinburgh, where he died on the 23d February 1850, from an attack of bronchitis, at the age of sixty-eight. With undiminished energy and that love of work so characteristic of the man, he had caused himself to be carried into his painting-room, where be breathed his last in front of his unfinished picture of the Battle of Bannockburn, the last work on which he had been engaged. He painted numerous subjects from Scottish history, and gave a great impetus to that branch of art in Scotland. He also painted a picture of the peasant bard of much poetical feeling, representing him seated in his working attire with a pen in his hand, but in a much roomier apartment than any contained in the farmhouse of Mossgiel.' About a year after his death, in accordance with his desire an exhibition of about fifty of his paintings, besides sketches and studies, was held in Hill's gallery in Edinburgh, to which her Majesty, the Duke of Wellington, the Duke of Bedford, and others, lent pictures. For the last twenty-four years of his life he held the position of head-master in the Trustees' Academy, and whatever loss the student may have sustained by his absence on his travels during that time, was probably fully compensated by being under the direction of a man of his culture, energy, and enthusiasm. He was on intimate terms with the leading men in Edinburgh, and was one of those artists seceding from the Royal Institution, who expressed their willingness to rank only as Associates on seeking admission to the Scottish Academy, when others of inferior merit, but of superior estimation of their own talents, sought to rank as full Academicians.

Allan was thus one of the most prominent men in Edinburgh in his time. Lord Cockburn wrote with some little pride at having been present at the public dinner given to him on the 9th of March 1838, on the occasion of his being made president of the Academy, and speaks of him as an excellent, simple, modest man. The chair on that occasion was occupied by Lauder. He was soaked in chivalry and medievalism; often spoke of the procession of the knights at the famous Eglinton Tournament as surpassing all that he had ever seen in brilliancy of colour—an attempted revival of the pageantry of the middle ages, the first day of which was one of remorseless rain—and his studio was one of the sights of Scotland, often spoke of then. A writer in 'Black- wood's Magazine" says, "The impression made upon my mind the first time I entered his gallery was one both of astonishment and delight. I felt as if I had been suddenly transported into the land itself of gems, and tiaras, and bashaws, and banditti. I could in a moment imagine myself in some cool and magnificent saloon of Bagdad or Abydos. I was perfectly at home, and began to look about with eagerness for the Harouns, Giaffars, the Hassans, the Leilas, and the Zobeidas, with whom of old I had been acquainted." The author of 'Peter's Letters' describes the same apartment: "The wainscot is completely covered with rich clusters of military accoutrements, Turkish scimitars, Circassian bows and quivers, hauberks of twisted mail from Caucasus, daggers, dirks, javelins, and all manner of long unwieldy fowling-pieces—Georgian, Armenian, and Tartar. These are arranged for the most part in circles, having shields and targets of bone, brass, and leather for their centres. Helmets of all kinds are hung above these from the roof, and they are interspersed with most gorgeous draperies of shawls, turbans, and saddle-cloths. Nothing can be more beautiful than the effect of the whole; and indeed I suppose it is, so far as it goes, a complete facsimile of the barbaric magnificence of the interior decorations of an Eastern palace. The exterior of the artist himself harmonised a good deal with his furniture; for he was arrayed, by way of robe-de-chambre, in a dark Circassian vest, the breast of which was loaded with innumerable quilted lurking-places, originally no doubt intended for weapons of warfare, but now occupied with the harmless shafts of hair-pencils; while he held in his hand the smooth cherry-wood stalk of a Turkish tobacco-pipe, converted very happily into a palette-guard. A swarthy complexion, and a profusion of black hair, tufted in a wild though not ungraceful manner, together with a pair of large sparkling eyes looking out from under strong shaggy brows, full of vivacious and ardent expression, were scarcely less speaking witnesses of the life of roaming adventure which, I was told, this fine artist had led. In spite of his bad health, which was indeed but too evident, his manners seemed to be full of a light and playful sportiveness, which is by no means common among the people of our nation, still less among the people of Scotland; and this again was, every now and then, exchanged for a depth of enthusiastic earnestness, still more evidently derived from a sojourn among men whose blood flows through their veins with a heat and a rapidity to which the North is a stranger." His portrait by himself is in the Scottish National Gallery, where he is by no means so well represented as one would expect. His unfinished Battle of Bannockburn there, is a large and rather empty-looking canvas, in which the landscape predominates. If one may venture to speak of it in its unfinished state, it is evident that it was his intention to give a general representation of the conflict which so importantly affected the future relations of Scotland with the sister kingdom of England: along the centre of the picture the battle is going on in an irregular line, near to the right extremity of which Bruce on a white horse is a prominent figure, urging on the combatants. The foreground is broken up by detached groups of fallen and wounded men and horses, and the middle distance is occupied by masses of the opposing armies. In consequence of this treatment, the figures look somewhat insignificant, as if the human action had been rather subordinated to a general representation. The picture measures over 16 feet in length, and was presented by Mr H. C. Blackburn. Perhaps his best picture is the Battle of Prestonpans, not so large as the Bannockburn, admirably expressed and painted, in which the principal group near the centre is emphasised by a white horse, which Allan was fond of introducing into such subjects.

Alexander Chisholm may be said to have been a follower of Sir William Allan in regard to subject and style. He was born at Elgin in 1792 or 1793, some ten years later than Allan, and was intended by his father to be a weaver, then not quite such a humble calling as it has now become since the introduction of machinery. He wrought at the loom for some time at Peterhead, but did not take to the work, and, while a mere boy, walked to Aberdeen, where his efforts at drawing portraits coming under the notice of some of the members of the synod, then holding a meeting, he was encouraged to prosecute his study. In about his twentieth year he went to Edinburgh, and received some patronage from Lord Elgin and the amateur artist the Earl of Buchan. He was for some time an assistant in the Trustees' Academy, during which he married one of his private pupils, Susanna Stewart Fraser, and removed to London in 1818. Although he painted a number of portraits, he is mostly known now by his subjects from Scottish history and romance, which were at one time very popular in the form of engravings: the most notable of these is a large mezzotint of the Battle of Chevy Chase. He was an occasional exhibitor at the Royal Academy in London from 1821, when he appeared as a portrait-painter, and where in 1843 he exhibited his picture of the Lords of the Congregation taking the Oath of the Covenant, which was exhibited in Edinburgh in the year in which he died. For about nine years before his death, which occurred at Rothesay on the 3d October 1847, he suffered from ill health, and expired while engaged on a picture illustrative of the Free Church contest, which had been commissioned by Mr Agnew, the well-known Manchester dealer. He also painted successfully in water-colours.

The name of John Steven occurs among those who originally projected the Scottish Academy, of which he was a foundation member. He was born in Ayr about 1793, where he practised portrait-painting, but subsequently went to London, and there distinguished himself by obtaining two silver medals at the Royal Academy schools. He cultivated a severe and close study of the old masters during a residence of many years in Rome, where he painted Pilgrims at their Devotions in an Italian Convent, one of his most important works, exhibited in 1831. He exhibited in Edinburgh with considerable credit so early as 1824. Two years later, a contemporaneous notice occurs of a picture of Queen Mary, shown in Cowan & Strachan's shop in Edinburgh,—"An excellent work, finished in a style breathing the spirit and the power of the old masters. The figure of the queen is graceful, the drapery beautiful, and the accessory parts of the picture chaste and finished." He is represented in the Scottish National Gallery by a standard-bearer, and died in Edinburgh in 1868.

A contemporary of Steven was the better known Robert Edmonstone, originally a watchmaker's apprentice in Kelso, where he was born in 1794. He went to Edinburgh to pursue the study of art, where, through the merits of his work, he attracted the attention, afterwards ripening into friendship, of Hume and others. He subsequently went to London, where he made some reputation, and spent some years at Rome and the other Italian art cities, which he devoted to study. His picture of the Ceremony of Kissing the Chains of St Peter, painted in Rome, was exhibited and sold in the British Gallery in 1833, the year previous to his death. While in Italy he contracted a fever which obliged him to leave Rome for London in 1832. He endeavoured to resume work again, but finding himself unable, left London for his native Kelso, where he died on the 21st September 1834. He was very successful in his portraits of children.

Note.—Walter Geikie, with one or two of the other artists born within the eighteenth century, who abandoned painting for engraving, or who are better known by such work, will be found among the professors of engraving.


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