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was not without a sufficient skill in colouring; and where bright and vivid tints were required by the nature of his subject, he found no difficulty in producing them. In some of his works there is an evident leaning towards the olden and Albert Durer times of art. Like his friend Flaxman, he was fond of studying the ancient monuments in Westminster Abbey, many of which are in the purest style of composition. Nor does it detract from his merit, or from the character of his genius, that he occasionally transfused the spirit of some of the most distinguished masters into his pictures ; for he did so without losing an iota of his own originality and invention, There are not wanting examples among the works of Mr. Stothard in which the grace of Raphael, the gaiety of Watteau, and the fire of Rubens, may be unequivocally recognised. He always maintained the dignity of the profession to which he belonged; never indulging in any of those levities or eccentricities which artists of far inferior talents, conceiving them to be proofs of genius, have thought proper to exhibit. While in his painting-room, and living in a world of his own bright creation, the realities of life, its cares, its turmoils, its ambition, or its fopperies, seldom engaged his attention, until called off from his pleasant reveries to provide for the present hour, and to regulate his immediate family
The recreations which he allowed himself to take had always some reference to his studies and his art: his walks were the source of inventive results; every object which attracted his regard, whether a wood-cut on the top of a ballad, or a singular specimen of animated nature, was to him a model that lived in his memory until an occasion arrived for its employment. He has been seen, for instance, to stop for half an hour at Brookes's repository for aquatic birds, in the New Road, and to contemplate the form, plumage, and other qualities belonging to their character, with so much intensity of observation, that the tears unconsciously trickled down his cheeks. No kind of knowledge pertaining to his art was by him overlooked. If the circumstances of his life did not permit him, like Imlac, “ to range mountains and deserts for images and resemblances,” he, at least, “ pictured upon his mind every tree of the forest, and flower of the valley ; observing with equal care the crags of the rock, and the pinnacles of the palace; sometimes wandering along the mazes of the rivulet, and sometimes watching the changes of the summer clouds. To him nothing was useless. Whatever was beautiful and whatever was dreadful was familiar to his imagination; he was conversant with all that was awfully vast or elegantly little: the plants of the garden, the animals of the wood, the minerals of the earth, and the meteors of the sky, all concurred to store his mind with inexhaustible variety.” But still more, — “ he was acquainted with all the modes of life, observed the power of all the passions in all their combinations, and traced the changes of the human mind as they are modified by various institutions and accidental influences of climate or custom, from the sprightliness of infancy to the despondence of decrepitude.”
His works are of two classes,-those which illustrate poetry and prose, and those which embody his own sentiments and conceptions: the former are the more numerous, but some of the latter are the most felicitous of his pictures, and please us with unlooked-for loveliness, and unexpected beauty. His excellence was the same in every department of composition; whether serious or comic, domestic or imaginative, pastoral or sublime. He never painted pretty pictures to please the eye; his productions always appealed to the mind. Though humour and pathos flowed alike from his pencil, his humour never degenerated into caricature, nor his pathos into affectation or insipidity. To enumerate half of what he has sketched and painted would occupy many sheets; to quote the passages which he has embodied, or to describe the creations which he has called forth, would require volumes. There is scarcely an author of any note whose pages he has left unembellished ; nor is there any poet whose excellence he can be upbraided for not feeling. His friend and early associate, Flaxman, who combined the highest portion of science with just discrimination, had the greatest veneration for his genius and expanded taste, and used to speak of him as “the Shakspeare of his art.”
As a man, Mr. Stothard could have no enemy. His character was simplicity itself. He was always liberal in opening the rich stores of his knowledge to all who stood in need of his aid. Never was there a less assuming or more disinterested individual. He hated all collision with bustling arrogant men, and took care to avoid them. His voice was low and not unmusical : he abounded in anecdote; and with those to whom he could unbosom himself was one of the most agreeable companions breathing, for his observations on men and manners were always shrewd and intelligent. He was an early riser, loving to walk into the streets to look at the various classes of the toiling community hurrying to their work : this was one of his places of study; he made sketches of labourers and artisans, singly and in groups; nor did he fail to include flower-girls, and all such moving dealers as London finds employment for. He was accustomed to say that he never saw two faces alike; and that he never met with a form from which he could not take something that was useful to him in his profession. He was about the middle size, of a compact make, exceedingly active, and enjoyed almost uninterrupted health. When about sixty years of
age, he has walked fifty miles in a day. At that period one of his chief enjoyments was a summer Saturday's excursion into the country, with his friend, Mr. Black, the editor of “ The Morning Chronicle," collecting dragon-moths and other insects, and making sketches of peasants at their cottage doors, and children playing in the sun. For many years of his life he was exceedingly deaf, and latterly so much so, that it became painful to converse with him.
When young, Mr. Stothard studied with great diligence at the Royal Academy. The first picture he exhibited was · Ajax defending the Body of Patroclus ;” and the walls of Somerset House were subsequently enriched during a long course of years by his works. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1785, and a Royal Academician in
and 19th of June, 1834. The drawings occupied the first two days of the sale, and produced 5681. lls. 6d. The paintings on the third day produced 13681. 78. Total, 19361. 18s.6d. The following were the paintings that brought above 201.:- The Bolero, 221. 11s.; a Sketch from Boccacio, 221. ls.; Nymphs binding Cupid, a Landscape, 321. 11s.; Sans Souci, 311. 10s.; Youth and Age, 21l.; a Sketch for the Subject of Intemperance, painted upon the Walls of the Staircase at Burleigh, 90l. 6s.; the Children in the Wood, 221. 11s. 6d.; a Fête Champêtre, from Boccacio, 331. 11s.; Titania sleeping, 20l. 9s. 6d.; Venus, Cupid, and the Graces, 28l. 78.; Calypso with Cupid and Nymphs, 461. 4s.; the Vintage, 361. 10s.; O'Donohou, with Nymphs, 211.; a Nymph leading
a Bacchanalian Procession, 321. Ils.; the Crucifixion, 261. 5.; Shakspeare's Characters, 801. 17.; a beautiful drawing of the same subject, but containing more characters, sold for 321. 11s. ; they were bought by Mr. Pickering for the same gentleman. Among the drawings which brought the highest prices were several elegant designs for plate, executed for his late Majesty by Messrs. Rundell and Bridge.
Another portion, we understand, is preparing for sale in the approaching spring.
For a large portion of the materials with which the foregoing memoir has been composed we are indebted to Arnold's “ Library of the Fine Arts," and " The Athenæum."