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we are informed, without having left behind one got soothed with his condescension, him some most interesting sketches, much which was rather pointed and appropriate in Colley Cibber's style, of Chantrey, and than prostrate and of no meaning. His the many distinguished characters with friends were few, his acquaintances many. whom his own genius and his situation in No one ever acquired his thorough confi. Chantrey's studio had brought him ac. dence. If Allan Cunningham understood quainted. These will doubtless, some day, the business of his place and his actual reere long, see the light, and the public will ceipts, he knew very little of what he did hail their appearance as a most welcome with his money. Buying in and selling accession to the stores of British biographi- out, shares in mines, and heavy percentcal history. But Cunningham knew Chan- ages, were the usual subjects of his aftertrey, perhaps, too well. Nine-and-twenty dinner conversations. For a while Ameriyears
of daily intercourse had let him see can securities were his chief delights; but into the secret springs and movements of when these took a turn downwards, and his friend's character, and a true history of he saw more than a chance of losing some Chantrey's life from Allan Cunningham had £30,000, he became penurious, talked of been the hidden and public history of a man applying for a government pension, of putremarkable as much for his love of the ting down his carriages, and of purchasworld, and his intimacy with it, as he was ing a cheap Brougham at second-hand. for his miraculous power over marble in Horne Tooke, in early life, had impressed portraying the mind and character of man. him with the belief that we live in a very Mr. Cunningham, when asked about the corrupt world, and that, however well-in. life of Sir Francis, and urged on to write tentioned men were, they were by_habit so desirable a work, hesitated, we are told, deceitful and dishonest. But Horne Tooke at the same time that he promised-with- did worse than this. He made Chantrey, drawing his promise, and again confirming we are afraid, if not a deist, a freethinker, it. He had no wish to write the life of Sir or one who did not think at all. Francis Chantrey ; if he had told all, he His friends among the Royal Academihad never been believed. The whole truth cians were confined to a certain set. They written down had drawn upon him the cry were either blunt after his own pecu. of ingratitude, and that another Smith had liar manner, or gentlemanly after his own written the life of another Nollekens. To better and rarer fashion. From his brother write a panegyric, or a half-and-half kind workers in bronze and marble he kept of life, was something he said he would pretty well aloof. The mild and uprightnever do; he must tell all or tell nothing. minded Flaxman was never seen within his What Mr. Cunninghain was unwilling to do, studio. His friendship for Westmacott and did not live to do, Mr. Jones, the Royal was nipped and dwarfed in its very infanAcademician, may still supply in part; he cy; while Baily incurred his hostility by has half promised a Life, and, warmed with an act not easily forgiven. In the sisterhis legacy, may compose a panegyric upon art of painting, it is enough to say that he his friend's character, or, disappointed at, offended Wilkie, and that he knew Sir perhaps, its smallness, hit him off to the Thomas Lawrence to speak to. But his life, as Leigh Hunt did Lord Byron. friendships, while few, perhaps fickle and
If we come to consider Sir Francis Chan- passionate, took, at times, romantic turns, trey as a man, there is not very much to and his purse-strings would open, on such admire about him, little to fly from, and lit- occasions, at auction-rooms to run up the tle to follow. His bluntness, now almost pictures of his friend to a high price, and proverbial, was, at times, extremely un. ihus give a fictitious value to works which, pleasant, and in another man had been left to the common fate of indifferent picpositive rudeness. He affected singularity, tures, had sold for little more than the cost said odd things, had them repeated, got of canvass and frame. Chantrey, however, talked about, and gave offence. But he having taken these friends publicly by the had still withal the art of unsaying an un- hand, was often called upon to justify bis kind thing; and, where he saw he had judgment by pecuniary sacrifices. given offence (which he was far from slow In one of his fits of munificence he be. in perceiving), had a rare and happy man- stowed a statue upon Northcote. The ner of reinstating himself as of old, and of story merits relation as illustrative of both sending you away impressed with the be- painter and sculptor. It appears that lief that he was your sincere well-wisher, Northcote, making his will, left the residue and very much your friend and obedient of his money to his friend Chantrey, to humble servant. Enraged at his rudeness, I erect a statue to his memory in the cathedral church of Exeter. So little informed then, as if certain that his power of touch was the painter of the sum he had brought had departed, sat down and burst into tears. together in a long life of most attentive He was like the border minstrel of Scott: parsimony, that a friend remonstrated a
" His hand had lost that sprightly ease little against the greatness of the bequest, Which marks security to please.” and asked Northcote what he thought was the residue he had to leave.
" About two
We have heard Mr.Cunningham describe thousand pounds,” said Northcote. “You this scene as affecting in the highest deare leaving five-and-twenty," said his friend; gree. The bust is Mr. Weekes's, not Chanat which Northcote opened his weasel eyes trey's, nor has it been exhibited. to an unusual width, and so diminished the Ño English sculptor ever had so many residue he was to leave for his own monu- commissions as Sir Francis Chantrey. ment that it amounted to no more than a Flaxman made more designs, Westmacott bare thousand. Now this was insufficient has had a larger proportion of government for a statue on the scale on which Chan. work, and Nollekens amassed more money. trey was paid ; but, as it had been the evi- Chantrey, indeed, seemed to have a monopdent wish of Northcote to behave liberally oly of commissions. In busts he reigned in this matter, Chantrey accepted the small supreme, without rival and without any residue and gave for £1000 a £2000 statue. particular envy. He was long in supplant. “I thus administer,” said Chantrey, “to ing Westmacott in the manufacture of tabthe intentions of the dead.”
lets and statues, bas-reliefs, and monuChantrey never took pupils, but he had ments, but at length he took the lead; and young men working under him who en- if a bust was voted, a statue subscribed for, joyed all the advantages of the place. or the sorrows of a disconsolate widow or Frederick Smith, Scoular, Ternouth, and widower to be allayed in marble, all ran to Weekes, worked at different times under Belgrave Place and commissioned Chanhis superintending eye, but Frederick Smith trey. He took for a time all that was ofalone gave any promise ; and it was no fered to him, and people were content to unconcealed saying of Chantrey's that Fred. pay for tablets with Chantrey's name at Smith (as he called him) was the only art-five times their real value ; no one, howist in his place with an eye in his head. ever, quarrelled with his charges; they had Mr. Weekes had many advantages in Chan- the dearest, and, as they thought, the best. trey's studio (for Fred. Smith died young), His income in this way averaged for many but without the proper talent to avail him. years from six to seven thousand pounds, self of such advantages he has'as yet done in some years rose to ten and fifteen, but little. The last work that Chantrey really never, we believe, higher. This was about did model was the bust of the queen : Mr. on a par with what Reynolds and Lawrence Weekes had made a bust of the queen a made, and is a large sum to draw annually little before. Only compare the two, and in from art. Sir Peter Lely may have made see the superior tact and taste displayed by more when in the height of fashion, and Chantrey in contending with the difficulties rumor talks loudly of the thousands upon of exact similitude.
thousands made annually in the manufacWhen we say that the bust of the queen ture of miniatures by Sir William Ross, was Chantrey's last work, we are not for- The success of Chantrey brought a shoal getful that the bust of Lord Melbourne is of sculptors to Belgrave Place and its in fact the so-called last. But what are neighborhood—the spawn of the Royal the circumstances of the case ? Chantrey, Academy, students half-fed and hall-init appears, had received the royal command formed, anxious to catch any commission to make a bust of the premier for the gal too small for the Retiarius of the Row. lery at Windsor. To receive was to obey. There were Weekes, Theakstone, TerLord Melbourne promised to sit, and named nouth, Mace, Hatchard, and Thomas, in different days for the purpose; but such Belgrave Place, with Heffernan and young were the charms of office or the delights Mr. Westmacott not far off. The shoal of Windsor, that while he continued min-amused Chantrey, and he would latterly ister he never found time to sit. He at let a commission go by him to aid the more Jast found time; Mr. Weekes modelled, deserving of those about him. A better Chantrey directed, and Allan Cunningham carver than Theakstone never lifted tools : looked on. The clay animated under the he excelled in draperies, Mr. Heffernan touch, and grew at last into a perfect ogre. excelled in carving busts. Chantrey fretted, tried the modelling tools As it was very well known that Sir Franhimself, threw them aside, reassayed, and cis and Lady Chantrey were without even
a Scotch cousin to lay any thing like al But this is not all. His tomb once made,
"Oft in the lone churchyard at night I've seen,
And lightly tripping o'er the long flat stones very inadequate stipend. He was to receive that tell in homely phrase who lie below. after benefits in the shape of a handsome Sudden he starts, and hears, or thinks he hears, legacy!! Like old Volpone,-
The sound of something purring at his heels;
Full fast he flies, and dares not look behind him, "I have no parent, child, ally,
Till out of breath he overtakes his fellows,
Who gather round, and wonder at the tale
Of horrid apparition, tall and ghastly,
That walks at dead of night, or takes his stand Chantrey died, the legacy was made pub. Evanishes at crowing of the cock!"
O'er some new-opened grave, and, strange to tell, lic, it was £2000, small enough, indeed, from a man who had made so many prom- Who would not prefer to lie as Allan ises, if, indeed, he did make them, and had Cunningham lies at Kensal Green, not in a so much to leave, and to a man who had brick vault, but in his mother earth, or as been the means of procuring him commis- Wilkie lies amid the blue-green waves of sions to ten times that amount, and who the Atlantic ? had been so long his faithful foreman and Connected with the tomb of Chantrey, assistant. But the inadequacy of the re- there is a story current characteristic of ward was not all; the stipulations under Sir F. Chantrey and his friend Allan Cunwhich it was left were cruel in the extreme, ningham. Chantrey, after submitting the for Chantrey, when he made his will (only drawings of his tomb to Cunningham, said, the year before he died), was well aware by way of parenthesis, and with a very seof the painful fact that Allan Cunningham's rious face, " But there will be no room for life was just as precarious as his own. The you !” “Room for me!” said Allan Cunproperty was sworn under £90,000. ningham; " I have no ambition to lie like
The tomb of Sir Francis Chantrey (in the a toad in a stone for some future geologist churchyard of Norton, in Derbyshire, his to discover, or in a place strong enough to native place,) is of a most simple and sin. excite the ambition of another. No, no ! gular construction. It is of wrought gran. let me lie where the green grass and the ite, a complete tank in form, with the side daisies grow waving under the winds of slabs sunk' into the bottom block and ce the blue heaven.”. Chantrey put his draw. mented so as to answer all the purposes of ing in his portfolio, snuffed, and said noone large block. An enormous square of thing. The tomb of Alexander the Great granite covers and crowns the whole; and is now the curiosity of a museum. in this huge granite box, of his own con. raim cures wounds," says Sir Thomas struction, and three times encased in wood Browne, “and Pharaoh is sold for bal. and lead, lie the remains of Francis Chan. sams.” trey. He had a horror of the knife, or he There is one very extraordinary part of would certainly have been embalmed. What Chantrey's will which calls for commenta thirst for worldly existence does this ex. viz., that wherein he allows his three exechibit, what a dread of corruption or re- utors, or the survivors or survivor of them, moval :
or the executors and administrators of such " The grave, dread thing!
survivor, to destroy such of his drawings, Men shiver when thou’rt'named; Nature appall’a, models
, and casts, as they or he may in Shakes off her wonted firmness.'
their or his uncontrolled judgment consider
not worthy of being preserved. Now it is his foreman; no man of genius ever had true that one of his executors is an artist, such a servant to assist bim. The presbut who are the other two? Why one is ence of Allan Cunningham gave an addia stock-broker in the city, and the other a tional character and importance to the plain, unpretending, country gentleman. place. Among the thousands who saw Mr. Jones may select with skill or destroy through the studio of Sir Francis, few ever with taste, but what can one whose whole went away without having seen, as they time has been spent in agricultural pursuits said, Allan Cunningham; many were enliknow of works of art ? or is that man a suf. vened by his entertaining way of illusficient judge of sculpture (to presume to trating by anecdote and remark the dry destroy) whose nights and days have been catalogue of busts and statues before them, past in the study of interest, simple and more courted his acquaintance, and many, compound, the rise and fall of stocks, fresh very many acquired his friendship. securities, the three per cents and the The following written evidence, sent in three and a halfs? The executors have by Chantrey to the House of Commons destroyed, we understand, very largely; committee on the Nelson column, prewith what taste and prudence we shall see serves in many places the very words and before long, when Lady Chantrey's pres-language of Allan Cunningham :ent of her husband's casts reaches the Ran. dolph Museum at Oxford.
“I cannot believe that a column, or other orAllan Cunningham did not present a
namental object, placed where this is intended stronger contrast to his friend Sir Francis to be, can injure the present appearance of the in personal appearance than he did in every rupt the view, and perhaps tend to lower its ap
National Gallery, except so far as it may interthing else. One was a great sculptor with parent altitude. As an ornamental object, the out the least atom of poetry in his compo- beauty and just proportions of a Corinthian colsition; one a great reader, the other one umn, as forming part of a building, are matters who never read. Chantrey cheerful, and a settled about two thousand years ago; what its bon-vivant ; Allan Cunningham cheerful and effect may be, standing alone, must depend much abstemious, yet a most excellent table on the base and the object which crowns the companion. Both self-taught, both arrived, things with ancient may put the column out of
. An injudicious association of modern though in different ways, to great distinc- the pale of classic beauty. Of the statue which tion in their respective lines of life. But is to be made I can give no opinion; but, if it be Chantrey never felt the want of education, only to measure seventeen feet, its bird-like size Allan Cunningham always did ; Chantrey will not be much in the way; and, if formed of
1 had no respect for antiquity, Allan Cun- Portland slone, will not be long in the way. ningham the highest; Chantrey would im- Gallery are seen together in their whole extent, pori no excellencies, Allan Cunningham and at the same moment, which will be the case could never borrow enough; one realized when viewed between Whitehall and Charing
large fortune in his art, the other an hon- Cross, that the Gallery, as I have said before, est and honorable sufficiency. Their last may suffer somewhat in its apparent height; illnesses were much of the same nature ; when I consider that Mr. Barry's plan of sink
but I do not regard this as of much importance but Cunningham's was brought on from an
ing the base line ten or twelve feet must imover-worked, an over-anxious mind; Chan
prove the elevation of the National Gallery trey's from an inactive, and we are con considerably, I consider this position to be the strained to add, a somewhat pampered most favorable that can be found or imagined body.
for any national work of art; its aspect is nearly We are far from strangers to the many south, and sufficiently open on all sides to give ways in which Allan Cunningham substan- the object placed on that identical spot all the tially assisted Sir Francis Chantrey. He advantage from light and shade that can be dewrote his letters, digested and buckramed sired; to this may be added the advantage of a
happy combination of unobtrusive buildings up his evidence upon points wherein his around; but to conceive a national monument judgment was required, fought his battles worthy of this magnificent site is no easy task.” in print and before committees, sought out new commissions, assisting and controlling The part printed in italics conveys, as his taste, suggesting new positions for fig. we know of our own knowledge, the very ures, new proportions for his pedestals, ideas and language of Allan Cunningham; and new turns for the folds of his draperies. yet it went the round of the papers, and He kept his accounts and his workmen in was referred to among artists, as one of order, hushed up quarrels in their infancy, the happy sayings to the point of Sir Franand maintained a harmony throughout the cis Chantrey. This was written and not place. Chantrey was indeed fortunate in oral evidence,
There is much good sense in what sol. Your idea of water spouting from holes and lows-the pith of a private letter concoct. crevices in the rock-work is pleasing enough; ed by Chantrey and Cunningham to Sir but then rock-work is not fit for a pedestal, and Howard Douglas :
I warn you against adopting the vulgar and
disgusting notion of making animals spew wa“ I have fully considered the questions which ter or the more natural one of the little fountain you put to me on the erection of a bronze statue at Brussels and Carrara. Avoid all these beastof Sir Frederick Adam at Corfu, on the propri- ly things, whether natural or unnatural, and ety of attempting to make a pedestal in imita- adopt the more classic and pleasing notion of tion of natural rock, a fountain, &c., and you the ancient river-god with his overflowing urn, are heartily welcome to the following remarks, the best emblem of abundance. In my drawing which shortly embrace the result of my own ex- I have indicated four boys, each pouring water perience.
out of a vessel; if you want more splash, you " I inclose you the outline of a pedestal, suited may lay some rock-work in the basin, and thus to the excellent situation chosen and propor- afford hiding-places for the gold and silver fish. tioned to the architectural background; but I
“ Very truly yours, must tell you that it is also proportioned to a
F. CHANTREY." statue twelve feet high, fearing that a figure “Sept. 2, 1835. only nine feet high will disappoint your expectations. I make this suggestion without ref- In the following letter to Sir Robert erence to your means, of which you say no- Peel, Chantrey pretends to tell the true thing; therefore, if you are obliged to limit the history of his inimitable bust of Sir Walter figure to nine feet, the pedestal must be reduced Scott: in the same proportion, or nearly so. “I am not surprised that the idea of a rock
“Belgrave Place, Jan. 26, 1838. work pedestal should have been suggested to “Dear Sir Robert,- I have much pleasure in you; but I have already seen enough of this complying with your request to note down such sort of work in Rome, and elsewhere, to satisfy facts as remain on my memory concerning the me. Perhaps you have seen the pedestal of bust of Sir Walter Scott
, which you have done George III. in Windsor Great Park, which me the honor to place in your collection at pleases nobody; yet it was the joint production Drayton Manor. of two great men, Sir Jeffrey Wyatville and “My admiration of Scott, as a poet and a Mr. Westmacott
. It is formed of huge blocks of man, induced me in the year 1820 to ask him to rough granite, and cost near eight thousand sit to me for his bust,—the only time I ever repounds!! It has also the advantage of stand collect having asked a similar favor from any ing on a natural mound, with wood for its back- one. He agreed ; and I stipulated that he ground, two miles from the castle, with no should breakfast with me always before his sitbuilding whatever in connexion; yet with these tings, and never come alone, nor bring more advantages it is a decided failure, nor is it than three friends at once, and that they should likely to be repeated in this country by men of all be good talkers. That he fulfilled the latter sense.
condition you may guess, when I tell you that, “I entirely approve of the idea of a truncated on one occasion, he came with Mr. Croker, Mr. column for the pedestal of a statue in Corfu. It Heber, and the late Lord Lyttleton. The maris classical, and I advise its adoption, bearing, ble bust produced from these sittings was mouldof course, such proportions to the figures as are ed, and about forty-five casts were disposed of shown in my drawing, which are conformable among the poet's most ardent admirers. This with the best rules of proportion I have been was all I had to do with the plaster casts. The able to discover; sor taste in.such matters is bust was pirated by Italians; and England and very arbitrary.
Scotland, and even her colonies, were supplied "The very best material in the world for with unpermitted and bad casts to the extent of such a pedestal (next 10 granite) is the hardest thousands, in spite of the terror of an act of parGreek marble (some blocks are very soft). It is liament. proved that it will last two thousand years and “I made a copy in marble from this bust for more in the climate of Greece, if it escape vio. the Duke of Wellington; it was sent to Apsley lence.
House in 1827, and it is the only duplicate of “ You say ! the fountain is to play occasion. my bust of Sir Walter that I ever executed in ally;' from this I conclude that you have not a marble. superabundance of water. I have therefore re- “I now come to your bust of Scott. In the duced the basin 10 a circle of forty feet, being in year 1828 I proposed to the poet to present the better proportion to the pedestal; and a circle original marble as an heir-loom to Abbotsford, will be better worked, and cost less than an on condition that he would allow me sittings oval. The outer rim of this basin should show sufficient to finish another marble from the life about fifteen inches above the ground line. Iron for my own studio. To this proposal he ac. rails are paltry, and totally inadmissible. I also ceded; and the bust was sent to Abbotsford acsuggest that two feet deep of water will be am- cordingly, with the following words inscribed on ply sufficient for your gold and silver fish, yet the back: “This bust of Sir Walter Scott was not deep enough to drown a child.
made in 1820 by Francis Chantrey, and pre“I am not aware of any subject on which art sented by the sculptor to the poet, as a token of has been employed that has given rise to co esteem, in 1828.? much costly nonsense ard bad taste as fountains. “ In the months of May and June in the same