Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

verge,

came to his rescue, in a personal satire, by me, with some parts ready sunk, as called the “ Epistle to Hogarth.” The the background and the dog, I began quarrel only shows how furiously angry to consider how I could put so much men could abuse each other; both work laid aside to account, and so Wilkes and Churchill had been personal patched up a print of Master Churchill friends with the artist, and now they in the character of a bear. The pleavigorously abused him. The world has sure and pecuniary advantage derived much to regret in the loss of so vigorous from these two engravings, together with a poet as Churchill, from the fact of occasionally riding on horseback, rehis being led away to vice and dissipa- stored me to as much health as can be tion. The satirist whom Cowper owned expected at my time of life.” as his master, and who has much of

Hogarth speaks thus lightly of the the manly freedom and masterly ease fray, but it probably broke his spirits of Dryden was an ally on the side of and hurt his health. "Churchill

, who was virtue, of whom the best might be an unfrocked clergyman, and a man of proud. Alas, that he spent his talent the loosest life, was unworthy of notice. upon personal abuse, or in vain regret. A short time after he writes thus heartHe attacked Hogarth as Pope attacked lessly of the old and failing painter. Dennis, upon his old age, and declared

(naming his mistress) tells me that malice led him to satirise Wilkes. with a kiss, that I have already killed "Malice (who, disappointed of her end,

him. How sweet is flattery from the Whether to work the bane of foe or friend, woman we love;" and again, even more Preys on herself, and driven to the stake, Gives virtue that revenge she scorns to take)

heartlessly, the malevolent satirist Had killed thee, tottering on Life's utmost says—" he has broken into the pale Had Wilkes and LIBERTY escaped thy scourge.

of my private life, and has set the

example of illiberality which I wanted, Hence, Dotard, to thy closet, shut thee in, and as he is dying from the effects of With all the symptoms of assured decay,

my former chastisement, I will hasten With age and sickness pinched and worn’away; his death by writing his elegy.” Even From haunts of men, to shame and sorrow fly, Wilkes, debauched as he was, was more And, on the verge of death, learn how to die.'

generous than Churchill: he remarked Surely it is no crime to be sick and of his squinting portrait, “ that he did old, feeble and weak with disease. not make himself," and therefore might Hogarth might have retorted upon that be excused for being so very ugly, but weakness which proceeds from dissipa- Churchill exulted over the painter's tion; more cutting probably was the failing health, and when he heard of allusion to Hogarth’s failure.

his death, rejoiced that it was imputed "Poor Sigismunda! what a fate is thine! to the terrors of his satire. Dryden, the great High Priest of all the nine Revived thy name, gave what a muse could give,

We are now to chronicle the last And in his numbers bade thy mem'ry live; work of Hogarth, which we think shows But, 'how fallen! how changed ! a failing power, and an exaggeration Doth Sigismunda now devoted stand,

of which the painter was not always 'The helpless victim of a cauber's hand!" guilty. It is termed “ Credulity, Super

That these attacks wounded Hogarth stition, and Fanaticism,” and seems to and hastened his decline, there can be be intended by the artist to show the little doubt. He retorted on Churchill, effects of a low conception of religion, by a caricature called “ The Bruiser C. and also the idolatrous tendency of Churchill, (once the Rev.) in the cha- pictures and prints in churches or in racter of the Russian Hercules regaling books. A fierce preacher seems to be himself after having killed the monster condemning with terrific energy the Caricatura, that so galled his virtuous whole world to perdition, such is the friend, the heaven-born' Wilkes." fury of his looks and gestures. His Churchill was drawn as a canonical bear, congregation are in a terror of alarm, with a pot of porter and a knotted club, and are thrown into various gestures bearing on the various knots “ Lye typical of their state, and in the corner Lye 2," and so on, by his side Hogarth's the notorious Mrs. Tofts, whose imposdog tramples on his “Epistle to Ho- ture is unequalled in the annals of garth.” Îhe intrusion of the painter's credulity, seems to have added a quandog by the side of the “Russian bear" |tity of monsters to the scene. At the is accounted for by Hogarth in the fol- window a Turk, calmly smoking, looks lowing manner: having an old plate in at the window, apparently drawing

a very satisfactory parallel between the ceived an agreeable letter from a friend, workings of his religion and that which he wrote a rough draft of an answer, he witnesses. The aim of Hogarth was and finding himself weak, postponed no doubt good, but it is not too clearly writing the letter, and lay down upon perceived in this curious print, and his bed. He had lain but a short time those who sneer at religion, sometimes when he was seized with a vomiting, allude to this engraving as a proof that and starting up, he rang the bell with Hogarth sneered too, which is very far such violence that he broke it. An indeed from the fact.

affectionate female relative came to his The time had now come when he aid, and after two hours' intense sufferwas to find a consolation in religion. ing, he expired from a suffusion of He had bought a small house at Chis- blood among the arteries of his heart. wick, which yet remains; it is not very So lived and died William Hogarth, far from the one occupied by the Duke a genius entirely English, and master of Devonshire, and is still called Ho- of a style of which he might have said garth House, and to this he retired; at with Swift, that time indeed it might have been called retirement, for it was very pret

“Which I was born to introduce,

Refined it first, and showed its use." tily situated, and the garden contained many fruit-trees, and in it he had And in which, although he has had buried his favourite dog, the headstone many imitators, he has not had one of whose grave, standing in a corner of worthy successor. His great success the garden, close against the wall, still in his own peculiar style, and his entire remains. The cottage has since been difference from other painters, seems inhabited by another man of genius, to lie in this, that he paints perfectly the Rev. Henry Cary, the translator of dramatically, and takes care to let his Dante. It was in this cottage that own peculiar mind pervade his pictures. Hogarth felt death coming upon him, No painter ever told a story better than but his spirits did not desert him; he Hogarth. He is not entirely a painter, seems to have summed up his actions he may be called an author, and viewed of past life, and to have been as much in that light we shall understand the as most men at peace with the world, answer given by the gentleman who, and with his Creator. “I can safely Charles Lamb tells us, being asked assert,” he writes, “that I have invari- which book he preferred most, said, ably endeavoured to make those about “Shakspere,” and which next, said, me tolerably happy; and my greatest "Hogarth.” Most of his admirers have enemy cannot say, that I ever did him felt the truth of this; they read his an intentional injury; without ostenta- pictures, at those of other painters they tion I could produce many instances merely, look. Great draughtsmen and of men who have materially benefited fine colourists some artists may be, but by me. What may follow, God knows.” they do not throw the soul into their This reasoning is scarcely satisfactory pictures which Hogarth did. In the to the Christian, alas! That many men painted illustrations of the “ Waverly have materially benefited by our weak Novels,” or of “Gil Blas,” or of the endeavours to do good is not sufficient;" Vicar of Wakefield,” we see various the' better the man, the less confidently figures over and over again, to reprewill he look back upon his past life; the sent the “Vicar,” or “ Gil Blas;" but in great Newton talked sorrowfully of wasted painting the “ Rake" or “ Councillor time, and Coleridge, weeping, confessed Silvertongue,” or “Viscount Squanderthat even then, in his last few days he, felt,” Hogarth has indelibly fixed them who had been praying all his life, on our minds, and they will bear no scarcely knew “ how to pray.”

second impression. All his pictures are On the 25th of October, 1764, Ho- of this kind. The puzzled face, rather garth left Chiswick, and returned to indeed prosaic, of the distressed poet, we Leicester Square. He was very weak, never forget; the vapid face of the young but at the same time extremely cheer- nobleman, the conceit of the Italian ful, and his mental powers were as per- singer, are to us as much matters of fectly unimpaired as ever. Physicians fact and reality, as the madness of Don do not appear to have been with him, Quixote, or the burlesque cowardice of and of the nature of his complaint he John Falstaff. More than this, Hogarth himself was

Having re- stands alone, he is sui generis, and withof the age."

unaware,

out a rival; Sir Joshua Reynolds fool. The history of his five days' peregrinaishly denied him the title of “painter.”tion to Gravesend and Rochester will That he could paint, and in many points show what sort of man he was, better better and more solidly than Sir Joshua than any laboured description. Under himself in his“ flying colours,” the scenes the town-hall in Rochester, the curious of the “Rake's Progress” in Sir John are still shown the place where he pubSoane's Museum, abundantly testify; licly played at hop-scotch with a jovial but he does not want the petty title, he companion, to the great delight of the was no Royal Academician we know, onlooking boys. His personal spirit but there have been many hundreds of was great, and he would resent any painters, and but one Hogarth. insult offered by any one, nor did he

Besides this, he was like all great bend in any way to rank or power. men, evidently of his age, and yet beyond He loved state in dress, and a certain it. His satire upon its defective morals decent order in his household; his wife will testify the latter, and for the former who tenderly loved him, assisting him we may cite Walpole. * The Rake's in entertaining his guests at a pleasant Levee Room,” says that author, “The house and handsomely furnished table. Nobleman's Dining room, the apart-" In his relations of husband, of broments of the husband and wife, in the ther, friend, and master,” says Ireland, Marriage à la Mode, the Alderman's "he was kind, generous, sincere, and inParlour, the Bedchamber, and many dulgent; in diet abstemious, but in his others are the history of the manners hospitalities, though devoid of ostenta

tion, liberal and free-hearted, not parThis is high praise,“ but greater yet simonious, yet frugal; but so compararemains behind;" he was not only the tively small were the rewards paid to historian, but the moralist of his time; artists, that after the labour of a long in openly reproving vice, he stood out life, he left an inconsiderable sum to beyond all other painters. Art in his his widow, with whom he must have hand did not degenerate into sensuous received a very large portion.” To this ness and prettiness, nor did he excite another biographer adds, that he was religion by the faces of meek Madonnas, very considerate and kind to all his or emaciated saints; but he showed servants, that they had remained many vice her own image, stamped the paltry years in his service, and that he painted and conceited coxcomb with a brand; all their portraits, and hung them up placed abject poverty, copied with an in his house. He used to study at all unerring hand, by the side of prodigal times and in all places; he would sketch and selfish wealth, and preached such a any remarkable face which he saw, sermon thereon, as the world will not sometimes upon his nail. He was a easily forget. If fame be worth any great observer of the workings of the thing, he has fame enough ; the portrait passions in the face. Barry once saw painters and effeminate flatterers of the him patting the back of one of two dayfwere ashamed to own his masculine fighting boys, who was hanging back genius; the sentence is now reversed, from the fray, and telling him not to there is scarcely an educated English- be a coward, all the while very attenman, but who is proud to own that he tively observing the face of the other. is the countryman of William Hogarth. He went into good society, and dined

In his personal appearance, Hogarth with Gray, at the table cf Horace Walwas not singular. His portrait gives pole. He left his wife by his will

, all us a blunt English-looking face, marked his property in his plates, the copyright with great determination and self-pos- of which was secured to her by Act of session; his eye was peculiarly bright Parliament for twenty years; the numand penetrating, and his forehead high ber of impressions annually sold, proand broad. He was rather below the duced a very respectable annual income, middle size, active in person, and bust- but she outlived her right and became ling in manner, and fond of some little reduced to the borders of want. The importance and state ; he had a great interposition of the king with the deal of bonhommie, and was sought for Royal Academy, procured for her a as an excellent companion; when out pension of * £40 per annum, which she on a trip or jaunt his spirits rose to a lived but two years to enjoy. great height, and kept the company Hogarth was buried" plainly and in a considerable state of amusement. without show, in the churchyard of

That drew the essential forms of grace. Here closed in death the attentive eyes

Chiswick, and his wife raised a monu- father had left him a small fortune, and ment to his memory, bearing the fol- this placed him in a position which lowing inscription : “Here lieth the gave him leisure to indulge talents, body of Willliam Hogarth, Esq., who which he had manifested at an early died Oct. 26th, 1764, aged 67 years.” age. These were caricaturing and songA mask, a laurel wreath, a palette, pen- writing. Even at school he had shown cils, and book, inscribed “Analysis of extraordinary talent in turning to ridiBeauty,” are carved on one side of the cule any prominent_feature of those monument, with some verses, which, who annoyed him.

But this is a story by the way, are not worth quoting. Dr. related of almost every clever boy,—à Johnson wrote four lines which are story which has furnished very many somewhat better, but which are cer- pictures of rebellion to scholastic autainly not worthy of the Doctor, or of thority, which it were better, perhaps, the painter :

altogether to repress. The world seems The hand of him here torpid lies,

too satisfied in taking scholastic insubordination as a proof of talents.

When Sayer grew up he soon gave a That saw the manners in the face.

proof of his talent, and finding that the One must not omit to add that the majority of the caricaturists were upon latter days of Hogarth, himself ca- the side of the people, and few or none ricaturist, were wearied out by attacks upon that of the government, he apby anonymous brothers of the art. After pears to have been partly biassed by the publication of his "Analysis of early predilections, and partly by inteBeauty," a great number of caricatures rest, in taking the ministerial side in were launched forth against him, and the warfare of political pasquinade, every possible means taken to annoy song, and print. He appears to have, and disturb him. His ridicule of the in his earliest specimens, courted the absurd idolatry shown to the ancient favour of the Right Hon. William Pitt, masters by those who, with pretended who was then, by his extraordinary taste, formed large collections of copies, genius, astonishing the nation, and called forth a large print, wherein he is alarming the opposition. On May the represented in the act of undermining 7th, 1782, Mr. Pitt made his firsť mothe sacred monumentof allthe best paint- tion for the reform of the representaers, sculptors, &c., in imitation of the tion,-a motion which procured him Greek Erostratus, who, in the distance, considerable popularity, but which was is seen firing the Temple of Diana; defeated by a small majority. Under other caricatures represent him in his the Shelburne administration, Mr. Pitt studio, where are hung parodies of his held office as Chancellor of the Exchepaintings. The artists of these works quer, but the alliance of the Whigs and are anonymous, but we cite them—and Tories drove this ministry from office. we have not mentioned a tythe of the Another body, similar in construction to prints launched against Hogarth—to this, seceded from Lord North, and proshew that where he died, in October, fessed themselves the friends and support1764, he left many behind him to fol- ers to the court, in opposition to the new low in the career of political caricatur- ministry. Of these Pitt was the recogists. His greatest persecutor, if we ex- nised and powerful leader in the House cept Wilkes, Charles Churchill, did not of Commons, and James Sayer, the long survive the victim whose death volunteer caricaturist in the print shops he rejoiced to have caused. He died at / of London. One of his earliest proCalais in November of the same year. ductions is a large caricature published

Caricature was carried on after the on the 5th of May, 1783, founded upon death of Hogarth by various hands, the a speech made by one of the opposition most noted of whom was

Lords, in the Upper House, immediJAMES SAYER,

ately after the formation of the new

ministry, who, speaking of Lord North, the son of a captain merchant, at Yar- had expressed himself as follows:mouth, and after being articled to an “Such was the love of office of the attorney, passed his examination, and noble Lord, that, finding he would not was entered on the roll. Sayer, how- be permitted to mount the box, he had ever, did not need to follow the labor- been content to get up behind." The ious and dry study of the law. His I new Whig coach, with Fox's crest on

the panels, is drawn by two miserable blocks, bearing the portraits of the hacks through a rough road, jogging popular political leaders of the day. So and nearly being upset, every minute, that the historian of political warfare, by some of the large stones thrown turning over the many similar prints in its way by the opposition, and by which like exigences have called forth, which one of the wheels has received cannot but remember, with a sigh, that a very serious fracture. Lord North there is “nothing new" under the sun. is holding on behind with an air of Another plate, by the same hand, realarm, whilst Fox and the Duke of presents Britannia pointing with her Portland, seated on the box, are join- finger, and directing the attention of ing in their efforts to draw in the the coalition (Fox and North, who are reins. Contemplating this print one joined together something like the cannot but think upon the many times Siamese twins) to a distant block and a which the subject has been repeated. gallows, by which the artist means to Almost every ministry has been typi- insinuate that a violent and shameful fied by a coach, and the reins of go- death was the proper destination of the vernment have been spoken of in the ministry: Here we may remark, that same terms as the reins of the stage Britannia at this period was the presidcoachman. We need but turn over a ing genius of caricature, and that John very few leaves of our contemporary Bull had not arisen to the prominence Punch to find the same idea repeated which he at present occupies. over and over again.

Aided by such means as these out of On the 21st of April, 1783, Sayer doors, which gradually undermined again satirized the whole of the minis- whatever popularity the ministry had, try, and the print is valuable by afford. Pitt shewed that he was no unskilful ing the historian undoubted portraits of leader of an opposition. He let the the New Whig Administration, as it was ministry, by ceaseless provocation and called. The plate is entitled, " The other parliamentary tactics, make themRazor's Levee; or the Heads of the selves ridiculous in the eyes of the New Whig A- -n on a broad bot- House, so that their majority of sixty tom.” The scene is the shop of a bar- gradually dwindled down to a ridicuber, who is busily engaged in arranging lously small number. In July the para quantity of blocks, representing the liament separated, and the ministry members of the coalition ministry. He were left to prepare some great measures is particularly occupied on the heads of which they were about to bring forward Fox and North, joined on one stand, for the consideration of the legislature. to intimate what some of the present Parliament met on the 11th of Noday would call an unprincipled coali- vember, and the first measure which tion. On a wall immediately behind was brought forward was the bill for are the heads of Cromwell and Charles the regulation of India.

It passed the 1st, in a curious juxtaposition, through the House of Commons by apparently to intimate that the most large majorities, and out of doors the opposite principles were for the first people at large were interested in its time brought together. Over the fire- fate. “ The Politicians of London, who place is a new map of Great Britain are at present a most numerous corand Ireland, from which Ireland is poration”- writes Horace Walpole, nearly torn away.

The celebrated are warm on a bill for the new reguWestminster publican, Sam House, of lation of the East Indies, brought in whom we shall hereafter have to speak, by Mr. Fox. Some of his associates and who described himself as "a pub- apprehended his being beaten, but his lican and republican,” sits in front with marvellous abilities have hitherto tria pot of beer, and looks on admiringly: umphed, and on two divisions in the This caricature cannot also fail to call House of Commons he had majorities to mind similar prints of a more modern of 109 and 114. . . . The forces will be date. When Mr. Gilbert Albert à more nearly balanced when the Lords Becket first started that rabid political fight the battle. . . In Parliamentary paper, Figaro in London—the illustra- engagements a superiority of numbers tive cut on the title had the same scene is not vanquished by the talents of the as the one described. Figaro, the bar- commanders, as often happens in more ber, is about to sharpen his razor, and martial encounters. His competitor, to proceed to operate upon various / Mr. Pitt, appears by no means an ade

н

« AnteriorContinuar »