Morland





It is well known that Morland the painter used to go on an
expedition with a companion sometimes without a guinea, or perhaps scarcely

a shilling, to defray the expenses of their journey; and thus they were

often reduced to an unpleasant and ludicrous dilemma. On one occasion the

painter was travelling in Kent, in company with a relative, and finding

their cash exhausted, while at a distance from their destination, they were

compelled to exert their wits, for the purpose of recruiting themselves

after a long and fatiguing march. As they approached Canterbury, a homely

village ale-house caught their eye; and the itinerant artists hailed, with

delight, the sign of the Black Bull, which indicated abundance of home-made

bread and generous ale. They entered, and soon made considerable havoc

among the good things of mine host, who, on reckoning up, found that they

had consumed as much bread, cheese and ale, as amounted to _12s. 6d._

Morland now candidly informed his host that they were two poor painters

going in search of employment, and that they had spent all their money. He,

however, added that, as the sign of the Bull was a disgraceful daub for so

respectable a house, he would have no objection to repaint it, as a set-off

for what he and his companion had received. The landlord, who had long been

wishing for a new sign (the one in question having passed through two

generations), gladly accepted his terms, and Morland immediately went to

work. The next day the Bull was sketched in such a masterly manner that the

landlord was enraptured; he supplied his guests with more provisions, and

generously gave them money for their subsequent expenses. About three

months after a gentleman well acquainted with Morland's works, accidentally

passing through the village, recognised it instantly to be the production

of that inimitable painter: he stopped, and was confirmed in his opinion,

by the history which the landlord gave of the transaction. In short, he

purchased the sign of him for twenty pounds; the landlord was struck with

admiration at his liberality; but this identical painting was some time

afterwards sold at a public auction for the sum of _one hundred guineas!_





When Benjamin West was seven years old, he was left, one summer day, with

the charge of an infant niece. As it lay in the cradle and he was engaged

in fanning away the flies, the motion of the fan pleased the child, and

caused it to smile. Attracted by the charms thus created, young West felt

his instinctive passion aroused; and seeing paper, pen and some red and

black ink on a table, he eagerly seized them and made his first attempt at

portrait painting. Just as he had finished his maiden task, his mother and

sister entered. He tried to conceal what he had done, but his confusion

arrested his mother's attention, and she asked him what he had been doing.

With reluctance and timidity, he handed her the paper, begging, at the same

time, that she would not be offended. Examining the drawing for a short

time, she turned to her daughter, and, with a smile, said, "I declare he

has made a likeness of Sally." She then gave him a fond kiss, which so

encouraged him that he promised her some drawings of the flowers which she

was then holding, if she wished to have them. The next year a cousin sent

him a box of colours and pencils, with large quantities of canvas prepared

for the easel, and half a dozen engravings. Early the next morning he took

his materials into the garret, and for several days forgot all about

school. His mother suspected that the box was the cause of his neglect of

his books, and going into the garret and finding him busy at a picture, she

was about to reprimand him; but her eye fell on some of his compositions,

and her anger cooled at once. She was so pleased with them that she loaded

him with kisses, and promised to secure his father's pardon for his neglect

of school. The world is much indebted to Mrs. West for her early and

constant encouragement of the talent of her son. He often used to say,

after his reputation was established, "_My mothers kiss made me a

painter!_"





Vernet relates, that he was once employed to paint a landscape, with a

cave, and St. Jerome in it; he accordingly painted the landscape with St.

Jerome at the entrance of the cave. When he delivered the picture, the

purchaser, who understood nothing of perspective, said, "the landscape and

the cave are well made, but St. Jerome is not _in_ the cave."--"I

understand you, sir," replied Vernet, "I will alter it." He therefore took

the painting, and made the shade darker, so that the saint seemed to sit

farther in. The gentleman took the painting; but it again appeared to him

that the saint was not actually in the cave. Vernet then wiped out the

figure, and gave it to the gentleman, who seemed perfectly satisfied.

Whenever he saw strangers to whom he showed the picture, he said, "Here you

see a picture by Vernet, with St. Jerome in the cave." "But we cannot see

the saint," replied the visitors. "Excuse me, gentlemen," answered the

possessor, "he is there; for I saw him standing at the entrance, and

afterwards farther back; and am therefore quite sure that he is in it."





Miss Bailly Mungo Park facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Feedback