browns, and yellows, madders and ultramarines, with the scumblings, and draggings, and glazings, and scrapings, and pumice-stonings, and the thousand artifices employed in getting up an effect. It were well if this were all. I could be well content never to look on picture more, if the face of nature would return to me again under the aspect it wore in the days of my boyhood. But alas! it cannot be. To me the "Meadow, grove, and stream,

The earth, and every common sight,"

are but suggestive of paint in its myriad mixtures and combinations. The gleam of sunshine upon a field is but a dash of Naples yellow; the dark gloom of evening closing o'er the distant mountains, speaking of infinite space and distance to the unsophisticated eye, is nothing to me but a graduated tint of indigo, red and white: the impenetrable depth of a yawning cavern, dimly discernible amid the sombre shades of a mountain gorge, though it may tell a tale of romance and mystery to others, is nothing upon earth to me but a dab of Vandyke brown. Nay, the boundless sky, the overarching canopy that wraps us up in brightness or in gloom, is in my view, according to circumstances, but a tube of diluted cobalt, or a varied combination of greys and reds, and yellows and whites: while the glorious sun himself figures in my imagination, precisely as he does in the pictures of Claude Lorraine, as a one-shilling impression of a flamecoloured tint.

How this came about perhaps my history will show. I shall make it as brief as I honestly can: may it prove a warning to the youthful aspirant for artistic fame, and incite him to a candid and timely investigation into the reality and extent of his creative faculty! One thing I know-it will prove a revelation of some value to collectors and connoisseurs of all ages and grades, provided only that they have yet modesty enough remaining to doubt the infallibility of their judgment.


I was born in one of the suburbs of the metropolis, and my earliest recollections are associated with the palette and the studio. My father, whose sole child I was, was an artist of very considerable talent, who, with a real love of nature, combined a ready hand and a facility of practice which enabled him to produce a multitude of pictures, though he died young. My mother, who worshipped him with a devotion that knew no bounds, relieved him of every care unconnected with his pursuit. It was her business to dispose of his productions, which, being all of small size, rarely exceeding twenty inches in length, she carried to town, and sold to the dealers for as much as they would bring. In these perambulations, when I was big enough to take the long walks, I sometimes accompanied her, and when the sale was successful, generally got a cake or a toy for my share. Besides my mother, my only playmate was a small lay-figure, which it was the quiet delight of my childhood to cherish and fondle with an affection which I cannot now comprehend. My father's pictures never realised much during his life. They were chiefly landscapes of a very simple style of composition, and scores of them had no other figures than a woman and a child, of which my mother and I were the models; and I remember distinctly that when a pair of them realised five pounds, it was the occasion of a rejoicing and a hot supper, which I was allowed to sit up and partake of. My poor father died before I was eleven years of age; and then his performances rose into sudden repute, selling rapidly for ten times the sum he had ever received for them. By degrees they all disappeared from public view, being bought up by the best judges, who during his life never condescended to notice the artist. My mother followed my father to the grave before her year of mourning had expired; and I, for the time heartbroken, was transferred to the care of my father's only brother, also an artist, though of a very different stamp. He sent me for two years to school, where, in

the society of children of my own age, I soon forgot my griefs. Before I was fourteen my uncle bound me apprentice to himself, to make sure, as he said, of some sort of recompense for the trouble he would have in teaching me. He was a portrait-painter, at least so said the brass-plate on the door of the house in Charlotte Street; but very few and far between were the sitters who came to be limned. His principal occupation was that of cleaning and restoring old and damaged pictures, and in this he was employed mainly by the dealers, who allowed him but a sorry remuneration. He had, too, a small connection of his own, to whom he occasionally sold pictures, bought at the sales in a woful condition for a few shillings, and carefully got up by himself. With him I worked hard from morning to sunset for seven years, in the course of which period I copied an immense number of pieces, nearly all the copies being sold to country dealers, who came periodically to town and cleared them off. I learned thoroughly the difficult art and mystery of picturecleaning; acquired of necessity some skill in portraiture; and prosecuted, whenever opportunity offered, the pursuit of landscape, in which I was resolutely determined upon gaining a reputation.

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With this view, when the term of my indentures had run out, I bade adieu to my uncle, who made no attempt to alter my purpose, and commenced the world on my own account, devoting my whole time and energies to my favourite pursuit. I first painted a couple of pieces of a small size, and sent them to the Street Exhibition, paying the then customary fee, which a wiser policy has since abolished. I felt overjoyed to hear that my pictures were hung, and hastened to look at them as soon as the doors were opened to the public. My hopes were dashed away by the sight of my two little productions, hardly covering more than a square foot of canvas each, suspended as telescopic objects high aloft beneath the gloom of the ceiling; while whole fathoms of the

"sight line "were choked up with the " unmitigated abominations," as the reviewers justly styled them, of one of the members of the committee, whom nature had cut out for a scavenger. I had gone in debt for my frames, which were returned to me at the close of the exhibition smashed to fragments. I could never afterwards afford to repeat the experiment.

I now began to paint for the dealers, thinking, as I had but myself to maintain, that I might get on with frugality, and in time tread in the steps of my father. The dealers shook their heads at my performances; and one, with more candour than the rest, produced one of my father's pieces, bought of my mother for thirty shillings, which he pronounced "a little gem"-showed me how crisp was the touch, how pure and sparkling the colour; how vigorous, and yet how playful, was the handling; and how simple and graceful was the composition. I endeavoured to profit by the lesson; but necessity drove me to the market with my work unfinished, and for three years I maintained a hapless struggle with privations of all sorts, buoyed up only by the fervid ambition of excellence in my art. When the dealers would not buy my productions, I often left them in their hands to be sold on commission. When they did

sell, I rarely discovered what they sold for; but from information accidentally obtained with regard to some few, I found that the average commission was about seventy-five per cent., leaving the other twenty-five for the artist.

I grew tired of starving in pursuit of improvement, and in the hopes of mending my fortune started a portrait club. The members were the frequenters of a Free-and-easy, who subscribed a shilling a week each, and drew lots for precedence; but they believed in beer, and had no faith in honesty. As each one received his portrait, he discontinued his subscription towards the rest, and I received next to nothing for painting the last half-dozen. The landlord, too, wished me at Jericho, as his customers took to bemusing


themselves elsewhere, to avoid my eloquent appeals for the I bade a final adieu to their ugly faces, with a feeling of profound contempt as well for the department of art they encouraged as for the patrons of it, and returned to my garret, to cogitate some new mode of renewing my exhausted funds. I made a couple of sketches which occupied me a week, and took them to a pawnbroker, who lent me fifteen shillings upon them. I thought, as I threw the duplicates into the Thames, that though this would hardly do-taking the cost of canvas and colours into account-I might manage it by a little contrivance; so I procured halfa-dozen canvases of the same size, traced one subject-comprising a windmill, an old boat, and a white horse-upon them all, and making one palette do for all, got up the whole six in ten days. These I pawned for an average of eight shillings a piece. It was long since my pockets had been tightened with such a weight of silver; but with the new feeling of independence arose one of shame and degradation, which, however, I soon stifled. I repeated the same subject again and again; and grew so expert at length with my one picture, that a few hours sufficed to finish it. I kept a register of my numerous "uncles," taking care never to appear twice at the same place with the same picture. But this trick could not last. At the annual sale of unredeemed pledges the walls of the auction-room were covered with a whole regiment of repetitions, amidst the jeers and hootings of the assembled bidders. My plan was blown, and I dared not show my face to a pawnbroker. It was vain to send pictures to be pledged by another hand, the fellows knew my touch too well to be deceived. I tried again with original sketches, but it was of no use: everybody believed that I had a score of reduplications in store; and I was forced at length to abandon the pawnbrokers to their discrimination. I returned again to the dealers, but each and all had a copy of my windmill, old boat, and white horse hanging upon

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