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Title: Sir Joshua Reynolds - A Collection of Fifteen Pictures and a Portrait of the - Painter with Introduction and Interpretation
Author: Hurll, Estelle M. (Estelle May), 1863-1924
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Sir Joshua Reynolds - A Collection of Fifteen Pictures and a Portrait of the - Painter with Introduction and Interpretation" ***

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                 [Illustration: SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS]

                         Masterpieces of Art

                         SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS


                    AND A PORTRAIT OF THE PAINTER

                        WITH INTRODUCTION AND



                           ESTELLE M. HURLL

                         BOSTON AND NEW YORK

                       HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY

                    The Riverside Press Cambridge

             COPYRIGHT, 1900, BY HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN & CO.

       *       *       *       *       *


This selection of pictures from Reynolds's works is intended to show
him at his best in the various classes of subjects which he painted.
Johnson and Lord Heathfield are among his finest male portraits, Miss
Bowles and Master Bunbury are unsurpassed among his pictures of
children, and the Strawberry Girl was the painter's own favorite fancy
picture. Penelope Boothby and Angels' Heads are popular favorites
which could not be omitted from any collection. In Lady Cockburn and
Her Children, The Duchess of Devonshire and Her Child, and Pickaback
we have typical groups of mothers and children. Mrs. Siddons stands
apart as one of his most unique and remarkable productions. The other
pictures add as much as possible to the variety of the collection, and
show something of the range of Reynolds's art.



September, 1900.

       *       *       *       *       *


PORTRAIT OF REYNOLDS. Painted by himself. (_Frontispiece_)
From a Carbon Print by Braun, Clement & Co.







Picture from a Photograph by Mansell

Picture from an Engraving by S. W. Reynolds

Picture from a Photograph by Franz Hanfstaengl

Picture from a Photograph by Mansell

Picture from an Engraving by S. W. Reynolds

Picture from a Photograph by W. M. Spooner &
Co., London.

Picture from a Carbon Print by Braun, Clement & Co.

Picture from a Carbon Print by Braun, Clement & Co.

Picture from a Photograph by the London Autotype

Picture from a Photograph by Franz Hanfstaengl

Picture from a Photograph by the London Autotype

Picture from an Engraving by S. W. Reynolds

Picture from an Engraving by Bartolozzi

Picture from a Photograph by Mansell

Picture from a Carbon Print by Braun, Clement & Co.


       *       *       *       *       *



The name of Sir Joshua Reynolds holds a place of honor among the
world's great portrait painters. To appreciate fully his originative
power one must understand the disadvantages under which he worked. His
technical training was of the meagrest kind, and all his life he was
hampered by ignorance of anatomy. But on the other hand he combined
all those peculiar qualities of the artist without which no amount of
technical skill can produce great portrait work.

He had, in the first place, that indefinable quality of taste, which
means so much in portraiture. His was an unerring instinct for poise,
drapery, color, and composition. Each of his figures seems to assume
naturally an attitude of perfect grace; the draperies fall of their
own accord in beautiful lines.

Reynolds knew, too, the secret of imparting an air of distinction to
his sitters. The meanest subject was elevated by his art to a position
of dignity. His magic touch made every child charming, every woman
graceful, and every man dignified.

Finally, he possessed in no small degree, though curiously enough
entirely disclaiming the quality, the gift of presenting the essential
personality of the sitter, that which a critic has called the power of
"realizing an individuality." This is seen most clearly in his
portraits of men, and naturally in the portraits of the men he knew
best, as Johnson.

It is a matter of constant amazement in studying the works of Reynolds
to observe his "inexhaustible inventiveness in pose and attitude." For
each new picture he seemed always to have ready some new compositional
motive. Claude Phillips goes so far as to say that in the whole range
of art Rembrandt alone is his equal in this respect. This versatility
was due in a measure to his story-telling instinct. His imagination
seemed to weave some story about each sitter which the picture was
intended, as it were, to illustrate. From Lord Heathfield, refusing to
yield the keys of Gibraltar, to little Miss Bowles, dropping on the
ground in the midst of her romp, through the long range of mothers
playing with their children, there seems no end to the variety of
lively incident which he could invent.

The pose of the sitter suggests some dramatic moment in the imaginary
episode. Often the attitude is full of action, as in the Miss Bowles,
and at times there is a striking impression of motion, as in
Pickaback. So strong is the dramatic effect conveyed by these pictures
that the figures seem actually taken unaware in the very act of
performance, as by a snapshot in modern photography. This quality of
"momentariness," as Phillips calls it, so dangerous in the hands of a
commonplace painter, lends a peculiar fascination to many of
Reynolds's pictures. That he also appreciated the beauty of repose we
see in such portraits as Penelope Boothby and Anne Bingham.

Reynolds's inventiveness was so overtaxed by his enormous number of
sitters that it is scarcely to be wondered at that it sometimes failed
him. Occasionally he resorted to such artificial devices as were
common among his contemporaries. Such fresh inspirations as the
Strawberry Girl and Master Bunbury could come but rarely in a
lifetime. The spontaneity of Miss Bowles is perhaps unexcelled in all
his works.

Reynolds's compositional schemes are of an academic elegance
reminiscent of Raphael. He knew well how to accomplish the flow of
line, the balance of masses, the symmetry of outline, which produce a
harmonious effect. A variety of designs were at his command, from the
well-worn but always effective pyramidal form illustrated in many
single figures, to those more novel forms he invented for groups such
as Lady Cockburn and the Duchess of Devonshire.

Reynolds was frankly a borrower from many sources. In the Roman, the
Bolognese, the Venetian, Flemish, and Dutch schools, he found
something to appropriate and make his own. From Rembrandt he took
suggestions of lighting, and such sombre color harmonies as are seen
in the portrait of Mrs. Siddons. Something of bloom and splendor he
caught from the florid Rubens; something of the decorative
effectiveness of such pictures as Lady Cockburn may be traced to the
influence of Titian and the Venetians. Yet to all that he borrowed,
Reynolds added his own individual touch. As a critic has said, he was
always Reynolds from first to last.

Much has been written of the evanescence of Reynolds's colors. His
passion for color experiments amounted to a mania, and cost the world
many beautiful pictures. Precisely what was the nature of these
experiments, and what combination of pigments ruined his pictures, is
of interest only to the expert. Fortunately, enough pictures escaped
to show us the original glory of those which have faded. Among the
best preserved canvases, "those in which his power and brilliancy
appear least impaired, those in which the typical Sir Joshua still
most unmistakably shines forth," are Lady Cockburn and her Children,
Miss Bowles, Mrs. Siddons, and Angels' Heads.

The range of Reynolds's art is much wider than is commonly supposed. A
very imperfect appreciation of his gifts is gained by those who know
only his portraits of women and children. These indeed show a peculiar
insight into childhood, and a rare delicacy in the interpretation of
womanhood. But Reynolds is at his strongest in the portrayal of men.
It is by such portraits as the Johnson and Heathfield that he is
worthy a place among the immortals.


THE original biographical material on the subject of Reynolds was
supplied by his own contemporaries. His friend Malone wrote a valuable
Memoir (1804), and his pupil Northcote furnished the first biography
of the painter, the Life of Reynolds in two volumes published in 1813.
A half century later (1865) was published the most comprehensive work
on Reynolds in two large volumes by C. R. Leslie and T. Taylor. At
about the same time (1866) appeared a book by F. G. Stephens, "English
Children as painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds."

All these books have been long out of print, and there are now but two
books of reference generally available. "Sir Joshua Reynolds," by
Claude Phillips (1894), is a small volume, but it gives a fairly
complete summary of the painter's works, with valuable critical
comments. Sir Walter Armstrong's large and richly illustrated work
"Sir Joshua Reynolds" (1900) treats the subject exhaustively, and
contains a complete descriptive catalogue and directory of Reynolds's
works--portraits and subject pictures--arranged in alphabetical order.

There is an immense bibliography of memoirs of the period of George
III., and such books throw an interesting light upon the lives of many
of Reynolds's sitters. Some of the most valuable are Horace Walpole's
"Letters," Fanny Burney's "Diary," Mrs. Piozzi's "Memoirs," and
Wraxall's "Memoirs."

In addition to these, Boswell's incomparable "Life of Johnson"
presents a series of vivid pictures of the life of the period, and
contains many anecdotes of the friendship between Reynolds and the
great lexicographer.

Reynolds's lectures and writings fill two volumes of the Bohn Library.
Of these the twelve discourses delivered before the Royal Academy are
the most valuable, and have been reprinted in various editions. The
most recent is that of 1891, with notes and a biographical
introduction by E. G. Johnson. Intended as means of instruction to
beginners in painting, these lectures deal with general principles
rather than with practical technique, and are not to be taken as
expository in any measure of Reynolds's own art.


_Portrait frontispiece._ Painted in 1776 for the Imperial Academy in
Florence, and now in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

1. _Penelope Boothby._ Painted in July, 1788. In the possession of
Mrs. Thwaites.

2. _Master Crewe as Henry VIII._ Painted in 1775 for John Crewe, Esq.,
and exhibited at the Royal Academy, 1776. Size: 4 ft. 8 in. by 3 ft. 9
in. In the possession of the Earl of Crewe.

3. _Lady Cockburn and her Children._ Reynolds began the picture in
1773 and upon its completion in 1774 received £183 15s. in payment. It
was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1774, after which it was dated
1775. Passed into the possession of Lady Hamilton, daughter of Sir
James Cockburn (7th baronet), and by her bequeathed to the English
National Gallery, where it hung, 1892-1900, when it was learned that
Lady Hamilton had no power to dispose of the picture. It was then
sold at auction to Mr. Beit, Park Lane, London. Size: 4 ft. 6 in. by 3
ft. 7-1/2 in.

4. _Miss Bowles._ Painted in 1775. Now in the Wallace Collection,
Hertford House, London. Size: 2 ft. 11-1/2 in. by 2 ft. 3-3/4 in.

5. _Master Bunbury._ Exhibited at the Royal Academy, 1781; bequeathed
by Reynolds to Mrs. Bunbury. In the possession of Sir Henry Bunbury.
Size: 2 ft. 5 in. by 2 ft.

6. _Mrs. Siddons as the Tragic Muse._ Painted in 1783 and exhibited at
the Royal Academy in 1784. The original work was bought by M. de
Calonne for 800 guineas, and finally came into the possession of the
Marquis of Westminster, in whose family it has since remained. It is
in the gallery of Grosvenor House, London.

7. _Angels' Heads._ Painted for Lord William Gordon (100 guineas) and
exhibited at the Royal Academy, 1787. Presented by Lady Gordon to the
National Gallery, London, 1841. Size: 2 ft. 6 in. by 2 ft. 1 in.

8. _The Duchess of Devonshire and her Child._ Exhibited at the Royal
Academy in 1786. The original is at Chatsworth House, and there is a
copy at Windsor Castle, from which our reproduction is made.

9. _Hope._ One of the figures of the window design, New College
Chapel, Oxford. The original design was painted in oil in 1778, and
was purchased by the Earl of Normanton.

10. _Lord Heathfield._ Begun August 27, 1787, and exhibited at the
Royal Academy in 1788. Originally painted for Alderman Boydell, and
purchased by Parliament in 1824. Now in the National Gallery, London.
Size: 4 ft. 8 in. by 3 ft. 8 in.

11. _Mrs. Payne-Gallwey and Child_ (Pickaback). Painted 1779. As late
as 1886 it was in the possession of Lord Monson, and is now owned by
J. Pierpont Morgan, Esq.

12. _Cupid as Link Boy._ The date is not certainly fixed, but it is
known that Reynolds was at work in the spring of 1771 upon some
subjects of this class, several of which were engraved in the period
1771-1777. In the possession of Alexander Henderson, Esq. Size: 2 ft.
5 in. by 2 ft.

13. _Hon. Anne Bingham._ Painted in 1786. In the possession of Earl
Spencer. Size: 2 ft. 5-1/2 in. by 2 ft. 1/2 in.

14. _The Strawberry Girl._ Painted for the Earl of Carysfort (50
guineas) and exhibited at the Royal Academy, 1773. As Reynolds
repeated the subject it is difficult to trace the history of the
original picture. The painting now in the Wallace Collection, Hertford
House, came from the Samuel Rogers Collection. Size: 2 ft. 5-3/4 in.
by 2 ft. 3/4 in.

15. _Samuel Johnson._ Painted for Mr. Thrale for the Streatham
Gallery, 1772. Now in the National Gallery, London. Size: 2 ft. 5-1/2
in. by 2 ft. 1 in.


1723. Reynolds born at Plympton, Devonshire, England, July 16.

1741-1743. Apprenticeship with the painter Thomas Hudson, London.

1743-1746. Residence in Devonshire.

1746. Portrait of Captain Hamilton first to attract attention.

Death of Reynolds's father.

1746-1749. Residence in Plymouth Docks.

1749-1752. Voyage in Centurion with Commodore Keppel; studies in
Italy; and return, via Paris, to London.

1752. Establishment of Reynolds in London as a portrait painter, with
apartments in St. Martin's Lane, Leicester Fields.

1753. Removal to Great Newport St.

Whole length portrait of Commodore Keppel by the Seashore, an
epoch-making picture in Reynolds's career.

1754-1760. Rapid advance of Reynolds to the foremost place as portrait

1756. Portrait of Horace Walpole; portrait of Samuel Johnson.

1758. Pocket Book gives list of 150 sitters.

1759. Two papers contributed to the Idler.

Pocket Book gives 140 sitters.

1760. Removal to handsome house, 47 Leicester Fields.

First exhibition of pictures by living artists, in room of Society for
Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce. Reynolds's
contributions, Elizabeth Duchess of Hamilton, Lady Elizabeth Keppel,
and two male portraits.

Names of 120 sitters recorded in Reynolds's Pocket Book.

1761. Exhibition of pictures at Society of Artists' rooms in Spring
Gardens. Some of Reynolds's contributions: Captain Orme leaning on his
Horse, Portrait of Laurence Sterne, and Countess Waldegrave.

1762. Visit to Devonshire with Dr. Samuel Johnson.

Exhibition in Spring Gardens. Some of Reynolds's contributions: Lady
Elizabeth Keppel as Bridesmaid, Countess Waldegrave and Child, and
Garrick between Tragedy and Comedy.

1763. Four portraits sent to Spring Gardens Exhibition, including
"Nelly O'Brien."

1764. Two portraits sent to Spring Gardens Exhibition.

Severe illness.

1764. Founding of Literary Club.

1765. Lady Sarah Bunbury sacrificing to the Graces, sent to Spring
Gardens Exhibition.

1766. Four pictures contributed to the Spring Gardens Exhibition.

Election to membership in the Dilettanti Society.

1768. Foundation of the Royal Academy with Reynolds as president, and
honor of knighthood conferred. Four pictures contributed to Spring
Gardens Exhibition, September.

Trip to Paris, September-October.

1769. First Discourse as President delivered before the Academy,

First Academy Exhibition opened in Pall Mall, April 26, with several
contributions from Reynolds.

Second Discourse delivered before the Academy, December 11.

1770. Royal Academy Exhibition in April, with several contributions
from Reynolds, including the Children in the Wood.

Visit in Devonshire, September-October.

Third Discourse delivered, December 14.

1771. Several pictures contributed to Academy Exhibition.

Northcote apprenticed to Reynolds.

Visit to Paris, August-September.

Fourth Discourse delivered, December 10.

1772. Several pictures contributed to the Academy Exhibition,
including Mrs. Crewe as St. Genevieve.

Election of Reynolds as Alderman of Plympton, September.

Fifth Discourse delivered, December 10.

1773. Twelve pictures contributed to Royal Academy Exhibition,
including the Strawberry Girl, the portrait of Joseph Banks, and

1773. Honorary degree of D. C. L. conferred by Oxford, July.

1774. Thirteen pictures contributed to Royal Academy Exhibition,
including Lady Cockburn and her Children, Three Ladies adorning a Term
of Hymen, and the Baby Princess Sophia, Duchess of Gloucester.

Sixth Discourse delivered, December 10.

1775. William Doughty received as pupil into Reynolds's home.

Twelve pictures contributed to the Royal Academy Exhibition, including
Mrs. Sheridan as St. Cecilia and a half-length portrait of Dr.
Robinson, primate of Ireland.

1776. Twelve pictures contributed to Royal Academy Exhibition,
including Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, and Master Crewe as Henry

Termination of Northcote's services.

Election to membership in Florentine Academy, and portrait painted for
the Uffizi Gallery.

Seventh Discourse delivered, December 10.

1777. Thirteen pictures contributed to Royal Academy Exhibition,
including Lady Caroline Montagu (Winter).

1777-1779. Two portrait groups for Dilettanti Society.

1778. Marlborough Family portrait exhibited at Royal Academy.

Eighth Discourse, December 10.

1779. Designs for windows of New College Chapel, Oxford, executed and
exhibited at Royal Academy; also portraits of Lady Louisa Manners and
Viscountess Crosbie.

1780. Removal of Royal Academy to Somerset House and exhibition of
Reynolds's portrait of Gibbon.

1780. Ninth Discourse delivered, October 16.

Tenth Discourse delivered, December 11.

1781. Fourteen pictures exhibited at Royal Academy, including Master
Bunbury, the Duchess of Rutland, and the design of Temperance for
Oxford window.

Journey to Holland and Flanders, July.

1782. Fifteen pictures exhibited at Royal Academy.

Second paralytic attack, and visit to Bath.

Eleventh Discourse delivered, December 10.

1783. Ten pictures exhibited at Royal Academy.

Visit to Antwerp and Brussels.

1783. Sixteen pictures exhibited at Royal Academy, including portrait
of Mrs. Siddons as Tragic Muse, Prince of Wales with Horse, Charles
James Fox.

Appointment as Court Painter.

Twelfth Discourse delivered, December 10.

1785. Sixteen pictures exhibited at Royal Academy.

Visit to Flanders to purchase pictures.

Commission from Empress Catherine of Russia for historical picture.

1786. Thirteen pictures exhibited at Royal Academy, including the Duke
of Orleans, John Hunter, the Duchess of Devonshire and Child.

Thirteenth Discourse delivered, December 10.

1787. Three illustrations contributed to Boydell's Shakespeare

Thirteen pictures exhibited at Royal Academy, including Angel Heads
and Master Philip York.

1788. Eighteen pictures sent to Royal Academy Exhibition, including
Lord Heathfield and the Infant Hercules.

Fourteenth Discourse, with Eulogy on Gainesborough.

1789. Portrait of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and "Simplicity."

1789. Loss of sight in left eye (_gutta serena_) and abandonment of

1790. Resignation from presidency of Royal Academy and from seat as

"Mrs. Billington as St. Cecilia" sent with other pictures to Academy

Fifteenth and Farewell Discourse delivered December 10.

1792. Death of Reynolds, February 23.



Thomas Hudson (1701-1779).
Richard Wilson (1714-1782).
John Opie (1761-1807).
George Romney (1734-1802).
Allan Ramsay (1713-1784).
Thomas Gainesborough (1727-1788).
Sir William Beechey (1753-1839).
James Barry (1741-1806).
Francis Cotes (1725-1770).

Pupils and Assistants:
Peter Toms.
Giuseppe Marchi.
Thomas Beach or Beech.
Hugh Barron.
James Northcote.


William Chambers.
George Michael Moser.
Francis Milner Newton.
Edward Penny.
Thomas Sandby.
Samuel Wade.
William Hunter.
*Francis Hayman.
George Barrett.
Francesco Bartolozzi.
Edward Burch.
*Agostino Carlini.
*Charles Catton.
Mason Chamberlin.
*J. Baptist Cipriani.
Richard Cosway.
John Gwynn.
William Hoare.
Nathaniel Hone.
Mrs. Angelica Kauffmann.
Jeremiah Meyer.
Mrs. Mary Moser.
Joseph Nollekens.
John Richards.
Paul Sandby.
Domenick Serres.
*Peter Toms.
William Tyler.
*Benjamin West.
*Richard Wilson.
Joseph Wilton.
Richard Yeo.
John Zoffanii.
*Francesco Zuccarelli.

[Footnote 1: The names starred were the artists who formed the first
staff of visiting critics.]


Earl of Holderness.
Lord Gowran.
Sir Everard Fawkener.
The Marquis of Granby.
Lord Eglinton.
Lord Anson.
Stuart, the painter.
Sir Charles Bunbury.
Lord Euston.
The Marquis of Hartington.
Dick Edgcumbe.
Captain George Edgcumbe.


Dr. Nugent.
Dr. Percy, afterwards Bishop of Dromore.
Sir Robert Chambers.
Sir John Hawkins.
Bennet Langton.
Hon. Topham Beauclerk.

[Footnote 2: The membership was afterwards successively increased to
thirty-five and forty.]



Somewhat over a century ago, at the time when our American colonies
were struggling for liberty, lived the great English portrait painter,
Sir Joshua Reynolds. In those days photography had not been invented,
and portrait painting was a profession patronized by all classes of
people. There were many portrait studios in London, but none were so
fashionable as that of Reynolds.

It is said that in his long life he painted as many as three thousand
portraits. There was scarcely a distinguished man or beautiful woman
in the kingdom who did not sit to him, and many were the children
whose portraits he painted. If all his works could be brought together
they would form a complete historical gallery of the reign of George
III. Here we should see princes, statesmen, and warriors, actors and
poets, court beauties and "blue stockings," the petted children of the
rich, and the picturesque waifs of the London streets. Among the faces
we should find those, like Fox and Burke, whose lives were intimately
connected with the destinies of our own nation, and those, like
Goldsmith and Johnson, whose names are familiar in our schools and
homes. There is something about these portraits which makes them seem
alive, something too which gives to the plainest person a certain
dignity and interest.

With all the variety of subjects which Reynolds treated he was never
happier than when painting children. He loved them dearly, delighted
to play with them, and seemed to understand them as few grown people
do. In his great octagonal painting room were many things to amuse his
little friends, and a portrait sitting there usually meant a frolic.

Penelope Boothby is the name of the little girl in our illustration,
and the old-fashioned name is precisely suited to the quaint figure in
cap and mitts. We are reminded of that Penelope of the old Greek poem,
the Odyssey, who waited so faithfully through the years for the return
of her husband Odysseus from the Trojan war. The story runs that,
believing Odysseus to be dead, many suitors begged her hand, but she
always replied that before marrying she must first complete the shroud
she was making for her aged father-in-law. Every day she busied
herself with the task, but when night came she secretly undid all that
she had wrought through the day, so that it might never reach
completion. Thus she prolonged the time of waiting until at last
Odysseus returned to claim his wife.

Whether or not the little Penelope of our picture knew this story we
cannot say, but it was the fashion of the times to revive the names
and legends of mythology, and Penelope was a name which had come to
stand for all the domestic virtues.

[Illustration: PENELOPE BOOTHBY]

As we look at the picture for the first time the quaint costume of the
little girl suggests the idea that she is dressed for a tableau.
Children the world over love to don the clothes of a past generation
and play at men and women. Miss Penelope, we fancy, has been
ransacking some old chest of faded finery, and has arrayed herself in
the character of "Martha Washington," as painted by Gilbert Stuart.
The snowy kerchief folded across her bosom and the big mob cap on her
head are precisely like those in the portraits of the colonial lady.
The child purses her lips together primly and folds her hands in a
demure attitude in her lap, as if to play her part well, but she is
far too shy to look us directly in the face, and glances aside with
downcast eyes.

All this illusion is dispelled when we come to study the customs of
the period. It appears that children then, both in England and
America, dressed precisely like their elders, and Penelope's costume
here is doubtless such as she wore every day. A little Boston girl,
Anna Green Winslow, wrote in her diary in 1771 of wearing a cap and
black mitts which we fancy were not unlike these. There are portraits,
too, of other little girls of the time, wearing the same huge
headdress, as we may see in the family group of the Copleys in the
Boston Art Museum.

Penelope was the only child of Sir Brooke Boothby, and, as we may well
believe from her winsome face, the darling of the household. Her home
was a fine mansion buried among trees in the beautiful English
country. She was, we fancy, a quiet little girl, preferring a corner
with her dolls to any boisterous romp, but not without a bit of fun in
her nature. She was an affectionate little creature, and very fond of
her father, watching at the gate for his return home, and sitting on
his knee in the evening. On Sunday mornings she went to the quaint old
church of Ashbourne and knelt beside her mother in the service.

All this and much more we learn from a book written by her father
which bears the pathetic title of "Sorrows." For little Penelope died
at the age of seven, and the stricken parent solaced himself in his
loneliness by writing the memories of his darling.

The portrait by Reynolds was made when the child was four years old.
After her death, Fuseli painted a picture representing her borne to
heaven by an angel. There is also a lovely marble monument to
Penelope, by Banks, in the Ashbourne church.[3]

[Footnote 3: See Mrs. Rebecca Harding Davis's article in _St.
Nicholas_, November, 1875, "About the Painter of Little Penelope."]



There was once on the throne of England a king named Henry VIII. He
was a man of extraordinary character, with qualities both good and
bad. His conduct was sometimes unscrupulous and tyrannical, and he let
nothing interfere with his own pleasure. Nevertheless his reign
brought many benefits to England, and his memory is respected by
English people.

In his early manhood, Henry was accounted the handsomest prince of his
time, but allowance must be made for the flattery of his subjects. He
was a big, rather coarse-looking man, with small eyes, and a large
face and double chin. For his noisy ways and rough manners he has been
familiarly called "Bluff King Hal" and "Burly King Harry." He was fond
of the hunt and the tournament and all kinds of manly exercise. He was
also much given to show and display, and loved rich dresses.

He employed as his court painter the celebrated Dutch artist Holbein,
who made various portraits of the members of the royal family. There
was one particularly fine group which was unfortunately destroyed by
fire, but as a copy had previously been made we still know what the
picture was like.

Henry VIII. had been dead some two hundred years before the Master
Crewe of our picture was born, but English kings are not allowed to be
forgotten. Successive generations of children were shown Holbein's
portraits of the bluff old ruler, and were taught something about his

It happened one time that the children of Master Crewe's acquaintance
had a fancy dress party. The Crewes were people of fashion who entered
constantly into social affairs. Naturally there was much discussion
over their son's part and costume. It was a happy thought which fixed
upon the character of Henry VIII., for the boy's round face, square
shoulders, and sturdy frame were well fitted for the rôle.

Evidently no pains were spared to make the costume historically
correct. Holbein's portrait was the costumer's model, and every detail
was faithfully followed. The boy is dressed in the fashion of the
sixteenth century in "doublet and hose." This consists first of a
richly embroidered waistcoat, the most effective part of the dress.
The sleeves are made of the same material and are gathered at the
wrists in a ruffle. The lower part of the doublet is a skirt falling
just above the knees.


Over all is flung a handsome mantle; but this is drawn apart in front
to display the smart waistcoat to full advantage. A broad-brimmed hat
set jauntily on one side, and trimmed with a long feather, completes
the costume. By way of ornament is worn a big jewelled collar and a
long chain with locket. A short sword swings from the girdle, and
on the left leg is the garter, which is the badge of membership in the
ancient Order of the Garter, of which Henry VIII. was the tenth
sovereign member. This is of dark blue ribbon edged with gold, and
bearing in gold letters the motto "Honi soit qui mal y pense".[4]

[Footnote 4: Evil to him who evil thinks.]

It is one thing to have a perfect costume, and another to understand
the rôle. Master Crewe not only looks his part, but he acts it as
well. He has not failed to take in all the points of the portrait, and
imitates the pompous attitude to perfection. He stands with feet wide
apart, grasping his gloves in the right hand and supporting the other
on the sash.

He is a bright boy, who enters into the spirit of the game, and it
tickles him hugely to play the part of a despot. But while he is Henry
VIII. in miniature, he is Henry VIII. without the king's coarseness,
and in the place is a child's innocent pleasure. It was no wonder that
his parents, delighted with the success of the costume, wished to have
a portrait made.

The boy is painted as he appeared when posing for his admiring
friends. In his effort to assume a lordly air his boyish glee gets the
better of him, and he belies the character by a broad grin. Perhaps he
has caught the twinkle in his father's eye, or his mother's suppressed
smile, and he can keep serious no longer. "Bravo!" cries the audience,
and he smiles in innocent delight at his success.

His pet dogs are in the room, and one of them is rather suspicious of
this strange young prince. He sniffs cautiously at his legs, for
though his eyes deceive him, his sense of smell cannot be mistaken.

Through a window in the rear we get a glimpse of the park beyond,
which adds much to the beauty of the picture. As we shall see in other
pictures of this collection[5] an interior gives a sense of
imprisonment unless it contains some opening. The mass of bright color
which the landscape makes in the upper right corner is balanced in the
lower left corner by a cloak thrown over a chair.

[Footnote 5: See Lady Cockburn and her Children, and the Duchess of
Devonshire and her Child.]

Reynolds painted so many fine portraits of boys that it is hard to say
that this or that one is best, though some have preferred Master Crewe
to all others.[6] We shall see by-and-by in Master Bunbury, and the
Cupid, that the painter understood boy nature pretty thoroughly. This
rollicking Master Crewe is not so serious as Master Bunbury, nor so
sly as the Cupid boy; he is in fact a typical English lad, sturdy,
masterful, frank, and good-natured.

[Footnote 6: Leslie and Taylor say that "none of his many admirable
boy pictures is so consummate."]



A pretty story is told of a Roman matron named Cornelia, who was one
day entertaining a visitor, when the conversation led to the subject
of jewels. "These are my jewels," said the hostess, and turned to show
the stranger her beautiful children. The story comes readily to mind
as one looks at this portrait of Lady Cockburn and her Children.
Indeed, the picture was once engraved[7] under the fanciful title of
"Cornelia and her Children." Like the Roman matron of old, the English
mother gathers her children about her as the choicest jewels of her
possession. Her stately beauty is of the classic sort, and the
children are as charming as English children are reputed to be.

[Footnote 7: By Tomkins, in 1792.]

All three are boys. The eldest is James, who kneels on his mother's
lap, playfully grasping the mantle about her neck, and supported in
his precarious position by her hand placed firmly on his back. He has
the sweet expression which betokens a sunny nature, and his well-cut
features are such as make a handsome man. He was his father's heir and
namesake, succeeding him as the seventh baronet.

The rogue peeping over his mother's shoulder is George. Though his
features are less regular than his elder brother's, he is none the
less attractive, for he is a jolly little fellow. When he grew to
manhood he entered the navy and became an admiral. It was on his ship,
the Northumberland, that Napoleon was conveyed to the island of St.
Helena to end his days in exile. In the course of time Admiral
Cockburn became the eighth baronet of the name.

The baby lying on the mother's lap is William. In after years he
entered the ministry, married a daughter of Sir Robert Peel, and
became Dean of York. It was fitting that one of Lady Cockburn's sons
should enter the Church, as her father, Dr. Ayscough, had been Dean of
Bristol. Upon the death of his elder brother, the Dean of York became
the ninth baronet.

The picture shows the three children in a game of hide-and-seek.
George, who is evidently the leader of the fun, dodges up and down
behind his mother, throwing little William into an ecstasy of delight.
As the round face appears again over the shoulder, the baby reaches up
his fat little hand to clutch his brother's arm, fairly doubling
himself up in his pleasure, and grasping one foot in his other hand.

James enjoys the play more quietly. It is quite likely that he has
been hiding his face in his mother's mantle, but now he pauses to
watch his little brother's amusement, his lips parted in a smile, his
finger directing the baby where to look.


The mother turns her face towards that of her eldest son, scanning it

The action in the picture is so delightfully natural that we do not at
first realize how difficult a problem is solved in the arrangement of
the four figures. An amateur photographer places his sitters in a
stiff row and directs them all to look towards a single point. The
master artist conceives of some action which shall engage the
attention of all, and form a natural connection between them. Thus, in
our picture, the interest of the game binds the figures together. The
baby lifts his face to that of the mother and brother; the mother
turns to the child at her right, and the latter looks down at the
baby, thus completing the circle.

The lines of the composition are also so disposed as to bring the
figures together in a close unity. Follow the outer edge of the figure
of James at the left; trace across the mother's lap the line made by
the border of her mantle, and continued along the baby's body. From
the mother's elbow move the pencil past the baby's head and along his
out-stretched arm till the line ends at the top of George's head, and
from this point carry a somewhat irregular line across to the head of
James. We have thus traced the parallelogram which incloses the group.

The centre of the group is somewhat at the left of the centre of the
canvas, and the picture would seem one-sided were it not for the
details of the background at the right. Here the painter has
represented a parapet supporting a marble pillar, at the base of
which a large macaw perches. Beyond is seen a beautiful landscape.
This spot of color brings the composition into perfect balance. More
than this, the view thus opened relieves the crowded effect of the
compact grouping. The surrounding space would not seem large enough
for the four figures were it not for this added depth of space, which
gives the eye a long distance to traverse.

The composition is as fine in color as it is in lines and masses. It
is a "splendid tawny color harmony, formed by the red of the curtain,
the warm flesh tints, the rich orange yellow of the outer robe of
satin bordered with white fur, and the gaudy plumage of the macaw".[8]

[Footnote 8: Claude Phillips.]

With so many great artistic qualities, it is no wonder that the
portrait has always been admired. Upon its completion in 1774 it was
sent to the Royal Academy to be exhibited, and when it was first
brought into the room, all the painters present, struck with
admiration, burst into a tumult of applause and handclapping. Even
after this the painstaking painter probably added some finishing
touches and inscribed his name and the date, 1775, upon the ornamental
border of the lady's mantle.



A little girl and her dog are playing together in a wooded park. The
place is a fine playground, with its soft, grassy carpet, and noble
old trees. It is the sort of park which adjoins country houses of
wealthy old English families, where years of training have brought to
perfection the trees planted by previous generations. Here and there,
through spaces among the branches, shafts of sunlight illumine the
shady spot.

The child herself seems like some woodland sprite. She is bubbling
over with fun, and is scarcely still a minute. Her spaniel is a gay
playfellow,--a beautiful creature, with long silky hair and drooping
ears. He is intelligent, too, and devoted to his mistress.

She leads him a merry chase, darting in and out among the big trees
which hide her from him. He bounds after her, loses her a moment, and
then, as she reappears, leaps upon her with delight.

In the midst of the frolic the child's attention is attracted by a
group of boys who have entered the park, all unobserved, and have
begun a game of cricket. On the instant she drops on her knees on the
grass, seizes the dog, and, lest he should interrupt the sport,
clasps her arms tight around his neck, to hold him fast. The poor
spaniel is nearly choked, but patiently yields to the caprice of his
young mistress while she watches the game with dancing eyes. From her
gleeful expression one would fancy that the winner was her favorite.

Some such simple incident as this Sir Joshua Reynolds must have had in
mind when painting the portrait of Miss Bowles; for every picture of
his seems to carry a story with it, each one thought out to fit the
circumstances and character of the sitter. The lively Miss Bowles, as
we see, is totally unlike the demure Miss Boothby. They are both
charming children; but, while Penelope would love to nestle in her
mother's arms, Miss Bowles would dance coyly away. While Penelope
would sit in doors by the hour, contented with her sewing, Miss Bowles
would be skipping about the park like a little hoyden. The picture of
Miss Bowles is, therefore, full of action; both child and dog pause
only an instant, caught, as it were, in the midst of their play. The
attitude of Penelope Boothby, on the other hand, is one of repose, as
suits the tranquil nature of the little girl. The background of each
picture is likewise perfectly appropriate. Miss Penelope's placid
figure is seen against a leafy screen which nearly closes in the
picture; but Miss Bowles needs plenty of space for her romps, and has
a whole park to herself.

The painter's acquaintance with little Miss Bowles began very
pleasantly. Her parents, proud of their lovely daughter, were
planning to have her portrait made, and had chosen Romney for the
painter. A friend of theirs--Sir George Beaumont--induced them to
change their minds and engage Reynolds. Even if the portrait faded in
time, as they were afraid it might, Sir Joshua's pictures sometimes
having that fault, it would still be more beautiful than if painted by
any other hand.

[Illustration: MISS BOWLES]

At Sir George's suggestion the painter was first invited to dinner,
that he might see the child. She appeared at dessert, and was placed
beside the stranger at the table. It did not take long for the two to
become acquainted, for the painter immediately began to amuse the
little girl with stories and all sorts of tricks. Calling her
attention to some object on the other side of the room, he would steal
her plate while she was looking away, and pretend to be greatly
surprised at its disappearance. They would then try to find it, but in
vain, until, when she was again off her guard, he would slip it into
place, and there would be a great sensation over its discovery. Was
there ever a jollier man for a little girl to dine with!

The next day it was proposed that Miss Bowles should be taken to visit
her new friend, and she was of course delighted to go. When the party
reached the studio, the child's face was shining with expectancy as
she greeted the painter. It was this expression which Reynolds has
caught so perfectly on his canvas, and which makes the little girl's
face seem actually smiling into ours.

He was equally successful in catching a natural pose, watching her
closely as she danced about the room. It was a theory of his that the
unconscious movements of a child are always graceful, and we may be
sure that Miss Bowles's position here is one of her own invention. Her
skirt is spread out a little at one side, balancing, as it were, the
figure of the dog opposite. The lines inclosing the entire group form
a pyramid.

The original painting is still beautiful in color, being among the
best preserved of Reynolds's works. Critics have pronounced it a
"matchless work that would have immortalized Reynolds had he never
painted anything else."



By a pleasant coincidence the year 1768 brought to Reynolds's studio
for portrait sittings two young people who began an acquaintance at
this time which had a romantic ending. They were Miss Catherine
Horneck and Henry William Bunbury, who were married a few years later,
and were the parents of the little boy in our picture.

Miss Horneck was one of two pretty sisters who, upon their father's
death, had become wards of Sir Joshua, the family being old Devonshire
acquaintances of his. They were now living in London with their
mother, and were great pets in society. Goldsmith, who knew them well,
playfully named Miss Catherine "Little Comedy" from the resemblance
between her face and that of the allegorical figure of Comedy in one
of Reynolds's portraits of Garrick.

Mr. Bunbury was a gentleman of family and fortune, who had unusual
artistic talent. His special forte was in humorous subjects and
caricatures, and his works were sought and praised by connoisseurs.

Reynolds must have followed with affectionate interest the lives of
these young friends whose attachment had been fostered in his studio.
He always felt a fatherly regard for Mrs. Bunbury and a generous
admiration for her husband's artistic work. Their elder son, the boy
of our picture, was born in 1772, and was named Charles John. The
painter visiting his friends saw the child grow out of baby-hood and
become a sturdy boy. He was a beautiful child, with large eyes set
wide apart in his round face. His expression was delightfully frank
and honest. When he was nine years old the portrait was painted which
is reproduced in our illustration.

The boy sits under a tree in a pleasant landscape looking intently
before him at some object. Though he seems to have been carefully
dressed for some special occasion he has been enjoying himself in boy
fashion in spite of that. His ringletted hair is blown about by the
wind, and the coat is unbuttoned at the throat, as he drops down to
rest, hot and panting from some vigorous exercise.

His chubby hands rest on his knees, and his eyes are fixed on
something directly in front of him. He does not seem to be a boy given
to day-dreaming, and he is much too active to sit still a long time.
It must be something very interesting which awakens his curiosity.
Perhaps a bumble-bee, buzzing in and out the bell-shaped blossoms of
some sweet wild flower, catches his eye, and he almost holds his
breath and watches it.

[Illustration: MASTER BUNBURY]

The boy's dress looks very quaint to our modern eyes. The trousers and
waistcoat are made "in one piece," and the velvet coat, with its wide
skirt, seems a garment made for a middle-aged man. As we have
already seen, the children of this time dressed as miniature copies of
their elders. But while fashions in dress have changed, the child's
nature is about the same in every country and period. The
eighteenth-century boy, in spite of his grown-up clothes, was fond of
all sorts of out-of-door games. Master Bunbury could doubtless match a
boy of his age to-day at marbles, tops, kites, battledore, and
hop-scotch, and teach him besides many now-forgotten sports, as
"bally-cally," "chucks," "sinks," and the like.

The modern American schoolboy, studying the history of our own
country, may be interested to know that this portrait of an English
boy, who was a subject of George III., was painted five years after
the signing of the Declaration of Independence. One of the signers had
a son who was of nearly the same age as Master Bunbury, a boy named
William Henry Harrison, who afterwards became the president of our
republic. If we possessed a portrait of Harrison at the age of nine,
it would be interesting to compare the two boyish contemporaries of
the old and the new country. Master Bunbury, as the son of an English
aristocrat, must needs have regarded our colonists as troublesome
rebels, while on his part young Harrison looked upon the English as

Bunbury finally entered the English army and became a general officer.
He was sent to the Cape of Good Hope while the British were holding
possession there in behalf of the Dutch, and there he died in the
fullness of his early manhood in 1798.

The portrait of Master Bunbury was painted a few years after that of
Miss Bowles, and Reynolds here repeated the same arrangement which had
been so successful before. It differs only in that the entire figure
of Master Bunbury is not seen, being cut off in what is called three
quarters length, just below the knees. In both pictures the lines of
the composition follow the same pyramidal form, and in both also the
park-like surroundings extend into an indefinite distance, so that the
eye may follow with pleasure the long vista. Both pictures suggest the
same idea of a child pausing in play to look directly out of the
canvas at some distant object. Yet the painter has shown a perfect
understanding of the difference in the temperament of the two
children, the girl, graceful, quick, mischievous, the boy, sturdy,
rather serious, and with a mind eager for information.

The portrait of Master Bunbury was evidently painted by Reynolds for
his own pleasure, and retained by him during his lifetime, after which
it passed by bequest to the boy's mother.



The name of Mrs. Siddons is one of the most distinguished in the
history of English dramatic art. For thirty years she was unsurpassed
in her impersonation of the tragic heroines of Shakespeare. Her first
great success was in the season of 1782, when she appeared for the
second time on the London stage. She was then about twenty-seven years
of age, and had devoted years of arduous study to her profession.
Though gifted by nature with strong dramatic instincts inherited from
generations of players, her powers developed slowly. The rôles which
she acted were of the more serious sort, which required maturity and
experience for interpretation. Her personal appearance was eminently
fitted for tragic parts. She had a queenly presence, a countenance
moulded in noble lines, a deep-toned measured voice, and an impressive
enunciation. In private as well as in public she commanded the highest
admiration. Though all London was at her feet flattery could not spoil
her. Her children adored her, her friends found her the soul of
sincerity, and all the world honored her noble womanhood.

It was while she was still on the threshold of her great career that
Reynolds painted her portrait as the Tragic Muse.

In the old Greek mythology every art had a corresponding goddess or
muse who inspired the artistic instincts in human hearts. There was,
for instance, a muse of tragedy, called Melpomene, a muse of the
dance, Terpsichore, and so on through the nine arts. The great
sculptors used to make statues of these muses, trying to express in
each the highest ideal of the particular art represented.

It was in imitation of this old custom that Reynolds conceived the
idea that Mrs. Siddons, as the greatest of tragediennes, would
appropriately impersonate the muse of tragedy.[9] The story is related
that when she came to his studio for the first sitting the painter
took her by the hand and led her to the chair, saying in his courtly
way: "Ascend your undisputed throne; bestow on me some idea of the
tragic muse." Whereupon she instantly assumed the attitude in which
she was painted. Among Michelangelo's frescoes in the Sistine Chapel
there is a figure of the prophet Isaiah, whose pose is quite similar,
and may have suggested both to painter and sitter the idea of the
Tragic Muse. In any case the attitude which Mrs. Siddons assumes is
entirely characteristic.

[Footnote 9: Russell had already celebrated Mrs. Siddons as the Tragic
Muse in his History of Modern Europe, and Romney had previously
painted Mrs. Yates in the same character.]


The expression of her face shows the stress of strong emotion--the
struggle of a noble soul in a conflict of forces which must end in
tragedy. Her hair is brushed back from the face and ornamented with
a tiara like a royal diadem. A rich rope of pearls falls across her
beautiful neck and is gathered in a knot on her bodice. A mantle lies
across her lap draped somewhat like that in the portrait of Lady
Cockburn, and, like it, inscribed with the name of the painter, who
gallantly said that "he could not resist the opportunity of going down
to posterity on the hem of her garment".[10]

[Footnote 10: The compliment has sometimes been referred to the
portrait of Lady Cockburn, but the incident is related by Northcote as
told him by Mrs. Siddons herself in regard to her own portrait.]

Behind her chair are two allegorical figures representing Crime and
Remorse, the two primary causes of tragedy. In the full face of the
one at her left we can trace the features of Sir Joshua himself,
distorted though they are into the expression of a criminal.

The color of the original painting has a sombre magnificence which is
in keeping with the seriousness of the subject. The painting of the
head and bust places it among the finest works of Reynolds.

The portrait shows a remarkable insight on the part of the painter
into the character of Mrs. Siddons. She had not at that time played
any of her great Shakespearean rôles, but Reynolds seemed to
anticipate her power. He followed her career with unfailing interest
and always made a point of attending her first appearances and
benefits, sitting among the musicians in the orchestra. When she
prepared for the character of Lady Macbeth he helped her plan the
costumes and sat rapt and breathless during her first performance.
This was generally considered her grandest effort, and she used
herself to say that after playing it thirty years she never read over
the part without discovering in it something new. In this character
she bade farewell to her profession June 29, 1812. It was said by a
contemporary critic that "there was not a height of grandeur to which
she could not soar, nor a darkness of misery to which she could not
descend; not a chord of feeling from the sternest to the most delicate
which she could not cause to vibrate at her will."



Our thoughts of angels are naturally connected with thoughts of
children. Jesus once spoke of the little ones as those whose angels
always behold the face of the heavenly Father. Their innocence is the
best type we have on earth of the purity of beings of a higher sphere.
Often when we try to describe the beauty of some little child, we use
the word angelic.

This explains why Sir Joshua Reynolds when called to paint the
portrait of a little girl conceived the pretty fancy of the picture of
Angels' Heads.[11] The child's fair face suggested that of an angel.
She had golden hair and blue eyes, and a very sweet little mouth. It
was a face which was so charming from every point of view that he
painted it in five positions. Grouping the heads in a circle, he added
wings after the manner of the cherubs of the old Italian masters,
surrounded them with clouds, and lighted the composition with a broad
ray of light streaming diagonally across the canvas.

[Footnote 11: Originally called A Cherub Head in Different Views.]

The child's hair falls about the face in straight dishevelled locks,
and it is not easy to tell at once whether it is a boy or a girl. In
reality the original was little Miss Frances Isabella Ker Gordon,
only child of Lord William Gordon and his wife Frances.

In each position of the five heads the expression varies, and looking
from one to another, we may trace through the series the child's
changing moods. Let each face tell its own story, and perhaps we may
learn something of the workings of the mind behind it.

Here at the lower left side the child suddenly sees some new object, a
strange bird or flower, and fixes her eyes upon it. She has a wide
awake, inquiring mind, quick to notice all that life has to offer, and
she is now in an observing mood. The expression of the face just above
is very thoughtful and perhaps a little puzzled. Life brings many hard
questions to the serious child, and this is one of the little girl's
pensive moods. The two upper faces at the right show quite another
expression. The lips of both are parted, and they seem to be singing.
One is reminded of the rapturous faces sometimes seen among choir boys
when the music lifts them out of their surroundings. All childish
troubles and questions are forgotten, as the two faces, flooded with
light, seem to look into the glory of heaven.

And now the head is turned and the child gazes directly out of the
picture with far-seeing eyes. The expression is of perfect
contentment. It will be noticed that the position of the last head is
precisely like that of Master Bunbury, and there are points of
resemblance between the two faces. The mood and expression are,
however, quite unlike in the two children. The boy's eyes are
directed towards some actual object, but the eyes of the child here
are those of a dreamer fixed upon some vision of the imagination.

[Illustration: ANGELS' HEADS]

A portrait study like the Angels' Heads combines in a novel way the
many-sided character of the child. The mother watching a little
daughter from day to day feels that she has half a dozen little girls
in one. A romp, a chatterbox, a living question mark, a philosopher, a
dreamer, a veritable angel, all these and many more change places
rapidly in the child's mood. She is taken to the photographer's for
her portrait, and the negative shows only a sober little face intently
anxious to look pleasant. A more fortunate photographer may perhaps
catch her expression of eager interest as some curious new toy is
shown her. But that innocent smile of happiness that comes into her
face when singing, or that far-away look of the dreamer which she
wears in the quiet twilight, is quite beyond the photographer's skill.

Reynolds knew the secret of representing these rarer and more delicate
expressions. He was by nature a true lover of children, and many years
of experience had taught him to understand their ways. Lady Gordon
must have felt rich indeed to have instead of one commonplace picture
five of the dearest faces her little girl could show, preserved on a
single canvas.

It is true that something of the child's individuality is lost by the
sacrifice of the figure. When we look at the other child portraits of
our collection we notice how much is expressed in the attitude and
gesture of which we here have no indication. Yet the picture shows how
truly the face is "a mirror of the soul," and as an interpretation of
the child's mind it is unique among Reynolds's works.

The original picture is painted in very delicate colors, and is one of
the best preserved of Reynolds's canvases. Miss Frances died unmarried
in 1831, and ten years later her mother presented the picture to the
English National Gallery.



Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, was one of the most celebrated
beauties of her time. She was the daughter of the Earl of Spencer, and
was married[12] at the age of seventeen to William, Duke of
Devonshire, "the first match in England".

[Footnote 12: March 28, 1774.]

The young duchess was as clever as she was beautiful. She was fond of
history, music and drawing, and she wrote verses both in French and
English.[13] She was an ardent admirer of the great Johnson, and in a
circle of his listeners hung with breathless interest upon his
conversation. Her charming manners, her wit, wealth, and rank drew a
host of admirers about her, and she became the leader of English
society. Whatever the Duchess of Devonshire did, or whatever the
Duchess of Devonshire wore, at once became the fashion. She opened the
fashionable balls, she was a leading spirit in the Ladies' Club, and
she set the standard for the height of headdresses and the length of

[Footnote 13: A long poem by the Duchess was "The Passage over Mt.
Gothard," celebrated in Coleridge's Ode to Georgiana.]

She was not content with merely social triumphs, but her influence
reached even into politics. Her most remarkable political exploit was
to secure the reëlection of Charles James Fox to Parliament (1784)
from the borough of Westminster. For this she has sometimes been
called "Fox's Duchess," but she is usually known as "the beautiful

Sir Joshua Reynolds was among the fortunate number upon whom the
beautiful Duchess bestowed her smiles. He had first painted her
portrait in her girlhood and again as a young wife but two years
married (1776). He was afterwards often honored with invitations to
her house and enjoyed the hospitality of her brilliant entertainments.

At length (June, 1784) a daughter was born to the Duke and Duchess of
Devonshire, whom they christened Georgiana Dorothy. The parents were
so happy in their baby that the mother founded a charitable school in
her honor. The child was a winning little creature, round and rosy and
full of spirits. When she was about two years old the Duchess again
called her former portrait painter's services into use, desiring a
picture of herself and daughter.

By this time, the girlish beauty of the Duchess had faded, and her
slender figure had become somewhat stout. But the new grace of
motherhood was now added to her other charms. As she had been the
model of fashion for all the ladies of England in matter of dress, she
now became a model of motherhood for their imitation. Fashionable
women usually gave over the care and nourishment of their children to
nurses, but the Duchess of Devonshire took upon herself these
tender maternal duties. Thus mother and child were constantly together
and became boon companions. The Duchess had a very lively nature, and
a child could not wish a gayer playmate.


It is in one of their merry romps together that the painter has
represented them. The mother is sitting on a sofa with the child on
her knee, and the two are playing the old game of Ride a Cock Horse to
Banbury Cross. To and fro on her imaginary steed swings the little
rider, supported by the encircling arm of the mother. It is rare
sport, and the child kicks her bare feet and throws up her chubby arms
gleefully. We can fancy we hear the baby voice gurgling with delight,
and the mother smiles at the child's pleasure.

Some years afterward, the poet Coleridge, writing an ode to the
beautiful Duchess, pays a tribute to her motherhood which forms a
fitting comment on our picture:--

    "You were a mother! at your bosom fed
    The babes that loved you.
    You, with laughing eyes,
    Each twilight thought,
    Each nascent feeling read
    Which you yourself created."

It is interesting to compare the picture with that of Lady Cockburn
and her Children which we have already studied. The lighting is
managed in the same way, a curtain being drawn aside at the right,
that we may look beyond the parapet into the open.

It is an important principle in art that in representing any inclosed
space like the interior of a room, there should be some device for
increasing the length of the perspective. The imagination delights in
distance, and feels imprisoned where there is no opening in an

The principal lines of this composition run diagonally from corner to
corner, intersecting in the centre. Some of these are so clearly
defined that we can easily trace them. One extends from the uplifted
right hand of the Duchess across the slanting line of her bodice and
along the lower edge of the child's frock. The lines of her left arm
run parallel with this. In the other direction the uplifted arms of
the baby, as well as the edge of the curtain, indicate the lines which
cross these.



We have naturally come to think of Reynolds as chiefly a portrait
painter. It was, indeed, by his work in portraiture that his name
ranks among the great masters. Yet he made various interesting
excursions into other fields. We may see what charming fancy pictures
he sometimes painted in Cupid as Link Boy and The Strawberry Girl.
Historical pictures he also attempted, but not so successfully.
Religious and allegorical subjects he tried occasionally, and it is to
illustrate his work of this kind that our picture of Hope is chosen.

The figure is a part of a large decorative scheme for a stained
window. The central compartment is devoted to the subject of the
Nativity, and shows a group of the Virgin mother with the Christ child
in the manger, Joseph and the angels. In imitation of Correggio's
famous painting of the same subject, called the _Notte_, the light of
the picture proceeds from the Babe. Two smaller compartments on either
side are filled with shepherds coming to worship. Below is a series of
seven panels, containing the figures of Faith, Hope, and Charity, and
the four cardinal virtues--Temperance, Justice, Fortitude, and

This plan of subjects was made by Reynolds early in 1778, to meet an
order from New College, Oxford, for a window design to be executed for
their chapel. Hope was one of the first figures that he painted, and
in 1779 he was ready to exhibit, at the Royal Academy, the Nativity,
with Faith, Hope, and Charity.

The three fundamental elements of Christian character have been
associated together ever since the fifteenth chapter of first
Corinthians was written. Artists and poets have had a fashion of
personifying them as allegorical figures. Certain symbols have even
been invented to correspond to each--the cross for faith, the anchor
for hope, and the heart for charity. Thus the imagination has been
called to the aid of religion in impressing Christian teaching.

Reynolds tried to put into this figure the various qualities which
make up our thought of hope. A pretty young woman steps forth from a
region of clouds and lifts her face and hands towards the light.
Through an opening in the sky a broad beam of sunshine falls upon her.
Following its direction, she seems to be looking through the opening
into some glad vision beyond. Like the figure of Hope in Swinburne's
sonnet, she

    "Looks Godward, past the shades where blind men grope
    Round the dark door that prayers nor dreams can ope,
    And makes for joy the very darkness dear."

In the lower left-hand corner we may barely make out the portion of an
anchor. The meaning of the old symbol is that hope keeps the soul
firm, as an anchor holds the ship. The face of which we have a glimpse
is girlish and innocent; the figure is full of buoyancy. The left arm
and the uplifted hands are very delicately modelled.

[Illustration: HOPE]

In a painting of this kind the artist is free to follow his own bent
in the matter of dress, no longer hampered, as in his portraits, by
the follies of fashion. It is delightful to see here the exquisite
simplicity of the gown falling in long, beautiful lines. The only
adornment is a gauzy scarf, twisted about the bodice and falling on
each side in spiral folds. One is reminded of the swirling scarfs in
our American Vedder's designs, having, as here, a purely decorative
purpose in the scheme. The hair is gathered up on the head in a loose
knot, from which the end escapes in a curl.

We are not looking here for any strong delineation of character, as in
a portrait, and the painter did not even think it worth while to show
much of Hope's face. The panel is to be studied as a work of
decorative art, and its beauty lies in its scheme of color, the
contrast of light and shade, and the graceful patterns traced by the
lines. These are drawn in long flowing curves. The strongest are those
which run from the upper left to the lower right corner, to emphasize
the motion of the figure towards the left. The outline of the cloud
billows which separate the light from the darkness are counter curves
cutting across diagonally.

We could appreciate the lines of the panel even better if we could
see it in its relation to the entire plan. Each figure is drawn with
reference to its place in the great design. Though there are so many
component parts, they unite to form a coherent whole, the main lines
flowing together in a harmonious unity.

Reynolds's design was executed by the glass painter Jervas; but when
the window was set in place it was a great disappointment. The colors
are opaque, and can properly be seen only in a darkened room; with the
light falling through them they are at a great disadvantage.
Nevertheless the window is a matter of great pride to the fortunate
college which possesses it. The original designs, instead of being
black and white cartoons, as another artist might have made them, are
finished paintings in oil.



Lord Heathfield, the original of this portrait by Reynolds, is famous
in English history as the hero of the siege of Gibraltar. Gibraltar,
as is well known, is that great rock on the coast of Spain,
overlooking the narrow strait which forms the passage between the
Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. In the affairs of nations
this rock occupies a position of great importance, forming, as it
were, a "key to the Mediterranean." The Strait of Gibraltar is the
gateway through which all ships must pass to gain the ports of
southern Europe, and it is therefore a matter of moment to all the
civilized world what nation holds possession there. Nature has made
the rock a fortress, and military inventions have been added, through
the centuries, to strengthen its defences. It has been the scene of
some fearful conflicts.

Gibraltar once belonged to Spain; but, by the fortunes of war, it fell
into the possession of the English early in the eighteenth century.
Various attempts were made to recover it, but the most determined was
that of 1779, when the combined land and sea forces of France and
Spain were brought to bear upon it. The struggle lasted over three
years; but, in the end, the English were victorious, and they have
retained the fortress to this day.

The governor in command at that time was General Elliott, who was
afterwards rewarded for his services here by being raised to the
peerage as Lord Heathfield. General Elliott was already well known as
a gallant officer. He had served in the war of Austrian succession,
holding a colonel's commission at Dettingen, where the English
defeated the French in 1743. In the Seven Years' War he had raised and
disciplined a splendid corps of cavalry, known as the "Light Horse."

He was now over sixty years old, and his long military career fitted
him admirably for the command at Gibraltar. He showed his calibre in
the beginning of the siege, in refusing the keys of the fortress,
which were demanded of him. With tremendous odds against him, his
conduct has not inappropriately been likened to that of the Greek hero
Leonidas, at Thermopylæ, when ordered by the Persian king to lay down
his arms. Throughout the defence his intrepidity, resource, and
generalship, proved him a man of remarkable military genius.

The crisis in the siege was reached in September, 1782, when a fleet
of ten enormous floating batteries opened fire on the fortress, each
one manned by a picked crew, and carrying from ten to eighteen guns.
These batteries were the invention of the most skilled French
engineers, and were believed to be impenetrable to shot. The
cannonading began in the morning and continued all day. Soon after
midnight nine ships were on fire, and the hostile fleet was doomed.

[Illustration: LORD HEATHFIELD]

General Elliott showed himself a generous victor, and the men saved
from the enemy's ships owed their lives to him. Five years later the
returned hero, now become Lord Heathfield, sat to Reynolds for his
portrait, ordered by a wealthy admirer--the public-spirited Alderman
Boydell. The picture shows the brave old soldier as he took his stand
in command of Gibraltar. Some one has said that it tells the whole
story of the siege.

The general grasps firmly the key of the fortress, the chain wound
twice about his hand, to emphasize the determination of the man to
hold it against all odds. His sword swings at his side, ready for
instant use; a cannon in the rear is pointed downward towards the
hostile fleet, and the smoke of battle rolls in clouds behind him. Far
away on the horizon a glimmer of light shines on the distant sea.

The veteran stands as immovable as a Stonewall Jackson. His face is
set in determined lines, the lips firmly closed, the head thrown back
a little, and the eyes steadily fixed on the battle. Yet the face is
not altogether stern; there is much that is kindly and noble in the
expression. One can fancy it in another moment softening into an
expression of gentleness.

It was a remarkable feature of his success during these terrible
months of siege, that he was able to hold the love and loyalty of his
men. When the spirits of the little garrison flagged, under the
combined influence of disease and impending famine, his genial
presence animated them with fresh hope. His chivalry was as unfailing
as his bravery. It is said that "his military skill and moral courage
place him among the best soldiers and noblest men Europe produced in
the eighteenth century."

The portrait painter makes us feel all this in his picture. The
attitude is so dignified, the gesture so forcible, the countenance so
expressive, that we are impressed at once with the dignity of his
character. Even if we knew nothing of his history we should still be
sure that this is a great man.

The last days of the hero of Gibraltar were spent at his home,
Kalkofen, near Aix-la-Chapelle, where he died, July 6, 1790, in the
seventy-third year of his age.



Pickaback is one of the old, old games which no one is so foolish as
to try to trace to its origin. We may well believe that there was
never a time when mothers did not trot their children on their knees
and carry them on their backs. The very names we give these childish
games were used in England more than a century ago.

The picture of Mrs. Payne-Gallwey and her child has long been known as
Pickaback, and will always be so called by many who would not be at
the pains to remember the lady's name. It is one of those portraits in
which the painter, impatient of the stiff conventional attitudes which
were in vogue in his day, drew his inspiration from a simple homely
theme of daily life.

What an ingenious painter Reynolds was, we learn more and more as we
examine one picture after another and compare them with those of his
predecessors. He liked to have his pictures tell stories, and often,
when he had a mother and child to paint, he represented them as
playing together just as they might have done every day in their own
nursery or garden.[14] The Duchess of Devonshire is seen in her
boudoir trotting her baby to Banbury Cross, and the Cockburn children
are surprised in a game of hide-and-seek on their mother's lap.

[Footnote 14: Claude Phillips refers to Pickaback as "one of the most
popular and representative" of this class.]

Mrs. Payne-Gallwey seems to have just caught her little girl up on her
back and to be starting off to give her a ride. Her body is bent
slightly forward in the attitude of one walking with a burden, and we
almost seem to see her move. It is as if in another moment they would
pass across the canvas and out of our sight.

The incident is so precisely like something which happens every day
that we might think the picture was painted yesterday instead of in
1779, were it not for the few signs which indicate its date. For one
thing, the lady's hair is arranged over a high cushion in the peculiar
style affected at this period in fashionable circles. The style was
carried to absurd extremes, ladies vying with one another in the
height of the coiffure until in some cases it actually towered a foot
and a half in height. Over this structure were worn nodding plumes of
feathers, increasing the fantastic effect.

We may imagine how these unsightly erections vexed the artistic soul
of Sir Joshua Reynolds. He was, however, enough of an autocrat to take
liberties with the fashions. When obliged to paint the portrait of a
lady with a "head" (for so the coiffure was called) he always managed
to modify its height and make its outlines harmonize with his


A side view was of course much less objectionable than the full
front, in which the face was elongated to such strange proportions. In
this case the face is turned in profile, and its delicacy is enhanced
rather than injured by the masses of hair which frame it. The hair,
instead of being drawn tightly back from the forehead in the ordinary
way, waves in graceful curves, which are quite beyond the art of any
hairdresser. Finally, the massive effect of the hair is broken by the
narrow scarf bound about it and tied under the chin. The curve of this
scarf meets the curve of the profile to form a beautiful oval.

The quaintest touch in the picture is the child's big hat. The same
shape is worn to-day by men, and one might fancy that the baby had
borrowed her papa's hat for the frolic. It is a curious change in
fashions which transfers any part of a little girl's wardrobe to that
of a grown man.

We may feel a little better acquainted with the mother and daughter to
know their names. Mrs. Payne-Gallwey was Philadelphia, the daughter of
General De Lancey, Lieutenant Governor of New York. The child was
Charlotte, who afterwards married John Moseley. Mrs. Gallwey's beauty
is of a very fragile type, and her eyes have a languor hinting of
invalidism. Only a few years later she died, while still in her young
motherhood. Little Charlotte has a round healthy face, but it is a
little sober. Indeed, both mother and child seem to be of a rather
dreamy, poetic temperament. Their mood is hardly merry enough for such
a game, but they enjoy it in their own way with quiet contentment. It
is an idealized version of the ordinary romping game of Pickaback.

The composition is based on lines which cut the canvas diagonally. In
one direction is the line running the length of the profile and
continued along the bodice. Crossing this at right angles is the
shorter line made by the two arms. It is the first of these which
gives character to the picture and produces the impression of motion
which is so striking. It is almost as if a modern photographer had
taken a snap shot of a figure in the act of walking. But in no such
photograph, it is safe to say, would the lines chance to flow in such
perfect rhythm.



A familiar figure in classic mythology was that of the little god of
love, Cupid. He was the son of Venus, and, like her, was concerned in
the affairs of the heart. Ancient art represented him as a beautiful
naked boy with wings, carrying a bow and quiver of arrows, and
sometimes a burning torch. The torch was to kindle the flame of love,
and the arrows were to pierce the heart with the tender passion. These
missiles were made at the forge of Vulcan, where Venus first imbued
them with honey, after which Cupid, the mischievous fellow, tinged
them with gall. Thus it was that the wounds they inflicted were at
once sweet and painful.[15]

[Footnote 15: Anacreon's Ode XXXIII. in Moore's translation.]

Now Cupid was always bent upon some of his naughty pranks. He was
afraid of nothing, and we read of his riding on the backs of lions and
sporting with the monsters of the deep. He played all sorts of tricks
on the gods, stealing the arms of Hercules, and even breaking the
thunderbolts of Jove. His bow and arrows were a source of great
amusement to him. He delighted in taking aim at unsuspecting mortals,
and his random shots often wrought sad havoc.

One of Anacreon's odes relates how the poet was awakened on a rainy
midnight by the cry of a child begging shelter. The little waif proved
to be Cupid in disguise. After being warmed and dried by the fire, the
boy artfully craved permission to try his bow, to see if the rain had
injured its elasticity. The arrow flew straight at the poet's heart
with a sweet pain, and away flew Cupid laughing gayly at his

[Footnote 16: Anacreon's Ode XXVIII. in Moore's translation.]

Cupid was naturally a very popular god, yet his tricksy ways caused
him to be looked upon with suspicion. Every one was anxious to stand
well with him. In some of the cities of ancient Greece, as Sparta and
Athens, he was worshipped with great solemnity, and every five years
festivals were held in his honor.

In our picture the painter has represented the little torch-bearing
god disguised as a link boy. He is dressed in the clothes of a London
street urchin, and behind him are the warehouses of the great city.

The link bearer's occupation was abandoned so long ago that it needs a
word of explanation. In the old times, before there were stationary
street lights of any kind, men and boys used to run about by night,
carrying torches or links, as they were called, to lighten the way for

They were like the newsboys of to-day, running up to each wayfarer to
offer their services, and always glad to pick up a few pennies. They
accompanied parties home from the clubs, the theatres, and all
sorts of entertainments, running beside carriages, as well as foot
passengers. Nor was their occupation solely by night. There sometimes
came suddenly in London a thick fog, shutting out the sunlight as
completely as if it had been night. People caught in the streets at
such times soon lost their way, and the services of the link boy were
then very useful.

[Illustration: CUPID AS LINK BOY]

We may now understand what a capital chance for fun Cupid would have,
playing the part of a link boy. The strangers whom he guided on their
way would little suspect that the link boy's torch was kindling the
flame of love within them. He might lead them whither he pleased, and
finally, disclosing his true identity, would draw his bow upon them
and leave them to their fate.

It is perhaps after some such escapade as this that we see him in the
picture, link in hand, pausing to look back with a smile of suppressed
amusement at some of his victims. It seems very odd to find Cupid in
such surroundings, and especially to see the little god hampered by
the clumsy garments of mortals. They are old and ragged, the cast-off
finery such as is picked up by street gamins. The child's hair is
tossed about his head in unkempt locks, and altogether he looks the
part to perfection.

Yet there are unmistakable signs of his identity in the wings spread
from his shoulders. If you look closely, too, you can see through the
rip in his sleeve the quiver of arrows which the sly fellow thought to
hide under his coat. The face and expression could belong alone to
Cupid. The mouth is shaped in a genuine Cupid's bow, and the pointed
chin shows his astuteness. Mischief lurks in the corners of the eyes
and in the curve of his mouth.

The Cupid as Link Boy is one of a number of fancy pictures which Sir
Joshua Reynolds painted for his own pleasure. His portrait orders were
nearly all from the wealthy and aristocratic classes, and the artist
would not have been content without a greater variety of subjects than
this work afforded. He had a fertile imagination for ideal or "fancy"
subjects, particularly for those of a humorous nature. Often when he
chanced to be driving through the streets his attention would be
attracted by some little waif, and he would take the child back to his
studio for a model. Our picture is from one of these mischievous
London street boys, whose face reappears in several other works.



Miss Anne Bingham was one of the many aristocratic ladies whose
portraits Reynolds painted, and one of the most interesting of this
class of sitters. Her vivacious face looking into ours wins us at
once, and we should be glad to know more of the charming original.

Anne Bingham was the youngest daughter of Sir Charles Bingham, who in
1776 was created Baron Lucan. Her mother, Lady Lucan, was a remarkably
talented woman, trying her hand with success at modelling, painting,
and poetry. She was ambitious to be an intellectual leader, and like
several other ladies of the time entertained after the fashion of the
French salons, inviting people of wit and learning to meet in her
drawing-room for discussion. Her artistic work was really remarkable.
Encouraged by the advice and help of Horace Walpole, she became a
skilful copyist, and it is said imitated the works of some earlier
painters with a genius that fairly depreciated the originals!

It was thus in exceptionally artistic and intellectual surroundings
that Anne grew out of girlhood. Her oldest sister, Lavinia, who
afterwards became Countess Spencer, inherited the mother's artistic
tastes, and was likewise a favorite with Horace Walpole.

The two daughters were both charming in appearance, and there was a
certain sisterly resemblance between them. If Lavinia's eyes were a
bit more sparkling, judged by the portraits, Anne's mouth was smaller
and more daintily modelled. As a frequent guest in their mother's
drawing-room, Sir Joshua must have known both the young ladies. Of the
elder he painted several portraits; of the younger, but this one,
executed in 1786.

It was a natural and appropriate idea that Miss Anne's portrait should
be made in a style similar to one of her sister, as a companion
picture. Both were represented in half-length figure, wearing white
kerchiefs and broad-brimmed hats.

Those must have been pleasant sittings which gave the veteran portrait
painter Miss Anne for a subject.[17] Plainly there was a perfect
sympathy between sitter and painter. The smile the lady turns towards
the easel is as naïve as that of Miss Bowles herself. She watches his
clever work with an artist's delight, and with the simple spirit of a

[Footnote 17: When her father was created an earl in 1795, she became
Lady Anne.]

Nothing could be more distasteful to such a character than the
affected pose of a woman of fashion. She has dropped into a chair with
a careless grace all her own, and tells the painter she is ready. He
takes up his brush, and lo, the very essence of her smile is
transferred to his canvas.

[Illustration: THE HON. ANNE BINGHAM]

We praise the delicate rendering of the gauzy kerchief veiling her
neck, but it is far less wonderful than the delicate interpretation of
her expression. The fine sensitiveness of her nature, her lively fancy
and sense of humor, her playfulness, her coquetry, her impulsiveness,
her volatile temperament--all this we read in the shining eyes and the
smiling mouth, though no one can say how they were made to tell so
much. The signs of her birth and breeding are in every line, yet she
is something of a Bohemian too. There is a delightful sense of
camaraderie in her smile.

There is a certain portrait by Leonardo da Vinci known as the Mona
Lisa, and famous for its baffling smile. There is a tantalizing
quality about it which makes one forever wonder what the lady is
thinking about and why she is smiling. Nothing could be more in
contrast than this smile of Miss Bingham. There is no mystery in it,
but rather it takes us into her confidence in the most winning way.

The costume interests us not only as a reminder of bygone fashions,
but for its picturesqueness. The bodice is ornamented only by the big
buttons by which it is laced. A narrow belt finishes it at the waist,
with a small buckle in front.

The hair is frizzed in puffy masses about the face, escaping in a few
curls which fall over the shoulders. This was evidently the favorite
coiffure in the year 1786, as the portrait of the Duchess of
Devonshire with her Child, painted in the same year, shows precisely
the same style. Both ladies also wear low-cut bodices with kerchiefs
arranged in the same manner. The finishing touch of Miss Bingham's
costume is the big straw hat worn aslant on the back of the head.

It has been a favorite device of great portrait painters to dress
their sitters in all sorts of fanciful headwear. Rembrandt's portraits
show an endless variety of caps, turbans, and hats. Rubens was fond of
painting broad-brimmed hats shading the face, one of his celebrated
pictures being a study of this kind called Le Chapeau de Paille (The
Straw Hat).

Now Reynolds was to some extent an imitator of these two men, and it
may be he learned something from their pictures about hats. However
that may be, we see how the hat here proves very effective in bringing
the head into harmonious relation with the whole composition. The brim
describes a diagonal line parallel with the line made by the kerchief
over the left shoulder. The kerchief on the right shoulder falls in a
line parallel with the left arm.

A composition based on short diagonal lines like these is as different
as possible in character from one of long flowing curves like Hope.
Each one is appropriate to its own subject.



Village life in England before the time of railroads had a picturesque
charm which it has since lost except in remote districts. We learn
something about it in Miss Mitford's sketches of "Our Village" and in
Miss Edgeworth's "Tales." From such books it is delightful to
reconstruct in imagination some of these rural scenes; the wide
meadows where the cowslips grow, the brooks running beneath the
hawthorns and alders, the lanes winding between hedgerows, the green
common where the cricketers play, the low cottages covered to the roof
with vines, and the trim gardens gay with pinks and larkspur. These
villages are connected with the outside world only by the postcart and
chapman. Here modest little girls like Miss Mitford's Hannah and Miss
Edgeworth's Simple Susan move about their daily tasks and run on their
errands of mercy.

Now Sir Joshua Reynolds was a native of Devonshire, a beautiful
English district which all born Devons love with peculiar devotion, as
we may see from Charles Kingsley's descriptions in "Water-babies."
From time to time in his busy life the painter returned to his home
for a breath of country air. On one of these visits he brought back
to London with him his young niece Theophila Palmer, whose father had
just died. Offy, as she was called, soon became the pet of her
bachelor uncle's household, of which she long remained a member. As
she flitted about the house the little country-bred girl with her
fresh healthy beauty was a constant reminder to the painter of the
woods and fields. Perhaps one day as he was looking at her with
special pleasure the picture suddenly flashed upon his fancy of Offy
in the character of a village maid. The idea developed into the
Strawberry Girl, for which Offy sat as model.

A little girl has been sent on an errand along a lonely road leading
out of the village. It may be that like little Red Riding Hood in the
nursery tale she is carrying some dainties to her grandmother. A
basket of strawberries hangs on her arm, and her apron also seems to
be filled with something, for it is gathered up in front like a bag,
the corners dropping over the arm.

Twilight begins to fall as she comes to a turn of the road
overshadowed by a high rock. There are all sorts of queer noises and
shadows here, and she steals timidly past the eerie place, peering
forward with big eyes.


Yet she is a womanly child, who will not easily be turned back. She
feels the importance of her errand, and is worthy of the trust. The
simple low-cut gown is that of a village maid. An odd cap, something
like a turban, covers her head and adds a trifle to her height and
dignity. Her round face and chubby neck would be the envy of the
puny city child who knows not the luxury of big porringers of bread
and milk. If her hands are rather too delicately moulded for those of
a country child we must remember again that Reynolds was painting from
his own little niece.

In imagination we follow the little maid about the simple round of her
childish pursuits. Every morning she goes demurely to school to fix
her thoughts on "button holes and spelling books." Perhaps it is a
dame school like that in "Water Babies," with a "shining clean stone
floor and curious old prints on the wall and a cuckoo clock in the
corner," Here some dozen children sit on benches "gabbling
Chris-cross," while a nice old woman in a red petticoat and white cap
hears them from the chimney corner.

Our little girl has duties at home as well, and is sometimes seen, a
pitcher in one hand and a mop in the other, making the house tidy. She
can boil potatoes, shell the beans, feed the hens, and make herself
useful in many ways.

On rare occasions she has a holiday in the fields, and then what joy
it is in spring and early summer to find the haunts of the wild
flowers which grow in such abundance in the English country. Miss
Mitford writes of a wonderful field where bloomed in season,
"primroses, yellow, purple, and white, violets of either hue,
cowslips, oxlips, arums, orchises, wild hyacinths, ground ivy,
pansies, strawberries, and heart's ease, covering the sunny open slope
under a weeping birch."

A favorite game is making cowslip balls. The tufts of golden flowerets
are first nipped off with short stems, until a quantity are gathered.
Then the ribbon is held ready and the clusters are nicely balanced
across it until a long garland is made, when they are pressed closely
together and tied into a sweet golden ball.

When we remember that the little Offy, who was the original Strawberry
Girl, was transplanted from her Devonshire home to the great city of
London, we are interested to know something of her after life. She
grew to be as dear as a daughter to her uncle. In the dreary days when
he could not use his eyes she was his reader and amanuensis. The many
distinguished guests who enjoyed his hospitality were charmed with her
sweet manners. In the course of time she married Richard Lovell
Gwatkin, a Cornish gentleman in every way worthy of her. "Her
happiness was as great as her uncle could wish. She lived to be
ninety, to see her children's children, and, intelligent, cheerful,
and affectionate to the last, vividly remembered her happy girlhood
under her uncle's roof, and the brilliant society that found a centre



The eccentric figure of Dr. Samuel Johnson was one of the familiar
sights of London during the middle of the eighteenth century. He was a
man of great learning, a voluminous writer, and an even more
remarkable talker. He was born in 1709, and, the son of a poor
bookseller, he struggled against poverty for many years. Literary work
was ill paid in those days, and Johnson gained his reputation but
slowly. He contributed articles to the magazines, and twice he
conducted short-lived periodicals of his own--the "Rambler" and the
"Idler." He wrote, besides, a drama, "Irene"; a tale, "Rasselas"; a
book of travel, a "Journey to the Hebrides"; and many biographies,
including the "Lives of the Poets." His largest undertaking was an
English dictionary, upon which he spent eight years of labor.

At length his pecuniary troubles came to an end when, in 1762, the
government awarded him a pension of £300 a year. By this time his
great intellectual gifts had begun to be appreciated, and he was the
first man of letters in England. In Thackeray's phrase, he "was
revered as a sort of oracle."

Johnson was now too old to acquire the graces of polite society, even
had he wished them. His huge, uncouth figure and rolling walk, his
countenance disfigured by scrofula, his blinking eyes, his convulsive
movements, his slovenly dress and boorish manners made him a strange
figure in the circles which entertained him.

His appetite was enormous, and he ate "like a famished wolf, the veins
swelling on his forehead, and the perspiration running down his
cheeks." He usually declined wine, but his capacity for tea was
unlimited. Many funny stories are told of the number of cups poured
for him by obliging hostesses, for, oddly enough, he was a great
favorite with the ladies, and knew how to turn a pretty compliment.
His temper was at times very irritable and morbid, and he occasionally
had violent fits of rage. Yet, with all these peculiarities, he had a
kind heart and was sincerely religious. His devotion to his wife and
his aged mother[18] was very touching, and the poor and infirm knew
his charities. In his own lodgings he provided a home for an oddly
assorted family of dependents, consisting of an old man, a blind
woman, a negro boy, and a cat. All the details of his daily life and
habits are minutely described in a biography written by his admiring
friend, Boswell, who was intimately associated with him for many
years. The book he wrote after Johnson's death tells us not only all
about the learned doctor, but much also about his friends.

[Footnote 18: His wife died in 1752, and his mother in 1759 at the age
of ninety.]

[Illustration: DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON]

Reynolds was one of his warm friends, and the two understood each
other well. Often when they were together in company, the painter's
tact and courtesy smoothed over some breach of etiquette on the part
of his companion. At Reynolds's suggestion, the two founded together a
small club of congenial spirits, called the Literary Club.

Some other good friends of Johnson's were the Thrales. Mr. Thrale was
a rich brewer, and a man of parts, and his wife was one of the
brightest women of her day. Johnson was a constant visitor at their
house, and became at last, practically, a member of the family. The
Thrales's drawing-room at their Streatham villa was the scene of many
brilliant gatherings, where intellectual people met for conversation
and discussion. Johnson was the autocrat of this circle. He was often
rude, even insolent, in expressing his opinion, and wounded many by
his sarcasm. But his vast stores of information, his keen mind and
ready wit, made his conversation an intellectual feast.

It was an ambition of Mr. Thrale to ornament his house with a gallery
of portraits of contemporary celebrities, and it was for this
collection that Reynolds painted the portrait of Johnson, reproduced
in our illustration. It was really a repetition of a portrait he had
previously painted for their common friend and club-fellow, Bennet

Here we see the sage at the age of sixty odd years, precisely as he
appeared among his friends at Streatham. The painter has straightened
the wig, which was usually worn awry, but otherwise it is the very
Dr. Johnson of whom we read so much, with his shabby brown coat, his
big shambling shoulders, and coarse features.

A remarkable thing about the portrait is that Reynolds succeeded so
well in showing us the man himself under this rough exterior. The
inferior artist paints only the outside of a face just as it looks to
a stranger who knows nothing of the character of the sitter. The
master paints the face as it looks to a friend who knows the soul
within. Now, Reynolds was not only a master, but he was, in this case,
painting a friend. So he put on the canvas, not merely the eccentric
face of Dr. Johnson as a stranger might see it, but he painted in it
that expression of intellectual power which the great man showed among
his congenial friends. Something, too, is suggested in the portrait of
that sternly upright spirit which hated a lie.

It is a portrait of Johnson the scholar, the thinker, and the
conversationalist. He seems to be engaged in some argument, and is
delivering his opinion with characteristic authoritativeness. The
heavy features are lighted by his thought. One may fancy that the talk
turns upon patriotism, when Johnson, roused to indignation by the
false pretences of many would-be patriots, exclaims, "Sir, patriotism
is the last refuge of a scoundrel."



In the city of Florence, Italy, there is a famous gallery of portraits
unlike any other collection of pictures in the world. It consists of
the portraits of artists, painted by their own hands, and includes the
most celebrated painters of all nations, from the fifteenth century to
the present time. Here may be seen the portraits of Velasquez, Titian,
Tintoretto, Rembrandt,--the world's greatest portrait painters,--and
in the same splendid company hangs the portrait of Reynolds,
reproduced in our frontispiece. He painted it in 1776 for the special
purpose of sending it to Florence at the request of the Imperial
Academy of that city, of which he had just been elected a member.

As we have seen in our study of the Angels' Heads, a single portrait
can show us only one side of the sitter's character. This portrait of
Reynolds, painted as a condition of membership in a society of
artists, and for a gallery of artists' portraits, was intended chiefly
to show the artistic side of his nature. The pose itself at once
suggests the artist. The expression of the mobile face is that of a
painter engaged at his easel, turning a searching glance upon the
object he is painting. In short, it is a sort of official portrait,
introducing the new member to his associates in the Imperial Academy.

The artist wears the Oxford cap and gown, to which he is entitled, by
virtue of the honorary degree of D. C. L., conferred upon him by the
University of Oxford. In his hand he carries a roll of manuscript,
presumably one of his lectures before the Royal Academy. Both the roll
and the costume are, as it were, insignia of his English honors. A
Latin inscription on the back of the portrait, written by the
painter's own hand, enumerates the several distinctions which are his.

Reynolds might, indeed, be pardoned the pride with which he reviewed
his career. From somewhat humble beginnings he had now made his way to
the foremost place in his profession. He was born at a time when art
was in a very low state in England, and there were no advantages for
the study of painting. His only instruction was under an inferior
portrait painter named Hudson, with whom he served as apprentice about
two years.

His real art training was during three years of travel in Italy. There
he examined and studied the works of the greatest masters of the past,
and returned to England with altogether new ideals. Setting up a
studio in London, he soon gained an immense popularity. When the Royal
Academy was founded, in 1768, he became the first president, and at
the same time the honor of knighthood was conferred upon him. Other
artists now rose to prominence, but he still held the supremacy.

The painter's popularity depended by no means on his artistic talents
alone; his opinions were worth hearing on many subjects. He was fond
of books and literary discussions, and his friendship was valued by
such men of intellect as Johnson, Goldsmith, Burke, and others of that
charmed circle making the Literary Club. He had a genial, kindly
nature, and his manners were exquisitely courteous. Thackeray once
wrote that "of all the polite men of that age, Joshua Reynolds was the
finest gentleman." He was a member of several clubs, was fond of
society, and was a welcome guest in many of the best houses in London.
He himself entertained with generous hospitality, and gathered about
his table some of the brightest people of his time.

His intimate friend, Edmund Malone, described him as a man "rather
under the middle size, of a florid complexion, and a lively and
pleasing aspect; well made, and extremely active. His appearance at
first sight impressed the spectator with the idea of a well-born and
well-bred English gentleman. With an uncommon equability of temper,
which, however, never degenerated into insipidity or apathy, he
possessed a constant flow of spirits which rendered him at all times a
most pleasing companion.... He appeared to me the happiest man I have
ever known."

Through many years Reynolds was very deaf, and was obliged to use an
ear trumpet to aid him in general conversation. In later years he also
wore spectacles, so that we always picture him in his advancing life
with trumpet and glasses. His habit of taking great quantities of
snuff was one which gave occasion to many jokes among his friends.

Numerous poetic tributes were written by his admirers, describing more
or less rhetorically his qualities as a man and an artist. There is
one bit of verse by Goldsmith (1770), in a comic vein, and in the form
of an epitaph, which delineates very cleverly the real character of
the man:--

    "Here Reynolds is laid, and to tell you my mind,
    He has not left a better or wiser behind;
    His pencil was striking, resistless and grand,
    His manners were gentle, complying, and bland;
    Still born to improve us in every part,
    His pencil, our faces, his manners, our heart:
    To coxcombs averse, yet most civilly steering,
    When they judged without skill, he was still hard of hearing;
    When they talked of their Raffaelles, Correggios, and stuff,
    He shifted his trumpet, and only took snuff!"

       *       *       *       *       *

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