« AnteriorContinuar »
AUTHORS ON GARDENING,
Your painting is almost the natural man.—Timon of Athens.
ONWHYN, CATHARINE STREET, STRAND.
The following pages apply only to those English writers on gardening who are deceased. That there have been portraits taken of some of those sixty-nine English writers, whose names first occur in the following pages, there can be no doubt; and those portraits may yet be with their surviving relatives or descendants. I am not so presumptuous as to apply to the following most slight memorials, some of which relate to very obscure persons, who claimed neither “ the boast of heraldry, nor the pomp of power,” but whose
- useful toil, Their homely joys and destiny obscure
benefited society by their honest labour ;-I am not So vain as to apply to these, any part of the high testimony which Sir Walter Scott has so justly paid to the merit of Mr. Lodge's truly splendid work of the
portraits of celebrated personages of English history. I can only take leave to disjoint, or to dislocate, or copy, a very few of his words, and to apply them to the sfollowing scanty pages, as it must be interesting to have exhibited before our eyes our fathers as they lived, accompanied with such memorials of their lives and characters, as enable us to compare their persons and countenances with their sentiments :portraits shewing us how “ our ancestors looked, moved, and dressed,”—as the pen informs us “how they thought, acted, lived and died.” One cannot help feeling kindness for the memories of those whose writings have pleased us. *
What native of the county of Hereford, but must wish to see their town-hall ornamented with a lifebreathing portrait of Dr. Beale, embodying, as it
* Few persons have shewn more attachment to family portraits than Miss Seward. This is strongly exemplified in several bequests in her will; not only in her bequest to Emma Sneyd, and in that to Mrs. Powys, but also in the following :-“ The miniature picture of my late dear friend, Mr. Saville, drawn in 1770, by the late celebrated artist Smart, and which at the time it was taken, and during many successive years, was an exact resemblance of the original, I bequeath to his daughter, Mrs. Smith, who I know will value and preserve it as a jewel above all prize; and in case of her previous demise, I bequeath the said precious miniature to her daughter, Mrs. Honora Jager, exhorting the said Honora Jager, and her heirs, into whose hands soever it may fall, to guard it with sacred care from the sun and from damp, as I have guarded it, that so the posterity of my valued friend may know what, in his prime, was the form of him whose mind through life, by the acknowledgment of all who knew him, and could discern the
were, in the resemblance of the individual, (to use the words of a most eloquent person on another occasion), “ his spirit, his feelings, and his character ? Or what elegant scholar but must wish to view the resemblance of the almost unknown Thomas Whately, Esq., or that of the Rev William Gilpin, whose vivid pen (like that of the late Sir Uvedale Price), has “ realized painting,” and enchained his readers to the rich scenes of nature ?
Dr. Johnson calls portrait painting “ that art which is employed in diffusing friendship, in reviving tenderness, in quickening the affections of the absent, and continuing the presence of the dead.”
The horticultural intercourse that now passes between England and France, induces one to express a
superior powers of talent and virtue, was the seat of liberal endowment, warm piety, and energetic benevolence.”
Being thus on the subject of portraits, let me remark, that it is not always that we meet with a faithful likeness. A review of Mad. de Genlis's Petrarch et Laure, justly observes, that “it is doubtful if any of the portraits of Petrarch, which still remain, were painted during his life-time. However that may be, it is impossible to trace in them, either the elevation of his mind, the fire of his imagination, or the pensive melancholy of his soul.” In the Essays on Petrarch, by Ugo Foscolo, he informs us, that “ Petrarch's person, if we trust his biographers, was so striking with beauties, as to attract universal admiration. They represent him with large and manly features, eyes full of fire, a blooming complexion, and a countenance that bespoke all the genius and fancy that shone forth in his works." Do we yet know one really good likeness of Mary Queen of Scots ?