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RETROSPECT AND SELECTIONS

RELATIVE TO

LITERATURE, ARTS AND SCIENCES,

AND THE FINE ARTS.

CHAPTER I.

BIOGRAPHICAL ANECDOTES AND CHARACTERS.

F that course of reading were generally adopted, which is best

much solicitude to acquire instruction, as there evidently is to obtain amusement, this department of literature would be much more occupied than it is at present; although we cannot help congratulating our fellow-countrymen that it is every year exciting an increased attention. Owing to the direct tendency of voyages and travels to gratify the curiosity which is incident to every human mind, these continue to retain their ascendancy in public estimation: nor, indeed, are they merely amusing, they are abundantly instructive. Still the instruction communicated is scarcely to be regarded as comparable to that, which well composed biography is adapted to impart. The adventurous explorer brings to light new regions and tracts of sea or land-he leads you palpitating with fear, or triumphing in discovery, over lofty mountains, along trackless desarts, untrodden forests, hidden vallies, and by “ rivers unknown to song;” and in addition to the stores of geographical knowledge, which his efforts accumulate, he furnishes you with the means of tracing the local peculiarities of new society, and assists to a certain degree in forming a correct estimate of man, in the various gradations of savage, civilized, and refined existence:-but it is the business of the biographer to assume a higher tone, to excite more elevated emotions, to communicate more expansive views, to make man more intimately acquainted with himself, the habitudes and character of his own mind, and the whole of his intellectual and moral being. In proportion as instruction is diffused, and general, it becomes less impressive and less permanently useful; it is concentration that gives its force: and hence the knowledge of our species, which is implanted by the mode of A 2

biography,

biography, by selecting and individualizing the subject, is of the highest practical utility. On this account especially we cannot cease to desire that this kind of literature, in which, indeed, the useful is predominent, but which still eminently combines both the utile and the dulce, might be more assiduously cultivated and more extensively regarded. Before noticing particular works in this department, we shall present our readers with an interesting and affecting piece of biography, extracted from the Literary Gazette.

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1.- Biographical sketch of C. A. tion. In the following year he Stothard, esq. F.A.S. contracted a close intimacy with

the brother of his present widow, Charles Alfred Stothard was the to whom also he became shortly eldest' surviving son of Thomas after strongly attached; fearing, Stothard, esq. R. A.: he was born that as an historical painter, he on the 5th of July, 1787. At an might not acquire sufficient pecuearly age he exhibited a strong niary independence to enable him propensity for study, and a genius prudently to become a married for drawing. The latter was more man, he resolved to turn his atparticularly developed in various tention exclusively to the illustraclever miniature scenes, which he tion of our national antiquities, executed for his school-boy model more particularly in a path which of a stage. On leaving school he had hitherto been but imperfectly entered, by his own wish, as stu- explored—the delineation of the dent in the royal academy, where sculptured effigies erected in our he soon attracted notice for the churches as memorials for the chaste feeling and accuracy with dead. Gough, it is true, had which he drew from the antique compiled a work of considerable sculptures. In the year 1802, he labour and merit on the subject, accompanied his father to Bur- but the engravings which accomleigh, the seat of the marquis of panied it, formed a secondary obExeter, the stair-case of which, ject, and could, by no means, be the latter was employed in deco- depended on for accuracy, or afrating by his masterly pencil. Mr. ford a correct knowledge of the Stothard, sen., suggested to his minutiæ of ancient costume. In son that he might fill up his time the year1810, Mr.Charles Stothard by making drawings from the painted a spirited picture, repremonuments in the neighbouring senting the murder of Richard II., churches, as useful authorities in at Pomfret castle, in which the cosdesigning costume: this circum- tume of the time was strictly adstance gave the first bias of Mr. hered to: the portrait of the moC. Stothard's mind towards the narch was taken from his effigy in subject which became afterwards Westminster abbey. This picture his pursuit. In 1808 he received was exhibited at Somerset-place, his ticket as student in the life in 1811. In the same year he academy, and formed the resolu- published his first number of the tion to become historical monumental effigies of Great Bripainter. A subsequent occurrence, tain, the objects of which underhowever, changed this determina- taking he detailed in the adver

tisement

an

tisement which accompanied the summer of 1815, Mr. C. Stothard publication. These were to afford made a journey northward, as far the historical painter à complete as the Picts wall, adding to his knowledge of the costume adopt- portfolio many drawings for the ed in England, from an early pe- Magna Britannia, monumental riod of history, to the reign of subjects for himself, and a number Henry the eighth; to illustrate, at of little sketches, in the most dethe same time, history and bio- licate and peculiar manner, of the graphy; and lastly, to assist the country through which he passed. stage in selecting its costume with During this absence from London propriety, for the plays of our Mr.Lysons gave him a strong proof great dramatic bard.' In reference of his esteem and regard, by obto his plan of prosecuting his taining for him, unsolicited, the work, Mr. C. Stothard liberally honourable post of historical acknowledged that he owed the draughtsman to the society of determination of executing the antiquaries. In 1816 he was deetchings with his own hand, to puted by that body to commence having seen a few unpublished his elaborate and faithful drawings etchings by the Rev. T. Kerrick, from the famous tapestry deposited of Cambridge, from monuments in at Bayeux. During his absence the Dominicans and other churches in France he visited Chinon, and in Paris, " which claim," he adds, in the neighbouring abbey of Fon“ the highest praise that can be tevraud, discovered those interestbestowed." For the subsequent ing effigies of the race of the Planfriendship of Mr. Kerrick, and his tagenets, the existence of which, candid criticism in the progress of after the revolutionary devastathe work, Mr. C. Stothard, on all tion, had become doubtful: the occasions, expressed himself much following account of this matter is indebted. The talents of Mr. C. extracted from Mrs. C. Stothard's Stothard, as an artist, and the letters from Normandy and Bridepth and accuracy of his research tanny, lately published: --- When in the objects connected with his Mr. Stothard first visited France, pursuit, soon obtained for him a during the summer of 1816, he distinguished reputation as an an came direct to Fontevraud, to tiquary;* and the acquaintance of ascertain if the effigies of our characters, eminent for their learn- early kings, who were buried ing and respectability. Among there, yet existed: subjects so these were the late sir Joseph interesting to English history, Banks (who highly appreciated were worthy of the inquiry. He him) and Mr. Samuel Lysons, the found the abbey converted into author of the Magna Britannia, a prison, and discovered in a celwho esteemed him as a friend. lar belonging to it, the effigies of Mr. Lysons employed him to Henry the second, and his queen make drawings, illustrative of his Eleanor of Guienne, Richard the work; for which purpose, in the first, and Isabella of Angouleme,

A most conspicuous instance of his acumen was exhibited in the discovery of the origin of the collar of S. S., which Camden had wildly conjectured, was derived from Sulpitius Severus, a learned lawyer.

'the

the queen of John. The chapel drawings from the tapestry. In where the figures were placed be- February 1818 he married the fore the revolution had been en- young lady to whom he had so tirely destroyed, and these va- long been attached, the only luable effigies, then removed to daughter of John Kempe, esq. of the cellar, were subject to con- the New Kent Road, descended tinual mutilation from the prison- from the ancient family of the ers, who came twice in every day Kempes, formerly of Clantigh, to draw water from a well. It near Wye, in Kent, and afterwards appeared they had sustained some of Cornwall. In July following recent injury, as Mr. S. found se- this lady accompanied him in his veral broken fragments scattered third expedition to France, which around. He made drawings of he made with a view of comthe figures; and upon his return pleting the drawings from the tato England, represented to our pestry at Bayeux.* His task begovernment the propriety of se- ing accomplished he proceeded curing such interesting memorials with Mrs. Stothard on a tour of from farther destruction. It was investigation through Normandy, deemed advisable, if such a plan and more particularly Britanny. could be accomplished, to gain In order to render their families possession of them, that they participators, in some degree, of might be placed, with the rest of the pleasures of their journey, our royal effigies, in Westminster Mrs.Stothard addressed to her moabbey.'

ther, Mrs. Kempe, a particular Mrs. Stothard proceeds to state, detail of it, in a series of letters, that the application failed; but, which her husband illustrated by that it had, notwithstanding, the various beautiful drawings of the good effect of preserving these re- views, costume, architectural anmains from total destruction. At tiquities, &c. that they thought the same period Mr. Stothard vi- worthy of notice in their route. sited the abbey of L'Espan, near On their return to England the Mans, in search of the effigy of publication of these materials was Berengaria, queen of Richard the strongly recommended by Mrs. first; he found the abbey church Stothard's brother. Messrs. Longconverted into a barn, and the

man and

company undertook it in object of his inquiry in a mutilated a liberal manner; and in Novemstate, concealed under a quantity ber, 1820, they appeared under of wheat. At Mans he discovered the title of 6 Letters written the beautiful enamelled tablet, re- during a tour through Normandy, presenting Geoffrey Plantagenet, Britanny, and other parts of at once, the earliest instance of France, in 1818." In 1819, Mr. what is termed a sepulchral cross, C. Stothard laid before the society and of armorial bearings, depicted of antiquaries the complete series decidedly as such. In 1817 he of his drawings from the tapestry, made a second journey to Bayeux, and a paper highly honourable to for the purpose of continuing his his discrimination, in which he

* Engravings, faithfully coloured after these drawings, are now publishing by the society of antiquaries.

proved,

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