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Aberdeen, and a small clique of "Dilettanti" collectors, whose chief vexation seems to have been at the presumption of any one, out of their set, owning or giving an opinion upon an original antique, ridiculed Haydon's conclusions, and "set down" Lord Elgin. "My Lord," said Payne Knight, one evening at dinner, you have lost your labor; your marbles are not Greek, they are Roman of the time of Hadrian." This was a cruel blow to Lord Elgin, who, on his own responsibility, had spent upwards of 30,000l. to bring these marbles to England, and it was the merest assumption on the part of Mr. Payne Knight. But Lord Elgin had not sufficient knowledge of the principles of art to defend his own opinions against such an assailant. He fell back on his young friend Haydon, who quickly came to his rescue. A man in the position of Mr. Payne Knight, the acknowledged authority upon art, looked up to by the artists, consulted by the Government, and followed by the nobility, was the man of all others, in Haydon's opinion, who was not to be permitted to circulate dangerous sophisms upon art. He was also the author of a dull didactic poem, in five books. Such a combination must have been well-nigh irresistible. When and how they first crossed swords I cannot trace, most probably at Sir George Beaumont's. But wherever it was, the difference of opinion between the young painter and the old dilettante soon settled into mutual aversion; and a war began that time never softened, nor age subdued. Haydon attacked Payne Knight's arguments in society with a freshness and audacity, combined with a profound knowledge of his subject, Mr. Payne Knight was no match for. Driven at length from his "Roman of the time of Hadrian" position, he then admitted the marbles "might be Greek," but evidently the work of journeymen not worthy the name of artists." Really, to look at these divine fragments, and be told any man in his senses had once uttered such an opinion concerning them, seems incredible. But there is no bigotry in the world so intolerant as the bigotry of supercilious art-critics,


"The Progress of Civil Society," laughably satirized by Canning.—ED.


gentlemen who think themselves æsthetic. On this new version of the old story, put forth with all the pomposity befitting the occasion, Haydon flung such shouts of laughter, and so heartily ridiculed the idea of such men as Payne Knight and Lord Aberdeen and their learned clique now pronouncing an opinion as to what was, or what was not the work of an "artist," as to make Mr. Payne Knight and his friends mortal enemies for life. This was imprudent, and unnecessary. But I suspect Lord Mulgrave, who seems to have had a good deal of the spirit of Lord Steyne when he asked the rector to meet the priest at his table, and enjoyed the combat that followed, to have been patting the back of his Devonshire lad. Both he and Sir George Beaumont relished the discomfiture of Mr. Payne Knight and his learned friends. The result of the contest was that society began to lose faith in their ancient prophet; opinion became divided; and Mr. Payne Knight went down. Yet, so powerful with Ministers was the influence of the Dilettanti, they kept the question of purchase open for eight years longer, and, but for Haydon, they would have cleverly secured the rejection of the marbles in the end. Indeed, if it had been possible to kill a truth by clamorous denial, the marbles would have been irretrievably lost to us. For neither ministers nor society knew more of the basis of beauty in art, or how to distinguish the true from the false, than its predecessors of the authenticity of the epistles of Phalaris. But Haydon's influence was growing every day. West, Lawrence, Goethe, Rumöhr, Denon, Waagen, and all the best men were on his side, and, when he saw the marbles, Canova. "I admire," writes Canova to Lord Elgin (10th Nov., 1815), 66 the truth of nature united to the choice of the finest forms. Everything breathes life with a veracity, with an exquisite knowledge of art, but without the least ostentation or parade of it, which is concealed by consummate skill. The naked is perfect flesh, and most beautiful of its kind." This confirmed all that Haydon had been saying for the eight previous years.

For three months longer Haydon continued to draw from the Elgin Marbles until he had thoroughly mastered the form of those exquisite fragments, and brought his hand and mind into due subjection. The same sincerity and foresight which appears in his early study of anatomy is yet more prominent in his immediate estimate of the value of these marbles. Here, too, we see again how real, how thorough, this lad was; with what quick sense and courage he acted; how completely he felt and understood that the highest genius is not sufficient to carry you to your ambition without industry, without sincerity, without truth. No matter how disheartening the discovery that he had begun to paint before he was qualified, the moment Haydon saw the truth clearly, he put aside his palette and brushes, went back in all humility to his crayon and drawing-board, and honestly strove to fit himself for his work. In an age of mendacity and delusion it stands out well, and is a lesson to students for all time.


As soon as Haydon felt himself competent to resume painting, he returned to his palette and finished "Dentatus" in time for the exhibition of 1809. Wilkie, Fuseli, Sir George, and Lord Mulgrave were highly pleased with the work. Wilkie and Sir George said it would make Haydon's reputation in any school in Europe. Lord Mulgrave said little, but showed his satisfaction by begging Haydon not to exhibit it at the Academy. They will put it out of sight, you may depend on it." Haydon demurred: they had hung his first picture well; why should they not hang this—a better picture—at least as well? It was



his duty" as a previous student to send what work he did for the credit of the Academy, if it were good. Sir George agreed with Lord Mulgrave that it would be better not to trust an ideal work like "Dentatus" in the hands of men who had either failed in, or had no feeling for, ideal art. It was not that they feared Fuseli, Opie, Lawrence, and the best men of the Academy, but they knew the best men were lost in a majority of medioc

rities. They had seen too often in Reynolds's time and since, that the Royal Academy

"hath a tail

More perilous than the head,"

and that the chances were in favor of a picture like "Dentatus” being “skied,” or put where no one could see it. Haydon in his impulsive way refused to believe so ill of the Academy, and entreated to be allowed to send it there. Lord Mulgrave at length reluctantly consented, and then he did a very foolish thing. He and Sir George hurried off to Phillips, one of the hanging committee of that year, to beg "a good place for Dentatus." Nothing was better calculated to bring about the very result they dreaded. "Dentatus" was sent in, seen and approved by Fuseli, and hung by his order on the line, in the same place as Haydon's previous picture in 1807. So far everything was satisfactory. The day before the private day a hurried note reached Haydon from Fuseli, to say he had been out of town since the hanging of the pictures, and on his return he had found "Dentatus" taken down from its place and put in the ante-room. Fuseli said no more, but what he had said was significant. Where was this ante-room? That same day West met Sir George Beaumont, and said West, who was as deep as Garrick, shaking Sir George warmly by the hand and looking into his eyes, "You will be pleased to hear that we have hung 'Dentatus' in the best place in the whole Academy; and before Sir George, good easy man, could recover his delight, and ask where, West pressed his hand warmly and bade him adieu. Unluckily West met Lady Beaumont's carriage round the corner. She waved her hand, and according to her account, stopped him : "What have you done with 'Dentatus'?" He flattered her with the same charming fiction: "Done with it! why we have hung it in the very best place in the Academy.” "How nice of you!" said Lady Beaumont. But then, with that laudable desire for a "fact" which has distinguished the sex since Sophia of Hanover used to puzzle Leibnitz by the subtlety of her metaphysical questions, she added in her sweetest tone, "And pray where may this best place be?" Bluebeard's chamber was nothing to the question,



or the place. West tried to parry; Lady Beaumont kept him to the point. No, no, but where? tell me exactly." Well," said West, driven to it at last, "just in the very middle of the Octagon-room," and here he was seized with a violent fit of coughing. "Dear me," said Lady Beaumont, her sympathies touched, "what a distressing cough you have got! pray take care of yourself; good-by." West waved his adieux, he could not speak, poor man, and Miladi drove on, repeating to herself "the Octagon-room—that's something new. I wonder if it is nice." That evening Lord Mulgrave and Haydon dined with them, and Lady Beaumont, full of her news, told it to Lord Mulgrave as a great surprise. To her vexation he did not show any pleasure. When a pretty woman gives you a surprise, you should always show delight. Lord Mulgrave on the contrary knitted his brows, looked sullen, and slowly asked, “And pray did West ever hang any of his own pictures in the Octagon-room?" and then he explained what the Octagonroom was. He knew it well. It was the lumber-room of the Academy, without light, where a superfluous picture was now and then hung by academicians to get it out of the way. Lord Mulgrave was mortified, and to a nobleman and minister who had just given one hundred and fifty guineas to a lad for a historical picture, which everybody had predicted would create a sensation, it was not gratifying. Haydon, who was at the table, listened, and said nothing about Fuseli's note. He was vexed with himself for not taking Lord Mulgrave's advice, but he should like to see the picture first before he allowed himself to feel angry. And he had this consolation at all events, that if the removal of the picture from the great room to the anteroom-from the light to the dark-was the result of jealousy and ill-will, it was clear the hanging committee would not trust the picture in a fair light to the decision of the public, but had resorted to an expedient that might as easily be employed if they were in the wrong as in the right. The next day being the private day, the exact position of "Dentatus" was ascertained. It was hung in the dark. Lord Mulgrave was furious. Sir George Beaumont shared his just indignation, and both expressed their opinion of the transaction freely. West, finding

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