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when he heard of this intention, came down with his usual caution—“ Do nothing of the kind. It is only just flying in the face of the Academy." There was always a struggle in Wilkie's mind between his regard for Haydon, compassion for his ill-treatment, anxiety for his success, and profound reverence for the authority of the Royal Academy. Yet in his heart, I believe, he secretly admired Haydon's daring and defiance. It was something he could not reach himself, but which dazzled him in others. "Dentatus was sent to the British Gallery and hung up beside Howard's picture. Haydon asserts that the academicians used all their influence to persuade the directors to award the prize to Howard, or at least to put "Dentatus" out of court. But this probably partakes of the exaggeration and heightened coloring which belong to such moments of excitement. On the 17th May, 1810, the directors met to decide, and with the exception of Mr. Thomas Hope, unanimously declared "Dentatus" the winner.

Whether Lord Mulgrave was much consoled, I cannot say, but fearing the effect upon his ardent young protégé he writes him a warning letter against the mephitic vapors of academical life and practice, urges him not to allow this success to lull him into a false security," nor lead him to abandon his high aims;" and then he nailed up “ Dentatus" in a deal case, and never looked at it, nor allowed Haydon to look at it, for two years.




Three letters, signed, “An English Student,” suddenly and successively appeared in the 'Examiner' newspaper for the 26th January; 2d, and 9th February, 1812; and never before nor since has the art of England been thrown into such an uproar.1 The burst of official fury was so great, so alarming,

as his own Journal of the day sufficiently shows. This is only one of many instances of the lazy and inaccurate manner in which he wrote his life, without referring back to his early Journals, a labor which evidently, under the influence of momentary impressions, "bored" him.-ED.

1 Before the appearance of the first letter Sir George Beaumont had come to London, seen the "Macbeth" at the British Gallery, where he admitted it kept its place

that Soane's courage failed him. He suppressed his pamphlet, clung to the Academy, and left Haydon to fight the battle unaided. Chantrey catching the panic, stopped short of schism and separation, and threw Haydon overboard after a moment's hesitation. And Collins, what becomes of the faithful Collins does not immediately appear, but that he too shrank from the logical deduction of his complaints, and went down into the deep profound, to come up like Chantrey in future years a Royal Academician, is equally sad, and equally true. Had the four held together, their weight would have been irresistible, the Academy would have been reformed, and the art advanced by fifty years. Then came a fresh defection. The editors of the "Examiner," besieged by angry and vindictive academicians and connoisseurs, in a moment of weakness gave up the name of the "English Student." In the then existing well against the "Paul Veronese," but said it was too large for any room he had at Cole-Orton, and on the 29th of January wrote to Haydon to decline its possession, according to their understanding, but offering 100l. towards expenses, and a commission for a smaller picture, the price to be settled by arbitration. Haydon petulantly rejected both offers, said he would "keep the 'Macbeth,' and would not paint another picture on any account for Sir George." I suspect him to have been nettled by the abuse lavished on the picture by West and the academicians, by whom, he thinks, Sir George has been influenced. Possibly so; or perhaps the letter of the 26th of January may have had some effect, for of all men Sir George must have known Haydon's style and opinions, especially upon such a subject as Mr. Payne Knight's essay, which they had doubtless often discussed. Anyhow the excuse that he had no room at Cole-Orton will not stand. But the whole affair was an unhappy business, and was unquestionably the origin of Haydon's pecuniary troubles. Before he began "Macbeth" he owed nothing. On the day Sir George Beaumont refused to purchase it he was nearly 500l. in debt, the price he put upon the picture. In explanation of his "three letters" to the "Examiner," Haydon in his Autobiography, written thirty years later, says that Sir George's unexpected refusal to purchase "Macbeth," the abuse of the picture by West and the academical party, and his own pecuniary predicament, exasperated him to that degree, "an attack upon the Academy darted into his head." But this lays more at Sir George's door than Sir George can claim, while it is just another of those curious and illusive errors of imagination with which Haydon's Autobiography abounds. Nothing can be further from the facts. In the first place his habit of composition was, that he wrote and corrected in his head, before he put pen to paper. And a careful examination of his MSS. and private correspondence at this period shows that he had published his first letter three days before he had received Sir George's offer. By that time the second letter must have been in the printer's hands, and the third already in his mind. Thus I am convinced there was no precipitancy of the kind, and, indeed, all other facts are against such a supposition.

state of society nothing more was requisite. Haydon forgave these equivocal acts of his friends with his accustomed generosity. He knew the necessities of editors, and he never thought evil of any man. But he immediately foresaw that a hard and long struggle was now before him. He had brought forty men upon his back with all the rich men behind them, and he might rely on it they would show him no mercy. Nevertheless he seems to have felt satisfied that, whatever the intermediate consequences to him, the contest must ultimately resolve itself into a struggle between the exclusive domination of forty academicians and the national intellect. In the end the Academy would be purified, the art freed, and the public taste raised. Sir Thomas Lawrence, Sir George Beaumont, Mr. Locke, Mr. Thomas Hope, and many others expressed the same opinion; but they never forgave Haydon for writing the "letters."

By February, 1812, Haydon had been nearly eight years in London. He had made himself fully acquainted with the history of the Academy, with the views of all parties in the art, and with the malpractice and corruption that generally prevailed. His connection with the Academy as a student, his extraordinary intimacy with Fuseli, who seems to have opened his heart to him freely on Academical matters, his close observation of, and acquaintance with Northcote, West, Shee, Beechey, Howard, Phillips, and the men of the hour, had taught him into what unadaptive stuff official academies may sink; while the treatment Wilkie, Collins, Sir Charles Bell, Chantrey, Soane, and others, himself among them, had met at the hands of the Academy Counci! during these years, had long since brought him to regard this institution in its existing form as something in the light of Milton's Sin :

"Woman to the waist, and fair, But ending foul in many a scaly fold."

I have no doubt that materials for an indictment against the Academy had been unconsciously accumulating in Haydon's mind for many years. Every fresh conversation with Fuseli, Jackson, Wilkie, and Bell, only gave them color and form, and the "Bird and Wilkie" scandal, in 1810, brought them to maturity. He seems to have been resolved from that moment to seize an opportunity to appeal to the public. In 1812 the opportunity occurred, and he took it. Hence it was from no sudden inspiration, but with settled views and firm convictions Haydon took the field, and solely, I believe, in the public interest. For his own private interests nothing could be more fatal. For it was impossible he could long preserve his incognito, and that, once broken, the peace of his life and his prospects of employment were fatally imperilled. Hatred and contention would cling to him for life, his talents would be denied, his motives impugned, and himself deprived of employment on every convenient opportunity.-ED.

The letters are evidently the work of a young writer who is master of his subject. They put forth a sound system of art education, and I can quite understand why such vigorous writing upon a subject hitherto sacred to connoisseurs and official academicians, and so entirely in opposition to their existing practice in art, should have come in the form of an astounding surprise to such very great men, and, as regarded the writer, raised the keenest curiosity. No sooner, however, was Haydon's name given as the real writer, than there was an explosion of all that long-hoarded envy, jealousy and wrath, which always accumulates in society against a young man of original mind who is dependent upon society for employment, and does not wear his originality with submission. Haydon was denounced at every dinner-table, and at some it was suggested legal proceedings be taken against him.

In short, he awoke one morning to find himself a man forbid, and all his reputation gone. In forty-eight hours more he was regarded as one of the most abandoned characters of the age. Society in those days resented anything that smacked of an appeal to public opinion.1

I When Wilkie, after the seizure of his pictures in execution, painted his wellknown "Distraining for Rent," the Directors of the British Gallery, who purchased the work, felt such misgivings over the subject, that, incredible as the statement may appear now, they hid the picture for years in their lumber room below, never daring to exhibit it. The whole tone and temper of society was, in fact, against reflections upon established authority. As for the number of unfortunate editors and writers who were prosecuted, fined, imprisoned, and even transported in the first quarter of this century, their name is legion. Between 1812 and 1822 there were 270 Government prosecutions for libel against authors or publishers, and Haydon may consider himself fortunate that he escaped as he did. Nevertheless, in taking up the cause of art and design at the time he did, and in the manner he did, Haydon performed a valuable public service. It was absolutely necessary that it be done. No one else in the art had the courage to attempt it, though every one in the art outside of the Academy, and a select minority within its walls, felt that it ought to be done, and were secretly grateful that Haydon had done it. If he was not prudent so far as his own personal interest was concerned, he was at least honest and courageous and faithful towards the interests of his art and of the public.



Mr. Prince Hoare, one day in March, 1812, met him walking down the Haymarket, admitted the truth of all he had written, but said, "They will deny your talents and deprive you of employment." "Yet," replied Haydon, "if I produce a work of such merit as cannot be denied, the public will carry me through." "They know nothing of art,” said Prince Hoare. "That I deny," returned Haydon; "the merest shoeblack will understand Ananias." Mr. Hoare shook his head despondingly. "What do you propose to paint?" "The Judgment of Solomon." Why Rubens and Raphael have both tried it," said Mr. Hoare with surprise. "So much the better," said Haydon composedly; "I will tell the story better." Mr. Hoare smiled. "And how are you to live?" "Leave that to me." "Who is to pay your rent?" "Leave that to me." "Ah!" said his old friend, "I see you are ready with a reply; you will never sell it." "I trust in God," replied Haydon. "Well," said Mr. Hoare, drawing a long breath, and in a tone that showed his belief in what would soon happen, "if you are arrested, send for me."


It is only a conversation like this and in words like these that brings home to us the real difficulties of Haydon's position, and displays the courage, the tenacity, and the insuppressive mettle of his spirit. Imagine a young man in such a situation, without a sixpence in the world, and in debt, living in a noisy street of a city eminently hideous, surrounded by people dressed in the ugliest costumes, and with nothing more picturesque to excite his imagination than the Lord Mayor's Show or a May Day, deliberately sitting down to conceive, and what is more, to paint on his own responsibility, so grand a work as the "Judgment of Solomon " upon the scale of life! It says a good deal for the powers of his young mind.

The next morning he arose with the now proverbial "light

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