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heart," and having prayed to God to guide him aright, and found, as curiously enough he never failed to find, his inward conviction to agree with his own self-will, he sent for his model, and painted in the head of the "Wicked Mother."

With this picture Haydon pursued and carried further the same cautious course he had followed with "Dentatus" and "Macbeth." He painted nothing without first making careful studies from the Elgin Marbles, then from nature, and always painted from a living model before him. This is the true principle-always to keep nature in view at the moment of practice. The expense was terrible, but it is the true method, though far too costly and troublesome for most painters to follow.


I must return for a moment to "Macbeth." Having been sent to the British Gallery (previous to the appearance of the "Three Letters ") to compete for the prize of three hundred guineas, it became the duty of the directors, in April, 1812, to award the prize. In the opinion of competent judges "Macbeth" was far ahead of anything else in the room. But how could the directors now award the prize to a young man who had the audacity to ridicule the judgment of connoisseurs, and condemn the conduct of the King's Academy? Here was their dilemma. If they awarded the prize to Haydon it would give offence to society, to the connoisseurs, by the breath of whose nostrils they lived, and to the Royal Academy, which they were bound to support. And yet they could not conscientiously give the prize to any other of the competitors, the works of these being so inferior to " Macbeth." What was to be done? Like all men who have not the courage of their opinions, the directors devised an 66 expedient"-that hateful shelter for a lie-the refuge of every form of weak or dishonest administration. They would give prizes to nobody, but they would take the prize moneys, five hundred guineas in all, which they had pledged their honor to give in different prizes to different

classes of competitors, and go into the town and buy for their own gallery a picture which had never competed at all.1

Thus they said to themselves, "We shall get well out of our difficulty. We shall not reward Haydon, but we shall not do him the injustice of rewarding anybody else, and we shall encourage art. Moreover, we shall add a picture to our gallery." It is satisfactory to think that their calculations turned out mistaken. They got heartily abused by all parties for their unpardonable breach of faith, and laughed at into the bargain for buying a bad picture! Such is the fate of men when they abandon a principle for what they deem expedient.

This abstraction from Haydon of the three hundred guineas prize upon which he had counted, and which he had fairly won, was the first serious return blow he received for his "Three Letters." Coming upon the top of Sir George Beaumont's curiously unkind withdrawal, it hit Haydon as hard as his best enemies could well wish. His warm friends, (Sir) Charles Bell and Joseph Strutt, of Derby, came to his support promptly. And it is due to Leigh Hunt and his brother John, to say that they offered Haydon all the assistance their limited means allowed, and when those limits were reached, Leigh Hunt initiated Haydon into the mysteries of drawing and discounting bills, of which, for my part, I heartily desire he had remained ignorant.


Haydon was young, he was in good health, he had no encumbrances, but he had 600l, of debt round his neck, and no money of his own. His father had retired from his business, and indeed died a few months after, when the printing and publishing business, with the interest of which Haydon never seems to have troubled his head, passed, nobody knows how, to nobody knows whom, who sold it, nobody knows why, and

1 They bought Richter's "Christ Healing the Blind," according to Haydon's notes. It is only fair to the directors to add that they sent the leading competitors a cheque ot thirty guineas each to cover their "expenses." Haydon indignantly returned his. -ED.

disappeared nobody knows where. Thus Haydon's position was becoming critical. He felt it, and knew it, but he was one of that order of minds which never waits for prosperity and great powers for the accomplishment of its object. Men who do, never effect much to be proud of. The man who delays his attack till " the next morning" generally loses the battle or finds nothing to attack. But those who make the best use they can of the apparently inadequate means within their reach, and trust to their own energies and constancy to carry them through, work what are called miracles-Haydon was essentially one of these men.

For the next twenty months, with one brief visit to his uncle at Cheddar, he kept closely to his work. Into society he no longer went, and society neither sought nor missed him apparently. Lord Mulgrave alone remembered him enough to send him to see the Prince Regent open Parliament (November, 1812). It was on this occasion Haydon seeing Lord Wellesley, in the heat of debate, throw himself into the attitude of Raphael's St. Paul preaching at Athens, conceived the idea of a series of pictures on a grand scale for the decoration of the Houses of Parliament, illustrative of the principle for which the building is erected. He came home full of the subject and consulted Wilkie, who was delighted with the scheme, and William Hamilton of the Foreign Office, who suggested Nero burning Rome as an illustration of Despotism. Haydon at once made a series of sketches, and one painting of the House, with the pictures in their places, which I well remember, and very striking and powerful in effect it was. But there was no hope just then of getting ministers to accept any plan of this kind. Europe was convulsed with the news that Napoleon had arrived in Paris from Moscow, but without his army. The ministers had weightier matters on hand than art and decoration. The beginning of the end of an Empire was at hand.

The year 1813 came and passed, and brought no change in Haydon's situation. By the end of the year he was reduced to the greatest extremity and want. His father was dead, his allowance lost, he was selling his books, his prints, his draw

ings, his keepsakes, his very clothes to pay for his models and materials of art, and for part of the little food he allowed himself. Now and then the thought must have crossed his mind like Burns'

"Had I to gude advice but harkit

I might, by this, hae led a market,
Or strutted in a bank and clarkit

My cash account;

While here half mad, half fed, half sarkit,
Is a' the amount."


In his painting-room, Haydon found all he wanted. Society's exclusion of him drove him neither into misanthropy, nor vice. He preserved his intellectual health, untainted. He would not seek to distract his evenings by dissipation, and he refused to condemn the whole race in one sweeping anathema of hatred and contempt. He bided his time like a man, working on, trusting in God, hoping much, alone, unaided and, except by a few stanch friends, forgotten. Who amongst us would, at that age, face two years of such a life, and come out of it so free from the levity and recklessness of bigotry or vice? Of his physical health he was not so careful. He lived latterly on potatoes and salt, and painted himself blind at the last. In an agony of doubt he sent for Adams, the oculist. Adams was out. Haydon sent for a cupper." The man persuaded him to have his temporal artery opened. Haydon lay down for the operation, when Adams came into the room just in time to prevent the mischief which, he said, would have blinded the painter for life. As soon as Haydon was sufficiently recovered under Adams' kind care, he finished the picture, and in good time for the season of 1814.1 Soon the rumor got about town that Haydon had painted a great picture, and was going to exhibit it alone. West, the President of the Royal Academy, sud


1 He was not quite satisfied with the expression of the real mother, but, just as he was thinking of painting her out he overheard an old-woman model say to herself, "Ah, poor soul, how frightened she is!" This satisfied Haydon he had touched a chord in the human heart, and he left the head as it is.-ED.

denly called, an honor he had never before conferred. He looked long at the picture, and at the poor pale spectre of a painter, half blind, half starved, standing before him. "This




is a work," he said in a low voice, "which must not be forgotten," and then he began to cry. After a while, he said, "Have you any resources?" They are exhausted." "Do you want money?" Indeed, I do." "So do I," replied West. They have stopped my income from the King,' but Fauntleroy is now arranging an advance, and, if I succeed, my young friend, you shall hear from me. Don't be cast down." In the course of the day there came a cheque from him for 157., with a note that appears in the "Correspondence." This was good of West, and must not be forgotten."



Now that the picture was finished came the question of its exhibition. Wilkie wished it sent to the Royal Academy to heal all wounds. It was too large, I think, to fit into the Octagon-room, and to this extent Wilkie gave prudent counsel. But the "scalded cat dreads cold water," and Haydon had already suffered so much, he preferred to get out of reach of the hose of Academy and British Gallery, and so the picture was sent to the Water Color Society, then in Spring Gardens.

The exhibition opened, and among the first visitors, on the private day, was the Princess Charlotte of Wales. In attendance upon her Royal Highness was Mr. Payne Knight, and we may be sure that when he saw the great picture before him, he well knew whose work it was. Walking up to the canvas, he put his eye close and called aloud, “Distorted stuff!" then, falling back, he said something in a low voice to her Royal Highness, who turned round to the astonished directors, and

I Queen Charlotte, who hated West, because he was an American and had been honored by Napoleon in 1802, on the declared insanity of the King had used her great influence to deprive West, now in his eightieth year, of the income (1,000l. a year) allowed him by George III. On the other hand, it is amusing to remember that George III. had originally patronized and promoted West out of dislike to Sir Joshua Reynolds, who was intimate with Fox and Burke.-ED.

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