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those who liked it; he knew a higher use for his art; and so he walked about the streets in preference, selling his little prints of "Napoleon,”—to such extremities had his art now reduced him.


At length, on the evening of the 8th December, a gentleman called, and was shown into the painting-room. Haydon came up and found Sir Robert Peel. A personal visit from such a friend and supporter of the Royal Academy, and a man so distinguished for his taste in art, gave Haydon the greatest satisfaction at the moment. It led to the heaviest misfortunes of his life, and unquestionably brought him to his bloody grave.

Of Sir Robert Peel's motive in calling there can be no question; it was a good and kindly one. I have reason to believe that he had inquired into Haydon's history, that he considered him an ill-used man, and came for the express purpose of trying to persuade him either to devote himself to portrait, so as in time to fill the vacant place of Lawrence, or else to give him an opportunity of painting a poetic picture that should be suitable in size and subject for a private gallery, so as to induce the nobility and patrons to give him employment. Soon after he entered the painting-room, my father has often told me that Sir Robert spoke of the death of Sir Thomas Lawrence, and said what an opening his death had left for a portrait-painter; this led to some conversation on his merits. Then Haydon showed Sir Robert his casts from the Elgin Marbles. Sir Robert made a remark which displayed a curious ignorance of art and nature. Then, coming back to his first intention, he asked Haydon if he had any portraits to show; Haydon showed him two. Then Sir Robert asked his price for a whole-length portrait; Haydon replied 100 guineas. Now, it happened that lying on the table or on a chair was the sketch of “Napoleon Musing on the Rocks at St. Helena," which Haydon had painted and engraved the year previous. Sir Robert, who had seen and knew the engraving before calling upon Haydon, looked at this sketch, said suddenly, "Paint me a Napoleon,"


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but he mentioned no price, nor asked for one, and shortly after took his leave. There was no reference of any kind to the price of a Napoleon," my father has often assured me. After Sir Robert had left, Haydon was detailing what had passed to his wife, when, with a woman's quickness, she asked if any price was named. My father said "No." Then, said my mother, “ You may depend upon it, he means you to paint the picture for 100 guineas. You had better write and explain." This was a serious matter. For an ordinary fulllength portrait of a living sitter, 100 guineas was little enough ; but for a life-sized historic portrait, a poetic picture such as


Napoleon Musing at St. Helena" must be made, the picture could not be painted for the money. It would take at least four months to think out and paint, and would cost 300l. in time and material at the lowest estimate. Its current price was 500 guineas; Sir Thomas Lawrence would have insisted on 800 guineas. The situation afforded another striking instance of the inconvenience (or convenience, from the purchaser's point of view) of not having 66 a clear understanding."

Haydon objected to write, for fear it should look like an at"raise" his price upon tempt to 66 Sir Robert Peel," and there was something high-minded in the objection. He resolved, therefore, to paint the picture to the best of his ability, to place it in the hands of Sir Robert Peel, and then state the facts, leaving Sir Robert to deal with them as he thought fit. This was the noble course to take; but it had more than one defect. Sir Robert Peel might demur, and if Sir Robert Peel did not, from his point of view, feel himself bound to deal with it as

1 Mr. R. Redgrave, R.A., in his "Century of Painters" (p. 190), says of this incident, having named what he should think a liberal price, he offended the minister by expressing dissatisfaction on being paid the sum he had named." This is singularly incorrect. Haydon never did "name a price for the "Napoleon." The price he named, viz., one hundred guineas, had reference only, and was meant by him to have reference only, to a portrait of a living sitter. And that price, one hundred guineas, was moderate enough, even Mr. Redgrave will allow, for four weeks' work, about the time such a portrait would occupy. If Mr. Redgrave thinks one hundred guineas sufficient remuneration for four months' work, the time the " Napoleon" picture actually took Haydon to paint, I can only say I shall be very happy to employ Mr. Redgrave at that rate for works of similar merit.-ED.

Haydon had settled in his mind Sir Robert ought, Haydon would not with patience accept Sir Robert's decision, and vice versa. The best course would have been to offer to refer the matter to arbitration; but this, unhappily, was not done by Sir Robert Peel. The commission was given on the 8th December, 1830, and the picture was finished by the following April. It is a beautiful conception. Napoleon stands on the edge of the cliff, with his back partly towards you, arms folded, head slightly bent, gazing out upon the vast breadth of sea that rolls between him and Europe. The dying glow of the setting sun lights his profile, the sails of the guard-ship glitter in the distance, and nothing but the One Man, the rocks, the sky, the water, is there. All that ever happened in his life of romance, of poetry, of misfortune, is before you.

One hundred guineas! The picture was a bargain at a thousand.1


Haydon sent down the work to Drayton, and with it went the dreaded explanation. He was not generally a timid man, but he had a keen eye for character. The bleak manners of Sir Robert Peel had affected him. However, he wrote frankly,

1 The late John Wilson Croker (Mr. Rigby of Coningsby), who never allowed merit to anybody else, and who particularly piqued himself upon having been designed by Providence to set the world right in matters on which he was ignorant, was in the habit of declaring that Haydon had stolen the design of this picture from a French print of 1820. It is, of course, within the bounds of possibility that Haydon may have seen such a print. But Mr. Croker only saw the print in Paris, and Haydon never visited Paris after 1814. Unfortunately, too, for Mr. Croker's infallibility, I had in my possession for many years (it was only burned in the Pantechnicon fire) an original sketch in Sepia by my father of "Achilles lamenting the death of Patroclus at break of Day." The date of this sketch was 1809. and in it you saw the original of Haydon's "Napoleon" of 1830. Achilles with his back towards you, robe loosely flowing, arms crossed, chin resting on his palm, is pacing the sea-shore at sunrise. Before him nothing but a vast waste of waters rolling in. the sun just breaking on the horizon, a single sail in sight. Anything more exquisitely poetical I never saw. You felt the morning breeze, you heard the surf beating on the beach, you saw the glory of the rising sun, you marked the thoughts oppressing the mind of the Great Chieftain in the very motion of his body, as he paced the shore. This was the origin of Haydon's "Napoleon," as he had himself subsequently recorded in a corner.—ED.

and told him the plain truth. This was a fatal mistake. It is an act of "inexcusable weakness," says Hazlitt, to lay your heart open to a man who is reserved towards you. He is certain to "turn that confidence against you, and exactly in proportion as he means to leave it uncopied." The result proved Hazlitt's sagacity. Sir Robert Peel drew himself up, resented an application so frank, so unusual in form, and so little flattering to his own judgment or the excellence of his intentions, and affecting to regard the explanation as an impudent attempt to extort money, he flung the poor painter a cheque for an additional 30l., and never saw his face again. But he kept the picture. This was unworthy, but when I add as the fact that Sir Robert Peel ever after told the story to Haydon's disadvantage, and in such a manner as to leave an impression on the minds of his hearers that he had paid 300 guineas for the picture, and that Haydon had then demanded more, there is in Sir Robert's conduct a want of generosity and a disregard for the strict love of truth, that is, to say the least, not pleasing. But the nature of men, it is well said, as of things, is best seen in small quantities.' It is painful to me to have to speak of this unfortunate transaction. Haydon, with all his courage, did not dare, except privately, and then he always put the blame upon himself, and ended by saying, “Well, perhaps I behaved like a fool." But he did nothing of the kind, in the first instance. He had trusted to Sir Robert Peel's generosity, and Sir Robert Peel returned the trust in the manner I have shown; and then added to the injury by telling the story of his purchase so unfairly as to excite a prejudice against Haydon amongst his own friends. For my part, I believe he never forgave Haydon the injury he (Sir Robert) had done him. It was the irritation of his conscience that led him to repeat his own story over and over again, for he never could have looked at the Napoleon" without a twinge.


Taking the mere time the picture had cost Haydon, it was

1 "Peel feels things deeply, and does not forgive quickly, and what he forgives least easily is an attack upon his dignity."-Lord Palmerston to his Brother, 29th Aug. 1844.-ED.

rewarding him at the rate of 27s. a day ! I put it to any man whether that was fair recompense? And then, when the inevitable difference arose, instead of returning the picture to Haydon, or offering to submit the question to arbitration, Sir Robert keeps the picture, and absolutely refuses to pay its fair price. He had got a good picture for next to nothing and he meant to stick to it. Such conduct is not distinguished by generosity or candor. The great merchant princes of Italy, when pleased with the work of the painter they had employed, doubled his price of the picture to mark their approbation. Sir Robert improved upon this; taking advantage of a misunderstanding, he paid one-fifth of the fair value, kept the picture, and then tried to ruin the reputation of the painter.


Contrast the conduct of Lord Egremont, as related by Leslie, on a similar indefinite arrangement. A grandchild of Lord Egremont's was dying at Colonel Wyndham's, some fifty miles from London. Lord Egremont wrote to Phillips, the portrait painter, to set off and take a sketch of the child at once. Phillips being busy, deputed Leslie to go. Leslie posted down that day, sat up all night making sketches, and, returning to town the next day, at once painted a head of the dying child. When Lord Egremont saw the head, he said, “What am I to pay for this?" Leslie replied, "Twenty-five guineas." "But your travelling expenses must be paid?" said the considerate earl. "They were five guineas," said Leslie. Lord Egremont sat down and wrote him a cheque for fifty guineas. The whole thing occupied Leslie about three days. The "Napoleon," on the other hand, occupied Haydon for months.


The sudden rupture of his friendly relations with Sir Robert Peel reduced Haydon to sad straits, for his family was now growing up, and the calls upon him in proportion. In spite of all his difficulties hitherto, he had contrived to put one of his step-sons as a midshipman in her Majesty's navy, and the

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