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eagerly employed in counting money. The extreme satisfaction in the countenances of each of these persons is most happily expressed; and this expres. sion indicates a more genial feeling than belongs to the character of the “ Miser.” The probability is, that the picture represents two bankers, or usurers, of the painter's city; who derive that satisfaction from a contemplation of their riches—their gold, their bills, and their bonds—which the possession of wealth is supposed to communicate in every situation. The accessaries of the picture—the candlestick, the rolls of paper, the parrot--are delineated with a fidelity rarely excelled. At any rate the work has excellence enough to be considered the chef-d'æuvre of the artist, and such as might fairly have won him the hand of his mistress-who is said to have accepted the “painter," after having rejected the “ blacksmith.”
The late Julius Cæsar IBBETSON was originally a ship-painter; but by the cultivation of his talents became so eminent a painter of landscapes, that Mr. West used to compare him to the Dutch Berghem, one of the greatest artists his country has produced in that department. WILLIAM Kent, another English artist, who practised both history and portrait painting, in the earlier part of the last century, but is better known for his architectural designs, and the graceful and picturesque style of ornamental gardening which he was the first to introduce among us, had acquired the rudiments of his art while serving his apprenticeship to a coach-painter. FRANCIS Towns, a landscape painter of great taste and unrivalled industry, who acquired a handsome fortune in the exercise of that art, but principally as a teacher of drawing, commenced his career under similar auspices. JOHN JOSHUA KIRBY, who, about the middle of the last century, distinguished himself
SCHIAVONI. HOGÅRTH. SHARP.
by a series of drawings of the monumental and other antiquities of the County of Suffolk, and was elected a member both of the Royal and Antiquarian Societies, was originally a house-painter. So was the celebrated Italian painter, SCHIAVONI, whose parents were so poor, that although he early shewed a propensity for the art in which he afterwards so eminently excelled, they were unable to afford him any better initiation into it; but who, even in this humble situation, cultivated his talents with so much success, that he recommended himself by his performances to the notice of the great Titian, and was employed by him to paint the ceilings of the Library of St. Mark. The famous HOGARTH acquired his knowledge of drawing while serving his apprenticeship to an engraving silversmith; and commenced his professional career by engraving coats of arms and shop-bills. The late WILLIAM SHARP whose eccentricities are so well known, but who was certainly also one of the ablest engravers England ever produced, was educated only to the subordinate branch of the profession, called bright engraving, or that which is occupied with such articles as dogcollars and door-plates. ROBERT Thew, another English engraver of eminence, originally employed himself merely on visiting cards and shop-bills. Finally, to omit other instances for the present, William Caslon, the celebrated type-founder, began life only as an engraver of the ornaments on gunbarrels; from which he proceeded, in the first instance, to attempt cutting letters for the bookbinders. Some of his performances in this line having', we are told, been accidentally seen by Mr. Bowyer, the printer, that gentleman sought him out; and after forming an acquaintance with him, took him one day to a foundery in Bartholomew Close, when, after
* See p. 52.
having shewn him something of the nature of the business, he asked him if he thought he could now undertake to cut types himself. Caslon requested a day to consider the matter; and then answered that he thought he could. Upon this, Mr. Bowyer and two of his friends advanced him a small capital; and with no other preparation, he set up in his new busi
In this he speedily acquired such reputation, that instead of the English printers importing their types any longer from Holland, as had before that time been the custom to a very considerable extent, those cast by him were frequently exported to the Continent.
The great disadvantage which had to be surmounted by some of the individuals we have just mentioned, and others similarly situated, was the time they had lost before commencing the pursuit to which they eventually dedicated themselves. This circumstance involved the necessity of acquiring an acquaintance sometimes even with the most elementary principles of their art, at a period of life when their habits were already formed, and a certain degree of aversion contracted for what we may call the discipline of apprenticeship in the rudiments of any art or profession.
Considerable as this disadvantage must have been we see how completely it was overcome by their perseverance and honourable ambition. Thus, in another field of enterprize, OLIVER CROMWELL, who never fought a battle that he did not win, was forty-two years old before he entered the army; and his contemporary (born, indeed, the same year with himself), the immortal BLAKE, who stands in the very front rank of our captains and patriots, and may be considered as the founder of the system of naval tactics, adopted after his time, and who was the first of our commanders who ventured to attack a battery with ships, was in his fiftieth year when he first went to seu.
In the pursuit, too, of literature and science, we have many instances of persons who, in the same manner, have become schoolboys, as it were, in their manhood or old age; and, undismayed by the reflection that their spring, and sometimes their summer likewise, of life was already spent and gone, have given themselves with as much alacrity of heart to the work of that education, of which circumstances, or their own heedlessness, had prevented the earlier commencement, as if they had been yet as much children in years as they were in learning. Life is short, certainly ; and a youth lost in idleness makes a fearful subtraction from its scanty sum: but this is the true way to repair that loss, and to make our few years many. - We do not comprehend, however, among those who have distinguished themselves by acquisitions made late in life, all such as may have merely familiarized themselves with a branch of knowledge after the regular period of education was over. The history of any devotee of learning is the history of a series of acquisitions, which terminates only with his life itself; and will very often embrace much that may, in one sense, be termed elementary study, even in its latest stages. Thus, the student of languages, for example, if he proposes to survey any considerable portion of his mighty subject, must lay his account with being obliged to learn vocabularies and grammar rules to the end of his days. That wonderful scholar, Sir WILLIAM JONES, who, in addition to great acquirements in various other departments of knowledge, had made himself acquainted with no fewer than twenty-eight different languages, was studying the grammars of several of the oriental dialects up to within a week of his lamented death. At an earlier period of his life, when he was in his thirty-third year, he had resolved, as appears from a scheme of
study found among his papers, “ to learn no more rudiments of any kind; but to perfect himself in, first, twelve languages, as the means of acquiring accurate knowledge of history, arts, and sciences.” These were the Greek, Latin, Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, German, and English. When he was afterwards induced, however, from the situation he held in India, to devote himself more especially to Oriental learning, he extended his researches a great way even beyond these ample limits. In addition to the tongues already enumerated, he made himself not only completely master of Sanscrit, as well as less completely of Hindostanee and Bengalee, but to a considerable extent also of the other Indian dialects, called the Tibetian, the Pâli, the Phalavi, and the Deri; to which are to be added, among the languages which he describes himself to have studied least perfectly, the Chinese, Russian, Runic, Syriac, Ethiopic, Coptic, Dutch, Swedish, and Welsh *.
It is only, however, when an individual commences the study of foreign languages in his maturer years, that we are entitled to quote him as an example of the peculiar sort of perseverance and intrepidity we are at present considering. Thus, the old Roman, Cato the Censor, in all respects an extraordinary man, shewed his force of character very strikingly, by setting himself to learn Greek in his old age.
At this time the study of this language was very rare at Rome :-—and the circumstance renders the determination of Cato, and his success, the more remarkable. In so far as his native literature was concerned, Cato was before this one of the most learned of his countrymen : but he certainly had never experienced what it was to study a foreign