178 Pages

Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 58, No. 359, September 1845


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Published 08 December 2010
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 58, No. 359, September 1845, by Various This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 58, No. 359, September 1845 Author: Various Release Date: June 8, 2010 [EBook #32738] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK BLACKWOOD'S MAGAZINE, SEPT. 1845 *** Produced by Brendan OConnor, Jonathan Ingram and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Library of Early Journals.) BLACKWOOD'S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE. NO. CCCLIX. 1845. SEPTEMBER, VOL. LVIII. CONTENTS. ENGLISH LANDSCAPE—C ONSTABLE, MAHMOOD THE GHAZNAVIDE. By B. SIMMONS, MARSTON; OR, THE MEMOIRS OF A STATESMAN. PART XIX., WATERTON'S SECOND SERIES OF ESSAYS, 257 266 272 289 WARREN'S LAW STUDIES , MARGARET OF VALOIS, THE BARON VON STEIN, THE H ISTORICAL R OMANCE, A FEW WORDS FOR BETTINA , 300 312 328 341 357 N ORTH'S SPECIMENS OF THE BRITISH C RITICS. N O . VIII.—SUPPLEMENT TO MAC366 FLECNOE AND THE D UNCIAD, EDINBURGH: WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS, 45, GEORGE STREET; AND 37, PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON. To whom all Communications (post paid) must be addressed. SOLD BY ALL THE BOOKSELLERS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM. PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND HUGHES, EDINBURGH. BLACKWOOD'S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE. NO. CCCLIX. 1845. SEPTEMBER, VOL. LVIII. [Pg 257] ENGLISH LANDSCAPE—CONSTABLE.[1] The appearance of the second edition of Leslie's Life of Constable invites attention to this truly English and original artist. We have read this volume with much interest. It is a graceful homage paid by a great living painter to the memory of one who is no more: a kindly, and, as we believe, an honest testimony to the moral and professional worth of one whose works stand out with a striking and distinct character in the English school of landscapepainting, and which, we are confident, will retain the place which they have slowly gained in public estimation, as long as a feeling of pictorial truth, in its more elevated sense, and as distinct from a mere literal imitation of details, shall continue to endure. Mr Leslie has accomplished his task with skill as well as good sense; for, keeping the labours of the editor entirely in the background, he has made Constable his own biographer—the work consisting almost entirely of extracts from his notes, journals, and correspondence, linked together by the slenderest thread of narrative. Story indeed, it may be said, there was none to tell; for, among the proverbially uneventful lives of artists, that of Constable was perhaps the least eventful. His birth—his adoption of painting as a profession (for he was originally destined pulverem collegisse in the drier duties of a miller)—his marriage, after a long attachment, on which parents had looked frowningly, but which the lovers, by patient endurance and confidence in each other, brought to a successful issue—his death, just when he had begun to feel that the truth and originality of his style were becoming better appreciated both abroad and at home; these, with the hopes, and fears, and anxieties for a rising family, which diversify the married life with alternate joys and sorrows, form, in truth, the only incidents in his history. The incidents of a painter's life, in fact, are the foundation of his character, the gradual development to his own mind of the principles of his art; and with Constable's thoughts and opinions, his habits of study, the growth of his style—if that term can be applied to the manner of one whose great anxiety it was to have no distinguishable style whatever—with his manly, frank, affectionate, and somewhat hasty disposition, with his strong self-reliance, and, as we may sometimes think, his overweening self-esteem—his strength of mind and his weaknesses—this volume makes us familiarly acquainted. Constable was born in 1776, at East Bergholt in Sussex. His father was in comfortable circumstances, as may be gathered from the fact, that the artist (one of six children) ultimately inherited £4000 as his share of the succession. He was thus entirely exempted from the res angusta with which artists have so often to labour; although, with the characteristic improvidence of his profession, we still find that he had enough to do to make both ends meet. Born delicate, he grew up a strong and healthy boy, and was intended by his father, who had succeeded by purchase or inheritance to sundry wind and water mills, for a miller. Nay, for about a year, Constable actually performed that duty at one of his father's mills, and, it is said, faithfully and assiduously. Yet he contrived to turn even this episode in his life to some advantage. He treasured up a multitude of mental studies of clouds and skies, which, to the wind-miller, are always objects of peculiar interest, and acquired that familiarity with mills and their adjuncts which justified his brother's observation—"When I look at a mill painted by John, I see that it will go round, which is not always the case with those by other artists." Even before his short trial of a miller's life, his love of drawing and painting had shown itself; but, receiving little countenance from his father, he had established a little sanctuary of his own in a workshop of a neighbouring plumber and glazier, John Dunthorne, a man of some intelligence, and himself an indefatigable artist on an humble scale. His mother, who seems from the first to have had something like a prophetic anticipation of his future eminence, procured him an introduction to Sir George Beaumont, who frequently visited his mother, the dowager Lady Beaumont, then residing at Dedham. The sight of a beautiful Claude—"The Hagar"—which [Pg 258] Sir George generally carried with him when he travelled, and of some water-colour drawings by Girtin, which Sir George advised him to study as examples of truth and breadth, seem to have determined his wavering resolution to become a painter; and the combined influence of Claude and Girtin may, indeed, be traced more or less during the whole course of his practice. His father appeared at last to have given a reluctant consent, and the mill was abandoned for the painting-room, or rather for the study of nature in the open air, among the forest glades and by the still streams of Suffolk. Suffolk, certainly, might not appear at first sight to be the place which one would choose for the education of a great painter. Mountains it has none; to the sublimity arising from lake or precipice,