Obrázky stránek

No. 50. FRIDAY, APRIL 27.

Nunquam aliud natura, aliud sapientia dixit.

Good sense and nature always speak the same.

WHEN * the four Indian kings' were in this country about a twelvemonth ago, I often mixed with the rabble, and followed them a whole day together, being wonderfully struck with the

1 'The Spectator is written by Steele, with Addison's help; it is often very pretty. Yesterday it was made of a noble hint I gave him long ago for his Tatlers, about an Indian king, supposed to write his travels into England. I repent he ever had it. I intended to have written a book on that subject. I believe he has spent it all in one paper, and all the underhints there are mine too; but I never see him or Addison.' From a letter of Swift to Mrs. Johnson, dated London, April 28, 1711-See Swift's Works, vol. xxii. p. 224, cr. 8vo. 1769.

Some account has been given of the four Indian kings in an antecedent pote on Tat. No. 171, to which the reader is referred. For several years after this time, it was commin at masquerades almost coeval with this paper, to assume the characters and dresses of Indian kings, as appears from a passage of a periodical work in 1717, conducted by Mr. Theobald, under the title of the Censor. See Censor, vol. ii. No. 58, p. 194. The curious may see in the British Museum four beautiful pictures of these Indian chiefs in their peculiar dresses, and probably the representations they give are as faithful as they are elegant. There was an opinion that they were the figures of four Chinese Emperors, and some similarity in the names to those we meet with in the history of China favoured the suppo. sition; but on the removal of the frames, and the plated glasses placed before them, which create some deception, and cover parts of the inscriptions, they prove to be, not coloured mezzotintos, or printed paintings in the ingenious method diseovered about this time by James Le Blon, as was at first supposed, but fine pictures on ivory. The emperor of the Mohocks holds the wampum in his hand, a pledge of the amity of the six Indian nations, and his name as well as the names of his three royal com

* Swift tells Mrs. Johnson (Letter 21, April 14, 1711), that the hint, on which this speculation is formed, came from him; and that he intended to have written a book upon it. Mr. Addison judged much better to work op his materials in a single paper. See note on No. 470 of the Spectator.


sight of every thing that is new or uncommon. I have, since their departure, employed a friend to make many inquiries of their landlord, the upholsterer, relating to their manners and couver

panions correspond to those of the Indian kings given Tat. No. 171, and note, with no other variations in the orthography of the sounds, than their uncouthness may well be supposed to account for. The real name of the artist, for his cipher upon them was taken for that of Le Blon, is certainly known by the following indorsement, 'Drawn by the life, May 2, 1710, by Bernard Lens, jun.'

These fine pictures are not whole lengths; but from the following advertisements in the Tatler in folio, it appears that the four Indian kings were painted at full lengths by John Verelst, and that his paint ings of them were in the collection of pictures belonging to queen Anne.

* Whereas an advertisement was published in the Supplement of yes terday, that the effigies of the four Indian kings were drawn from Mr. Ve. relst's original pictures, these are to give notice that Mr. Verelst has not permitted any person to take any draught or sketch from them. lf he should, he will take care to have it correctly done by a skilful hand, and to inform the public thereof in the Tatler.' Signed John Verelst. At the Rainbow and Dove, by Ivy-bridge, in the Strand. —Tat. in fol. No. 172, May 16, 1710.

About half a year after, the following advertisement appeared at the end of Tat. No, 250 in folio, Nov. 14, 1710. * This is to give notice, that the niezzotinto prints by John Simmonds, in whole lengths, of the four Indian kings, that are done from the original pictures drawn by John Verelst, which her majesty has at her palace at Kensington, are now to be delivered to subscribers, and sold at the Rainbow and Dove, the corner of Ivy-bridge, in the Strand.' This notice was re-printed with sone variation in the Tat. in folio, at the ends of Nos. 253, 256, and 257.

Besides the prints of Simmonds, there were, it seems, other prints of the Indian chiefs, said to have been drawn from Verelst's original pictures, disowned by that painter as not originating from him, and represented in his advertisement as incorrect, and the workmanship of an unskilful hand.

Walpole, in his anecdotes of Painting, &c., gives some account of John, under the name of Simon Verelst, and says, ‘he lived to a great age, certainly as late as 1710, and died in Suffolk-street,' i. e. Ivy-bridge lane. He was a Dutch flower-painter of capital excellence in that branch of the art of painting; and likewise attempted portraits, labouring them exceeding ly, and finishing them with the same delicacy with his flowers, which he always introduced into them. His works were much admired, and his

sation, as also concerning the remarks which they made in this country: for, next to the forming a right notion of such strangers, I shyuld be desirous of learning what ideas they have conceived

of us.

prices the greatest that had been known in this country: for one half length he was paid 1101. He was a real ornament to the reign of Chas. II. and greatly lessened the employment of sir Peter Lely, who retired to Kex, while Verelst engrossed the fashion. Walpole has recorded entertaining instances of the vanity of Kneller, and Jervase, mentioned Tat. Nos. 4, and 7; but Verelst was outright mad with vanity, and more than once confined as insane. In his confinement, under a proper regimen, towards the end of his life, he recovered his senses, but not his genius. His bon Cornelius was of his father's profession, as was also his very accomplished daughter, who was an excellent colourist; painted in oil ; drew small histories, and portraits both large and small; she understood inusic, and spoke with fluency Latin, German, Italian, and other languages. John Verelst had likewise a brether of the name of Herman, who painted history, fruit, and Howers; he lived abroad at Vienna till the Turks beseiged it in 1683, but died in London about the beginning of this century, and was buried in St. Andrew's, Holborn.

John Simmonds, whom Wampole caiis Simon, mentioned in the second advertisement, was the best mezzotinto scraper of his time; but he was soon excelled by Smith, White, and other improvers of his art. He copied the pictures of sir G. Kneller, and other masters with success, and died in 1755.

Bernard Lens sprang from a family of artists, and was an admirable painter in miniature; he painted portraits in that way; but his excellence was copying the works of great masters, particularly Rubens and Vandyke, whose colouring he imitated exactly. He had three sons who fol. lowed their father's profession, who retired from business, made two sales of his pictures, and died at Knightsbridge in 1741.

James Le Blon above-mentioned invented his method of printing paintings, about the same time that Edward Kirkall invented his method of printed drawings; but though both of their inventions had much success and applause, yet they had no imitators. Their methods are probably tow laborious, and too tedious; and in opulent countries, where there is great facility of getting money, it is seldom got by merit, the artists being in too much haste to deserve it. Le Blon, the inventor of the method of mezzotinto here spoken of, which adds at least the resemblance of a colour to such prints, succeeded in his art sufficiently to convince the world that the want of colouring, a great deficiency in prints, was attainable and well worthy of acquisition. His discovery was however negleoted, as the revi.

The upholsterer finding my friend very inquisitive about these his lodgers, brought him some time since a little bundle of papers, which he assured him were written by King Sa Ga Yean Qua Rash Tow, and, as he supposes, left behind by some mistake. These papers are now translated, and contain abundance of very odd observations, which I find this little fraternity of kings made during their stay in the Isle of Great Britain. I shall present my reader with a short specimen of them in this paper, and may perhaps communicate more to him hereafter. In the article of Lon. don are the following words, which, without doubt, are meant of the Church of St. Paul.

On the most rising part of the town there stands a huge house, big enough to contain the whole nation of which I am king. Our good brother E Tow 0 Koam, king of the rivers, is of opinion it was made by the hands of that great god to whom it is consecrated. The kings of Granajah, and of the six nations, believe that it was created with the earth, and produced on the same day with the sun and moon. But, for my own part, by the best information that I could get of this matter, I am apt to think, that this prodigious pile was fashioned into the shape it now bears by several tools and instruments, of which they have a wonderful variety in this country. It was probably at first an huge misshapen rock that grew upon the top of the hill, which the natives of the country (after having cut it into a kind of regular figure) bored and hollowed with incredible pains and indus

val of encaustic painting has lately been, though the advantages of both these arts are so obvious and so desirable. He communicated his invention to the public in a book in 4to English and French, intitled Coloritto; or, The Harmony of Colouring in Painting reduced to mechanical Practice, under easy Precepts and infallible Rules. This ingenious man was an unfortunate projector, and, on the failure of one of his projects in this country, left it under some disgrace, and died, it is said, in an hospital at Paris. See Spect. No. 136, note; Tat. 171, and note.-C.

VOL. 6.-7

try, till they had wrought in it all those beautiful vaults and caverns into which it is divided at this day. As soon as this rock was thus curiously scooped to their liking, a prodigious number of hands must have been employed in chipping the outside of it, which is now as smooth as the surface of a pebble; and is in several places hewn out into pillars, that stand like the trunks of so many trees bound about the top with garlands of leaves. It is probable that when this great work was begun, which must have been many hundred years ago, there was some religion among this people, for they give it the name of a temple, and have a tradition that it was designed for men to pay their devotion in. And, indeed, there are several reasons which make us think, that the natives of this country had formerly among them some sort of worship; for they set apart every seventh day as sacred : but upon my going into one of these holy houses on that day, I could not observe any circumstance of devotion in their behaviour: there was, indeed, a man in black who was mounted above the rest, and seemed to utter something with a great deal of vehemence; but as for those underneath him, instead of paying their worship to the deity of the place, they were most of them bowing and curtseying to one another, and a considerable number of them fast asleep. "The

queen of the country appointed two men to attend us, that had enough of our language to make themselves understood in some few particulars. But we soon perceived these two were great enemies to one another, and did not always agree in the same story. We could make a shift to gather out of one of them, that this island was very much infested with a monstrous kind of animals, in the shape of men, called Whigs; and he often told us, that he hoped we should meet with none of them in our way, for that, if we did, they would be apt to knock us down for being kings.

« PředchozíPokračovat »