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SIR FRANCIS CHANTREY AND HIS had appointed to meet him. As he walked up and down, WORKS.
the street, expecting their coming his attention was
attracted by some figures in the window of one Ramsay, I.
a carver and gilder. He stopped to examine then, and We have been anxious to present to our readers some
was not without those emotions which original minds feel notice of the life and works of the great sculptor whose
in seeing something congenial. He resolved at once to recent sudden death has caused so much grief to the
become an artist, and, perhaps, even then associated his lovers of British art.
determination with those ideas and creations of beauty In collecting from various sources the materials neces- from which his name is now inseparable. What his sary for our purpose, we have found some trifling dis, friends thought of his sudden resolution it is useless to crepancies in the details respecting his early life, and inquire, they listened to his request, and bound him for we cannot vouch for having in every case chosen those
the usual term of years as an apprentice to Ramsay. which are the most consistent with truth, though it has
The labours in which Ramsay employed him were too been our endeavour to do so*.
limited for his powers: his hours of leisure were thereIt will be seen that the individual who has been so long fore dedicated to modelling and drawing, and he always and so justly celebrated as the most eminent sculptor preferred copying nature. He had no other idea of that the English nation has produced, was not exempted style but that which nature supplied ; he had his own in his early years from the difficulties and discouragements notions of art and of excellence to rough hew for which so often beset the path of genius. Let the himself, and the style and character he then formed he example of his persevering diligence stimulate those who afterwards pursued with success. These speculations are labouring unheeded and unknown in a path which
were much more pleasant to him than to Ramsay, who, they feel to be one that leads to real excellence,
incensed either at the enthusiasm with which they were FRANCIS Leggitt Chantrex † was born on the followed, or the success with which they were executed, 7th of April, 1781, at Norton, a pleasant village on the defaced them, and ordered all such labours to be disconborders of Derbyshire, and about four miles south of tinued in future, For this conduct it was difficult to Sheffield. Within the last forty years there stood on
find either an excuse or a parallel. the lawn of Norton House, the ruins of an ancient
During the intervals of his ordinary labour, Chantrey chantry, from which it has been assumed that the sur
was not found amusing himself like other young men: name of the sculptor's family had been originally derived. he retired to a lonely room in the neighbourhood, which This may be only a mere fancy, but it is certain that his he hired at the rate of a few pence weekly, and a light ancestors had been long setiled in and about Norton,
was always to be seen in his window at midnight, and the name being of early and frequent occurrence in the frequently far in the morning; for there was he employed church register. Their rank in life was humble; "the in working at groups and figures, with unabated diligence father of Chantrey was a carpenter, who also rented and
and enthusiasm. Of these early efforts little is now cultivated a few fields; besides which he owned some land
visible, except the effect they wrought. His mother at a distance, the old tenants of which used to make
took great delight and interest in the secret labours of favourable mention of the goose-pie which Dame Chan
her son, and lived long enough to see him rising to the trey was wont to produce on the rent-day.
reputation he deserved. Chantrey had passed nearly The farm-cottage, in which Chantrey was born, still exists in a modified state, as does also the village
three years with Ramsay, when his clandestine labours
began to attain notice. Judicious counsellors seldom school at which he acquired the rudiments of knowledge.
fall to the lot of early genius, and many of Chantrey's He was deprived of his father very early in life, and
friends, in the warmth of misjudging zeal, wished to being an only child, was educated by his mother with
obtrude him on the world before his talents were n.
natured, much tenderness and solicitude, Education and agri
or his mind disciplined. Others of more disceriment culture occupied him till his seventeenth year. During
confirmed him in his natural and correct notions of art, his leisure hours his favourite amusement was to make
and directed his enthusiasm. resemblances of various objects in clav, and on churning- John Raphael Smith, mezzotint engraver and portrait
Among these was Mr days to mould his mother's butter into various forms, to
painter, who, being himself a man of talent, soon disthe great admiration of the dairy-maid. But his affection thus early shown for art, was but a matter of amuse
covered the young artist's powers, and took pleasure in ment-he calculated as little on the scope it presented memory of this kind instructor, Chantrey subsequently
directing the efforts of his genius. To perpetuate the to the ambition of genius, as he was unconscious that it
executed one of the finest busts that ever came from his was the path which nature had prepared for his fame. About this time, according to one authority, he be executed the two small figures that stand in the niches
hands. From a statuary of some talent, (the same who came weary of the pursuits of his forefathers, and resolved to study the law, under a respectable solicitor at Shef- he also obtained some instruction in the manual and
on either side of the doors of the Sheffield Infirmary,) field. Whether this was his own choice, or that of his technical arts of modelling and carving in stone. relations, we do not know; or whether, according to another authority, he was placed with Mr. Ebenezer Birks, in Sheffield, in order that he might become a grocer, is also uncertain; but it matters not, for another destiny in order to give the full notice it deserves to the monu
We must here interrupt the course of our narrative, awaited him. To unforeseen circumstances, we owe much of what we are willing to attribute to our wisdom;
mental figures which appear in our frontispiece; and and certainly, to such circumstances in the life of Chanwhich were executed at a time when Chantrey had surtrev, do we owe whatever delight we have received from mounted his early difficulties, and was newly made the productions of that artist.
Associate of the Royal Academy, The day named for commencing his new profession
The monument was executed in memory of the two arrived, and, with the usual eagerness of youth for novelty, infant children of the late Rev. William Robinson; and he reached Sheffield a full hour sooner than his friends
was exhibited in the Royal Academy, in the year 1817
Were we to detail the notices of the effects produced by :: Por he early passages in the life of the sculptor, and for several this affecting group, upon some of the female visitor iudicions remarks, we have to acknowledge our obligations chiefly to a well-considered and well-written critical notice which appeared many years
especially, they would appear greatly exaggerated ayo in Binckwool's Mugazine.
those, however, who have seen the figures will readil+ From a copy of the register of Chantrey's baptism, given in the imagine from their own emotions, how affectingly the Gentiumun's Magazine, it appears that Leggitt was not his baptismal name, and that the house at Norton where he was born was called
must appeal to the tenderest sympathies of parents, an Jordanthorpe
especially of bereaved parents
THE SLEEPING CHILDREN.
These figures form one of the chief attractions to are not common-place forms, nor imitations of Venuses, visitors to Lichfield Cathedral. The monument is Graces, or Hebes ; but they faithfully and feelingly resemble
the situated at the eastern extremity of the south aisle, and persons
young and lovely maidens. These are reprebears on the pedestal, for its sole inscription, the following ing the downy pillow, and that of the youngest reclining on
sented as lying on a couch ; the head of the eldest impressline, from MILTON,
the other's bosom. One of its arms is beneath her sister's Oh, fairest flowers ! no sooner blown than blasted ! head, and the other extends over the body. In one hand The monument is so placed as to be relieved against is a bunch of snow-drops; the blossoms of which are appaa slab of black marble, reared on the wall behind to the rently just broken off, but not withered. The faces of both memory of the late Rev. William Robinson himself, - lids are closed, and every inuscle seems lulled into still and
incline towards each other with apparent affection-the eyewhose funeral memorial is thus made to form a dark
serene sleep; all the other bodily members partake of the pyramidal back-ground to the tomb of his own children. same serenity and repose. The arms and the legs, the finThe figures on the monument are of the size of gers, and the very toes, are all alike equally slumbering: the life. They represent the two sisters lying asleep in each drapery is also smooth and unruftled, and is strictly in uniother's arms in the most unconstrained and graceful son and harmony with every other part of the design. The repose. Never was sleep and innocence and artless whole expression seems to induce silence, caution, and beauty more happily expressed than in those beautiful almost breathless solicitude in the observer. A fascinating and breathless images of death. The idea of paleness effects and sentiments produced on n.yself in contemplating
and pathetic sympathy is excited; at least, these were the even in marble is retained on the countenances, and it alone, and towards the close of day. Analyzing it as a there is something in their whole appearance that tells work of art, and endeavouring to estimate its claims to of a sleep too still and deep for that of living beings. novelty, beauty, and excellence, I must own that all my “ In the midst of the greatest stillness, there are sugges- powers of criticism were subdued by the more impressive tions of a struggle ended and an anguish passed away.'
impulses of the heart. With these sensations, and with They were placed in the exhibition by the side of the mingled emotions of admiration at the powerful effects of Hebe and Terpsichore of Canova, and we are told that English art, and the appeals to nature, through this medium, the goddesses obtained few admirers compared to them. tive song of a robin, which had perched in the adjoining
I was turning away from the pleasing group, when the plainSo eager was the press to see them, that a look could window, diverted the train of reflection, but touched another not always be obtained; mothers stood over them and chord of the heart, which vibrated in perfect harmony. Fept; and the deep impression they made on the public The following little poems on these fair young sleepers mind must be permanent.
are from the respective pens of Mrs. Hemans, and the The following remarks by Mr. Britton, were penned Rev. William Lisle Bowles. in Lichfield Cathedral, with the monument immediately before him. This memorial may be regarded as original in design, and
Thus lay tasteful in execution; and, as calculated to commence a new
The gentle babes, thus girdling one another, era in our national monumental sculpture, must be viewed
Within their alabaster innocent arms.-SHAKSPEARE, with exultation by every real lover of art. From the demise of Henry the Eighth to the beginning of the present
Fair images of sleep, centary, the sculpture of this country has rarely presented
Hallowed and soft and deep! anything admirable or excellent. It has either exhibited a On whose calm lids the dreamy quiet lies, vulgar imitation of vulgar life, in monstrous costume, or
Like moonlight on shut bells tasteless copies of Greek and Roman models. The present
Of Aowers in mossy dells, age, however, is likely to acquire a better, and indeed a good Filled with the hush of night and summer skies ! character, and prove to surrounding nations, that while
How many hearts have felt Britain is justly renowned for science, commerce, and arms,
Your silent beauty melt she boldly and confidently prefers a claim to competition Their strength to gushing tenderness away! with former ages in her artists. Some departments have
How many sudden tears, certainly failed, either for want of talents or for want of
From depths of buried years, patronage ; but the sculptor is now publicly employed and All freshly bursting, have confessed your sway! publicly rewarded; and if something truly English, original and interesting is not produced, we shall still have cause to
How many eyes will shed, attribute the failure to the ungenial climate of Britain, or
Still, o'er your marble bed, the want of talents in our countrymen. In traversing the
Such drops, from memory's troubled fountains wrung,
While hope hath flights to bear, abbey church of Westminster, and that of St. Paul's, we look
While love breathes mortal air, in rain for tasteful and apposite English sculpture. Almost
While roses perish ere to glory sprung! every subject is disfigured by unintelligible emblems, mythology and allegory; and crowded with lions, fames, and
Yet from a voiceless home, angels. It is time this incongruity of composition, this
If some sad mother come violation of tiste, he avoided, and that a little of nature, of To bend and linger o'er your lovely rest, Shakspeare and of England be substituted in the place.
As o'er the cheeks' warm glow, To appreciate Mr. Chantrey's monument fully and justly,
And the soft breathings low we should inquire what has been effected by the sculpcor; Of babes, that grew and faded on her breast, what is usually done, and what the art is susceptible of.
If, then, the dove-like tone The Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans have certainly left
Of those faint murmurs gone, behind them many works of peculiar beauty and excellence;
O'er her sick sense, too piercingly return,they have also bequeathed to us many pieces of inferior
If for the soft, bright hair, workmanship. In the former we readily perceive their re
And brow and bosom fair, ference to nature as a prototype; and in the latter, the pre- And life—now dust-her soul too deeply yearn,sumptions of art. It is thus with sculptors of the present age: inost of them are wholly educated in the school of art
O gentle forms!--entwined -in studying and copying from the antique; whereas the
Like tendrils, which the wind greatest masters of the old world sought beauty of form and
May wave, so clasped, but never can unlink,truth of expression in the inimitable and diversified face of
Send from your calm profound
A still small voice, a sound nature. Hers is an unerring and unmannered school; it is untram melled by laws and regulations: every student may
Of hope, forbidding that lone heart to sink ! readily obtain admission into it, and freely pursue the bent
By all the pure meek mind and energy of his genius. From this school arose the
In your pale beauty shrined, artist who executed the monument now under notice : he By childhood's love—too bright a bloom to die, looked at living models and English forms for prototypes;
O'er her worn spirit shed, and has skilfully extracted from the shapeless marble thé
O fairest, holiest Dead ! resemblance of two pleasing female figures. These, however, The Faith, Trust, Light of Immortality!
THE SLEEPING CAILDREN.
than the English; but there is a difference between the Look at those sleeping children! softly tread
beggar-men and the rag-men, if I may so call them; in Lest thou do mar their dream, and come not nigh
dress they are pretty much alike, but one wears the Till their fond mother, with a kiss, shall cry
tatters of poverty, the other of indolence. When first “ 'Tis morn! awake! awake !"-Ah! they are dead! I came I was quite confounded at the intelligence and Yet, folded in each other's arms they lie,
good manners we found under the rags; their minds and So still--oh look! so still and smilingly,
bodies were in good repair, it was only external dilapidaSo breathing and so beantiful they seem
tion. As if to die in youth were but to dream
A little old man, with a beard three weeks old at Of spring and flowers !—of flowers ! yet nearer stand!
least, basking in the sun, his coat in shreds, and the There is a lily in one little hand
brim and crown of his hat declining partnership, received Broken but not faded, yet,
a shilling or two for a little job he had done, with a bow As if its cup with tears were wet :
and an air that was quite astonishing, and his “Sir, I So sleeps that child 1-not faded, though in death,
thank you; sir, I am obliged to your honour," was uttered And seeming still to hear her sister's breath,
in a way that reminded me of what we hear of old French As when she first did lay her head to rost
politeness,--he might have been the Chevalier de St. Gently on that sister's breast, And kissed her, ere she fell asleep;
Louis selling his patés. The archangel's trump, alone, shall wake that slumber deep!
My rag-men and women do not seem to have a notion Take up those flowers that fell
that they are not very respectable; a timely needle and Froin the dead hand, and sigh a long farewell !
thread would have set all right, but the women are not Your spirit rests in bliss;
much addicted to stichery, and the very late hours of Yet ere, with parting prayer, we say
the lower class in the morning keeps them running Farewell for ever! to the insensate clay,
after time the rest of the day. An old farmer in our Poor maid! those pale lips we will kiss.Ah, 'tis cold marble!--Artist, who last wrought
neighbourhood, of considerable means and reputation This work of nature, feeling and of thought,
for skill, goes about in such a state of squalid ragThine, CHANTREY! be the fame
gedness, worse than many of the beggars, that for That joins to immortality thy name.
some time I wondered why he did not beg, and expected For those sweet children, that so sculptured rest,
every time I passed him to see his crutch tucked under A sister's head upon a sister's breast,
his shoulder, and his hat doffed for an alms. Not a bit,Age after age shall pass away, Nor shall their beauty fade, their forms decay
the man is as independent as myself; but his wife milks
her cows at 9 o'clock in the summer, and just gets up For here is no corruption,—the cold worm Can never prey upon that beauteous form ;
for the operation, and sent me word that after June she The smile of death that fades not, shall engage
should milk at 12, and at 5, or 6, or 7, just as it might The deep affections of each distant age;
be,~so the milk, and the butter, and the husband's gear Mothers, till ruin the round world hath rent,
are all in a sad state. My next milk-woman made a Shall gaze, with tears, upon the monument;
great merit of milking before 9, which however she And fathers sigh, with half suspended breath ;
rarely does, and in all the houses and shops, the same “ How sweetly sleep the innocent, in death!"
morning dawdling is prevalent. They have a strange
notion that milk cannot be too old before they churn, SKETCHES OF IRISH MANNERS
and made of such half putrid stuff no wonder the butter,
bad at first, will not keep two days in an eatable state, AND CUSTOMS.
Many goats are kept in our neighbourhood, and a good II.
deal of goat-butter made: it was brought once to our The beggars in Ireland attract a great deal of attention house for sale; it was very white and uninviting, but the from strangers, and are regarded with surprising non- smell was less potent than the cow-butter beside it. I chalance by the natives: they come in gangs—in droves, had not courage to make an experiment on the flavour. --in every imaginable degree of “looped and windowed” The commissariat department is very perplexing at raggedness; yet generally speaking, hale, fat, and hand-first. "Would yer honour be plazed to require any mate ?" some; and personally cleaner than similar mendicants in said a ragged Patlander one day, lugging along a sheep England. I have only seen one woman who gave me with so enormous a fleece that a little black face and any idea of destitution out of the hundreds that have four little hoofs alone peeped out, and they seemed very come to our house. Their manners are very strange. inadequate supporters of the mass. Not wishing to purMany of them open the house door, then open the chase a gentleman under so thick a disguise, we said we kitchen door, walk in and sit down, and begin to talk. would see him the next day, when he was dead, and take Some are content with opening the house door, and half. Something disconcerted the plan, till there was standing quietly,—now and then giving a little cough an inquiry what Pat O'Lack was doing? “Oh sure, to attract attention; when they are spoken to, they beg yer honour, he's selling a sheep." We sent down immewithout the servile whine of professional English diately; not a hoof was left, but he was going into the beggars. If they receive a halfpenny they are grateful, mountains to look for a sheep soon, and in the meanif they are denied they generally depart civilly, but time we had to forage as we could. Beef is so scarce sometimes all the saints are called down against us. here that when they do slay a bullock I wonder it is not Their incursions into houses are carried rather too far. by tuck of drum. 'Veal is unknown hereabouts, except A boy one day opened the house door and crept up stairs. by an extraordinary practice of killing and eating the The servants at first thought it was my step, but not new-born calf under the name of Staggering Bob. I being satisfied they came to the sitting-room, where I hear it is good, eating more like lamb than veal,—but I was found quietly occupied; they then ran up stairs, and have not seen any, nor do I fancy it would be offered for found the young gentleman in my bed-room, and he sale at gentlemen's houses. frankly confessed that he came for what he could get. The meat here is most horribly killed and generally As the master and the man-servant were out, he escaped cut up hot, or if allowed to hang a few hours, it shares the with a good scolding.
room with the family, as there is not such a thing as a They are considered very honest generally, and doors butcher's shop in the glens. One man has a dark hole in are left unlocked, and linen remains on the roadside which he kills his beasts, and without a window or air gap hedges night and day with perfect safety; but it was a of any sort, and where ne locks the carcase up, which of disagreeable adventure, and their noiseless approach course will not keep. We tried to persuade him to with their bare feet makes their appearance often quite remove a stone or two, and put up a lattice, which he startling. Their language and manners are much better allowed would be a great advantage, but he has never
made the effort, and I dare gay never will. For three tinue seated constantly, men and women, whilst I stand months meat is scarcely to be procured in the mountain talking to them on business in my own house: they districts. The poultry-yard and the salting-pan are the begin by asking more for everything than is fair, having great dependence, and woe to those who are not well determined what they will really take; and they are said provided against what is called the waur quarter: great often to make each other an offer before starting that quantities of poultry are reared in the cabins and brought they may with truth say they have refused such a price round the country for sale and fattening, and to those before coming to me. If their demand is altogether used to shops and markets it is strange to see the distance unreasonable and refused they go off in great displeasure, they will trudge with a hen or a cock, or two or three and frequently will return to the house no more. А chickens, a cargo worth from 8d. to 10d. Many have woman said it was not worth her while to come out of been greatly alarmed at being ordered to insert the her way to us with better fruit than that we refused, quality and quantity of their poultry in the census papers, though she could not help passing within fifty yards of thinking some tax will be laid upon them, which will our door: this with a sure market would be nothing, or quite swallow up their small profits, and they are selling with any spare money; but with a very precarious sale, them off to avoid it.
and not a penny before them, it is very strange. There I have wandered away from the beggars, and I must is so little money circulating, that if we send for two or describe a very ragged old man who came to us one day three shillings' worth of anything in the morning, in the begging: he was a hearty old fellow, much given to idle- evening, or the next day at furthest, comes a noteness and gathering, that is, collecting in an Edie Ochiltrie “Dear sir,-Will your honour be plazed to settle my pack, small contributions of meal and potatoes on which little account?" Even in great shops in large towns we he and his motherless children subsisted; he was offered were asked, in a very peremptory manner, for payment work, but declined under various pretexts, but at last of some carpets and woollen furniture within five weeks took a silver bribe and set to work with some masons of its arrival; and another shop in great business intimawho were about our house, which he was well able to do ted a desire for payment ten days after the goods had and had done before. At one o'clock he wanted very been received, knowing perfectly well that from the much to go home, he was hungry; knowing he would awkward communication we could only pay one day in the never return, a plateful of meat and potatoes was given week. Ready money is indispensable here: not one of to him, and he was asked if that would do? “ That will our small venders can give one penny of change, and we it, right well;" he then worked on awhile, watched his are obliged to be fully prepared, which is rather troubleopportunity, and had nearly escaped to the road that he Our practice of receipts for everything surprises might go gathering: he was brought back, and assured that them: they send an old woman or a little child to if he left his work before the other men he would receive receive their money, and doubtless think it very hard that nothing. The repetition of this threat from time to time we insist upon the creditor himself appearing with bill kept him tolerably to his business, but with much murmur- and receipt before we part with our coin. ing, though he knew his day's labour would keep him and The Irish will not rob, but they have no objection to his family in potatoes for a week. He seemed to have a cheat and over-reach, which they do very successfully true Edie antipathy to exertion, but a love of liberty, and for a time with strangers,—extremely indebted for their to be bringing up his children to the same, and there are success to the number of people bearing the same name, too many of his faction. Many of the beggars first for it is exceedingly perplexing amongst the many Mc plant their own potato ground, and then take to the Donnells, Mc Aulays, Mc Alisters, Mc Elherens, &c., &c., road and live upon their fellow-creatures till the crop is with whom one is concerned, to put Nats, and Mats, and ready, and then return to dig. The uselessness of the Pats to the right persons. Having engaged to send a children is very striking : every day in the spring we saw quantity of goods à certain distance for 2s. per cwt., by the mother and the grandmother, and perhaps the father, some ingenious manœuvring and shuffling of namesakes seeding and trenching up the potatoes, and whole droves and allies we paid above iOs., per cwt. perfectly aware of stout fat boys and girls from four to fourteen lounging we were cheated, but unable to extricate ourselves. about on the walls and fences, playing or fighting, as Michael and Patrick and Donald all protested so vehemight be, without an idea of assisting in the labour. If mently that it was all right, and that they would take they can, they go to a school, where discipline seems legal measures against our honour's honour” if we did not often rather more strenuously enforced than would be pay each and all, that the usurious demand became the approved in England. Besides this uselessness their least evil. A written agreement to be sure would have cowardice is very curious: at least we have met with secured us; but who thinks of such a thing with a carrier odd instances strangely in opposition to the indepen- of excellent repute till experience has proved the necesdence of English children.
sity of the precaution? Our dairy-woman lives a short quarter of a mile from , an excellent, well-frequented, open road the whole way, but in the evenings no child will bring down the milk.
HAS THE MOON ANY INFLUENCE ON Sometimes three or four come paddling down, protecting
THE WEATHER ? Each other, and guarding the little pitcher; but generally they are afraid, and our servants have to fetch in, con- It has been remarked by M. Arago, a distinguished trary to an express stipulation with the woman. The French philosopher, that in the question whether the utter indifference to rain amongst the children, is another moon has any influence on the weather or not, there are oddity-I do not mean in the execution of errands, but two opposite opinions. The great mass of the people, merely on their own account. I see almost daily four including sailors, boatmen, and most practical farmers, little children, from two to five years, whose parents have entertain no doubt whatever of the influence of the comfortable homes and fires for them, but bare-headed moon: whether the change of the weather at the fulland in torrents of rain, with bare necks and arms, this moon, new-moon, or quarters, will be from fair to foul, group of remarkably pretty children continue their or from foul to fair, few of them venture to prognosticate gambols with each other, with our dogs, or even alone, beforehand; but most of them think that a change of es perfectly careless of their soaked condition as my some kind will occur at those epochs. On the other ducks.
hand, astronomers, and scientific men in general, atThe Irish are reputed servile in their manners to their tribute this opinion to popular prejudice; finding no superiors: they are much changed, or I see with different reason in the nature of atmospheric tides for believing eres, for I think them extremely and curiously indepen- that changes should take place on one day of the lunation, dent: they never touch their bats or curtesy; they con- rather than on another.