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Hodges 1790
Hodges 1790
William Hodges
'An Account of Richard Wilson, Esq., Landscape Painter, F.R.A.', European Magazine and London Review
John Fielding
London, UK
June 1790
Primary published
Vol. 17 (June 1790), pp. 402-5. Preceded by an oval print of NWP1 Mengs's Portrait of Richard Wilson by William Bromley (1789). The author of at least the majority of the essay is believed to have been Wilson's pupil, William Hodges .
Highlights from the text include the following: 'There are persons who object to Mr. Wilson's pictures not being sufficiently finished in the foregrounds; and it must be admitted, that to look very near them, they are not so highly finished as many Dutch works we see; but they at all times agree with the whole: That was his great wish and constant aim; when That was accomplished, he left his picture. He did not possess the phlegmatic industry to labour upon the down of a thistle.' 'From the time of Van Dyke in the reign of Charles I, painting appears evidently to have declined in this country, step by step, and to have arrived at its utmost bathos, when two great luminaries of the art appeared at the same time, Wilson in landscape and Sir Joshua Reynolds in portrait painting.' 'In the possession of Thomas [sic] Booth, Esq. in the Adelphi, are no less than eighteen pictures by Mr. Wilson, which may be said to form the history of his studies, one being painted in Italy, others in the prime of his excellence, and one or two towards the close of his life.' 'Mr. Wilson in his youth is said to have been a handsome man: he had a free open countenance but towards the middle and close of his life he grew corpulent. He certainly was a pleasant, a good-natured, a very honest and upright man. He gave himself too little trouble about forming connections that might have been of use to him in his profession. His happiness, next to his professional reputation, consisted in the conversation of a few select friends, having wit enough to entertain, and good-humour enough to relish the wit of others. [ ... ] From the close attention he had given to his studies, he had neglected to improve himself in the arts of modern politeness and policy; he usually spoke without reserve; and if any thing occurred in conversation that displeased him, being very susceptible of hasty impressions, he soon took fire, and would drop expressions of asperity which would frequently offend those who did not know him, but which were pardoned by those who were acquainted with his friendly disposition. This irascible habit has been supposed to be the effect of climate, as there is no word in the Welch language to express argument or ratiocination but contention.' [p. 404] 'Thus far our correspondent. - To his communication we shall [ ... ] conclude by observing, that Mr. Wilson was not only a great painter himself, but left a school behind him, in the persons of Mr. Farrington, a Royal Academician [ ... ] and Mr. Hodges, whose works [ ... ] are entitled to that high degree of praise which genius has a right to demand, but which merit like theirs frequenly declines accepting.' [pp. 404-5]
21/11/2019