PAINTING IN ENGLAND.

A portrait of John Adams, full length, painted in London in 1783, is now in possession of Harvard College. A portrait of Samuel Adams, three-quarters length, spirited and beautiful, standing by a table, and holding a paper, hangs in Faneuil Hall. Another picture of Samuel Adams is in Harvard College, which also owns several other Copleys. A portrait of James Allen, a man of fortune, a patriot, and a scholar, is now owned by the Massachusetts Historical Society. The “Copley Family,” one of the artist’s very best pictures, is now owned in Boston by Mr. Amory, and, in fact, Mrs. James S. Amory owns a number of his best works.

Copley was a man of elegance and dignity, fond of the beautiful, particular in his dress, hospitable, and a lover of poetry and the arts. His favorite book was said to be “Paradise Lost.” His last picture was on the subject of the Resurrection.

Benjamin West (1738-1820) was born at Springfield, Pennsylvania, of Quaker parentage. In the various narratives of his successful life many stories are told which appear somewhat fabulous, and most of which have nothing to do with his subsequent career. He is said to have made a pen-and-ink portrait of his little niece at the age of seven years; to have shaved the cat’s tail for paint brushes; to have received instruction in painting and archery from the Indians; to have so far conquered the prejudices of his relatives and their co-religionists to his adoption of an artist’s life that he was solemnly consecrated to it by the laying on of hands by the men, and the simultaneous kissing of the women. His love for art must have been very strong, and he was finally indulged, and assisted in it by his relatives, so that at the age of eighteen he was established as a portrait-painter in Philadelphia. By the kindness of friends in that city and in New York he was enabled to go to Italy, where he remained three years, making friends and reputation everywhere. Parma, Florence, and Bologna elected him a member of their Academies. He was only twenty-five years old when he went to England, on his way back to America. But he was so well received that he finally determined to remain in England, and a young lady named Elizabeth Shewell, to whom he had become engaged before going abroad, was kind and judicious enough to join him in London, where she became his wife, and was his faithful helpmate for fifty years. In 1766 he exhibited his “Orestes and Pylades,” which on account of its novelty and merit produced a sensation. He painted “Agrippina weeping over the Urn of Germanicus,” and by the Archbishop of York was introduced to George III. as its author. He immediately gained favor with the king, and was installed at Windsor as the court-painter with a salary of one thousand pounds per annum. This salary and position was continued for thirty-three years. He painted a series of subjects on a grand scale from the life of Edward III. for St. George’s Hall, and twenty-eight scriptural subjects, besides nine portrait pictures of the royal family. In 1792, on the death of Reynolds, he was elected President of the Royal Academy, a position which, except a brief interregnum, he held until his death in March, 1820. He was greatly praised in his day, and doubtless thought himself a great artist. He painted a vast number of portraits and quite a number of pictures of classical and historical subjects. His “Lear” is in the Boston Athenæum; his “Hamlet and Ophelia” is in the Longworth collection in Cincinnati; “Christ Healing the Sick” is in the Pennsylvania Hospital; and the “Rejected Christ” is or was owned by Mr. Harrison, of Philadelphia. There are two portraits of West, one by Allston and one by Leslie, in the Boston Athenæum, and a full-length, by Sir Thomas Lawrence, in the Wadsworth Gallery in Hartford, Conn. One of West’s pictures did a great deal for his reputation, although it was quite a departure from the treatment and ideas then in vogue; this was the “Death of General Wolfe” on the Plains of Abraham. When it was known to artists and amateurs that his purpose was to depict the scene as it really might have happened he was greatly ridiculed. Even Sir Joshua Reynolds expressed an opinion against it; but when he saw the picture he owned that West was right. Hitherto no one had painted a scene from contemporary history with figures dressed in the costume of the day. But West depicted each officer and soldier in his uniform, and gave every man his pig-tail who wore one. The picture is spirited and well grouped. West was just such a practical, thoughtful, and kindly man as we might expect from his ancestry and surroundings.