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faithful, that the fame of his astonishing genius brought crouds every day to his father's house; and at a very early period he was admitted a student in the Royal Academy, Somerset House. His progress in improvement there was as remarkable as his disposition for boyish tricks and mischievous sports was notorious. In fact, this humour for playing tricks at the expence of some one or other of his companions, attended him through life. But it must at the same time be acknowledged, that in general he was as just in his selection of proper objects for his repeated merry jokes, as he was in choosing those for his unrivals led pencil, as will amply be shewn in the sequel.
After some years spent at the Academy, his father, who dealt in and cleaned pic tures, procured him some of the finest pròductions of the Dutch and Flemish schools, as well as the best drawings of the celebrated masters of Italy. But although it. is well known to many artists, and judges of pictures, still. living, that he always:
could draw, when sober, the human, or any other figure, with the utmost accuracy, yet he neglected the Roman school, from whence he was undoubtedly beholden for that knowledge. The colouring of Hobbima, the spirit and freedom of Ruysdael, and the neatness of pencil peculiar to Paul Potter, Cuyp, Carl du Jardin, and Adrian Vandevelde, seem to have at times engrossed his attention; and they certainly were, as he always declared them to be, his chief favourites,
CH 4 P. 11.
FURTHER PROGRESS OF MORLAND IN THE
ARTS-HIS MARRIAGE-A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF SOME OF HIS EARLY PRODUCTIONS, WHICH BROUGHT HIM FIRST INTO PUBLIC NOTICE.
W HEN the genius of our young painter had been exercised for some years, in copying from the best masters of Holland and Flanders, several specimens of which his father disposed of to great advantage; his mother advised her husband to have the boy regularly bound to liim, lest some of his new acquaintances should entice him away, and he was regularly articled in consequence of her advice. For the elucidation of this particular, it may be necessary to inform the reader, that in his way to and from the Academy, he had fre
quently observed some of his brother students who were much older than himself, stop at a dram shop near Exeter Change, most of whom were loud in their praises of that native cordial, vulgarly called gin. After several efforts to conquer a natural timidity or shyness, which, except in one notorious instance, seems to have been the characteristic of all the Morland family, he entered the slop of this retailer of poison, and having drank a small glass of the pernicious beverage, liked it “so very much," to use his own phrase, that he never after could forget this premature and unfortunate attachment, which accompanied him throughout life. This taste, like the forbidden fruit, led to other irregularities, which his companions encouraged and partook of; and yet the consequence was, that frequent efforts to make drawings on his own account, to produce the means of - a hasty supply, were attended with more
than expected success in the ready sale which he met with from some persons, who perverted the genius of the youth, in delineating such subjects as were most pro
ductive to their selfish views. The mode of
carrying on this sort of contraband trade · was something curious; namely, the sub
ject, size, and price of the picture or drawing being previously agreed upon between the young artist and his employer, the latter of whom was always perfectly aware of the fairness of the contract; nothing farther remained, but to get the article safely out of the father's house, without his suspecting any thing of the business. This seeming difficulty, however, was surmounted in the following manner. One of the largest drawers of a very complete colourbox, bought for him by his father, served at once for a depository for his pictures in their progress towards finishing, and a safe conveyance, when done, to the customer. ' So that whenever he heard his father's foot, nobody else being suffered to enter the painting-room, he would dexterously slip the smuggled picture or draws ing into this drawer and lock it. But when it was ready for delivery, which was commonly at night, or very early in the morning, the party, who had always