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PUBLISHED ON THE FIRST OF JANUARY.
WITH A PORTRAIT OF MARTIN ARCHER SHEE, ESQ., R.A.
Published for the Proprietors, BY SHERWOOD, JONES, AND CO. PATERNOSTER ROW, And Sold by all the Booksellers in the United Kingdom,
NOTICE TO CORRESPONDENTS.
We have been always inclined to think, that men of genius and talent (and such we justly consider our principal contributors), are as finely and exquisitely organized, and have fingers as pliant as the generality of mapkind; and yet, from some cause which we confess ourselves unable to account for, we frequently receive MSS. so badly written, that we forget the sense while we are labouring to decypher the characters. We would request such Correspondents to get a few lessons of Mr. Carstairs', or, if they must write badly, at least to write plainly.
Letters will be left at the Publisher's on the 5th instant, for all private communications which have not been replied to. We have to apologize for not replying earlier, but the European Magazine may be looked upon at the moment as in its infancy, not only from the late change which has taken place, but from the Editor's having been engaged in the completion of two works, which remained unfinished when he took charge of the Magazine. As these works are now completed, and on the eve of publication, he will henceforth be able to pay due attention to his Correspondents and Contributors. He wishes, at the same time, to observe, that the promises of improvement which he made last month, is not to be looked for in the present number, it being the last of the volume; and, according to the plan which has been adopted by the conductors of the European Magazine, from its commencement in 1782, to the present time, the December number.
The “ Letters from an Irish Gentleman," are by the Author of the “ Hermit in London," and will be continued.
It gives us real pleasure to be which he exercises the most absolute able to gratify our readers, this dominion over the human heart. month, with the portrait of a gen Of Mr. Shee's poetical merits we tleman who has conferred such high shall immediately speak; but it is honour, not only on his own pro- proper we should first introduce him fession, but upon the sister art. to our readers, and let them know Mr. Shee is the only living artist we who he is, for it is difficult to give are 'acquainted with, either person- interest to abstract virtue, or to ally or by report, who has laid down works of the highest merit, if their the palette and the pencil, and ven author be unknown. We first wish tured, with unpractised but daring to know the man, and afterwards wing, into the sublimer regions of the poet. This, perhaps, is a depoetry. Indeed if any thing were lusion in human nature, as it may necessary to shew that painting is be thought that we cannot be acnot a mere mechanical art, and that quainted with any man through his excellence in it can result only from works, neither the warrior nor the capacities and mental energies of the poet appearing to his valet de chamhighest order, Mr. Shee's poetical bre what he appears to the world; works, undertaken and completed but whether it be delusion or not, it in the midst of his professional pur is one to which philosophers themsuits,—pursuits that would appear selves are obliged to submit. It is to have little, in common with the idle to quarrel with delusions foundglowing raptures and instant deter- ed in the original nature of man ; minations of the inspired muse, nor are they, perhaps, always so would be sufficient to prove both. delusive as they appear to be. The Though the eye of the painter is delusion, no doubt, is frequently to generally confined to a line or a be found in the fine
spun theories of point, his mind is almost continually the philosopher, not in the common wandering through the imaginative sense and common feeling of manworld, through the beautiful, the kind. picturesque, and the sublime of We find, from a memoir in Messrs. nature; and how easy is the transi Cadell and Davis's “ Collection of tion to the world of feeling and pas Portraits of Eminent Public Characsion, that world in which the poet ters,” that chiefly delights to revel, and in " Martin Archer Shee, Esq. R.A.
is descended from an old and re To this brief view of Mr. Shee's spectable Irish family, long settled professional and poetical career in Connaught, the western province we add the following, particulars of the sister kingdom.
wbich we can vouch as authentic. “ His father, the youngest of foar Mr. Shee acquired the first redibrothers, entered into business as a ments of design under the late Mr. merchant in Dublin, where the sub- Francis Robert West, a Fery emi ject of this memoir was born, on the rent draughtsman, and distinguished 23d of December, 1770.
teacher in the Metropolis of the “ He early discovered a strong in- sister country. He afterwards beclivation for the fine arts, and at came a student in the academy of twelve years of age, obtained the the Dublin Society, where he obthree first medals, for drawings of tained the medals already spoken of. figure, landscape, and flowers, in He was honoured with these early the Dublin Society's Academy: In pledges of his unfolding genins, at 1787, be bad the honour of receiving the same age in which Pope wrote from the Dublin Society, a silver bis “ Ode on Solitude," but it must palette, with an inscription expres- be confessed that there is nothing in sive of the approbation of that pa- this ode that renders the age at triotic body.
which it was written, worth remen“In the porsuit of bis studies as bering. It is a mere string of moral an artist. he came to England in reflections withont a single image, 1788, and was introduced to the sentiment, or association of a poetic notice of Sir Joshua Reynolds, by character. Indeed it is sufficient to the late Right Honourable Edmund prove, that though Pope Burke.
“ Mr. Shee first exhibited with “ Lisped in numbers for the numbers the Royal Academy in the year
came," '1790. He was elected an associate of that institution, in 1798, and in he was far from lisping in poetry; 'the year 1800 was honoured by the and it appears to us no small proof, diploma of Royal Academician.
that if Pope had directed his mind, « With his attachment to the at an early period, to philosophical arts, Mr. Shee has combined a love pursuits, he would not have less of literature; and conceiving the excelled in them than in poetry, or, period favourable for an appeal to if we were to express ourselves the public on the subject of the pur. aright, perhaps what appears to us suits of taste, he, in 1805, publish- is, that neither he nor any other ed the first part of a poem, the com person was born a poet, and that position of which had been for some the celebrated expression poeta nastime the amusement of his leisure citur non fit, is more popular thao hours, under the title of “ Rhymes true, although Pope himself seemed on Art, or the Remonstrance of a to think differently. Without naPainter,"
tural abilities, it is true, no appli“In 1809, he published the three cation of mind can lead to eminence semaining parts, under the title of in any art or parsuit, but where • Elements of Art." In 1810, at these natural abilities exist, they the request of one of the Directors are not exclusively formed to excel of the British Institution, who wish- in one particular art. Indeed, the ed him to communicate his ideas on subject of the present memoir apthe subject, he published " a Letter pears to us one of the strongest to the President and Directors of the proofs of this assertion, for though British Institution,” including a he first distinguished bimself in plan for the encouragement of histo- painting, and that too at so early an rical painting
age, that we could hardly think liim « On the occasion of the magni- capable of estranging his affections ficient exbibition of the works of for a moment to a different art; and Sir Joshua Reynolds, at the British though it must also be admitted, Gallery, he, in 1813, published the that his poetry is not finished with Commemoration of Reynolds, and that delicate' hand and exquisite other poems, with notes, and a touch that characterize his paintings, dedication, by permission, to bis there are still thickly scattered Royal Highness, the Prince Regent." through his “ Elements of Art,"
In the year
sufficient evidence that he was not Mr. Shee succeeded to his establishless capable of excelling in the high- ment in Cavendish-square, where he er walks of poetry; not less de- continues to reside. lighted in being perinitted to linger 1802, be visited Paris, to see the around the sequestered shades and collection of Art then exhibited in flowery haunts of Parnassus, than the Louvre, and while in that city, in stealing from nature ber finest had an opportunitý, through the poaspects, and giving palpable exist liteness of some meinbers of the ence to those less obvions, more de- French Institution, of being introlicate, and more retiring features of duced to the then Chief Consul, nature, which withdraw themselves Buonaparte, on a very interesting, from the gaze of vulgar perception, public occasion; when the Commitand disclose their charms to the tee of that celebrated Society made gifted eye of genius alone. But of their public report to the Chief Conthis more hereafter.
sul of the state of the Arts, ManuHaving availed himself of all the factures, and Commerce, in the means of improvement which the Republic. Mr. Shee has likewise state of the Arts in Ireland, and the received honorary diplomas from the facilities afforded him by the Aca American Academies of Philadeldemy, would allow, and they were as phia and New York. extensive as their materials could af. Mr. Shee is one of those few who ford; Mr Shee determined to proceed owe no part of their fame to indito London to complete his studies, but vidual patronage: he trusted to his the approbation bestowed on some own unaided merits, and he found small portraits in Crayons, which that however bright were the proshe had executed previous to his in- pects of success which he anticipated tended departure, and the opportu- in the ardour and temerity of youth, nities of occupation which conse those which he realized" were still quently opened to him in this line, brighter and happier. This must induced him to remain two years be a peculiarly pleasing reflection longer in Dublin, where, at the age to a man who breathes that spirit of of sixteen, he became a professional independance which glows through artist, and obtained the most dis
every page of his « Elements of tinguished practice in that city. Art;" and who burns with such inHis desire for improvement, how dignant ardour, while he advocates ever, and his wish to become the rights of neglected genius. He an oil painter, soon induced him is indebted to himself alone for the to relinquish all the pecuniary eminence which he has obtained, advantages which a further resi. and the independence which he has dence in Ireland held out,--and ac realized in his profession. While cordingly declining all farther com his country then has to boast of missions there, he quitted his native having produced a Shee,-a man country, and arrived in London in who united all the combined charms June, 1778. Some time after his
of poetry and painting, he himself, arrival, he was personally intro has nothing to boast of, that reflects duced to the notice of Sir Joshua credit on his countrymen. If it Reynolds, by the late Right Hon. depended upon them, he would be Edmund Burke, and was by that unknown in the world of science great artist, introduced as a student and art, and in saying so, we say it of the Royal Academy, where he with regret. Of all nations, Irishstudied with unwearied diligence for men are the most fearful of confersome years. Mr. Ş. first exhibited ring bonour on each other, individue with the Royal Academy in the year ally. However much they are looked 1790, and immediately obtained down upon by other nations, they not only notice but employment. look down upon each other still He has ever since been a regular An Irish lording thinks it contributor to our annual display want of taste to acknowledge, or of art, and whatever he has done in
even to perceive any merit in his his profession, has resulted from the own countrymen. When we say his public exhibition of his works. On own countrymen, we use the word the retirement of the late Mr. Rom- in the ordinary phrase, or as it ney, the Artist, in the year 1799, would be used in this country; but