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and, therefore, necessarily the most striking character of the drawings themselves is the speciality of whatever they represent—the thorough stiffness of what is stiff, and grace of what is graceful, and vastness of what is vast; but through and beyond all this, the condition of the mind of the painter himself is easily enough discoverable by comparison of a large number of the drawings. It is singularly serene and peaceful: in itself quite passionless, though entering with ease into the external passion which it contemplates. By the effort of its will it sympathises with tumult or distress, even in their extremes, but there is no tumult, no sorrow in itself, only a.. chastened and exquisitely peaceful cheerfulness, deeply meditative; touched without loss of its own perfect balance, by sadness on the one side, and stooping to playfulness upon tho other. I shall never cease to regret the destruction, by fire, now several years ago, of a drawing which always seemed to me to be the perfect image of the painter's mind at this period,—the drawing of Brignal Church near Rokeby, of which a fecble idea may still be gathered from the engraving (in the Yorkshire series). The spectator stands on the “Brignal banks,” looking down into the glen at twilight; the sky is still full of soft rays, though the sun is gone; and the Greta glances brightly in the valley, singing its even-song ; two wbite clouds, following each other, move without wind through the hollow's of the ravine, and others lie couched on the far away moorlands; every leaf of the woods is still in the delicate air; a boy's kite, incapable of rising, has become entangled in their branches, he is climbing to recover it; and just behind it in the picture, almost indicated by it, the lowly church is seen in its secluded field between the rocks and the stream; and around it the low churchyard wall, and
the few white stones which mark the resting places of those · who can climb the rocks no more, nor bear the river sing
as it passes.
There are many other existing drawings which indicate the same character of mind, though I think none so touching or so beautiful; yet they are not, as I said above, more numerous than those which express his sympathy with sublimer or moro active scenes; but they are alınost always marked by a tenderness of execution, and have a look of being beloved in every part of them, which shows them to be the truest expres. sion of his own feelings.
One other characteristic of his mind at this period remains to be noticed— its reverence for talent in others. Not the reverence which acts upon the practices of men as if they were the laws of nature, but that which is ready to appreciate
has been previously employed in the same direction, so far as its teaching seems to be consistent with the great text-book of nature itself. Turner thus studied almost every preceding landscape painter, chictly Claude, Poussin, Vandevelde, Loutherbourg, and Wilson. It was probably by the Sir George Beaumonts and other focble conventionalists of the period, that he was persuaded to devote his attention to the works of these men; and his having done so will be thought, a few scores of years hence, evidence of perhaps the greatest modesty ever shown by a man of original power. Modesty at once admirable and unfortunate, for the study of the works of Vandevelde and Claude was productive of unmixed mischief to him; he spoiled many of his marine pictures, as for instance Lord Ellesinere's, by imitation of the former; and from the latter learned a false ideal, which confirmed by the notions of Greek art prevalent in London in the beginning of this century, has manifested itself in many vulgarities in his composition pictures, vulgarities which may perhaps be best expressed by the general term “ Twickenhamn Classicism,” as consisting principally in conceptions of ancient or of rural life such as have influenced the erection of most of our suburban
villas. From Nicolo Poussin and Loutherbourg he seems to
One of the most characteristic drawings of this period fortunately bears a date, 1818, and brings us within two years of another dated drawing, no less characteristic of what I shall henceforward call Turner's Second period. It is in the possession of Mr. Hawkesworth Fawkes of Farnley, one of Turner's earliest and truest friends; and bears the inscription, unusually conspicuous, heaving itself up and down over the eminences of the foreground—“PassaGE OF MoxT CENIS. J. M. W. TURNER, January 15th, 1820.”
The scene is on the sunmit of the pass close to the hospice, or what seems to have been a hospice at that time,- I do not remember such at present,-a small square-built house, built as if partly for a fortress, with a detached flight of stone steps in front of it, and a kind of drawbridge to the door. This building, about 400 or 500 yards off, is scen in a dim, ashy grey against the light, which by help of a violent blast of mountain wind has broken through the depth of clouds which bangs upon the crags. There is no sky, properly so called, nothing but this roof of drifting cloud; but neither is there
any weight of darkness—the high air is too thin for it,-all savage, howling, and luminous with cold, the massy bases of the granite hills jutting out liere and there grimly through the snow wreaths. There is a desolate-looking refuge on the left, with its number 16, marked on it in long ghastly figures, and the wind is drifting the snow off the roof and through its window in a frantic whirl; the near ground is all wan with half-thawed, half-trampled snow; a diligence in front, whose horses, unable to face the wind, have turned right round with fright, its passengers struggling to escape, jammed in the window; a little farther on is another carriage off the road, some figures pushing at its wheels, and its driver at the horses' heads, pulling and lashing with all his strength, his lifted arm stretched out against the light of the distance, though too far off for the whip to be seen.
Now I am perfectly certain that any one thoroughly accustomed to the carlier works of the painter, and shown this picture for the first time, would be struck by two altogether new characters in it.
The first, a seeming enjoyment of the excitement of the scene, totally different from the contemplative philosophy with which it would formerly have been regarded. Every incident of motion and of energy is scized upon with indescribable delight, and every line of the composition animated with a force and fury which are now no longer the more expression of a contemplated external truth, but have origin in some inherent feeling in the painter's mind.
The second, that although the subject is one in itself almost incapable of color, and although, in order to increase the wildness of the impression, all brilliant local color has been refused even where it might easily have been introduced, as in the figures; yet in the low minor key which has been chosen, the melodies of color have been elaborated to the utmost possible pitch, so as to become a leading, instead of a
subordinate, element in the composition; the subdued warm hucs of the granite promontories, the dull stone color of the walls of the buildings, clearly opposed, even in shade, to the grey of the snow wreaths heaped against them, and the faint greens and ghastly blues of the glacier ice, being all expressed with delicacies of transition utterly unexampled in any previous drawings.
These, accordingly, are the chief characteristics of the works of Turner's second period, as distinguished from the first,—& new energy inherent in the mind of the painter, diminishing the repose and exalting the force and fire of his conceptions and the presence of Color, as at least an essential, and often a principal, clement of resign.
Not that it is impossible, or even unusual, to find drawings of serene subject, and perfectly quiet feeling, among the compositions of this period; but the repose is in them, just as the energy and tumult were in the earlier period, an external qnality, which the painter images by an effort of the will: it is no longer a character inherent in himself. The “Ulleswater,'' in the England series, is one of those which are in most perfect peace: in the “ Cowes," the silence is only broken by the dash of the boat's oars, and in the “ Alnwick” by a stag drinking; but in at least nine drawings out of ten, either sky, water, or figures are in rapid motion, and the grandest draw. ings are almost always those which have even violent action in one or other, or in all: c. g. high force of Tees, Coventry, Llanthony, Salisbury, Llanberis, and such others.
The color is, however, a more absolute distinction; and we must return to Mr. Fawkes's collection in order to see how the change in it was effected. That such a change would take place at one time or other was of course to be securely anticipated, the conventional system of the first period being, as above stated, merely a means of Study. But the immediato canse was the jonrney of the year 1820. As might be guessed