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from the legend on the drawing above described, “Passage of Mont Cenis, January 15th, 1820,” that drawing represents what happened on the day in question to the painter himself. IIe passed the Alps then in the winter of 1820; and either in the previous or subsequent summer, but on the same journey, he made a series of sketches on the Rhine, in body color, now in Mr. Fawkes's collection. Every one of those sketches is the almost instantancous record of an effect of color or atmosphere, taken strictly from nature, the drawing and the details of every subject being comparatively subordinate, and the color nearly as principal as the light and shade had bocn before,-certainly the leading feature, thongh the light and shado are always exquisitely harmonized with it. And natirally, as the color becomes the leading object, thoso times of day are chosen in which it is most lovely; and whereas before, at least five out of six of Turner's drawings represented ordinary daylight, we now find his attention directed constantly to the evening: and, for the first time, we have thoso rosy lights upon the hills, those gorgeous falls of sun through flaming heavens, thosc solemn twilights, with the blue moon rising as the western sky grows dim, which have ever since been the themes of his mightiest thoughts.
I have no doubt, that the immediate reason of this change was the impression made upon him by the colors of the continental skics. When he first travelled on the Continent (1800), he was comparativelyla young student; not yet able to draw form as he wanted, he was forced to give all his thoughts and strength to this primary object. But now he was frec to receive other impressions; the time was come for perfecting his art, and the first sunset which he saw on the Rhine taught him that all previous landscape art was vain and valueless, that in comparison with natural color, the things that had been called paintings were mere ink and charcoal, and that all precedent and all anthority must be
cast away at once, and trodden under foot. He cast them away: the memories of Vandevelde and Claude were at once wecded out of the great mind they had cncumbered; they and all the rubbish of the schools together with them; the waves of the Rhine swept thein away for ever; and a new dawn rose over the rocks of the Siebengebirge.
There was another motive at work, which rendered the change still more complete. His fellow artists were already conscious enough of bis superior power in drawing, and their best hope was, that he might not be able to color. They had begun to express this hope loudly enough for it to reach his : ears. The engraver of one of his most important marine pictures told me, not long ago, that one day about the period in question, Turner came into his room to examine the progress of the plate, not having seen his own picture for several months. It was one of his dark early pictures, but in the foreground was a little piece of luxury, a pearly fish wrought into hues like those of an opal. He stood before the picture for some moments; then laughed, and pointed joyously to the fish;-"They say that Turner can't color 1” and turned away.
Under the force of these various impulses the change was total. Every subject thenceforth was primarily conceived in color ; and no engraving ever gave the slightest idea of any drawing of this period.
The artists who had any perception of the truth were in despair; the Beaumontites, classicalists, and “owl species" in general, in as much indignation as their dulness was capable of. They had deliberately closed their eyes to all nature, and had gone on inquiring, “Where do you put your brown tree.” A vast revelation was made to them at once, enough to have dazzled any one; but to them, light unendurable as incomprehensible. They“ did to the moon complain,” in one vociferous, unanimous, continuous “Tu whoo.” Shrieking
rose from all dark places at the same instant, just the same kind of shrieking that is now raised against the Pre-Raphaclites. Those glorious old Arabian Nights, how true they are! Mocking and whispering, and abuse loud and low by turns, from all the black stones beside the road, when one living soul is toiling up the hill to get the golden water. Mocking and whispering, that he may look back, and become a black stono like themselves.
Turner looked not back, but he went on in such a temper as a strong man must be in, when he is forced to walk with his fingers in his cars. Ho retired into himself; he could look no longer for help, or counsel, or sympathy from any one; and the spirit of defiance in which he was forced to labor led him sometimes into violences, from which the slightest expression of sympathy would have saved him. The new energy that'
driven, were both alike dangerous, and many drawings of the time show the evil effects of both; some of them being hasty, wild, or experimental, and others little more than magnificent expressions of defiance of public opinion.
But all have this noble virtuc—they are in everything his own: there are no more reminiscenccs of dead masters, no more trials of skill in the manner of Claude or Poussin; every faculty of his soul is fixed upon nature only, as he saw her, or as he remembered her.
I have spoken above of his gigantio memory: it is especially necessary to notice this, in order that we may understand the kind of grasp which a man of real imagination takes of all things that are once brought within his reach-grasp thenceforth not to be relaxed for cver.
On looking over any catalognes of his works, or of particular series of them, wo shall notice the rcourrcnoc of the same subject two, three, or even many times. In any other artist this would be nothing remarkable. Probably most modern land.
scape painters multiply a favorite subject twenty, thirty, or sixty fold, putting the shadows and the clouds in different places, and “inventing,” as they are pleased to call it, a new “effect” every time. But if we examine the successions of Turner's subjects, we shall find them either the records of a succession of impressions actually perceived by him at some favorite locality, or else repetitions of one impression received in early youth, and again and again realised as his increasing
powers enabled him to do better justice to it. In either case , we shall find them records of seen facts ; never compositions : in his room to fill up a favorite outline.
For instance, every traveller, at least every traveller of thirty years' standing, must love Calais, the place where be first felt himself in a strange world. Turner evidently loved it excessively. I have never catalogued his studies of Calais,
de Calais," a very large oil painting, which is what he saw in broad daylight as he crossed over, when he got near the French side. It is a careful study of French fishing boats running for the shore before the wind, with the picturesque old city in the distance. Then there is the “Calais Harbor ” in the Liber Studiorum : that is what he saw just as he was going into the harbor,-a heavy brig warping out, and very likely to get in his way, or run against the pier, and bad weather coming on. Then there is the “Calais Pier,” a large painting, engraved some years ago by Mr. Lupton:* that is what he saw when he had landed, and ran back directly to the pier to sce what had become of the brig. The weather had got still worse, the fish women were being blown abont in a distressful manner on the pior head, and some more fishing boats were running in with all specd. Then there is the “Fortrouge,” Calais : that is what he saw after he had been
home to Dessein's, and dined, and went out again in the evening to walk on the sands, the tide being down. IIe had never seen such a waste of sands before, and it made an impression on him. The shrimp girls were all scattered over them too, and moved about in white spots on the wild shore; and the storm had lulled a little, and there was a sunset-such a sunset,-and the bars of Fortrouge seen against it, skeleton-wise. He did not paint that directly; thought over it,-painted it a long while afterwards.
Then there is the vignette in the illustrations to Scott That is what he saw as he was going home, meditatively; and the revolving lighthouse came blazing out upon him suddenly, and disturbed him. He did not like that so much; made a vignette of it, however, when he was asked to do a bit of Calais, twenty or thirty years afterwards, having already done all the rest.
Turner never told me all this, but any one may sce it if he will compare the pictures. They might, possibly, not be impressions of a single day, but of two days or three; though in all human probability they were seen just as I have stated them;* but they are records of successive impressions, as plainly written as ever traveller's diary. All of them pure veracities. Therefore immortal.
I could multiply these series almost indefinitely from the rest of his works. What is curious, some of them have a kind of private mark running through all the subjects. Thus I know three drawings of Scarborough, and all of them have a starfish in the foreground: I do not remember any others of bis marine subjects which have a starfisb.
The other kind of repetition—the recurrence to one carly impression-is however still more remarkable. In the colleo
* And the more probably because Turner was nover fond of staying long at any place, and was lerst of all likely to make a pause of two or three daya at the beginning of his journey.