Antoine Guillemin Adolphe Brongniart.

The Annual biography and obituary .. online

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Each panting own'd their failing strength.

Though parrying still each adverse blow:
But Gawaine summon'd all his might,
Resolv'd at once to end the fight,

He struck — but blood refus'd to flow,
Though wounded sunk the elfin knight.


He sunk, but soon a nimble Deer,
Rose where the warrior seem'd to die,

And launching forth in full career,
Oft tost his crested head on high.

One instant fixed in new surprize,
Soon Gawaine's hand the leash unbound.
Forth springs his keen, his matchless hound,

And on the fainting stag he flies —
Again hb prey has vanish'd there,
An Eagle wing'd the middle air.

And soar'd so boldly and so high,
It seem'd he flew to meet the sun.
Whose ruddy beams e'en -now begun

To purple o'er the dark blue «ky.

And clouds that veiled the mountains dun.


But Gawaine's falcon swifter flies,
Nor fears to grapple with his king.

In vain with anger^beaming eyes.
And mighty beak, and flapping wing,

And dreadful cries he threats his foe.
His wing th' intrepid falcon tore,
He falls, the king of air no more.

Yet scarcely touch'd the ground below.
Ere all his spreading plumes were gone : —
Forth flew a little Wren alone,

Scarce seen amid the brightening sky ;
But on a fir-tree's pointed height
She perches, half conceal'd from sight,

And human voice and words surprize
Froni that small frame the listening knight.

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** Desist ! yon rising orb of gold
At once thy power and mine controli*d%
For secret crimes in fairy-land ,
CondemnM to roam this barren strand ;
Alone, for many a weary year,
My joyless steps have lingered here*
One only pleasure glads my mind,-—
To work the woe of human kind,
And lead to death or endless shame
The race thro* which my sorrow came«
Thou ! thou alone, hast foiPd my wiles,
Thou only scorn'd my fatal smiles,
Compeird in borrow'd shapes to flee, —
My endless hatred waits on thee.

" Lov'd by your sovereign, heapM with w^ealth^
With fame and fortune, youth, and health,
While England's fairest mddens, all
Contend thy hand to lead the ball.
List thy sofl converse, and decline
All coarser flattery than thine,
UnconquerM still by mortal wight
In tourney or in fiercest fight,
Thine shall be still a joyless heart,
That shares no bliss thy words impart^
The smiles on that gay brow that glow^
Shall never gild tlie void below^
Till one of fairy race shall join
Her fate by marriage bonds with thine *-^
Then must my power, my curse expire,
For Fate controls my deathless ire.

" For me,— 1 know my fate — to die
by thine accursed progeny.
. This day that saw me vanquished lie,
Must every year behold ^gen,
On these bleak shores, the fairy wren,
While hundreds s6our each barren heath
To work one helpless creature's death, f
Woe to the fate-devoted bird,
Whose cry that luckless morn is heard,

^ Alluding to tbe old fairy tale of Sir Gawaine*s Marriage.

i- The chase of the wren is still pursued in the Isle of Man on l)ie taa&^r&HlS^
^ the day when the fairy is supposed to have taken refuge in that form, lu^iliUii^
Wrs of unfortunate birds have fallen victims to the super0titi(m%

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And woe to ixie whene'ier the dart.
Of skilful archer reach my heart."

Thus spoke the Wren, and more she tried,
But in her throat the accents died,
Sunk in a low and plaintive cry,
A short but pleasing melody ;
She left her perch, and soaring high.
Vanished amid the cloudless sky.
But her last accents left behind
A dreadful weight on Gawaine's mind;
That fatal day, without relief.
Gave him to glory, but to grief.
For, scatheless, (tho* he win the fight)
No man may cope with fairy might.

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No. XIV.


Al A. Owen was a native of Shropshire. He was bom in die
year 1769, and was educated at the grammar-school of Lud*
low, wh^e he very early gave indications of that genius nHbid^
in after-life raised him to eminence. He was frequently seen,
out of schocd hours, sketching the beautiful scenery of that
neighbourhood ; and the first finished drawing he ever made
was a view of Ludlow Castle, which we, believe, he presented
to the dowager Lady Clive.

The late Mr. Payne Knight, whose mansion was in the
vicinity, having noticed the dawning genius of young Owen»
he was, by the advice and recommendation of that aocoaBEH
plished scholar, sent to town, about the year 17R6, and placed
under the tuition of Charles Catton, the Royal Academician.
Here he had the good fortune to attract the attention of Sir
Joshua Reynolds ; and having some time dier made tin ex«
quisite copy of Sir Joshua's picture of Mrs. Robinson (Per*
dita), he had the unspeakable advantage of the president's
advice and instruction for the remainder of the life of (hat
great master.

Strongly encouraged and aided by this circumstance, Mr*
Owen applied himself with extraordinary assiduity to tho
study of his profession, in which he soon made considerable
progress^ In the year 1797 he exhibited at Somerset Houfie
a picture ^f the two Misses Leaf, by which he gsuned great
credit, and in the latter part of the same year he married the
elder of those ladies. The only issue of the marriage was
one son, who was educated at Winchester and Qxfi)rd> mvi
who is now in the church.

A A 4

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Not long after his marriage, some embarrassments of a
pecuniary nature (incurred from a train of unfortunate events,
in the production of which Mr. Owen had no participation
further than that of his having become responsible for a
friend) pressed heavily upon him, and he was unexpectedly
burdened with a considerable debt, which, however, he eventu-
ally paid off to the full amount. This circumstance must
have necessarily rendered Mr. Owen's up-hill path to fame
and independence more steep and rugged ; and yet, perhaps,
it may be questioned whether, acting upon a powerful and
honourable mind, such as his, it did not stimulate him to a
still greater degree of industry and exertiod.

In the year 1800, Mr. Owen settled with his family in'
Pimlico, but carried on his professi(mal avocations at his
rooms in Leicester-Square, in the house next to that in which
Sir Joshua Reynolds formerly lived. At this period he made
great advances in his art, and was in constant intercourse
with many persons of the highest rank and consequence in
the country. It would far exceed our limits to enumerate
the portraits which were painted by this accomplished artist,
or to attempt to comment on their varied excellence. One of
the earliest was a powerful resemblance of Mr. Pitt, who took
great notice of Mr. Owen, and invited him to Walmer Castle.
This portrdt made a great impression on the public, and a
print from it was soon afterwards brought out. Mr. Owen's
whole length portrait of the Lord Chancellor is also one of
the most faithful and characteristic likenesses that the art of
painting ever produced. The composition is exceedingly
good, the colouring natural and harmonious, and the general
effect admirable. His portrait of Lord Grenville, too, is
niaiked with energy and truths and the attitude of the figure
is at once animated and easy. Nor can any one who was so
fortunate as to see his portrait of the Duchess of Buccleugh,
which was the principal omatnent of the great room at So-
merset House in the year in which it was exhibited, ever
forget the placid dignity of the figure, and the exquisite tone
that pervades the whole canvas. Many dignitaries of the

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church were from time to time the subjects of Mr. Owen's
pencil; and in several instances, the acquaintance which com-
menced in the painting«-room was afterwards improved into
sincere friendship. In particular, that learned, grave, and
apparently austere, though really amiable and excellent man.
Dr. Cyril Jackson, the late dean of Christ*church, of whom-
Mr. Owen painted a most spirited and vigorous half-length,
took much pleasure in his society. The late Bishop of Lon^
don also showed him much kindness ; and the present Bishop
of London has appointed his son, the Rev. William Owen,
afternoon preacher at the Chapel Royal, Whitehall.

In catching the interesting character and expression of
childhood, Mr* Owen was also exceedingly happy. His por-
trait of Lord William Russell's infant daughter, may be
classed with the best of Sir Joshua's productions of a similar

Mr. Owen occasionally relieved the monotony of portrait-^
painting, and gave an agreeable relaxation to his mind, by
employing his pencil on subjects of fancy ; although even in
works of that description he iiever failed to have recourse to
nature as his model. Among the earliest specimens of his
taste and skill in compositions of this kind are, ^^ The Blind
Beggar of Bethnal Green," and « The Village School-
Mistress;" both of which have been the subjects of highly
popular prints. " The Road-Side," painted for Mr. Lister
Parker, and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1807, also
excited general admiration. In speaking of this beautiful
picture, a judicious critic* observes, " Adherence to the
simple elegance of untutored nature, unstudied ease and
gracefulness of attitude, beauty of face and form, charm the
heart of the spectator. The maternal tenderness with which
the parent presents the nectarean repast to her child, the.
sound repose of the infant girl, the tranquil and amiable
expression of the eldest boy, excite gentle and agreeable
sympathy. The drapeiy has a graceful carelessness suitable
to the humble characters it adorns. There is scarcely a

• In « The News" of May 17, 1807.

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painter in the Academy who can vie with diis eKcdknt
artist in the force with whidi he relieves his objects, while
he preserves the mellowness and harmony of bis colourii^
and efi^t. Sir Joshua appears to revive in this pt^ of
nataire. He indeed has more firmness and precision of
outline and diimwing than that &mous painter ; and equally
captivates by his faithfiil delineations of the lovdy objects
of humble life." An exquisitely-finished " Cupid," executed
for the late Sir Thomas Healhcote, and <^ The Fortune-*
Teller," painted for that patriotic encourager of the arts o(
his own country, Sir John Leicester, are likewise amcmg the
most pleasing and interesting productions of the British
sdMX>l. In all these, and similar works from Mr. Owen's
pencil, the most striking characteri^ics are breaddi and
simplicity. The parts of the ocnnposition are few and large j
and the chiaro-scuro is admirably managed^ It was the
peculiar merit of Mr. Owen, and distincdy proved the union
of modei^y and good-sense in his diaracter, that he nevei^
attempted subjects to the executiicm erf which he did not feel
himself perfectly competent From the sight of how many
abortions would the public be saved, if his example in that
respect were generally followed !

In landscape, Mr. Owen displayed great taste and feelings
both in his private studies, and in the ** bits " which he
occasionally introduced in his portraits. The writer of this
little memoir well recollects a picture of " Hawarden Castle,
in Flintshire," painted by Mr. Owen at a very early period
.of his life, and purchased by a gentleman at Qiester of the
name of Berks, which, in united depth and splendour, would
almost stand a comparison with Rembrandt's celebrated
« Windmill." From this branch of the arts Mr. Owen
always expressed himself as having derived the purest

On the 10th of February, 1806, Mr. Owen was elected a
Royal Academician. At this period, he was enjoying th^
fi'uits of long study and perseverance in the fiili practice of
his profession. Among the many friends whom he had now

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ftoquired should be particularly mentioiied Sir William
Heathcote, from whom and from whose family he continued
ever after to receive constant marks of esteem ; and Sir George
Beaumont^ whose active friendship manifested itself to the
hour of his death. He was on t^ms of great intimacy also
with the Rev. Roger Ow^i, a relation ; a m^i of great wit
and talents, who went to the East Indies as chaplain to
Admiral Rainier, but unhappily died on the jouniey over-
land home. Earl FitzwilUam and Sir John Leicester were
two of Mr. Owen's warmest patrons, and paid him much
att^ition^ and the Lord Chancellor, with that goodness of
heart which those who best know that noble and learned
lord give him the most credit for, showed him great kind-
ness to the la^ and even, after his death, continued it to
his fannly.

On his being appointed Principal Portrait Painter to His
Royal Highness the Prince Regent, in 1813, the honour
of knighthood was offered to Mn Ow^i ; but he respectfully
and judiciously requested permission to dedine it.

In 1814, when the Louvre was filled with all the finest
works of art m the world, Mr. Owen visited Paris in com-
pany with his friends Colonel Ansley and Mr. Callcott, the
Rc^al Academician.

Mr. Owen may be considered as having been at the height
of his jwosperity in 1817. It appears by a series of annual
pocket-books (which contained the only accounts he ever
kept) that at that time his practice produced him 8000/. a
year; so that, had his health continued, he was in a fair way
of realizing a large fortune.

In 1818 he removed to Bruton-Street ; aiid it was with
something like a presentiment of evil that he did so 5 for he
expressed much regret at leaving his small house at Pimlico,
and his painting-rooms in Leicester-Square, where he had
worked through all his difficulties, acquired his high repu-
tation, and was rapidly accumulating wealth. Unhappily,
his evil-boding proved to be but too well grounded ; for the
seeds were already sown of that disease which, soon after

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occupyihg his new residence, made its appeai'aiKie, dnd
eventually confined him to a sick bed, and entirely inca-»
pacitated him for pursuing his profession.

He, however, struggled wonderfully against the heavy
calamity with which he was threatened ; and in the autumn of
1818, in company with his fiiend Mr. (afterwards Sir Thomas)
Heathcote, visited Cheltenham, where he received so much
benefit from the waters as to be enabled, with improved
health, to travel into Staffordshire. After his return to Lon-
don he went on a visit to Sir Thomas Ackland, a gentleman
of whose great and persevering kindnoss he always entertained
and expressed the most grateful sense. While at the baronet's
house in Devonshire, Mr. Owen painted a whole length of
him, intended as a present fi:'6m the electors of the county to
Lady Ackland. This was one of the last of Mr, Owen's
finished works.

The next year Mc Owen weht to Bath, and placed himself
under the care of Mr. Hicks, a medical man of great skill and
reputation ; but he returned to town without having derived
any benefit fi:'om his journey. Soon after he was confined to
his bed, or rather pallet ; firom which he never again rose ;
and, for five years, the only dbange he experienced was in
being wheeled in the morning from his sleeping room on the
first floor to his drawing-room, and back at night. One ex-
ception, indeed, was made to this painfully monotonous ex-'
istence, by a removal to a pleasant part of Chelsea, about six
months previous to his decease, in the hope that a change of
air and scene might, at least, renovate his spirits ; but the trial
was unsuccessftil, and at no period of his long illness did he
ever suflFer so seriously as during this short absence fi'Oln home,
to which he gladly returned in little more than a fortnight.

To the advice and assistance of many medical men of the
first eminence Mr. Owen was highly indebted; and every
exertion was made by them to save his valuable life. The late
Dr. Baillie, Sir Anthony Carlisle, and Mr. Lynn, firequently
visited the suffering invalid; and Dr. Warren was indefe-^
tJgable in his attentions to the last sad moment.

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Bat, although Mr. Owen was at length reduced to such a state
that protracted existence was neither to be expected nor to be
de^red, the immediate cause of his death was of a sudden and
melancholy nature. He had been for some time in the habit
of taking an opening draught prescribed by Sir Anthony Car-
lisle, and he also took every evening thirty drops of a prepar-
ation of opium known by the name of ** Battley's Drops." In
consequence, however, of the culpable carelessness of an as-
sistant at a chemist's shop where Mr. Owen's medicines were
usually procured, who erroneously labelled two phials, the
one containing the opening draught, and the other Battley's
Drops, Mr. Owen, very early in the morning of Friday the
11th of February, 1 825, swallowed the whole contents of a
phial of the latter. He soon became exceedingly lethargic,
and his appearance exciting a suspicion of the mistake that
had been committed, medical assistance was instantly sent
for. Atte^pts,^ which were partially successful, were made to
dislodge the laudanum. Mr. Owen, however, who was in a
state of stupor, gradually became worse ; and after lingering
until nearly four o'clock in the afternoon, he expired. An
inquest was held the next day before Mr. Higgs and a most
respectable jury. Haying heard a^i the evidence on the sub-
ject, they returned the following verdict: — "That the de-
ceased, Wm. Owen, Esq. died from taking a large quantity
of Battle/s Drops, the bottle containing that liquid having
been negligently and incautiously labelled by the person who
prepared the medicine as an opening draught, such as the said
Mr. Owen had been in the habit of taking."

This melancholy event, by which the arts were deprived of
one of their brightest ornaments, and society of one of its
most estimable members, created a general sensation of regret
in the public mind. By the large circle of Mr. Owen's private
friends, to whom he was endeared by his amiable qualities,
his loss will long be sincerely deplored. In the ordinary trans-
actions of life he was a man of strict integrity and sound judg-
ment There was a remarkable manliness in his character;
of which the two following incidents in his early life afford

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striking proofs. While at sdiool he was stabbed in the thigh
with a peidmife by the next boy to him on the form; but had
the Spartan firmness to conceal the cirounstance, in order to
save the kd firom pumshment. Chi 'another occasion he
plunged into the river Teme^ into which has brothoTy Major
Owen, (^ the Royal Marines, then a very little fellow, had
f^en ; and, by prompt exerticHis, rescued him from a watery

Mr. Owen's funeral, which took place on the I9lii of Fe*-
bruary, was a private one ; but it was attended by Sir Thomas
X«awrence, the President of the Royal Academy, and by
Mr. Owen's old and attached fiiends, Messrs* Westmacott^
PhiUips, and Thompson, the Royal Academiciai^.

The recollections of several of Mr. Owen's professional,
and other friends, have been the chief materials of this brief

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No. XV.

(formerly hoar,)


1 HIS gallant officer, the sixth child, and fourth son, of George
Hoar, of London, formerly of Middleton Era, co. Duriiam,
Esq^ by Frances, daughter of William Sleigh, of Stockton-
upon-Tees, Esq., was born July 3, 1758 ; and in March 1781,
was put upon the books of the William and Mary yacht. He
first went to sea at the latter «id of 1773, in the Seahorse
frigate, commanded by the gallant Captain Farmer, who was
afterwards killed in the Quebec, and went with that officer to
the East Indies. It was in the Seahorse that Mr. Hoar first
met, and became the messmate c^ the late Lord Nelson and
Sir Thomas Trowbridge, with whom he had the enviable
fortune of enjoying the strictest intimacy, and an unbroken
correspondence, till the respective periods when death de-
prived the country of their inestimable services.

On the 27th June 1777, Mr. Hoar was removed, by the
desire of his patron, the late Lord Mulgrave, from the Sea-
horse to the Salisbury, bearing the broad pendant of Sir
Edward Hughes, with whom he returned to England on the
14«th May, in the following year. On the 21st of the same
month, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, and im-
mediately appointed to the Monarch of 74? guns. Captain
(afterwards Sir Joshua) Rowley.

Whilst belonging to this ship, Lieutenant Hoar introduced
the life-buoy into the service. An experimenti much to the

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satisfaction of Captain Rowley, his oflBcers and people,, was
first made of its utility, at Spithead ; and it soon afterwards
became general in the Channel fleet. On the 27th July, in
the same year, the Monarch led the van division in the action
between Keppel and d'Orvilliers, and had two men killed and
nine wounded.

In the month of December following, when Captain Rowley
hoisted a broad pendant on board the Suffolk, Lieutenant
Hoar removed with him into that ship. On the 25th the
Commodore sailed from Spithead with a squadron to reinforce
Admiral Byron, in the West Indies, and joined that officer at
St. Lucia, about the latter end of March, 1779.

In the action off Grenada, July 6, in the same year, Mr.
Hoar's friend, who had recently been promoted to the rank
of rear-admiral, commanded the rear division of the British
iieet ; and the Suffolk appears to have been very warmly en-
gaged, having sustained considerable damage, and a loss of
thirty-two men killed and wounded. In the month of De-
cember following, the boats of that ship, under the orders of
our officer, destroyed two of the enemy's vessels close to %h^
shore of Martinique, in the execution of which service, al^
though twice engaged with the militia of the island, only one
man was killed on the part of the British.

In March, 1780, Lieutenant Hoar accompanied Adm^*al
Rowley from the Suffolk into the Copqueror; which ship
formed part of Sir George B. Rodney's fleet in the actions
with de Guichen, April 17, and May 15 and 19. In these
engagements the Conqueror had eighteen men killed and
sixty-nine wounded.

. In the ensuing month of July, Mr. Hoar became flag-
lieutenant to Admiral Rowley, and continued to^t
appointment until Aug. 10, 1782, on which day he was m^e
a commander, into the Due d'Estitac sloop. During the re-
mainder of the war we find him actively employed on a variety
of services, both on the coast of America and in the West
Indies. He returned to England in the summer of 1785, and
was soon after put out of commission.


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Oi the 20th May 1788, die subject of this memoir married
Catharine Dorothy, daughter of Per^rine Bertie, of Low-
Layton, Essex, Esq. (of the late Duke of Ancaster's family)
whose name he assumed, and ever afterwards bore alone^
agi*e6ably to the will of that gentleman.

Captain Bertie was advanced to post rank, Nov. 22, 179U,
and, at the same period, appointed to the Leda : that frigate,
however, was soon after put out of commission, and he was
not again called upon till the autunin of 1 795, when he ob*
tained the command of the Hindostan, a 54-gun ship, then
at Spithead, under orders for the West Indies, where he
arrived, after a long and tempestuous passage, In company
with a squadron commanded by the present Admiral George
Bowen, and a fleet of transports having on board several
thousand troops, under the orders of Major-General White,
destined to attack St. Domingo ; nearly the whdle of whom
fell victims to the climate, without having been employed on
any s^vice of impoii;ance.

Captain Bertie was himself seized with the yellow fever,
whilst ccmimanding at Port-au-Prince, and he was obliged td
apply to be surveyed. This accordingly took place at Cape
Nichola Mole ; and being invalided, he left the West Indi^
in an American ship, in the month of October, 1796.

On the 29th March, 1797, after he had recovered his
health, he was appointed to the Braakel of 54 guns, stationed
at Plymouth. In October followmg, he succeeded to the
command of the Ardent, 64, vacant by the death of bis old
shipmate. Captain Burgess, who fell m the memorable battle

Online LibraryAntoine Guillemin Adolphe BrongniartThe Annual biography and obituary .. → online text (page 32 of 48)