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Here then was a subject which the classical mind of BANKS selected for a grand effort, after the unwearied studies of his youth*; and of which, if the public
* Mr. Banks was one of the earliest students of the Royal Academy, who benefited from the useful regulations of that institution, for sending young artists to Italy, at its own expense, for the purpose of getting an accurate knowledge of, and taste for, the antique. He extended his residence in Rome, be. yond the limits allowed by the Academy; and his laborious studies during that period were fully displayed in various compositions, some of which he brought to England with him. Among these, may be more particularly specified, a basso relievo of the death of Germanicus, in the possession of Thomas Coke, Esq. at Holkham: Caractacus before the Emperor Claudius, purchased by the Marquis of Buckingham, for the embellishment of Stowe; the statue of Cupid before mentioned, and a basso relievo of Thetis, with her nymphs, rising from the sea to assist her son Achilles, who is imploring her aid on the shore, supported by his friend Patroclus. The latter work was begun in Italy, but the artist not having met with sufficient encouragement to complete it, the marble remained till after his death, when it was finished from the original model. As this most classical composition was exhibited in the British Institution last season, it must be so recent in the memory of every one, that any comments on its perfections would be needless.
mind had been matured to meet it, we should have probably soon seen the effect in giving the sculptor's art a new elevation. For whether we contemplate
On his arrival from Italy, Mr. Banks was induced to make trial of the ungenial climate of Russia; but there his talents failed of exciting that admiration, without which the most enterprising genius will languish and fade; and it was on his return to his native country from thence, that this sublime effort of his aspiring mind, the subject of the present remark, was produced. It was exhibited at Somerset House, about the year 1784, and from that period, by slow degrees, our artist began to be known, and his talents appreciated. As many of his works may be unknown to the public in general, it may not be amiss to direct their attention to some of his principal ones; among which may be enumerated, the monuments of Sir Eyre Coote, and Governor Loten, in Westminster Abbey. A lovely figure of a sleeping child, erected in memory of the daughter of Sir Brook Boothby, in Ashbourne Church, Derbyshire. A monument for Major Halliday, at Hales Owen, near the Leasowes; besides several public works, sent to Ireland and the East Indies; and his last, though not least efforts, the monuments of naval captains who died in the service of their country; which, being placed in the Cathedral of St. Paul, are within the reach of every true lover of sculpture to see, and judge of, as they deserve.
the grandeur of the extremities, the deep knowledge of anatomy, unostentatiously displayed in all the limbs, no less than in the 'Torso; the Lacedemonian simplicity, and scientific balancing of the whole mass; I think we must be compelled to confess, while we lament the local circumstances that retarded the entire development of his profound conceptions, that, whether hereafter Sculpture remains stationary, or rapidly advances from this point she must proceed among us; and, that, to the honour of England, our Artist has deserved well of the Genius of Imitation, and of his Country.
I am, Sir,
your well wisher,
Many of my readers will, I fear, be a little startled at this long and, probably, uncouth expression; but when they are informed that, under this title, they are to receive occasional information of the state of literature in this metropolis, as it is connected with the sale of manuscripts, books, and belles-lettres curiosities, I entertain sanguine hopes that, however they may be alarmed at so formidable a word, they will not be deterred from perusing the matter to which it points as a' DIRECTOR.'
Some have imagined that, in this country, bibliography is an entirely new study; because few attempts have been made to render it popular. The knowledge of rare and curious and entertaining books, has, it must be confessed, been confined, almost exclusively, to the black-lettered tribe-to those learned and acute gentlemen, who have been
long suffered to roam, without opposition, in the PARADISE OF DAINTY DEVISES,* or to revel, unmolested,
* "THE PARADYSE OF DAYNTY DEUises. Conteyning sundry pichy precepts, learned counsels, and excellent inuentions, right pleasant and profitable for all estates. Deuised and written for the most part by M. Edwards, sometimes of her Majesties chappell : the rest, by sundry learned gentlemen, both of honor and woorship, whose names hereafter folowe. Imprinted at London, by Henry Disle, dwellying in Paules churchyard at the southwest doore of Saint Paules churche, and are there to be solde. - 1577. 4to. See Herbert's edition of Ames's Typographical Antiquities. Vol. ii. 685. 1240. Vol. iii. 1792. This singular and very rare book contains a collection of the most fashionable poems of that day, in which are preserved the fugitive verses of Lord Vaux, Lord Oxford, Jasper Heywood, and others, as well as some ditties of Master Richard Edwards, the editor. See Phillips Theat. Poet. Anglican. edit. 1800.p.lxii. Mr. Brydges's Censura Literaria. Vol. i. p. 255-66. A publication destined, I hope, to excite general attention to the productions of our ancestors,—and which has already snatched many a rare and valuable composition from oblivion. Mr. Beloe, in his amusing 'Anecdotes of literature and scarce books.' Vol. i. 241-4, has given a particular account of the various editions of this work; and Warton alludes to it in his History of English Poetry. Vol. iii. 285. note i. I may add, that the preceding edition of this dainty' book, is supposed