Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/153

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THEODORE LANE.

at "The Wrekin," in Broad Court, Long Acre, at that time frequented by gentlemen of the Press; at "The Harp," in Russell Street, Drury Lane, a well known house of call for actors, and appropriately immortalised in one of his illustrations to "The Life of an Actor"; at the "Cider Cellar"; at the "Fives Court"; at the numerous "Masquerades" of the day; at any place of resort, in fact, which offered studies of life and character or subjects of social satire. He figures in his own sketch of The Masquerade at the Argyll Rooms, where we recognise him (in one of the right hand boxes) in a white sheet, a tall paper cap on his head, and a staff in his hand. His impersonations were sometimes singularly original. At one of these "masquerades," for instance, he represented a "frozen-out gardener" soliciting charity, and holding in his hand a cabbage covered with icicles; at another, he appeared as a hospital "out-patient," wearing a hideous mask (designed by himself) representing some dreadful disease, from which the bystanders recoiled in horror and amazement. With all this drollery Lane kept himself well out of mischief, and was moreover, in days when young and old were more or less inclined to be topers, a strictly temperate man.

But Lane's talents were not confined to comic etching or designs on wood. He was also an artist in oil and water colour. He painted in oils The Drunken Gardener; The Organ of Murder, a clumsy, nervous craniologist feeling his own head in doubt and perplexity to ascertain whether the dreadful "organ" is developed in himself; An Hour before the Duel (exhibited at the Institution in Pall Mall). Other subjects of his pictures were: The Poet reading his Manuscript Play of Five Acts to a Friend; Too many Cooks Spoil the Broth; The Nightmare; The Mathematician's Abstraction (the latter purchased by Lord Northwick). His most ambitious work in oils (upwards of seventeen feet in length) was called A Trip to Ascot Races. His last work, The Enthusiast (the first we have mentioned), was exhibited at Somerset House at the time of his death.

The fate of this clever young artist and satirist was both singular and tragical. It appears that on the 21st of February, 1828,