Page:Nollekens and His Times, Volume 2.djvu/474

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462
NOLLEKENS'S CONTEMPORARIES.

strong talent for drawing, being totally destitute of the dexterity of a London shopman, so well described by Dr. Johnson, was sent away from the counter as a booby, and placed under the late Mr. James Basire, an Artist well known for many years as Engraver to the Society of Antiquaries. From him he learned the mechanical part of his art, and as he drew carefully, and copied faithfully, his master frequently and confidently employed him to make drawings from monuments to be engraven.

After leaving his instructor, in whose house he had conducted himself with the strictest propriety, he became acquainted with Flaxman, the Sculptor, through his friend Stothard, and was also honoured by an introduction to the accomplished Mrs. Mathew, whose house. No. 27, in Rathbone-place, was then frequented by most of the literary and talented people of the day. This lady, to whom I also had the honour of being known, and whose door and purse were constantly open and ready to cherish persons of genius who stood in need of assistance in their learned and arduous pursuits, worldly concerns, or inconveniences,—was so extremely zealous in promoting the celebrity of Blake, that upon hearing him read some of his early efforts in poetry, she thought