him "to work with less extravagance and more simplicity, and to correct his drawing." This most excellent advice was, however, resented by Blake, not on its own merits but because of the lips from which it came; for since the method of painting adopted by Reynolds was wholly opposed to his own ideal, which was that of Dürer, Michel Angelo, and the rest of the linear school, he not unnaturally considered it an extreme impertinence on the part of one who, in his opinion, was ignorant of the very essence of the highest kind of art to criticise work which was at anyrate conceived on right lines. Besides Romney, Flaxman himself, Fuseli, Lawrence—to mention the chief names only—were enthusiastic admirers of Blake's designs. In connection with the last of these, it is worth while correcting an error on the part of Gilchrist, who speaks of him, among others, as considering it "almost giving the money" whenever he gave Blake a commission either for a drawing or for one of his illuminated books. That this was certainly not the case is shown by the honour paid by him to a replica of the beautiful watercolour (done originally for Butts) of "The Wise and Foolish Virgins," which he had ordered from him. I find a note in the diary of the present owner's grandfather, who was a personal friend of that eminent artist and collector, and purchased
Page:The letters of William Blake (1906).djvu/26
This page has been validated.