The Two Paths/Appendix II

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It is very fortunate that in the fragment of Mason's MSS., published lately by Mr. Cotton in his "Sir Joshua Reynolds' Notes,"[1] record is preserved of Sir Joshua's feelings respecting the paintings in the window of New College, which might otherwise have been supposed to give his full sanction to this mode of painting on glass. Nothing can possibly be more curious, to my mind, than the great painter's expectations; or his having at all entertained the idea that the qualities of colour which are peculiar to opaque bodies could be obtained in a transparent medium; but so it is: and with the simplicity and humbleness of an entirely great man he hopes that Mr. Jervas on glass is to excel Sir Joshua on canvas. Happily, Mason tells us the result.

"With the copy Jervas made of this picture he was grievously disappointed. 'I had frequently,' he said to me, 'pleased myself by reflecting, after I had produced what I thought a brilliant effect of light and shadow on my canvas, how greatly that effect would be heightened by the transparency which the painting on glass would be sure to produce. It turned out quite the reverse.'"


  1. Smith, Soho Square, 1859.