Beginnings Of The British School
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
IN 1855 a collection of English paintings was sent to Paris for the International Exhibition. They proved a revelation to the Frenchmen. " Ah ! " they cried, " there are only two schools of painting, — ours and yours ! Other schools are founded on ours ; yours is an original school ! "
Considering the late beginnings of French art, we can hardly agree with this enthusiastic state-ment; but it is true that British art is original: it differs from the art of other countries, and is not actually founded on any other school, although foreign influence came over and inspired the British to paint. Taine says that the British school is " a branch of the Flemish school, a gnarled and stunted branch, which ends by dropping off, but in an entirely original manner." The inspiration once felt, English artists painted in their own way, and soon became independent of Continental tradition.
The very earliest records of artistic achievement include all the crafts and most of the arts ! In 1470, there was ordered for one of the churches " a new sepulchre "; this curious erection was to comprise " an image of God Almighty, rising out of the said sepulchre, with all the ordinance that 'longeth thereto; item, a lath, made of timber, and ironwork thereto; item, thereto 'longeth Heaven, made of timber and stained cloth; item, Hell, made of timber and ironwork, with devils in number thirteen. Item, four knights, armed, keeping the sepulchre, with their weapons in their hands, . . two axes and two spears. Item, three pairs of angels' wings, four angels made of timber and well painted. Item, the Father, the crown and visage, the ball with the cross upon it well gilt with fine gold. Item, the Holy Ghost coming out of Heaven into the sepulchre." This description of a work of art of the period is only equalled by the directions of Henry VIII., for a monument to his own memory. The document reads : " The King shall appear on horse-back, of the stature of a goodly man, while over him shall appear the image of God the Father, holding the King's soul in his left hand, and his right hand extended in the act of benediction."
The first real impulse to artistic appreciation was brought to England through foreign artists, who were imported to execute significant works. Sir Antonio Mor, of whom mention has been made, was one of the earliest of these. Hans Holbein, also, painted many portraits during the reign of Henry VIII., who seems to have appreciated a great artist, even while he yet remained capable of ordering the effigy of which an account has just been given. It was about Hans Holbein that Henry's famous remark was made, when a courtier whom the artist had kicked down-stairs came to the king to plead for justice. Henry, unwilling to hear a word against his favourite, replied : " Out of seven peasants I can make seven lords ; but I can-not make one Hans Holbein even out of seven lords."
The first Englishman who is recorded as a painter of " pictures in little," was Nicolas Hilliard (1547-'619), a skilful miniature artist, to whom tribute is paid by Doctor Donne :
"....an eye or hand
The two Olivers followed Hilliard, and John Hoskins took up the succession, living until 1664. All of these were miniature portrait-painters, and examples of their work, which has never been sur-passed, may be seen in many collections in England.
In the reign of James I., Van Dyck made his appearance, and was heralded as the greatest of artists. He had much following among the English, and his sway was extended in the reign of Charles I., for whom he became court painter. If the progress of art had not been interrupted, as it so sadly was in Charles's reign, the development would probably have been much more even and sustained. Charles was a true connoisseur, and would have encouraged the best artistic talent in his kingdom. King Charles had collected magnificent specimens of the greatest painters of the world, his walls glowing with pictures by Titian, Tintoretto, Rubens, Correggio, Leonardo, and Raphael. The iconoclasts did what they could to destroy art in England. King Charles's collections were disposed of by an order of Parliament in 1645, which reads : " That all pictures and statues as are without any superstition shall be forthwith sold for the benefit of Ireland and the North ; that all such pictures as have the representation of the second person of the Trinity upon them shall be forthwith burnt." Pictures of the Virgin were to be similarly treated. Fortunately, Cromwell interfered in person to arrest the complete achievement of this tragedy, but much of the historic beauty and priceless culture stored up with these pictures was destroyed with Roundhead zeal.
A little later the " bugle-eyeball and the cheek of cream," associated with Sir Peter Lely, held sway; Sir Peter is represented in this gallery in No. 1016, as has been noted. After him came Sir Godfrey Kneller, a famous portrait artist. " Paint-ers of history," said Sir Godfrey, " make the dead live, and do not live themselves until they are dead. I paint the living, and they make me live! "
John Bettes's Portrait of Edmund Butts, No. 1496, is the earliest English picture in the National Gallery. Bettes died in 1573, and was a miniaturist in favour with Queen Elizabeth, being a pupil of Nicholas Hilliard. There is a portrait of Catherine Parr, No. 1652, by an unknown artist of the sixteenth century, also, among these early pictures ; she is clad in the elaborate costume of the period of Henry VIII. Next in order, as we may examine them here, is William Dobson. He was the first Englishman to attempt portraits on a larger scale than miniature, and also to paint historic subjects. He was born in 1610. He worked much on the lines of Van Dyck, to whom he was frequently likened. His portrait of Endymion Porter, No. 1249, displays that person, who was a friend of Charles I., and groom of the bedchamber, with his gun and an attendant page. Endymion Porter him-self was a very versatile and interesting character, and a romantic figure living in romantic surroundings.
Samuel Scott's paintings of London in the eighteenth century have great historic interest. There are four of them here; No. 313 showing old London Bridge, with houses which were erected immediately after the Great Fire, in 1666; No. 314, old Westminster Bridge, which was built by the Swiss, Charles Labelye, between 1739 and 1750. A detail of the above, that is, a portion of Westminster Bridge, showing parts of two of its arches, appears in No. 1223, while a view farther north, up the Thames, is seen in No. 1328. Westminster Abbey also occurs in this.
Samuel Scott is known as the father of the modern water-colour school. He was a great friend of Hogarth, and left as good portraits of the out-ward and visible London as Hogarth did of the inner, if not the spiritual side of the city's life. His portrait, by Thomas Hudson, may be seen in No. 1224; the artist is in informal dress, holding a drawing of a sea-piece, with some shipping. Thomas Hudson had the honour of being the master of Sir Joshua Reynolds.
In 1901 there was presented to the gallery an example of the work of Sir James Thornhill, No. 1844, a scene from the life of St. Francis. Thorn-hill was the father-in-law of Hogarth, his daughter eloping with that great painter before he had achieved his fame.
Art was at its lowest ebb, composed chiefly of copyists of other men's methods, when, in 1697, William Hogarth first saw the light in the London which he so well understood. He began early to show his talent. As he says of himself : " My exercises when at school were more remarkable for the ornaments that adorned them than for the exercise itself." There was a general streak of artistic temperament in the family ; Hogarth's father was literary in his tastes, though unsuccessful, and one of his uncles indulged in satirical poetry, which has been described as " wanting in grammar, metre, sense, and decency."
Hogarth began humbly, and worked honestly, gaining slowly but steadily in the world of art. It is amusing to hear the youth's purse-proud confession: " I have gone moping into the city with scarce a shilling," he says, " but as soon as I have received ten guineas there for a plate, I have re-turned home, put on my sword, and sallied out again with all the confidence of a man who had thousands in his pockets ! "
One great reason for his success was his absolute fidelity to detail as a result of close examination. As Taine has said, with Hogarth " it is indispensable, in order to impart interest to a physical type, that it be the expression and counterpart of a moral type." I have ever found studying from nature the shortest and safest way of attaining knowledge in my art," said Hogarth. The next reason for his popularity was his choice of subjects with a direct human appeal. He further says : I turned my thoughts to painting and engraving modern moral subjects, a field not broken up in any country or age." Hogarth's idea was to treat his subject as a dramatic writer would treat it. His picture was his stage, and his characters moved for him and struck tableaux for him. Charles Lamb was right in saying that one looked at the pictures of other artists, but that one read those of Hogarth. He likens his nature to that of Juvenal.
On one occasion, Hogarth, being present in some capacity at a tavern brawl, saw a man strike another with a pewter-pot ; the expression of the insulted person so impressed him, that he took out his pencil and sketched him then and there.
It is interesting to have here his own portrait, with that of his pet dog, painted by himself. This face, No. 112, displays a rounded, pugnacious physiognomy, but with that keenness of eye which characterizes the satirist. Barry says that he once saw Hogarth, " a little man in a sky-blue coat," superintending a fight of street urchins on a corner. He looks capable of this, and, indeed, his sympathy is chiefly with the rowdy, whether it be found in low life or in high life.
He wrote his first book, " The Analysis of Beauty," in 1753. He himself appreciated the fact that the venture had an amusing aspect. He writes:
" What? A book? and by Hogarth? Then twenty to ten,
The mysterious " line of beauty " which he inscribed in this volume caused much discussion. It was as amusing as any Egyptian hieroglyphic. " Painters and sculptors came to me, to know the meaning of it," chuckles Hogarth!,
His greatest success was in his three great series of pictures, which were planned for the conveying of a moral message ; the Harlot's Progress, the Rake's Progress, and the Marriage à la Mode. We are fortunate in having this latter set of six master-pieces in the National Gallery. While we have not time or space to analyze all these wonderful histories, let us " read," as Charles Lamb advises, one of them, — the first of the series ; it will show how thoughtful and how consistent Hogarth was when he painted a volume on a single canvas.
No. 113 represents the signing of the marriage contract. Rehearse the facts which are told us in this epitome of London follies of Hogarth's day. Here we have the two parents, who are arranging the marriage of their children to advance their own prospects. The proud peer, wishing to increase the family exchequer, has consented to the wedding of his son with the daughter of a vulgarian, — a rich citizen, who sits ill at ease in the presence of rank, but who is willing to give his gold that his child may become a countess. The Rt. Hon. Lord Viscount Squanderfield rests one gouty foot on a stool, while beside him is unrolled, for the inspection of the citizen, the chart of his descent, which springs from William the Conqueror. The girl's father gazes in awe at this document, while his half-starved clerk, who is a living testimony to the fact that the rich man economizes in his servant's table, is extending to the peer a mortgage on his lordly domains; but the viscount, realizing the social greed of his opponent, haughtily refuses this compromise, pointing to his lineage as ample compensation, and evidently demanding cash for the whole transaction.
On the other side of the room sit the ill-assorted pair; the vain fop of a lordling, admiring himself in the mirror, has turned his back upon his prospective bride. She, plebeian, blunt-featured, with a weak, receding chin, is stringing her wedding-ring idly on her handkerchief, while she listens to the compliments of Lawyer Silvertongue, a smooth, un-intellectual man of her own class. Every detail of the picture proclaims the life and tastes of the peer. A great portrait of an ancestor, à la Grande Monarque, hangs in the central background. This personage has apparently been figured in this instance as Jupiter, as was the custom with court painters in dealing with egotistical lords, and he holds a thunderbolt in his hand. This picture is a perfect burlesque on the prevailing taste in portraiture, to which Hogarth's straightforward appeal helped to put an end. Through the open window may be seen a building unfinished, with scaffolding still in place, but without workmen to continue. We are informed, by the lawyer who stands looking out, holding in his hand a " plan for the new building for the Rt. Hon.," that the construction has had to be arrested for lack of funds. The atmospheric illusion in looking out of this window is clever. As if to typify the future of the young couple, there are two dogs leashed together on the floor, one wishing to rest while the other would like to prowl. The walls of the viscount's drawing-room are hung with various works of old masters, — probably purchased through the persuasions of dealers, for the subjects are not in key with his preferences. What has the Rt. Hon. in common with Cain and Abel, Prometheus, Judith, or St. Lawrence? An amusing anecdote of London picture-dealers and their methods is told by Hogarth, and he evidently means it to apply to such men as this. The prospective purchaser is examining a Venus, which has been offered him for sale by one Mr. Bubbleman, and he complains that she has no more beauty than a cook maid. " Oh, Lord, sir! " answers the quack, " I find that you are no connoisseur. That picture, I assure you, is in Alesso Baldovinetti's second and best manner, boldly painted, and truly sublime. The hair in the Greek taste — " then, spitting on an obscure place, and rubbing it with a dirty handkerchief, he takes a skip to the other end of the room, and screams out in raptures, " There is an amazing touch ! " A delicate humourous hint, which may escape one, is the coronet adorning the crutch of the disabled Lord Squanderfield.
Stage by stage in these six pictures, each of which will bear as close an examination as this, one sees the tragedy developed. In No. 114, the two bored young people, sick of each other's company ; the vain young countess entertaining her admirers in her dressing-room (Lawyer Silver-tongue, as always, the chief object of her folly) ; the death of the count at the hands of his wife's lover, and the death of the countess herself, upon hearing that her lover has been hanged for the murder of her husband. All are equally convincing, and deserve the closest analytic study.
Contemporaries rarely appreciate an artist. When Hogarth offered Marriage à la Mode for sale, Mr. Lane, of Hillingdon, was the only bidder. He offered one hundred and twenty pounds for them, and, when he found that no one else arrived, he relates : " I told the artist I would make the pounds guineas. . . . Mr. Hogarth wished me joy of my purchase." Fifty years later, Mr. Angerstein paid one thousand three hundred and eighty-one pounds for the same pictures. From his collection they came to the National Gallery.
One of the finest of Hogarth's characterizations, although only a hasty sketch, is the Shrimp Girl, No. 1162. The momentary, the instantaneous, is remarkably caught in her attitude. Hogarth has almost painted the strident voice which is proceeding from the parted lips ! It was drawn from life, in the course of a walk one day in. Gravesend, and is prophetic of the impressionists of the nineteenth century in many ways.
No. 1161 is a portrait of Miss Fenton, the actress, in the rôle of Polly Peachum. Miss Fenton was a noted success in this part, so that she was ever afterward called by that name. In 1728, Gay wrote to Swift, observing : " The Duke of Bolton has run away with Polly Peachum and settled four hundred a year on her ! " Miss Fenton was a very brilliant woman, and had a highly dramatic career. Another stage-portrait by Hogarth is the recently acquired No. 1935, inscribed Mr. Quin.
Hogarth's Sister, No. 675, and his Servants (a row of six heads), No. 1374, are interesting as showing the artist as a portrait-painter, as is also No. 1153, the Family of the Strodes, gathered together in domestic entirety, accompanied by their friend, the Archbishop of Dublin.
Although a bricky red shade sometimes obtrudes itself in his flesh-tints, Hogarth is in the main a fine colourist. His colours, too, have stood the test of time, which can be said of few later English artists. Polly Peachum and the group of portraits do not exhibit his colour at its strongest ; but the Shrimp Girl is a delightful scheme of browns and grays, with reds, which, though quickly executed, is handled with skill and taste.
On one occasion, a nobleman, not wishing to accept or pay for his portrait, refused to take it off Hogarth's hands. He received the following note from the artist : " Mr. Hogarth's dutiful respects to Lord . . . finding that he does not mean to have the picture which was drawn for him, is informed again of Mr. Hogarth's necessity for the money. If, therefore, his Lordship does not send for it in three days, it will be disposed of, with the addition of a tail, and some other little appendages, to Mr. Hare, the famous wild-beast man, Mr. Hogarth having given that gentleman a conditional promise of it for an exhibition picture, on his Lordship's refusal." The price was paid, and the picture destroyed.
In his Calais Gate, or " Roast Beef of Old England," No. 1464, Hogarth travesties certain political and social discrepancies of the French ; but one would have to understand much of the conditions of the day to appreciate all the points. He himself wrote an analysis of his intentions regarding it, and Austin Dobson has ably called attention to many details. Among these should be noted a group of fishwives, who, amused at the likeness of a skate to the human face, are unaware that it looks very much like themselves, by which subtle touch the humour of the situation is enhanced for the spectator.
A marked contrast is observable between this satirical picture and the Sigismunda, No. 1046, with which it was exhibited in 1761. Hogarth's wife sat for this picture, which has been very severely criticized. But, in spite of Walpole, Sigismunda is, as Austin Dobson points out, " finely coloured, sound in painting, and full of technical skill. Considering that the attempt was made in a direction so unfavourable to the peculiar cast of the artist's talent, it is wonderful that he succeeded so well." Hogarth attempted the heroic in Sigismunda. A picture by Correggio by this name had recently sold for four hundred pounds, and he offered to render one as satisfactory for the same sum.
Putting aside the subjects, which are usually coarse and unrefined, one is amazed in looking at Hogarth's pictures, simply as technical achievements, to find them as delicate and refined as any works painted in England. With little show of intentionally startling effects, Hogarth is an absolutely true master of atmosphere, and can always paint the difference between indoors and out-of-doors. His drawing is somewhat extreme. It is usually correct, but suffers from his habit of caricature. In composition he did not greatly excel. His scenes are too obviously laid out : there is always an hypothetical audience to be considered. Hogarth died in 1764. He was the first great original in early British art. Gainsborough, Constable, and Turner were the only others.
In 1768 a new impetus to artistic life was given by the founding of the Royal Academy. This time-honoured institution arose from a split in the older Incorporated Society of Artists, and soon came to have a far greater significance than the original body. It may easily be seen how the new institution, with Sir Joshua, Gainsborough, and all the leading men of the period, should dominate the Society of Artists, when one glances at a catalogue of one of the exhibitions of the latter. Such items occur as " Two birds in shell-work, on a rock decorated with sea-corals "; " A Cupid crowning two harts "; " A landscape in human hair," with a " frame of various devices cut in vellum with scissors, containing the Lord's Prayer in the compass of a silver threepence." The king lent his countenance and support to the new body, and it was established on December 1o, 1768.
At this time Richard Wilson was fifty-four years of age, Sir Joshua Reynolds forty-five, and Gainsborough forty-one; these three men, then, may be said to be the beginners of a new epoch in art; as they had reached mature life before the academy was founded, the claim that they were influenced by it can hardly be sustained.
Richard Wilson, born in 1713 or 1714, was essentially a landscape-painter. He showed early talent, tracing figures on the walls of his father's parsonage with a charred stick when he was a child. When thirty-six years of age, this artist went to Rome, the Mecca of all landscape artists of that period, their ideal of scenery being Italian sunsets, peaceful lakes, and crumbling ruins. Wilson was no exception to the rule. His " compositions " have all the conventional grace which was so fashionable. But all landscape, whether natural or artificial, was difficult to sell at this time, when the beautiful portraits of Reynolds were all the rage; and Wilson's career was a long struggle with disappointment and poverty in consequence. He was certainly not appreciated during his lifetime, and, although the prophecy of Peter Pindar has come true, the promise of post-mortem fame is not very sustaining while a man is wondering what he will eat next week. Peter Pindar's verse thus predicts for " old red-nosed Wilson" a future recognition and fame:
"But, honest Wilson, never mind,
The artists and those of his own sort loved and appreciated him, but that did not bring him in a support. A friend of his, Mr. Welsh, once said to him, little suspecting to what hard trials of poverty he had been subjected : " You never come to dine with me now." Wilson's reply was that he only regretted that Mr. Welsh was not a picture-collector. " I certainly do not understand them," answered Mr. Welsh, " but, if you will dine with me on Monday week, I will order a fifteen-guinea picture from you with pleasure." Poor Wilson took him by the hand, and said : " Heaven knows where I may be by that time." The kind-hearted Mr. Welsh comprehended the situation. " Are you engaged for to-morrow? " he asked. " If you will send a picture to my house, and join me at dinner, I will gladly pay you the money to-morrow." Such stories of suffering are all too numerous in the history of art. It would be well if some young aspirants would profit by them in time. There is an instance of one, who was so influenced by knowing of Wilson's hardships, that he, as Cunningham naïvely tells, " went home and said to himself, ` When Wilson with all his genius starves, what will become of me?' He laid his palette and pencils aside, pursued his studies at college, and rose high in the Church." Wilson's good friends worked in vain to help him to find a market for his landscapes. Mr. Paul Sandby even tried to sell a collection of his sketches to some wealthy pupils of his own, and ended by being obliged to buy them himself.
Wilson, however, was not the sport of destiny without some reason. He was often rude and ungainly in his remarks, justifying people in preferring to have little to do with him. When Beechey, the artist, invited him to dinner, Wilson turned upon him, inquiring, brusquely, " Do your daughters draw? All young ladies draw now." " No, sir," replied Beechey, my daughters are musical." With a grunt of satisfaction, Wilson accepted the invitation. On one occasion, he took Beechey across his studio by one arm, exclaiming, peevishly, " There! This is where you should view a painting, if you wish to examine it with your eyes and not with your nose ! " Mrs. Garrick said : " Mr. Wilson is rough to the taste at first, tolerable by a little longer acquaintance, and delightful at last." Unfortunately, few persons have patience to persevere in an acquaintance which starts with such a handicap. When George III. ordered a painting of Kew Gardens, Wilson deliberately introduced a Southern sunset, and various Italian features, so that the king, naturally dissatisfied, simply returned the picture. Such eccentricities, while fascinating to a biographer, do not help to establish a painter in public favour while he lives.
Wilson was called the English Claude. His pictures have some sameness, the composition usually consisting of a framed dark foreground, with figures, and a vista upon water and distant hills.
One of the chief charms about his work is the handling. He seems to have enjoyed his labour, and his touch is easy and sympathetic, showing perfect control of his materials. Wilson painted standing, and used only one brush and few colours. His greens have blackened from the amount of magylph used, — this was a general failure of British artists. He began by dead-colouring the whole surface, quite flat, with just a suggestion of the values to be given. When all was dry, he deepened the shadows, and modelled somewhat, but still in the neutral brown : the third stage was finishing, and adding various hues in the lighter portions.
His principle, as will be seen, was to bring the whole picture along a stage at a time, not allowing himself to complete one part before another. His varnish, alas ! was the too popular magylph, which has been the ruin of so many English pictures. This he used in an oyster-shell. His " tools " were simple and primitive.
John Thomas Smith, who was a connoisseur of some reputation contemporaneous with Wilson, affirms that he was " a leviathan in his profession," while Ruskin complains that Wilson's pictures are " mere diluted adaptations from Poussin and Salvator, without the dignity of the one or the fire of the other." Thus it will be seen that in Wilson's case, as in nearly all cases, critics disagree.
Wilson was out walking with a favourite dog, when he was struck down suddenly by the illness which proved fatal. The faithful dog ran home and brought help, but Wilson never recovered, although he was carried to his house and lived for a time. Having reached the age of sixty-nine, he died in May, 1782.
Sir Joshua Reynolds did not approve of Wilson, and allowed himself to be a little unprofessional at times in sharp criticism. " Our ingenious academician," he says, " . . . has . . . been guilty of introducing gods and goddesses, ideal beings, in scenes which were by no means prepared to receive such personages." He refers especially to the Destruction of Niobe's Children, No. 110. He says that the scene is a storm, with people lying about apparently having been struck by lightning, but that the painter has injudiciously " chosen that their deaths should be imputed to a little Apollo, who appears in the sky, . . . and that those figures should be considered as the children of Niobe." Sir Joshua also criticizes the cloud as being quite inadequate to support the kneeling deity, and he is quite right; but one wonders that, with so keen a sense of the incongruous, Sir Joshua should himself paint ladies as goddesses, in his portraits, and should select Wilson as the special recipient for such denunciations as are merited by all his contemporaries. Sir William Poynter is of quite a different mind, claiming this picture as Wilson's masterpiece, combining high imagination in treating the subject with profound knowledge of nature.
Nos. 304 and 1064 exhibit Wilson in characteristic moods; No. 108 is a painting of the villa of Myc enas, at Tivoli, which Wilson first saw in company with Lord North, who commissioned him to paint it. It is somewhat of a topographical vaudeville, with bits of favourite scenery thrown in, but is soft and charming in effect.
Before passing to a study of Sir Joshua Reynolds and Gainsborough, we may review the other pictures of this period which it seems well to mention. Pleasing portraits are No. 1281, Mrs. Brocas, by Francis Cotes, and Mr. Henry Byne, No. 1198, by Lemuel Francis Abbott. There are also good examples of English landscape paintings, in the works by George Arnald, No. 1156; two views of the Somerset country, by Thomas Barker, Nos. 1039 and 1306; a very interesting study of the landscape of India, by Thomas Daniell, No. 899, showing a famous bridge in Bengal, with travellers crossing it. An agreeable Portrait of a Lady, No. 1491, is by Allan Ramsay, son of the Scotch poet of the same name, who is well known as the author of the " Gentle Shepherd." No. 1186, an English landscape by Glover, is full of open air and daylight, almost as clear as that of John Constable, although handled with more precision and less poetical charm.
No. 1658 is a study of oaks and rural country life, by George Lambert, who began life as a theatrical scene-painter. Stirling Castle, by Alexander Nasmyth, No. 1242, is a good example of the treatment of Scotch scenery by a Scotchman. He must not be confounded with Patrick Nasmyth, who worked later, and who was son and pupil to this older man.
Very interesting, as showing the appearance of Covent Garden Market and St. Paul's Church as they appeared in the eighteenth century, is a curious painting, No. 1453, by B. Nebot, a little-known artist, presumably an Englishman. The picture has for centre of interest a street-fight. A good bit of rural England is seen in No. 1452, a landscape, in which the central object is a gentleman in hunting-suit, holding his horse. It is the work of George Stubbs, R. A., who was a painter principally of animals, in the late eighteenth century.