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In a word, there can be no doubt that ed considerable contributions, and England at no preceding time ever pose throughout the war there was a consessed such a group of flourishing art tinual importation-hazardous and ists as she can produce at this mo clandestine of course-of fine pictures ment; and, what is more, there is not into this country from Italy. The one of those we have named that has French invasion of Spain was attended passed the vigour of life, while far the with consequences nearly similar in greater part of them are men in the that country. The palaces of the King very prime of years, enthusiasm, and and the rich churches were plundered industry; so that it can scarcely be by. Napoleon's generals and agents, and doubted that they will, one and all, private noblemen and monasteries were produce works superior to any they glad to dispose of some of their pichave as yet exhibited, ere they close tures, whenever they could do it in a their career.
way not likely to attract too much atIt can scarcely admit of a doubt, tention. Our own successes in Spain that we are considerably indebted for enabled us, in another manner, to acall this to the Elgin Marbles, and in quire many masterpieces of Flemish, a still greater degree to the vast num- Italian, and, above all, of Spanish art, ber of old masterpieces of painting which last was, until about this time, which have been introduced into this very little known, and most inadecountry in consequence of the French quately appreciated, either here or in Revolution. The greater part of the any country but Spain itself. MonOrleans Collection came to London at sieur de Brun and General Sebastiani the very beginning of that convulsion, had formed fine collections in Spain and many English amateurs (in par- during her troubles, and these succesticular Lord Gower, now Marquis of sively found their way into England. Stafford, from his official situation at The great collection of Talleyrand Paris,) were enabled to lay hands on himself followed ‘more lately, and a a great variety of excellent pictures very considerable part of Lucien Buobesides, which the distressed condition naparte's gallery was also disposed of of the proprietors made them willing here after his brother's first downfall. to part with during the early period of Finally, there is every likelihood that the struggle. The fine collection of the Marshall Soult's Spanish pictures will ex-minister, M. Calonne, and that be sold here ere long. And all this which an American, by name Turn- is independent of a prodigious variety bull, had formed during the miseries of smaller consignments, which were of Paris, were both of them sold in continually arriving in England down London in 1795. Mr Bryan's collec- to the time when the continental trantion, formed in Holland during its quillity was quite re-established, in first troubles, came to the hammer in consequence of the results of the battle 1798, and some of its chefs-d'ouvre of Waterloo. Since that time, the Itaformed the foundation of the rich col. lian proprietors of pictures have relection of Dutch and Flemish pictures sumed their old reluctance to parting now at Carlton House. The gallery of with them ; so have the Spanish and the Fagel fainily of the Hague was the Flemish people; and now, when a sold here in 1801. The fine Venetian good picture is offered for sale anycollection of the Vitturi had been pure where on the Continent, it is almost chased several years earlier, and was always picked up by the Emperor of sold about the same period. The Russia, the King of Prussia, the Crown French army, in overrunning Italy, Prince of Bavaria, or the Prince of seized on whatever pictures best pleased Orange; the agents of these insatiable them, that could be called in any shape collectors being at work everywhere, public property, and their cruel exac and furnished with the means of dritions rendered the private nobility so ving almost all private speculators out poor, and threw all property into such of the market. a state of uncertainty, that English The “Memoirs of Painting," named adventurers, of various orders, were at the head of our paper, form, in fact, enabled to get possession, in a quiet something like a history of the differ, way, of a very great number of first- ent importations now alluded to, and rate Italian pictures during that dis. may be said to be very decently exetressing period. Genoa, Venice, Bo- cuted. The writer, Mr Buchanan, is, logna, Iome, and Naples, all furnish we believe, a younger brother of the
member for Dumbartonshire, who see that the nation is obliged to make abandoned early in life his profession up to Mr Buchanan the deficit in one of the law for that—to make plain page of his books, any more than Mr words serve the turn-of a picture- Buchanan is to share with the come dealer. His enthusiasm was bound- munity at large the good things indiless-his knowledge was respectable, cated by a different arrangement of and became great. He seems to have Arabic numerals in another page of had considerable command of credit; it. Besides, admit the principle, and and it is not going a bit too far to say, where are we to stop ? Will not the that he has been, throughout the last Rev. Thomas Frognall Dibdin claim twenty years, out of all sight, the most a parliamentary reward for having extensive importer of pictures in Eng- been the means of bringing in so many land. He alone has been the means of Alduses and Elzevirs ? What are we bringing infinitely more first-rate pic- to say to Bullock, when he frames a tures into England than any other in- petition, touching his Mexican, and dividual ever brought into that coun all other curiosities ?-Nay, to take an try. He ran great risks, and frequent example among matters more intellily incurred severe losses from vessels gible to all men, upon what grounds being captured, and the like accidents. are we to refuse “ a place or a penAnd, on the whole, he appears to have sion” (Mr Buchanan's own terms) to found the trade none of the best, the authors of unsuccessful translasince, throughout his book, he em tions of Tasso and Schiller-or even braces many opportunities of letting to the importers of Hocks and Burus know, that, in his opinion, his ser gundies, that have not happened to vices and their results have been such gratify the palatal organs of John Bull as to entitle him to some public re- quite so much as had been expected muneration—a hint which we pre- when the invoice arrived in Augusta sume would not have been so often Trinobantum ? No lack of gentlemen, repeated, had Mr Buchanan employ- in each and all of these departments, ed his capital, commercially speaking, who will make bold to consider and with any considerable measure of suc- to represent themselves as public be cess.
nefactors, at least as much as Mr Bu. Now, when we consider that in real- chanan-aye, even if he had introity a prodigious proportion of the finest duced to the English market twice as pictures at this hour in this country many Titians, Rubenses, and Murilwould never have been in it had no los, as the catalogue of his achievesuch person as Mr Buchanan existed, ments does in reality embrace. But, it is quite impossible for us to hesitate keeping within his own sphere of matabout conceding to him, that, in one ters, if he who bought pictures to sell sense of the phrase, England, and the them be entitled to the things he hints art of England, are under signal obliga- at, pray what are we to say to those tions to him. But it is a very different who bought the pictures from him ? question indeed, whether he, or any Had there been no Lord Staffords, and person in similar circumstances, has Mr Angersteins, and Mr Hopes, no any right whatever to expect a public Mr Buchanan could have dared to buy reward in the shape of pou shil the pictures in Italy and Spainor lings, and pence. He tells us, that he if he had, they must have travelled began his career in picture-buying back to the continent as fast as they from a most enthusiastic passion for left it. We, however, do not consider art-and we believe him to the letter; these wealthy persons entitled to stabut, laying what he says out of view, tues on account of their pictures: they what does the public see, what can it gratify, or seek to gratify, their vanity see in him, but a mereantile specula- as well as their taste; and they take tor, who bought and sold pictures, their chance as to these, just as poorer just as any other merchant buys and people do, and must do, as to other sells any other marketable commodi- things. A very indifferent painter, we ty ? Many of the pictures he bought, must say, provided he be a man of diwere, according to his own book, sold ligent and decent life, has a thousand at enormous profits-others, no doubt, times more right to petition Parliafared differently: but still people must, ment for “ a place or a pension,” than in all concerns, take the good and the any gentleman whose connexion with evil together; and we really cannot art, however splendid in its results, Vol. XVI.
has been coufined to the affairs of buy- particulars as to his purchase of the ing and selling
Dutch and Flemish pictures of the Mr Buchanan's book is, though Palais Royal. treating of art, by no means got up secundum artem ; but, to say the truth, “ In the month of May, 1792, the late we are not sure that we like it a bit Lord Kinnaird and Messrs Morland and the less for this. It certainly contains Hammersley asked me, if I would join a great deal of very useful informa- them in the speculatien of purchasing the tion in regard to the pructical matters
whole of the Orleans Collection ; for which of the art pictorial, and must therefore they were to provide money, and I to find be acceptable to artists. The connois- suiting me, I readily acquiesced in it; and
judgment as to their value. This proposal seurs and collectors, especially, will
on the 8th of June I set off from my house find it full of facts interesting to them ; at Rochester for Paris, carrying with me a and few readers who have any taste letter of credit on the house of Peregaux for art at all, ean fail to be pleased and Co. for fifty thousand pounds sterling. with the details given as to the history I arrived at Paris the very day the King of many particular masterpieces now had fled: the city was in the greatest conin this country. Even the narratives fusion, and under martial law; however, of the different mercantile negotia- the keepers of the gallery had orders to let tions carried on by Mr Buchanan and
me have free access at all hours, and to his agents with the Italians and Spa
take down any pictures which I wished to
inspect. niards, during their troubles, are by
“ A negociation on the part of Lord Kinno means devoid of entertainment
naird had been begun through the means of sometimes, indeed, they throw light a Mr Forth, a gentleman who was intimate on the history of the period. And on in the family of the Duke of Orleans. Afthe whole, the work is creditable to
ter two or three days that I had been in Pathe writer ; and will, we think, enjoy ris, I was requested, on the part of the Duke a considerable share of public favour; of Orleans, to make a valuation of all the which consummation to accelerate, we pictures in the collection, and to make an shall now lay a few extracts before our
offer. This, I represented, was contrary to readers.
all usage, as it was for His Royal Highness The great Orleans Collection came
to fix the price, and to make a demand-
all expostulation, however, on this point divided into the English market. The
was in vain : for unless I acceded to these Flemish and Dutch part of it was
conditions the negotiation could not be enbought from the Duke Egalité, by an
tered into. I was therefore compelled to English gentleman, Mr Slade, in con make a valuation, which I presented to the junction with Messrs Morland and Duke; but when he saw it, he got into a Hammersley, and the late Lord Kin rage, and said he was betrayed, and that I naird—who paid 350,000 francs for was in league with Monsieur le Brun, the them, and made an excellent specula- director of His Royal Highness's gallery, tion of it. The Italian pictures were
as there was only 20,000 livres difference sold first to a banker of Brussels, Wal- between his valuation and mine. I most kuers, then to M. Laborde de Meuville, positively assured the Duke that such coukl who emigrated with them to England; with Monsieur le Brun; had never spoken
not be the case, as I was not acquainted and when his affairs were such that he
to him in my life ; and only knew him by could no longer keep them, they were
reputation. This casualty, however, gave bought by Mr Bryan, for the late
a check to the affair. The Orleans party Duke of Bridgewater, the Earl of Car at this time became every day stronger at lisle, and Earl Gower, for the sum of Paris, and the Duke so popular, that he 43,0001.—and a most excellent bargain flattered himself he should speedily be these noble co-partners had-for their elected regent. He suddenly, therefore, relordships divided among themselves solved not to sell that collection, on the the pictures which they liked best,
credit of which he had already borrowed amounting in value to 39,0001.-and considerable sums of money for the pursold by auction the renainder for no
pose of influencing the public mind. Thus less than 41,0001.--so that each of the tion broken off, to my great mortification,
was this first and most important negociathree got his own share of the collec- and I returned to England, having accomtion for nothing; in other words, made
plished nothing. thirteen or fourteen thousand pounds “ I had not long left France, when Lord by his venture. Mr Slade, in a letter Kinnaird informed me that the Italian part to Mr Buchanan, gives the following of the Orleans Collection had been dispo
sed of : that the Duke had lost a large sum ness, and sent by the Setne to Havre de of money at billiards to Monsieur la Borde, Grace; from whence they were immedithe elder ; and that the bankers were so ately forwarded to England, and were safepressing upon him, that he was compelled ly landed at the Victualling Office at Chatto let them have the Italian pictures to pay ham. his debt; that the Flemish and Dutch pic “ I was at that time a man of good tures still remained, but there was not a fortune, and held a place under govern. moment to be lost in endeavouring to se ment. My house was at Chatham, where I cure them for this country. I accordingly had a very excellent gallery of pictures for set off a second time for Paris, and on my my own gratification. So soon as these picarrival was again required to make a va tures were landed, I had them arranged in luation, which I did; and, strange to say, my gallery, and, for some months, had an it again came within 10,000 livres of Mon. opportunity of gratifying visitors with a sieur le Brun's valuation.
view of my acquisition; of which, consider“ On this occasion my offer was ac ing the risks I had encountered, I was very cepted, a memorandum of agreement was proud. signed, and I conceived all to be settled ; .66 The following season the collection but the Duke having learnt that he could was carried to London, where it was exhi. obtain a larger sum from the Empress of bited for sale by private contract, at the Russia, objected to ratifying the sale, un Old Academy Rooms in Pall Mall, under less he was allowed the difference of ex the direction of Mr Wilson of the Eurochange, which was at that time exceedingly pean Museum ; and you may judge of the favourable for England : this I acceded to, general interest which this collection creabeing anxious to terminate the affair, and ted, when I inform you, that above one I flattered myself that all obstacles had hundred pounds per day was received dubeen removed ; but no ! the Duke had ring the last week of the exhibition, at one nearly outwitted himself by this delay. The shilling admittance only. I had the entire numerous creditors, to whom he had pledged control overthis valuable property, and fixed different parts of the palace, rose up, and those prices which I considered as fair, but claimed the pictures as a part of the furni. which have since proved to be much under ture, and refused to let them be removed. the real value of the pictures.” I consulted an able advocate, who advised
Mr Buchanan thus introduces his me, as I spoke the French language fluently, to plead my own cause. I accordingly catalogue of the Talleyrand Gallery. attended the first meeting of the creditors, “ The collection of cabinet pictures of in the great hall of the Palais Royal ; from the Flemish and Dutch schools, formed by thirty to forty claimants were present: I Monsieur de Talleyrand, had long been urged the justice of my claim, which they considered one of the most select in France. did not seem te allow; and I boldly de It was composed of chefs-d'æuvres drawn clared, that if they would not suffer me to from the various collections of Hesse Casa remove the pictures, I had the power, and sel, Malmaison, the Prince de Conti, the would enforce it, of lodging a protest against Duc de Valentinois, the Duc d'Alva, the their being sold to any other person ; in Duc de Choisseuill, de Poullain, of Ranwhich case, the Duke could not satisfy don de Boisset, de Tolozan, Van Leyden, their demands to any extent. This threat de Schinidt, Clos, Solirène, the Duc Dalhad the desired effect, and next day I was berg, and Robit ; and had the advantage informed that I might remove them at my of being formed under the direction of own risk. I lost no time in availing myself Monsieur le Brun, one of the most intel. of this permission, and had them carried to ligent connoisseurs of the French capital. a large warehouse adjoining the Palais
“ In the year 1817, Monsieur de TalRoyal.
leyrand having expressed himself inclined “ Here again I had fresh difficulties to to dispose of his collection by private conencounter; and, considering the state of the tract, the author of these sketches waited times, very considerable risk ; for, while I upon him in Paris for the purpose of mawas having themi cased up, I was surround. king proposals to purchase the same, and ed by a parcel of people, many of them after a short conversation with Monsieur artists, who declared that it was a shame de Talleyrand, and having examined the 80 capital a collection should be permitted collection, he agreed to give him the sum to go out of the kingdom, and seemed, at which the collection had been valued, from their language, determined to prevent provided he would reserve a Claude, which it. Some of them asked privately by what hung in a situation too high to be examiroute they were to go ;-I had told the ned critically, and make a deduction of people employed in the embellage that they 30,000 francs for the same, being the sum would be sent off by land for Calais ; so at which it had been valued. To these soon, however, as the packing was com terms Monsieur de Talleyrand would not pleted, I had them all privately in the night consent at the time, and would make no put on board a barge, which was in readi- deduction whatever ; but he desired to take
the proposition regarding the Claude into tained forty-six pictures, the greater proconsideration, and to give an answer the portion of which were of the first class." following day. “ In the meantime, a gentleman who
The following will shew that there had introduced Mr Buchanan to Monsieur
are tricks in all trades. de Talleyrand, wrote a letter to the secre. “ After the purchase of the collection of tary of that nobleman, without the know. Talleyrand, Mr Buchanan turned his at. ledge of the former, proposing some modi tention to some of those collections which, fication of the offer in regard to the collec- he had for some time known, might be obtion without the Claude, which it appears tained in Flanders and in Holland, partihad given offence either to Monsieur de cularly that of Van Reyndaers at Brussels, Talleyrand himself or to his secretary ; for the collection of Van Havre at Antwerp, on the following day, when Mr Buchanan in which were the Chapeau de Paille, the attended by appointment to conclude the Chateau de Laaken, the Elizabeth Brants, transaction, (and he had determined not to and Helena Foreman, all by Reubens (the allow the affair of the Claude to stand in last of which Mr Buchanan purchased from the way of it,) he was informed that Mon.
that family, and made them large offers for sieur de Talleyrand had gone from home, the other three,) and the collection of the and that the pictures were no longer vi- Burgomaster Hoguer, at Amsterdam, in sible.
which were several fine pictures by Paul • Finding his views defeated from this Potter, Philip Wouvermans, Jan Steen, casualty, and no probability of again ha &c. &c. A short account of Mr Bucha. ving an interview with the proprietor him. nan's proceedings, in regard to the pur. self, and being at the same time informed chases which he then made, will be found that Monsieur de Talleyrand
had changed in a letter written from Amsterdam, which his intention of selling this fine collection having been preserved by the friend to of pictures, he returned to England, and whom he then wrote, he is now enabled to had been there for several weeks, when he give it here. was again informed that this collection was to be sold on the 7th of July by public sale 666 Amsterdam, Aug. 25, 1817. in Paris, of which he received a printed “ • After writing to you from Paris, a catalogue.
piece of information came to my knowledge “ Having previously received intimation which has brought me here in all haste. I that something of this kind might be the learnt that the fine Paul Potter, belonging case, Mr Buchanan had taken care to have
to the Burgomaster Hoguer, would be sold credits in readiness to operate on at a short in the course of a few days, and that sevenotice, as one of the principal causes for ral amateurs were on the look-out for it. not terminating the affair at the first inter 666 A few days ago Monsieur le R. did view with Monsieur de Talleyrand was, his me the honour of a call, evidently for the not having carried credits with him for a purpose of learning my movements for the sum adequate to that which would have rest of the season. The conversation turn. been required, argent comptant, had the ed on the beauty of the south at this sea. terms proposed been agreed to ; and the son of the year; and fearing that my views affair of the Claude was intended either to might have been directed towards Flanders create a diminution on the aggregate sum, or Holland, he strongly recommended my if accepted, or to keep the affair open until seeing the banks of the Loire before leathe proper arrangement for the payınent of ving France, especially as the vintage was the whole should be made, and the money fast approaching. I told him that I had received from England. On the second long intended to make an excursion to Oroccasion, therefore, as he was prepared for leans, Tours, &c. and had some thoughts the affair, whatever shape it might assume, of going there before returning to England. he set off immediately for Paris to nego This seemed to quiet his suspicions of tiate with the gentleman who he was in finding me a competitor in the north ; for formed had been named as agent for the having so recently purchased the Talleydisposal of these pictures, being anxious to rand Collection, which excited some degree secure for this country so celebrated a col. of jealousy among the Parisians, he imalection if it were possible.
gined to find me his opponent also in Flan“ On Mr Buchanan's arrival in Paris ders and Holland. I inquired where he he found that the pictures, although still on meant to spend the autumn; when he said the walls of the Hotel de Talleyrand, had he was going in the course of a short time, been placed entirely under the control of on account of his health, to drink the miMonsieur Bonnemaison ; and as he was in neral waters of Mont-d'Or. After some formed that several competitors for them farther conversation upon indifferent mathad come into the field, he lost no time in ters, he then took his leave of me, and we concluding a transaction with that gentle- parted, wishing each other bonne santé et man, by which he was to pay 320,000
un bon voyage. francs for the collection as it stood descri. “Having learned that much interest bed in the printed catalogue, which con was likely to be excited among the amateurs