Imatges de pàgina

Mexican Antiquities.

101 cans; and bear still less to the modern averaging twenty days. Now this Copts, or any of the three varieties of fact alone would seem to go to break the human race, red, white, and black, all link of connexion between the exhibited in the Egyptian tombs. It Mexicans and the ancient people to would be from the purpose to follow whom we have referred; or if it had up the view here expressed in Italics. established any connexion, it would It is, however, a peculiar theory of seem to go to establish the fact of the the author of this Review, that the Mexicans being a Chinese colony driven red or American variety were at one out by an er tion of the Tartars (and time in Egypt. They were not, how- not improbably that which was headed ever, the Tultecans or the sculptured in 1279 by the Tartar Emperor Cobpeople now referred to.

lai). In fact, the calendars of each 2. The hieroglyphics of Palanque, country strikingly agree; for both naMitzlan, &c. give proofs of an inde- tions have no more than 360 days to pendent and peculiar people. These the year, which they divide into hieroglyphics, more elegant in their months of twenty days each. Both, structure than the Chinese, are less as Acosta states, with regard to the elaborate, regular, and varied in out. Mexicans, begin their year with the line than the Egyptian. Strikingly 26th of February; and both add five beautiful as many of them are (they intercalary days to the end of the year. occasionally resemble the flower let- But in this latter point, both agree ters of our painters; they appear, like with the Egyptians; and they were the Egyptian Demotic writing, to have spent among the Mexicans, as they reached that stage of their progress, were in Egypt, and throughout the enwhen beauty was sacrificed to utility, tire East, in eating, drinking, and diand when the pictorial image was al- versions. But in one point the Meximost entirely superseded by the con- cans stand alone, namely, in their ventional form; they in short bear no cycle of fifty-two years, the duplicainapposite resemblance to modern tion of which constituted the Mexican highly ornamented letters of the Ro. century. The astronomical wheel of man alphabet.

Carrieri, preserved in a painting by 3. The astronomical system of the Mr. Aglio, fully bears out this high Mexicans must not be confounded as estimate of Mexican proficiency in asit has been with that of the Tultecans. tronomy; and this painting illustrates Although it may have been derived a model of a sculptured cycle of Time from the latter, there is no proof of in the Museum. In the inner circle the derivation. The whole of this the eighteen months are represented system is exhibited among the plates by their appropriate symbols ; and in of this splendid work on " Mexican the outer, the cycle of fifty-two years Antiquities." It is impossible not to is represented in the precise manner be surprised and somewhat humiliated, described by Acosta ; the first year in discovering that the Mexican In- being Tothil, or the rabbit; the next dians, from a very remote period, have Cagli, the houses ; the next Tecpth, the possessed a singular system in their flint; and the next Acath, the end. division of days, months, years, and It appears, then, that the Mexican centuries, which so far from being in- astronomical system, taken generally, ferior to, actually excels that of the is like that of no other nation, except most polished nations of the world. the Chinese ; but that it still bears a It is in vain that sceptics endeavour partial and minor resemblance to the to trace an origin for this system in Egyptian, both in the arrangement imitation. It is in vain that they re- and employment in the five intercasort to Greece and to Rome, to Asia lated days. The analogy, indeed, beand to Egypt, the cradle of Science, tween Chinese and Egyptian antiquito divest the ancient Mexicans of the ties, more especially Chinese hicrosuperior talent and research requisite glyphics and the Egyptian, need not for this arrangement. From the ear

be here insisted upon. liest times in Chaldea, in India, in The above astronomical coincidence Rome, in Greece, and in Egypt, the is, however, almost the sole ground of zodiac was divided into twelve signs, affinity which can be referred to beand the year into twelve months, tween the Chinese and the Mexicans. averaging thirty days. But the Mexi. The hieroglyphics of Mexico (or racan zodiac is divided into twenty signs, ther of the Tulteques) exhibit no other and the year into eighteen months, resemblance to the Chinese than what



Memoir of James Northcote, Esq. R. A. [Aug. must naturally ensue from the fact of spheres of Egypt, preserved by Keiarbitrary images being conventionally cher; and it is similarly surrounded employed to express ideas. The harsh by a symbol universal throughout the structure of the Mexican pronounced East, and more especially a favourite language is as opposite to that of emblem of Egypt, of the two conflictChina as consonants are to vowels. ing serpents of light and darkness, of Neither, indeed, does it bear a strong good and evil. The planetary battleresemblance in that respect to the ments, with the eight houses of the Egyptian. So far every thing indi- planets, which constitute the third cates the Mexicans an independent circle out of seven, exhibit the same asand talented race of people, striking trological theory which was current in out a new astronomical and political Persia, India, and Chaldea, as well as system for themselves. But as in Egypt, and which is preserved in began with affirming, so we shall con- the Rabbinical Sephyroth. Notwithclude with inferring, from a compara- standing this general resemblance, it tive survey of the valuable records of must not, however, be forgot, that the Mexican art and science contained in numbers of the months, of the days these splendid volumes, that there is of the month, of the signs of the zoa strong family likeness between many diac, and the various cycles, are purely of them and those of Egypt, which Chinese. may justify though not prove the opi- The Mexicans, it would thus apnion of that national affinity, traceable pear, may have come from the most in the religious and astronomical me- eastern parts of Asia, probably from morials of all the ancient pagan na- China. Did they really come from tions.

Egypt? How came they to possess a The Cycle in question is evidently perfect hieroglyphical and phonetic constructed so as to represent a wheel language centuries before the MexiNow wheels we know were unfailing cans resorted to, or reverted to, the ornaments of Egyptian temples. The semi-barbarous expedient of picture Sun in the form of a human face is writing? These are questions of sufplaced in the centre of Carrieris ficient importance to be reserved for Wheel, as it is in many of the plani

an exclusive paper.


MEMOIR OF JAMES NORTHCOTE, Esq. R. A. (With a Portrait.) THIS eminent artist, and otherwise Rev. Zachariah Mudge, who was Vic talented man, was born at Plymouth, car of St. Andrew's in Plymouth. where his father was a watchmaker. * Mr. Thomas Mudge, brother to the The son was apprenticed to the same physician, was of the same business trade, and never went far from his as the Northcotes, having occupied the native town, until he had more than watchmaker's shopin Fleet-street, Lonattained the age of manhood. His don, where he was succeeded by Mr. taste for drawing and painting com- Dutton, a name which still remains. menced early, but was little encou- Mr. Northcote had nearly attained raged by his father : however, through his twenty-fifth year, when he arrived the intervention of Dr. John Mudge, in London. Of an age to become a F.R.S. a physician at Plymouth, dis- pleasant companion to his master, and tinguished for some scientific works connected with him by provincial ason the Speculum, he was at length sociations, he quickly became a favouintroduced to Sir Joshua Reynolds. rite pupil; whilst his powerful mind, Sir Joshua (who was himself a na- and already able talents for conversative of Plympton, not far from Ply- tion, enabled him to avail himself of mouth,) was an old friend of the all the advantages of that polished Mudge family; and on his tour into society which was accustomed to rethe West with Dr. Johnson in the sort to Sir Joshua's house. Having year 1762, had taken him to the house remained domesticated there for five of Mr. John Mudge, then a surgeon, years on the most agreeable terms, in and introduced him to the father, the May 1776 he reluctantly quitted that

* The Northcotes are an ancient Devonshire family, deriving their name from Northcote in the parish of East Down. Sir Jolin Northcote, of Hayne, in the parishi of Newton St. Cyress, was created a Baronet in 1641; to whose descendant and representative, Sir Stafford Henry Northcote, of Pynes, as the present head of the family, the late Academiciau has left his funily pictures, &c. as poticed in the will hereafter.

1831.] Memoir of James Northcote, Esq. R. A.

103 delightful abode ; thinking it was now by his pencil, certainly may be rectime to do something for himself, in koned among the best productions which idea his preceptor concurred, which the Gallery contained. These saying, "I hope we shall assist each works manifestly proved how successother as long as we live.”

fully as a colourist he had imbibed On leaving Sir Joshua, Mr. North- the feelings of his illustrious master. cote commenced portrait painter; and, Northcote had now attained the zenith had he confined himself to that branch of his fame, and in 1790 he was electof art, there can be little doubt that ed a Royal Academician. he would have attained eminence in Having become enamoured with the it, as he had a just perception of cha- dramatic style of composition, Mr. racter, and his style was free from Northcote shortly after was induced affectation. However, his imagination to paint a series of moral subjects, illed him to the indulgence of the more lustrative of Virtue and Vice, in the independent, though less lucrative, progress of two young women. It study of historical painting. In fur- would seem that these were intended therance of this object, he travelled to to rival the works of Hogarth ; but, Italy, where he remained about three although the main points of this grayears ; during which time he was ap- phic drama bore directly upon the pointed a member of the Imperial subject, the characters were certainly Academy at Florence, of the Ancient wanting in that great and most essenEtruscan Academy at Cortona, and tial property-expression, to say nothe Academy dei Forti at Rome. He thing of the general deficiency of this was also requested to make a portrait series in that painter-like execution, of himself, to be placed among those which is so admirably displayed in of distinguished artists which grace the Marriage-à-la-Mode, and other the gallery at Florence; the picture he works of Hogarth. presented on that occasion was at once That Mr. Northcote was enthusiasà faithful portrait, and an exquisite tic in the pursuit of his art, may be specimen of his professional skill. Mr. inferred from many expressions which Northcote returned to this country in escaped him on the impulse of the 1780, having visited on his way all the moment when speaking of certain repositories of the Flemish school. works of the great masters. He took

When Mr. Northcote had again delight in painting wild animals, both settled at home, it was quickly per- beasts and birds; and on one occaceived that, in pursuing the study of sion, whilst making a study of a vuldesign, he had not mistaken his forte. ture from nature, he laid down his That meritorious patron of the arts, palette, and clasping his hands, exMr. Alderman Boydell, had then re- claimed, “I lately beheld an eagle cently commenced the beneficial mode painted by Titian, and if Heaven of giving encouragement to native would give me the power to achieve artists, by publishing engravings from such a work, I would then be content their works. Prints from the designs to die.” Another expression to which of Mr. Northcotewere seen on the walls he once gave utterance, though almost of the higher order of dwellings in the converse of the preceding in regard every part of the kingdom. One of to sentiment, is equally characteristic the most admired, entitled “The Vil- of his passionate love of art. “If lage Doctress,” had for several years Providence,” said he, were to leave a considerable sale.

me the liberty to select my heaven, I The formation of the Shakspeare should be content to occupy my little Gallery was a happy occasion for the painting-room, with a continuance of developement of the abilities of Mr. the happiness I have experienced there, Northcote. Among the many splen- even for ever.” did efforts of British art which were In the same little chamber, in his then collected together, none were house in Argyll-place, he had purmore justly attractive than his produc- sued his art for nearly half a centions. The scene of the smothering tury, in peace and unmolested. His the Royal Children in the Tower of habits were economical ; and his London; that of taking their bodies time was valued with correspondent secretly by torch-light for interment care ; for, devoted as he was to conat the foot of the stone steps; the sub- versation, he worked and talked at the ject of Arthur and Hubert; and others same time, and did not pay but only 104

Memoir of James Northcote, Esq. R. A. [Aug. received visits for the sake of a gossip. own portrait, and also frequently sat He had much of the cynical spirit too to his brother artists. One of his prevalent with artists, of depreciating earliest likenesses is a profile by W. the works and characters of their fel. Hoare, which is engraved in mezzolow-labourers; yet was one of those tinto by H. Kingsbury. The engrav.. philosophers who at the same time doing accompanying the present article not forfeit the name of philanthro, is copied from that taken by Mr. Dance pists,-kind-hearted men who, not in the year 1793, and is a strong rewithstanding their accomplishments semblance of his appearance in the in the art of reviling any body that prime of life. From his own pictures crosses their path, are yet ready to there are engravings by S. W. Reynolds go out of the road to do a kindness and H. Meyer. There is an intelligent for anybody. Opie he always spared; portrait of him in advanced years, by living and dead he would stoutly de- Harlow, prefixed to his Fables; another fend his reputation against all oppo- by Wivell, to Hazlitt's Conversations nents; and so great was his venera- (mentioned below); and a very delighttion for his preceptor Reynolds, that ful one by Harlow has been recently he would never allow any one (but published, engraved by F. C. Lewis. himself) to utter aught to the dispa- The late Mr. William Hazlitt made ragement of his memory.

notes of his “Conversations” with Mr. As an author Mr. Northcote not a Northcote, one series of which he comlittle distinguished himself. His ear- municated to the New Monthly Maliest publications were some papers in gazine, and a second to the Atlas paper. a periodical work called The Artist, Å selection was published last year in as, in the first volume, No. 2, On Ori.

an octavo volume, from which we ginality in Painting ; Imitators and shall add some anecdotes illustrative Collectors. 4. A Letter from a dis- of Mr. Northcote's personal characappointed Genius; and a Character of ter; and first the following passages John Opie, R.A. 19. A Second Let- containing his own opinions on his ter from a disappointed Genius. 20. conversational talents : On the imitation of the Stage in Painting. In the second volume, No. 7, “ I have had the advantage of having lived The History of the Slighted Beauty, in good society myself. I not only passed an allegory. He also contributed to a great deal of my younget days in the comthe" Fine Arts of the English School," pany of Reynolds, Johoson, and that circle, the biography of Sir Joshua Reynolds; of whom Sir Joshua who was certainly used

but I was brought up among the Mudges, which he afterwards expanded into a quarto volume, entitled "Memoirs of polis) thought so highly, that he had them

to the most brilliant society in the metroSir Joshua Reynolds, Knt. comprising at his house for weeks, and even sometimes anecdotes of many distinguished per- gave up his own bed-room to receive them." sons his contemporaries, and a brief analysis of his Discourses; to which « When W—was here the other day, are added, Varieties on Art," 1813. A he asked about Mengs and his school; and Supplement to the work appeared in when I told him what I thought, he said, 1815 ; and an octavo edition, with • Is that your own opinion, or did you take considerable additions, in 1819. In it from Sir Joshua ?! I answered that, if I 1828 he published, in octavo, "One admired Sir Joshua, it was because there Hundred Fables, original and select- was something congenial in our tastes, and ed," embellished with two hundred not because I was his pupil. I saw his and eighty engravings on wood, from faults, and differed with him often enough. his own designs. The volume is re

If I have any bias, it is the other way, to viewed in our vol. xcvm. i. 334. His cake fancies into my head, and run into sin last work, published at the close of gularity and cavils."-p. 245. last year in two volumes octavo, is have admired him greatly. 'I do not speak

“ You did not know Opie ? you would “The Life of Titian, with anecdotes of him as an artist, but as a man of sense of the distinguished persons of his and observation. He peid me the complitime:" a work containing a vast mass

ment of saying that we should hare been the of useful information and reflection on best friends in the world if we had not been the art of Painting.

rivals. I think he had more of this feeling Mr. Northcote died at his house in thau I had; perhaps, because I had most Argyll Place, on the 13th of July last. vanity. We sometimes got into foolish al

Mr. Northcote frequently took his tercatious. I recollect once in particular,

p. 105.

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