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Doushfield, he added that his sales ler, was an indefatigable collector of would be continued every Friday fol- notes on British art, and these form lowing, “during the gentries' stay in the basis of Walpole's "Anecdotes of town,” and held out as a further in- Painting in England.” The sale was ducement "a curious invention of effected by Mr. Christopher Cock at lights whereby the pictures may be his house in the Piazza, Covent Garseen as well as by day'—the usual den (now the Tavistock Hotel), deshour for auctions at this period being tined to be for long associated with the four o'clock.
history of auctions. It formed part Sale by inch of candle was formerly of the mansion once tenanted by Sir very common, and at one time was Peter Lely, and continued to be faprescribed for the sale of goods im- mous as Langford's salerooms, and ported by the East India Company. then as those of George Robins. Here Whoever last bid before the light ex- Hogarth exhibited
“Marriage pired had the lot knocked down to him. à la mode” to the public gratis. The Pepys mentions an instance of this sale of this great artist's pictures at custom in his diary for 1662: “After his house, “The Golden Head” in Leicesdinner we met and sold the Weymouth ter Fields, presented many peculiar successe and Fellowship hulkes, features. One of the conditions was where pleasant to see how backward that on the last day of sale, a clock men are at first to bid, and yet when (striking every five minutes) should be the candle is going out how they bawl placed in the room, and when five and dispute afterwards who bid the minutes after twelve had struck the most first. And here I observed one first picture mentioned in the sale man cunninger than the rest, that was book was to be deemed sold, the secsure to bid the last man and to carry ond picture when the clock had struck it, and in giving the reason he told me the next five minutes, and so on till that just as the flame goes out the the whole nineteen pictures had been smoke descends, which is a thing I sold. Hogarth's celebrated “March of never observed before, and by that we the Guards to Finchley” was disposed do know the instant when to bid last." of by means of a raffle. A large num
As recently as the year 1892, some ber of chances were subscribed for, lanıl belonging to the parish charities those which remained over being given was disposed of in this way at the vil- to the Foundling Hospital. One of lage of Corby, near Kettering. In these latter winning the prize, the picwhat were called dumb biddings, the ture was forth with handed over to the price was put under a candlestick, and
governor of that institution. It is init was agreed that no bidding should teresting to note that the six paintings avail if not equal to that. One of the of the “Marriage à la mode” were sold most interesting of early sales was at this time for one hundred and that of the collection of the great anti- twenty guineas, and half a century quary and amateur, the Earl of Ox- later realized one thousand. Dr. Richford, who bequeathed his library and ard Mead was one of the most remanuscripts, called the "Harleian Mis- markable figures of this period, and cellanies," to the British Museum. his collection of books, coins, statuary, The announcement brought together and drawings was the largest formed a large assemblage of persons of rank in his time. Pope was among his paand fashion, among the buyers being tients, and has commemorated his George Vertue and Horace Walpole, tastes in the lines:the latter purchasing in addition to a picture by Holbein and many coins Rare monkish manuscripts for Hearne “a Roman deep copper dish with a
alone, cupid painted on it,” for which he gave
And books for Mead, and butterflies for
Sloane. two guineas. George Vertue, the engraver and disciple of Sir Godfrey Knel- This physician, who possessed a mu
seum at the back of his house in Great Lady." Works of art at this period Ormond Street, is said to have been would appear to have been rapidly risprofessionally consulted by Watteau, ing in value, for Horace Walpole, writwho painted two pictures for him in ing to his friend Sir Horace Mann in memory of his visit. The sale of this 1770, tells us of the rage for English collection was affected by Abraham portraits: "I have been collecting Langford, who was also something of them,” he writes, “for about thirty a playwright. There is a long and years, and originally never gave for grandiloquent epitaph on him in St. a mezzotinto above one or two shilPancras churchyard. Some of the lings. The lowest are now a crown, verses tell us how “His Summer's Man- most from half-a-guinea to a guinea. hood” was "open, fresh, and fair," Scarce heads in books not worth three
pence will sell for five guineas. Two His virtues strict, his manners debonnaire, thousand pounds were given for a picHis autumn rich with wisdom's goodly
ture by Guido, and the price of old fruit Which every variegated appetite might paintings had tripled or quadrupled in suit.
a single lifetime.”
We hear much at this time of the Close by in King Street were to be
famous auctions of James Christie the found the salesrooms of Hutchins, and
elder, whose first sale took place in of Paterson, to whose son Dr. John
December, 1766, at rooms in Pall Mall son stood as godfather and for whorn
formerly occupied by the print warehe wrote letters of recommendation to
house of Richard Dalton. Here the Sir Joshua Reynolds. These tw.).
Royal Academy of Arts held its exhisalerooms were constantly filled by
bitions for several years. Mr. Christie eager purchasers of prints and pic
afterwards moved next door to Gainstures. Some of their frequenters we
borough who lived in the west wing know, such as tie bibliographer Isaac
of Schomburg House in Pall Mall. Gosset the younger, whose deformity His ingenuity in describing articles put subjected him to the coarse gibes of up for sale is well illustrated by a his opponent, Michel Lort. Besides story told of him in connection with Gough, the editor of Camden's Britan
the disposal of the effects of John nia, were to be seen Caleb Whitefoord, Hunter the surgeon. When, in the a wine-merchant of literary tastes, sale, he came to a mask Hunter had who is the hero of Wilkie's picture, used to keep his face from stings in his "The Letter of Introduction," and observations on bees, he was fairly many others whose names are now
posed; and after turning the lot round forgotten. The sale of the collection and round came out with "a most cuformed by the Chevalier D'Eon is rious and interesting article, a covering chiefly interesting on account of the
for the face used by the South Sea personal characteristics of this extraor- Islanders when travelling, to protect dinary individual,' once the French their faces from the snowstorms." ambassador at the court of St. Passing mention may here be made James's, who habitually disguised him- of the abortive sale of M. Desenfans' self as a woman. The question of his collection of pictures, which were ultisex often proved the subject of bets, mately bequeathed by the owner, a and until his death was never set at French picture-dealer, to Sir Francis rest. An auction of his effects took Bourgeois, and were in turn left by place at Chapman's Rooms in Coru- him to Dulwich College, together with hill, “next Tom's Coffee-House.” Some
a sum of money wherewith to erect a years later a sale was announced at gallery. In 1794, the whole of Sir Christie's of "furniture, swords, trink- Joshua Reynolds's gallery of paintings ets, jewels, and all the wearing ap- was sold by order of his executorsparel constituting the wardrobe of a
one of whom was Edmund Burke-by Captain of Dragoons and a French Mr. Christie "at his rooms, late the Royal Academy, Pall Mall.” The as was anticipated. A large shed had French Revolution caused the dis- been provided for the purchasers, and persal of many fine collections, the many articles of great historical inprincipal one being that belonging to terest were disposed of—such as Anne the Duke of Orleans. An exhibition of Boleyn's clock, given her by Henry these paintings took place in Mr. VII., in silver gilt, and bought for her Bryan's room in Pall Mall and at the Majesty the queen; a silver bell made Lyceum in the Strand, and continued for Pope Clement VII., said to be the open for six months. Many of these work of Benvenuto Cellini; and Carpictures found their way to the gal- dinal Wolsey's red 'hat, purchased by leries of Bridgewater and Stafford Charles Kean for twenty-one pounds. Houses, and the nation became ulti- Another curiosity was Dr. Dee's specmately possessed of several, including ulum, a round piece of polished kenthe Resurrection of Lazarus by Se- nel-coal, called the Devil's Looking bastiano del Piombo.
Glass, used for purposes of divination Two sales in the first half of the by that Elizabethan necromancer. In present century have interesting asso- the year of the Fonthill sale, James ciations connected with them-namely, Christie the younger removed to King the. Beckford collection at Fonthill in Street, St. James's Square, where so 1823 and the Strawberry Hill collec- many historical sales have been eftion in 1842. With regard to the first fected—the Stowe, the Bernal, the of these, accommodation for purchas- Hamilton Palace, and the Fountaine ers was provided in a pavilion in the being a few of the most celebrated in park, beds being charged three and six- recent years. pence single and five shillings double. A contemporary notice in the Times says: "He is fortunate. who finds a vacant chair within twenty miles of Fonthill. Not a farmhouse, however
From Good Words. humble, not a cottage, near Fonthill, IMPRESSIONS OF THE CANARY ISLES: but gives shelter to fashion, to beauty,
TENERIFFE. and rank. Ostrich plumes, which, by The little steamer, Leon y Castillo, their very waving, we can trace back that plies twice a week between Las to Piccadilly, are seen nodding at a Palmas and Santa Cruz de Teneriffe, casement window over a depopulated selects the best of all hours for a first poultry yard." This sale occupied glimpse of that picturesque island. forty-one days, and many curiosities You leave a stuffy little cabin and go on were disposed of-such as a set of deck for a whiff of invigorating air to ebony chairs from Cardinal Wolsey's find land upon the forward horizon palace at Esher, and Tippo Sahib's heavily revealed between two twilights jade hookah, set in jewels, taken as —the shadowy blue of night, and the plunder from his palace at Seringapa- cheerless brown of the wide mysterious tam. The Strawberry Hill sale was dawn, lit by the waning moon and the conducted by George Robins of Bar- brilliant morning star. It is a revelatholomew Lane, who is said to have tion of miraculous beauty. The harbor been one of the most eloquent auction- looks like the entrance to a dim paraeers who ever wielded an ivory ham dise, made up of the loveliest mountainmer. His poetical and alluring lines against a sky of lilac promise, advertisements were celebrated, and
with life asleep along the shore. On he announced on this occasion that the
one side the unearthly glimmer of a sale would be “the most distinguished tired moon drooping to extinction; on gem that has ever adorned the annals the other, and penetrating fulgence of of auctions." Owing, however, to the
the steady star; and between the land prevalent lack of interest in such mat
of mountains and deep ravines, peak ters, its success was not quite so great beyond peak, fold upon fold, to this furthest altitude of snow-hooded Teide, and lead to a charming avenue of emerging with all the mystery of pepper-trees and oleanders, with high nature's simplicity out of the silence under-edges of red geraniums on both and peopled gloom of night.
sides. From this point Santa Cruz A little pier shoots out upon ocean's presents a coquettish side view, with its marbled plain, and the movement of Italian bell-towers, red-brown againsi boats and dusk-hued sails getting ready the liquid intensity of blue, and an to meet the steamer seems as vague and attractive edge of foliage along the rim dim as the stir of a shadowed under: or the terraces, while the red tiles and world. The beauty of land wears an
white walls under the open fan of the aspect of cold and strange remoteness. palms are not without a note of quaintBut when the boat has rocked you ness. Away to the verge of the heavacross the slip of troubled purple, from ens, a wavy world, with its violet and whose waves the foam slides back- sullen moods, with none of Mediterwards as from blocks of shining granite, ranean's inland charm; none of its soft the romantic charm vanishes. You white bloom of mist, nor its gem-like have a vulgar little town instead of a glitter, nor its pearl-hued hours of vision of high-arched streets that throw melancholy. Out there lies the trapwide banks of shadow along rivers of elled highway, the old Spanish main. blinding light, of picturesque plazas The Santa Maria, bearing its precious and lovely patios. You bave been car- burden, captained as no other galeon ried on the crests of the laboring waves yet had been, rocked upon its perilous to a sordid quay, where coated ruffians billows and was cast windward upon loaf in quest of coin and gossip, without these shores for repair. Here may have as much as a red sash or embroidered stood the leader of the exterminated jacket or cloak among them. By and race, puzzled by a sight so unaccountby, when the sun is up, and you go forth able as that corded stranger so gallantly to examine the place, you are further bound for unknown ports, and Columsurprised with its ugliness. But for bus, looking landwards, must have the magnificent girdle of mountains of found food enough for his courageous the deepest purple and the long roll of mind in conjecture upon the inhabiting ocean, you would not even find its people. On one side come and go the strangeness anything of a compensation vessels for South America, and on the for its meanness. For an adequate pre- other the great liners for New Zealand sentment of its varied encircling fea- and the Gold Coast, while yachts and tures you should, after you have looked schooners glide in and out the insular at Nelson's captured flag in the cathe- sea-roads in a perpetual shifting of dral, mount the belfry stairs, and there masts and sails. you will see a picture of wide and rocky The life of the plaza is unchanged, barrancos, brilliant bits of green spaces, whether you sojourn on the Peninsula palms and camels accentuating the wild or in the Spanish colonies. Here may majesty of the mountains, enfoliaged you sit within view of the pink-painted plazas, the highroad to Laguna cury- fort, and the modest house where Maring upward round broken meadows, shal O'Donnell, Duke of Tetuan. was here and there a pretty garden, and born. Santa Cruz speaks contemptGran Canaria outlined upon the pure uously enough of the Peninsula. It sky like folds of soft cloud. Below ugly looks towards Cadiz in sullen enry, and little lanes invite inspection under en- says that it has sent over men as great chanting names, such as Calle de la as any produced in Madrid. "Te sent Luz, Calle de la Cruz Verde; and the them O'Donnell, and they made a duke street of Castille leads to a dull plaza in of him, but they might just as well have front of the captain-general's estab- made him regent as that fool Espar. lishment (the imaginative describe it as tero." It also sent Pérez Galdiis. the a palace), and from here queer passages popular novelist, and now the fishermen skirt the under line of broken hill-paths, of the Canaries call their boats by his
or the names of his favorite perfumed dust blown from star to star heroines. Not that they have read his upon the salt-laden breezes of the sea. books, but they regard him as having So warm is the air, so subtle the scent placed the haughty Peninsula under an of brine, so illusive the quiver of the obligation to them.
stars and the white shaving of a moon At all hours the plaza has its tale to swimming in indigo, that if you happen tell. When the light is fading out of to be neither blighted nor bored, you the heavens, you may sit and watch the are ready enough to count yourself on manoeuvres of the conquering officers the rim at least of the garden of pacing up and down, with their eye Hesperides. Then should the hoarse upon some form of subjugated woman. thrum of a guitar come, carried upun hood, fiirting their canes or trailing the night wind from the pier below, their swords and gossiping between where the sailors sit, rapping its drinks at the café. Then the sea, in the amorous, unmelodious, insistent notes glamour of sunset, takes on its evening at judgment, with its thin sweet muffled beauty, and mystery creeps into the charm, you are jerked into fancy's encrude sapphire of the sky. On band chanted forest upon a sentimental thrill nights it is too crowded, though it is of senses in the blink of an eyelid. always pleasant to hear laughter and What is the sorcery of the guitar? It social chatter, and watch smiling faces is the woodenest of instruments, and it go by in groups. But it is best of all to lacks melody, yet we cannot hear it in see the plaza upon forsaken nights. cool blood. It possesses no body. Yet it Take the occasion of an unexpected in- has the peril of wine. Without art, it vasion of the drama. Everybody who can set our pulses dancing. A couple can afford it goes to the theatre, an of rough chords and a thin whine for edifice of mixed pretensions, where a treble, a hollow echo of wood and musical conductor misconducts an in- nimble fingers, broken bars of sweetefficient orchestra, and raps out a thin ness like the rainbow-hued bars cast by bass accompaniment a cracked the sun
summer tempest and piano, and a prompter irritates the swallowed in the valley of the waters gallery to mutiny by a too audible per- as they recede and are gathered into formance of his duty, while rows of mountains. Strange for the modern female head's show in the boxes, ear to sit on the plaza of a dull Altantic elaborately decorated, smiling above island, and listen to that crude and the flutter of the eternal fan. Those plaintive staccato, and those heartwho cannot afford this distraction, shut broken chords, with their indescribable themselves up in their houses, prisoners half-animal land hysterical charm. of pride and their hbors' opinion; Some of the queer scraps of song seem for Santa Cruz is as proud as any to come from the throat of a sixteenth. hidalgo in decay. It would not have its century Spaniard. poverty detected. You have the place After musing by starlight on the to yourself. A new moon curls like a plaza, your duty is to awake in the shred of silver upon the shadowy blue, twilight of dawn, and then you will and the warm and lucent stars shed a taste the untainted freshness of the air twilight above the town lights. Forms blown from Teide as an intoxication. and proflles as they move about are This is the best hour for driving. Let oddly revealed, and the scene looks your route be Orotava, that blest spot medieval enough to be a legend or a upon God's earth. You will be fronting mystery. You will see a man pass with the hills, after a cup of chocolate, by the the bright lining of his capa showing time the sun has got well above the seaupon his shoulder with operatic grace, line, and melted all the pearly lights in and the contrast of dusky beard and a blaze of color. Mountain rolls beyond pallid cheek suggestive of Almaviva mountain, a shimmering revelation of and other beguiling heroes of lattice upper worlds, of naked chasms, of wild and lute. Reality is clouded as if by fastnesses, and solitudes seemingly un