Tim Linnell [email@example.com], a descendant of the artist, has kindly shared with readers of the Victorian Web his scanned text of The Life of John Linnell, which the London publishers Bentley and Son brought out in 1892. George P. Landow has adapted it for html, adding links to the original text.
Character — Early Habits — Rest and Work — Business Principles — Ready-money Payments — Avoidance of Law — Thrift — Freedom of Speech — Fox-hunting — Early Rising — Raising Prices — Views on Catholicism — Letters to his Son and to Count Guicciardini.
INNELL presents so many strong and individual traits of character that it will not be amiss to point out some of his more striking peculiarities. Nearly everyone who has heard of him has been made acquainted with his thrifty habits, and, indeed, in this respect he was one in ten thousand. As we have seen, at the age of twenty-five, when he married, he had £500 in the funds, and the sum was ever afterwards being added to, and never diminished, to the day of his death.
He states in his 'Autobiography' that he early adopted such habits as were best calculated to save time and worry. Those habits were of the simplest. He wasted no time in frivolous amusements, his very relaxations consisting of what would be called by others hard work. But when he had worked enough he gave up, and did not force himself to continue his labours when he was tired. Hence it arose that he was enabled to do so much work of a uniformly good quality. He gives some of the results of his experience in this respect in a letter to his son William while at Paris. It belongs to a date some years in advance of the period we have reached.
Just received yours of the 17th. I am surprised to find you measuring your powers of progress in your work by James. You have plenty of time, if you could only remember not to "Billy-Dixonize" over it and judge of your work with a tired brain. The small picture for F — should not hinder the large one, as it could be used as a means of getting a fresh eye. The time that is generally lost is through going on when you should leave off, and painting too soon after dinner, and in a deficient light. Now, only be alive in these matters, and you will succeed, I doubt not.
The house had better be deferred till you are here, as the consideration now would hinder your work, and that is the one point to secure. I think I gave your address to — — , but will do so again soon. James is quite right, I think, to give up the large picture, as he has one of his best of sufficient size, "Wales." I expect to have three long "kit-cats," etc.
Three of the artist's sons were now successful painters, and in a way friendly competitors with their father for public favour. James began to exhibit in the Royal Academy in 1850, his brother William in 1852, and Thomas, the youngest, a few years later.
When at Porchester Terrace, Linnell had a billiard-table in his studio, and frequently when he had a sitter he would break off work and propose a game, though on no account would he play for money, or allow others to do so in his house. By this means he rested both himself and his subject, and was enabled to get two sittings in the place of one. At the same time he obtained a needed bit of exercise.
He showed similar business tact and diplomatic ability in most of his dealings. Thus, when he built his house in Bayswater, he made agreements with all the firms who supplied the materials, and with the master-builder also, that they should take part payment — half, two-thirds, or whatever it might be — in pictures or portraits. By this means he was enabled very considerably to reduce his expenditure upon the house.
Another habit which he early adopted. and thereby saved himself much time, inconvenience and annoyance, as anyone who has not done the same will admit, was that of paying for everything in ready money. Nor was he to the last above doing a bit of 'haggling' with a tradesman in order to secure a bargain. Then he always avoided going to law, considering it better to suffer than to fall into the lawyer's hands. His endeavour was ever to keep himself free and unembarrassed, so that there should be the least possible interference with work. Thus, on one occasion in his younger days, when he was drawn for the militia, he preferred to pay a substitute to wasting his time soldiering himself.
His saving of money by superintending the education of his children himself in place of sending them to school has already been referred to. Perhaps there never was a man of means whose school-bill for his children came to so little as his.
Many stories are current implying that Linnell's thriftiness verged upon downright meanness; as, for instance, that on one occasion when he received £1,000 for a picture, he demanded the price of the case in which it was packed, and so on. But there is no foundation whatever for these stories. Linnell undoubtedly drove close bargains; he kept a tight hold of his money, too, but he stinted no expenditure that was for the good of those about him, and in many cases he acted with rare generosity, as, for example, in his dealings with his friend Blake.
On one occasion when a gipsy woman was taken in the pains of labour on a plot of land — a favourite spot for gipsy encampments — in the lane near his house, he sent his own doctor to attend to her, afterwards paying his bill, and in other ways saw that the poor woman did not want.
On another occasion he gave a substantial amount to the National Lifeboat Fund. But he was no believer in indiscriminate charity, and he acted up to his conviction.
As in the case of most men of his strong character, the defects of his qualities were very pronounced, and they became more so as he grew older. He spoke his opinion with great freedom, and naturally sometimes offended by so doing. He never spared those whose views were opposed to his own, nor allowed any latitude to what he considered wrong, even though the matter were of comparatively minor importance. Thus, he was opposed to the decoration of churches on festive occasions, and he would not allow holly to be gathered on his grounds for that purpose. He held it to be a matter of allegiance to the truth not to be a party to any such observance. Once he was asked by a Redhill churchwarden for a gift of evergreens for the church. Linnell refused, and the circumstance led to an exchange of letters between the artist and the churchwarden. The artist regarded the matter as so essentially one of principle that, more suo, he threw his opinion on the subject into the following aphoristic form:
'An answer to the churchwarden's request for cuttings of holly and ivy to decorate or ornament the human building of dead stones, called a church, but which name only properly belongs to God's building of living stones, which he alone can ornament with the graces of his Spirit:
'The true ornaments of a church are the graces of the Spirit,
Ornaments that flesh does not inherit,
Ornaments to be had by the Church through the Divine lessons taught her,
Ornaments not communicable to bricks and mortar.
Alas! alas! how great the folly,
To substitute for grace ivy and holly
December 16, 1868.
Another of Linnell's pet aversions, though of a more secular character, was his dislike of foxhunting. He was so determined in his opposition that he was always up in arms when the hunt threatened to trespass on his estate. Once reynard took refuge in a disused pit near the house, and the hunters wanted to dislodge him, but the artist refused to allow them to do so. He declared that they should not touch the poor fox if they gave him £50, and they did not.
On another occasion a stag, which was being followed by the hounds, took refuge in his grounds, and finding the housedoor open, entered the hall. One of the artist's daughters immediately shut the door to keep out the hounds. Linnell at first refused to let the huntsmen touch the poor creature; but as it was not a very safe guest to have in a house, they were permitted to secure it and take it away on the Master of the Hounds agreeing to pay the damage the hunt had done by trampling over the cultivated ground and breaking some glass.
More than once when the foxhunters wanted to cross his grounds the artist got together everybody about the place capable of bearing arms, put rakes, hoes, and such-like weapons into their hands, and then bade the red-coated huntsmen 'come on if they dare.' All this, of course, was only for show: a more peaceful man than John Linnell never lived.
At times he manifested a brusqueness which gave those who came in contact with him an unfavourable idea of his character, and one which was not borne out by subsequent acquaintance. He had an objection to taking cheques in payment for his pictures, and would not accept them from any but known and tried customers. Once a friend took a gentleman with him to see Linnell's pictures. The stranger was so pleased with a landscape he saw that he decided to buy it and carry it away there and then, offering to write a cheque for it at once. But the artist replied, 'No; bring me notes or gold, and you shall have the pictures. but not before,' greatly, of course, to the would-be purchaser's amazement.
Subsequently the gentleman met one of the artist's sons, whom he at once recognised by his likeness to his father. He told him the circumstance of the cheque, saying: 'I never had such a facer in my life, my cheque always having been held good for any amount; but I took it in good part, setting his manner down as one of the oddities of genius.'
Linnell always paid with gold or notes himself, never keeping a banking account, but investing all his money in the funds, except what he needed for current expenses.
He was always an early riser, invariably lighting his own fire, and often getting to work before others were up. He was never one to require others to do for him what he could do for himself, in this being true to his democratic principles; and this habit of lighting his own fire in the winter time he continued almost to the very last, until, in fact, he was forbidden by his physician to do so any more.
Linnell probably acquired his shrewd business habits from his father, who, having once failed, was ever afterwards careful to make no bad debts, and to keep strictly within his income. From him he learned the beauty of cash payments, and the wisdom of maintaining a watchful observation on the doings of the business world.
Busy as he always was, he never failed to have an eye to the fluctuations of the market, and to the aspect of affairs generally; and whenever he perceived a chance of benefit for himself he was quick to take advantage of it. If business generally was brisk and prices improving, he raised the price of his pictures. He has expressed his views in this respect in some of his pithy and humorous verses, and I cannot do better than quote them, as showing his particular point of view better than anyone else could put them:
'Tis a fact I avow,
Which I'm sure you'll allow,
And which no one could dare to deny,
That in war or in peace
We always increase
And exceedingly multiply.
'Whether in China or in Japan,
We blow up the natives as well as we can
Or lick the Russian bear into shape,
Till stopped by the coils of home red-tape
And then o'er the sea,
Where they're trying to free
And emancipate the nigger,
They've guns in store
Of the greatest bore,
And they're always getting bigger.
'So to keep on a level
With every fast devil,
I must raise my prices
At every crisis,
Taking care all the time to be civil.
Crying, "Double or quits,"
Though you go into fits,
Or your heart should go pit-pat
For every "Kitcat."
'You've only to pay,
And you have your own way:
Then come let us try,
I sell and you buy,
Any fine day.'
His prejudices were of the strongest. Amongst them was a deep-rooted dislike of the Roman Catholic Church, out of which he could not be made to believe that any good whatever could come. This was based upon his belief — which he held so firmly — in the one priesthood of Christ, any other priest between God and man being non-existent. But if he held the Romanists in keenest detestation, he had a positive contempt for the Ritualists — those 'hypocritical imitators of the Roman system of falsehood' — and treated them often with but scant courtesy, as in the following lines, which he entitles 'Pope-Awry':
'Ye mongrel monks, ye snobs of Rome,
Who in old England, happy home
Of all true-hearted men,
Do play your superstitious pranks,
Using our liberty with little thanks,
But granting none again,
'Counterfeits ye are, for all ye say
Ye are not even genuine papists for a day.
The popery ye practise ye deny,
And play so awkwardly the trick,
Ye make us laugh or make us sick,
And all ye do is naught but Pope-awry.'
On one occasion this feeling against the Catholics caused Linnell to refuse to meet Cardinal Wiseman. The incident arose out of his acquaintance with the Dowager Lady Mostyn. who for some years was a near neighbour, living in a house near Redhill Common, and who was a frequent visitor at Redstone. She was a Catholic, and she and the artist had many arguments on religious questions. But being no match for the latter in the discussion of these subjects, Lady Mostyn suggested that he should have a talk with Cardinal Wiseman, who, she said, would be able to explain matters of doctrine and faith better than she could. For this purpose she proposed that she should take an invitation to the Cardinal to call and see Linnell's pictures. But the artist would not consent; he felt that he should be no match for the erudite prelate in the subtleties of dialectics, and so the two never met. He and Lady Mostyn, however, continued their discussions whenever they met; sometimes, indeed, Linnell carried his into the region of letters, as will he seen from the following epistle, which is a good specimen of the fearless and one might add 'gloveless' way in which he dealt with the doctrines of Catholicism:
Dear Lady Mostyn,
Believe me, I shall be glad to find that you are able and willing to pay me a visit, and hope you will do so whenever you please. You shall be at liberty also to say what you please to me; but I shall, without asking your permission, tell you some truths you are prevented from hearing elsewhere — prevented by the ignorance of the truth, or want of zeal for it, in those you associate with — prevented also by your own want of allegiance to the holy fountain of truth and your deference to the authority of men whose motives for keeping you in ignorance of the truth ought to be, and would be evident, to you if you did not willingly yield your conscience, faith, and understanding to them, instead of to God, whose precious Word you have in your hand, and which you reject by substituting human inventions scarcely possible to speak of without profanity. Why, the words in your last note, "Our Blessed Mother," read to me like the commencement of a parody on the Lord's prayer, which He gave as a model of that brevity so becoming to us children of an omniscient Father, but which said model is generally set at naught. Yes, Lady Mostyn, you are not, and your friends called Catholics are not, the only people who set at naught God's wisdom on this point. The Divine Word says (Eccl. v. 2), "God is in heaven and thou upon earth, therefore let thy words be few." And how is this regarded? Is not the excess of disobedience rewarded as the greatest virtue, and those who repeat certain forms of prayer the greatest number of times reckoned the best, though the Lord Jesus said, "Use not vain repetitions"? All this proceeds from the want of conscience towards God. But my conscience towards him requires of me that I should tell you plainly this one thing, that "at the time when you ought to be teachers you need to be taught the first rudiments of God's Word" (Heb. v. 12). If, however, you desire to be taught, let the holy Apostles teach you. Read their inspired teachings, and give no heed to anything that is contrary thereto, and you will soon find that you are taught of God. As to the Mortara case, as it will in all probability be publicly handled, I need say only that you have not produced any case like it amongst Protestants. What you can mean by St. Malachi and his prophecy of the Pope is beyond my utmost guess. Pray tell me the chapter and verse. Surely you cannot appropriate a prophecy of the Messiah to the Pope. I fear, however, this must be the case.
When the artist's son William went (in the beginning of October, 1861) to Italy to study, he was troubled all the time with the fear lest he should be beguiled into joining the Church of Rome, and was not satisfied until he had finally prevailed upon him to quit Italy. But at this time he was getting very old; combined, too, with his own, anxiety, there was the failing health of his wife, and her natural desire to see her son again before she died, to augment his wish for his son's return.
Linnell was not what would be called a good letter-writer. He did not carry on much correspondence, and what he did was mostly of a business nature. But his letters were always characteristic, and some of those received by the dealers with whom he chiefly dealt, peculiarly so. In not a few of these he made sketches of the pictures which were the occasion of his writing. Many of his letters to Messrs. Agnew and Son, the dealers, were in this respect very striking.
His letters to members of his own family, however, best show the character of the man, because they show the whole man. In nothing, perhaps, does a person mirror himself so fully and so truly as in his letters, and this is especially true of Linnell, who was always perfectly natural, and never made use of any sort of artifice in order to show off or to appear to be other than what he really was.
On October 30, 1861, he wrote as follows to his son:
We are glad to hear from you, and hope you will write for your mother's sake as often as you can. Your letters are meat and drink to her, and a glass of wine to me. I hope, however, you may be able to add some literal wine to the treat before you leave Italy. I will pay for all letters, so do not spare in number on account of expense. We have had one letter on your arrival in France, one from Paris, one from Marseilles, one from Nice, and now one from Pisa.
I am glad you took the road by the coast, and have no doubt but you have the best of it. The weather here, however, is very fine, and the foliage is only just beginning to change colour. Our wood this morning was looking so fine I wondered if you were likely to see anything better. I hope you will not let such things pass without some memoranda, however slight. Words will not suffice: all the young lady travellers can supply plenty of the finest, new and old. No day without a line. Everything here is much the same. . . . A — has paid for my drawings, so there is cash at home if you want to buy a palazzo or a prize bull at the cattle show at Florence. You had better save your money, though, if you can, and go softly. Remember Italy is volcanic, and there are strange rumbling noises heard even here.
Be wise, and look at the invisible as well as the visible.
I enclose you extract of Times — a sufficient dose. I wish you could see the paper, but you have sufficient in my extract to get at the rest.
Remember me to Count Guicciardini, and tell him I shall esteem it a great favour if he will put you in the way to procure some of the best Italian wine of more than one sort and send me samples with price in cask and in bottle.
Write again soon, and tell us if you stay at Florence long enough to get another letter, or you can arrange with your friends at Florence to forward your letters to Rome if you go there. Naples, I fear, is not safe enough yet. I see by a letter to-day that an English captain was stopped in the public street by a man who presented a pistol. The captain threw up the thief's arm and kicked him in the stomach, and only left him because some accomplices came up. You see, therefore, the place is not safe. You should avoid going out alone, especially at night.
Your mother was horrified at your account of using Child's nightlights for anointing your face, in order to prevent mosquitoes biting you. She says that all those candles are made with arsenic, and you may poison yourself badly. Olive-oil and camphor or without camphor is best.
J. L. AND Co.
The Count Guicciardini who is frequently mentioned in this correspondence was one of the Plymouth Brethren, and the leading light of an Italian branch of the sect in Florence. He was a direct descendant of the historian of the same name. The following characteristic epistle is to the Count himself:
To Count Guicciardini.
Redstone Wood, Redhill, Surrey, England, December 27, 1861.
Permit me to address you by this title, as it is your friendship that I rely upon to assist me in my endeavours to obtain what it is almost impossible to accomplish without such help. You are in a position to help me to procure some genuine first-class wine, and I understood from my son when he wrote from Florence, that you kindly offered to attend to my solicitations on this subject. And in a letter just arrived from Rome my son advises me to write to you direct, that you may be in no doubt respecting my wishes. I have many reasons for applying to you to assist me to obtain some of the best wine of Italy. First my wife requires such for her health, and that which I got from Madeira is nearly gone, and no more is to be had from that place. I have no hope of obtaining any such from wine merchants here; and, if I could, their price is so exorbitant that I find it out of my reach. I find in wine, as in most other matters, that unless I can get near to the fountainhead, there is little chance of being able to obtain the best. That which I imported from Madeira was Sercial, and I have never tasted any wine so good. It was a wine of body and strength, though pure and delicate in flavour. I name it to you as a guide in your selection of any wine for me. I am told that Marsala is to be had from Italy direct of a very superior quality to what is sold here by the merchants. One quarter cask (about twenty-three gallons) may be sent of the best quality of this wine as a sample; pale wine, if to be had, I find generally best, though I have never seen pale Marsala. But as I am unacquainted with Italian wine, I would gladly leave it to your judgment to order for me what you think best, from the grower, if possible, or as near to that point as convenient, for I fear every step from the grower through the mercantile department.
I trust that if you should be able to send me two or three small casks of the best wine in the first place as samples of what is to be had, you will at the same time introduce me to the channel from which I can procure more without again troubling you. In the first instance, however, I am compelled to intrude my want upon your attention.
I am sorry to find that a struggle is requisite to enable one to obtain anything pure and true in this life, and even the Word of life itself is the most adulterated by man; but, thanks be to God, we have direct access to the Father through the Son, and do not rely upon man in this. What a predicament, however, are those in who rely only on those who make merchandise of their souls!
Mr. Berger will, I have no doubt, assure you of my ability and readiness to pay for everything forwarded to me in any way directed by the party sending the wine. As to the sort, I can only say as Weber said when he was asked what sort of music he liked best. "I like," said he, "good music" so I say I like good wine. Let it be good of the sort, and wine that will keep in this climate, for we drink but little at a time. It is really for stomach's sake more than for appetite that we require it.
If you should find it practicable to serve me in this matter, I shall not forget your kindness, hut be always your obliged servant,
John Linnell, Sen.
The following characteristic letters are to his son:
We were all glad to get your letter dated October 25, from Olevano. We hope you may realize your harvest some day, though you say you have only just set your hand to the plough. What thou sowest, that shalt thou reap. Your answer to my remarks shows that you have missed my meaning. The qualities I spoke of had nothing to do with a knowledge of Italy, or of the people, but of Nature and Art in general. Many go to the grandest scenery in the world, and they bring home capital information, not so good; however, as photos. I would rather have some good photos of Italian romance the wildest — wilder than any modern pictures of Italy I have seen. It will be wise of you to get all the photos you can of scenery and figures, such as are only to be seen in Italy. As for the wonderful skies that young ladies talk of, I never expect to see them on canvas. I see them, however, at Redhill, and other things finer than anything brought or sent from Italy yet. . . . I shall not offer any more advice unless asked for as to returning. Mr. and Mrs. Stewart I expect will have found you ere you get this; they take colours to you, etcŠ.
[. . .]
November 30, 1861.
I have sent a letter to Florence for you merely to say that we shall be glad to hear from you as soon as you can. We have not received any letter from you since yours from Rome with postmark November 4, the first and only one from that city.
I hope I shall receive some wine from Italy soon. Ask Mr. Severn about it. Perhaps he may be able to do more than anyone we know. What I want is first-rate wine at the growers' price, and not the dealers' or merchants' prices, and if shipped from the growers the price should be low. It is like buying a picture of the artist instead of the dealer as to price, and also as to what is more important, quality. The nearer to the source, the better in everything that is good. Prompt payment, say as soon as the wine is received and found all right. Sample and price to be sent first if possible, or only a small cask as sample; but I should like to have samples of several sorts of the best.
J. Linnell, Paterfamilias
The Mr. Severn above referred to is the friend of Keats, whom Mr. W. Linnell met at Rome, as Mr. and Mrs. Palmer had done years before during their stay in Italy.
Redhill, February 2, 1862.
Your letter to your mother and others was received to-day, and we are made both sorry and glad by the contents: sorry to find that you have suffered as I suspected (for there was a touch of fever in your former letter), but glad to find you are safe through the peril of that dire disease smallpox. I am glad we did not know of your condition before, for it is certain some of us would have suffered more than you who are blessed with courage that enables you to go through the wave which threatens to overwhelm you. Fear is undoubtedly the thing of all others to be afraid of in many cases; caution, however, is wisdom. I think you run too many risks, one in walking late into the country after sunset. The air is unwholesome here, and fifty-fold worse, I am told, in Italy. Then that is the time for robbery and the stiletto.
There is room for all of us, but if anyone is to refrain from exhibiting, I can best afford to do it, as my work is nearly done, and if I have time to set my house in order before I sleep, I shall be content. I wish you could see how plain the course is open before you to do well, and even better perhaps than by any other by avoiding all political connection with any academy or corporate body.
It is better to keep to the en swma kai en pneuma kaqwV kai eklhqhte en mia elpide. So far as the exhibition is concerned, I am not likely to be sorry for any hindrances respecting elections, though I suspect the advice given you to keep where you are was with reference to that matter.
Mr. Cameron, the War Secretary to Mr. Lincoln's Government, U.S., has been sent off as Ambassador to Russia, because he was enthusiastically troublesome for abolition, which the hypocritical Federal Government intend to avoid if possible. We shall see if God intends the liberation and exodus of the slaves by the U.S. Government being compelled to adopt it as their only safety. It is the common policy of all crafty politicians to send away on some foreign expedition whoever they consider in their way. However, like Joseph's brethren, what they intend for mischief often turns through the grace of God to the benefit of those meant to be lost.
I am now most thankful I did not attain to the degrading honour, or rather distinction the wrong way, of A.R.A. I should not have been at Redhill, or even alive. Let the men who cannot obtain a living any other way seek and get those worldly distinctions; but when God has so far blessed our labours as to put us on a level with the best, it is to me ungrateful not to be content and to leave it evident that it is to God we owe our success more than to man. "Lest thou shouldst say, I have made Abram rich." Reliance upon God throws us into communion with Him, and gives power to all our efforts.
March 6, 1862.
Either I failed to express what I intended, or you failed to see my meaning as to the R.A. question. I do not regret your being at Rome; I only meant to say that, if you were right in trying for the election, your being at Rome might interfere with it. I am more than ever convinced, however, that you are better as you are — "even as I." You will not find out what the cost is until too late; no one tells the secret of his own degradation, any more than fagging at public schools is denounced by the sufferers. Scarcely any of the men in the Academy are, I fear, awake to the great argument upon which my conclusions are based. Then, again, we ought to be contented with the success granted to us. There is not to us the excuse that so many have had of want of purchasers of our works — that great object for which the distinction was at one time, and is now, by many sought. It was for this chiefly that all the machinery was set up, and all the time wasted at meetings of business and ceremony. Glad would many an R.A. have been, I have no doubt, could he have had the constant employment that we have, free from all bondage arising from the rules and influence of a sort of monastic order, and free also as to the choice of our subjects and artistic style — more free in this last matter than if we were inside. I have arrived at a point of view from which the whole subject is to be more clearly seen than at an earlier period of life, and I have no doubt but that you will, if you arrive at the same point, see with me, whether you are in or out.
It is settled now that I send my large picture of "Carrying," and James his "Haymakers" — one each. . .
The picture referred to above as 'Carrying' is his 'Carrying Wheat' (39 by 54 inches), exhibited in the Academy in 1862. It was subsequently damaged by fire, and was brought to the painter and repaired in 1874. It shows a harvest-field, with a waggon and horses in the foreground, and men loading wheat. There is a distant view beyond, with the sun setting in a cloudy sky. In 1867 it was sold at Christie's for 1,650 guineas.
April 10, 1862.
We have just received yours dated April 5, and hasten to reply, though I think I have already said my say upon the one subject which seems uppermost in your mind, and sends it wavering about in an unstable state. I remember suffering the same anxiety, to which I saw no end; and I had no peace until I made up my mind to give up all endeavour to obtain a distinction, which, though it held some worldly advantages, was fraught with evident and latent mischief. Longfellow's words on this subject are: "Better for them and for the world in their example had they known how to wait. Believe me, the talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can well, and doing well whatever you do without a thought of fame. If it come at all, it will come because it is deserved, not because it is sought after; and, moreover, there will be no misgivings, no disappointment, no hasty, feverish, exhausting excitement." The struggle has shortened the lives of many of the R.A.'s, and would have shortened mine had I been elected. Far better if one can be content to wait for such results from our labour as God shall please to produce, taking everything as from Him through man's agency. It is only when contented that we can work our best, and to be contented we must feel possessed of real good — the best good — and feel so rich as to be satisfied. We should be rather terrified at the consequences of success, and, as greatness is thrust upon us, the more humble ourselves. It appears to me that all which a man should desire to do is now within your reach by only working contentedly, and waiting for results.
In June, 1862, the anxious father so far prevailed that his son returned from Rome, remaining in England until January in the following year.
Last modified 9 December 2001