Page:Dictionary of National Biography, Second Supplement, volume 2.djvu/624

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Melville
Meredith
604

Melville associated himself with them. He had already achieved a more individual style than they, and his strong personality helped to accelerate and mould the Glasgow movement, but he on his part was influenced by the Glasgow artists' enthusiasm and audacity in experiment. During the following years, besides completing many Eastern sketches, he painted in water-colours in the Orkneys; but the most important pictures which he produced before leaving Edinburgh for London in 1888 were several oil portraits, amongst them 'The Flower Girl' (1883), 'Miss Ethel Croall' (1886), and the 'Portrait of a Lady' shown at the Royal Scottish Academy in 1889, each in its way a tour de force. A visit to Spain and Tangier in 1889-90 was followed in 1892 by an expedition to northern Spain with Mr. Frank Brangwyn. These journeys supplied Melville with motives for a series of important drawings executed on a larger scale and more subtle and masterly in style and finer in colour than their predecessors. Venice in 1894 was his next fruitful venture. After 1897 he devoted more attention to oil painting. There, however, his work, although always interesting and powerful, was more experimental and less satisfying, and, in portraiture at least, tended to extravagance. Tn 1904 he was again in Spain, at San Sebastian, Granada, and Barcelona, but he contracted typhoid fever while there, and on 29 Aug. he died from its after-effects, at his residence, Redlands, Witley, Surrey. His body was cremated and his ashes lie in Brookwood cemetery.

On 18 Dec. 1899 he married in London Ethel, daughter of David Croall of Southfield, Liberton, Midlothian, who, with a daughter, survived him. Mrs. Melville has a charcoal drawing of him by Sir James Guthrie; Mr. Graham Robertson, an intimate friend, made two sketches of him, which remain in his own possession. Melville was elected an associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1886, and was for some years a member of the Royal Scottish Water-Colour Society. In London he became an associate of the Royal Water Colour Society in 1889 and full member in 1900. The National Gallery of Scotland possesses 'A Moorish Procession,' one of the finest of his Tangier drawings, and 'Christmas Eve,' one of four large oil pictures illustrating Christmas carols, upon which he was engaged at his death; the Glasgow Gallery has an important water-colour, 'The Capture of a Spy,' and in the water-colour collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, is 'The Little Bull Fight—Bravo Toro!' There are also notable drawings by him in the Luxembourg, Paris, and the Metropolitan Museum, New York.

[Information from Mrs. Melville and Mr. J. C. Noble; exhibition catalogues; R.S.A. Report, 1904; Baldwin Brown, The Glasgow School of Painters, 1908 (with photographic portrait); J. L. Caw, Scottish Painting, 1908.]

J. L. C.

MEREDITH, GEORGE (1828–1909), novelist and poet, was born at 73 High Street, Portsmouth (the Lymport of 'Evan Harrington'), on 12 Feb. 1828. His great-grandfather, John Meredith, was living at Portsea in the middle of the eighteenth century, and there in the parish church his son Melchizedek or Melchisedec was baptised in June 1763. 'Mel' early in life became a tailor and naval outfitter in the chief street of Portsmouth, and his business soon became the leading one of its kind in the port (there is a reference to it in chap. vi. of the second vol. of Marryat's Peter Simple, 1834). His ambitions ranged beyond the counter; he was on friendly terms with many distinguished customers, was welcomed as a diner-out, and talked like Sydney Smith. He kept horses and hunted, was a member of a local Freemasons' Lodge, and joined the Portsmouth yeomanry as an officer on Napoleon's threat of invasion. In 1801 and 1803-4 he was a churchwarden in the parish church of St. Thomas, to which he presented two offertory plates. He died on 10 July 1804, leaving a large family by his wife Anne, like himself, tall, handsome, and (it is said) the daughter of a solicitor in good practice. 'Mel's son, Gustavo Urmston (1797-1876), whose name was changed subsequently to Augustus Armstrong, succeeded to the business. Though not without commercial ability, he was wild and extravagant, being, possibly, hampered by his father's grand ideas. He married in 1824 Jane Eliza (1802-1833), daughter of Michael Macnamara of the Point, Portsmouth, 'an old inhabitant' of the town. The only child of this marriage was George Meredith, born above the ancestral shop and baptised on 9 April 1828 in the church of St. Thomas, just seven months before the death of Mrs. 'Mel,' his grandmother. In July 1833 his mother died, the business fell into a rapid decline, and the father migrated first to London and subsequently to Cape Town. He retired after 1860 to 2 Oxford Villas (now 50 Elm Grove), Southsea, where his son