Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 32.djvu/288

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Lawrence
Lawrence
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conduct of both parties was imprudent, and a charge of undue familiarity was set up, which formed part of the inquiry known as 'the delicate investigation' [see Caroline, Amelia Elizabeth, of Brunswick-Wolfenbiittel]. The report of the commissioners completely exculpated Lawrence, but not content with this he explicitly denied the charges in an affidavit. This incident is said to have checked for a while the influx of lady sitters, but his progress was still steady, for in 1806 he raised his prices from thirty to fifty guineas for a three-quarters portrait, and from one hundred and twenty to two hundred for a whole length. Among the portraits of this period, 1800-10, were Curran, of whom he made a very spirited likeness, Lords Eldon, Thurlow, and Ellenborough, Sir J. Mackintosh, two important groups of the Baring family, William Pitt (posthumous), Mrs. Siddons (his lastportrait of her), Lady E. Foster, and Lady Hood.

By the death of Hoppner in 1810 Lawrence was left without a rival. He moved from Greek Street, where he had lived since 1798, and took a house in Russell Square (No. 65), where he remained till his death, is prices, which had been raised in 1808, were now raised again — the smallest size from eighty to a hundred guineas, and full lengths from two hundred to four hundred guineas apiece.

In 1814, if not before, the favour of the prince regent began to descend upon him. His ' friend at court ' in this instance was Lord Charles Stewart, afterwards Marquis of Londonderry, whose friendship he constantly enjoyed afterwards. Lawrence had taken advantage of the peace to proceed with other English artists to Paris to see the pictures which Napoleon had brought together in the Louvre from every quarter of Europe, but he was recalled by the prince to England to paint the portraits of some of the allied sovereigns, their ministers and Minerals then assembled in this country, heir stay was too short for Lawrence to complete his task, but the next year's Academy showed that he had not been idle, for it contained his portraits of Prince Metternich, the Duke of Wellington (holding the sword of state), Blucher, and Platoff. They were painted at York House, now replaced by the mansion of the Duke of Sutherland. Lawrence's first portrait of the prince regent was also exhibited this year.

On 22 April 1815 he was knighted by the prince regent, who assured him that he was proud in conferring a mark of his favour on one who had raised the character of British art in the estimation of all Europe.

In 1817 Lawrence painted a portrait of the Princess Charlotte, intended as a present to her husband on his next birthday, which she did not live to see. In his letters to Mrs. Wolff Lawrence gives an interesting account of the private life of the princess. Shortly afterwards he was sent by the prince regent to Aix-la-Chapelle (where the powers of Europe were assembled in congress), in order to complete the series of portraits which now hang in the Waterloo Gallery at Windsor. He was allowed a thousand a year for contingent expenses and paid his usual price for the portraits. A portable wooden house with a large painting-room was also specially made for him. It was to be sent out and erected in the gardens of the British ambassador, Lord Castlereagh. It arrived too late, but its place was well supplied by part of the large gallery of the Hotel deVille, which was fitted up for Lawrence's painting-room by the magistrates of the city. At Aix-la-Chapelle he painted the emperors of Russia and Austria, the king of Prussia, Prince Hardenburgh, Prince Metternich, Count Nesselrode, the Due de Richelieu, and other distinguished persons. The emperor of Austria and the King of Prussia both presented him with diamond rings. He then proceeded to Vienna, where he painted the emperor of Austria again, Prince Schwartzenburg, Count Capo D'Istrias, the generals Tchernicheff and Ovaroff, Lord Stewart (the British ambassador), Baron Gentz, &c. Here a still more magnificent chamber was allotted to him for a painting-room, and he records with much satisfaction the friendly reception accorded to him by the leaders of Viennese society. At Rome, which at first he found 'small.' though he was afterwards overpowered by its ' immensity.' equal if not greater honours awaited him. Apartments in the Quirinal were allotted him, with servants, a table, and a carriage. Here he painted two of his finest portraits, Pope Pius VII and Cardinal Gonsalvi, and repainted his portrait of Canova, which he presented to the pope. Great admiration was excited in Rome at these and his other works, and he was looked upon as another Raphael. His vanity was perhaps more flattered than ever. But notwithstanding his great success and the attentions which were lavished on him by the society at Rome, both native and foreign, he was very glad to turn his face homewards.

When he again arrived in England on 20 March 1820 it was to receive fresh honours. During his absence George III had died, and also Benjamin West, the president of the Royal Academy. George IV continued his appointment as principal portrait-painter in