My father modelled old castles, old trees, and such like objects as he wished to introduce into his landscapes. The above illustration, may perhaps give a slight idea of his artistic skill as a modeller. I specially refer to this, which he called "The Family Tree," as he required each member of his family to assist in its production. We each made a twig or small branch, which he cleverly fixed into its place as a part of the whole. The model tree in question was constructed of wire slightly twisted together, so as to form the main body of a branch. It was then subdivided into branchlets, and finally into individual twigs. All these, combined together by his dexterous hand, resulted in the model of an old leafless tree, so true and correct, that any one would have thought that it had been modelled direct from nature.

The Duke of Athol consulted my father as to the improvements which he desired to make in his woodland scenery near Dunkeld. The Duke was desirous that a rocky crag, called Craigybarns, should be planted with trees, to relieve the grim barrenness of its appearance. But it was impossible for any man to climb the crag in order to set seeds or plants in the clefts of the rocks. A happy idea struck my father. Having observed in front of the castle a pair of small cannon used for firing salutes, it occurred to him to turn them to account. His object was to deposit the seeds of the various trees amongst the soil in the clefts of the crag. A tinsmith in the village was ordered to make a number of canisters with covers. The canisters were filled with all sorts of suitable tree seeds. A cannon was loaded, and the canisters were fired up against the high face of the rock. They burst and scattered the seed in all directions. Some years after, when my father revisited the place, he was delighted to find that his scheme of planting by artillery had proved completely successful; for the trees were flourishing luxuriantly in all the recesses of the cliff. This was another instance of my father's happy faculty of resourcefulness.

Certain circumstances about this time compelled my father almost entirely to give up portrait painting and betake himself to another branch of the fine arts. The earnest and lively interest which he took in the state of public affairs, and the necessity which then existed for reforming the glaring abuses of the State, led him to speak out his mind freely on the subject. Edinburgh was then under the reign of the Dundases; and scarcely anybody dared to mutter his objections to anything perpetrated by the "powers that be." The city was then a much smaller place than it is now. There was more gossip, and perhaps more espionage, among the better classes, who were few in number. At all events, my father's frank opinions on political subjects began to be known. He attended Fox dinners. He was intimate with men of known reforming views. All this was made the subject of general talk. Accordingly, my father received many hints from aristocratic and wealthy personages, that "if this went on any longer they would withdraw from him their employment." My father did not alter his course; it was right and honest. But he suffered nevertheless. His income from portrait painting fell off rapidly.

At length he devoted himself to landscape painting. It was a freer and more enjoyable life. Instead of painting the faces of those who were perhaps without character or attractiveness, he painted the fresh and ever-beautiful face of nature. The field of his employment in this respect was almost inexhaustible. His artistic talent in this delightful branch of art was in the highest sense congenial to his mind and feelings; and in course of time the results of his new field of occupation proved thoroughly satisfactory. In fact, men of the highest rank with justice entitled him the "Father of landscape painting in Scotland."

No. 47 York Place, Edinburgh

At the same time, when changing his branch of art, he opened a class in his own house forgiving practical instruction in the art of landscape painting. He removed his house and studio from St. James's Square to No. 47 York Place. There was at the upper part of this house a noble and commodious room. There he held his class. The house was his own, and was built after his own designs. A splendid prospect was seen from the upper windows; and especially from the Belvidere, which he had constructed on the summit of the roof. The view extended from Stirling in the west to the Bass Rock in the east. In fine summer evenings the sun was often seen setting behind Ben Lomond and the more conspicuous of the Perthshire mountains.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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