Monday, January 3, 2011

Sir George Beaumont

'...Talking of Wordsworth, he told Anne and me a story, the object of which was to show that Crabbe had not imagination. He, Sir George Beaumont, and Wordsworth were sitting together in Murray the bookseller's back-room. Sir George, after sealing a letter, blew out the candle, which had enabled him to do so, and, exchanging a look with Wordsworth, began to admire in silence the undulating thread of smoke which slowly arose from the expiring wick, when Crabbe put on the extinguisher. Anne laughed at the instance, and inquired if the taper was wax, and being answered in the negative, seemed to think that there was no call on Mr. Crabbe to sacrifice his sense of smell to their admiration of beautiful and evanescent forms. In two other men I should have said "this is affectations," with Sir Hugh Evans; but Sir George is the man in the world most void of affectation; and then he is an exquisite painter, and no doubt saw where the incident would have succeeded in painting. The error is not in you yourself receiving deep impressions from slight hints, but in supposing that precisely the same sort of impression must arise in the mind of men otherwise of kindred feeling, or that the commonplace folks of the world can derive such inductions at any time or under any circumstances.'

The interchange recorded above is from Scott's Journal, dated January 3, 1827.  George Crabbe was posted about in December.  Scott mentions Sir George Beaumont several times in his journal.  Scott is clearly deferential to this patron of the arts.  Wordsworth and Beaumont were friends, Beaumont having supported Wordsworth by allowing the use of his farm in the Lake District.  Baronet Beaumont, who helped establish London's National Gallery, was to live just one month past Scott's journal reference.

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