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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 181 published in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh; and in Lord Woodhouselee’s f i f e of ‘ h d Kames, there are several of the Doctor’s letters, which contain judicious remarks on various points of agriculture and gardening, There are still to be seen some vestiges of his atteation to the latter, in the Glebe of Moffat, where a few of the less common kinds of trees, such as pinasters and others, planted by him, are still growing. The garden of the manse at Colinton, which is beautifully situated in a small haugh by the river, was carefully laid off and embellished with a display of indigerjous and other hardy plants, which the Doctor delighted to collect and cultivate. But these botanical rarities, like other sublunary things, were fleeting and destined to take no permanent hold of the soil; for the next incumbent, who was no amateur of botany, but a good judge of the value of land, turned the whole into a potato garden ! Although the Doctor, in his public appearances, was somewhat formal and affected, in private life he was extremely social. He was inclined to society, and had many amusing anecdotes, which he told with much gaiety and good humour. He was greatly addicted to taking snuff. Bailie Creech (afterwards Provost), ip his convivial hours, was in the habit of reciting several of the Professor’s stories,’ at the same time imitating his manner and peculiarities, He was fond of dress, as may be inferred from the Etching, where he is drawn with a nosegay in his hand. In early life the Doctor was patronised by Lord Bute, and when in London was presented to Rousseau, to accompany him as cicerone. They conversed in Latin, the one not being able to speak the language of the other; and both experienced considerable difficulty in making themselves intelligible. The latter years of his life were rendered painful by violent inflammation of the eyes, brought on, it is said, by his habit of sitting very late [at his studies, and which ended in loss of sight. In addition to this calamity, his wife was attacked with a severe and long illness. She was a sister of Mr. Wauchope of Niddry. The late Mr. Charles Stewart, University Printer, and author of an excellent work-“ Elements of Natural History,” 2 vols. 8vo.-was one of Dr. Walker‘s executors ; and, from his MSS., published the work already alluded to, under the title of “An Economical History of the Hebrides and Highlands of Scotland :” Edinburgh, IS08, 2 vols. 8vo. Another volume afterwards appeared, viz. “Essays on Natural History and Rural Economy : ” Edinburgh, 1812, 8vo. Besides many curious and beautiful manuscripts in his own handwriting, illustrative of the natural history of Britain, found in his repositories, the Doctor left a valuable assortment of minerals-a large collection of the insects of Scotland- and a very extensive herbarium. Ey his will, it is understood, he gifted One of these was about a stuffed fox’s skin, placed by the Doctor on a cherry tree near the. Dr. Walker died on the 22d January 1804, aged upwards of seventy. window of the manse, and which he found effectual in scaring away the birds.
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182 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. a sum of money for the purposes of Natural History in the University of Edinburgh. Dr. Walker was succeeded in the Chair of Natural History by the eminent Professor Jameson, who was his pupil, and afterwards his assistant. No. CCXXXIII. BI. DE LATOUR, PAINTER TO THE KING OF FRANCE, MEMBER OF THE ROYAL ACADEMY OF PAINTING AT PARIS, etc. M. DE LATOURa,n eminent French painter, who died at St. Quentin, the place of his nativity, in 1789, in the eighty-fourth year of his age, was remarkable, even in boyhood, for his efforts with the pencil j and the caricatures of the pedagogue, at whose seminary he acquired the rudiments of learning, frequently prgcured for him the reward of the birch. After attending the instructions of a drawing-master, under whom he made great progress, he improved himself by a journey to the Netherlands, where he had an opportunity of studying the productions of the Flemish school. Cambray happened to be at that time the seat of a negotiation, where the representatives of the various powers interested were assembled. Portraits of several of the ministers having been successfully painted by young Latour, the English Ambassador prevailed on him to accompany him to London, where he received the most flattering encouragement. On his return to France, an extreme irritability of the nervous system forbidding him the use of oil-colours, he was obliged to confine himself to crayons, a mode of painting to which it is difficult to give any degree of force. The obstacles he had hence to encounter served but to animate his zeal ; and he sought every means of perfecting his art, by the constant study of design. Admitted into the Royal Academy of Painting at the age of thirty-three, it was not long before he was called to Court. His free and independent spirit, however, led him to refuse what most as eagerly covet. At length he submitted to the Monarch’s commands. The place in which Louis XV. chose to sit for his picture was a tower surrounded with windows. (‘What am I to do in this lantern ?” said Latour : (( painting requires a single passage for the light.” (‘ I have chosen this retired place,” answered the king, (‘ that we may not be interrupted.’’ ‘( I did not know, Sire,” replied the painter, ‘‘ that a king of France was not master of his own house.” Louis XV. was much amused with the salliea of Latour, who sometimes carried them pretty far, as may be conceived from the following anecdote: Being sent for to Versailles, to paint the portrait of Madame de Pompadour,
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