Anecdotes of Painting in England: With Some Account of the Principal Artists - Vol. 2

By Horace Walpole | Go to book overview

himself, which was in the possession of one Swarts, a painter totally unknown to me. He resolved, however, says Vertue, to quit this painful practice, and turn to a bolder and less finished style; but whether he did or not is uncertain. He left England in 1728. The portrait of John Frederic Weickman of Hamburg, painted by Denner, is said to be in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. 1


FRANCIS [PAUL] FERG,

(1689—1740,)

born at Vienna in 1689, was a charming painter, who had composed a manner of his own from 2 various Flemish painters, though resembling Polenburg most in the enamelled softness and mellowness of his colouring; but his figures are greatly superior: every part of them is sufficiently finished, every action expressive. 3 He painted small landscapes, fairs, and rural meetings, with the most agreeable truth ; his horses and cattle are not inferior to Wouvermans, and his buildings and distances seem to owe their respective softness to the intervening air, not to the pencil. More faithful to nature than Denner, he knew how to omit exactness when the result of the whole demands a less precision in parts. This pleasing artist passed twenty years here, but little known, and always indigent; unhappy in his domestic circumstances, he was sometimes in prison, and never at ease at home, the consequence of which was dissipation. He died suddenly in the street one night, as he was returning from some friends, about the year 1738, having not attained his fiftieth year. 4 He left four children.

____________________
1
The portrait is there, but certainly not by Denner.—D.
2
Hans Graf, Orient, and lastly Alex. Thiele, painter of the court of Saxony, who invited him to Dresden, to insert small figures in his landscapes. Ferg thence went into Lower Saxony, and painted for the Duke of Brunswick, and for the gallery of Saltzdahl.
3
His pictures are scarce and much esteemed. In Bishop Newton's collection there were four, which he most highly valued, small, and upon copper, as are the greater number of his pictures. At Dr. Newton's sale, in 1788, "The Journey of our Saviour to Emmaus," only 1 foot 2 inches by 1 foot 6, was sold for 30 guineas.—D.
4
It was asserted that he was found dead at the door of his lodging, exhausted by cold, want, and misery, to such a degree that it seemed as if he had wanted strength to open the door of his wretched apartment. Descamps.—D.

-286-

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