a Neapolitan ; an excellent painter for the sort of subjects on which he was employed ; that is, without much invention, and with less taste, his exuberant pencil was ready at pouring out gods, goddesses, kings, emperors and triumphs, over those public surfaces on which the eye never rests long enough to criticise, and where one should be sorry to place the works of a better master: I mean ceilings and staircases. The New Testament or the Roman History cost him nothing but ultra-marine ; that, and marble columns, and marble steps he never spared. He first settled in France, and painted the high altar of the Carmelites at Toulouse, which is described in Du Puy's Traité sur la Peinture, p. 219. Toul. 1699.
Charles II. having a mind to revive the manufacture of tapestry at Mortlake, which had been interrupted by the civil war, sent for Verrio to England; but changing his purpose, consigned over Windsor to his pencil. 3 The king was induced to this by seeing some of his painting at Lord Arlington's, at the end of St. James's-park, where at present stands Buckingham-house. The first picture Verrio drew for the king was his majesty in naval triumph, now in the____________________
" Verrio's invention is admirable, his ord'nance full and flowing, antique and heroical; his figures move ; and if the walls hold (which is the only doubt, by reason of the salts, which in time and in this moist climate, prejudice,) the work. will preserve his name to ages."—Evelyn, Mem. vol. i. p. 518.—D.
"1683. To see Montagu-house. The Funeral pile of Dido. Hercules and the Centaurs, &c., I think exceeds anything he has yet done, both for design and colouring, and exuberance of invention, comparable to the greatest old masters, or what they do, in France." This, so celebrated, work was destroyed by fire, in 1686. Pope's satire of " Where sprawl the Saints of Verrio," has had a lasting influence on the public mind with regard to his real merit as a painter. Verrio's first, or introductory work at Windsor, was the ceiling of the queen's guardroom.—D.