(26 July 1780 - 29 July 1859)
[Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 32, by Freeman Marius O'Donoghue; Redgrave's Dictionary of Artists; Grave's Dictiionary of Artist's, 1750-1880; Segier's Dictionary of Painters; Royal Academy, Catalogues.]
The son of Samuel and Elizabeth Lane, he was born at King's Lynn. After a childhood accident he became deaf and partially dumb. He studied under Joseph Farington and then under Sir Thomas Lawrence who employed him as assistant.
Lane first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1804, secured a large practice, and was a constant contributor for more than fifty years, sending in all 217 works. He lived in London at 60 Greek Street, Soho until 1853, and then retired to Ipswich; he sent his last contribution to the Academy in 1857.
His portraits included:
LANE, Samuel, a portrait painter, was bom at King's Lynn in 1780. From his childhood he was deaf and almost dumb. His instructors in art were Farington and Sir Thomas Lawrence. The fidelity of his likenesses procured him a large practice, and he contributed many portraits to the Royal Academy from 1804 to 1857. He retired in 1853 to Ipswich, where he died in 1859. Amongst his works are:
[Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers, 1876, Reprinted, 1894, 1899
Norfolk-born Lane moved to London where he initially studied under engraver Joseph Farington. In 1800, he enrolled at the Royal Academy schools where he became a pupil of Thomas Lawrence. From around 1802, he was employed by Lawrence as a studio assistant. The two did not appear to have an easy relationship, but Lane remained with Lawrence for several years and when Lawrence died in 1830, Lane completed his unfinished portraits. Lane exhibited over 200 portraits at the Royal Academy between 1804 and 1857. He also exhibited with the Norwich Society of Artists between 1819 and 1829.
Samuel Lane, Esq., Obituary: The Gentleman's Magazine, F. Jeffries, 1859
July 29. (1859) At his residence in Brook-street, Ipswich, aged 79, Samuel Lane, Esq., an eminent artist, formerly of Greek-street, Soho, London.
Mr. Lane was born at Lynn in Norfolk, on the 26th July, 1780, the year of the memorable riots occasioned by Lord Geo. Gordon's "No Popery" cry. His father, Samuel Lane, Esq., was of highly respectable parentage in Staffordshire, and descended from a branch of the family of Mrs. Jane Lane, whose heroic loyalty, in aiding the escape of King Charles II. after the battle of Worcester, in September, 1651, is conspicuous in English history.
It was on S. Lane's sixth birthday, when a remarkably high tide had overflowed the quay on which his parents resided at Lynn, that he was induced by another boy to attempt to get into a boat, which was moored close by, but the edge of which he missed. He fell into deep water, and was not taken out until he was insensible. The result was a violent and protracted fever, from which he at length recovered with the loss of his hearing, the bones of his ears having been entirely destroyed. Thus he became totally deaf; and, owing to his long illness, and his inability to hear others speak, he was incapable of articulating distinctly. But through the constant care of his excellent mother, he was enabled to retain the faculty of speech.
In the choice of a profession, but little room for selection is left for one who suffers under the deprivation of the power of hearing. Happily, the youth had an acute and correct taste; and as when one sense is deficient, another is often more perfect, his sight was exceedingly clear and strong through life.
He early evinced a fondness for drawing and painting; and as soon as he was of sufficient age to enjoy the advantages of superior instruction, and be put in the way of good practice in the art which he loved, and which seemed so suited to him, his father took steps for placing him, as a pupil, under the care of no less distinguished a master in portrait-painting than Lawrence, who then resided in the house in which Mr. Lane afterwards settled, 60, Greek-street, Soho-square. He had been previously under the instruction of Mr. Farington, R.A.
In each returning Spring, as the opening of the Royal Academy's exhibition came round, some specimens of Mr. Lane's pencil found their way from his studio to Somerset-house, and, in later years, to Trafalgar-square; and from the time that he began to exhibit, each successive catalogue numbered some contributions from his gallery, except the last -- that of 1859 -- the year in which his pencil dropped for ever from his hand. How highly his qualities as a painter, and his character as a gentleman, were appreciated by Sir Thomas Lawrence, will be seen by the following extracts from letters, the originals of which are now before tho writer of this short memoir. On the 4th of January, 1829, Lawrence wrote to him as follows:
"You are not to estimate that patronage by the degree of success which has attended my exertions; for chance and circumstance, as you know, have great influence on the fortunes of men; and my career has been built too prosperous for the comparative merit which, in partial opinion, has appeared to claim it.
"If increased income be your object, that you know you may have, if you are still inclined to forget your independent rights, and assist (at intervals convenient to yourself) the labours of your early master. I will not inflict on you a longer letter, but conclude myself with perfect esteem, and sincere regard, my dear Mr. Lane, your faithful friend and servant,
This letter, now for the first time published, is in itself a valuable tribute to the memory of Mr. Lane; and it is remarkable that a clue to the surprise expressed by the writer at the comparative want of encouragement of Mr. Lane's labours is, to a great extent, furnished by another letter, addressed to his brother, the late Mr. Frederick Lane, in the same friendly and considerate spirit. Speaking of his former pupil, in this letter, dated, Russell-square, January 9, 1826, Sir Thomas said, -- "His ability and modesty ought to have been more successful. I can assure you, that some of the very best portraits in the Exhibition, in more than two or three years, have been of his painting. He has great accuracy, but sometimes too closely copies the countenance before him, as it generally appears, instead of waiting for moments when that appearance is more favourable. You will, perhaps, understand what I mean; though we painters have a sort of mystic language, which probably is often unintelligible to others."
There is no doubt that flattery is more frequently, and, indeed, more excusably, practised by the pencil, than by the tongue or the pen. The happy tact which Lawrence, and a greater hand before him, Reynolds, possessed, of making sitters pleased with themselves, and of thus drawing forth the sunshine of a face, is, doubtless, a grand secret of success. Mr. Lane's portraits had always the merit of truthfulness and accuracy at least, if they sometimes wanted the "witchcraft" alluded to, which is so pleasant, and so popular.
It might well have been hoped and expected, that Mr. Lane's attachment to his profession, his unremitted exertions in it, and the measure of skill which, according to the high authority above quoted, was apparent in his efforts, would have not with a corresponding and substantial return from the public. Such, however, was not the case; and though, by dint of prudence and care in the application of such moderate means as were at his command, his reasonable comforts were supplied, and he was enabled to "owe no man anything," his professional advantages of a worldly kind lay in but a narrow compass, and were insufficient to free him from occasional feelings of anxiety. Death had been now busy among his early friends: Farington, Lawrence, Constable, Leslie, friend after friend" departed; and his physical infirmity was such as to preclude his making new friends and acquaintances, as years began to tell upon him.
On his temporary sojourns in town, during the periods of the Royal Academy Exhibitions, he was fond of visiting the Athenaeum Club, of which he was a member, and taking his chance of falling in with a few old friends whom time had spared; and he had meditated a short stay in London in May last, the day being all but fixed. But his breathing had become painfully difficult; and he determined, with Mrs. Lane, to proceed to Lowestoft for the benefit of the sea-air, and thence to Aldoburgh, on the Suffolk coast. The change of air and scene, however, not affording the hoped-for relief, he returned to his beloved home at Ipswich, which he had anxiously desired to reach; and there, soon afterwards, with an assured but humble trust in his Saviour, he breathed his last, in the presence of the dear partner of his joys and sorrows. She survives to mourn his loss, and remember his virtues. He was three times married. By his first wife he left a son, and by the second, a son and two daughters. His remains were interred in the cemetery adjoining the town of Ipswich.
There is in the Junior United Service Club a whole length portrait, by Lane, of the hero of Trafalgar. Mr. Lane was acquainted, as a young man, with Nelson, whom he particularly remembered meeting one day in the Strand, nearly opposite Somerset House, when his Lordship drew up, shook hands, and said something marked and kind, as to his being about to sail. This was only a few days before he left England, never to return alive.
Among the portraits by Mr. Lane, there are, in the Oriental Club, those of the first Marquis Cornwallis, and Major-Gen. Sir Geo. Pollock.
At Clothworkors" Hall is a fine head of Lord Lynedoch, (General Graham). By the desire of Queen Adelaide, Lane painted two two full length portraits of King William IV., from Sir Tliomas Lawrence's picture.
In the Senior United Service Club is a large full length portrait of Sir Francis Drake by Lane. The late Bishop of London (Dr. Blomfield) sat more than once to Mr. Lane, who also painted Dr. Kaye, late Bishop of Lincoln; Dr. Murray, Bishop of Rochester; Sir Philip Broke, Bart., Alderman Brown, R. Benyon de Beauvoir, Esq., the present Duke of Richmond, the late Earl of Devon, Lord George Bentinck, M.P., Mr. Coke, M.P., afterwards Lord Leicester, the late Thomas A. Murray, M.D., first Physician to the Fever Hospital, who died in 1802, Sir Wm. Grant, formerly Master of the Rolls, and many other eminent persona.
The Gentleman's Magazine, F. Jeffries, 1859, [ocr errors]
View artist's work: Samuel Lane (1780-1859)