William Daniels, the Rembrandt of Liverpool

The "Liverpool Lantern" obituary essay

Daniels' Index Page

Source Book

Some paintings

William Tirebuck essay

Photographs of places

This tribute was serialised in the "Liverpool Lantern" after Daniels' death. The quaint grammar and punctuation of the period has been retained unedited. This is the almost complete version of 1-May-2001.

William Daniels, artist
a biography by the editor of the LANTERN

Of William Daniels, a distinguished painter, of the Rembrandt school, and one of the greatest geniuses that ever reflected honour on this city, little is really known, that is, truly known to the general public. He was not known if we use the word in the sense of being understood, even in Liverpool, so retiring was he, and so averse to mingling in what is generally known as society: he disliked and shunned miscellaneous and strange company; and his diffidence did not arise from any inability to hold his own amongst men, even the most intellectual, for he was well-informed beyond most of those with whom he came in contact; his reading was extensive and very various, and his knowledge of men was profound.

Among older and sympathetic friends he was ever the most genial of companions, and his society was highly esteemed by numerous persons of every grade of society, from some of the most humble to many individuals of lofty social status, who had been his friends for lengthened periods. He is spoken of (chiefly by drunkards) as an intemperate man, and was long said erroneously, to be of extremely uncertain and violent temper, insolent, disdainful, and tyrannical. The writer of these lines knew him intimately over a period of thirty-five years and was never treated by him in other than the most respectful manner; always with the greatest politeness, deference, and consideration.

This distinguished man, whose works excite enthusiastic admiration wherever seen, shrank even from the provincial fame; He disliked praise, and flattery he despised and detested in his heart.

He died at his residence, 85, Cresswell Street, Everton, on Wednesday the 13th day of October, 1880, at 11-30 am, gazing at the glorious sunshine, with intellect unimpaired, and in the very zenith of his art-power, in the sixty-eighth year of his age, he having been born on the 9th day of May 1813.

All that was mortal of the man was, on the 18th day of that month, laid in the family grave, in St. James’s Cemetery, "The Mount” and where rest four of his children ; namely, Cyrus, a second Cyrus, Emma, and Sam, near to the mausoleum of Huskisson, whom the painter knew well. His remains were followed by - in the first coach, Mrs Daniels, the widow, Mr William Daniels, son of the deceased, Mrs Priest, and Mrs Fitzsimmons, daughters of the artist, and Mr Fitzsimmons. Mr Priest, Daniels’ other son-in-law was away at sea. The second carriage contained - Dr Biggs B.A., Martin Brown Esq., solicitor to the deceased, Mr Robert Compton and and Mr Mrs & Miss Robson, the latter lady Daniels’ most promising pupil. In the third carriage rode Mr Seeley, J. Seeley jun., P. J. Robson, T. Whitehead (a former pupil of Daniels’), and J. Hargreaves. In the fourth, Messrs T. S. Eastham, Martin Condliff, W. T. Smith, J. Kent, and J. Robson. In other carriages were T. Craddick, T. Haigh, Wm Wood, Willy Priest, Miss Priest, W. H. Jude, Miss Fitzsimmons, and others. The carriages of the Rev. Hugh Stowell Brown, the Rev. Canon Taylor, Dr. A. R. Hopper, of Rodney Street the artist medical attendant, Mrs Haigh, and Wm Dawbarn Esq. followed with their respective owners. In the chapel, and at the grave side were the late Joseph Clegg, proprietor of the LANTERN who had risen from a sick bed to attend his friends funeral, and who by doing so, got his death, J. A. P. McBride, H. William Parry, and W. Ensor, artists; K. C. Spier (then editor of the LANTERN), Dr John Proudfoot M.A., John Hall, J. Martin, J. Jacobs, S. Fraser, and some hundreds of others, literati, clergymen, actors, musicians, merchants, and barristers, with a large sprinkling of artisans and many weeping women. Seldom are so many white heads brought together on a private occasion.

The funeral service was conducted by the Rev. S. Bannister. Indisposition prevented the attendance of Sir John Gilbert RA, Mr Richard Andsell RA, and Mr T. Wallace, curator of the South Kensington Museum, where there are seven pictures by the deceased artist, the property of the nation, only awaiting room to be placed in the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square.

Besides the members of his family aforementioned, Daniels leaves a daughter, Mary Ann, now in Boston, U.S.A., and a son, Alexander, settled in Canada.

The subject of this biography was of a humble origin; born in a cottage by the canal, in Gascoigne Street, Vauxhall Road, and was brought up in the brick fields, along the north shore of the River Mersey, where his parents and all their children wrought.

Unlettered in his youth, or having a merely rudimentary education, and later taught drawing only, unaided he became a ripe scholar, and trained himself in art until he had few equals. As a painter of shells and glass, his work was pearly, opalistic, iridescent, and transparent; whilst his candle light and firelight pictures have been declared equal to those of the greatest Dutch masters, and by many thought to surpass them. His works display freedom of touch equal to that of George Morland, another erratic genius, who he in many respects resembles in a remarkable degree, only with superior drawing and colour; whilst, in roundness of form and expression his work is unexcelled by any artist of modern times. Many surgeons have offered admiring testimony to the perfection of his anatomical drawing; of his flesh painting it was said, "Cut it and it would bleed”, it was so natural: and his completed works are characterised by high finish without apparent elaboration.

With this rapid outline must close the present weeks chapter the papers will be continued weekly, and will contain many authentic anecdotes of an interesting and entertaining character; the writer"s intention being to "Nothing extenuating, nor set down ought in malice”, but to depict the artist as he knew him.


As stated in the opening chapter, the writer knew the subject of this memoir intimately over a period of 35 years, and is desirous of putting before the world many interesting and diverting particulars of 'a character', and a very distinguished, and, wherever known, highly appreciated painter; and, entertaining respect for the man, and almost revering the artist, is the more wishful to setting forth as he knew him, because an ill-timed, unreliable, and scrappy notice of the man was published about twelve months prior to his decease, from the pen of a young and inexperienced writer, whom, in a readable enough pamphlet, confesses that never in his life met Daniels; and who had all his so-called information from hearsay; and whose pages bear indisputable evidence of having been written with a view to enhance the value of a certain private collection of the dead artist"s works, not one of his pictures, save such as are in that collection being therein mentioned. Overtures were made to the writer of this present biography years ago, to produce a pamphlet of the kind, which overtures were rejected with the feeling that to issue such a book under the nose of the living painter, and that painter his friend, would be not only a piece of grossly bad taste, but that it would also annoy and cause pain to the artist who was to be made the subject of it. The pamphlet in question did annoy and hurt Daniel"s greatly, and on his deathbed he spoke of it to the writer, to his solicitor, and others, in terms of indignation, denouncing it as "impertinent, and in very many important particulars untrue”.

Of an artist so widely talked about as William Daniels, other writers no better informed may possibly rush into print with vulgar sensational accounts of the man, displaying not the best side of his character but rather echoing the exclamation of Hamlet"s mother - "The drink! The drink!” The frequent local talk of him, by men over their cups, the more vehement when most tipsy, that Daniels was a drunkard.

He unfortunately did indulge in liquor, sometimes to excess; but this world is full of pharisaical sinners who are only too ready to cast stones - they who live in glass houses being the most prone to the practice - and so, having said thus much, my biography shall be no mere history of drunken freaks, echoes from the bar parlour, but shall deal with the artist, rather than with the erring mortal; imperfect, because merely human; shall view him from his better side, and he had a better side.

There are often, as Bulwer says, "many sides to a character”, and Daniels was, in that particular, like a diamond, and diamond in the rough truly, and yet only partly in the rough, having many bright and shining sides that showed brilliancy, polish, and sterling work, the like of which numbers of those who condemn him would be the better .

He was a truthful, honest, tender-hearted, compassionate man, and "nobody's enemy but his own”. Of his charitable and compassionate nature many instances will have to be given in these columns, as also of his conscientiousness and love of truth. One common vice he had not - the writer emphatically believes, and is agreed with on the point by all the artist oldest friends-that he was a truly faithful husband, and an affectionate father, if, sometimes, a thoughtless one; and never once in the course of their long and intimate acquaintance did he who pens these lines, hear Daniels utter a coarse or disparaging word of women. With all his wondrous talent, he was not always much removed about absolute want, yet his wife always said that if provisions were not abundant with them he went off without breaking his fast, leaving what food there was for herself and the children. At other times, when in good health and working steadily, he has given to a neighbour stricken down by sickness, or out of work, as much as 10 shillings weekly for months together, and he did good by stealth, being, in charitable deeds, as in all other matters, impulsive, generous, and singularly unostentatious.

That he was thoughtless, wanting continuous application, and careless of money (of which he never appreciated the value and importance), all his friends were very well aware, but none of them now living, or who went before him, can, or could, say that William Daniels ever did a deliberate or intentional wrong. As he was generous with his money, with his time, with his labour, so also was he generous in his judgment of other painters art work. The writer never heard him utter a harsh criticism of a picture, or use one sentence in disparagement of other artists" methods, however indifferent they may be. On the contrary, if there was anything at all in the picture really to admire, it had his high admiration and most generous praise; and in regard to his own glorious work he was singularly modest, nor would he for a moment listen to other persons commendation of it.

Daniels accuracy of touch was remarkable, and his sense of form so acute and true that he never made a sketch on his canvas, but painted the picture at once, with a full brush. He was so extremely fastidious-never been fully satisfied with his own work and so conscientious in his treatment of art, that he would not allow a picture to leave his hands whilst he thought added labour could improve it. Hence he has left many pictures comparatively unfinished, or what he considered so.

He was very intelligent, of quick, natural parts, and well read in philosophy, natural history, geography, astronomy, (speaking on which subject his deeply reverential nature always was revealed) travels, biography, ancient and modern history, poetry, and fiction. He was a good mathematician, and acquainted with the classics, being especially partial to Homer and Virgil. Of British writers, he was particularly fond of the works of Dickens, Goldsmith, Byron, Butler, Pope, Milton, Scott, and Shakespeare. He was so familiar with the text of Shakespeare that no quotation could be given but he could tell at once, without a moment"s hesitation, where the passage was to be found - the play, the act, the scene, and the character in whose mouth the poet had placed the language. He was passionately fond of Moore"s "Irish Melodies”, he revelled in Cervantes story of "Don Quixote”, he greatly admired to the wit and wisdom of Aesop; "Gray"s Elegy” he loved, and "Collins Ode to the Passions”, and Dryden"s "Alexander's Feast”, and he was passionately fond of music, during his later years painting late into the night, and sometimes all night, to sweet airs played upon a large music box that was presented to him by Mr Roskell.


Sam Daniels, a tall, powerful, handsome man, had been a soldier. Obtaining his discharge, he came to Liverpool, and commenced business as a brick maker, when he saw in a public house, where she was a waitress, a buxom young woman whom he soon after married. They had five children - Eliza, William (the subject of this biography), Samuel (who took to his father"s brick-making trade), John (who afterwards became a boiler maker), and Martha. All the children, with their father and brother, worked in the brick fields.

William, as soon as he could run and carrying a brick, had to carry off the moulds of clay cast by his father at the trough, and arrange them along the ground to dry; to turn them, and to stack them for hardening, preparatory to their being burnt in the kiln. On wet days, when outdoor work was impossible, the lad occupied himself by carving in wood and modelling in clay - which he soon did with such skill that the homely folks of the small world in which he moved said - "Little Bill Daniels is a genus”. With a pocket knife, he made a house and mill in which to keep mice, and he constructed tiny windmills, and built a Noah"s Ark, and carved all its inmates, men and women, and birds and beasts, and which decorated the Mantel shelf in the parental home, achievements of which the lad’s parents were not a little proud.

At that period, a local painter of distinguished merit, Alexander Mosses by name, past and repassed the brick fields to walk by the shore almost daily in company with a friend of his who was peak-nosed, and lank, and

"Lean and long and brown,
As is the ribbed sea sand,”

whilst Mosses was short and podgy, with a remarkably large head and a tiny nose, and little Bill had modelled this oddly matched pair of friends in clay; hearing of which, Mosses saw the lad, and his performance; witnessed his facility of execution; and, perceiving his intuitive knowledge of form, prevailed upon Daniels père to let the lad attend the evening drawing class at the Royal Institution, Colquitt St, where Mosses was drawing master.

The father wrought laboriously, making large sums of money, and lived in a comfortable, though humble way, in a cottage that had, hard by, a vegetable garden, in a corner of which a pig occupied a sty. The sitting room at home had the floor strewn with pounded sandstone, and was furnished with a narrow, upright looking glass with gilt fluted pillars and capitals of Corinthian style, by way of frame; a large, long case eight-day clock; a cradle, painted brown outside and blue within and seldom without a tenant; sundry chairs, a little one included, a round table, and a square one, with leaves, generally used as a sideboard, and an oak chest of drawers, with sloping top and brass knocker handles; and on the horizontal ledge atop was reared a tea-tray, the pride of the brick makers family and the envy of the neighbourhood, bearing a pictorial peacock that was fearfully and wonderfully drawn, and gorgeous, if not truthful in colour, and this was the first example of pictorial art that met the future painter’s gaze.

William was provided with a pair of wooden-soled clogs, in which unwanted finery - for, he had hitherto run barefooted, he went to the drawing school. But not before "the tale of the bricks” was told; for, Sam had been a soldier, and was a disciplinarian. Business was not to be neglected for pleasure, nor for the pursuit of luxurious tastes; and so the little fellow had to carry, or turn, or stack, until his long day"s work was done, after which he was at liberty to follow his artistic bent.

He followed it to such good purpose that he outstripped older students, and very soon excelled them all. One evening, at the close of a session, the Royal Institution was crowded by pupils, their friends, and relatives, and on the back seat shrank little Daniels until his name was read out as the winner of the first prize in drawing. Then he began to cry. "What is the matter, Bill?” asked a fellow student, a young gentleman named Byland, who admired the lad, and was his friend - "If I go up to the middle of the room between those ladies and gentlemen”, blubbered this sensitive boy, "they will laugh at me”. "Take your clogs off, and put my shoes on”, was the quick answer. Off went the clogs, the shoes were slipped off the feet of the owner, and on to those of Daniels, and he went up, lighter of heart and heels, to receive his prize:-A work on Composition, not a gold medal as has being erroneously stated. Daniels on several occasions, shortly before his death, alluded to his young friend’s act of generosity with gratitude and emotion.


The first prize won by young Daniels, as mentioned in my last chapter, was gained for a large drawing in black and white of the Dying Gladiator, drawn from the round. Of this very remarkable performance I have often heard much, and have long endeavoured to trace it, but hitherto in vain; I know only that Mosses begged it off the lad and had it framed.

From this time "little Bill” saw a vista opening before him, and he became more passionately than ever attached to his studies, far excelling all his fellows, with whom, however, he was a general favourite, and looked upon as a phenomenon.

It was not long before Moss"s perceived that it would be to his advantage to secure this clever lad as an apprentice. He was a wood-engraver as well as drawing-master and painter, and again he journeyed to the brickmakers home, and prevailed upon the lad"s father to apprentice his son to him, an arrangement that was after some reluctance-for Sam wanted his son to stick to brick-making, generally carried out; William Daniels being bound to Alexander Mosses for a period of seven years. He always represented Mosses as a rather "stingy,” grunging, jealous man, who, at his residence in Benson Street, Mount Pleasant, worked apart, not allowing young Daniels access to his painting room, but finding him plenty to do in grinding colours, and in odd sketching jobs, and keeping him employed in wood engraving, at which he became exceedingly skilful and expert, but never afforded him a lesson in painting.

The lad's genius was not to be restrained, however, and he was resolved to find a way, or make one, to the goal of his ambition, and he verified the proverb that "where there's a Will there"s a way”. Amongst the duties imposed upon him was that of having to clean the brushes used by his master and an elder apprentice, a big, dull fellow, who never made a mark, though he had opportunities that were denied to Daniels, he being the son of a wealthy widow lady, who had paid with her son a premium of seventy guineas, and favoured accordingly.

These brushes the poor lad took home to clean, and, for a short period, until he could purchase others - for Sam, since he would not be a brick-maker, had turned him entirely upon his own resources-he used in his nights studies there, and put in their places, ready cleaned for his master and the favoured apprentice in the morning. At this period he produced, and sold for four or five shillings each, a number of candle light pictures, a class of work which, began in necessity, because he could not work in daylight became in his hands a speciality, and remained to the end his favoured style of painting, and one in which he had few equals living.

This burning of the midnight oil made the lad drowsy over his monotonous work in the day time, and Mosses found him slumbering at the bench. He discovered the cause, for one of the little candle-lights had fallen into his hands, and he saw the lad"s father, and being a passionate man (short, thick-set, and bullet-headed) he boldly asserted that those surreptitiously produced pictures by right belonged to him, and that, for slumbering graver in hand, the boy should be sent to prison, a threat that, it is needless to say, was not carried out. Nor were the pictures confiscated. Will had become the proud possessor of a colour box and colours of his own. These little pictures are invariably painted on panels, much more accessible than canvas and stretchers to a lad of Williams means in those days.

I said that the big apprentice never made a mark. He did though, once. It was Daniels duty to clean this young fellows palette as well as his brushes, and to "lay” the same ready for his day"s work, such as filling in portrait and other canvases of his master"s painting. Feeling his own growing ability, and knowing this preferred youngster’s lack of talent, Daniels rebelled, refusing to be any longer his lackey, when he was rushed upon by the young fellow, gripping his palette knife, and William received a cut along his hand, the mark of which he carried to his grave.

Daniels thrashed him soundly, and absented himself from his work, which absence brought Mosses once more with a complaint to the parental home, where it was eventually arranged that "Bill” should no longer be "slavey” to an inferior, and he returned to his bench and the drudgery.

William was of an amiable, generous, and obliging disposition, and this quality got him into trouble more than once. Mosses had two maiden sisters, who lived in his house, and worked at their business of dressmaking in the room where Daniels wrought, and often did they enlist his services to cover with the material of the dresses they were making, the wooden "moulds” that were, as buttons, to adorn the articles of attire when finished. A tender billet doux, too, they frequently prevailed upon him to carry to its destination, for as yet branch post offices and the penny post were not, and sent him to borrow and to return books, and other messages, and when his master complained of the non-performance of his proper work, they never exonerated the lad, but left him to bear the blame, and he was too gallant, or magnanimous to compromise the ladies by revealing the facts of the case.

Daniels early candle-light pictures were produced in this wise:- he rigged up an improvised screen - an old blanket - in which he cut a hole, (and was well thrashed for it by his mother. He used to say "I can fancy that I feel that rolling pin about my shoulders now!”) through which aperture to view the object he wished to paint, and before this screen, which kept the glare of candles from his eyes, but illumined the object, the young self-taught artist earned many a pound.


When Daniels was apprentice to Mosses he believed he was to be instructed in the art of painting, about which there had no doubt been some mistake; anyway, lessons in painting he received none so he always said, and his seven years turn past irksomely enough, the ardent youth in pining for the expiration of his time, and liberty. He still continued to paint by candlelight, often far beyond

"The wee short hour ayont the twal,”

and he became after a fashion, famous in his little world, outside the bounds of which he was not known, his diffidence effectually barring the way to a wider acquaintance, he continued to associate with brickmakers and other such humble folks.

"The strawberry grows underneath the nettle,
And wholesome berries thrive and ripen best
Neighboured by fruit of baser quality.

It would seem that Mosses’ jealousy continued - the master had admired the talent of his pupil until he envied it perhaps, or maybe feared it, and he is said never to have permitted the young fellow to enter his studio except in some menial capacity, or as a model.

About this time, Mosses painted a very admirable picture, an engraving of which hangs in the room in which I write. It is on steel, by H. Robinson (an admirable photograph of it may be had of Mr Daniel Jones of Bold Street, Liverpool) and it represents a butcher's lad seated on a roadside bank on a gentle eminence to the east of the town, his wooden tray containing a leg of lamb, laid aside under a tree and guarded by the butcher's dog, while the lad tootles the Pandean pipes to a group of children, the dog howling an accompaniment. In the background are seen the Dome of the Town Hall, the tower of St. Peter"s Church, and other public buildings of Liverpool. That dark-eyed, merry looking butcher's boy, with his apron and woollen cap, is William Daniels.

His term of apprenticeship expired, Will quitted the bench and wood-cutting for ever, greatly to the disappointment of his master, who had found him clever and profitable. The young man had laboured early and late, studying painting with patient diligence, and, exhibiting a picture at the Liverpool Academy’s Exhibition, his own portrait - he was then seventeen - received flattering public notice thereof, to the great chagrin of Mosses, whose powers were beginning to decline; a labourious picture of "Adam and Eve” by him being severely handled by the critics, who also commented on the pupil’s work excelling his master’s.

In the Liverpool Academy’s Catalogue for this season of 1837 (13th year), I find a "posthumous portrait of Mr Sheppard's of the Botanic Gardens,’ by "the late Alexander Mosses,” and I am familiar with a kit-kat upright picture by him, a three-quarter-length life-size female figure, a fair young girl with a red shawl over her head, hawking the flat pointed, brimstone-tipped matches, well-remembered of people who lived there for the time when phosphorus matches were named in complement to his Satanic Majesty. That picture proves that Daniels admired and to some extent followed his master"s manner, though he excelled it in subtle colour, force and finish.

Portrait painting and candle-lights having brought Daniels some fame and profit, the young artist blossomed out as a bit of a buck. He was of fine, manly form, very handsome though, of remarkable appearance, with a wide and lofty forehead, and a profusion of jet black curly hair, and he stood 6 ft in his stockings, with

"Hyperion"s curls, the front of Jove himself,
And eye like Mars to threaten and command,
A station like the herald Mercury,
New lighted on a heaven-kissing hill.”

He often said there was a gypsy blood in his veins, and his remarkably swarthy complexion would seem to lend countenance to his belief, and what gave him a still further resemblance to the wandering tribe, he wore earrings. At other times he would say he believed himself descended of the "chosen people”, of which, however, he was by no means proud. It is more likely that he was of Spanish descent.

I said that he had become a bit of a buck - the clay-coloured Chrysalis had turned to a painted butterfly, and to be known as a portrait painter appears to have been, at that time, the farthest bound of his ambition, as an anecdote related to me by a very old friend of his which seemed to prove. This gentleman was an engraver, and I will tell the story in his own words:-

"I was in my shop one day - it is nearly 50 years ago - when there entered at tall and extremely handsome, though very swarthy gentlemen, who had ruddy cheeks, piercing, jet-black eyes, and long, raven glossy curls hanging about the velvet collar of his coat. The coat was a bright blue, with brass buttons; his trousers were lavender-coloured; his vest was of black velvet; and he wore a crimson scarf and a white hat. (He was always fond of colour). He had a pipe in his mouth, and fire enough in his eyes to light it. He said, Mr S- I want you to engrave for me a card plate, lettered "William Daniels, Portrait Painter”. I suggested that "artist” would be a more distingue term, when my customer exclaimed aloud, hastily, almost violently, and with flashing eyes that almost frightened me- "Portrait Painter, I said, and if you don't wish to do what I require, say so, and I will try to find somebody who will”. I closed my mouth and opened the order book, entered the job, the plate was cut, the cards were printed, and the painter and I contracted a friendship that has continued to this day.”


The ebullition of temper mentioned in the last chapter when Mr S., the engraver, ventured to advise him about his card, was not unusual with Daniels. He was of equable temper enough, and readily yielded to advice from persons whose opinion he learned to respect, but was always hasty when crossed in any matter he knew or understood better than the objector or adviser did it.

About this time he met at the house of a mutual friend, the lady who was destined to become his wife. Her name was Mary Owen, and Will fell in love with her at their first meeting, and his ardent and fiery temperament seems to have made a wooer of him after the fashion of Benedict who says:-

"I shall be as jealous of thee as a tame turkey cock of his hen, I shall love thee most and mercifully”.

He thrashed several rivals, clearing the coast rapidly, proposed on New Year's Day and was accepted, and following First of January was appointed for their marriage.

He loved his mistress, Art, most devotedly, too well to care for her in a mercenary way, and such wealth as she brought him he heeded lightly. To his latest hour he never knew the value of money; never worked for money's sake, and never treasured what he had made, so that, as he was not more prudent in his younger time than later in life, the appointed marriage day approached without provision laid by, and, though he was now beginning to be famous, it eventually found him unprovided with the need for coin, so, about a week before the day, he asked Mary to sit to him, at the house of the mutual friend already mentioned as a pedlar, with handkerchief over her head, and basket on her arm, selling laces and ribbons,

Will you buy any tape
Or lace for your cape,
My dainty duck, my dear-a!

as Autolycus singers, and when the picture was finished, he took it, whilst the paint was still wet, to the House of Mr Joshua Walmsley, afterwards Sir Joshua, in Mount Pleasant, and sold to him the picture, which enabled the painter to pay for that licence and to purchase the wedding ring.

That picture- "The Wedding Ring Picture” Walmsley always called it - was subsequently presented to the nation by Sir Joshua, and is now in the gallery at South Kensington, with other paintings by the same artist. They are:- Portrait of Sir Joshua Walmsley, MP for Leicester; portrait of Sir Humphrey Davy, inventor of the miners' safety lamp; Portrait of Sir Joshua’s son, as a modeller; Portrait of Kean, as Hamlet; and a portrait of George Stephenson, for which last-named picture Daniels received the munificent sum of 15 guineas! As a marvellous resemblance to the "Father of the Railway”, a life-like picture, an admirable painting it is now worth hundreds of pounds.

Having purchased the ring, Daniels was returning along Lime Street, when some rough and idle rascals, who were leaving proof impressions of their dirty jackets on the painted wall of a public house, insulted him, and one threw an oyster shell, which cut him under the eye. He could have thrashed a regiment of such fellows, and was thumping them at a great rate, when a constable appeared on the scene, and with the discrimination of such geniuses since the days of Dogberry and elbow, he, with numerous assistants and infinite difficulty, conveyed the painter to Bridewell. On the way thither he was recognised by Tyndall Atkinson, Esquire, who had seen the artist at the house of his friend Walmsley, and Atkinson followed and procured his release, he being a man of some position, and well known, on becoming bound for his appearance before a magistrate in the morning.

Returning to the home of his "heart's delight”, Daniels found there a rival, a Mr Parry, who was a pilot, endeavouring to persuade the young lady to accompany him to the theatre. The rival was a powerful fellow, but he had enough to do to parry the painter's blows, and was glad to have his retreat covered, and to get out the house, which he did by dropping from a back window into a water butt, as it happened, and to crowd all sail and steer for home. He had been well "basted” and was now all dripping, and after he retired from the scene the coast remained clear and Daniels a few days thereafter, proudly took command of the craft for life, with pretty Mary Owens for his mate.


I may be excused for here calling attention to art and its professors as they existed in Liverpool in Daniels young days, when art had not a permanent abiding place in "the good old town”. The community, though a prosperous one, was not then of such vast importance as it has since attained, and many popular institutions were yet undreamt of. The railway system was comparatively in its infancy, and the iron road that had first linked together two Lancashire towns was in many countries unknown, whilst our docks, though splendidly managed and always busy, had not stretched so many miles as now, when Dicky Sams proudly and truly calls his native place, "The First Port”, the metropolis of commerce.

Apropos of "Dicky Sam,” let me, in parenthesis, inform such as are ignorant of the origin of that name, how it arose. When Liverpool was but a very insignificant place, and in the good old times when the press gang captured whomsoever they chose, and impressed them, tearing them away from their homes, their families, and their property, to man old England's "wooden walls,” her navy, a batch of men were seized here and sent aboard a tender-ship in the river, to be duly drafted off aboard our "men of war,” and, their names being demanded, for the purpose of being entered in the ship's books, the first to answer, not choosing to give his real name, replied "Richard Samuel,” which was promptly written-down. Impressed man number two, asked his baptismal name and patronymic, also gave them as "Richard Samuel,” and No. 3, 4, 5 and the rest of the party did likewise, when the boatswain ejaculated, in a speech strengthened and enriched by a choice, various, and extensive assortment of powerful and elegant expletives, applied generally to his own and others eyes and limbs, that the town was apparently inhabited solely by tarnation Dicky Sams. This bos’n of the tender-ship, - that so untenderly received those men forced from their homes:-

"The tender ship, cried Sally Brown,
What a hard-ship that must be?”

was himself an artist in vigorous word painting.

I said that art had not in Daniels and early days a permanent home in Liverpool, but we must not forget the Royal Institution in Colquitt Street, where there was a small, but highly interesting permanent gallery of paintings.

It was reserved for long after time to get together our present collection, that (though there is much trash in it), in the main adorns the walls of the Walker Art Gallery, and to possess the gift casket to contain the gems, as many of our pictures, the more recently acquired ones especially, undoubtedly are. Many excellent and highly interesting paintings were dispersed about the town in public buildings, and yet remain so scattered, and it is to be hoped that they may ere long be collected under one roof, and placed in some sort of classified order.

Exhibitions were held in the old gallery in Post-Office Place - exceedingly important exhibitions they were - and the professors of art at that time were men who made, then or subsequently, most our noble names. We have in plenty

"New men that in the flying of a wheel
Cry down the past,”

And we are prone to plume ourselves upon our improvised cerebral developments and intellectual progress; but in the days I am writing of, there dwelt in Liverpool, and produced here world famous works, not a few artists for so comparatively insignificant a place. Daniels lived in Brownlow Hill and his early patron, Mr Walmsley, in Mount Pleasant, as already stated, and in and about these two streets, painting and sculpture flourished.

In the latter was the studio of John Foster, architect, who was President of the Academy, and he travelled with Mr. Cockerel, and aided him in the introduction of Greek art into England. Early professors of painting in Liverpool who are still with us, were Richard Andsell, R.A. who was brought up in the Blue coat Hospital here, W J Bishop, and W G Herdsman.

At the place of Samuel and Thomas Francey's , sculptors, in Mount Pleasant, John Gibson, a poor Welsh lad, afterwards RA, some of whose work adorns the exterior of the Wellington Rooms , was a pupil, placed there by William Roscoe, a historian of the Medici; one or two other sculptors of promise who died young; and a little later, Edwin Lyon and William Spence, two of the first members of the Liverpool Academy, and the son of the latter, B. E. Spence, and to John Alexander McBride, whose works have long been famous. McBride is living, a highly esteemed sculptor, and he should be able to afford me much valuable information and many interesting particulars concerning his old friend. Close by wrought Samuel Williamson, a splendid painter, and in an Ironmongers shop in Ranelagh Street, only a few doors away, was William Jackson, the future baronet and Member of Parliament, and in great part the originator of Birkenhead, the associate of artists, and a generous patron of art.

Such were the surroundings of William Daniels, and his art work was worthy to be remembered as amongst the best of much that was exceedingly fine and valuable. He was an entirely original artist, never copying a touch of anyone else's work, either in method or manner; during very many years he prepared his own colours, and never, even when he eventually adopted paints ready-prepared, did he use certain effective but evanescent pigments, and above all, though his Rembrandtish tone and luminous shadows might lead some to suppose so, never did he use that facile and beautifully transparent but exceedingly dangers preparation, Bitumen, or asphaltum. He never glazed work, nor scumbled, getting all his effects by honest, ernest, solid, conscientious painting, so that his pictures mellow in tone with the lapse of time, and will endure when enough meretricious, but brilliant-looking work has perished.

On 1st January, 1839, William Daniels artist of Brownlow Hill, married Mary Owen daughter of Peter Owen of Grosvenor Street at the Church of St Bride's within gunshot of the place where he now sleeps hard by the splendid monuments of Huskisson and, who in his early manhood he knew well. The marriage was by licence, (the certificate is before me as I write, No. 129, page 65 of the vestry book), the ceremony being performed by the Reverend J. H. Stewart. The witnesses were Thomas Pantmire and Ellen Owen.


William Daniels now fairly launched himself upon the world as an artist, and about this time he produced some work as fine as any he ever turned out in the course of his long and brilliant career, especially in portraiture, but such subjects as "Shylock”, "Bonnivard”, (the prisoner of Chillon), and "Lear”, he had not yet attained to. The joyousness of the early life was upon, within, and about him, his soul was not yet saddened - it never soured - he had not hugged misery to his heart, as he subsequently did, contemplating want and suffering and sorrow, and perpetuating their misery on canvas; and tragedy was a walk yet untrodden by him. With all his love of magnificence and stately poetry, and the lofty ideal in subject, he rarely reached their height. Scripture subjects and classical ones he never touched, but there is not a Lot’s wife, nor a Dido, nor a Niobe, all tears, in the world equal to what it was in the power of Daniels to produce. His lot was cast in lowly ways, and he moved amongst misery, and his sympathetic soul was magnetically attracted by it, and could not free itself, and so to him Niobe and her children were the persons sunk in squalid poverty, beggars, ballad singers, and the like; and as his chosen subjects were sad, the tone of his canvas was gloomy.

But I am anticipating a phase of his career that he had not yet reached, and the young artist was full of joy, and fun and frolic, if not of hope. He never, until near his end, projected his thoughts into the future, and when the joyousness of youth had passed away, sufficient for the day to him was the evil thereof, and he never took thought for the Morrow.

The past is past, avaunt thou dark hereafter,
Let's eat and drink; tomorrow we must die.

His work was not continuous, nor very diligently pursued, and his exceptional genius made him but indifferent to monetary compensation therefore. Indeed, his lavish genius was bestowed upon anyone and anything save on his own affairs, or the need immediately about him appertaining to himself, and a well-known figure picture that was produced at about this period, when his reputed painter and Daniels were fellow lodgers (that is, before his marriage), evinces more than the mere influence of Daniels in drawing and colour, the more especially as the putative father of that work never subsequently turned out anything in any way resembling yet, in subject or at all equal to it in colour, tone, or treatment, which seems to stand it as less the work of the artist to whom it is ascribed than to the one from the hand of the genius who is the subject of this memoir. Daniels was not boastful, however, possessing not a drachm of brag to the ton of genius, and, therefore, though the writer has a very strong opinion upon the subject, he will not dilate upon the theme.

He (Daniels), had some queer and rather romantic adventures with the gentle sex, but that was prior to his marriage. In one instance, he was sent for to paint a small Welsh lord - small physically, intellectually, and territorially, but of immense consequence and importance in his district. "Every bantam,” says the Spanish proverb, "is an eagle on his own dunghill” - and the villagers about knew no higher allegiance than that which they owed to him, and Daniels, after giving a sitting to this local dignitary, retired to his lodging in the village, where all the people feared this Sir Something, and there Will was, willy-nilly, fallen in love with and claimed by a bonny, plump, rosy Welsh lassie, much to both the disgust of Sir Something’s gamekeeper, a strapping fellow, who ordered Will Daniels off his preserve. If Will were a poacher, he could say that the game ran after him, and matters one evening reached a crisis when the rivals met. It was a case with the girl of:-

"How happy I could be with either,
Were t’other dear fellow away;”

for her formally preferred swain was now discarded in favour of the handsome young artist. and nothing but war to the death would or could appease the jealous fury of Will’s gamekeeping rival who had lost the game.

The consternation of the villagers when they discovered that this affair was to be decided by ordeal of battle may be imagined, but, as the novelists have it, cannot be described.

Entreaties, presentations, and protestations were in vain; fight the rivals must and would, especially the Welshman, although Daniels never cared much for the girl, but a challenge was not to be set aside. The coney-catching Fluellen might be fiery, but he was not more so than the man of paint and pencils; no craven Pistol he to eat the leek, and, challenged thereto, he resolutely refused to give up his pretentions to the girl, about whom he cared nought, he being then engaged to be married, but, being defied, he could not resist the challenge to fight.

It had been for some years in everybody’s mouth, truly or untruly, that Will Daniels drank like a fish, fought like a lion, and painted like an angel, but for his powers of imbibition, nor for his art, did the peppery gamekeeper care one jot, only he resolved to try whether he could fight. This little community consisted of one village street, and may be said to have lived under a microscope, nothing happened amongst the people but what went direct to his lordship’s ears, and the intelligence not infrequently received additions and exaggerations, so that the warlike Welshman panted not only to extinguish his artist rival but also for the opportunity to do it secretly.

"Name off tear!” exclaimed the village wheelwright and carpenter, timber dealer and sawyer, "What, for ouy wass go on like these when she wass at liperty to fight in hur saw pit, look you, and settle hur tifferance at once, paceaply.”

It was night, and the seclusion of the saw-pit reached, the combatants "set to” in the pit, the carpenter holding a lantern above whilst they thumped each other, and when the Welshman had had enough, and voluntarily promised to renounce the rustic goddess of his idolatry, admitting in reply to the carpenter, that "Daniels wass top sawyer,” they returned to the sign of The Goat, where the painter generously treated his overthrown rival, and on the following morning, the gamekeeper having a pair of black eyes blacker (only in another way) than were Black-eyed Susan’s, and having to go before his lordly master on business; Daniels painted his eyes in so artistic a fashion, that no tinge of the results of the saw pit encounter now remained.

Daniels finished the great man’s picture and came home, followed, within a week, by his buxom admirer, the maid of the Inn, who arrived on Will’s wedding day, and was taken in tow by young Ryland aforenamed - he who lent his shoes to the young student - shewn the lions of the town, and, after some difficulty, and an awkward explanation, safely despatched home, to the great joy of the gamekeeper, who soon after married her.

This Ryland was a frolicsome fellow, and, lodging with Daniels, conceived a dislike of his landlord, who was a pompous, loud-voiced, holier-than-thou sort of man, who took grave exception to these young men painting on Sunday mornings. He sang at some conventicle, wore very large black gloves, and superfine, though ill-fitting black broadcloth, a very shiny hat with a remarkable curly rim, and creaking boots, and talked through his nose. He was another Malvolio,-

"Point device, the very man,”

in his own estimation, and he took the liberty to strut into the young men’s painting room every Sunday morning, with soles noisier than a couple of corn crakes; to plant himself upon a cane-bottomed chair by the door, and nasally deliver himself of a lecture on the enormity of Sunday labour, etcetera, with strong references to brimstone and "the everlasting bonfire.”

It is not the writer’s province to defend this Sunday work, but the busybody was bidden again and again to go and earn his weekly half-crown by shouting Hallelujah and intoning Amens, but without avail, and he continued to plant himself on that cane-bottomed chair and to assume the task of preacher ere he departed for his duties as chorister, and Ryland resolved to play him a trick.

Hearing the fussy, loud-voiced little man pompously going to and fro about the house on Sunday morning, his boots as musical as the crakes in the cornfield on a sunny day in June, and noisily clearing his throat, and sol-fa-ing, the painters quickly prepared a lot of colour similar to that of the chair seating, and rapidly covered the cane-work therewith, just in time for Mr. Malvolio to enter, and flop down upon it, bidding then think about their latter end.

The artists had never before applied themselves so diligently to the canvases on their easels as they did now, during the infliction of a homily never so patiently endured before, and never looked with more pleasure on the work of their brushes than they did when the sanctimonious fellow strutted off to his vocal work with the brand of cane upon him, though not upon his forehead.

Daniels was regrettably addicted to Sunday work, and, gaining the acquaintance of Paganini, the great one-string violinist at the house of a lady in a southern suburb of Liverpool, he was about to obtain a picture of that extraordinary genius and very remarkable man one Sunday, when the lady of the house, getting knowledge of the intention, forbade such a breach of the Sabbath Day under her roof. Even Paganini’s playing severely strained the lady’s religious ideas, but the weird man asked:- "Vy, eef ze Sabat mos be so holie dat nosing mos be done as all, vy does Proveedence permit ze leetel birds to sing on dat day, and ze leves of ze forest to clap zere hands joy, viz, making ze rustling music, and ze vaters of ze great deep to sound zeir mysterious harmonies?” Paganini’s visit was brief, and Daniels missed getting a portrait of the extraordinary man, but he had his early opportunity of rebuking the pious lady, which happened in this wise:- He was painting the lady’s portrait, a full-length, she being resplendent in green satin, for, despite her piety and professed humility,

A lady never could wear-
She said it, and held it firm-
A gown that came from an Indian plant
Instead of an Indian worm.

And when an interval occurred, he requested a lady not to look at the picture, for, that anyone should see his or her portrait in an unfinished condition was a strong aversion to him; but, like another Fatima, the lady must needs be peeping, and when the artist came to resume work, the sitter was being posed as before, Daniels, coming to take his palette from the peg on the easel, where it had hung, inquired whether the lady had been looking at the picture. "No, I assure you,” she replied, "as you requested that I would not, I refrained from doing so, believe me, I could not think of doing such a thing”. "And has no one else been in the room? "Not a soul, I assure you”. "Well”, said the artist, "somebody has wiped all the colours off my palate”, and, lo, the lady’s green satin skirt resembled, in one of its breadths, Joseph's coat of many colours.

Daniels, would work on a Sunday, but would not utter a lie, never finished that picture.


Never was man misunderstood, or (except in Byron) more unjustly maligned than was William Daniels, as those who knew him best, with reason to esteem him most can testify. He would have done anything to serve a "brother brush”, and his estimate of other artists' work was generous in the extreme. There was not a particle of jealousy in his nature, and his admiration for fine painting was unbounded, it was veneration, almost amounting to idolatry.

He was of wonderfully complex nature, being remarkably quiet, yet hasty; reserved, yet genial; meek, yet proud; well-informed, yet unwise; weak, yet resolute; bold, yet retiring; and gentle, yet imperious. His diffidence shrank from public display, he disliked praise, he hated flattery, he despised meanness, and he detested falsehood. He was possessed of noble, manly independence, and was generous to a fault.

He could not always afford to be generous; his good nature was often indiscreet, and so many people like "little Moses”, in Sheridan's "School for Scandal”, said of Daniels, as Moses says of Charles Surface- "Ah! It's a pity he's so damned charitable.”

One instance of his good nature is in his treatment of a poor lad who became his pupil in his early days of house-keeping. The lad was the son of a soldier, and, having a turn for drawing and colouring, was hearing of Daniels, his skill and his good nature, John McFadden sought him out, and told him of his aspirations and his poverty. Daniels made enquiries, he too, he, too, had been a poor unfriended lad; he, too, had been the son of a soldier; and he at once clothed and shod the lad, and, to make a studio for two - he had wrought in a little upstairs room himself - he dismantled his parlour, and set up an easel for John McFadden. who remained with him five years, sometimes making more money than his master, because he worked more continuously, and was aided in every way by Daniels, who, amongst other commissions, obtained orders for him to paint three daughters of the late Mr. Crellin, and a picture entitled, "The Recruits”, in subject not much unlike a recent one by Mrs. Elizabeth Butler, nee Thomson. Daniels provided him with canvasses, brushes, and colours, and McFadden, who’s provident ways savoured of something more than prudence, never reimbursed his master.

Well nursed and trained, and able to go alone, at the end of five years, McFadden set up a studio of his own in Great George Street, set up a "trap”, also (about that time a "gentleman” was defined as "one who keeps a gig”) eventually went to New York, made money, kept a fast trotting horse, and a "tiger”, lived fast, and died at the age of thirty.

There are many of McFadden’s pictures about Liverpool, and not long ago an early one of his might have been seen in a window near the Adelphi; a child, throttling rather than embracing a pot-bellied white rabbit; and that work of art was lettered "William Daniels”.

A fine early picture by my old friend was "Washing the Baby”. It is the property of a timber merchant here, and depicts Mrs. Daniels and their first child, Mary Ann, and is worthily prized as a splendid work of art, People said of it:- "You can hear the baby cry”, and indeed, it would require but little stretch of imagination to think so.

Another early work by this master was a cabinet picture on panel, representing Sam Daniels in his shirtsleeves, leaning on the palings, and calmly smoking his "churchwarden” by his embowered cottage palings, whilst children (Will’s younger brothers and sisters) played in the foreground. Through an open wicket we can get a glimpse of a pretty sunny garden, and beyond is a Church upon a distant eminence, backed by a calm, glowing evening sky. That gem of art belongs to a timber merchant also, a gentlemen who was Daniels’ friend to the last, and who followed his corse in his own carriage to the grave.

An unfinished picture of the artist's father, a somewhat similar composition to the foregoing, it promised be; was, after the artist's death purchased at the sale of the poor widows few effects, by Mr H. S. Eastman, also a true friend to the last. I say it promised to be similar to the cabinet picture aforesaid, as only the male figure was painted in, and it was not the artist custom to sketch his picture, but, keeping his subject in his mind's eye, to paint it in at once. Beyond the figure, there is little indication of the subject, and part of the canvas is untouched. It cost the poor fellow much mental anguish to leave this and several other pictures unfinished.

He was a tender-hearted, compassionate, man, and nobody's enemy but his own. Of his compassionate nature, I will here give one instance, (I shall give many in due time), I have seen him on a summer's evening, meeting children coming home, tired and clay-stained, from their brick-making (he was himself brought up in the brick fields, you will remember), almost choked with emotion, and taking the urchins into a confectioners shop, inconsiderately stuff them with cakes, inconsiderably, because bread and cheese would have done them more good, and left himself without the price of a smoke.

Nearly thirty years ago the writer was walking with Barry Sullivan in the Liverpool Botanic Gardens, when, seing a figure stooped over a scarlet geranium, we approach unperceived by the painter, for it was William Daniels, who was so absorbed in contemplation of the vivid colour glowing in the sunshine, that he was not for the moment awakened from his reverie. Rising with a sigh, he confronted us, and was for the first time made acquainted with the popular tragedian, whose picture in the character of Hamlet, (in the closet scene) he soon thereafter began to paint. The actor had come to a sitting attended by a friend, a sort of Mr. Dangle, who strutted about the studio ("Painting Room”, Daniels called it) and took occasion to overlook the artist, a liberty, the taking of which, Daniels always objected to, save in the case of pupils. There is a proverb that a certain sort of persons and children should never be permitted to seek an unfinished work, and Mr. Dangle was one of them. He strolled across to where Sullivan stood as the Prince of Denmark, frantically pointing after the ghost as it passes out at the portal, the conscience-stricken and horrified Queen Mother shrinking before him, and said:- "He is not making you very handsome, Barry,” when the artist rose, with flashing eyes, exclaiming with withering scorn:- "Flattery may be in your line, Sir, but it is not in mine.” He turned the painting to the wall, but did not "shoot his fist through it, and depart,” as has been written, the actor and his friend it was who departed; Daniels was in his own studio, and never touched it more, except to cut it down the middle. I saw the melancholy prince, years after, still with his face to the wall, and with dust and ashes on his head, like a Hebrew at the praying wall of Jerusalem.

That picture was lost, long after, and Daniels said it had been stolen from him. It turned up after his death, and was sold at the sale aforementioned, but it was not one of "Daniels’ effects,” it had been pawned years before, by a person since deceased, and was, on the announcement of the artist's death, advertised for sale by private treaty, but eventually coming under the hammer, and being knocked down to Daniels friend, Mr J. H. Eastham. The face and figure of Sullivan are marvellously well caught in the picture, and are about finished, but the rest of the scene is only vaguely rubbed in.

Daniels widow is, I regret to say, very poor, and to correct a misapprehension of the statement in the papers as to the sum realised at the sale, I may as well state the sad truth, which is, that though above twelve hundred guineas were realised by the total sale, such portion of the effects as belonged to the widow, brought her only thirty-eight pounds, four shillings and two pence.


The first time I saw Daniels - now nearly 40 years ago - he had a pipe in his mouth, and, afterwards knowing him intimately over a period of 35 years, I scarcely ever saw him, even to the hour of his death, without a pipe between his lips. The occasion I speak of was

"On the day that comes between a Saturday and Monday,”

when bells when knolling to Church, and he was breasting the stream of good pious folk who,

"Dressed in all their best,”

were flocking to hear prayers. In his left hand he grasped a bunch of pencils; upon his thumb he bore a palette, and in his right hand he carried a kit-kat canvas, going to paint some trade-tied sitter, maybe, who had no other time to sit, indiscreetly indifferent to what saint or sinner thought or said of him, and he was smoking like a volcano.

Notwithstanding this gratuitous piece of folly, I ever subsequently found him, when in the company of gentlemen, quiet, respectful, and, though diffident, perfectly at home.

He was more reserved in the society of ladies. Amongst the male sex he greatly disliked light complexions, and especially red hair, a lisp was particularly objectionable to him; he pitied dullards, and despised coxcombs, whilst for "shoddy” gentlemen, and a mere money-ocracy, he had unmitigated scorn, and tried not to conceal it.

He was fond of the society of children, and loved to paint them, and was, perhaps, one of the finest portrait painters that ever lived. His colour was richer than Morland's , and fuller than Gainsborough's ; (the drawing of the former was slovenly, and the colour of the latter thin),he shunned peculiarity of Opie, and the affectation of Lawrence, and lavished upon such works the most painstaking care. He invariably obtained an easy pose, and never sacrificed a sitters dignity, if dignity he had. He depicted the complexion with an accuracy extremely rare, and caught the character so surely as to seem to paint the very soul; the canvas appeared to live. You might think that if you scratch the figure it would bleed.

"Would you not deem it breathed?
And that those veins did verily bear blood.”

In colouring and expression he never was surpassed, and had few living equals; in design he was good, but, though he possessed a powerful imagination, I am not inclined to place him on a lofty pinnacle in the matter or art of composition - that is, the higher formal composition, as he never painted large groups, classical, or sacred, poetical, or historical. Colossal figure subjects he did painter, but not embracing many figures. The grand in art was not in his line, but he made grand every subject, the most humble, that he touched. The one touch of nature that it makes the whole world kin was never absent from his works.

He painted a large group of "The Roskell family”, which he did not live to finish, and of that, and others, I shall have more to say hereafter.

His career was strangely chequered, comparative luxury and almost want alternating. The latter condition was generally brought about by his unbusiness-like habits, allowing persons to put him off with promises instead of money when his work was done.

In matters of business pertaining to pelf,
More easy with others, uneasy yourself.

His weakness for conviviality was another impediment to his worldly welfare, and if drink were pressed upon him with apparent kindness, the strong man was disarmed, if not betrayed.

He was of restless, reckless disposition, impatient of control, and defiant of restraint, bald as a lion, physically hard as nails, or as adamant yet with much veneration in his nature, and a tender, compassionate hearts. The Italians have a proverb that says

There is a devil lurking behind every angel,

And inversely it may be said of Daniels that, though drinking, and sometimes acting violently, there was an angel lurked behind the worser spirit that he occasionally displayed.

In early life, Richard Andsell (now an R.A.) and he were companions. "Dicky” Andsell was brought up in the Liverpool Blue Coat Hospital, and their friendliness continued to the last. As I have said, Sir Joshua Walmsley was an early patron, or, rather, customer of his - I like not the word patron any better than he did - and he knew, and painted Sir Humphrey Davy, and George Stephenson, "father of the railway,” and was by him invited to the ceremonial opening of the first passenger railway in the world - that between Manchester and Liverpool - when Huskisson, M. P. for the latter town, was killed, he having stepped, during a stoppage at Newton, from the carriage in which he had ridden, to that in which the Duke of Wellington was seated, and fallen in the attempt to regain his carriage as the train moved on again.

With that very many of the leading artists of his time Daniels was intimate, but not on very friendly terms with many of them. It was only after long acquaintance with anyone that Daniels became very genial. His manner was not effusive; indeed, it was diffident, reserved, and sometimes mistaken for coldness or indifference, or pride. He has no self-assertion, and never enjoyed the company of those who had; and it tried his patience to sit in the company of the bumptious or the boastful. The presence of a "swell” was as repugnant to his feelings as was the fop to Hotspur, he could not abide being "pestered with the popinjay,” and the irksome reprobate, or rather, incubus, got rid of, he sought company more congenial.

During some years Daniels lived in what was then a picturesque village, open to all points of the compass, looking to the North, over, Waterloo, Crosby, Altcar, and towards Southport, the latter place then of no account, its only banks being sandbanks; and they did not break, and break the hearts of shareholders. Liverpool lay about two miles off, the wooded heights of Everton rose in the distant East, and on the West, green meadows sloped down from the grass-grown road, traversed only by country carts, with vegetable produced for the town, a few carriages belonging to the gentry of Waterloo, and one omnibus driven by "Philip” and guarded by "Pat,” and this road, bounded on the East side by elegant villas, each verandaed, and standing on a high green mound within its own garden, and overarched here and there by lofty trees, afforded a view of the Cheshire ridge beyond the then much wider estuary of the Mersey, the Welsh mountains, and across the channel, where sunsets could be seen in all their magnificence.

I have a story to tell of Daniels and of sunsets, hereafter.

During the period of Will's residence here, he went one day to Waterloo, on business, and the occasion demanded more than usual attention to costume, as some display of linen seems to have been considered necessary. He was not particular in the manner of dress, always scrupulously cleanly, he was yet somewhat slovenly, and the reverse of dapper or neat. He had to see a person about the picture, and there was a sale advertised to take place in Waterloo, and the list of the effects included an eight day clock, the artist had a double reason for going. His demand at home for a clean white shirt was met by the information that the washerwoman had an avuncular relation with whom she had deposited the lot, and, in the emergency, Mrs Daniels borrowed for her husband, off a neighbour, a false shirt-front, called a "Dicky,” a sort of sham that the artist hated and despised, as he did all shams.

However, he eventually submitted to having the false front tacked on to his ordinary woollen shirt, and his large black scarf gave way to a neat little tie, so that the clean linen should not waste its sweetness on the desert air of Waterloo.

Forth he sallied, and arrived at Waterloo, his attention was attracted by a Herculean fellow who was cruelly beating his donkey. The little animal was staggering in the shafts of an heavily-laden cart, and the brutal driver was raining blows upon the patient creature, with a heavy stick. Daniels, always a most humane man, expostulated with the fellow about his cruelty, which interference was insolently repudiated by the driver. "Your ass is the nobler brute of the two”, said Daniels, "and you deserve at cajoling worse than it does.” "Oh,” sneered the Fellow, "that's all Dicky.” The artist glanced hastily at his shirt front, but no straggling corner betrayed the dimensions of the linen he wore. "Go on, Mister Dicky,” continued the blackguard, the terror of his neighbourhood, "go on, or or I’ll give yer wot I guv the moke.” "By Gog and Magog!” exclaimed Daniels, "it is a Dicky,” clutching it, dragging it from its moorings, and tossing it into the cart; "and now,” cried he, "come on, and beat me if you can.” A public house not far off quickly furnished a number of spectators, who formed a of ring, ready to see fair play, but hoping against hope to witness the overthrow of the bully donkey driver. Nothing loth, the blackguard advanced with audacious confidence to the fray, but soon found that he had caught a Tartar (for Daniels had often sparred with Jim Ward, and was scarcely second to the champion of England, in the noble and manly art of self-defence), and sorely punished, the fellow cried peccavi. "Go on,” cried a bystander, "you haven't had half enough yet, Dick”. "Well,” replied the cunning donkey driver, "you may face him, if you like, and get the other half.”

"Now,” said the artist, "use your donkey better; wipe your face, and can you - drink a pint of ale?” "Can a duck swim?” was the rejoinder; "Then come along,” and they trudged towards the tavern, the artist deeply pondering something by the way. Presently he asked, "How did you know it was a Dicky?” "Why, guvnor,” quoth the Fellow, "whenever I sees a shirt front as has buttons stitched on where there is no buttonholes, I know as that there shirt’s a Dicky.” "By Gog and Magog,” exclaimed the painter, "you shall have a quart.” He paid for the quart and for "drinks round,” and quietly sauntered on his way, went to his appointment, attended the sale, bought the clock, and gave "cockle Dick” the job to convey it home in his donkey cart on the following day.


Daniels’ residence in Bootle was close to Mersey View, and Lower Mersey View, the latter some twenty villas that stood along the Strand, with long, well-kept gardens in front, and stone walls to keep out the water at unusually high tides. There were about six steps up from the sandy beach, and as many down again on the other side into the garden, and Miller's Castle and the tall landmarks were conspicuous and picturesque objects on the shore, near to where Castle-street now stands. The castle grounds extended as far east as Derby Road, and nearby stood handsome houses within their enclosed grounds, with orchards that in the spring were a mass of bloom, as in autumn they were loaded with fruit. Jesse Hartley lived here, and many other worthies who have all long joined the majority. On Derby Road, gigantic ash and willow trees completely overcanopied the way, and high tides washed half-way up Strand Promenade and Richmond Vale.

By the old Bank Hall - the remaining portion of which is now a whisky distillery - the road dipped into what had once been the moat of the strong castellated mansion, the residence of Sir Thomas Moore at the time that Liverpool was besieged by Cromwell.

Bootle Hall has recently been demolished, and the trees of the park are now lying prone, whilst jerry builders are fast covering the land with monotonous and miserable streets of a squalid houses. Some remains of Bootle as it was yet exist in the fine houses of Falkner Crescent, and the noble mansions of Richmond Vale. All the rest are swept away, timber yards and sawmills occupying their sites.

On this road, then open to the Channel, the solitary figure of Daniels was well-known as he strode along, pipe in mouth, or slackened his pace to glance into a book, pacing slowly and thoughtfully thereafter, revolving then new-read matter in his mind. In the evening he might return by Philips’ ‘bus, that smoked like a perambulating line-kiln, for all the bucks smoked cigars, and Daniels pipe was worth a dozen of them. With these jovial spirits he was a great favourite, not that he courted their society, nor laid himself out to amuse them, but they prized the man for his known genius, and he was cheerful with them. His deeper nature they knew not, but, could they have dived into its recesses, they might have found there many a pearl.

His friends were many: his chosen companions very few, and sometimes they seem strangely chosen. He was intimate with the choicest intellects and geniuses of his time, and yet he occasionally foregathered with Shrimpers, bargemen, waggoners, and even prize-fighters. Like Dickens, whom as an author he so much loved, he went amongst, and knew all sorts of men: gypsies, tramps, colliers, and costermongers.

"The proper study of mankind is man,”

And Daniels studied men in every station of life. He once painted during a fortnight in a coal pit, a picture of the workings, and that picture he subsequently cut up, and it lies now in one of the houses in which he occasionally painted.

He was so fond of fire light effects that he would sometimes say he would like to go to Pandemonium on a painting tour. "Splendid firelight effects to be had there,” he exclaimed.

It is somewhat remarkable that, familiar as he was with the Greek Mythology, and much as he admired Mythological personages as represented in ancient sculpture, he never painted (as far as I have been able to learn) a subject or individual from the grand old mythology, nor from Holy Writ.

Religieuses he depicted many; his "Nuns,” "Novices,” and "Lady Superiors” are pretty numerous, and he once painted James Lunt, a well-known and never properly appreciated local actor, and a better elocutionist than ninety-nine in a hundred so-called "artists” of today, as Cardinal Richelieu, and a splendid pair, "The Believer,” and "The Sceptic.”

He was not generally credited with the religious thought or feeling, though he really had in his mind and nature much of both, and in his "painting room,” after his death were found a copy of the Holy Bible, bearing copious notes in his own hand-writing, and a well-thumbed hymn-book.

It was always a pleasure to him to be read to when at work, and on his death-bed the present writer read for him many hours, "Gray's Elegy” and "Blair’s Grave,” more than once, at his particular request.

Speaking of Religieuses, I may here mentioned that Mr Eastham has the last picture that Daniels completed; a nun with a splendid expression, the grave, sad face and humid eyes telling of absorbed and fervent religious feeling, whilst the light streaming down, and the reflected light on the face are so depicted as to be beyond all praise.

I am not writing of events nor even of his pictures in their chronological order. To do the latter would now be almost impossible, though if needful I could do so approximately. It is not necessary, since, from first to last, his work was distinguished by about equal merit.

Compelled to end abruptly today through pressure of other matter, I shall give interesting and amusing particulars next week.


DURING a number of years, Daniels had a very large and lofty studio in Richmond-row, Everton, in premises that are now a Dispensary. The spacious hall was reached by a flight of steps in the street, which steps were flanked by plinths, on which were two lions couchant. In frolic, a friend sent him, from another county, a letter that bore a drawing of this doorway, with only the following address:-

Good postman, pause with this before
Two lions couchant by a door
In Richmond Row;
Daniels inside that lion's den,
A1 of artists, he, and men
His like all Liverpool again
May never know,

and that it reached him was always a matter of wonder to the painter. That he kept the silly envelope over a period of seventeen years, and on his death-bed returned it to the sender, is only one instance amongst very many of the high appreciation of "trifles light as air" that he thought clever in other men, this surpassing genius, who was so wonderfully modest concerning his own really great attainments.

It was in this building that he painted some of his finest works :- "Othello and Iago," " Shylock," and " Bonnivard," the prisoner of Chillon.

The last named picture (painted for, and now the property of William Somerville, Esq., of Leicester) is the artist's chef d'oeuvre. It depicts the old man with long, white, matted hair, long nails, and through all his misery watching with interest the gambols of a mouse that plays around a jug that is supposed to contain water. I have seen many spectators shed tears before that picture.

The "Shylock," a huge upright painting of splendid quality, was originally intended for the sign of a tavern - now the"Opera House" in Williamson-square - but the grand character, dignity, and excellence of the work changed its destiny, and it now graces (or recently did grace) a private gallery.

The Jew that Shakspeare drew " is there depicted to the life. He is before the Venetian Court ; rage and dismay in every line of his grand cruel face; his nerveless hands letting fall the knife and scales wherewith he sought to cut off and weigh the coveted "pound of flesh." A green cloth is on the floor, and on a raised dais on the right; and the hand of Portia (the "learned doctor" being supposed to stand upon the dais), pointing with command. Prismatic light from stained glass windows streams across the picture and falls upon the floor. Perhaps there is not a more noble single-figure picture than this inthe world. The. Jew is Daniels himself, only with greater curvature of nose. The Israelitish character is perfect.

"Vere did you get de nose, Mishter Daniels?" enquired a spectator, a Hebrew gentleman, of the artist. "Out of my imagination." he replied " There is not a Jew in Liverpool with a nose that is fit to paint."

"Othello and lago" is also an immense upright canvas, and represents the battlements of Cyprus, with the wily lago (James Lout was the model) furtively eyeing the noble Moor (Daniels), who, resting on the left foot, leans backward, with his clenched right hand raised in execration. The rage of the Moor is absolutely terrible to behold, and the anatomy of the figure is perfect. Many surgeons have testified to Daniels' knowledge and faultless depiction of the anatomy of the human frame. He had studied physiology as a science, besides labouring long and lovingly, painting from the antique masterpieces of sculpture. The right foot of the Venetian general rests upon the toes, and this bent foot is so painted that a spectator might think he could pass a stick under the raised heel. The visitor above-named had brought with him a friend in the person of a consequential and perky little briefless barrister, who used to wear a huge and slovenly wisp of white cravat, and walk to and fro daily, between the Library and his residence, carrying a pile of books, the perusal of which might have served an ordinary person with six months' reading matter, and this Mr. Briefless - who confessed that he could not draw, "except a cork, sir " - gave his opinion with amusing freedom, and glibly declared that the raised foot of Othello could be improved by some little alteration that he suggested, and forthwith the little fellow seized from a shelf a lump of chalk about as big as his head, wherewith to correct the drawing. This was too much for the artist, who called to him, excitedly, that if he touched the painting with that lump of chalk, he would snap him across his knee, like a carrot, when Briefless and his friend retired with much more haste than dignity.


Only a long intimacy with Daniels could warrant a writer in penning his life, for he was always remarkably reticent about himself and his career, and this arose from real modesty and a diffident shrinking from publicity. On his death-bed he told me more than I had ever heard from him before, and at his family's request I have ventured to pen this long-contemplated but hastily-written memoir.

Like George Morland, whom he in many ways resembled, he was too diffident ever to offer his works for sale, except to old friends, preferring to let a dealer effect one, and have half the money sometimes, rather than try himself to do so.

This sensitiveness begot in him a contempt for and foolish scorn of "trade or business haggling", which resulted in his so frequently working for "friends" and "patrons" in their own homes, his friends and patrons being, too frequently, publicans and brewers, or their connections, who aspired to have souls above malt and hops, or who were, more frequently, of a speculative turn, and who saw that in employing such a man, they were making very snug investments indeed.

Amongst "the trade" his pictures are largely held, and they were often paid for in wretchedly small sums, mere driblets, that were useless to him as a family man, or when the picture was finished a balance was struck by the production of the tapster's bill for "refreshments supplied," the charges for such refreshments totting up to a total that staggered the artist, who had no idea that he had been so "powerfully refreshed." After that, it is only fair to say that some of the best friends he ever knew were spirit dealers, hotel keepers, and such like, but that was chiefly in his latter years.

One glorious picture painted by him was his wife as Mistress Ford (Merry Wives of Windsor). She was depicted looking out of an open casement around which climbing roses clustered, and the arch expression of the features made it a splendid bit of character; whilst it was throughout a work of rare beauty. Not very long ago it was offered at auction, but the picture had been ignorantly tampered with, the clear, sparkling blue eyes being painted a staring black.

His joyous pictures were not many; sorrow and poverty seeming to possess a fascination for him. In Richmond Row he produced a noble picture called "The Widow." It represented a handsome young woman sorrowfully gazing on a miniature portrait of an officer in the army, with her beautiful orphan babe upon her breast. It was not easy when looking on that painting to repress tears, so broken-hearted did the woman look, and the sorrowfulness of the situation was aggravated by the unconsciousness of the joyous little child. Upon this picture a friend of the artist's wrote the following:-

A widowed young mother in solitude sits
In a poverty-haunted room,
And a terrible agony evermore flits
Through her brain in the gathering gloom
A gloom that resembles her darkened fate,
For the world acts a merciless part,.
Her poor infant is pressed to a dry-drained breast
Under which throbs a breaking heart.
One relic of days unlike to this
Is preserved nigh that heart through all,
'Twas his gift in their love's first dawning bliss,
'Tis her comfort in this dark thrall,
O'er his picturcd form on the ivory traced,
Hcr scalding tears oft will start,
"Oh, would I were coffined, and thou, my babe,
And this locket upon my heart."

The incident related in my last chapter, when little Mr. Briefless and his friend Shelpme were frightened out of the studio which they had invaded without invitation, was the occasion of some hilarity, and, a caller producing a "pocket pistol," and another, presently afterwards, a bottle, the excited artist joined his friends in a carouse. He had been making efforts to be very temperate, and took his little drops of rum out of an apothecary's ruled glass, being exceedingly careful that the liquor should not exceed his prescribed quantity, as, glancing across the glass against the light, if the dram exceeded the quantity by so much as the thickness of a sixpence above the line, he returned the excessive quantity into the bottle, On this occasion he was not over particular about the measure, and got "powerfully refreshed," as he called it. It was a winter's evening, and when his friends deemed.it time to return homewards, they walked across the vast room, along the corridor, and. down the stairs, Daniels, who remarked that the night was as "dark as a stack of black cats," remaining behind to extinguish the lights. Presently a heavy fall was heard, and it loud muffled cry, and back rushed the gentleman into tbe dark room, where the voice of Daniels' was heard as if in the vault beneath. There was a trap-door in the room, and it was feared that he had fallen through it to the great depth beneath. All was consternation, and the noise continued until a light was obtained, when, lo, the painter lay prostrate on the floor, flattened by the huge, heavy picture of " Shylock" that he had overturned in the dark. Had it been Antonio that the Jew. was "down upon," that Merchant of Venice could not have roared more lustily than did Daniels, who, with a flattened hat, was released, and the Jew was set up again as before.


If some local painters, through mistaking the man, and self-appointed art-leaders, tried to ignore Daniels, literary men
did not, as the following sonnet will prove:-


A godlike form, pass'd thro' this dreary earth,
Bestowing gifts all rare and beautiful
'Twas her's to fill her mission dutiful,
Amongst the sons of men upon their birth,
To one she gave as precious gem of worth
That which to her appear'd most suitable -
A strain of Melody, immutable-
And ever since of song there's been no dearth,
Poetic Fires another claimed as dow'r,
And one the gilt of speech, most eloquent,
Yet in reserve she held her noblest pow'r,
Till swift to thee, with smile all redolent
She came, and fondly bade thee use below,
The Art to make dull canvas all a-glow!

I have mentioned that the artist associated with all manner of men, and whilst he tolerated professional fighting-men, and such like, perhaps because they were sometimes his models, he better loved the society of quiet and intellectual persons. The author of the above sonnet; which is near, the true Petrarchan model, is Frederic Sherlock, Esq.; a well-known litterateur author of "Illustrious Abstainers" and a score of books besides, a teetotaller from birth, an editor, and a gentleman connected with Church and Sunday School matters, and social reform in every direction. Daniels' respect for opinions that did not always accord with his own was observable in his regard for Mr. Sherlock, whose sonnet is cut from a newspaper, (the Prescot Reporter) of December 17th, 1876.

I have received a communication from a lady at whose house Daniels painted, painting the lady, her husband, and two daughters, as models, The lady sat to him as a nun several times, and the gentleman as fishermen, smokers, etc. The letter is so circumstantial, and admirably written that I cannot do better than give the writer's own words.

Seacombe, Cheshire.

Dear Mr. Editor.
Mr. R-, wishes me to state to you that Mr. Daniels was our guest, and Mrs. Daniels also, for upwards of six months; during which time we learned something of each other.

My first impression of the gentleman - biassed perhaps by what I had. heard of him - was that he was morose, irascible, inclined to infidel principles, drunken, and altogether impracticable, but l shortly found that this was but the outer shell. That once broken, the innate good qualities of the man became discernible.

Devoted heart and soul to his art, he had the most profound veneration for the great, the good, the beautiful, and the sublime.
He endeavoured to find, an outlet for his feelings in the works of nature only, and

"To look through nature up to nature's God,"

but in the early part of his career he had become acquainted with some hypocrites who used the cloak of religion to cover, their greed and dishonesty and these unfortonately gave him a distaste for religion, and when we first knew him, like Bunyan's "Old Honest," he was declaring that there was no future.

The Bible he was acquainted with, but only used his knowledge, for purposes of controversy. The New Testament he ignored altogether, but gradually his ideas of religion underwent a change. The universal Sovereignty of Christ was a sore point with him, though his scruples on that subject also were done away with before he died, giving place to a sure and steadfast hope.

He was a man who, had he been placed in different circumstances, and amongst other surroundings, would have made his mark in Biblical illustration. So much for his impiety. Regarding the "drunkeness" of which many have had so much to say; for four months he never touched intoxicants, with the exception of one glass of spirits and water before going to bed

During the time he was with us, he painted "An Oyster Woman," and "The Sailor's Sweetheart," these belong to Mr. Somerville, of Leicester, a "Candlelight," the property of Mr. Keith, of Liverpool; "A Nun," and another of similar subject, lamplight pictures, and through some pique he painted these out. Mr. T. Haigh obtained a "Lady Abbess" that he painted at this time, and Mr. Kerr the "The Shells, Vase, and Mouse," that was hung at the Autumn Exhibition of 1875. A "Cottage Interior," unfinished, a beautiful bit of colour, and: wonderfully fine as: to light and shade, Mr. J. S. Eastham has. "The Recluse" was stolen from him by Mr. ---, "The Cottage Girl" became the property of Mr T. Haigh. and Mr. William Dawbarn has the "Irishman," A picture that Mr. Daniels painted, at this time representing a "Fisherman" holding up an entire ray fish, apparently offering it in payment for his entertainment. Mr. R. was the sitter. This picture cannot be traced. He took it to town, left it somewhere; and never could remember where. "The Young Philosopher" was never finished. In a frenzy, at a later period, he cut it, and it remains with several others at Mr. Jude's . His picture of a "Waitress," principally painted for its light and shade, is also unfinished, and was also similarly lost.

Although so busy, Mr. Daniels respected our feelings and would never paint on a Sunday, which day he spent in reading the "Pilgrim's Progress," "Young Night Thoughts." "The Course of Time," " Josephus " etc.

He was kind and courteous and entirely truthful himself, and could not tolerate a lie. Though sometimes severely tried, he bore his trials with patience, but remember ! not when he was tipsy. Then the coarser nature supervened when he was contradicted, and he would be dominant.

He was extremely tender towards defenceless animals, and would run into any clanger rather than see them maltreated, a state of things highly appreciated by a little King Charles spaniel belonging to our young people. It used to go into his studio every day to beg for sweets, and it never begged in vain, as he kept a pocketful of them for the purpose.

I think you will be pretty well tired now, so, dear Sir, I conclude by subscribing myself,
Yours very Respectfully,
M. A. R.


I HAVE before mentioned Daniels' love of tobacco, all his pictures appear to me to smell of it, and his painting room (he would never call it, nor have it called "studio") was redolent of the " herb of grace " as a tobacconist's shop, and his Rembrandt-like pictures, so richly brown, seemed to have been tinged with, the colour of his darling sunbeam-concentrating weed, Nicotia's leaf. Not that his pictures were all brown. He had a wonderful eye for colour, and unlike other artists, Daniels laid a pallette that varied according to the subject he proposed to paint. All other artists whom I ever knew, or know, laid or lay down a palette, their speciality. George Morland did so; his colours being invariably the same, and laid in the same order. A published tinted picture of Morland's palette, which has a history, was greatly prized by Daniels, and was given by him to imyself a few days before his death. It had hung in the mahogany frame of the drawing-board of his student days, and is therefore a double prize.

He used to say, " When I am glad I smoke with increased joy; when I am down (sad, down-hearted) a smoke can cheer me up a bit, for a cloud of tobacco smoke seems to dispel the clouds of care. Whenever I work I smoke; the more particular or trying my work, the more I smoke. To face trouble, or a tough job, give me tobacco. It is better than grog; it picks me up, and never knocks me down.

Whilst on the subject of his love of Nicotian joys, I may mention a picture of a smoker by him, that was exhibited in the temporary gallery in. the Museum Rooms, Wilham Brown-street, Liverpool, Corporation Autumn Exhibition of 1875, of which glorious work of art, now the property of Willam Dawbarn, Esq., timber merchant, I find the following notice, cut from the Prescot Reporter, a remarkably able and very influential newspaper of wide circulation. Its art notices have been fuller, and more minute and exhaustive than those of any other provincial paper, and have attracted notice very widely, and proved to be of great interest and weight.

"No. 295 is a wonderful painting called "Candle-light," an effect in which the artist, our townsman, William Daniels, shines, we might say excels. The illumination of the picture is marvellously true and effective, and the single figure represented is absolutely life-like, cut him, and you might think that he would bleed. He is a smoker, a man in humble life, seated by a table, upon which is a candle-stick, with lighted taper, and at the flame of this the man is lighting his pipe. You might throw a coin into the saucer of that candle-stick, it is apparently so hollow, and it is so like metal that you might think the coin would ring in it. The flame looks as if it would burn the hand that touched it, and the illumination of the face and figure, is perfect. Look at the admirable expression of the smoker's face, and the mirthful twinkle of his eyes, as if listening to some jovial fellow, like King Artaxominus, "moistening his clay, and puffing off his cares, and, telling some mirth-inspiring story."

Mr. Robson was the artist's model for this picture.

I have by me, a large number of newspaper critiques, each containing the highest commendation of the artist's work, every picture he exhibited - they were not, many - having been received with acclamation.

My every remembrance of Daniels is in connnection with pipes and tobacco. A stick of good cavendish was always welcome to him and he sliced and shredded it with deliberate care, and rubbed it gently between his palms and, patted it, and gathered it up tenderly in his fingers as if it were some animal he loved, and smelt at it daintily as if it were a flower.

A generous-hearted fellow, he loved to share his Nicotian joys and no non-smoker was so welcome to him as was a man who would join him in a cheery pipe, and help to blow a cloud. He smoked indoors and out, morning, noon and night, and he even smoked in bed. He smoked whilst he held his palette and got his brushes ready, - whilst he placed his easel and his sitter, and then, laying down pencils and palette, he slowly and carefully shook out the ashes, adjusted the sod, filled his pipe to the brim and lighted it, and, resuming palette and brushes, as the fragrant cloud curled about his nose, he cast a keen, searching, eagle-like glance - a gaze that seemed to penetrate the sitter - and fired away at pipe and picture.

He saw everything through "tobacco" smoke," it was to him a second atmosphere. His clothes smelt of tobacco, especially that easy black velvet coat seen in our wood cut, which garment he always wore latterly, when at work, and which as a special mark of favour, he insisted on me wearing when sitting for a picture, discarding the more regulation garment.

He never worked, save on one occasion, without a pipe in his mouth. He had no pride in pipes, it was the "weed " he 1oved, and a clay "cutty" contented him.

The exception I speak of was on the occasion of painting Lady Walmsley's portrait, a remarkably noble work. It was a full length. The stately lady was represented standing on the steps of a terrace in a garden, and the glorious picture was painted at the residence of Sir Joshua, Allerton Hall.

He would seldom carry his canvas and colour box, and this large canvas he refused to carry. Sir Joshua had called upon him, bringing his carriage to convey him to his home, and said - "Now, Daniels, bring your canvas," which the painter refused point blank to do, when Sir Joshua shouldered it, laughing, and took it to the footman on the box

The lady was imperious, and the artist, always deferential and very polite, (when quite sober) abstained from his beloved weed until nature would no longer bear the privation. He told her ladyship one day, when the picture was finished, so far as the face was concerned, that it was his custom to smoke at work, and politely, apologetically, even humbly, asked permission to light his pipe. He was a dainty smoker, used good tobacco, never (when quite sober) raised a dense vapour, like "cloud-councelling Jove", and the appartment was a large one, but the 1ady refused to grant an interval for a smoke in the garden, and curtly and emphatically refused permission to the artist to light his pipe where he was. "Then," said he "I'll take the picture away and finish it where I can smoke." He shouldered it on the spot and, to the wonder of all who saw him carried it in his home. No entreaties could induce him to return, and after an interval my lady's white satin dress was forwarded to him; placed by him upon his lay-figure, and the picture was duly finished and sent home.

He smoked shortly before he died, and was frequently during his last illness solaced with a few whiffs.

With one instance of the man's humour I must conclude this chapter. He lived in a house in Cresswell Street, Everton, which had been built on the site of an old quarry, and the subsidence of the rubble wherewith the place had been filled up caused the house to settle down, so as to need shoring up at the back, and propping with beams. The floors were all out of level, as were the windows and doors. The doors had been cut away to admit of their opening, and showed wedge-shaped apertures above. Daniels had a whimsical love for the tumble-down premises as great as was his aversion to whitewash, and that prejudice went so far as his prohibting the whitewashing of the ceilings. His painting room was as black as Erebus, and thickly festooned with cobwebs, which he would not allow to be removed. He loved the spiders, and would not disestablish. them. In this ricketty house he died. Calling to read for him, as I did daily for some little time prior to his decease, I found him smoking.

"How are you today, Will?" I enquired. "I'm like the house," he said, with a twinkle in his eye, "gradually sinking."


DANIELS was of singularly easy disposition, careless of money, and overfree when he had it. He was generous and charitable. He was easily imposed upon, and frequently over-reached, and once disappointed and tricked when a picture was finished, he went away and tramped from town to town - partly induced thereto, maybe, because he had read of one of his idols, George Morland, having acted similarly - he slept in barns, and even under hedges, and travelled in canal barges, equally at home with all sorts of men.

Like Dickens, whom as an author. he loved so much, he went amongst and knew men of all classes - river boatmen, gipsies and gentlemen, costermongers and clergymen, authors and actors, rat-catchers, pedlars, poets, and painters, colliers and musicians, soldiers, tramps, and prize-fighters.

"The proper study of mankind is man,"

and Daniels loved to study men in every station of life.

His career was one of contrasts, and his endurance and philosophy were such that he was equally at home under all circumstances. He could take care of himself anywhere. He was a skilful boxer, and had put on the gloves with Jim Mace, Mat Robinson, Jem Ward, and, later, with Tom Sayers, and feared never a "pug" who ever "walked around to show his muscle."

Gentlemen of the P.R. at one time frequented a certain hostelry in Christian-street, where Daniels once found himself in their company, and the fellows, having heard of his talent as a painter (they had been his models, these athletes) and panting for fame through the exercise of his art, "I say, Mester Daniels," cried a husky-voiced professor of the "noble and manly art of self defence," with his eye in mourning, and a short pipe to match, "pose you was to paint us a little mill! a picter of us coves, the the size o' life, hevin' a set-to in our buff; a little scrap in Tom Crib's parlour; me a-landing Nobby Clark one, and lots o' claret, with the fancy a-looking on. It would make a lovely picter, and we would raise the blunt to pay for it; about a cart-wheel apiece, I s'pose." An offer that Daniels declined, not wishing to have his art crowned by patronage so liberal and so distinguished.

Sir Joshua Walmsley, at all times his friend and admirer, sometimes annoyed at him, but always forgiving, obtained for him a commission to paint another fighting man, no less distinguished a personage than the Duke of Wellington. Daniels attended at Apsley House, and had the honour of a sitting from the hero of Waterloo, who, when the first "rub-in" was accomplished, said, appointing his next sitting, "To-morrow, nine a.m., prompt." The artist bowed and retired, but, arriving ten tininutes late next morning, the Iron Duke refused to see him, and Daniels returned humbled and grieved, and he ever spoke of the incident afterwards with sorrow and regret.

"There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted all the voyage, of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries,"

and it is sad to think that his closed career might have been so much more honourably distinguished.


PAlNTING was not the artist's only accomplishment. I have mentioned that he modelled very early in life, and that during his boyhood he used to execute admirable carvings in wood with a common penknife. He was an accomplislied sculptor too, and once chiselled a huge stone that lay in his garden into a handsome bust. He was fond of busts, and had several -- Jupiter Apollo Diana, the Laocoon, and Clytie - which he treated with almost reverential admiration. Other busts he had too, one of his old friend Dr, Rogerson, a skilful surgeon, a clever all-round man; and a character and one of himself, executed by his early friend, J. A. P. Macbride, a sculptor of repute, and in a whimsical freak at some time he had pierced these busts at the lips and had inserted short pipes there, the doctor's bust having on its handsome nose a pair of old-mounted spectacles, the old gentleman's habit whilst he lived.

The bust of himself was once very near causing his death through an accident which happened in this wise:- It stood upon a bracket over a sofa, and on this sofa, which had a very strong spring seat, was placed a tall picture-frame resting against the wall. Daniels was seated on this sofa, and, rising suddenly, the cushion, relieved of his weight, tilted up the frame, which struck the bracket and caused, the heavy bust to topple forward on to Daniels head. It was a blow tbat would have killed a man of ordinary physique, and Daniels was severely hurt by it.

One of his pictures was the wonder and admiration of all who saw it; as which was not? I allude to the "Gold Fish," not the one with a child looking at the gleaming swimmers, but the second, and immesurably superior one that has in it a black cat gazing with flashing eyes at the fish. lt was exhibited at the Liverpoo1 Corportion exhibition in 1876, held in the rooms of the Museum and thereby hangs a tale. Before relating it I will quote a critique that appeared concerning it. Many a loving pipe did Daniels smoke over that picture, until it might seem that the table-cloth and curtains depicted there were impregnated with the fragrance of the weed. This is the critique:-

"How shall I approach William Daniels picture of "Gold Fish," (No:487) or having approached how quit the theme? In the first place let me say that the difficulties inseparable from picture hanging are much greater than generally supposed, and that, where a very large number of pictures have to be hung in rooms not specially, or even well adapted to the purpose, many must suffer through being placed to their disadvantage. But this is so exceptional a picture, that room should have been made for it on line. That it is where it is is a public scandal: everybody cries shame on those who stuck this here-unmatched work of art upon the floor in a dark corner of the vestibule. True, it is not for sale; but surely the committee are not influenced by considerations of "commission!" Let it be borne in mind that several pictures now upon the line are wholly unworthy of such distinction; this also is widely commented on, and with bitter sarcasm. Notwithstanding the simplicity of subject in the picture under notice, it is undeniable that it holds its own amongst the best upon the walls; and there are many truly splendid works of art there. Not one so finely finished a picture hangs upon these walls. Probably we have all read that "Art, without sentiment or story and merely mechanical, is but a tinkling cymbal, however richly gilt." That may be urged by some against Daniels' picture. Well, there is no "gilding" or gaudiness about it, and, the execution is the reverse of mechanical. If it is not characterised by loftiness of subject, according to some persons' ideas, let us look at what is represented; see how the subject is treated, and how depicted; forgetting not another dictum of some authority, to the effect that "Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle."

"Considered thus, no subject if perfectly carried out, can truly be pronounced trifling or meagre. Judge this picture of "Gold Fish," and say if anything could be more perfect. "Powerful as reality it is, and yet, smooth as a mirror. There is not a brushmark visible. It contains nothing out of place, nothing artificial in treatment or manner, nothing obtrusive or unduly prominent, and it lacks nothing, It is marvellous in realism, perfect in keeping, and minute in detail without minuteness being prominent. That is the lofty and only true art which conceals art.

"To describe it as an auctioneer's catalogue would, it is simply this: "One window curtain of maroon-coloured cloth, one green cloth table cover, one glass globe with fish, and one painters palette with mahl-stick and sundry brushes. Simple features for a picture; and yet what a picture it is! Against this green cloth rests the maul-stick; on the table lies the palette, with colours and brushes; and beside the palette is a globe of water - really (apparently) a globe of glass, really (apparently) filled with water: Midway across that globe (from front to back) are two gold fish. They are unconscious of danger, though danger is nigh. A black cat is mounted on the table with excited flashing eyes, as, she sees the gleaming creatures float lazily across their limited aqueous home, or dip, with elegantly curving body and bending trauslucent fins. Observe that indistinct shimmering of gold upon the surface of the water, the golden gleam on the side of the bowl, and the life-like look of the graceful finny creatures that really seem to move, and certainly to be in the water that so unmistakeably fills the globe. The tone of that globe alone is a triumph of colouring. And then, look at that window (not in the picture), mirrored, opposite house-tops and all on the exterior surface of the globe.

"The picture is lighted from that unseen window. Mark its repeated reflection inside and near the bottom of the globe, and then again note the reflection, distorted this time by the surface upon which it falls on the base or stand of the globe. Look at the light thrown literally through the water upon the table, whence a reflection of the green cloth is cast upward, upon the paler scales of the larger fish; and having noticed the reality of this, and its poetical treatment, say if anything ever surprised and charmed you more than this wonderful picture, this marvellous work of art. And this gem is hung as much as possible out of the way, in the dark. Not of purpose, I trust. No one will hold members of the Corporation-to whom art, artists, and the art-loving community are now-a-days much indebted in Liverpool - blameable in this matter. But they should see fair play. Who must bear the blame? For wrong has been done, and not with regard to this picture only - not by very many. Surely it cannot be necessary to recommend to the hanging committee, the following advice for their guidance:- "In art respect ability, disregarding mere respectabilty;" or to remind the hangers, "clothed in a little brief authority," that

Might may be right for a passing day,
But right is might for ever and aye."


The way in which the picture described had been treated by the Hanging Committee very greatly and righteously incensed the artist, he believing that the way in which it was placed was an intentional affront, and he determined to resent it. None of his pictures were ever well placed at the Liverpool Corporation Autumn Exhibitions, and he felt that he was disliked by the committee, and there was no love lost on his part.

His studio was at this time in the top room of a lofty building in Castle-street, Liverpool, and to this place he invited the gentlemen of the Hanging Committee. There were some wary old soldiers amongst them, and they fought shy of the proffered engagement, but one, whom I will call Longford, innocent of any wrong to him no doubt, innocently wended his way to the studio of the indignant and chafing artist. Arrived at the top of the last staircase, and modestly and gently tapping at the door, a stentorian voice within cried "Come in," and in he went. Danicls no sooner saw whom it was than, dropping his pencils and palette, he sprang fiercely to the door, and, placing his back against it, demanded in a voice of thunder and with flashing eyes:- " Are there any more of you beggars ?" N-n-no stammered Longford, who perceived that he was in the angry lion's den. "That's a pity," growled the artist and then he thundered furiously:- "What did you mean by using my picture with such indignity as you did?" The affrighted visitor - an amiable and very quiet gentleman - had probably heard Sidney Smith's saying, that "Committees have neither souls to be saved nor bodies to be kicked," but now began to doubt the latter part of the sentence, feeling that he was in a very likely way to have it disproved on his own person. "You are a nice Hanging Committee-man!" cried Daniels, scowling, and in tones of withering contempt, and then, "You soon will be," he roared, furiously, "Do you see the rope over that beam? You will be a Hanging Committee-man at the end of it in a brace of shakes, by Gog and Magog you will, and then I'll fling your carcass through the window."

It was now poor Longford's turn to roar, and he did so right lustily, but no help came, and Daniels went across deliberately, as if to adjust the rope, saying:- " I"m sorry all the other beggars did not come. By Gog and Magog, if I had them here I'd hang up the whole bunch of them, like a rope of onions."

Never had Longford moved with such preciptancy as that with which he now darted to the door, -- never did a trapese-flier bound with greater agility than the Hanging Committee-man did down stairs and into the street, pale, panting, and palpitating, escaped, as he thought from the jaws of death.

Daniels had seen the man's terror and anguish, and his almost demented condition, and, though in a towering passion, had perceived the ludicrous side of the episode so he walked from the door to permit the poor fellow to escape.

Whether he and his fellows had the grace to return thanks for deliverance from great peril, I know not but it was a narrow escape.

The intelligence of the awfully sudden death of Mr. William Dawbarn reaches me as I write. The deceased gentlemen was a great admirer of Daniels as an artist, and, introduced to him by the good offices of Mr. W. H. Jude, served him greatly in a great emergency. Daniels was careless in money matters, never kept books, or very indifferently: believing other men to be as honest as himself, he had no distrust, and so did business carelessly. During many years the artist was intimately connected with the late John Williams, an engraver, a licentised victualler, a picture dealer. Daniels painted the "Gold fish," and other pictures, at Williams's house, the Opera Tavern, Williamson-square, and he was indebted to John Williams a man of extensive information, rare taste, and great judgment in art, for many valuable hints and suggestions, and Williams frequently sat to him as a model, notably as "The prisoner of Chillon," for the artist's chef d'oevre, the property of William Somerville, Esq., of Nottingham.

Williams, being deserted by Daniels, who had found other patrons, Mr. Dawbarn being one, sued the painter for a large sum of money alleged to be due, and Daniels could neither dispute the debt nor pay it, when Mr. Dawbarn generously met the demand, Mr. Martin Brown, Solicitor, arranging the matter to the satisfaction of all parties, and Daniels painted several noble pictures for Mr. Dawbarn after that - two large groups of Mr. Dawbarn's intimate friends, a superb candle-light picture of "A Fisherman," three religieuses, some family portraits, &c., and honourably repaid the large sum advanced.

Mr. Dawbarn exercised a wholesome restraining influence on the painter, took him to Wisbeach and on other friendly tours, and was in all ways his true unostentatious friend, which Daniels ever gratefully acknowledged, and the now dead merchant paid kindly visits to the dying painter daily up to the last.


I CANNOT dismiss the gold-fish picture without quoting a brief critique that appeared concerning it in a leading contemporary. It is from the pen of a venerable artist-critic, whose art notices are considered of great weight and importance.*

" No.487, 'Gold Fish.' William Daniels. A splendid work, from one of the most able men in art Liverpool ever produced. This picture ought to be studied by anyone wishing to know what true and legitimate art is. Here are no brush marks, and we are quite sure no one could say they could improve it. Here the subject appears to the eye from the picture exactly as it would appear in nature. But there are higher principles involved in the production of this singular work than the handling of the material. Here is a glass globe of water, and two fish in it. Now, the fish are inside the globe: we see their apparent motion. We see the water in the globe, and we see through the water, and the opposite side of the globe through all. It is simply marvellous. There is something approaching to magic in it. There is no flourish of the hand to show who or what did it. The painter is not there: the palette is. The glass globe is there with all that it contains, but how that near surface of glass was produced, and all in it and beyond, is a miracle of art known only to the exalted genius that created it."

And that miracle of art was placed in a dark recess, upon the floor, where it could only be seen by the visitor going close to it on his knees, and then imperfectly, on account of the gloom.

I see elsewhere:- "In a gloomy corner we come upon a splendid painting by Daniels. It is placed below a daub that should be sold like calico, at three farthings per yard."

After all this no one can say with truth that my strictures on the hanging-committee were too severe, or that the artist's angry conduct was to be wondered at. I find in another paper, about the same period this, after the Petrarchan model:-


When rainbows fade and leave but gloom behind;
In summer, when sweet Nature's darlings die;
Light, when it pales and fades along the sky-
Losses at which souls ever have repined-
In such hours, Art, magician-like, can find
A power all glories to revivfy,
Making them live once more to charm the eye,
Delight the heart and elevate the mind.
All the grand past on canvas breathes again,
No feature lost of what hath ceased to be
Immortal Fame repeats her stirring strain
Ever great thoughts, great deeds, renewed we see;
Light of days gone beams yet, nor yet will wane,
So does thy grand art shine, and long shall tell of thee."


THE lamented death of Mr. William Dawbarn will shortly throw open to public compctition a number of very fine paintings by Daniels, viz :- "Macbeth," seen by the glare of the witches' cauldron fire ; Mr. James Hargreaves was the model "The Card-players," a remarkably fine group ; "The Fisherman's Home," a candle-light picture of the highest merit, "The Street Musician," a dark complexioned girl with an accordion, sheltering in an archway, looking up piteously at the falling sleet ; "A Sister of Charity," the model being the mother of a lady pupil of the artist ; and " Ironing Day," a portrait of Mrs. Daniels, pausing in her ironing of the clothes to put a tea-cup to her lips. Mr. Dawbarn had several other pictures by Daniels, that do not appear in Messrs. Walker, Ackerley, and Co.'s, published list.

One of the artist's pictures hangs in the club room at "The Clock" inn, London-road, a huge canvas, on which is painted "The Friar of Orders Grey," for which subject Mr. Condliff sat. The jovial old friar elevates a glass, pledging a toast, his rubicund face glowing with enjoyment. The picture was exhibited at the Royal Academy, and attracted great notice as the work of a "country" artist, and one piece of criticism annoyed the painter not a little, the critic pointing out that the friar should have held a horn cup, and not a glass goblet, in which the critic was undoubtedly right.

A portrait of Jem Ward, by Daniels, hung many years upon the wall of the billiard room in a public house in Williamson-street, and was recently sold by Mr. Tabley, for the sum of fifty pounds, though the surface of the picture was sadly cut here and there by being struck and scraped with the harsh chalked tips of the cues carricd around the board by the billiard players. Another picture in the room represented the late John O'NeilI, billiard-table maker, a licenced victualler in Houghton-street, a genial man, and a good amateur actor. His house was during many years the resort of professionals (actors), literati, and public men. John is represented on the canvas in the act of playing billiards,. a bright-looking boy, the bil1iard-marker, standing near him holding the bridge, and watching the player. This picture has been ignorantly spoken of as a portrait of the artist.

An early picture painted by Daniels had for subject "Washing the baby," portraits of Mr L Daniels, and their daughter Mary, now in Boston, U.S.A, which splendid work of art became the property of Humphrey Roberts, Esq., timber merchant, of Liverpool. Gazing on that picture spectators used to say they fancied they could hear the baby cry.

Of one of the pictures above-mentioned; that called "The Fisherman's Home," I find this notice in a newspaper of the time when it was exhibited at the new Walker Art Gallery:-

For a real gem of a picture, see - if you can see it at that height - William Daniels' "Fisherman." There are breadth, roundness, admirable colour, texture, form, splendid candle-light effect, everything that such a subject could be made to embrace. What a capital subject the man is, and how real are his costume and surroundings. He seems to be alive, seated there, pledging some friend, with his earthenware cup elevated, his face full of animation, and his pipe in his left hand; and all this literally illuminated, as it seems, by the light behind that creel, through the wicker-work of which bright rays pierce here and there. This wonderful work is 'skied.' It is not here for sale but 'to do honour to the Mayor,' it having been brought from the collection of one of our merchant princes. If Daniels' picture representing light cast through stained glass* had not been rejected, we should have seen a marvellous contrast to the crude daub just under it, but on the line, where paint cans appear to have been spilt upon the pavement." +

This was in November, 1877. The sitter for the the "Fisherman"' was Mr. Robson, Egremont, Cheshire.

* Portrait of Mrs Seymour, as a nun, reading, chromatic light cast through lattice window, on book, and white linen.
+ "Sanctuary," by Eyre Crowe


IN addition to the pictures included in Messrs. Walker, Ackerly and Co's preliminary announcement, several other paintings by Daniels are likely to be offered for sale, either at the same time, or at some other early date, notably a group of figures in a sylvan scene; a male figure, one of a lad, and a child's, with a dog, all perfectly life-like; which noble work the artist did not live to finish, though it lacks only very little of completion, and need never lie touched by another hand, as it surely should not if it were mine.

The public should be put on their guard as to the possibility of fraud being practised on purchasers now that an active demand has arisen, or, rather, been stimulated; there have been a number of copies executed, and others are being turned out daily, so that anyone buying a picture set forth as a genuine Daniels, should require to know its history. For some of these copies has been demanded about six times the sum that the artist received for the original picture, and of course there is no comparison between the original and the copy. If one is worth a hundred pounds, some of the copies are scarcely worth as many pence. This is a matter on which I may have occasion to say much more, as it is a wrong to the dead painter's reputation as an artist, and it is at the same time an attempted fraud on the public.

Years ago there was a large canvas on the wall of a tavern in Dale-street (now Rigby's), a full length character portrait of the late W. J. Hammond,, comedian, father of the ever-youthful-and-jolly local brewer of that name, who, with much resemblance to his father, and some to Douglas Jerrold, his uncle, possesses some sparks of his father's histrionic fire. It was a picture of Sam Weller, as first seen in the Belle Sauvage yard, polishing his boot, and chaffing the chamber maid in the gallery. Whether that picture has been preserved I know not, but it is of interest, and of value, and might be included in a forthcoming exhibition of the artist's works, which it was the intention of the late William Dawbarn to promote. I hope that the project may not be allowed to drop; I will gladly assist in it, and I trust these lines may induce many holders of the dead master's works to offer the loan of them for the purpose. It will enhance the value of every picture exhibited; it will enable visitors to appreciate how great a genius the world has lost; and many Liverpudlians may learn for the first time that one of the most noble painters of this or any age was their townsman: a man who lived and wrought in comparative obscurity, avoiding publicity and shrinking from the commendation that he so richly merited.


WHILST no artist ever bestowed more exquisite finish on a picture than Daniels did (when he did finish), he was fond of freaks in painting, occasionally dashing off a sketch in a few minutes, and that, sometimes, without the aid of a brush. Returning from the theatre one evening, where he had witnessed a prison scene that struck his fancy, he took his palette from the wall, where, without removing the colours, he had hung it some six hours before, and looked about for a canvas, panel, or stout board whereon to place the picture that was in his mind. A school slate, belonging to one of his grandchildren, lay handy, and he hastily dashed in the subject, using his fingers for pencils, and produced a picture (now in the writer's possession) that is gloomy, vague, and awful. The scene is the interior of a dungeon, with moonlight streaming through an iron-barred window aloft, illuminating a noble figure in rich flowing robes, with a drooping female figure at his feet. The draperies are finely disposed, the composition is admirable, and the group is dignified and touching. In the semi-darkness beyond is seen the headsman, awaiting his victim. The dignity of the principal figure, the despair of the woman, and the splendid chiaroscuro make a picture that is most impressive and startlingly real.

Mr. Martin Browne, Solicitor, has a sketch of the kind, that is very admirable. lt was the property of the late John Williams, picture dealer, Hanover-street, and was by him disposed of to John Weightman, Esq., of Mount Vernon, Liverpool. Mr. Weightman, some years afterwards gave it to Walter J . Walker, a young artist, who presented it to Mr. Browne.

The sketch is known as "The Seven Touches," a few strokes of the brush that were very rapidly executed. It represents a woman seated by a table, or stand, knitting. On the table is a pile of fruit, and a paper lantern, with a light inside, which illuminates the figure, the table, and the placarded wall. It was done at the York Hotel, then kept by Jem Ward, the Champion of England, were an artist having boasted with what facility and in how few touches he could produce (or indicate) a picture, the trial was made, and Daniels, in a freak, produced this little sketch, which, if extremely crude, is full of excellent colour, and amazingly clever; his performance, in time and talent, leaving the boaster literally "nowhere."

I saw the veteran "Champion of England," a very superior man, considering his profession and surroundings, quite recently. He held "the belt," I think, at the time of an occurrence that is worth relating. "Jem" as he was called by all the world, conceived an intense liking for Daniels and his work, and, ambitioning the skill to handle a pencil as well as he could his " bunches of fives," he would be a painter, and I have seen some of his productions in that line that were not contemptible. He had heard Daniels expatiate upon the glory of Turner's skies, and was fond of "lots of colour," like Claude, and like him affected sunsets. For his "effects" in these he drew upon his imagination, which bank, Daniels told him did not honour the cheque, so, giving him a check of another sort, our artist said, punctuating his sentence with his pipe :- " Look here, Jem, if you want to depict sunsets, go and see sunsets. No man can paint what he can't see ; and no one can see the sun set in Playhouse square. Take lodgings at Waterloo; watch the sun go down beyond the sea as often as you can, and study sunsets. Ward laid in a stock of brushes, canvases, and bags of bright colours, - there were no tubes then - and did as he was advised, returning in about a week with number of skies that would have made Claude and Turner stare. " Well Jem" said Daniels, when he saw the gladiator who had been wrestling with Sol, "How have you got on?" " Oh," replied the Genie of the Ring, " I know every sanguinary move in sunsets."


ON Wednesday last, July 6th, 1881, several pictures by Daniels, late the property of William Dawbarn, deceased, were offered for sale by Messrs. Walker, Ackerley & Co. They were:- "The Card Players," "The Nun," "Ironing Day," "The Fisherman's Home," and "Macbeth." They were all authenticated pictures, having been painted specially for the late William Dawbarn, so that there was no fear of their being copies, of which so many are knocking about. The paintings were dirty and unvarnished, so did not show at their best, but they attracted great attention, of course, much interest was evinced in the sale, and the competition was keen, though the prices realised were not large.

"The Card Players" was painted many years ago, and was not highly finished. The scene depicted was the interior of a pot-house, three men seated at a table, the artist, wearing a large wide-rimmed hat, one of them. He is about playing his knave, but a blacksmith, his brother, seated opposite, has the ace. A fourth figure stands behind the artist - a loafing, prowling sottish-looking, public-house cad - and he is signalling to Daniels' opponent what cards he holds.

"The Nun" depicts a young girl seated with folded hands, supposed to be gazing on a crucifix (not in the picture), whilst a curtain drooping on the left hides the lamp, the light of which vividly illuminates the face and figure of this youthful bride of the church. The light and shade are very admirably managed, and in the artist's characteristic manner.

Daniels could not be called a religious man, until near his end, and the number of devotional subjects and religeuses he painted is truly remarkable, perhaps the more so as the persons depicted are all members of a church to whose communion he never belonged.

"Ironing Day" depicts Mrs. Daniels, pausing in her work, lifting a tea-cup, and apparently speaking to the spectator. A long white stocking is lying on the blanket-covered table, the saucer, and a candle-stick, with lighted candle therein. Her flat-iron is on a wire-work stand; behind on the wall, hang the gridiron, candles, &c., and on a shelf above are other articles. On a wall beyond hangs a wooden clock, vulgarly called "wag o' the wall," and "sheep's head and pluck," and in the back wall is a window through which we see a wintry sky. The figure is attired in a neutral sort of lilac-coloured bed-gown, and white apron, wears spectacles, and a red patterned handkerchief on her head. The chiaroscuro of the picture is perfect, the figure seems alive, the spectacles really look like glasses before the eyes, the cup and saucer are so really round and hollow as not to look like painting, and the candle is apparently a real tallow dip, the portion near the frame seeming translucent, a subtle bit of observation, and admirably managed. The hand originally held a wine-glass, with a "sup of gin " in it, but Mrs. Daniels objected to being depicted as a tippler, so the tea cup took the place of the glass, and with improved effect. Daniels latterly called his wife "Dumpy;" she is short and somewhat stout. Dumpy objected to be represented indulging in juniper and jangle," he said.

"The Fisherman's Home," as it is now called, was originally entitled " The Fisherman." Perhaps Mr. Dawbarn wished to remove the fisherman from the tap room, and so called the place his home. On the deal table are a pipe, and a glass containing rum; they belong to someone not in the picture; a basket stands behind, and behind it is a candle, or lamp, the light seen between and around the wicker-work, vividly lighting one side of the man's face. He is roughly clad, wears his oil skin sou-wester, and raises a blue and white half-pint cup, pledging some companion, whilst he holds a short pipe in his left hand. It is a wild wintry night, as we see by the sky seen through a recessed window, in which stands a flower-pot with leafless geranium stalk; the clouds appear scudding across the sky, and the crescent moon is visible in the deep blue. The picture suggests the idea of a snug, warm, cosy, country ale house, and one might suppose the man about to sing

"It is the moon - I ken her horn,-
That's blinking in the lift sae hie,
She shines sae bright to wile us hame,
And by my sooth, she'll wait a wee."

The model was a worthy Scot, Robson by name, at whose house in Cheshire the picture was painted, and the six months passed there (where Daniels and his wife were guests) were diligently employed and happily spent ; it was a calm lull in his tempestuous life; a temperate one, and he there secured some of his best friends, who eventually soothed and cheered and blessed his dying days; his clever pupil, Miss Jane M. A. Robson, proving truly devoted to her great master, and attending him with pious zeal; her attentions to him being so unceasing that her health has suffered in consequence.

"Macbeth" is another of the Dawbarn pictures by Daniels. It is a large canvas, and the half-length figure is life size. The Thane of Glamis, returning from the battle field is accosted by the weird sisters on the Blasted Heath. He wears a helmet and breastplate of steel, and carries his "targe" upon his arm, gazing with eagle glance at the prophetic tempters who keep their words of promise to his ears but break them to his hope, saying to the juggling fiends:-

"Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more!
By Sinel's death I know I am thane of Glamis;
But how of Cawdor ? The thane of Cawdor lives,
A prosperous gentleman ; and, to be king,
Stands not within the prospect of belief,
No more than to be Cawdor. Say from whence
You owe this strange intelligence? or why
Upon this blasted heath you stop our way
With such prophetic greeting."

As the question is put, the witches vanish, and Macbeth's "fell of hair" seems "to rouse, and stir as life were in't."

There is great grandeur in the figure, which, with the face is suggestive of the artist's personnel; the gleam of the steel in the lashing rain and lightnings' glare is very fine; the stalwart warrior, fearless in fight, yet ''full o' the milk of human kindness," so soon to be lured to horrid deeds, despair and death, is painted to the life. It is a low toned, almost monotone picture, full of gloom and awe; splendid in drawing, roundness and texture, grandly true in expression, and perfectly free from aught theatrical.

There are two other paintings in the collection, one of a Mr. Breeze, a warehouseman, I believe, who affected Daniels' easy attire and long locks, and who, having some worldly means, liking art somewhat, perhaps, and being desirous of speculating therein, "patronised" Daniels, got a lot of his pictures, had a running account with the painter, and eventually differed with him as to how the account stood, when, Daniels resisting certain demands, he was sued by the warehouseman and by him put in jail. Daniels may have been mistaken, and probably was so, but he thought not, and, having as great an aversion to "compulsion" as ever Falstaff had, rather than meet what be believed to be an unjust demand, he went to jail, as he would have gone to the stake. Amiable always, and sometimes gentle as a child, he had the courage of a lion and resolution equal to that of all the old Roman heroes rolled into one.

In Walton Jail he painted many portraits and some noble pictures one, "Reading the News," of which I have a story to tell some day.

Another picture by Daniels, offered at this sale by Mr. Bosomworth, Junr., was a family group a lady dressed in blue skirt and jacket, with white satin vest, seated on a bank in a park, her little child by her side, in white frock a mastiff, a young boy in a crimson knickerbocker suit, and the father of the family (a well known local man) standing behind. The picture being unfinished, the family did not care to possess it, though the faces were finished indeed, there was very little finish required anywhere. It was not a picture of Mr. Dawbarn's family, hut that is needless to say; neither he nor his would have sold a family picture.

Yet another painting by Daniels, offered here, was called "Adversity," a small head of a child, her frock of dull red, and her crushed bonnet of faded green. The pretty child with flowing ringlets, brown eyes, and dimpled chin, looked like a glorious little bit by one of the old masters; the face appeared to be real flesh and blood, the general tone was rich, and the combination of colours harmonious. That child was Daniels' daughter Penelope, now Mrs. Priest.

This beautiful little picture brought only nine and a half guineas.

The head of Breeze (called "A Sailor") sketchy, and by no means at Daniels' best, was knocked down at fifteen guineas.

The pictures owned by Mr. Dawbarn, being authenticated, brought better prices: "The Card Players " was sold for sixty guineas; "The Nun," (Miss Lamb was the model) for fifty guineas; for "Ironing," the hammer fell at eighty guineas for "The Fisherman " at eighty-two guineas and for "Macbeth" at seventy guineas.


MY last chapter having proved interesting to many readers, who have thanked me for particulars concerning the Daniels' pictures, recently the property of the late William Dawbarn, I may please and interest many by saying a few words concerning the pictures submitted to public competition at the sale of the artist's effects, on the 6th day of December, 1880, when they were offered at Messrs. Walker, Ackerly & Co.'s galleries, Church-street, Liverpool, Mr. Whiteman presiding in the rostrum.

The few effects that were really the artist's realised only a very miserable sum (£38 14s. 2d), most of the pictures being brought from a pawnshop, where they had been stored many years, and, previous to the aution had been offered for sale by private treaty, where some of them were privately disposed of. Neither Daniels nor any of his family pawned those pictures, nor did any one ever pledge them for him, he said, but asserted always that they had been put away by some one secretly, I care not to say whom, the man is dead.

That the effects were so few, and the probable sum for which they would sell was so small, may have been the reason why a number of books, presentation copies from the authors to the artists, were included in the catalogue. They were "Literary Papers, by Thomas Craddick," "Illustious Abstainers, by Frederick Sherlock," and a volume of "Poems, by Robert Crompton, dedicated, by permission, to Charles Dickens," and these volumes were each and all inscribed by the writers with a few words to the illustrious painter. The prices realised were ridiculously low, as, though the books were all in conditon as good as new, lot 121, "Pope's Poetical Works, 2 vols., and Poems, by Robert Crompton," brought the large sum of four shillings. Lot 123, "Literary Papers, By Thomas Craddick, Rousseau, as descibed by himself and others, Outlines of Astronomy, and another," sold for six shillings and sixpence; and lot 124, "Goldsmith's Poetical Works, F. Sherlock's Illustrious Abstainers, The last of the Roman Tribunes, and another," actually realised so considerable a price as two shillings. Shakespeare's Dramatic Works, half-calf, brought seven shillings, Milton's Paradise Lost, Flowers of Literature, Essays, Plays, and another vol., went for eighteen pence. Busts of Shakespeare and Dr. Rogerson brought five shillings the two; two ancient masks, and one of David Garrick, sold for three-and-sixpence, and so forth; But the mask of the broken plaster bust, by Macbride, the face of Daniels, realised the sum of twenty-one shillings. The shells, the fish globe that he painted from, and a few other trifles sold for about their intrinsic value.

The oil paintings were:- "Old Wallasey Church Tower," a sketch, on panel, twelve shillings. "The Young Vagrant," an unfinished sketch, 36 by 27, twelve shillings. "Contemplation," only half the canvas worked upon, the other half containing a single head, 30 by 36, sold for six pounds ten shillings. Other lots followed here, pictures, not by Daniels, and this was the last of the property of the deceased artist.

Yet other pictures were offered - those from the pawnshop - and lot 180, "Portrait of a Lady and a Youth," was an interior, a fire-light scene, the late Mrs. John Williams being the Lady; she sitting near the fire place, the youth by her side, and the moon seen through the window: favourite contrasts and cross-lights of the artists. The painting, (upright, 30 by 24) brought seventy pounds.

Lot 181 was called "The Chess Players," an interior, with two men seated, playing the game, and a femalestanding by, looking on. The individuals in this picture were Breeze, (aforementioned) his wife, watching the game, and Breeze's brother-in-law, the other player.

It has been said, and in quarters where they should have known better, that the head called "A Sailor" in the recent sale, was a portrait of the artist. It is true; as I pointed out in my last chapter, that Breeze affected Daniels' long curling locks and his studied negligence of attire, and so this man with his shirt collar unbuttoned, is called "A Sailor," but that it is not a portrait of Daniels let anyone who knew him judge, and let them also compare the head with that of Breeze in "The Chess Players" picture and they will be convinced. It is not the form of Daniels' face, his expression, nor his complexion, and Daniels never made mistakes in drawing or in colour.

Lot 182 at this sale had for subject, "Bardolph," the Knight of the Burning Lamp; it was a hasty "rub in," and was knocked down at nine pounds ten shillings.

The next lot was one of the best pictures that even Daniels ever painted. It measured 14 by 10 only, but what a triumph of painting it was. Immediately it was displayed, the very numerous company were aroused to enthusiasm, exclamations and clapping of hands being general. It represented the artist, a half-length figure, as a Savoyard, the band over his shoulder and across his breast, together with the position of his arms showing that the subject is an organ-grinder; his swarthy complexion and upturned look, smilingly entreating coppers, made a picture that was admirable in character, as in tone and colour, roundness, texture, flesh-painting, and light and shade it has rarely been equalled. It was withdrawn after an offer of fifty-two guineas, and is now the property of H.S. Eastham, Esq., of Everton.

"The Young Sailor Boy," a painting 16 by 11, sold for the low sum of fifteen pounds. "Little Red Riding Hood," dated 1851, 13 1/2 by 10 1/2, did not represent Daniels at his best. It was a portrait of Mrs. Fitzsimons, one of his daughters, and it brought twenty three pounds.

The next Lot was entitled "The Gleaner," a likeness of his eldest daughter, Mary, now in Canada. The canvas measured 17 by 17, and the picture sold for only fifteen pounds.

Following this was a "Portrait of a Gentleman," 30 by 23, a capital likeness of the late John Williams, a gentleman who greatly aided Daniels, he being ever as ready to sell his pictures as to sit as his model, and I know that he often gave the artist valuable advice, information and suggestions. The picture sold for fice pounds only.

An old-time painting of an old lady in a big cap (No 188 in catalogue, 20 1/2 by 14 1/2) brought five pounds fifteen shillings.

Following this was an oval, a portrait of Charles Kemble, painted in 1845, during Kemble's Lectures at the Liverpool College, a magnificent and most life-like picture, one of the very best portraits even seen, highly representative of the artist, and it sold for eighteen guineas. It is worth as many hundreds, and will bring that price at no distant day. Its proper place is the National Gallery. The same may be said of the portrait of the painter, mentioned a few lines further back.

"The Orphan" was put up next, a small head of a child, - Danile's daughter Penelope. "Pen" is now Mrs. Priest, and the early picture is like her yet.

"Barry Sullivan as Hamlet" was the next picture offered. It had been stolen years before, was cut across, was dirty, was baggy on the stretcher, and did not attract the notice it deserved. It was unfinished, too, and was knocked down to Mr. Eastham, Daniels' latest and best friend, and yet the friend of his aged widow, for the ridiculously low sum of nine pounds ten shillings. It has been relined, stretched, varnished, and framed, and is now a noble and most impressive picture, the likeness of the great tragedian, the face, figure, and costume, being perfect: the Queen mother drooping before him in frantic grief and terror as the ghost of her former husband and the princes' father passes out at the portal. Few pictures by Daniels equal this one in exquisite treatment and grasp of the exciting incident, the work of a passing moment.

"The Old Philosopher" is an extremely fine painting; it measures 15 by 11, and it sold for nineteen guineas.

A "Portrait of a Lady," wearing a "boa," the canvas measuring 16 by 12, brought seven guineas.

"The Prison Cell," a sketch for the "Prisoner of Chillon," 12 by 9, sold for fourteen guineas.

"The Phiosopher," 14 by 11, a bit of splendid colour, realised thirteen-and-a-half guineas.

"The Artist's Study," 12 by 10, one of the painter's wonderful sketches done in a few touches, was a really grand and powerful study, and the little bit brought nine guineas.

A "Portrait of an Old Man in Contemplation," 10 by 8, sold for seven guineas.

A portrait of Richardson - a man well known, locally, and a celebrated whistler - who paid for his whistle - fell to the hammer at seventy shillings. It measured 30 by 25.

A "Portrait of a Gentleman," 12 by 10, sold for four pounds.

"An Irishman," 24 by 18, a fine bit of character, reminding one of Erskine Nicol at his best, brought only twenty-six pounds.

"The Hurdy-Gurdy Boy," a beautiful upright, 32 1/2 by 21 1/2, full of life and motion, and superb in colour, sold for the small sum of twenty seven and a half guineas.

"The Stage Coach Driver," (really a 'bus driver'; he did not wear the attire of the old coach drivers) a mere sketch of an old fellow once well-known in Liverpool, brought nine pounds ten shillings. Its measurement was 24 by 20.

This and several of the foregoing were painted at Thomas Ford's house at Bootle.

Several other pictures were included in the sale, sent there as being the works of Daniels, but they were not by him. They were "Sea Shells," a fine painting, but not by my old friend; "The Appointment," much more like Sant; a portrait of Dr. Traill; and three small and clever full-lengths, character portraits of John Holmes, once a popular comic singer, well-known at Walter Thomas's "Castle" Hotel, Lime-street; one of the pictures representing John, with his irresistibly droll "cock eye," in his famous character of "Jack Ragg,' in which, clad in tatters, a sort of grown up "Jo," broom in hand, he sang topical verses, introducing famous or local personages, and posturing as burlesque "Grecian Statues," to well-known music.

The last painting sold on this occasion was a "Portrait of a Girl," not by Daniels. That these pictures were represented as genuine specimens of the art of William Daniels was no fault of the auctioneer, and Mr. Whiteman very properly stated his belief that they were not genuine.

The sale realised a large amount, but the bulk of the property, that is said should righteously have been the widows, benefitted her not a farthing.


AS far back as the year 1857, a gentleman who had then recently arrived here from Canada, saw some of Daniels' paintings at the shop of Mr. Ellis, Carver and Gilder, Clarence-street, and being a devoted lover of art, became anxious to possess some examples of the artist's works. "How could I get to know him?" he asked Mr. Ellis. "Well," said Mr. E., "Daniels is a queer customer to approach, but I'll tell you where you may very likely see him ; he plays dominoes there over a pipe in the evening sometimes; sit down and watch the game, interest yourself in it and very likely Daniels will after a while challenge you to play. Beat him, if you can: he will admire your skill and like you all the better for it. He is not always very approachable, but let him make approaches; smoke with him; you may get to know him pretty well after a few visits; and when the ice is broken you will get along swimmingly."

The gentleman was William Somerville, Esq., now of Nottingham, Mr. Ellis directed him to Knowsley Hotel, Derby Road, Bootle, kept by Mr. Thomas Ford (the three gentlemen are yet alive, Mr. Ellis still in business in the same shop in Clarence-street, and Mr. Ford is still on Derby-road, Bootle, in an inn nearly opposite to his former house, that stands exactly where the gate to the umbrageous grounds of Miller's Castle stood, the old lane alongside, with its old ivy-grown walls, is now called Castle-street), and Mr. Somerville and William Daniels became warm friends, the stranger admiring the artist for his genius, interested in his eccentric ways, and the painter taking special liking to his new acquaintance, and proposing to paint his portrait. He was always remarkably fastidious as to persons' complexions; having an unaccountable aversion to light ones, and Mr. Somerville was dark enough to please his artistic fancy. That picture, with many others, is now at Mr. Somerville's place, Park-road, Knighton, Leicester. It is a three-quarters length, a painting of splendid quality, and was taken at Daniels' little house at Bootle, not far from the "Knowsley" aforementioned. Another wonderful portrait Mr. Somerville has; it is of the artist, a candle-light picture, and one of Daniels' finest efforts. The present owner bought it of the Mr. Breeze whom I have recently mentioned, with four others, studies of heads, which studies, with another (five in all) called "The Man at the Wheel," - for which "Joe" Middleton, a pilot, sat - Mr. Somerville sold to Martin Condliff, Esq., of Waterloo, North of Liverpool, Mr. Condliff paying a hundred pounds for the five. "The Man at the Wheel" was painted for Mr. Somerville whilst Daniels was at Walton, where he held daily levees, having many friends visiting him, Middleton being one. The date of this noble picture is 1875.

A painting of rare excellence, even for him, Daniels finished during the same year; it is entitled "The Song of the Shirt;" from Tom Hood's immortal poem, and was painted as a companion to his own portrait

"Stitch, stitch, stitch,
When the cock is crowing aloof,
And stitch, stitch, stitch,
Till the stars shine through the roof;
It's, Oh! to be a slave
Along with a barbarous Turk,
Where woman has never a soul to save,
If this be Christian work."

It is a candle-light picture, pathetic and touching in the extreme; the poverty-pinched woman, wretchedly clad, working in her miserable, dilapidated garret, far into the night, to earn barely sufficient to keep body and soul together. It is such a subject as Daniels threw the whole energies of his strong nature into. His nobly-charitable and truly compassionate heart yearning always to the poor and miserable, he poured his sorrowing sympathy on such scenes (as on the sufferers in them) in a manner that fills the spectator with like feelings, and such works were painted by him with sighs and sobs, and seen through tears; no maudlin sorrow, but that of a large, tender, sympathetic soul.


I WILL resume the list of paintings by this artist that are the property of Mr. Somerville. To the candle-light picture, "The Song of the Shirt," mentioned in my last, the same artist's "Castles in the Air" would make a noble companion, so far as subject is concerned. The figure in the picture is the artist's son, William, then a young boy, gazing into the fire; the dreamy and wondering look of the little fellow being splendidly expressed, and the glowing light of the live coals real-looking in the extreme.

The bonny, bonny bairn, sits pokin' in the haze,
Glowrin' in the fire wi' his wee roun' face,
Laughin' at the fuffin lowe. What see he there?
Ah! the wean is building Castles in the Air.

I may be excused for mentioning here another picture of similar subject, which had its origin in a suggestion by the writer, that "Faces in the Fire" was a good subject. There is now, - I know not whether it was written then - a song bearing that title, but, as a hint to the painter, the writer penned the following:-

Dreams of wonder and surprise
Fill the youngster's soul,
Gazing there with full-orb'd eyes,
In the glowing coal;
Ogres, giants, sees he there,
Martyrs at the pyre,
Angel's smile, or demon's glare,
As faces in the fire?

It was a glorious painting, but I know not what became of it.

"Building Castles in the Air" was painted at Walton, in 1857, for Mr. Somerville, and is yet his property.

A portrait of Mr. Friend (a friend of Mr. Somerville's and the artist's, a droll character, whose wit and humour were highly relished by Daniels) was painted for Mr. Somerville, at Bootle, early in 1858. It is a remarkable picture, striking, and of admirable chararter, and is yet in Mr. S's. possession. I have a photograph of it. A small painting of this period is of the lachrymose character that distinguished so many of the artist's works. It depicts a boy (the artist's son William) begging under a bridge, and was by Mr. Somerville presented to Lieutenant-Colonel Steble, Sandfield Park, Liverpool.

Three fine portraits are included in this collection; they are of Mr. Somerville (unfinished), the late Mrs. Somerville, and Mr. Hubbard, a Canadian, one of Mr. S's friends.

No.13 of the collection is another small picture of young William begging, and the last that I have space to name today is "A girl, selling oranges;" a work of rare beauty and great power. The present owner gave it to an American gentleman some years ago, and after the gentleman's death purchased it from his widow in 1879.


"OTHELLO and lago," the large picture of which I wrote in a former chapter, was a commission, Mr. Hubbard, - Mr. Somerville's Canadian friend commissioning the artist to paint a picture as large as he liked, and at his own price, the subject to be chosen by the artist himself.

Daniels decided upon the scene of the noble Moor's jealous rage, the wily Venetian ancient fanning the flames of his General's wrath and torturing his mind with anguish. This noble work of art, worked on at intervals, was completed in about four years, and was exhibited at one of the Academy's exhibitions at their gallery in Post Office Place. The Venetian was painted from the late Mr. James Lunt, and Daniels was his own model for the swarthy Moor. This was at his large studio in Richmond Row - the place is now a hospital - in the year 1858 or thereabout. In writing of this picture before, I mentioned that James Lunt was a good actor and one of the best elocutionists. He was also a skilled musician and a fine vocalist, his voice being a rich, deep bass, and he was well known, much admired, and greatly respected in and about Liverpool. We have not now living so good a Sir Giles Overreach as he; he was a sound and correct, if not a very brilliant or subtle Hamlet; was majestic and dignified as the Ghost of Hamlet's father; and was the best Hecate (in Macbeth) that the Liverpool stage ever knew, whilst his Iago, if he lacked some modern subtlties and low comedy innovations, was truly Shakespearian. I am impelled to write this, hearing that some small carping Thespian has, before his brothers at the "bar," sneered at the dead actor, as an actor, in consequence of what I wrote; but I must inform the would-be actor that, though Lunt never wore an ulster coat, with waistband and hood, no one then or now living better knew the business of the stage. He was educated for the stage, and honoured instead of shaming his profession. When Barry Sullivan opened the Holborn theatre as lessee, he specially engaged James Lunt for Iago, Stukely, and such like parts, and his Friars, in Much Ado, and Romeo and Juliet, had not an equal. Put some of your modern show gentry out of their ulsters into Friar's frocks, and let them try to read Shakespeare's text with his scholarly finish and power and beauty of eIocution, and they, knowing nothing of either, would look small indeed.

Liverpool readers especially, such as are not

"New men, that in the flying of a wheel
Cry down the past,"

will not blame me for this deviation.

Mr. Somerville paid to Daniels £160 for "Othello and Iago," the largest sum the artist ever received for a single picture, and Mr. S. despatched it to Mr. Hubbard in Canada, where some years afterwards it was sold. It has been said, and I have been assured, that it is now in Boston, where, and in Canada, Mr. Somerville and others have tried to trace it, but in vain.

Perhaps the finest picture Daniels ever painted, - certainly one of his finest - was "The Prisoner of Chillon." It was painted for Mr. Somerville, and brought the artist forty pounds, that modest price being fixed by the artist himself. The picture would now be a bargain with another naught added to the figures named.

The date of this wondrous work of art is 1864, and it was painted at the Richmond Row Studio, the late, Johm Williams being the model. Mr. Somerville used to be an occasional visitor there, as did the artist's old friends, Mr. Seely, Mr. Alec Thompson, and others, whom I care not to name, merchants, players, and parsons; too many sometimes for the artist's good - the clergymen didn't go to pray - also T. Haigh, Thomas Kay, and many others who have joined the majority. The scene of the interior of the dungeon was painted from a small sketch done on the spot, the property of the writer. It is the scene of which Byron wrote

"Chillon, thy prison is a holy place,
And thy sad floor an Altar, for 'twas trod,
Until his very steps have left a trace,
Worn, as if thy cold pavement were a sod,
By Bonnivard! - May none those marks efface!
For they appeal from tyranny to God."

In this same year (1864) Daniels painted another picture from Byron; namely, "Medora." The scene is a jutting rock on the right hand of the spectator, the sea below, and on the rock a fire, tended by a girl of the Aegean Isles. The girl was Daniels' daughter, Penelope. The fire is of billets of wood, and the flames appear to be the fire indeed. The picture represents Medora keeping alive the signal fire, the beacon to guide back the barque of her corsair lover, Conrad.

"Still would I rise to rouse the beacon fire,
Lest spies less true should let the blaze expire
And many a restless hour outwatched each star,
And morning came - and still thou wert afar."

The sky represents the dawn, and the entire scene is full of tender beauty. Mr. Somerville paid forty pounds for it.

In 1872 Daniels painted a pair of studies, "Doubt," and "Certainty," about 26 by 18, for which Mr. Somerville gave £60.

Another picture of this collection is "The Sailor's Daughter," the artist's daughter Bessie, on the sea shore, looking anxiously across the waves for her father's vessel's sail, a bright breezy picture of great beauty.

Number twenty-one of this gallery is a portrait of Mrs. Daniels, as an orange girl, the figure splendidly modelled; the flesh tints exquisite, and all the colour superb.

Mr. Somerville has also "The Brigand," a portrait of the artist in that character, a "Girl peeling potatoes;" Mrs. Daniels' servant girl, Katie; and "The Image Man;" the date is 1874. These pictures were, on the death of John Williams, sold by the widow Williams to Mr. Ker, of Liverpool, who acted towards her - she being unfortunately unprovided for - with compassionate generosity. Mr. Somerville obtained them, as he subsequently did three of Daniels' paintings that were sold at Christie and Manson's in May, 1880, a "Boy blowing bubbles" is one of them; a portrait of the artist's son. The pose of the figure is admirable, and the opalistic orbs really seem to be soap bubbles gleaming in subshine, and appear not to be on the canvas, but afloat upon the air, sailing aloft and away. Mr. Brownbill, Watchmaker, of Prussia Street, Liverpool, had a sketch of this, an oval; but it lacked the splendid colour and finish of the picture I have attempted to describe. Of this masterpiece of art, Mr. Ker is now the fortunate possessor, he having been so much struck by its charms that his friend Mr. S. parted with it to him, but not without considerable reluctance. Much was said and written at the time of Daniels' (bit missing here...)


LOOKING over my portfolio, I find mention of some of Daniels' pictures, when exhibited here, and am tempted to give the critiques as I find them, they being pretty well descriptive of the subjects, as well as truthful and appreciative of the paintings as works of art.

The first is catalogue number 107. The exhibition was held in the rooms of the museum: Brown's Library Buildings, I am not sure of the date. The critique says:-

"'A Study of Shells, &c.'" is surrounded by bright coloured pictures, and hung just too high for its minute beauties and marvellous finish to be favourably observed. We have seen the picture elsewhere (not in the studio), and one might believe it possible to pick one of the nuts from off that tazza, and drop it into that vase, so round is its elegant form. The mouse on the sideboard, nibbling a nut, is alive, apparently, and the luminous shadows and reflected lights that pervade the picture are simply wonderful, whilst the pearly surface of the larger shell, rosy tinged and green, is beautiful and realistic in the extreme. But every object on the canvas is so truly and charmingly rendered, that one part of the picture cannot be commended before another. That so admirable a painter of flesh, excelling as he does in his Rembrandt-like pictures, should also produce such admirable work in Still Life - and this picture would be a Still - Life study were it not for the presence of the mouse - is surprising, and proves the deep devotion to, as well as rare diversity and skill in his art. By the way, this painter was not long ago placed amongst deceased artists, and mentioned as having worked in Liverpool so late as a dozen years ago! He was spoken of, too, as being a miniature painter, which he never was, and the writer, not content with killing Daniels, mentions him in terms such as gentlemen of the long robe love to discuss. Those who are curious to see how ill-informed and rashly defamatory a compiler can be, may consult S. Redgrave's "Lives of Painters."

The picture is the property of Mr. Ker, of Liverpool. It was painted at Mr. Robson's house in Cheshire, where Daniels did some of his best work.

From a newspaper of November 17th, 1877, I find a cutting as follows: "The painting entitled "A Begger Girl," by William Daniels, is like a splendid old master. How many pictures of great pretentions, that are painted now-a-days, will show to such advantage as this, after a similar lapse of time! We venture to say, very few indeed, if any. Age has but mellowed and increased the beauty of this admirable work. The child really seems to be alive. Look at the texture of that flesh, and gaze in those pensive, pleading eyes. There is nothing equal to it in the exhibition. 600 is the number in the book.

Another glorious picture by Daniels, which was the property of the late Mr. William Dawbarn, and which is still in the family, is spoken of as follows:-

"'Far from home, ' and shrinking in a London alley for shelter, on

'A raw and gusty day,'

a Neapolitan girl looks piteously up at the inclement, wintry sky, that threatens rain or sleet. She is an accordian player, and the musical instrument on her arm is a marvel of realistic painting. The keys appear to be really mother-of-pearl. What pathetic expression is in the face. What perspective in the archway, with its semi-gloom. It is an eloquent and impressive work indeed. The number is 852, the artist, again, is William Daniels. These pictures, which are not for sale, are fairly well placed, though not on the line."

Daniels was seldom placed on the line. The drawing was faultless, as all his work was, the colour was rich, and even bright, set off by surrounding gloom, and the expression of the dark-eyed beauty with her piteous upward glance at the sparsely-falling sleet, with a picture that, once seem, could never be forgotten. Mrs. W. H. Jude was the model.

The portrait of Mrs. Daniels as an "Orange Girl" was exhibited here in 1871, and a "Lifeboatman," not the one mentioned in a previous chapter, for which "Joe" Middleton, a pilot sat, was sold by Auction by Messrs. Walker, Ackerly and Co., on the 25th of May, 1876, (for twelve guineas only) had a companion picture in "The Man at the Wheel" of the whereabouts of which I know nothing. "Joe" Hislop, another pilot, was the artist's model for this, and a noble work it was; the expression of attention on the weatherbeaten countenance of the man being admirable, as with firm grip he holds the wheel, full of action and a sturdy resolution, as the scene is full of storm and flying spray.

"Oh! night, and storm, and darkness,
Ye are fearful things,"

and they deeply impressed the soul of the painter, and splendidly did he depict their solemnity, and mighty strife, and mysterious gloom.

The artist painted a large gallery picture of "The Walmsley Family," a remarkably noble group, of great interest and beauty; "Titania," the Fairy Queen, a work of extreme grace, lightness and poetical beauty; "An Afghan Chief," a fierce head, unfinished, but full of power and grand in colour: a droll picture of splendid tone, called "The Last Puff," representing his young son, William, then a young boy cutting the bellows open; "The Deserted Village" from Goldsmith's noble poem; a sorrowful scene that drew tears from many eyes and "A Toper," a convivial old gentle man holding aloft a goblet of liquor, his face radiant with smiles, and his eyes, "with the sun is them," full of mirth, a series of pictures that displays more versatility than the artists has been generally credited with, and all like admirable.

A "Maid of Athens" that he painted was loveliness itself, the young beauty gaily adorned in the costume of her country, was the ideal of Byron's heroine of the well-known song,

"By those tresses unconfined,
Woo'd by each Aegean wind;
By those lids who jetty fringe
Kiss thy soft cheek's blooming tinge;
By those wild eyes like the roe

In rare contrast to this last was his fire-light picture - an early one - entitled "Getting a light," an old country man blowing into the tinderbox, his rugged, comical, fore-shortened wrinkled face and distended cheeks, ruddy in glowing light, a reflective glimmer falling on the flint and steel laid down to right and left of the box; and the blue gleam of the flat pointed pointed brim-stone match just igniting. It was a splendid picture indeed. Where it is I know not, but should like to become its purchaser.

Daniels painted many pictures for Humphrey Roberts, Esq., a highly respected and deservedly prosperous timber merchant, well-known in Liverpool, only one of which I must notice now. It was an early picture, called "Beggars," and depicts the artists's wife, sheltering under an archway (it was in Islington) nursing their baby, now Mrs. Priest, Alexander, the artist's eldest son, now in America, lying down;

"My lodging is on the cold ground,"

and Mary, Daniels' eldest daughter, also in America, with piteous expression, begging of passers by. It is a wintry night, and the dejection and squalour of the group are most impressive and provocative of compassion. This admirable picture was by Mr. Roberts, on his leaving here to settle in London, placed in the hands of Mr. Thomas Colclough Leete, (the eminent auctioneer, of the firm Branch and Leete, of Hanover Rooms) to dispose of for the benefit of the Seaman's Orphanage, Newsham Park, Liverpool, and was by Mr. Leete knocked down at seventy-three guineas.


PERSONS who knew William Daniels could not say that in company he was ever hilarious, nor even very cheerful.

Quietly genial he might be, but generally he was not only quiet but thoughtful, reserved (in the company of strangers), grave, and even sad, unless under the influence of an injurious excitement the reaction of which left him wretched indeed. Wretched he might be at other times, but brave and stoical he ever was, and only very few indeed understood the man, or cared to understand him, and he asked not sympathy, nor, even if he had worldly trouble, aid. And then folks who knew him, and yet did not know him, thought him distant, proud, sullen, and even morose, but no estimate of the man could be wider of the truth. Amongst old friends he could occasionally be geniality itself, and his large-heartedness was such that, could he minister to real need, he cast away money as if it were dross. But if he were in need himself, he troubled no one with his trouble, he brooded over it, and hugged his misery to his soul, for he felt that sorrow clung to him, and might have said, with Keats

"To Sorrow
I bade good morrow,
And thought to leave her far away behind
But cheerly, cheerly,
She loves me dearly,
She is so constant to me, and so kind:
I would deceive her, And so leave her,
But ah! she is so constant and so kind."

He never shared his trouble as he did his means of joy (for he was generous to the needy and afflicted) and this cast a settled sadness, not to say gloom, over his nature that repelled many; and in his hours of no personal control he could and did repel some.

He lived under the gloom of a cloud which the light of his marvellous genius could not irradiate. The fire of genius was in his nature, but not always recognised; and, seldom understood, it burned within him, like the Macedonian youth's hidden fox ; it preyed upon his vital being, but he endured and made no sign.

Ignorantly viewed by many as a melodramatic ruffian, he lived a tragedy; that of the Roman stoic and its direst thought and deed were wreaked upon himself, and in his misery, like Bonnivard (whom he so pathetically depicted) in his prison, he fondled creatures that could neither share nor know his sorrow, - spiders, mice, dogs, and birds, lavishing on them tenderness and care at which many sleek humanitarians would smile. His love and compassion were unbounded and such as are not generally understood by professors of humanitarianism, this outwardly rugged, said-to-be unprayerful man, but-

"He prayeth best who loveth best
All things, both great and small,
For the great God who loveth us,
He made, and loveth all."


"DANIELS was an unprayerful man," I heard a person say, a person who never knew the artist, a person who mistook lying echo for truth, and who gets all his ideas at second-hand. If he were an unprayerful man, and as much worse as ignorant folks who cry in echo of an echo have declared him, what is that to those whose business indeed might be with his work as an artist, his life on canvas? Nothing. Had his genius been less, his detractors would have been fewer in number. But I deny that Daniels was an irreligious man. He might not be seen at this church or that conventicle indeed, but I know that he had a deep-seated religious feeling in his soul deeper than usually belongs to average church or chapel goers, as his rapt ecstacy in gazing on "a night of stars," and his devoted, absorbed, tearful listening to sacred music testifed - not that I would confound emotion with religion, as some professors do.

His devotional feeling found expression in many paintings of religieuses, not of his faith, (for he held a faith) the contemplation of which impresses the spectator with respect of Christian devotion and heart-felt piety. He used to repeat:-

"Who bids me pray ? Ah, none can tell,
How often God has heard my prayer,
Not from within sectarian walls-
Men marvel that I go not there-
Love of one's kind stems less confined
Out in the free, wild air.

No roof is half so glorious
As is the solemn starry sky;
They who can quarrel over creeds
May pray in crowds, so will not I,
Nor worship in established form,
Nor others' creeds decry.

But in green woods, on breezy hills,
By singing brooks, upon the shore,
Where summer blooms are clustering,
Where birds their warbled praises pour,
In nature's temple I will pray,
And nature's God adore."

A friend of mine - Mr. Alfred Waterhouse - when a little lad, had clustering curls of remarkably silky light golden-hued hair, and Daniels took a sketch of him for another picture of devotional character and subject, which I will presently describe. I have said elsewhere that Daniels had an aversion to light-haired people, and to those of Rufus tinge especially - a foolish prejudice it was, no doubt, but it had possession of him, only he loved the glossy flowing locks of childhood, however light their hue, and so the lad I name was painted in a praying position, the artist intending to introduce the figure in a large oil painting which had for its subject an incident in Tom Moore's exquisite poem, "Paradise and the Peri," in which Daniels was his own model of the fierce Moslem soldiers stooping to drink nigh to the Temple of the Sun,

"Whose lonely columns stand sublime,
Flinging their shadows from on high,
Like dials, which the wizard, Time,
Had reared to count his ages by."

The Per is

"Oer the vale of Balbec winging,
Slowly, and sees a child at play,
Among the rosy wild-flowers singing,
As rosy and wild as they.

She saw a wearied man dismount
From his hot steed, and on the brink
Of a small imaret's rustic fount
Impatient fling him there to drink
Then swift his haggard brow he turned,
To the fair child who fearless sat,
Though never yet hath day-beam burned
Upon a brow more fierce than that,
Suddenly fierce - a mixture dire,
Like thunder-clouds of gloom and fire,
In which the Peri's eyes could read
Dark tales of many a ruthless deed.

The boy has started from the bed
Of flowers where he had laid his head,
And down upon the fragrant sod
Kneels, with his forehead to the south,
Lisping th' eternal name of God,
From purity's own cherub mouth.

And how felt he, the wretched man,
Reclining there while memory ran
O'er many a year of guilt and strife
Wrought on the dark flood of his life,
Nor found one sunny resting place,
Nor brought him back one branch of grace.
"There's was a time," he said, in mild,
Heart-humbled tones - "thou blessed child!
When young and haply pure as thou
I looked and prayed like thee, but now -
He hung his head - each nobler aim
And hope and feeling, which had slept
From boyhood's hour that instant came,
Fresh o'er him, and he wept - he wept."

The penitent tear of the man of crime is borne by the Peri to Heaven's gate, and the spirit is restored to her long-lost home.

It was a large noble picture, but, I think, was never finished. Of its present whereabouts I know nothing.

The story was so touchingly depicted by the artist that no one looking on it could believe it the work of a hard, godless, unprayerful man."


IN writing of Daniels as a rather joyless man, I must not be understood as desirous of depicting him as a misanthropist.

He was quiet if not sad - quiet when not under exciternent - but had the keenest relish for a joke; yet he never could see, or never recognised, an unclean jest. I remember a droll adventure in which he figured as a driver - a new character for him, as there was nothing "horsy" about him, though he was a great admirer of horses, as he was of all dumb creatures; the more helpless they were, the greater was his love and compassion for them, and yet there was one pet poodle towards which he conceived a great dislike. It was a pampered, petted, lazy, overfed, waddling, snoring, wheezy, sore-eyed, snappish animal, and William called it "an animated hearth-rug, that, like the world, turned round only once a day." But, to the horse adventure. The artist had business to transact in Ormskirk, and a friend offered to drive him there in his trap, which offer was gladly accepted, as Daniels was a dear lover of nature, and saw charms in every landscape, and along every foot of a country lane. On the morning of the day, however, the owner of the trap sent it round, with an excuse for his own inability to go, but informing my friend that the horse knew his way blind-fold, and needed neither whip nor rein. Of the handling of "the ribbons" Daniels knew nothing, and the lash he would not have used except its use were imperative, but the matter on which he had to visit the town of the unique church - which it is said was built by two elderly maiden ladies, one of whom insisted upon the edifice having a spire, whilst the other was as resolutely bent on having a tower, and so it has both - Daniels, I say, was obliged to go, and assumed the part of Jehu with some misgivings, but he became reassured as the ostler told him that it was the horse's periodical day for that round, and as the animal started like a horse that knew its business and would not be turned from it or its enjoyment, as enjoyment it presently had.

Arrived near Ormskirk, the horse voluntarily drew up at a roadside public house, that held out "accommodation for man and beast," and, seeing that the animal intended to make a stay there, Daniels got out of the trap, entered the house for refreshment, and ordered the ostler to give him some oats, and water, which command the knight of the curry-comb received with a twinkle of the eye, and departed to do his bidding.

After an interval, the artist resumed his seat, and was puzzled to know why all the people flocked out of the house with amused expressions on their countenances. He took the reins, shook them, and advised the steed to "gee up," of which hints the animal took no more heed than if he were the knight's charger in Don Giovanni; he was immovable, except that he pricked his ears, and cocked his eye alternately at the ostler and at the entrance to the tap. "Gee up," shouted the painter, but the horse stood as firm upon the ground as if his legs were four stout trees, and the efforts of the artist to start him were witnessed with increasing interest and delight. "Take his head, and lead him," cried the painter to the ostler, and that worthy took his head, but the nag objected to the leading. It appeared certain that there the horse intended to remain. Thoughts of his appointment pressed upon the painter, and he felt puzzled, mortified, and altogether at a disadvantage, and helpless. At length he said "I'll walk, and send the owner for his horse," when the village blacksmith came forward from the midst of the grinning crowd - they would have furnished a fine study for the pencil of Cruikshank, or Pipeshank - and said, "Gaffer, if thaal't stond a gallond o' yale for uz chaps, an' do as aw tell tha, tha'll get o'er th' graand gradeley.'' Daniels now perceived that there was some jest in the adventure, and, good natured always, and now rendered curious, he agreed to the terms, and tossed down the money. " Naa then," said the smith " Thaa's hed a drink, an' we've getten drinks aw raand, an' if tha'll gie th' awse a quaart o' yale he'll gooa loike a two year owd." Daniels exclaimed:- "By Gog and Magog! this is a treat, so I'll stand treat. Let him have it."

The horse had been always so treated by his master. The liquor was brought, and consumed by the steed, after which he needed no bidding to "gee up," but bowled along at a brisk pace, failing not to stop for another drink on the return journey.


AMONGST the portraits painted by William Daniels are those of Charles Kean, as Richard III., and as Macbeth; the former is at South Kensington, and the latter hung as a sign outside a tavern in Highfield Street many years ago. What became of it after some alterations at the house I never could learn. It may turn up some day, and prove a subject for litigation, as David Cox's "Royal Oak" signboard did at Bettws-y-Coed. He painted his wife's portrait very many times, generally in subject pictures, but in her own habit he made a profile likeness of her that is of rare value, and curious, for the reason that he depicted her in a yellow dress, a colour to which he had as much aversion as Olivia had when Malvolio strutted before her to captivate her, in yellow stockings, cross-gartered. The picture belongs to Mr. James Hargreaves. who also owns portraits of the artist's son, when a boy, begging, a work of great pathos. Mr. Hargreaves' other portraits by Daniels are of Mr. Hargreaves, his wife, his son, and his daughter. These four valuable paintings are said to have been presents from the artist, and the collection includes likenesses of one of Daniels' daughters, and of her child. Besides the portraits named, Mr. Hargreaves has a beautiful little "Red Riding Hood," for which the artist's grand-daughter was the model. Daniels for a considerable period used one of Hargreaves' rooms as a studio; he was Hargreaves' tenant, too, in the house in which he lived many years, and in which he died, and these relations led to his friend and landlord obtaining several pictures.

Daniels painted Mr. Hargreaves as King John, an unfinished picture, though the head is finished. It is the property of Mr. Eastham, Everton. The portrait of James Lunt he painted frequently, - as Macbeth in the Pit of Acheron fire-light effect; as Jacques, in Shakspeare's "As You Like It;" and as Cardinal Richelieu.

He painted Jem Ward three times, one of which pictures is engraved in Mezzotint, representing the then "Champion of England" standing by a plinth on which is the statue of the Fighting Gladiator. Amongst other celebrities, G. V. Brooke sat to him as Othello, and Phelps, as Sir Pertinax MacSycophant, in "the Man of the World."

One extremely noble picture he produced, and an early one, of Humphrey Roberts, Esq., (recently of Liverpool) and Mrs. Roberts, seated under an oak tree.

Himself he painted very many times - as A Brigand; as A Man o'Wars-man; as Shylock, originally intended for a signboard for the house now known as the "Opera Tavern," in Williamson-square, then kept by the late James Lunt, and subsequently by John Williams deceased; he painted himself as A Smuggler; as An Organ-Grinder, and as An Italian Image-man; one portrait of himself is in the Haigh collection, depicted as A Smoker, with smoking cap ; one noble portrait of the artist is the property of my friend Lewis Hughes, Esq., purchased of the late John Williams ; and one representing the painter at the easel, drew hundreds - I might safely say thousands of visitors to the house of Mr. Thomas Ford (now of Bootle) in 0ld Hall-street.

He painted my friend, the late John Stuart Dalton, the first Librarian of the Free Public Library here, a very noble work, that should become the property of the town.

He had some droll adventures over portraits now and again, some of which I intend to glance at next week.


I SHOULD be sorry to depict Daniels as a morose or "bearish" man, but he occasionally gave way to caprice that was not pleasant for those who rudely, unceremoniously, or impertinently came in contact with him to endure. Thus, if a person who did not know him, glibly, smirkingly, or patronisingly suggested a wish to sit for a picture, especially if the man were a light, or "sandy" complexion, vulgar, purse-proud, or of sinister expression, he would reply, gruffly, and with a witheringly contemptuous scowl - "Why should I paint your ugly mug?" "Jews have good complexions" he would say, "but I can't stand their surface-glittering eyes, and the crook of their sparrow-hawk noses," and he declined many offers of painting the "chosen people," often to his own disadvantage. If he took a liking to a person - frequently exaggerating the value of men's, intellectual parts - he would insist upon painting that person's picture, and upon making a present of it when finished.

He was painting a portrait of a brewer in Liverpool, many years go, when a sculptor came in, and, seeing the possibility of doing business, began obtrusively to call the painter's attention to the sitter's portly appearance, his fine head, and so forth, and then delicately hinted that Mr. Bung was a grand subject for a bust. "Wot's a bust?" asked the man of the mash tub, and when the sculptor explained, he gruffly replied "Not a bit of it: what I want is picters: I don't want no sanguinary images," his thoughts no doubt running on the plaster figures hawked about on boards, and seeming to see the possibility of a person of his importance being taken for a tanner.

In company where Daniels could unbend over a pipe and a glass, he told this story with a fair amount of mimicry, and with infinite glee.

Talking of mimicry reminds me of a friend of the artist's who gave him grave offence. Daniels was painting this gentleman's portrait, and, the sitter being in his own house, and called down stairs to speak to some visitors, he was imitating the artists' manner, and, sotto voce, singing "Tom Bowling," a la Daniels, when, passing along the lobby, the artist witnessed the mimetic performance through a half-open parlour door, reflected in the mantel glass, after which he never finished the picture nor quite forgave the mimic. "There is too much of the monkey about that gentleman," he said, " and I paint men, not monkeys."

He had a picture of a noble lady in hand, and had not been diligent in the work, but his conscience pricking him, he wended his way to the park gates, and was quietly walking through the grounds, when my lord rode up, and, having no doubt been severely tried, said, with some severity, "Daniels, we are out of patience ; either finish my lady's portrait at once, or say you don't intend to finish it." Daniels was ill and irritable, and replied, calmly, though deeply hurt:- "I'll finish it to-day." He went to the house, and put his foot through the canvas.

In the same reckless way he often forfeited large sums.

Many years ago he was commissioned to paint the portrait of a well-known Liverpool tradesman, the commission being for a full length, life-size picture; some Northampton worthies whose creed was "nothing like leather " intending to present the picture to a good customer, the person to be painted. The portrait was duly finished, "per order" as the commissioners said, and, to give eclat to the presentation, a supper was appointed to take place at the Adelphi hotel. A large room was obtained, for a large company was expected, and the picture was placed at the top of the room. The subscribers to this splendid work of art, which they could not appreciate, were all belonging to the prominent branch of Northampton rnanufacture before hinted at, and the greatest of them all, (Papersole Cockowax, let me call him,) was a high municipal dignitary of that ilk, so he took the chair, and, with ignorant pomposity, he began to talk "shop," and to disparage Liverpool, which he compared to an outhouse of Manchester. This went on for a long time; they glonfied the recipient of the picture : they buttered each other all round they drank "To our noble selves," and they did once condescendingly deign to mention "This ere picter," ignoring the artist utterly; all which chafed Daniels, who hated what he called "flummery," even more bitterly than he despised vulgarity, and, heated with wine, he opened a pocket knife and was about ripping the work up when a friend of the writer succeeded in his attempt to get the irate artist away.

Once outside the hotel, his anger vanished ; he gave copper and even silver to miserable little children in the streets, and a poor woman thrown "under the feet of the tramping town," who had been abused, and was weeping, he sent home in a cab, with half a sovereign over and above the fare. He hated cruelty and wrong, and his soul ever overflowed with sympathy for the suffering and oppressed.


I HAVE before mentioned Dr. Rogerson, who was a friend of Daniels, and lived with him in a cottage that stood in a garden on Kirkdale-road, near to Castle-street. The doctor was a clever, witty, genial companion, and was given to practical joking, one such freak occurring to me now, I will relate it. The jovial doctor occasionally visited the Theatre Tavern, Williamson-square, adjoining the pit door of the Theatre Royal, that miserably degraded, once brilliant temple of the drama, and in this tavern a new galvanic apparatus had been erected, and much sport had been had by getting greenhorns to stand on the metal plate and take hold of the handles. On a certain day, the doctor and the artist were in this house, and the medical man was agog for sport. Standing in the bar, looking over the sign in the window - his eyes just reached above the sign - the doctor saw two specimens of the working man variety likely for his purpose, and faultlessly dressed, gentlemanly and benevolent in manner and aspect, he stepped to the door just as the men neared the house by the flagged footpath across the stone-paved square, and, addressing one of the men, said "I say, my friend; a word with you. You see those gentlemen (only their eyes and hats could be seen) above the sign there? Well, there is a wager on. One of those gentlemen has made a bet that you do not weigh twelve stone, and I have wagered that you do." "Gaffer," replied the fellow, "the other cove has lost, and you have won."

"Well." said the doctor, smiling blandly, will you step in and be weighed? You will have a drink at his expense." "Cer'nly," said the fellow, and in he went, his companion going home to dinner. Introduced to a back parlour, the man was directed to get upon the "weighing machine," the like of which, he said, he had "never seed afore," and, gripping the brass handles, as directed, the current was put on, and he roared like a bull calf, to the great delight of the assembled worthies. When they had had enough of it - the man soon had enough - the current was disconnected, and the man stood amazed and furious, glaring at the company, and presently, plunging his hand into his pocket, he produced and opened a formidable clasp knife, intending to have his innings, but the doctor seized him by his elbows and ran him out, closing the front door on the furious fellow, who planted his back against the pit door of the theatre, determined to await the opening of the tavern door, and to have "satisfaction." There was no exit from the rear of the premises, and there stood the company of practical jokers imprisoned by their own act.

Often did "the doctor," and others, open the door a little way, and essay to palavar the man, but he was deaf to remonstrate, and only rushed forward, knife in hand, to "let daylight into them," so he expressed himself, every time the door was opened. At length, however, the doctor got a hearing. Shouting through the chink of the scarcely-opened door, "Look here!" said the doctor, in his blandest tones, "Don't be a fool. We have got another bet on now. I say your friend is not as heavy as you by ten pounds." '"Will you weigh him? " asked the fellow, with a grin of delight, and closing the blade of his knife. "Ay, that we will," replied the doctor. "Hould on," said the man, "I'll fetch my mate in a minute, and, look 'ere, guv'nor, give him a good 'un, a reg'lar twister, and then he can't laugh at me." Away he went, and shortly returned with his "mate," who was duly "weighed," to the great delight of the first victim. This fellow snivelled, instead of showing fight, and they were both conciliated by jorums of whisky. Daniels painted the two men, with those expressions that were so vivid in his mind's eye, one horror stricken, and the other crying in terror, as two sailors in a storm.

Another man was "weighed" shortly after this, and he also furnished the subject of a picture. He was an Irish haymaker, with corduroy breeches, unbuttoned at the knees, a grey freize coat, liberally patched, an "ould Caubeen" on his head, in the band of which was stuck a black "dudheen;" his brogues were of rustic make; his grey knitted stockings were footless; bands of hay were twisted around his shanks and about the sickle he bore over his shoulder, and in his hand he carried a sprig of shillelah, cut from a blackthorn bush. He was a strapping, manly fellow, and Daniels was much struck by his appearance. When he had been "weighed" - whereto he had been wheedled by Fred. Villiers, a well-known actor, and a great wag - Paddy laid about him vigorously with his "bit of a shtick," quickly clearing the room of all but Daniels, whose piercing eye and quiet bearing caused the man to pause and calm his anger. Daniels led him into conversation, and eventually prevailed upon him to sit for a picture, finally in a freak effecting an exchange of a suit of clothes he had at home, for the hay-harvester's, in which, odd garb Daniels went about for several days, and I have seen his picture in this character; it is called "Going to pay the rint," and represents the painter on one knee behind a hedge, gripping a gun.


I HAVE before alluded to Daniels' habit of painting for friends, in their own houses, and through this practice his pictures are not so widely known as the works of distinguished artists are generally.

Having been favoured with an inspection of a private collection of pictures, which includes a number of paintings by Daniels, I will briefly glance at them this week. "Contemplation" is a rather large picture, of landscape shape, depicting the artist's pupil, Miss Robson, of Egremont, contemplating a bust of Our Saviour, that stands under a glass shade. The figure is nearly finished, but the rest of the picture is not so, only, even in this condition, the transparency of the glass shade is strikingly real, - and the tone of the picture is admirable, whilst the rapt and reverential expression of the sitter is extremely fine.

A "Prisoner of Chillon" hangs alongside, and is a picture of marvellous power. It is a deeply pathetic one, too, Bonnivard with his sorrow-worn face and long white hair and beard, is manacled to the staples in the massive pillars of the sunken prison cell, is seated with clasped hands, and gazing through the grating, listening to the song of a free bird outside the prison walls, as described in Byron's poem, "The Prisoner of Chillon." The figure is of three-quarter length, and is very admirably drawn, and the light streaming through the dungeon bars on the dignified face of the noble-hearted prisoner is managed with realistic effect, the contrast of light and shade that such a subject affords being quite after the painter's heart. The scene is after a sketch of the cell where Bonnivard was so long imprisoned, taken on the spot, and given to the painter by the present writer. It is that cell of which Byron wrote

" Chillon, thy prison is a holy place,
And thy sad floor an altar, for 'twas trod
Until his very steps have left a trace,
As if thy dull, cold pavement were a sod,
By Bonnivard; may none those marks efface
For they appeal from Liberty to God."

A small painting of a scene from "New Way to Pay Old Debts" is here too; an interior, with a full length figure of the late James Lunt (a frequent model of Daniels') as Sir Giles Overreach. He is about to open the casket, and the pose of the figure and expression of the countenance are highly dramatic and effective. The canvas is full of good colour, is in admirable keeping, and is a real art treasure.

Daniels was much attracted by dramatic subjects, and here is a large and particularly noble canvas presenting a scene from "Hamlet." The scene is the Queen's Closet, and the perspective is remarkably fine. The figure of the Queen is merely rubbed in, but the drooping form is perfectly indicated, shrinking in terror as the Prince points after the vanishing ghost where a phosphorescent light illumines the portal. The figure of the melancholy prince is a full-length portrait of Barry Sullivan, and it is wondrously like him in face and figure. The form and features of the Prince are splendidly finished, and his action and expression realise the situation exactly.

The picture was stolen from the artist many years ago, when his studio was in Richmond-row, Liverpool, was pawned by a man who is now dead, and turned up after the artist's death, when it was purchased by its present owner.

From an exciting dramatic scene we come to a rustic interior of great charm and beauty. It is the interior of a cottage at Liscard, Cheshire, and is supposed to be taken from the end of a partition that divides a large apartment into two small ones. On the left, an old woman cowers near the fire in a shady corner that is illumined by the glowing light froim the grate; a window is at the back, with flowering plants on the sill, and to the right hand we see a better lighted room, and a passage leading out of doors, where the outlook is very sunny. Children are in the lobby, and the management of the illumination of this scene is remarkbly fine.

Two circular pictures of rare quality are a portrait of the artist's daughter, Mary, when a young girl, as "A Gleaner," and of Mrs Daniels, taken only a few years ago.

Daniels younger son, William, is depicted in a remarkably choice little painting. The lad - he was a lad when it was painted - is on one knee, by a stream of water that is over-shaded by trees. The young angler's figure is admirable, as usual and the tone and quality of the painting are of rare beauty and merit.

"The Conspirator" is the subject of a strikingly picturesque and effective painting for which James Lunt sat. A richly dressed noble is seated in a cell, looking upwards through the grated window, and the light is splendidly managed, as the colour is richer than Daniels commonly employed.

Last but not least in importance, is a painting of the artist by himself. He is represented as an Italian organ grinder. His southern features, sloe-black eyes, and curling locks of jetty black, with his sallow complexion, exactly suit him for the part, and he is admirably dressed, in a grey blouse, crossed by a belt, his head being covered by a large sombrero. The appealing look on the face is a triumph of art, as the whole work is, in colour and treatment, and the picture is one of the best portraits of the artist extant. The lower part of the face is in sunshine, as the figure is generally, only under the wide rim of the hat, a shadow lies on the upper part of the face, that is not paint, but a shadow, as the lower part of the face is not paint, but is flesh. The figure seems to be alive, and the picture is, amongst many that I have seen, the one portrait of the painter by himself, that I should prefer, and to which I unhesitatingly award the palm of excellence. In this week's notice of the Autumn Exhibition I allude to a sketch of this beautiful head, in the etching by John Wallace, of Edinburgh, sometimes known as "Pipeshank".


IN my last chapter I noticed a few pictures by Daniels that form a portion of a collection, and for want of space it was impossible to complete the list. The portrait of the owner of these pictures is life-like in the extreme, splendid in colour as in expression, easy and natural in pose, the complexion caught exactly, the eyes luminous, and the expression of the face as if the canvas were the sitter, and about to speak The sitter was one of Daniels' few very true friends, and of that the artist was conscious, grieving, when on his death bed, that he was not able to finish for his friend one or two pictures that he had in hand. His friend, the original of that portrait, was just such a subject as Daniels loved to paint, and he threw into it all that he was capable of, and how much that was, many of my readers know.

This gentleman has a noble family group that the artist left unfinished, and that is destined to remain as the great master left it, for want of a hand to complete it equally gifted with his own. The scene is a park, a lady seated on a bank by a tree, on which is hung her hat. The lady's costume is of pale blue; a little child in a white frock sits beside her; her elder boy is in a handsome costume of claret colour, and lays his hand on the back of a fine dog. Behind this group stands the husband and father, the head of the family, and in dignity and vraisemblance this figure is, like all the rest, perfect. The foreshortening of the dog, and the life-like expression of the eyes are startlingiy real. A clever landscape painter could complete the picture in a few hours, but in all likelihood it will never be touched again, as I sincerely hope it never may.

"Excelsior" is the title of another picture by Daniels that hangs upon these walls, and it is a noble work indeed; a picture of dignity and pathos, painted in illustration of Longfellow's poem of the above title. The canvas is an upright one, and depicts the youth of the poem, "far up the height," sinking on one knee, pallid, holding his banner aloft, and supposed to be uttering his motto-cry, "Excelsior" On either side of the narrow way great perpendicular jagged cliffs rear their icy forms, the slanting light falls pale on the narrow pass, and the illumination is depicted with marvellous fidelity. The figure is a noble study, the head is one of great dignity, and no finer realisation of the subject could be conceived.

A head of a Nun, (for which Mrs. T. Robson was the model) displays the artist's work at his very best. It is a work of the most supreme refinement, full of repose and calm dignity, and with devotional expression that cannot be surpassed. The head is so perfectly modelled, the roundness is so remarkable, and the flesh tones and simple dress are so realistic as not to resemble paint and a flat canvas at all, but a living woman. A sunbeam streams from above full upon the face, casting shadows so real as few painters ever yet depicted. The force of the picture is indescribable, and it is exquisitely finished, with a surface as smooth as a mirror. Even Daniels never excelled this superb work, which is the last picture my poor friend ever finished, and as it was his last, it is assuredly one of his best, if not the best.

I wish here - prompted thereto by pressure of other business - to draw the present series of these biographical chapters to a close, and shall arrange my papers for a second course of articles which I hope shortly to produce. The voluminous mass of papers and memoranda in my possession relating to the subject will require much arrangement, whilst incidents almost innumerable that crowd upon my memory are so confusing in rapid writing, that they require to be placed in something like consecutive order, so that, with the Christmas season upon us, I wish the present chapter to be the last one of the year, and of the first series.

It is very remarkable that my papers have been objected to by utterly unlike sets of self-constituted critics; one - the most numerous one - on the ground that I have painted my dead friend couleur de rose, and as a hero, but it is not the fact that I have intended to do so. Of Daniels' many excellent qualities, (which he was generally strangely careful to conceal) very many persons were ignorant, and they have been content to listen to disparaging remarks about the strangely-erratic, seldom-seen, much-talked-of genius; idle echoes of the tap-room talk of vulgar sots, men who did not and could not understand him, and were not allowed to understand him, and who, through envy, or perhaps, having at some time received a snub at his hands, vented their spleen and gratified their vanity by talking of him as a noisy, quarrelsome, violent man, unprincipled, and a habitual drunkard. This freely ventilated estimate of William Daniels was grossly and absurdly untrue, as without fear or favour I have shown. Another lot, a small crew of insignificant and disappointed peevish persons, have publicly said, in atrociously bad English and with astounding orthography, that I have sullied the memory of my dead friend. This was, and is, a vile, wilfully-wicked, and malignant lie, by persons who never knew, or even saw, the dead artist, and I may some day take the trouble - but not in these chapters - to expose the contemptibly mean, base, treacherous, and sneaking motive with which it was promulgated.

I have said, and said truly, that Daniels was of a retiring disposition, and so by some he was thought to be proud; I have given instances of his generosity and charity; of his disregard of money, and occasional recklesness; of his kindness to the suffering poor, and of his chivalrous defence of the oppressed. I began this biography by saying that, I would

" Nothing extenuate, nor set down aught in malice,"

I have not denied - how could I? - that he was sometimes guilty of excesses, but I undertook to paint a man, a fallible creature, not an angel, a man of strong passions and of deep, earnest, reverent, resolute nature, and a genius; erratic, wayward, weak and strong, proud and humble, gentle as a lamb and brave as a lion, uniformly respectful to women, sincere in his few friendships, generous in his judgment of all, and honourable far above many of his detractors. It would have been unfair in me to seek to drag out his failings and his weaknesses, and I have not done so, save as they incidentally appeared in what I tried to make a portrait as accurate and perfect as he made mine.

If there be one of his detractors who has not sinned, let him cast the first stone.

Liverpool should be, and yet will be proud of her illustrious son, William Daniels, Artist.

Spite of detraction, his long-envied name,
Will aye be written on the scroll of fame.

(Some of this material was obtained from Liverpool Central Library in almost impossible-to-read photocopies & dictated into a Mac using IBM Via Voice. More was supplied by Michael Green, a descendent of William Daniels' daughter Mrs FitzSimmonds.)

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