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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

James Northcote

  • [An English portrait and historical painter; born at Plymouth, 1746; member of the Royal Academy; published a “Life of Sir Joshua Reynolds,” and treatises on art; died 1831.]
  • Learned men are the cisterns of knowledge, not the fountain-heads.

    It is not that women are not often very clever (cleverer than many men), but there is a point of excellence which they never reach.

    Admiration is a forced tribute, and to extort it from mankind (envious and ignorant as they are), they must be taken unawares.

    The world can only keep in view the principal and perfect productions of human ingenuity.

  • “Table-Talk.” Of West’s picture of the Death of Gen. Wolfe, Northcote said, “West thought it was he who had immortalized Wolfe, and not Wolfe who had immortalized him.”
  • When a pedantic coxcomb was crying up Raphael to the skies, Northcote could not help saying, “If there is nothing in Raphael but what you could see, we should not now have been talking of him.”—Autobiography.