Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
very great importance in the present case. Ah! The difficulties of
Art, my dear, are great.’
‘They must be, I have no doubt,’ said Kate, humouring her
good-natured little friend.
‘They are beyond anything you can form the faintest conception
of,’ replied Miss La Creevy. ‘What with bringing out eyes with all
one’s power, and keeping down noses with all one’s force, and
adding to heads, and taking away teeth altogether, you have no
idea of the trouble one little miniature is.’
‘The remuneration can scarcely repay you,’ said Kate.
‘Why, it does not, and that’s the truth,’ answered Miss La
Creevy; ‘and then people are so dissatisfied and unreasonable,
that, nine times out of ten, there’s no pleasure in painting them.
Sometimes they say, “Oh, how very serious you have made me
look, Miss La Creevy!” and at others, “La, Miss La Creevy, how
very smirking!” when the very essence of a good portrait is, that it
must be either serious or smirking, or it’s no portrait at all.’
‘Indeed!’ said Kate, laughing.
‘Certainly, my dear; because the sitters are always either the
one or the other,’ replied Miss La Creevy. ‘Look at the Royal
Academy! All those beautiful shiny portraits of gentlemen in black
velvet waistcoats, with their fists doubled up on round tables, or
marble slabs, are serious, you know; and all the ladies who are
playing with little parasols, or little dogs, or little children--it’s the
same rule in art, only varying the objects--are smirking. In fact,’
said Miss La Creevy, sinking her voice to a confidential whisper,
‘there are only two styles of portrait painting; the serious and the
smirk; and we always use the serious for professional people
(except actors sometimes), and the smirk for private ladies and