Moser, George Michael

, an artist of much reputation and amiable character, was born at Shafhausen, in Switzerland, in 1705. When young, he visited a distant Canton, where he met with one of his townsmen, and being inclined to travel, was soon persuaded to make a tour to England, and followed the profession of a chaser in gold, in which art he was always considered as holding the first rank. But his skill was not confined to this alone; he possessed an universal knowledge in all branches of painting and sculpture, which perfectly qualified him for the place of Keeper, to which he was appointed when the Royal Academy was first instituted in 1768, the business of which principally consists in superintending and instructing the students, who draw or model from the antique figures. He may be truly said to have been the father of the present race of artists; for long before the royal academy was established, he presided over the little societies which met. first in Salisbury court, and afterwards in St. Martin’s-lane, where they drew from living models. Perhaps nothing that can be said will more strongly imply | his amiable disposition, than that all the different societies with which he was connected, always turned their eyes upon him for their treasurer and chief manager; when, perhaps, they would not have contentedly submitted to any other authority. His early society was composed of men whose names are well known in the world; such as Hogarth, Rysbrach, Roubiliac, Wills, Ellis, Vanderbank, &c.; and though he outlived all the companions of his youth, he might to the last have boasted of a succession equally numerous; for all that knew him were his friends.

As an artist, his abilities were not confined merely to chasing; he might also be considered as one of our best medallists, and painted in enamel with great beauty and accuracy, and many of his productions, particularly some watch-cases, were most elegant and classical in their enrichments. He was aLo well skilled in the construction of the human figure.

When appointed keeper of the royal academy, his conduct was ex’emplary, and worthy to be imitated by whoever shall succeed him in that office. As he loved the employment of teaching, he could not fail of discharging that duty with diligence. By the propriety of his conduct he united the love and respect of the students; he kept order in the academy, and made himself respected, without the austerity or importance of office all noise and tumult immediately ceased on his appearance at the same time there was nothing forbidding in his manner, which might restrain the pupils from freely applying to him for advice or assistance. All this excellence, says sir Joshua Reynolds, had a firm foundation; he was a man of sincere and ardent piety, and has left an illustrious example of the exactness with which the subordinate duties may be expected to be discharged by him whose first care is to please God. Few men have passed a more inoffensive, or perhaps a more happy life; if happiness or enjoyment of life consists in having the mind always occupied, always intent upon some useful art, by which fame and distinction may be acquired. Mr. Moser’s whole attention was absorbed, either in practice, or something that related to the advancement of art.

Mr. Moser died at his apartments in Somerset-place, Jan. 24, 1783, in the seventy-eighth year of his age, leaving one daughter, who has distinguished herself by the admirable manner in which she paints and composes pieces of flowers, of which many samples have been seen in the | exhibitions. She has had the honour of being much employed in this way by their Majesties, and for her extraordinary merit has been received into the royal academy. She married a gentleman some years ago of the name of Lloyd, but is now a widow. 1


Edwards’s Supplement to Walpole. Character by sir Joshua Reynolds, in Malone’s and Northcote’s lives of that eminent artist.