« НазадПродовжити »
Whenever it is expedient to obtain a larger number of copies, models, &c., of new inventions, for the sake of placing them in the collections of other manufacturing towns, their cost ought to be defrayed out of the net proceeds of the charges upon patents and upon the protection of patterns, &c. To this purpose, and to the general support and improvement of these manufacturing museums, such surplus would be far more justly Mackindevoted than to the consolidated fund, as proposed in
§ 27, the Patents' Bill now before the House of Commons.* Speech,&c.
It is scarcely necessary to add that, as well for the reasons pointed out by Mr. Rennie, as for many others, Evid. ubi central superintendence of these Museums must be supra. united with local management. It is equally manifest that the suggestions respecting lectures and good catalogues are of great importance. Deficient as we have been in means, it is quite true that we have been still more deficient in the application of those which we possess.
When the wants of our manufacturing towns have been supplied, it will be necessary to consider in what way the advantages of public galleries of the higher works of Art may be best extended to those other cities and towns, where the want of them, though not operating so prejudicially upon industry, is in a moral and intellectual point of view quite as much felt.
“A thing of beauty is a joy for ever;
* It appears from Parliamentary Returns, that at the present enormous charges, inventors have paid in ten years (ending 1835), for patents alone, £313,657, of which £99,555, or nearly one third, is for stamp duties. These are the rewards of invention, bestowed by the “especial grace, certain knowledge, and mere motion,” of the British crown.
There is one other want, having more direct reference
to the metropolis, which even in a view so general as Museum of this, must not be overlooked. I mean a Museum of History.
British History. Of this we have not at present the smallest commencement.
Our neighbours, the French, have here too set us Musée a very brilliant example in the already famous Musée Historique Historique de Versailles.
Historique de Versailles. Much has been talked and sailles. written about the imperfections of this museum, as
though it were possible that the execution of so vast and magnificent a plan, the first conception of which is not yet half-a-dozen years old, should be other than imperfect for very many years to come. No educated Englishman, who has seen what has been already accomplished at Versailles, will deny that it is impossible even for a stranger to visit its collections without strong emotions of respect and admiration. Everywhere he is surrounded with memorials of the men and the deeds which have placed France in the foremost ranks of European civilization. And if his first impressions lead him to think that there are too many breathings of the spirit of war, a longer stay will acquaint him with monuments enough, well calculated to excite emotions of a very different nature, and to make him feel as if introduced into the very presence of Bossuet and Fenelon, of Suger and of Saint Louis of Lamoignon, and of Sully; and of so many other illustrious men of every age, whose memory he cannot but revere and love.
It may well be honour enough for one man to have converted that vast monument of royal prodigality and vain glory into the living epitome of the history of a great nation; to have elsewhere-at Fontainebleau as at Eu; at the Tuileries as in the Louvre-put the completing hand to many an unfinished project of magnificence; and while giving due honour to the memory of
the past, everywhere stimulating and ensuring the best hopes of the future:-having too done all this while seated upon a throne raised but yesterday, amidst all the turbulence of civil strife.
servation and de
Having been led into this digression respecting France, MonuI cannot but add a word or two upon the means now in the middle course of employment in that country for the preserva- nges in tion, restoration, and description of its numerous and Means em
ployed for important monuments of the Fine Arts of the middle ages.
A year or two ago a commission was established under scription. the Minister of the Interior, called Commission des Monumens Historiques, charged with the consideration of all applications touching the restoration and maintenance of ancient edifices and other monuments of Art, and having an Inspecteur-général des Monumens Historiques attached to it as secretary. In furtherance of this object the commission is now engaged in the preparation of a detailed list of all the ancient buildings, &c., which come within the sphere of its operations.
More recently a second commission has been instituted, in connexion with the Division des Sciences et des Lettres of the ministry of public instruction, and called Comité Historique des Arts et Monumens, having description for its main object. At present the operations of these two bodies are quite distinct, though it is probable they will be ultimately combined.
While these sheets are passing through the press, I am favoured with a report just issued by the last mentioned committee, upon the state of their labour, by which it appears that they have drawn up and circulated throughout all the departments, a series of simple and precise questions respecting the Gallic, Roman, and Mediæval antiquities of France, from which they expect to derive very extensive statistical information; and
that they are preparing for publication a series of manuals of what may be termed Christian Archæology intended to guide research, and to settle terminology.
The committee are further engaged in the preparation of statistical and monographical model accounts of some of the most important edifices, on a plan to which future accounts of a similar nature may be made to conform. For the former—the statistical—the arrondissement of Rheims and the city of Paris have been selected; for the latter, the Romanesque Cathedral of Noyon (Oise) and the splendid Cathedral of Chartres (of the twelfth and fourteenth centuries). The statistical account of Rheims is in the hands of MM. Durand (for the drawings), C. Paris (for the historical account), and Didron, secretary to the committee (for the description); that in Paris is intrusted chiefly to the distinguished architect and antiquary, M. Albert Lenoir.* Both these works are in a state of considerable forwardness. The description of Noyon Cathedral is in preparation by M. Vitet, the former inspector of monuments, and the drawings are nearly completed by M. Ramée. The historical account of Chartres is undertaken by the Minister himself, its archæological description by M. Didron; the architectural drawings (which are on an immense scale) are executing by M. Lassus, and those of the statuary by M. Amaury Duval.
* The son of M. Alexandre Lenoir, the enthusiastic and laborious conservator of that Musée des Monumens Français, which was the means of saving so many of the finest antiquities of the middle ages from utter destruction during the revolution of 1789. The dispersion of that Museum, which contained the finest sculptures of seven successive centuries, and, more recently, of that remnant of it which (with many additions), formed M. Lenoir's private gallery, must ever be regretted by the lover of art and antiquity. M. Lenoir has however the consolation of leaving a worthy successor to continue his exemplary career, with, it is to be hoped, a happier fortune.
In addition to these spirited proceedings, the expenses of which are of course defrayed by legislative grants, two admirable courses of lectures on Christian Archæology have been delivered at the Bibliothèque du Roi, by MM. Albert Lenoir and Didron,* which have aided greatly in arousing the public attention to this interesting subject. And these are to be periodically continued.
It is not undeserving of notice that the commission found the French schoolmasters and school-inspectors the most efficient organs of information; and that their labours have been zealously promoted by the most distinguished of the French clergy. The Comité Historique mentions in its report, that the Abbé Fournier, rector of Saint Nicholas at Nantes, a corresponding member of its body, is about to erect an entire church in the noble style of the thirteenth century, at a cost of two millions of francs.
I conclude this long, but not, I trust, uninteresting digression, by adding that the committee—after lamenting that, despite the best-directed attempts at preservation, many monuments are daily falling into partial ruin, and that a vast number of monumental fragments exist which it is desirable to collect and preserve--announce that the minister of the interior has given up the ancient abbey of Saint Martin des Champs at Paris, for the purpose of forming in it a National Museum of objects of that nature.
I proceed to offer some remarks and suggestions 2. Improve
* M. Lenoir's course was on Christian Architecture ; M. Didron's on Christian Painting and Sculpture ; they were attended by overflowing auditories, and excited great enthusiasm. When shall we see chairs of Christian Archæology in our own Universities ?