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Cust has recommended in his Thoughts on the expedience of a better system of control and supervision over buildings erected at the public expense,* but merely such a general superintendence as should, on the one hand, watch over the execution of the approved designs in their full integrity, and leave the responsibility of the architect untouched; and on the other, see that the fullest and fairest use is made of all opportunities which our public buildings may afford for the employment of the highest genius in painting and in sculpture which the country possesses, but in perfect subserviency and unity with their design and object.
I cannot but think that some such power as this, within judicious limitations, might be advantageously intrusted to the very persons who shall be found best fitted to adjudicate, in the last resort, upon public competitions. At all events it is pleasing to reflect that the difficulties which connect themselves with both branches of the subject will be found to diminish precisely in proportion as the great asthetic principles of
would be my advice rather to lower the tone (if I may borrow such an expression from a sister art) of the new building, to suit the old, than be exposed to the necessity bereafter of colouring up the old to make it accord with the new. I have that higb opinion of Mr. Barry's abilities, that I am convinced he has only to be required to do this, or in any other way to exert his taste and discretion in an alteration demanding both those qualities, in order to make any designs of his admirable; but who is to require this at his hands ?” etc. [The italics are in the orig.] The plan proposed by Sir Edward is “the re-establisbment of the office of surveyor-general of public buildings, and the placing it in commission; the Commissioners of Woods and Forests to be ex-officio members, and a certain number of persons whose judgment in affairs of taste can be confided in, to be named by the crown to complete the commission; the first commissioner of woods and forests to be the chairman of the new board, and to have the power of calling it into existence by his summons, wbenever he may deem it necessary for the public service to do so.” - Thoughts, &c., p. 15.
* 8vo, London, 1837, published by Weale.
the arts of design, and their enlightened cultivation, are made to form indispensable parts of an enlarged and liberal education.
Emulation amongst our artists, if it is to produce its best results, must be freed from the trammels which petty intrigues, miserable jealousies, and want of confidence in the knowledge and honesty of critics and of judges, have too long thrown around it. It is not enough (it cannot be too often repeated) that works of art should address themselves to the taste and judgment of the few. The artist of to-day, gifted with earnest and enduring aspirations, and toiling on, it
may be, in retirement and neglect, must be brought face to face with his countrymen at large-must find sympathy and appreciation in them, if he is to produce anything which shall rival the works of the mighty dead.
OF VOLUNTARY ASSOCIATIONS FOR THE ENCOURAGEMENT
OF THE ARTS OF DESIGN ;-THEIR AIMS, AND THEIR
“The woes of Troie, towers smothering o'er their blaze, Stiff-bolden shields, far-piercing spears, keen blades, Struggling, and blood, and shrieks,-all dimly fades Into some backward corner of the brain; Yet in our very souls we feel amain The close of Troilus and Cressid sweet. Hence, pageant history! hence, gilded dust! Swart planet in the universe of deeds! Wide sea, that one continuous murmur breeds Along the pebbled shore of memory! Many old rotten-timbered boats there be Upon thy vaporous bosom magnified To goodly vessels; many a sail of pride And golden keeled is left unlaunched and dry. But wherefore this? What care, though owl did fly About the great Athenian admiral's mast? What care though striding Alexander past The Indus, with his Macedonian numbers ? Though Ulysses tortured from his slumbers The glutted Cyclops, what care ?-Juliet leaning Amid her window-flowers,--sighing,—weaning Tenderly her fancy from its maiden snow, Doth more avail than these : the silver flow Of Hero's tears,-the swoon of Imogen, Fair Pastorella in the bandit's den, Are things to brood on with more ardency Than the death-day of Empires.”
OF VOLUNTARY ASSOCIATIONS FOR THE ENCOURAGEMENT
OF THE ARTS OF DESIGN; -THEIR AIMS, AND THEIR
It has been objected to societies, such as the Art On certain Union of London and the Association for the promotion to associaof the Fine Arts in Scotland, that they “ do nothing tions upon for the encouragement of high art,” and tend rather to the Artincrease the number than to develope the genius of Union of our artists.
There is much room to doubt whether, if the indirect as well as the direct results of such associations be regarded, these censures could be maintained. But there is another objection to them which lies more upon the surface. They seem to proceed too much upon the confusion of a lofty subject and a large canvass, with a great work; and to forget that the true artist can produce a picture worthy to live, though his subject be humble and his canvass small.
If this confusion were not somewhat common, we should less frequently see considerable, but not surpassing talents wasted by misdirection. A man who may possess too deep a sense of the dignity of his art to be content to trifle away his abilities in producing