« НазадПродовжити »
Few professions have suffered more from bad taste and false criticism than that of the painter. The exaggerations of language, whether in praise or blame, are such as to stagger credibility when excellence is the theme, and to excite disgust when censure is employed.
It might be imagined on seeing the animadversions of some of the public prints, (by those unacquainted with the subject,) that some fraud or crime had been perpetrated, instead of a bad picture having been produced.
Neither is conversation on works of art less free from the inflation of language, or the violence of criticism. But it is the annual exhibitions that principally furnish out the critical banquet, and instruct the public how, and on what they are to look: it is here that the artillery of words is played off, and the fault-finders are to show their skill, as, "With a connoisseur look, and a connoisseur
From picture to picture in censure they pass:
That curtain's too red, or that sky is too bine;
Or the distance, or keeping, is wrong in that
For all think the pleasure, in seeing the sight, Is to find it all wrong, and to set it all right."
With this sort of raisonnee disposition, and this bias to scan the blemishes, what can escape? If applied to the works of the old masters, there will be found matter of offence even among the best: but it is on modern art the phial of the critic's vengeance is chiefly poured, or the shafts of satire are directed. The mantle of ridicule, left by that literary caricaturist Peter Pindar, has been caught, and lranded about from one to the other, tillthe whole atmosphere of taste is infected with the smell of his garment; and, instead of exciting a love and taste for the fine arts, the press has in too many instances warped the public mind, from a natural disposition to admire and praise, to that of sarcasm and censure.
But while thus deprecating the want of candour, and the absence of judgment, in those out of the profession, it is no less to be lamented that artists themselves, who know the difficulty, and feel the want of a right judgment on their works, are scarcely less severe on the performances of their contemporaries. "It was once confessed to me," said Dr. Johnson," by a painter, that no professor of his art ever loved another." It may, however, be held up as a warning voice to the profession, that, in depreciating contemporary excellence, they are injuring the best interest of the artist, and, more than all, are strengthening the line of separation between the promoters and encouragers of
art and themselves, and give opportunity for the dealer ta step in and exclusively derive those advantages and that ipfluencft the painter himself should enjoy.
It cannot be denied, that judicious remarks on works of art, not only tend to promote the best interest of the individual, by directing attention to whatever is meritorious, but also in repressing whatever has the appearance of vitiating the public taste, or as having a tendency to deprave the public morals; but, then, the critic must be possessed of thatjudgment which can alone sanction his remarks, and render them beneficial, either to the individual, or to society. It would be carrying the notion a little too far in requiring the practice of the painter to be united with the talents of the writer, in order to comment on works of art; but he must bring some knowledge of the principles of painting, some feeling similar to that which guides the pencil when employed in imitating the sublimity or the simplicity of natural objects; and, above all, a love and zeal for the promotion and encouragement of the fine arts, not by an exclusive preference of the works of the old masters, or a prejudice in favour of any style or manner, whether old or new.
Of this class there is certainly a sprinkling; and the advantage to individuals has been felt and acknowledged: in several instances hints have been taken, and errors corrected, when observations have been made on the works of the artist by the candid and judicious critic. Men naturally oppose obstinacy to violence, and repel sarcasm with contempt.
Many are for applying, what they call common sense, as a standard of judgment in matters of art. It is indeed an excellent ingredient, but, in too large a pprtipn, it has the property of neutralizing, and Would subjugate the artist to rules that would destroy the very essence of his works, and render them an every-day concern, instead of an embellished feature, or an exalted medium, through which objects are viewed, not merely as what they are, but as what they might be.
PROGRESS OF THE LABOURING CI.A8SES FROM THE REIGN OF HENRY VII*. TO THE REFORMATION.
In our former article we briefly stated the difficulties the Labouring Classes had to encounter in extricating themselves from the grasp of their feudal masters. That they partly succeeded, and made a considerable advance in knowledge and importance, is apparent from the nature of their grievances in Wat Tyler's insurrection; when they demanded the abolition of slavery—freedom of commerce in markettowns, without tolls or imposts—and a fixed rent on land, instead of services due by villanage.
In the reign of Henry VII. the race of villains was almost extinct, and wages were nearly quadruple the amount they had been in the preceding century. Civilisation and the arts had made a wonderful progress. By the rise of cities and towns various manufactures were established and improved. Glass and brick were first made during this period, which enabled even the humbler ranks to give to their dwellings some degree of comfort and neatness. Population rapidly increased, and, by the introduction of various useful roots and vegetables, the food of the poor became much more wholesome and plentiful.
The dress of labourers appears to have been simple and well contrived ; their shoes, bonnet, and stockings were made of cloth, with which they wore a jacket and coat fastened round the body by a belt or girdle. Wages, as fixed by act of parliament, in 1444, were as follows:
With diet. without. 8. d. s. d.
Blower i; 0 4 0 6
Reaper or carter 0 3 0 5
A woman, or other labourer 0 2§ 0 4
above it appears, that in 1444 a man's diet was considered equivalent to onethird of his income, which indicates a greater degree of independence among the working classes than prevails at the present day; for the board, both of labourers and artificers, would now be reckoned at least equal to one-half their wages.
The labouring poor, however, were still a long way behind their successors of the present day, in their diet, dress, and habitations; and even so late as the reign of queen Mary, the dwelling of an English peasant was little superior in comfort and cleanliness to what we observe in the claybuilt hovels of the Irish. The dwellings of the common people, according to Erasmus, had not yet attained the ordinary convenience of a chimney to let out the smoke, and the flooring of their huts was nothing but the bare ground: their beds consisted of straw, among which was an ancient accumulation of filth and refuse, with a hard block of wood for a pillow. And such in general was the situation of the labouring classes throughout Europe. Fortesque, who wrote in the reign of Henry VI., speaking of the French peasantry, says, "Thay drink water, thay eate apples, with bread right brown, made of rye; thay eate no flesche, but, if it be selden ; a littell larde, or of the entrails or heds of beasts, sclayne for the nobles or merchaunts of the lond." •
With diet. without. d. s. d. Free-mason, or mastercarpenter. Tyler, slater, rough-mason, or carpenter. Common workmen 0
Although provisions advanced considerably the succeeding century,it does not appear that wages underwent any material alteration; in 1514 the prices of the different kinds of labour mentioned above were exactly the same. It is impossible to judge correctly of the comfort and relative situation of the poor at different periods, it depending so much on circumstances with which we are very imperfectly acquainted. The proportion between the rate of wages and the price of provisions is undoubtedly the best criterion; but if we are not also informed of the diet and domestic economy of labourers, we can know very little of their real situation. Labourers in the north of England, similarly situated as to the price of provisions and wages, will have all the means of comfortable subsistence, while labourers in the south would perish from wretchedness and privation. From the statement
GolD AND SILVER MINES.
No fewer than three new mines are about to be opened in Spanish America; and the greatest avidity is manifested to embark in these speculations. They may be profitable to individuals, but they will be of no utility to mankind. Capital, flowing into agriculture, or rail-roads, tends to augment produce, and facilitate the operations of industry. But if the produce of the gold and silver mines were increased a hundred fold, society would not be benefited; because, in proportion as the amount of the precious metals in circulation is augmented, their value is depreciated. If the amount of metallic currency was quadrupled, its value in exchange would in consequence be reduced to one-fourth, and the only effect would be, that the commodity for which we now pay twenty, we should then have to pay eighty shillings. The value of gold and silver, a.s the instrument of commerce, would thereby be diminished; they would be reduced more to a level with copper, and that portableness which forms one of their chief recommendations, as the representative value, would be lessened.
The earliest architectural works of the Romans were to a certain degree grand, simple, and useful. Among the most useful, and at the same time stupendous works, constructed by this extraordinary people were their aqueducts :—
"From blue hills,
Although any pipe or conduit is, strictly speaking, an aqueduct, yet the word is generally applied to a canal, constructed «;n brick or stone arches, for conducting water through an irregular country to a city or town with a regular descent. Aqueducts may be constructed either below or above ground, and are sometimes elevated on high piers or arches, forming a regular arcade. The first in. vention of aqueducts is ascribed to Appius Claudius; who by these means brought water into the city by a channel of eleven miles in length. But this was very inconsiderable when compared with those which were afterwards erected in Rome by various emperors and other eminent persons. Several of them were cut through, mountains and other obstacles,
for the distance of forty and even sixty miles, and of such a width that a man might ride through them without the least difficulty. Many of their vaults and arches were 109 feet above the level of the valley through which they passed.
Among other architectural works of the Romans, are their bridges. They are not remarkable for any extraordinary span in the construction of the arches, which seldom exceed sixty or seventy feet; only half of those of Waterloo bridge. The form of their arches was the most simple of all curves, being either that of a semicircle or a large segment; solid piers, at least a fifth, often a fourth, and sometimes a third of the aperture, support them. The greater part of their bridges were used as basements to support trophies, colossal figures, or triumphal arches.
The Romans are also celebrated for their amphitheatres. An amphitheatre is a building of a circular or oval form, having its area encompassed by rows of seats one above the other, that the spectators sitting all round may see what is passing in the arena or pit. The lowest rows of seats were appropriated to the highest class of citizens,and those above them progressively
for the inferior orders of the people. The centre was called the arena, from the sand which was strewed over its surface, to absorb the blood of the combatants. In the arena were presented the different sorts of games, shows, or combats with which the emperors were wont to amuse the people, particularly combats of gladiators and wild beasts. The whole building was unroofed; the exterior face of the building was divided into several stories, ornamented by arcades, columns, and oftentimes with niches and statues. They were calculated to hold from thirty to sixty thousand persons. Amphitheatres are buildings exclusively Roman; the Greeks never cultivating the barbarous exhibitions performed in them.
We intend on a future occasion again to advert to these interesting subjects. We have been indebted for our present brief observations chiefly to the admirable " Lectures on Architecture" of Mr. Elmcs.
ftitn'i*<t£rjt €i)tanolo^s of 1824.
Jan. 2. — Ferdinand, king of Spain, orders Te Deum to be sung for his happy delivery from the Constitutionalists.
6.—Thurtell, Hunt, and Probert tried for the murder of Mr. Weare.
13.—James Such, of Trinity-college, sentenced to two years' imprisonment for a fraud on various booksellers.
14.—Establishment of a literary society at Edinburgh, on the plan of the Roxburgh club.
15 _Mr. J. Huut found guilty of a libel in the Liberal, on George III.
Feb. 3.—Parliament opened by commission. No amendment moved in either house.—Government of the Netherlands contracts to erect a monument on the field of Waterloo.
6.—John Smith, the missionary, expires in the gaol at Demerara.
21.—Notice in the Gazette of hostilities with Algiers.—Emperor of Brazil gives a new constitution to his subjects. — Sir Charles M'Carthy defeated and killed by the Ashantees.
23.—Mr. Robinson brings forward his new financial plan for the two following years.
24.—Mr. Williams's motion for inquiry into Delays and Expenses in the court of Chancery.—Mr. Peel's amended motion, for a commission appointed by the crown, carried.
March 6.—Intensely cold at Rome; great mortality in consequence.—Strict blockade of Algiers by sir Harry Neale. —Numerous arrests in Ireland under the Insurrection Act.
10.—An uniform system of field exer
cise and movement established in the army. Z
15.—First pile of the new London bridge sunk.
16.—Mr. Canning brings forward his plan for meliorating the condition of the slave population in the West Indies. An experiment, in the first instance, to be made at Trinidad. The plan of the Ministers thought evasive, and the abolitionists disappointed.
18.—Destructive fire at Messrs. Pickford & Co.'s wharf, City-road.
23.—Reduction of four per cents, to three and a half per cent. : 30.—Lord Gifford made master of the rolls.
April8.— Lieut. Goldsmith overthrows the celebrated Logan stone.
15.—House of Commons adjourned to 2d of. May. •
28.—Commencement of the new buildings at King's-college, Cambridge.
May 5.—Skeleton of a large mammoth dug up at Ilford, Essex. ; 6.—Befecoolen ceded to the Dutch.
20.—Intelligence arrives of the defeat and death of sir Charles M'Carthy.
21.—Silk duties repeal bill carried in the lords by a majority of 61 to 55.
25.—Mr. Harris thrown out of a balloon and killed.
June 1.—A tunnel under the Thames, commenced from Swan-lane, Rotherhithe, to near King Edward-street, Wapping.
10.—Terrible explosion of the rocket manufactory, West Ham, Essex; several persons killed.—Trial and conviction at the Old Bailey of eight of Carlile's shopmen, for selling obnoxious publications.
16.—A bill passed for restoring certain forfeited Scottish peerages.
18.—A law to enable the duke of Norfolk, as hereditary earl marshal of England, to execute the office without taking the oath of supremacy.
25. — Parliament prorogued by the King.
July 1.—Two new classes of petty officers, subordinate to midshipmen, established in the Navy.
14.—Tremendous storm of thunder and lightning in the Metropolis.
20.—Death of the king and queen of the Sandwich Islands, in London.
August 1.—Advice from India of a war with the Burman empire.
10.—An Irish priest tried at Wexford for the murder of a child, under the pretext of casting out devils.—Hydrophobia prevalent in England; several persons bitten and affected. — A society of Pythagorean Christians established at Manchester, who profess to abstain from animal food.
Sept. 10.—Death of Louis XVIII. king of France.—Succeeded by his brother Charles X.
16.—Accounts of the landing, death, and execution of Iturbide, ex-emperor of Mexico.
23.—Major Cartwright died at a very advanced age.
29.—Mr. Sadler killed by falling from his balloon near Blackburn.
Oct. 4. — Censorship of the French press removed.
13.—Upwards of 20 persons killed in Manchester by the falling in of a cotton factory.
27.—Important argument in the court of King's Bench, on the right of the newspapers to report police proceedings.
29.—Lord Clermont, an Irish peer, fined 10/. lor ill-treating a boy.
30.—Henry Fauntleroy tried for forgery, and found guilty.
Nov. 10.—The Griper ship returns from the northern expedition in great distress.
13.—First meeting of the ^Christian's Evidence Society.
23.—After several arguments, the lord chancellor refuses to grant an injunction against Mr. Fletcher, to restrain him from preaching in Moorfields' chapel.
24.—The severest storm for many years visits the coast at this time.
28.—Accounts of dreadful fires in Edinburgh.
30.—Execution of Henry Fauntleroy in front of Newgate.—A tremendous storm this morning.
Dec. 2.—Anniversary dinner of the Mechanics' Institution at the Crown and Anchor.
3.—Catholic Association publishes an address to the people.
6.—Number of cases entered for the sittings in the King's Bench, 280; in the Common Pleas, only 11.
10.—Mr. Abernethy moves for an inT junction to restrain the publication of his lectures.
18.—Trial of the proprietor of the Boston Gazette, for a libel on Mr. Hunt's roasted corn.
21.—Letters from Petersburg, detailing the dreadful calamity which befell that city by the overflowing of the Neva.
%* From this time the Chronology is continued in the "Diary Of OCCURRENCES."
Iw Ashburnham church, Sussex, are preserved the shirt, stained with some
drops .of blood, in which Charles I. suffered; his watch, which he gave at the place of execution to Mr. John Ashburnham; his white silk knit drawers; and the sheet which was thrown over his body. These relics were bequeathed, in 1743, by Bertram Ashburnham, Esq. to the clerk of the parish, and his successors, for ever.
ORIGIN OF SPINSTER.
Formerly it was a custom, that a young woman should never be married until she had spun herself a set of body, table, and bed linen. From this custom, all unmarried women were termed spinsters, a name they still retain in all deeds and law proceedings.
St. Rride's Steeple.
The following account is extracted from the parish journals of this exquisite masterpiece among the Spires of our great architect:—"Memorandum:—In the year of our Lord 1703, the new spire of the steeple of St. Bridget, alias Bride's, London, was finished in this beautiful form it how appears in—Sir C. Wren being principal architect; Mr. W. Dickenson his under surveyor. Ye first stone was layed on the 4th day of October, 1701, and was finished, and the wether-cocke was put up on the day of September, 1703; it being in height 234 feet 6 inches from the surface of ye earth to ye top of the cross, ye wether-cocke from ye dart to ye end is 6 feet 4 inches.'1
SUPPOSED ERROR IN THE ALMANAC.
It has been thought, that there was an error in the almanacs of this year, making Easter-day fall on Sunday the 3d of April, because the first full moon after the 21st of March falls on that day, and therefore it has been supposed, that Easterday should be the Sunday following. This would have beeu correct, if the full moou had happened after mid-day, instead of taking place at six in the morning.
GolDEN AOE IN FRANCE.
The members of the French chamber of deputies used to have a silver medal presented to them at the commencement of each Session. They have now received a gold medal. On one side is the likeness of Charles X., with the legend " Regit et servat." On the reverse are the words, "Legati provinciarum, Mdcccxxv."
Lieut.-colonel Walker, who investigated this subject with great diligence and minuteness, is of opinion that this unnatural custom has not existed for more