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• to half-artists. There is a copy of Buckfhorn's painting after Vandyck, which I like much better than any of Stone's: I mean the picture of the Earl of Strafford and his Secretary, in the Marquis of Rockingham's collection, which is well painted, and defervedly efteemed.'
Having thus happily transformed Rubens and Vandyck into Copiers, and Copiers into Skimmers of Cream; and given us a fhort digreffion on Connoiffeurs, Virtuofi, and Picturecleaners, he re-affumes his fubject, talks of Blufhing Copies, of Obfcuro, of Colouring infected with teints, of tainted Copies, and infected Painters; and then introducing a paragraph of weighty argument, concludes, in triumph, that he has refcued Copying from contempt, and demonftrated, that it ought to be encouraged, as a thing highly useful, and worthy of efteem.' But his own meaning will be best seen in his own words.
I believe," fays he, every one that has heard of Andrea del Sarto's copy of Leo the tenth, painted by Raphael and Julio Romano, will be convinced of the great ufe and merit of an art, to which is owing that great number of originals now abounding in every country. By originals, I < mean pictures impofed as fuch, by our ingenious and honeft dealers, to adorn the cabinets of the Virtuofi and Con• noiffeurs.'
Tho' we dare answer for Mr. Bardwell's innocence in this respect, we cannot but obferve with what fatisfaction he in dulges the thoughts of impofing on these confounded Virtuofi and Connoiffeurs. He puts us in mind of Willy Cummins, a North-British Rotterdamer, who being one day reproached with over-reaching a Jew, exclaimed, How man! to nick a Jew, is na' a muckle fin; they are aw' dam'd rafcals, and 6 an honeft man canna' leeve by them.'
But to go on with Mr. Bardwell's chapter on Copying.
It is furprifing,' continues he, that fince the age of these great mafters, (viz. Stone, Hanneman, and Buckthorn) we have not had a man able to make a fine copy from any one of their pictures: and, I believe, if fuch a genius fhould hereafter arife, it is to be feared the deftroyers of the art, if they are fuffered to go on, will fcour off the remains of ❝ their beauties, fo that very little will be left for him to study; ⚫ and by the end of the century there will be none fit for copying.
* This puts us in mind of Scaligers' animadverfion on Montagne's egotiím. For my part, fays Montagne, I am a great lover of your white wines. What the devil fignifies it to the public whether he is a lover of white wines, or of red wines ?' SPECT.
A Painter that has acquired any fort of manner; will always tincture his copying with the fame. Now-adays we are too apt to fall into a manner, before we understand the "nature of Colours which is the cafe where some predominant colour, or hue, appears in all the complexions alike. For this reafon, a Painter whofe Carnations are too red, will certainly make his copies blush: or, if his Colouring ⚫ and Shadows be heavy, they will, of course, fall into the • Obfcuro. By the fame rule, whatever teints infect his Colouring, the fame will unavoidably taint his copying; for which (alafs!) there is no cure, because he himself is infected.
• Monfieur de Piles fays, "It is very rare to change a bad "manner in Colouring for a better: That Raphael, Michael "Angelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Julio Romano, and other "great mafters, fpent their whole lives without truly under"ftanding good Colouring." And tho' Colouring is the principal excellence in Copying, yet it is neceflary that every artist should avoid a particular manner with his pencil, otherwise it will certainly be feen in his work.'-From his filence in this refpect, one would be apt to imagine that our Author has not heard of fuch things as Form or Outline.
Tho' we fancy our Readers are by this time pretty well acquainted with the merits of Mr. Bardwell's performance, yet we cannot omit taking some notice of his Perspective, both as we promised it in our last, and as it will be a kind of Introduc tion to our account of Mr. Ware's tranflation of Sirigatti, in a future number.
The book entitled New Principles of Linear Perspective, by Dr. Brook Taylor, (a fecond edition of which, much more ample than the firft, was printed by Knaplock in 1719) contains the most ingenious and most useful improvements, hitherto made, in that branch of Optics which particularly regards the arts of Painting and Designing, and which is diftinguished by the name of Perspective.
But notwithstanding the excellence of this book, it was not of fuch general advantage to our artifts, as might have been expected, because it required fome little acquaintance with the Elements of Euclid, five of whofe Propofitions are therein quoted, to demonstrate the truth of that theory, on which Dr. Taylor has founded the univerfal practice of this art; and we doubt if, for the first fifteen years after the Doctor had published his book, more than one of our Painters had made himself thoroughly mafter of the principles it contains: tho' it might have been expected from the warmth with which on all occafions, this one eminent Painter, recommended Dr. Taylor's book,
book, and the affiduity with which he applied himfelf to illuf trate its meaning, (in an excellent manuscript, which hath never been publifhed) it would have met with a more eager reception from those who ftudied the arts of Defign, and have come much fooner into vogue amongst them. A foreigner, however, to whom the art of Engraving is much obliged in this country, availed himfelf of the afore-mentioned Gentleman's opinion touching Dr. Taylor, and not only made himself mafter of this new method, but taught it to his difciples here, and compofed a book on this fubject, (which likewife hath not yet been printed) in order to render these new principles more easily attainable; and adapted a set of very ornamental examples, invented by himfelf, to illuftrate the Doctor's Propofitions.
We omit, for the prefent, mentioning what more hath been performed on this fubject, till the ingenious Mr. Kirby's late endeavours to render this new Perfpective intelligible to every capacity: an attempt in which he feems to have fucceeded very happily, as well in explaining the principles, as in facilitating the practice; yet fome artifts, either from a tardiness of apprehenfion, or want of application, enemies to Geometry, have ftill oppofed every improvement in this art; and feem ftill refolved, in order to excufe their own incapacity or idlenefs, to decry Dr. Taylor's method, and whatever may be deduced from it. What fhare Mr. Bardwell has in this controverfy, the Introduction to that part of his book treating on Perfpective, will inform us. He fets out thus:
We are much obliged to the learned in the Mathematics,* who, in the beginning of this century, made fuch great improvements in the Principles of Perfpective, and who have done their utmost to render them ufeful: but for want of understanding the art of Painting †, and the practice of Defigning, they are intelligible only to thofe readers who have a fufficient fund of Geometry to comprehend all their
As Mr. Bardwell, in the Introduction to his Art of Colouring, fets out with citing Pliny, whom he certainly did not under- ' fland, fo he begins this with talking of the learned in the Mathematics, when, in all appearance, he has not the least tincture of real mathematical learning.
This is a mistake. Brook Taylor was well verfed in the art of Painting, and the practice of Defigning :-how difingenuously then does our Author here endeavour to shift the charge of ignorance from himself, and fix it on the learned Dr. Taylor.
Why then will Mr. Bardwell thus expofe himfelf, by giving his opinion on what he does not at all comprehend?
fchemes and examples. They found that all planes were alike in Geometry; and followed their geometrical genius, which led them into fuch conftructions as they thought would explain their properties in general, and give a new turn to Perspective. Indeed, their schemes are so very intricate, that none but those who are well acquainted with the Mathematics can understand them. Dr. Taylor neglected the Horizontal Plane, and in his book made no difference between that plane and any other whatsoever. Here it is that I am quite of the reverfe opinion to that learned Gentleman, and believe that the term of Horizontal Line 'fhould confine our notions to the Horizontal Plane: And, I think, that that plane which represents the earth on which we live, enjoys fome particular privileges which makes the planes in it more eafy and more convenient to be defcribed, notwithstanding all planes are alike in Geometry: for which reafon I have followed Nature, and have united the old and new principles: and believing the objects are best understood by their natural appearance, I have given the Horizontal Plane to all my work, with the Vanishing Line in its proper pofition. Here I found it absolutely neceffary to confider the fubject in a manner as yet unattempted, and which fhould require no mathematical knowlege to underftand it. This obliged me to find one general method for the whole work: and finding the principles few and fimple upon which the art depends; and that there are no more than § three planes, and fix different lines, required to un⚫derstand, in order to represent any object whatsoever; I
Dr. Taylor fays, And fince planes, as planes, are alike in Geometry, it is most proper to confider them as fuch, and to ex⚫ plain their properties in general.'
+ Giving a new turn to Perfpective, must be an elegance, the peculiar property of Mr. Bardwell.
Dr. Taylor has fhewn how to treat all planes with equal facility. How can he then be faid to have neglected the Horizontal Plane? All this is miferable Jargon; and the meaning it feems to inculcate is abfurd.
§ We could wish he had given us the names of these three planes and fix lines. We find, that a few more planes are required to underftand, in order to reprefent any object whatsoever; (e. g.) there is one called the horizontal plane. There are three species of planes perpendicular to the horizontal plane, to wit, thofe parallel to the picture, thofe perpendicular to the picture, and thofe whofe pofi tion is oblique in refpect of the picture. We find, that declining and reclining planes, may each of them, in like manner, be diftin-. guilhed into three fpecies, and that, on each of thefe ten planes, three fpecies of right lines may be drawn, befides all the variety of curves. Rev. Sep. 1756. compofed
compofed fuch a variety of objects as I conceived would draw on the knowlege of Perfpective; and which, I think, ⚫ cannot fail of rendering the ufeful principles of this art gene⚫ and intelligible.' What purposes the ufeful principles of this art are to anfwer, the following paffage will inform us.
A Painter is not to be confined strictly to the rules of Perfpective;nothing fhould tie up his hands; he fhould be at liberty to express his idea, like Gotto, with one ftroke of his pencil.
I defign not to trouble the reader with a multitude of ex • amples, but to explain the general rules of Perfpective in fuch a manner as may be intelligible to him."
All this (and more of the fame fterling) Mr. Bardwell hath hath thought fit to fay, by way of Introduction, prefixing to it (very improperly, in our opinion) the title of Principles of Perspective: he now proceeds to what may be called his Practice, for Principles we can find none.
So ere we ever fo much inclined to pafs over his total
neglect of demonftrating this Practice to be rational or juft, we ought, by no means, to neglect obferving, 1. That it is defective; treating neither of the Limits of Shadows, or the Images of Objects feen by reflection, on water, or polifhed furfaces. 2. That his method is every where confused, and, of confequence, ill adapted to convey his meaning, if he has any. Likewife, that his definitions are generally obfcure, or falle, or both. And, laftly, that notwithstanding his pretenfions to novelty, there is nothing (blunders excepted) that can be called new in his work. He feems confcious of the first part of this accufation, and gives us a very fatisfactory reafon for his omiffion: afferting, that the geometrical or perfpective knowlege of Shadows, is of very little confequence to Painters. And he has thought reflected objects of too little confequence, even to apologize concerning them. Touching his other mistakes, we fhall mention only 'fome few of the moft obvious.
The diftance which we are from the imaginary plane, when at the ftation where we propofe to take the Perfpective View, is the distance of the picture.'
He should have faid, the fhorteft diftance of the eye from the imaginary plane, &c.
In the fixth paragraph of his comment on plate the firft, without having defined the principal ray, he fays it cuts the imaginary plane at right angles; of confequence its feat on the picture is a point. But in the fixth paragraph of the fecond plate, he talks of it, as of a line drawn on the imaginary plane which is contradictory, and abfurd.