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pile that can atone in some degree for the mass of unharmoniousness, is, from situation, less in a thoroughfare than the rest of the deformed quantity.
But the general opinion has been strongly expressed, and we must hope that, when renewed, it may be in better taste ; for it happily is of so perishable a construction, that in some few years
The United Service Club-house, the Fire-office,
Nor leave a house behind. I was in the habit of reading in the journals accounts of the sums voted by Parliament for the sculptured commemoration of the illustrious men that have bled for their country, and I have pointed out these accounts to the foreigners whom I have met, with pride at such a judicious and grateful application of the public funds. I have sometimes added, “ Here is, indeed, what may be called patronage; here is the true field for sculpture. The sentiment thrown around the sepulchral monument must give it a superiority over your Hebes, your Bacchus, and your Faun; for there is something in the subject to inspire-to call forth the magnificence of design.” With all the predisposition to be charmed, I entered St. Paul's. The interior of this superb church was in a state of complete neglect; but it was not until I commenced the perusal of the monuments that I saw the policy of the dirt. I am now convinced that it has been allowed to accumulate at the request of the sculptors; and I am glad to see it, for modesty is the promise of amendment. I will not make remarks on masses of marble that are not of recent erection ; but there is a wretched national penury in the spirit that clusters the names of two or three gallant officers on the same beggarly-looking slab of marble. If these things are proposed as encouragement for the living, the Legislature must think that human exertion is easily bribed. In the latest monument that, by a more liberal grant, has been produced on a more elaborate scale, we will notice the design as it is, and the incongruity visible in it, as in every other group where allegory is attempted. Sir Thomas Picton was acknowledgedly one of the first generals of the British army. After a series of the most brilliant subordinate services rendered to the country, he fell in the most distinguished battle of modern times; and Sir Thomas Picton's monument exhibits—not the form of a General of division, nor a full length of an expiring hero, but--a bust ;--and so placed, that it requires an opera-glass to observe it well. Now, as General Picton's figure, in the artist's opinion, would not do for sculpture, he has given us three that he thinks may answer better. A Victory, or an England, (I forget which) with a Grecian face, handing a wreath for Picton's brow to a Roman Legionary (who cannot reach to Picton's bust), and who is to represent to the spectator the most appropriate emblem of Valour. Now, we think that a British soldier is as emblematical of valour as any Roman can be. And knowing that there was not a single Italian corps in the army at Waterloo, any soldier of the 5th or 88th regiments, who used to lead in Picton's storming-parties, on visiting this monument, will puzzle his memory to think to what regiment of the division this fellow belonged. Next, to keep all female visitors at a distance, stands a naked youth (gracefully sculptured, I allow), who represents Genius. The naked truth every one hears of, though it is rarely exhibited; but this genius might have had clothes on, for in the cold cavity of St. Paul's the boy looks as if freezing. Is there not generally a committee appointed to decide on the designs, and if nothing more in character was submitted to them, did it not become their duty, with only the wish to honour the memory of Picton, a regard for sculpture, and a disregard as to the country of the artist, to have procured a design, such at least as would have led the spectator into the secret—that a soldier of the 19th century was thus honoured by the gratitude of his country? A free trade is as judicious in the Fine Arts as in those which are necessary to existence.*
The object of the public is to have fine structures and monuments. There is, in fact, scarcely a composition in St. Paul's that would not be in Italy broken up to ke cement; and yet every one knows these things might have been procured, of elegant conception and high finish, at an inferior expense. If one of these monuments could shew itself, in its Italian quarry, in its new British shape, “ 'twould make the stones of Rome to rise and mutiny,” ere they would submit to embarkation for England.
Another monument lately erected, standing near the door of entrance, is actually better, though the artist might have made the figures in relief more effective and graceful. The principal figure is of General Hay, who is dressed in uniform, and the effect of the costume is not ungraceful as might be supposed. In these things we have been too much slaves to old ideas. If a man of the present day looks dignified in existence and becoming in modern costume, does he not give the idea of more active and manly power than the philosopher in his cumbrous robe ? and, ephemeral as the fashion is, should he not be represented as he lived ? How comes it that the painter alone has stepped over this narrowness of taste ? Our nobles stand in the frame in their official dresses, or in the common costume, our military as British military; allegory is not crowded into the painting containing the modern portrait. And what artist would pencil but the bust, surrounded by the personified attributes of the mind ?
Now we may inquire what is the course most likely to succeed in eliciting a better taste for the arts, and in the artists themselves. First, as to the obligation entailed on the Country, to disgrace the appearance of its religious edifices, in particular, by the exclusive patronage of native art. The profession of the Fine Arts is of optional adoption, because the student, before he can feel necessity, must incur expenditure, and
pass much time without emolument. If a young man without the
I do not deny the skill of the sculptor in what he has done (the lion not being sculptured), but I assert that a parliamentary grant is not to be given for copies or ideas of antique figures, when the country wanted the full representation of a contemporary personage. Bad as the composition and workmanship of many other monuments are, still, where the principal figure of the subject is presented in the principal representation, we experience some feeling of satisfaction.
natural requisites for success, voluntarily enters on the career of an artist, the country is certainly not called on to indemnify him for his miscalculation of his powers. But, from the system pursued by the public guardians and fosterers of art, a few leaders in the particular branches have an exclusive certainty of employment, and allow, in the indolence even of genius, much of their powers to remain dormant. If invitations for designs for the next required monumental group were extended to all Europe, we should either produce amongst ourselves something of perfect beauty, or we should be the means of introducing such sculpture as might originate a new school in England. Something of this kind should be done, to save us from the laughter of the Continent. Our painters, whose art is more difficult, have completely outstripped the architect and sculptor. They introduce with a superior effect the modern female face, and on the neck of a goddess or a Virtue it is appropriately placed. But if they acted like our sculptors, we might expect to see the combatants in the Peninsular battles in Roman or Greek caparison, as well as a British King.*
Speaking of battles brings me to the third illustration of my premises. The Directors of the National Academy have given a sum of public money for the most rhapsodical picture that ever adorned the walls of an exhibition-room. The picture is entitled “ The Triumph of England." Of course, allegory is largely employed ;—not classical allegory, but the wildest fantastical expression is given to dreams, which could have sprung alone from the oppression of the incubus. The composer of this picture is, by declaration, and all previous study, an animal-painter, and unsurpassed as such ; but in this instance, when the noblest embodying of idea was requisite to give a conception of the proudest era of the British monarchy, the competition should have been thrown open to the world. We wanted to illustrate a crowd of splendid achievements, and should not have been restrained in the
gratification of that wish by the narrow and quite unnecessary care of attending to the interests of a well-established artist. The British School of Painting (in a rapid state of advancement) owes its best success to private patronage ; but the hitherto existing ordinances and rules of its academic direction have not much benefited it. Let the Directors of the Academy reject all designs that possess incongruities. Let us no longer see buildings disfigured by unprecedented orders ; nor a Greek structure surmounted by a spire; nor a female with Greek features introduced in the same group with a male figure of Roman lineament: when those faults are avoided, architecture and sculpture may derive improvement from national encouragement, and painting be prevented from degenerating into wild imagination. But, to succeed, the competition must be thrown open to all England ; and occasionally, according to the importance of the subject, to all Europe. The talent of the British artist should alone procure him the monopoly in the market. When England produces the best artists, it will be against our interest any longer to encourage those of the Continent. In the most justly che
See the design for a monument to the memory of George III. New Monthly Magazine, vol. iii. page 126.
rished branch of painting—the portrait, who thinks of employing an Italian?
Finally, as the most abundant exercise of sculpture is in the field of monumental commemoration, we ought, in common fairness, to consider what might be the fleeting and self-inspiring reflections of some of those men who are the sculptor's subjects, if they were alive. Would not Picton think his memory neglected, if he saw it only perpetuated by a bust? Did Crauford lead in at Rodrigo's breach, and M‘Kinnon over its mine, and think only to be clustered in the same wretched medallion or tablet? Did Le Marchant charge for immortality, to be handed to posterity in profile? If we do not correct these matters, let us renounce our pretensions to a share in the encouragement of judicious art, and remain a commercial people. But if we would still make the attempt to unite taste to the other parts of the national character, let the field of Art be as the Olympic, open to all comers. Propose the prize for excellence to all the Continent, and England may become the field of all competition, the arena of European talent, the emporium of the fine arts; and it may before long be her's to boast her Milo. Why not act, in respect of the fine arts, as we would in the sciences ? If we require the solution of a problem in astronomy or mechanics, do we not propose the prize of discovery and elucidation to all the talented of every country? Did we limit the proposal of reward for the chronometer to the native of England ? If we thought the naval architecture of another state superior to that of our own, whether ought we to adopt the foreigner's, or lavish our patronage on the less skilful native constructor's? Had the principles which at present direct us in the mode of encouraging the Fine Arts always swayed public opinion, England could not have been the favoured country of Holbein, Vandyke, and Kneller ; nor should we have had a Reynolds, or a Lawrence, and portrait-painting would have been as imperfect as some other departments of the art.
W. W. W.
SONNET, Written on visiting the spot where the earlier years of the Writer were passed.
Loved haunt of guiltless hearts and golden hours !
Home of my youth, and theme of youthful song!
My thoughtless boyhood chased its days along!
May many a sweet rose in the desert find-
Home of my youth! like that I left behind.
Breathe the deep dirge of hopes and pleasures fled ;
May people vacancy, and list the dead :
LETTERS ON A TOUR IN SWITZERLAND.
N 0. I.
Ev'n now where Alpine solitudes ascend,
I sit me down a pensive hour to spend. GOLDSMITH. We arrived at Orbe, from Dijon, by way of Salins and Pontarliera road full of beauty, and a worthy introduction to this lovely Pays de Vaud. A few leagues from Dijon, about Auxonne, as we drove along the plains near the Saone, we first saw the bold blue outlines of the Jura; and at Salins we entered into one of its deep valleys, with all the picturesque accompaniments of fir forests and impending mountains. We had now fairly turned our backs on the tame mediocrity of French landscape, and though the post-book told us we were in the Departement du Jura, the forests, the mountains, the glens, the streams, the pastoral cottages, assured us we were on the verge of Switzerland. Nothing can be finer than the drive from Pontarlier to Orbe. Pontarlier is situated in a rich plain of pasture watered by the Doubs. The wooded barrier of the Jura rises majestically above the town, and the high road runs through a pass between perpendicular rocks so narrow as to have been formerly shut in by gates, the posts of which still remain. On the cliff on one side is perched the fortress of Joux beetling over the road. Here Toussaint L'Ouverture was confined by Napoleon, and died of cold, hunger, and grief. The rock is almost inaccessible, and admirably adapted for the site of a frontier fortress. Nothing but a refinement in oppressive cruelty could select the fortress for a state prison. A soft green valley, sunk deep between mountains rising abruptly and richly clothed with the deep green of the fir, now afforded us a passage through the chain of the Jura. At the village of Balaigne we passed the frontier. An inspection of our passports by one of the Gendarmerie Vaudoise, with a sabre by his side, and Liberté et Patrie, the motto of the Canton, glittering on his helmet, somewhat disturbed the romantic illusions of the scene, and the associations connected with a pastoral republic. The drive by Balaigne and Montcharand to Orbe is one of the most lovely that can be conceived. Here it is that you first command a Swiss prospect, with all its luxuriant variety of mountain, forest, orchards, valleys, lakes, alps, and snows. The Lake of Geneva was obscured by the mists of the evening, but the lake of Neufchatel lay bright and glittering below us. Orbe, though not a pretty town in itself, is one of the most pleasing that I know. The character of the neighbouring scenery has a smiling loveliness, and a teeming fertility, which I never saw equalled. The neatness of the villages, the cleanly respectability of the people, their large well-built cottages and farms, the beautiful pastures, vineyards, orchards that slope down to the romantic river Orbe, which alternately roars in cascades through rocks, and meanders through an expanse of meadow, the town with its steeples and old Roman towers on a vinc-covered eminence above the river, the upland pastures of the Jura covered with flocks of cows and goats and studded with white chalets-add to this scene of beauty the black fir-clad ridge of the Jura above, the