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what they were sixty years ago. “No of two modes, by which a taste for the just opinions were at that time enter- higher excellencies of painting can be tained on the merits of ingenious pro- created. The first and most easy ductions of this kind. The state of course, though far the most dilatory, the public mind, incapable of discrimi- is to place before the public eye, well nating excellence from inferiority, executed representations of subjects proved incontrovertibly, that a right adapted to the prevailing taste; and sense of art in the spectator, can only thence to lead it gradually to works be acquired by long and frequent ob- of an higher order; or secondly, it servation, and that without proper op- must be brought about by some great portunities to improve the mind and original genius appearing among us, the eye, a nation would continue insen- who, unshackled by pecuniary or other sible of the true yalue of the fine arts.” difficulties, and with an eye undevia-Page 50.
tingly fixed on the accomplishment of To the truth and intelligence of the great things, could calmly await the above remarks, we should have suppo- slow progress of public opinion, till an sed no one, at all qualified to judge, opportunity was afforded, through the could have raised the slightest objec- example of his own productions, of tion. It is notoriously the fact that eventually directing the attention of art, at the period Mr Farrington is de- his countrymen to the noblest walks scribing, was, with few exceptions, at of the profession. The only artist, a very low ebb; and, no less so, that the whose situation could have enabled taste and admiration of the public at him to give a high direction to the large, were devoted to the "grossest” feeling for painting somewhat tardily and most “ puerile objects.” Few excited in this country, was Sir Joshua among the most enlightened of the himself; but unfortunately, as he has higher classes, even possessed any confessed, he did not feel his own knowledge on the subject, or appeared power adequate to the undertaking; to imagine it a necessary accomplish- what he did attempt, however, he emiment, in the education of a gentleman. nently succeeded in accomplishing. He Deception, not Imitation, was “ the rescued portrait-painting from the forIdol of the Day;" and the admiration mal and insipid trammels in which it of our countrymen was confined chief- had hitherto moved, and following his ly to such specimens of art, as the own admirable precepts, infused into butcher's shop, at Bagnigge Wells, or
the most common place subject a por. the uncouth representation, that start- tion of that sublime and general princ led us formerly at every turning of our ciple, which forms the leading characold fashioned pleasure gardens. In- teristic of the great style of art. Fardeed, so deficient was the nation in ther nature had not formed him to go taste, and so absolutely ignorant of the -He fixed the standard of portrait, in common principles of art, that the rare this country, on the loftiest eminence genius of Hogarth even passed compa- -succeeding artists have followed in ratively unnoticed, till the attention of his footsteps, but no one has reached the country became aroused from its the summit he attained ; perhaps belethargy by the public exhibitions, cause it is found easier to see through which have subsequently, produced his eyes than to adopt the principles of that general taste for painting, which his study. In saying this, we are far distinguishes the higher and middling from wishing to undervalue the disranks of the present day, beyond that tinguished and varied talent, which of any former period in our history. is annually displayed within the walls
Whether this newly acquired taste of Somerset House ; on the contrary, has been judiciously directed towards considering the disadvantages under attaining the higher purposes of art, which a majority of the pictures are is quite another question ; perhaps we painted, and that the whole is generaldo not believe that it has—but we must ly the production of a single
year, learn to
creep before we can fly," think that if there be any cause for and since, as has been well observed, surprise, it arises from so much being
" we are on no account to expect, that achieved under circumstances of no I fine things should descend to us-our very encouraging a description. Whe
taste, if possible, must be made to ther the establishment of an Academy ascend to them.”-In a country cir- be, upon the whole, beneficial to the cumstanced like Britain, we know but higher departments of painting, is a ques
That a very wide difference does exist broached, with respect to the higher in the comparative excellence of our departments of painting ; but, as a
poets and painters, we are by no means more favourable opportunity for dis# disposed to deny ; but, surely, a very cussing these points is soon likely to
slight degree of reflection would fur- be afforded us, we shall at present abnish many adequate causes for the in- stain from farther remark, particularly feriority of the latter, without having as our limits warn us that it is time to
recourse to the fippant and self-suffi- return to our author, and bring our #cient dicta of a rival nation.
observations to a conclusion. We do not exactly comprehend the Mr Farrington's account of the esa distinction which has been drawn be- tablishment of the Society of Painters
tween" high art” and “true art," ' in Spring-Gardens, and of the intestine * since to us it appears, that any style divisions among its members, which le grounded on the violation of truth, can- terminated eventuallyin the institution
not be considered as art at all; but we of the Royal Academy in 1768, is writ# suppose the sneer, if it mean any thing, ten with great fidelity, and with strict
is directed at those artists, who, like impartiality. Perhaps the dispute be" Barry,” it seems, mistake their “ar tween Mr Strange and Sir Joshua was dent aspirations after excellence for the scarcely worth noticing, as the whole power to achieve it,” and assume the business evidently originated in a piqué capacity to execute the greatest works, conceived by the former gentleman, at instead of acquiring it." We thought engravers being excluded, through the it had been settled only a few pages be- influence of the latter, from holding fore, that capacity could not be acqui- the rank of Academicians. "The fact red!!! After all, however, we do not was," says our author, " that Sir Josee any thing very censurable in an shua Reynolds held the ingenuity of artist attempting to rival excellence in able engravers in high consideration; the highest works of art, which he has but he could not admit, that works taste and enthusiasm enough to feel purely imitative should be classed with and to admire ; indeed, were a man to original productions, or that the proremain undecided, in the choice of his fessors of the former were entitled to style, till he felt quite persuaded he was the distinction granted to the latter, gifted with the powers of Raphael, or which requires more profound study, Michael Angelo, we are fearful that his and greater powers of mind." P. 62. ultimate progress would prove very We have read, with particular pleaconsiderable. No one can be fully aware sure and interest, that part of the voof his own force till he has first tried" lume which describes the situation and it, and, in the pursuit of excellence, dignified conduct of Sir Joshua, when we cannot perhaps place our standard he had reached the splendid zenith of too high. This seems, at least, to have his reputation. It would indeed be been the opinion of Sir Joshua Rey- difficult to conceive a more enviable lot nolds, who, in one of his early and ad- than the one enjoyed by that great man mirable discourses, thus addresses the at the period to which we allude, when students of the Academy-"My ad- he was honoured by the admiration of vice, in a word, is this: keep your prin- his countrymen, from the Sovereign to cipal attention fixed upon the higher the humblest subject, and numbered, excellencies ; if you compass them,
and in the large circle of his private friendcompass nothing more, you are still in ship, a constellation of illustrious chathe first class. We may regret the in- racters, which has rarely been rivalled numerable beauties you may want; in the annals of the brightest periods you may be very imperfect, but still you of British history. These times are are an imperfect artist of the higher flown, and, order. If, when you have got thus far,
( Flown with these, you can add any, or all of the subordi The wine of life is on the lees." nate qualifications, it is my wish and But we will not increase our own readvice that you should not neglect gret, and that of our readers, by dwellthem, but this is as much a matter of ing on the melancholy causes which, circumspection and caution, at least, through the last twenty-five years, as of eagerness and pursuit.” It was seem to have been gradually leading us our intention to have dwelt upon some to so sad'a consummation. We are doctrines of a novel and rather curious glad to find that Mr Farrington has description, which have recently been borne his testimony to the well directo
ed efforts of an "English tradesman, The remainder of the work is chiefly who, by one bold and hazardous spe- dedicated to the origin, progress, and culation, did more for the higher de- final adjustment of the dispute between partments of painting in this country, Sir Joshua and the Royal Academy,ihan has since been accomplished by to an account of the public funeral of the united endeavours of its most il- that great man, and to the literary eflustrious encouragers and protectors; fusions elicited from various quarters not, we believe, because his zeal in the on the occasion of his lamented death, cause of art was greater, but because forming altogether an amusing and ina his plan was better adapted than any teresting supplement to Mr Malone's one that has hitherto been dev d, to account of the distinguished President, call into immediate effect the full pow- which reflects considerable crediton Mr ers of the most accomplished painters Farrington, not only as an able and juof the day, many of whom would pro- dicious biographer, but as a sensible, bably have past their lives in compa- accurate, and highly impartial writer. rative obscurity, if the establishment As an artist, our author has never of the Shakspeare Gallery had not af- risen to great eminence, but his inforforded them a favourable opportunity mation, amusing conversation, and genof bringing a large body of their works tleman-like deportment, have always into public notice, without incurring rendered him a welcome guest in pothe risks and mortifying results which lished and literary society. It is said, generally attend the speculating efforts that at one period of his life, he took a of individual and unemployed artists. very active share in the private politics
The undertaking of Alderman Boydell, of the Royal Academy, and, like most in the first instance, met with consi- other men placed in similar circumderable encouragement, and only fail- stances, has received his full share of ed of complete success, from the stop- approbation and of obloquy; but after page of foreign trade during a dozen all due allowance for the prejudices years of war. The Alderman appears and infirmities of human nature, it is to have been a man of a most amiable but fair to add, and we say it with the and respectable character ; he died at strictest impartiality, that Mr Farringthe advanced age of 86, but his me ton is a sincere lover of his art, and mory will long live in the remembrance has generally, through life, been anxiof every true lover and encourager of ous to place its professors on an indeart.
pendent and respectable footing.
POEMS TO IDA.
Oh! sweetly o'er th' Atlantic sea,
The moon, with melancholy smile,
Am fondly musing all the while :
Its silent course the vessel steers,
We roam'd on eves of other years !
Between us rise, between us roll,
Thou sheddest light upon my soul.
Have only made it doubly thine!
The dreams of other days awakenis music
No more on earth to overtake!
Our wanderings by the sandy shore
Our walks along the twilight plain
The raptures that we felt of yore******; 11:20 And ne'er on earth shall feel again!
Unclouded Moon ! o'er rippling seas .. 1837-nis Thou lookest down in placid grace; tezi is Hips 10, With sails, expanded by the breeze, Nebo sa ithin. Alert, our onward path we trace; trial To foreign isles, and lands unknown,
We steer, where every sigh shall tell,
My thoughts, with those far distant dwell.
Thine aspect, so serene and calm,
And o'er our sorrows shedding balm.
Across the hot and fever'd brow,
When thou did'st shine as thou dost now !
The dreams of vanish'd years awake,
And left the joyless heart to break.-
Endow'd by youth with magic charm;
We roam'd together, arm in arm.'"*
Mayhap, now pondering, takest delight
And gaze upon this lovely night;
In starting up and passing by.
From life at once to pass away,
And inch by inch, and day by day ;
As twilight o'er the sky expands,-
That leaves the bleak and barren sands. Tod
Fade one by one, to note the leaves
Through which the wintry tempest grieves
That still we breathe, and feel, and live,
3.4 Limon MA
Though oceans roll, and roar between 19
Thou smilest bright, and shinest serene;
All bleak and barren though it be, ****,
Has still a charm in having thee!