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THE TRUE MISTRESS.
Wild friend, a mistress ought to be
REPLY TO MR BARKER.
is engaged may be executed in a manI am not a facetious gentleman, but a ner worthy of our national literature; very plain man, who was so struck by and also that I think he brings with the critical sagacity of Cæcilius Metel- him many requisite qualifications to his lus, that I could not refrain from ex- task, although I agree with the Quarpressing it in print. Nor can I even terly Reviewer in nearly all his objecconjecture the meaning of Mr Barker, tions. His answer is rather a censure when he accuses me of having pro- on Dr Blomfield nounced an Harveian oration against he has even gone so far out of his way, him. However, as he assures me that as to translate some dull and forgotten I have mistaken my man, I am ready German criticisms on that accomplishto retract my guess, for you may re ed scholar's works) than a defence of member it was nothing more; and I his manner of editing Thes.—Valpy, in am sorry that Mr Barker feels annoyed my opinion, has acquitted himself much at so trifling a circumstance. I never better in the little pamphlet, which he made any attack on him, but merely has served up with the last number. conjectured that it was he who wrote Still, however, the main charge, unnein the disguise of Cæcilius, from the cessary rambling and prolixity, is undexterity and freedom displayed by that answered. Indeed I do not recollect writer in the use of the scissors, for any objection which has received a full which we all know Mr B. is so famous; reply ; but the book will be a great deand a very excellent accomplishment pôt of Greek after all. for a lexicographer it is. This then I now make my bow to Mr Barker, should satisfy Mr Barker ; so let him and shall not trouble him again, unless no longer be one of those who læso do- I have strong cause. In case he wishes luere Metello. It were unfair if I did to call on me, I am ready,at a moment's not add, that in spite of my facetious- notice, to march, caligatus in agros, ness, the said Cæcilius is a respectable and scatter Harveian orations as he calls scholar, and somewhat of a wag in his them, upon him orõ tã Dunáno; but if way, as his Greek squib on Jeffrey, a not, I shall remain under my own vine very neat little mock-heroic (which, and fig-tree, at quiet and secure, like ut obiter dicam, some of your contribu- the men of Laish. But let him not be tors ought to translate for you) can tes- a blood-thirsty Danite, to come and tify ; but I think all will agree that he disturb me, or perhaps I shall not give was peculiarly deserving of my pane- my throat to the edge of the sword as gyric, for his authentication of your easily as these children of the Gentile. Horæ Scandicæ.
I remain, Mr Barker calls my attention to the
Dear Sir, second part of his Aristarchus Anti
Your's sincerely, Blomfieldianus, and recommends it as
A CONSTANT READER. a proper butt for the exercise of my London, March 3, 1821. wit. It very probably is a fit subject for such a purpose ; and I shall cer P.S.-In my former letter, for “ the tainly read it, as I have read the first most doctriniacal Seidlerus," read, meo part; but whether I shall be droll on periculo, “ the most dochmiacal Seidthe occasion or not, is known only to Ierus.” That most facete scholar bethe fates. Of this he may be sure, that ing particularly sublime upon the dochthere is no one who more sincerely desires that the great work in which he
THE BRITISH GALLERY
68 London, March 6, 1821. KNOWING that you take an interest his first lecture, "If the higher arts of in every thing relating to the arts, that design flourish, the inferior ends will is passing in this metropolis, it may be answered of course,
I am aware, not, perhaps, prove unacceptable to that, in a public exhibition, it is imposyou to receive, for insertion in your sible to inform the public as to what excellent Magazine, a few casual ob- it ought to direct its encouragement, servations, which I have been induced nor is it becoming, in an individual, to to throw together, on the re-opening censure any plans for the promotion of of the above annual and national ex- the fine arts, which a body of noblehibition. I shall premise my remarks men and gentlemen have deemed most by stating, that, in speaking of its va- conducive to their advancement. I rious performances, I shall constantly merely wish to suggest it to the canbear in mind the real views of the Go- dour and discernment of these distinvernors in founding the Institution, guished personages, whether the mode and shall consider the British Gallery in which the British Gallery is at preas established for the professed pur- sent filled, may not have a positive pose of encouraging the higher depart- tendency to lead the public taste to the ments of painting. It may perhaps fostering of trifles, rather than to fix appear, at first sight, very difficult to its attention on the nobler purposes of assign any adequate reason for its ha- art. It is not encouragement that is ving so completely failed of producing wanted chiefly in this country, but the effects which were so fondly anti- that its encouragement should be dicipated by its liberal and enlightened rected into proper channels; and I will projectors, and by the public at large; venture to assert, that if one picture but on taking a retrospective view of only of real excellence, or even of proits annual exhibitions of modern art, mise, in the higher walks of painting, and of the species of encouragement were yearly purchased by the Directhat has been afforded, the difficulty tors, with a view of gradually forming is solved, as it will be found that the a National Gallery, it would do more latter, probably from the taste of the for the perfection of arts in general, day, has been chiefly bestowed upon than all the sums that are annually exworks that ought never to have found pended on inferior productions, which, admission into an institution, origi- as they are now applied, only tend to nally intended to promote the highest promote the most lamentable of all branches of the profession. There are consummations in art-mediocrity and other exhibitions, in which ingenious common-place ! productions, in the inferior depart These charges, I am fearful, may ments of the art, may be seen to ad- be applied with more than usual jusvantage; but in the one in question, tice to the collection of pictures now the line of exclusion should have been exhibiting at the Gallery. The atas strictly drawn as it ought to have tempts at historical, or poetical combeen rigidly adhered to. True it is position, are far from numerous, and that a good deal of money is annually are extremely feeble ; and even the expended at the British Gallery, but it fire and talents of Mr Hilton appear is wrongly directed ; and when we look to have been completely paralyzed in at the pictures which are generally his picture of “ Penelope recognising purchased, they will be found to con- Ulysses.” Mr Hayter's Venus comsist of subjects almost exclusively be- plaining to Mars," is yet more unlonging to the lowest description of successful; and the only picture in art, which, however excellent in their the Gallery that possesses any claim to kind, may be bought, throughout all attention, in the historical style, is the eternity, without promoting one
jot original sketch of Chevy Chace, by the the higher departments of design. The late Mr Bird, which is preferable even old-established maxim, in domestic to his celebrated finished picture of the economy, that, “if the pence be taken same subject. The rest of the exhibicare of, the pounds will take care of tion is chiefly filled by such subjects themselves,” should be completely re- as - Dead Game," Ducks from versed in matters of art; for, as Sir Nature,
« Vegetables," Joshua Reynolds has well remarked in and “ Still Life," &c. &c. with a due
sprinkling of Hebes, Cupids, and Ve- strict perseverance in the course he has nuses. It is, however, but fair to add, hitherto pursued, his industry, knowthat many of the above humble suba ledge, and unassuming worth, will be jects are painted with great ingenuity finally crowned with success, and
geand nature: One of the best, and bea neral estimation. longing possibly to a somewhat supe Before I conclude, Mr Editor, I rior order, is Mr Sharp's “ Broken have to speak of an uncommon proWindow," the story of which is ad- duction, that adorns the Gallery, mirably told, and the picture extreme which has burst upon us with all the ly well painted. The two slight splendour of a meteor-I allude to the Sketches, by Mr Wilkie, certainly add picture of Belshazzar's Feast, paintnothing to his well-acquired fame, and ed by Mr J. Martin, a gentleman who it is to be regretted that this very emi- has, for some years, been known to nent artist appears insensibly depart- artists and to the publie for the oriing from that simplicity and truth, ginality and force of his conceptions, which so highly distinguished his ear as well as for many other excellencies ly compositions. In the inferior de- in his art.- It is difficult to criticise a partments of art, the most prominent production which in itself must be conexhibitor in the Gallery is unques- sidered as almost unique; still more tionably Mr Landseer, whose admira- difficult is it to assign the precise style ble compositions of animals can scarce
of art to which it can be said to be. ly be spoken of too highly, for their long-It is neither strictly architectuspirit, fidelity, or painting. If any ral, nor historical, nor poetical, but fault is to be found, it arises from partakes somewhat, and in almost equal their possessing too great a similarity degrees, of all— The whole forms one to the animals of Snyders and Reu- grand scenic representation, where nobens, which, however excellent in thing is seen in detail, but every thing their kind, cannot be followed as in masses admirably managed, and guides, with such confidence as the adapted to express the general gradaproductions of nature herself. Mr tions of surprise, confusion, and conLandseer has quite strength enough sternation, with which the different to draw from the fountain-head at portions of the multitude are supposed once, without condescending to follow to be impressed, according to their any one, in a style in which it is evi- proximity, or remoteness, from the dent he is formed to go before. In the warning and terrible vision on the same walk of art, there is an extreme- wall: No single figure, however, will ly good picture by Mr M. T. Ward, bear the test of examination either with not very felicitously termed “ the respect to drawing, character, or exPainful 'Bite;" but the thought is a pression,-nor was it probably the arthappy one, and the subject is repre- ist's intention that they should; his sented with great truth and humour. object seems to have been to give the Many other pictures, of the same class, grand general features merely, of a might be added, which reflect consi- mighty assemblage of people placed derable credit on their respective paint- under unusual circumstances of terror, ers, but all are unfortunately mispla- without entering into individual disced in an Institution purposely esta- tinctions-In short, the figures can onblished for the encouragement of the ly be looked on as accompaniments to higher walks of art. The landscapes, the scene, and ought not to be regardfor the most part, are confined to ed as historical, any more than those the mere representation of individual introduced in the landscapes of Wilplaces; but there is one splendid ex son or Claude Lorraine.--It is perfectception in the “ Wood-scene at Even- ly ridiculous, therefore, to consider the ing,” by Mr George Barrett, (the picture as an attempt at the highest son of the celebrated painter of that styles of art—The class to which it name) which unites, with great truth
hmore properly belongs is the ornamentand beauty of colour, many of the al; and, considering it in this point of highest excellencies of this delightful view, it may probably be fairly looked department of painting. This art- upon as one of the greatest and most ist has been, for the last few years, original efforts that has been made in gradually rising into public notice, this country for years. The concepand there is little doubt that, by a tion of the architectural part of the VOL. VIII.
design, and its masterly execution, when compared to the various difficul. form unquestionably the great excel- ties that have been so successfully lence of the picture, notwithstanding overcome, and they are suggested to the monotonous and heavy effect pro- Mr Martin's consideration by no unduced, from the whole of the build friendly voice, more in the shape of ings being apparently composed of red hints than as direct censures. In his granite ; a defect that might easily peculiar walk of the profession, he will have been remedied by a judicious probably derive great benefit from a mixture of black and white marble, deep study of the larger works of Tinparticularly about the throne and the toret and Paul Veronese, his great grand flight of steps that ascends to defect having hitherto arisen from his it; whether this
would have been cor- deficiency in colour, and in some other rect, in point of historical fact, is of excellencies for which these eminent little importance, as such liberties as men are so justly distinguished. It is these are perfectly allowable where a pleasing to learn that Mr Martin's great advantage is to be obtained at so meritorious labours have not past unsmall an expence of truth-Perhaps noticed, or unrewarded; the picture, the most striking errors of the picture I have been informed, has been dispoarise from its colour, the omission of sed of for eight hundred guineas, and the hand writing the characters on the it is also said that the Directors of the wall, and the mode of representing the British Gallery, have bestowed upon characters themselves, which at present him a donation of two hundred guineas, bear too great a resemblance to small in testimony of their approbation and windows, through which the raysof the respect. I am, Sir, sun are darting, and which, at first Your obedient humble Servant, sight, greatly tend to obscure the sub
A CONNOISSEUR. ject; but these are trifling errors,
A holy image,
Long years have pass'dwe cannot soon forget