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Sir, that he has not yet proved these things, nor disproved a single syllable of what Mr. L. has advanced on the subject before us.
It may not be less worthy of our notice, that not. withstanding the acrimony of his hostility towards the Lecturer, I cannot find that Mr. L. has any where declared an opinion as to the superior mode of engraving. Perhaps he conceives that such a preference is unnecessary, or would be indelicate or invidious. I would not however anticipate what I dare believe he will one day communicate to the public—for it is obvious from his book that he has been prevented from delivering what he intended, on the subject of modern engraving : I do not suppose that he will allow himself to be forced into any premature disclosure of his sentiments, or that he will condescend to potice at all such attacks as those of your correspondent; but I think you may infer froin what he has already published, that his opinion on this point, does not materially differ from my own, which may be expressed by a slight alteration of a celebrated couplet of Pope.
For modes of Sculpturing let Fools contest
That which is best administered, is best. To conclude, Mr. Editor, it requires no great depth of penetration to perceive not that this Apologist is in the wrong—but that he himself entertains more than a latent suspicion that he is not in the right; for nothing can betray more the conscious baseness of a man who believes he is maintaining a bad cause, than that common artifice of crafty and venal advocates, of attacking the character of their opponent, when they cannot cona trovert his argument or bear down the facts he produces : and the rancour with which it is executed, is always in proportion to the baseness in which it is conceived. Conscious of being weak in truth, a bad man foolishly fatters himself that he shall prove strong in falsehood. I have said thus much sir, that such characters as this Apologist may not in future abuse the confidence of your readers, nor soil the polish of your Cabinet.
And am, Sir,
Your obedient Servant, 22nd Aug. 1807.
MR. LANDSEER'S REMARKS ON CHALK ENGRAVING.
Stippling is a mode of producing prints by means of combinations of dots, which are either round or multangular, as the conical point, or point of the graver, is employed to form them. Stippling with the graver, was occasionally practised both by Martin Schoen and Albert Durer, in the very infancy of the art : the latter employed it in imitating the texture of beaver hats, and other similar objects. Perceiving that it was peculiarly expressive of softness, Agostino Veneziano, and BouTanger, sometiines stippled their flesh, and Julio Campagnola his back-grounds also. Almost a century afterward, it was observed by De Marteau that by etching some of the dots and engraving others, very successful imitations of drawings hatched with chalk, inight be produced ; and hence it has been called the CHALK manner of engraving.
“ In England, the chalk manner is new, having been imported from Paris not many years ago, t by Ryland, who employed it so as rather to imitate such drawings as are done with crayons, or stumped, than such as are hatched with chalk. It was run after, however, with avidity by the public, chiefly because it was new, for it was but a sort of retrograde and degenerate novelty as it was practised by the immediate imitators of Ryland. Yet, with so much heedless anxiety was it pursued, that people never stopt to consider whether even red-chalk or stumped drawings themselves (of which these prints were professed imitations) were so good representations of nature, or afforded a more happy and efficient means of transfusing the soul of painting, than the art of engraving in lines, as it was then exercised by Bartolozzi, Vivares, Woollett, and Strange, who were all living at the time; but-Ryland and novelty led the way, and fashion and Bartolozzi followed.
Perhaps Bartolozzi perceived that this stippling inode of engraving, was capable of more easily bestowing that soft blending and infantile indefinity, which are conspicuous in his style ;- perhaps he recollected the fate of Milton, Corregio, and Collins, and saw that the existing state of the public taste, would neither appreciate nor reward the solitary efforts of a line-engraver who should regulate his aims by exalted views of the per
+ About fifty.
fertibility of his art; and perhaps he knew that in executing his plates in the chalk manner, he could much sooner avail himself of the assistance of his pupils than in the more arduous practice of engraving in lines, and thus perform more rapidly the numerous commissions of the print dealers. However this may have been, certain it is that he bowed down his great abilities, and made a willing or a reluctaut sacrifice of principle on the altar of fashion: an aberration which persoas of real taste hare not ceased to regret.
“ The print dealers upon mistaken notions of private advantage, are ever exhausting the permanent hopes of the art : they are always ready, like Mr. Windham's savage, to cut down the tree in order to obtain its fruit. The novelty of chalk engraving, by calling forth their ignorant exertions, coincided with, and increased this mania of the public, and except for the laudscapes of Vivares, Rooker, and Woollett, which required and exhibited, more vigour and inore detail of drawing than stippling could bestow ; and that now and then an historical engraving by Strange and Bartolozzi, and the series from Mr. West's History of England, (of which the death of General Wolfe was the first,) attested the existence and maintained the dignity of the legitimate art-with these illustrious exceptions, I say the engravers of Great Britain were compelled to feel and silently to acknowledge, that since 'ignorance was bliss, 'twas folly to be wise.'
“For myself, ---though very young at the time, I could not help seeing with concern, that this re-discovery of, and rage for dotting, had happened at a most unfortunate period for the progress of engraving : It seemed to me as if a premature dotage had overtaken its manly prime. It has since turned out to be only one of those diseases which arise from the redundancy of particular humours--a sort of influenza, for which (if my opinion of Academies be right) the Royal Academy of Arts should have provided a remedy, but which the natural vigour of the constitution of engraving has since overcoine.
“ The dealers in fashionablearticles, may be compared to dogs, that after a longer or a shorter chase, generally hunt their game to death. The Royal Academy had cleared no roads, and set up no directing posts, and even those among the well-intending public who were VOL. II.
fondest of the sport-following these hounds, lost their way in the intricate and desultory chase. As at the Easter hunt, some stop short, others are thrown from their hobbies, and others again follow the dogs to the last-so it has been with regard to the fashion of engraving so as to imitate chalk or crayon drawings. At length, however, this interesting art (of which, if I seem, I only seem to make sport) fetching a few noble bounds, has escaped from the toils of its pursuers, and pow roves at leisure, when, as a means of translating pictures, it is more worthy than ever of being pursued.*
Upon what principles I am led to perceive that this province of engraving has recently disclosed more various and enteusive, and richer tracts than it was formerly known to contain, I shall have the pleasure to explain at another time.”
* In a pamphlet lately printed, under the signature of Mr. Josiah Boydeil, which professes to contain “a Plan for the encouTagement of Arts, &c. (which is in my opinion one of the most radically defective plans ever attempted to be obtruded on the public, and founded in such gross mistake, that it might with more propriety be termed a Plan for the discouragement of the Arts) we find Mr. Boydell very free in reprobating the “dotting manner,” and in censuring the public for their bad taste in ergraving. In speaking of the different modes of engraving, his pamphlet might have sparkled with a little useful light, if he had been able and willing to have enlightened his readers on the subject: Yet, he gives no reasons why one manner of engraving is to be preferred to another : nor endeavours to inform, nor to reform the Public Taste, but by reproaching that public with having been “the promoters of such publications, as he now affects to contemn, i. e. such as are engraven in the manner of his own Shakspeare. He seems to expect that we should now believe line-engraving to be the superior art, for no other reason than he formerly expected or wished us to helieve that chalk engraving was so. Upon venturing some years ago, to speak in favour of engraving in lines, at the Shakspeare gallery, I was told, hy a person related to the present alderman, that, compared with the mode of engraving of which he now finds it expedient to speak as above, “line engraving was but an inferior art a kind of tattooing, which was going fast out of fashion,”- -and this was spoken as if fashion were known and acknowledged to be the arbiter of art.
The truth now appears to be, that the conductors of the Shakspeare kept the dotting manner in fashion as long as they could, (let the larger engravings for Boydell's Shakspeare contradict me, if I am wrong) for reasons which he himself divulges in the pamphlet before me, namely-because “ the difference both as to time and expence is as three to one,” and because they therefore found it
answer to the publisher,” and that now the public taste is emancipating itself from the slavery of fashion, and that Messrs. Boydell and Co. find themselves in danger of being left in the minority, they
To hear both sides is the only way to come at a just decision. We have therefore readily admitted the above communication from an advocate of Mr. Landseer, in reply to the Apologist for Chalk Engraving. It would be well if controversy could be conducted with less acris mony, but when men feel warmly they are apt to express themselves intemperately. The Apologist conceive ing that Mr. Landseer had, in his volume of Lectures lately published, written disrespectfully of dotting engraving, without sufficient knowledge of his subject, and that his observations were calculated to injure the numerous engravers who practise that branch of Art, has not merely acted on the defensive, but has given blow for blow, and followed the assailant into his own trenches. Perhaps also he has used the tomahawk when he should only have employed the sword.
The zeal of PhiloGRAPHICUs carries him likewise a little too far. We do not apprehend that a literary champion, who
appears in vindication of a favourite Art which he thinks has been illiberally attacked and unjustly degraded by a Public Lecturer, is to be considered as a bad man, and actuated by base motives. We see nothing in the article to which this is a reply that authorizes the applieation of these strong epithets; but if there be any private malice in it, of which we repeat we are not aware, we shall certainly feel much regret at having given it an insertion. Our readers, however, will judge between the combatants, and decide which has the best of the battle. One good effect at least will arise from the contest. The merits of a very popular style of engraving will be fully discussed and properly ascertained.
We shall bereafter have an opportunity of noticing Mr. Landseer's Lectures in our Review, and of course, of expressing our own sentiments upon the point at issue: in the mean time, as lovers and proinoters of the Arts, and friends to a spirited discussion of whatever appertains to thein, we leave the two letters pro and con to the de liberate examination of the Readers of the Cabinet. are endeavouring to accommodate their principles to the change. Thus verifying the position I have laid down in another discourse, that to follow, Aatter, and degrade, not to lead, exalt, and refine, the public taste, is the constant object of these mock Mecenates of modero engraving--at least the constant tendency of their profitable endeavours.