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value. A national gallery of engravings should, however, serre at once as a commentary on the Art itself, possessing the best specimens of every period and school ; and as a supplement to the picture gallery, serving to extend our acquaintance with the designs, at least, of some of those great artists, of whose paintings we can at best possess but a very small number of specimens.
Although, unquestionably, to form anything worthy to be considered a national collection, would require a large space for hanging the prints, this might possibly be obtained more easily and at less expense than at first appears. The same attention with regard to the amount and direction of the light required for pictures, would not be necessary; and a building in stories might therefore be available : but of course the most convenient form of structure would be one of a single story lighted from above. A floor over stores or offices might be used ; or, as but little height would be wanted, and as the most desirable light would be from above, it might be formed in a Square or Park without much detracting from the openness of the situation ; it might even be partially sunk in the ground. In this, however, we speak only of what would be practicable : not of what would be desirable, or probably requisite.
Possibly space might be found for the purpose in the Britislı Museum. In one respect, that would be the most eligible place : the Gallery and Print Room would thus be kept in connection. At Paris there is a gallery of engravings in the Bibliothèque Royale. But it is questionable whether sufficient space could be afforded in the Great Russell-street establishment ; as we believe the enlarged building will not be too extensive for its various collections. Another appropriate site would be the National Gallery. That is not indeed at present sufficiently capacious even for our small collection of pictures ; but upon this account it is desirable that it should be enlarged without delay. This might be done by the removal of the workhouse behind it, an institution for which a hundred sites as eligible might be found ; and if the space so gained were not sufficient, an extension might be obtained by throwing a covered way across Panton-street (?), at a height sufficient to allow of the passage of waggons beneath, and appropriating a portion of the ground on the north side, which is now occupied by tenements of very
little value. As the subject is one connected with that we have under
consideration, we will take this opportunity of uttering our protest against the removal of the National Collection of Pictures from its present location. An equally eligible situation it would be almost impossible to find. It has been proposed to remove it, in order to give more space to the annual exhibitions. Now the annual exhibitions have only been held in that building upon sufferance ; and it is not right that they should be allowed to oust the rightful tenants. The annual exhibitions are open for three months in the year; and as money is paid for admission, those who go, go with malice prepense, and with the intention of staying so many hours as they may find necessary in order to make themselves sufficiently acquainted with the contents of the several rooms. A very great majority of the visitants go but once in the season; and few attend more than two or three times.
Persons go either from a real desire to observe the products of British art or British industry, or because the exhibition is one of the fashionable lounges-one of the things that must be “ done." To either class it is a matter of little importance whether the exhibition-rooms are at Charingcross or at Pimlico, at Westminster or in the Regent's Park. A day is devoted to the visit, and any of these localities is easily reached as a part of the day's business. We believe that the removal of this exhibition a mile further to the west or north would make very little difference in the number of shillings received for admissions.
But to have the National Gallery in a situation easily accessible at all times to the largest number of the citizens, is a matter of much more importance. The great value of this institution is, that the admittance being free, persons can pay frequent visits, and familiarise themselves with the admirable works it contains, in a manner they could not were they able only to visit it at long intervals. It is a place to which a spare ten minutes may at any time be well devoted : and the locality it now occupies is one easily to be reached from all directions, sufficiently free from the denser smoke of the city, marked out from the open place before it, for a National monument of some kind, and affording facilities for the indefinite extension of the building,-a matter of high importance.
Galleries of casts might effect for sculpture what engravings would do for painting. Is is true, that the best casts form but very inadequate representatives of Greek marbles ; but they are better than drawings ; and verbal descriptions are only valuable in connexion with some such aids to the imagination.
The Royal Academy, we believe, is in possession of a good collection of casts. A few of them stand in the hall of the National Gallery ; but the greater number are not open to public view. No doubt without being so they the better subserve the purposes of study to the pupils ; and it cannot therefore be expected that the Academy should yield them up to the inspection of the public. We should, however, provide ourselves with another set for the metropolis ; being careful, as far as practicable, to obtain copies of all the most celebrated Greek originals; and every large provincial town should have likewise its gallery of casts.
Such collections as we have spoken of would be advantageous alike to the professional student, the amateur, and “the people. Our direct object is to obtain a rational means of amusement and instruction for the last. For them we think galleries of paintings might be formed, which, if not altogether such as would satisfy the most highly cultivated tastes, would yet tend to the improvement of their own. A good nucleus for one such gathering might be found in some of the best of the cartoons and pictures exhibited in 1846-7 at Westminster Hall. The artists would, no doubt, be glad to realise anything by their large canvasses, a hope which must have forsaken the unsuccessful candidates as soon as the prizes were awarded. The labour expended in the preparation of works for the competition there, ought not to be wholly lost. Some asylum should be provided for pieces possessing very considerable merit, but which, from their large size, are unfit for any ordinary room, or studio. If no more were given for these than the value of the canvass, it would yet be a benefit to many of the painters ; and they might be permitted to redeem their pictures at the same cost, should they be able to dispose of them to more advantage. They would thus gain an opportunity at least of bringing their works before the public, and the chance of finding purchasers. If means admitted, a more liberal course might be pursued ; and some pictures might be purchased from time to time, with a view to the formation of a permanent collection. But for the object in view it is not important that the collection should be permanent; and occasional changes of a part, at least, would even be desirable. Were several of such galleries formed, either in the metropolis or in provincial towns, they might sometimes make exchanges with each other. For galleries of this order no expensive building would be
required. Space and light would be the grand requisites. The experiment might be tried in hired rooms, or temporary structures. The means to make it need not be large, and might be raised by subscription, or by the proceeds of a monster exhibition, got up for the purpose ; though the object would be one worthy of a parliamentary grant. Admissions to the gallery itself might be charged for, as was the case at Westminster, for a month or two after its opening. Once fairly established, a collection thus drawn together would be rapidly enlarged by presentations and bequests; and artists might be allowed, under certain restrictions, to deposit works without resigning their property in them.
In this manner it would combine the character of a public collection and a painters' bazaar; of a National Gallery, and an Academy Exhibition.
Provincial towns, whilst aiming at the same object on this complex plan, should keep in view particularly the development and encouragement of native talent. They should make it a part of their design, to form, gradually, permanent galleries of the best works of their own painters ; and thus that strong feeling of emulation would be excited, which is the surest guide to worthy achievement. There are few of our large towns but might open creditable exhibitions, could they bring a selection of the best works of their native or adopted artists. To give a single instance, Bristol,-a town, by the way, which has been more distinguished for the production than the support of talent, though perhaps rather unfairly rated for its neglect of Chatterton, Bird, and Savage, - Bristol was the birthplace of Lawrence, Pyne, Müller, the two Fripps, and Jackson, as likewise of the sculptor Bailey : it was the adopted home of Bird : Danby we believe was born there ; it was there at least that he formed his style, and achieved his first honours : Johnstone, a young artist who would have earned abundant distinction had he lived, but who died and left no name beyond his native city, was born there: and among those of its artists, who are only beginning to make themselves known in London, are West, whose sketches of Welsh river
scenery have attracted much attention ; Dighton, whose powerful picture of Stonehenge, or rather composition from Stonehenge, with a stormy sky, could not have been passed without notice at the last Westminster exhibition ; Branwhite, Hewett, and the younger Müller. And in this enumeration, we should not omit to mention Blackwood's “ Sketcher ;
amateur possessing the highest artistic abilities, and most refined feeling ; one who, whether working with the pencil or pen, can give valuable lessons to the professors of the Art.
The club system as yet is but imperfectly developed. began with mercantile and scientific associations. Then it took a luxurious form among those classes who stood least in need of the advantages to be commanded by the union of pecuniary means. The establishment of the Whittington greatly extended its benefits. It offers now, in its various forms, cheap diningrooms, cheap drawing-rooms, cheap smoking-rooms, cheap billiardrooms ; it extends to the middle classes some of the luxuries that before belonged only to the palaces of the wealthy. The principle of union has more to accomplish. It may give us halls of sculpture and picture galleries. It may extend its benefits in one form and another, to the lower and wider circles of society. And when the rich exert themselves to give to the poor advantages, which the latter could not else command, they are forming bonds of union between the two classes, such as the temper of the times renders it every way desirable to establish. To make a people contented, the first grand requisite is to supply them with food : but the next is to furnish them with amusement.
A CHAPTER ON CONSOLATION.
PHILOLOGISTS have defined consolation to be, in some measure, an alleviation of misery—the imparting of comfort under circumstances of distress; but the innermost signification of the word is scarcely expressed by the definition. It is a sympathy that has become incarnate ; and in its new existence in the trials of life, it is exposed to all the difficulties and abuses to which poor human nature is liable.
The power of giving consolation implies a mental collectedness over the person who receives it; the consoler and the consoled are thus the Mentor and Telemachus in the book of grief. In the very insolence of a superiority that has been the gift of circumstances we realise a portion of the fearful truth of Rochefoucauld's maxim, “ Dans l'adversité de nos meilleurs amis, nous trouvons quelque chose qui ne nous déplaît ras; we dare to point to Hope