Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

with a half naked Kaffir, girded with a tunic of leopard tails-which is the most graceful or dignified? But place a modern regiment in all the panoply of war, in juxtaposition with a horde of Kaffirs and the scale turns directly; emotions of grandeur and power are suggested by the one, and mere savagery by the other. Thus the aim of modern Art ought not to be directed to the imitation of ancient, for that is already perfect of its kind, it should aspire to new and untrodden paths. All the opinions on Greek Art which we have instanced are equally descriptive of the peculiar emotions, or line of thought suggested to each spectator in viewing them, but they in common with most other critics, make the works responsible for what is solely in their own minds, every thing depends on the temperament of the spectator. Viewing a work of Art is like seeing faces in the fire, and what may not be suggestive to one individual, will to another; but the worst of it is, that some critic with high wrought sensibilities, who does not find himself touched by what was probably never meant to touch such as he, falls foul of the unfortunate artist directly. Critics are of various tastes and likings, and one class has pretty nearly as good reason to be gratified as another, but they are all unanimous in this respecteach thinks his own taste is the only true one, and that all others should give way.

Certain critics of the above stamp are usually fond of telling us that sentiment is all and everything in a picture; meaning thereby, that artistic learning, skill, or power of hand are as nothing, and that what commonplace unintellectual people would call an execrable daub, is by virtue of this so called sentiment, a high class production-a writer from whom we have already quoted, gives, in all earnestness, the folfollowing description of the feeling. "That sentiment is the first quality in a picture; second, that to say whether this sentiment exists or no, rests with the individual entirely, the said sentiment not being capable of any definition." So if it exist at all, it is only in the crotchety brain of the onlooker, just as grotesque resemblances to certain faces or other objects are sometimes observed in trees, rocks, &c. The absurdity of making this quality, (if indeed it can so be called) compensate for bad drawing, color, and composition, requires we think no further comment. Pictures afford pleasure to the individual by the same rule that gratification is, or

is not derived by him from the varieties and phases of nature; and anything in nature is a fair subject for the painter, but he must treat it naturally, and with discrimination. His composition must not look like a lot of properties brought together and settled out for show, and over all should prevail a certain refinement, adopting the happy medium between the excess of mock sentimentalism, and the vulgarity of literal representation. In the words of the elder Disraeli-"unaccompanied by enthusiasm, genius will produce nothing but uninteresting works of Art. Enthusiasm is that secret harmonious spirit which hovers over the productions of genius, throwing the reader of a book or the spectator of a statue, into the very ideal presence whence these works have really originated."

There is another species of criticism, which has of late years risen up, and is now in full perfection-it is that of print publishers; their notions of relative excellence are mainly guided by the consideration of whether it will sell to the public when done into a print; but their style of criticism does not fully develope itself until the work is published, or about to be published. Then all the praises which language is capable of embodying are lavished upon "the talented artist," and his "highly effective and most meritorious production." Sometimes they issue little pamphlets, crammed with commendations, generally concluding with the announcement that the picture is now being engraved in the finest line manner, &c. &c.-a significant conclusion in the spirit of the epitaph at Père la Chaise, "erected by the inconsolable widow, who still carries on the business at the corner of the Rue"-something or other— we forget the name. It would be merely harmless puffing, were it not that the mass of the public are greatly influenced by it, and are often brought to think that in the highest degree excellent, which is frequently but respectable mediocrity. There is no counsel to be heard upon the other side, as the press, not liking to damage a pecuniary private speculation, generally refrain from any censures. It would be well, however, if the example set by The Times were more frequently followed-of heading certain praises, both of books and pictures, by the significant word-[ADVERTISEMENT].

This digression has brought us quite away from Mr. Weekes' Essay, and we cannot better conclude than by recommending a perusal of it to all interested in Art and its progress.


NO. V.

GRAFTON-STREET received its name from Henry Fitz Roy, first duke of Grafton, son of Charles II. by the duchess of Cleveland; the duke, who is described as a "tall black man," was born in 1663, and married Isabella, daughter and heiress of Henry Bennett, earl of Arlington. The duke of Grafton acted as high constable of England at the coronation of James II., whom he deserted on the landing of the prince of Orange, and received his death-wound while leading the grenadiers at the assault on Cork in 1690. On the western side of Grafton-street a reminiscence of the times of the Restoration is still preserved in the name of "Tangier-lane," so styled from the fortress of that name in Africa, which formed portion of the dowry of Catherine of Braganza, queen of Charles II., by whom in 1662 it was made a free port and endowed with many commercial privileges, the expense of maintaining it being charged upon the Irish revenue. The total annual cost of this establishment appears from an official manuscript to have amounted to £42,338 12s. 219d., and it was specially ordered that all necessaries for the soldiers there garrisoned, as clothes, shirts, shoes, stockings, boots, belts, &c., should "be always bought in Ireland, and no where else, and that at as easy rates as may be;" the lord lieutenant or other chief governor of Ireland being directed "to appoint some fit persons to supervise the buying of the said clothes and necessaries for the soldiers, so as the same may effectually be furnished good in kind and at the cheapest rates." We also find the commons of England in their address to the king in 1680, complaining that "Tangier had been several times under Popish governors, that the supplies sent thither, had been in a great part, made up of Popish officers and soldiers, and that the Irish Papists had been the most countenanced and encouraged."

The English treasury not being able to defray the expense of the maintenance of Tangier, and the Irish having repeatedly complained of the injustice of taxing them for its support, the fortress was demolished by the king's orders in 1683.

The earliest official reference to Grafton-street occurs in a statute of the year 1708; the street had, however, been partially formed some years before the close of the seventeenth century, at which period a considerable portion of it was set as wheat land, at the annual rent of two shillings and six pence per acre. Sir Thomas Vesey, the benevolent and religious bishop of Ossory, died in Grafton-street in 1730; and Louis Du Val, proprietor of Smock-alley Theatre, and manager of that establishment previous to the Sheridan régime, resided here as early as 1733. Mrs. Rebecca Dingley, the friend of Swift and the companion of Stella, dwelt in this street till the year 1743, at the house of Mrs. Ridgeway, daughter to Mrs. Brent, houskeeeper to the dean; after the death of Stella, Swift used frequently to dine here, with Mrs. Dingley, whose peculiarities he has detailed in several poems, and to whom, conjointly with Mrs. Johnson, he wrote the celebrated" Journal to Stella." Gabriel Jacques Maturin, prebend of Malahidert, who in 1745 succeeded Swift as dean of St. Patrick's, resided in Grafton-street. He was born in 1700 at Utrecht, and was the son of Pierre Maturin, a Huguenot priest of Paris, who fled from the persecution of Louis XIV. to Holland and thence to Dublin, where his son received his education. Of the origin of this family the author of "Bertram" gave the following account:-


"In the reign of Louis XIV. the carriage of a Catholic lady of rank was stopped by the driver discovering that a child was lying in the street, The lady brought him home, and, as he was never claimed, considered and treated him as her child: he was richly dressed, but no trace was furnished, by himself or otherwise, that could lead to the discovery of his parents or connexions. As the lady was a devotee, she brought him up a strict Catholic, and being puzzled for a name for him, she borrowed one from a religious community, les Mathurins,' of whom there is mention in the Jewish Spy,' and who were then of sufficient importance to give their name to a street in Paris, 'le Rue des Mathurins.' In spite of all the good lady's pains, and maugre his nom de caresse, my ancestor was perverse enough to turn Protestant, and became pastor to a Hugonot congregation in Paris, where he sojourned, and begat two sons, While he was amusing himself in this manner, the king and pere La Chaise were amusing themselves with exterminating the Protestants; and about the time of the revocation of the edict of Nantz, Maturin was shut up in the Bastille, where he was left for twenty-six years; I suppose to give him time to reflect on the controverted points, and make up his mind at leisure. With all these advantages he continued quite untractable: so that the Catholics,

finding the case desperate, gave him his liberty. There was no danger, however, of his abusing this indulgence: for, owing to the keeper forgetting accidentally to bring him fuel, during the winters of his confinement, and a few other agremens of his situation, the poor man had lost the use of his limbs, and was a cripple for life. He accompanied some of his former flock, who had been grievously scattered, to Ireland, and there unexpectedly found Madame M. and his two sons, who had made their escape there via Holland. Here he lived and died; his surviving son obtained the deanery of Killala, and his grandson that of St. Patrick's: the dean of St. Patrick's was my grandfather. An old French lady, who lived in Bishop-street a few years since, was in possession of some of his infant finery; and I have heard that the lace, though sorely tarnished, was remarkably fine. I possessed formerly an immense mass of the emigrant's manuscripts: they were principally in Latin, a few in French. He certainly was a man of very various erudition. The dean of St. Patrick's was an able mathematician."

Maturin died in November, 1746, having held the deanery for little more than twelve months.

John Hawkey, admitted a scholar of the University of Dublin in 1723, and one of the most profound classical critics produced by Ireland, opened a school in 1746 in Grafton-street, near the college. His first publication, a translation of Xenophon's Anabasis, was followed by editions of the following classics: Virgilius, 1745, dedicated "viris admodum eruditis, egregiisque literarum fautoribus, præposito sociisque senioribus academiæ S.S. et individuæ Trinitatis, juxta Dublin, ob insignem erga se munificentiam;” Horatius, 1745, dedicated to primate Hoadly; Terentius, 1745, dedicated to the earl of Chesterfield; Juvenal et Persius, 1746, dedicated to Mordecai Cary, bishop of Killala; and Sallustius, 1747. Harwood and Dibdin, the most competent classical bibliographers, have highly extolled the beauty and accuracy of these editions, which were issued "E typographiâ Academiæ," containing the author's text, together with the "lectiones variantes notabiliores." Hawkey also projected the publication of the works of Cicero in twenty volumes, uniform with his previous editions; this work was not, however, executed. In 1747 appeared his edition of "Paradise Lost, compared with the authentick editions and revised by John Hawkey, editor of the Latin classics," which was followed in 1752 by the "Paradise Regained," and smaller poems of Milton; both these editions, according to the learned English critic, the rev. Henry J. Todd, are "highly to be valued for their ac

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »