Imagens das páginas

It remains only to say a few words with reference to this addition to the illustrations of one of the most popular passages in the works of our great poet.

The rapid progress, or perhaps revival of wood-engraving in this country, so remarkable within these few years, may be, in a great degree, attributed to the facility of passing the blocks through the same press that prints the descriptions they illustrate.

The high reputation of the eminent artists who kindly consented to make, in several instances for the first time, the drawings on wood which are now presented, is too well known to be further remarked upon. It was the wish of the projector of this series to obtain the highest talent, hitherto not generally employed in illustrations on wood. To the members of the Royal Academy who have so kindly consented to accede to this wish, his thanks are most gratefully offered. How far they have succeeded in their delineations of this beautiful passage it will be for the public to decide.

To Lady Callcott the Editor begs to return his sincere thanks for the interesting essay prefixed to these remarks. To Sir Augustus Callcott he is greatly indebted for the interest he evinced in the plan, and for many useful suggestions which he afforded him.

William Mulready, Esq. R. A. he takes this opportunity of thanking, for undertaking the very difficult subject which bears his name. It is some gratification to the writer

to know that the consequence of requesting his aid to illustrate "All the World's a Stage," induced him to paint the subject on a more extended scale, which now forms one of the ornaments of the rich collection of modern paintings of Mr. Sheepshanks.

During the progress of this work through the engraver's hands, two of its kind and valuable contributors have "made their exit." John Constable, R.A. and William Hilton, R.A. The interest which the first-named artist took in the trifling affair required of him, is best evinced by the fact that he had made nearly twenty sketches for the "melancholy Jaques," which, by the kindness of C. R. Leslie, Esq. R. A. now accompanies this work; that gentleman having selected the design he judged most appropriate, and careful of the reputation of his deceased friend, took the additional trouble upon himself of transferring it to the wood. Without his assistance, this effort, however trifling, of one of our true painters of English scenery, would not have appeared a matter which would have caused deep regret to the Editor, in being prevented exhibiting this tribute of respect to the talent and memory of one in whose society he has enjoyed many pleasant hours.

Mr. Hilton's subject was completed but a very short period before death deprived this country of one of its most distinguished artists. The writer of this humble tribute to his memory and grateful acknowledgment of his aid to this undertaking, had the melancholy pleasure of an interview

shortly before his departure, and of hearing him express his satisfaction at the mode in which his subject had been treated; and he can never forget, in allusion, it is feared, to the sparing patronage his department of art had received, his expression of "poor fellow !"* in reference to the wishes of a young aspirant desirous of pursuing and cultivating the same branch.

To Mr. Thompson and Mr. Williams, for their anxiety to render their execution of the engravings as perfect as possible, he begs to return his thanks.

Woburn Abbey,

April 21, 1840.


* It is curious to observe, on the death of these two distinguished artists, the anxiety evinced to secure specimens of works so little sought after in their life-time, for the National Collection. Mr. Constable's picture of the Corn-field was purchased by subscription for three hundred guineas; and subscription is now in progress for Mr. Hilton's picture of Sir Calepine, for five hundred guineas.

"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits, and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms;
Then, the whining school-boy, with his satchel,
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school: And then, the lover;
Sighing like furnace, with a woful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow: Then, a soldier ;
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation

Even in the cannon's mouth: And then, the justice;

In fair round belly, with good capon lined,

With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut
Full of wise saws and modern instances,
And so he plays his part: The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon ;

With spectacles on nose, and pouch on side;
His youthful hose well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound: Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness, and mere oblivion;
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything."

« AnteriorContinuar »