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served it not; every man could always judge for himself by a walk to the building where it might be hung, and England would have something to shew the foreigner, when he asks with a sneer, “Where are your historical productions?"--pp. 14-16.
The appeal which has been thus made, and which Mr. Haydon prosecutes with considerable warmth and eloquence, cannot fail in consequence of any prejudices against the admission of pictures into our churches, for no such prejudice exists; Jack himself is now ashamed of the manner in which he tore off the embroidery from his coat, cloth and all. And surely the importance of the object must be acknowledged. Historical painting never has flourished without public encouragement; it never has, and it never can. That encouragement is all which is wanting to complete the glories of this triumphant country, by producing an age of art in England, equal to any which Greece or Italy can boast. The poet can wait for his reward; he may live and die in poverty and neglect; but neither poverty nor neglect can debar him from the full exercise of his divine calling; nor from the sure and certain consolation that he must finally be judged, not by envy and malice, not by ignorance and conceit, not by caprice and fashion, but according to his works, and that too as righteously as if Rhadamanthus were the judge. Truly may he sing,
Stone walls do not a prison make,
wherever he may be, infinity is around him, and heaven and earth are open to his excursive spirit. But the painter must have scope and room: if he do not obtain present reputation, his inheritance of futurity is cut off; without patronage his powers can no more expand themselves than the seed of a tropical forest-tree can attain its natural growth and stateliness under the roof of a hot-house. Let us suppose (and this is not merely a gratuitous supposition) that an artist, who may have devoted years to the painful study of his art, conscious of his powers, should determine to evince them by producing a great historical picture, under all the disadvantages of straitened circumstances. After years of painful toil and privation, the work is completed. Its merits are too conspicuous to be denied, and honest admiration is loud in its praise; but no purchaser appears; and the picture which, if it had its proper place in a church, or a public building, would keep the artist before the eyes of the public, and secure to him prosperity and fame, is forgotten as soon as the novelty of the exhibition is over, because it is no longer in sight, takes up room which he cannot afford to give it, and becomes to him an incumbrance, an expense and a perpetual vexation. With what is he to comfort himself? with the proud
sense of native superiority? As well might we suppose that the eagle in a cage should take pride and pleasure in a consciousness of the strength of his wings! It is a miserable consolation to know that art has always had its martyrs, and a miserable thing to suffer a martyrdom for which there is no reward to be expected, either in this world or the next.
An annual grant for the encouragement of this noble art would be, on every account, preferable to a per-centage upon the money voted for the New Churches. A sum which would be scarcely perceived in the year's expenditure, would produce more excitement, more individual happiness, more national glory, more credit among other nations, more good in our own, than ever was obtained at so small a cost in any other manner. It would call forth a display of powers with which all Europe would soon 'ring from side to side.' It would do for London, by national generosity and the force of native genius, what Buonaparte attempted to do for Paris, by national robbery and force of arms; it would make it what Athens has been in the old, and Rome in the modern world, the acknowledged and unrivalled school of arts. Half a century ago Richardson said, 'I am no prophet, nor the son of a prophet; but if ever the great, ancient, and beautiful taste in painting revives, it will be in England.' Already we have seen more than one such revival in our generation. The spirit of poetry has appeared among us again, such as it was in the golden age of Elizabeth; and we are beholden for peace, safety, and increasing prosperity, to a revival of that military spirit which our forefathers displayed at Cressy, at Poictiers, at Agincourt, and at Blenheim. But in painting, our ancestors will easily be surpassed: it is with the great men of other times and other countries, that this race must be run: give but a fair course and we shall win the field give national encouragement, and this generation will see Richardson's prophetic hope fulfilled.
Nor let it be thought that the object is, in any point of view, insignificant, except in the amount of the expenditure required for it. It is of importance even in the mere calculating view of the subject, even upon the gross principle of profit and loss. How far the character and success of our manufactures depend upon the state of art in the country may be illustrated not only by the wellknown impulse which was given to our potteries by the late excellent Mr. Wedgewood, when he introduced Etruscan models, but by a fact more recent and directly to the point. When the continent was last opened to us by the success of our arms, our printed cottons were universally objected to, because of their bad taste; and though the material was better than that of the French, the French were preferred. The Manchester manufacturers were
alarmed; they applied to the most ingenious artists in London for designs, and then, and not till then, the cottons recovered their former ascendancy. These facts are not unworthy of consideration, but it would indeed be unworthy to rest the merits of such an appeal upon such considerations. The glory of a nation in arts and arms is its truest and highest interest; and it is by impressing upon the hearts of a people the great and heroic deeds of their fathers and their brethren, that national greatness may be prolonged, and a succession of great and heroic men be called forth for the service of the country.
There is a series of pictures at Chantilly representing the victories of the Great Condé. We have greater victories to celebrate, and better artists to celebrate them. And for our churches, there is not only the inexhaustible source of Scripture, but the rich stores of our own ecclesiastical annals also, which have, in every way, too long been neglected, abounding as they do with examples that well deserve to be treasured up in our hearts. It is no reason because the Roman Catholics have abused pictures and images to the introduction of a gross and palpable idolatry, that we, among whom no such abuse is possible, should debar ourselves from the advantage of speaking to the eyes of the people, and thereby imprinting upon the young imagination ideas which would never be effaced, and lessons which might sometimes be remembered in an hour of need, and thoughts which would be the prolific seed of virtuous actions. It is not painters alone that painting makes; it has made heroes and penitents, and saints and martyrs, by calling forth whatever emulation is just and salutary. In bestowing upon it that national encouragement to which it has so strong and irresistible a claim, we should be giving an impulse to benevolence and virtue and patriotism as well as to genius.
The British sovereigns have often shown a sense of the value of this art, and been its liberal patrons according to the circumstances of their age. Henry VIII. protected and encouraged Holbein. In Elizabeth's reign we were excluded from the countries in which painting flourished and great artists were to be found, by the fierce intolerance of papal policy; but that queen well understood how desirable it was that great and glorious actions should be preserved fresh in the memory of the people, and she hung the House of Lords with tapestry representing the defeat of the Armada. Charles I. loved poetry and painting; and had his reign been passed in tranquillity, England would have had no cause to envy the collections of foreign princes. After his time the decline of the art came on; and when the dome of St. Paul's and the pictures for Greenwich were painted, the views of the government went beyond the genius which could then be found in the country to an
swer them. The late king appreciated painting and music with a
Of the disposition of his present Majesty to encourage whatever
VOL. XXIII. NO. 46.-Q. R.
TWENTY-THIRD VOLUME OF THE QUARTERLY
Advice to Julia, a Letter in Rhyme, 505-Art
Mr. Mitchell's translation, 474-examina-
(Works of), propriety of introducing
Alexandria, state of literature at, 137, 138.
Almanach des Gourmands, 245.
Andaman Islanders, account of, 81.
the Duke of Marlborough, 43-her dupli- Autumn in London, poetically described, 507,
Barber (Mr. Alderman), anecdote of, 423.
Arabs, instance of the treachery of, 279.
and completely subdued by the battle
Banquets of the Athenians, account of, 276—