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Every care will be taken to render the monthly parts most valuable as a magazine. The sketches of the aristocracy (commenced in the last volume) will be given with a sincere desire to state only what is true, and though there may be cases where it will seem right not to enlarge on the conduct of a deceased individual,
“Or draw his frailties from their dread abode," they will not varnish depravity, but execute their task with the temper of a lenient judge, not with the brutal indifference of an executioner.
In conclusion, they have to return thanks to their numerous correspondents. It is necessary in selecting matter for insertion to exercise judgment and eschew favour, that the public may be fairly treated. Questions relative to science will be answered by competent hands. Courtesy cannot be extended so far as to admit a feeble essay for the exclusive gratification of its writer, but every communication will be candidly examined, and when from circumstances deemed inadmissible, laid aside with regret.
CHEAP Literature being the order of the day, cheap Art also
deserves attention. A better proof of its uninterrupted progress cannot be furnished than in the extraordinary publication (its price borne in mind) now prepared for the patrons of this miscellany; and as many correspondents have written for minute information on the subject, we are anxious to meet their wishes by giving a copiously-illustrated exposition of the art itself, as well as of the means used to make it available.
To reflect objects of interest peculiar to the present time is the proper office of “THE MIRROR.' It has therefore been resolved in the present instance to depart from the course which has usually been pursued at the completion of a volume, by giving, instead of the biography of a distinguished individual, à fuller account than has yet been offered of the new process of Glyphography, which has furnished many of the embel. lishments of the following pages, which is likely to produce important effects in periodical literature, and generally in connexion with the Pictorial Art.
It is hoped the readers of "The MIRROR' will derive no common gratification from the splendid specimens now submitted. Some description of the art of Glyphography will be found in the article on ‘Lambeth Palace,' which appeared in September last. Since that period, through the persevering labours of Mr Palmer, it has made gigantic advances towards perfection, and countenanced as it is by many distinguished artists, its importance must continue to increase.
The illustrations we are about to give will convince the most sceptical that effects have already been produced by Glyphography equal to the best specimens of wood engraving. In proof of this, we refer to the beautiful representation of Milton composing his 'Paradise Lost,' which appears as our frontispiece. Its merits are so striking that to comment on them is almost superfluous. It is taken from Messrs Tilt and Bogue's beautiful illustrated edition of Milton's Poetical Works,' and is a fac simile copy of the original engraving on wood from the drawing of Mr Harvey.
The antiquarians of the present day, like their curious predecessors from the time of Leland, and probably from a much earlier period, are very pathetic on the rapidity with which old buildings, and other memorials of former ages, are vanishing from the face of the metropolis and its environs. Truth to say, their alarm is not groundless; for the march of brick and mortar has been so onward, and so expeditious, that many of the old land marks, as they were considered, have been lost to the view as completely as the old houses on London Bridge, London Bridge itself, and London Wall. But the Leland or the Grose of a future day may be for this in some degree consoled, as the pencil is now so industriously plied, that not only will most buildings of importance be faithfully delineated, but the events identified with them will also be pictured; and the attitudes of the actors seized upon by the artist, as well as the more enduring edifice.
Nor is this all, persons of the most exalted station we will not affirm create memorable incidents in order to furnish pictures for those who come after them, but we may say, when it is known that such must occur, they are careful not to let them pass away without sending the presence of some skilful votary of the pencil, that if a stern necessity forbids them to do more than “wear those glories for a day," that, at least, it shall be known to future ages what they were. Thus, the Duke of Wellington has not forbidden a painter to be in attendance at the Waterloo banquet; Queen Victoria allowed the artist a place at her coronation and marriage; and Louis Philippe took especial care that one should not be wanting at the famous Royal interview at Treport.
This being the case, and the taste of the public calling more and more for such gratification, the art of which we are now treating becomes the more important, mingling, as it is likely to do, in all the most animated passages of contemporary history.
In The MIRROR' of September 30, a brief description of this novel art was given, and the manner of conducting the process. That need not be here repeated, but the following rules for drawing may be acceptable. It is to be observed
1. That every stroke, dot, or mark of any kind, made on the plate with the view to its ultimate appearance on paper, must be made quite through the white ground, so that the blackened surface of the copper be distinctly seen either through a glass or with the naked eye; although if, peradventure, the black be removed also, and the bright metal appear, the drawing will be in no way deteriorated thereby; but the artist should observe that all such parts will print as dark as though the black were not removed.
2. Every stroke, &c., must be perpendicularly cut out; or, in other words, it must not be underworked so as to leave the edges of the lines projecting over the work. Also that every particle of the ground displaced by the point, &c., must be entirely removed from the edges of the work, and likewise from the plate itself.
3. It must ever be borne in mind that, since the ground in its nature resembles wax, as has been already noticed, it follows that it is very easily affected by change of tem: perature, so that while on the one hand it would become clammy and clog the point on exposure to a high temperature, it would on the other hand be rendered brittle and liable to crack off from the plate by a great reduction of the same. The two extremes of temperature should, therefore, at all times be guarded against, and a medium tem. perature (say 65° Fahr.) as far as practicable maintained ; but whether or no, when about to be used, the artist would do well to submit it to a severe test by putting a little close cross-hatching on the edge, to see if it chips off; if not, he may proceed with safety, otherwise it is necessary to apply a very moderate degree of heat to its back, but not sufficient to make the ground clammy. And vice versa, in the height of summer, it may sometimes be needful to chill the plate by the application of cold water, air, &c., to the back.
The process is so simple, that in the hands of a clever artist it can be successfully dealt with from the first. We have just seen a beautiful drawing worked by a single tool, in which each object is distinct and true to life, and the eye is charmed with every variety of light and shade.
The manner in which the artist is to proceed is thus described in Mr Palmer's pamphlet :* “ Any kind of point may be used so that the ground be entirely removed, as described in Rules 1st and 2nd; but, since experience and close observation have taught the writer that which could be learnt in no other way, he may be allowed to make a remark or two relative to the kind of point that has been found to answer best, not only by himself, but by every successful glyphographer. The first idea which seems naturally to present itself to the mind is that of a kind of needle. point, which, doubtless, answers an etcher's purpose well, seeing that in that art he has no perceptible substance to obstruct his path; but in Glyphography we are obliged to have some substance-a foundation, as it were—from the nature of the after process, although no thicker than tissue-paper. It therefore becomes needful to have something more than a needle-point, which will merely force its way; we must have an edge that will cut out the ground; consequently any point that is made to act on the principle of a gouge will undoubtedly answer best. Those accustomed to the use of the graver will therefore avail themselves thereof with advantage in formal, straightforward work; but the draughtsman must have a tool that he can work with as freely
as possible. In order to combine both these objects in one instrument, a piece of steel wire, of the required length, is inserted in one end of a cedar handle resembling a pencil, and bent at right angles; the point is first sharpened like that of a needle, and then an edge formed on the inside at an angle of about 45°, whereby it is rendered capable of being held like a pencil. In using it, it is very necessary to observe that it must be drawn from right to left, and as nearly to the angle above mentioned as may be convenient. This tool will be found applicable to all kinds of shading, tinting, cross. hatching, and for finish generally; and although it has sometimes been objected to at first on account of its awkward form, as some that have never used anything else but a pencil have remarked, yet practice has very soon (perhaps in less than half an hour) fami. liarized its use.
"A straight pentagonal point is also supplied by the patentee, on account of the freedom with which it is capable of being used; but it should only be employed in light foliage, or in any other kind of free outline work, where it will be found extremely useful If used in crossing, or in any kind of close tinting, &c., it will be found to cut sideways as well as in front, and consequently in such places the small particles of the ground between the lines of a close tinting, &c., will be very liable to crack off ; and where a line is crossed with this point it will be seen, on close examination through a magnifying glass (which may be advantageously used to examine fine work), that the angle thus formed is not perfect ; this being repeated often in a piece would tend to produce a very disagreeable appearance in the print. It should, moreover, be observed that this, as well as any other sort of straight point that may be found available to the artist's purpose, should be held as nearly perpendicular as possible, to prevent underworking the ground.”
By means of Glyphography, many draftsmen will be able to illustrate their own works, which have hitherto been kept in the background. We could name several distinguished artists who are about to take it up, in order to bring out some valuable original sketches which have not yet been suffered to see the light, from an apprehension that justice would not be done to them in wood engraving.
This art is adapted for elaborate and highlyfinished subjects of any size. How capable it is of doing justice to drawings of rural objects will be seen in the accompanying landscape, from an original design by Childs. Could the pencil be employed with happier effect?
nate pictorial works after the manner of our forefathers. How many weeks and months have the pious illustrators of missals, prayer-books, and bibles consumed in laborious industry, to the prejudice of their health and the ruin of their eyes, to produce similar effects, which, when successfully wrought, were judged by sage men to be of inestimable value, but which may now be accomplished for a trifle. To the artist's efforts great importance was formerly attached. We, at the present day, might smile to see such pains bestowed on a picture of “St Denys with his head in his hand;” “St Agnes carrying her breasts in a dishful of blood;” or “The Devil walking as an obsequious footman behind St Lucy:" but superb representations of holy legends were long held to be works of great sanctity. Their most startling incidents were not unfrequently painted on church windows, and to have damaged or destroyed them would have subjected the offender to the penalties of sacrilege.
Years, nay lives, are believed to have been devoted to some of those illustrations of holy books produced in the monasteries which flourished during the middle ages. They of course exhibited “ various degrees of excellence; and in • The Life and Times of Lord Cobham,' we read some specimens which have been handed down to us are in a style of surpassing beauty, profusely illustrated with a degree of taste and ingenuity which, even in these times, could scarcely be equalled. The Bedford missal still exists. This was a holy volume prepared for the Duke of Bedford, when he was acting as Regent in France in 1422. No fewer than fifty-nine miniature paintings graced its pages, and among them are the only portraits of the Duke of Bedford, and Anne of Burgundy, his duchess, which are extant. This volume is still in a high state of preservation. The vellum leaves are surrounded by superb borders of carefully laboured foliage, and it is bound in crimson velvet with gold clasps, which seem to bear the stamp of antiquity. By the Duchess of Bedford this highly-valued book was deemed a fit present to Royalty, and it was accepted as such from her by King Henry VI.
“ Certain it is," the same writer continues, “ that poetry, painting, and sculpture, dissimilar in themselves, but kindred in their nature, gained value and importance in the eyes of our ancestors from the influence of piety. The tender passion failed not in connexion with them to make itself conspicuously important. Many of the most exemplary members of the church deemed it not sinful, or, it may be affirmed, considered it à solemn duty, to sustain the ardour of their sacred fires by a mortal flame. In their breviaries the features of the mistresses they admired were exquisitely painted as those of the mother of Jesus. The beauties thus distinguished were not always patterns of the unsullied purity which might be expected from the representatives of “The blessed Virgin," but the fond hearts enamoured of them were conscious of a more fervent glow, when, repeating their Ave Marias, they pressed to their bosoms the images of those who were most dear to them on earth. The muses and the fine arts, prompted and sustained by love and religion, may boast without a figure their divine origin. Whether their early inspirations greatly served the cause of Christian piety, may be more than doubtful.”
From a very early date, from a period when, in comparison with Englishmen of the nineteenth century, our ancestors were almost in a state of nature, this taste for the pictorial existed; and every celebrated minster was converted into the artist's exhibition; all miraculous fables were perpetuated by painting, or still more costly sculpture. We may name, as a case in point, the ancient font in the Winchester Cathedral. In this the figures are about as grotesque as those of our ordinary playing cards, but they are cut in a block of jet-coloured marble, have been preserved for many ages with reverential care, and are supposed to be of Saxon origin. The history to which it refers can only be guessed at. A small Pam-like figure, holding a cup in his hand, is supposed to be a king's butler, and a bishop appears to take hold of him by the hand. The heads of three men, presumed to be falsely accused by the butler, are seen, and these, it would seem, are to fall by the axe of the executioner, who appears with the fatal instrument in his hand. In a second compartment the bishop is praying that the guilt or innocence of the condemned may be proved. His appeal to heaven is not in vain. The sufferers are rising from the dead, and the false accuser lies lifeless at his feet. In a third compartment, however, the bishop having relented in his favour, and prayed for the sinner, the butler appears to be rising to rejoin in life those he had sought to consign to the grave.
Though such devices can no longer interest or engage the attention of the seriously disposed, the taste for rational illustration of sacred or historical events is anything but gone by. The art, therefore, of which we write, combining cheapness with higher finish than could heretofore be obtained, will hardly fail, when generally known, to be duly appreciated.
One advantage which it possesses over etching and wood engraving is, that in the former the artist draws his subject as he intends it to appear, without reversing it, as