« 上一頁繼續 »
Letter III. — In this letter, as well as in his first, the employer shows a predilection for the comforts of the Elizabethan style, but admits the merits of the classical style in the abstract, and more especially as adapted for displaying sculpture and painting. He endeavours to ridicule the works of modern English architects. Show me a Palladian villa,” he says, “a mile off, and I could draw you the plan of the inside at once. Indeed, I could walk blindfolded into the drawingroom, dining-room, library, and boudoir, and go up to bed in the best bed-room, without a guide or a light.”
In Letter IV. the architect makes some further observations on style. “ The Elizabethan style is only one of the links of a progressive series of attempts to appropriate and adapt the elements of the Grecian style to modern purposes. You must, therefore, admit that architecture, which is capable of producing independent works out of its own resources, and from its own principles, is degraded to what is little better than mere decoration and scene-painting, when (apprehensive of falling into contradiction and want of harmony, unless it retains all the individual particulars of extant examples,) it timidly strives to imitate the dialect of a single province. How short a time, however, must the impression produced by such mummery last, and how long the impression of a work of architecture is destined to remain! Is it because we are ashamed of or mistrust the results of our own study and conviction, that we venture to exhibit ourselves to posterity, merely as the copyists of examples the repute of which is already established, and which may be learnt and repeated by rote? At various periods, men have shown themselves either barbarous or puerile in their notions on art; yet never till now such slavish copyists, such mere plagiarists, such mocking-birds in style. You may judge by this sally in what an ill humour I am, at finding that you would shut me up in a cage and there make me sing. If you examine your Elizabethan architecture with some little critical attention, you will hardly fail to perceive that, with all its richness of expression, the elementary sounds are no more harmonious than the crowing of a cock, or the braying of
“ All this concerns merely the style, as style ; for, in other respects, we often meet with much (in the Elizabethan styles that deserves praise ; convenient arrangement and contrivance, striking effect, and much cleverness of construction and execution, although, so far from being pure or refined, the taste displayed may be decidedly vulgar and coarse. I freely confess that the merits I have just mentioned were retained in the architecture of the North of Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries. I say retained, because the Gothic style that was then abandoned had been treated with masterly skill, and showed disciplined artificers in all that belongs to mechanical execution; consequently, the ability thus produced had only to employ itself upon a fresh task.” (p. 18.)
With respect to the suitableness of the Greek style for modern purposes, our architect observes : “ If we allow that, as far as it procceded, Grecian architecture is stamped by perfect beauty, it is of little moment to our argument whether it was so comprehensive as it might have been, and had sufficiently developed itself for those purposes which we now more especially require, since the perfection it did actually attain in the direction it took ought to be sufficient to inspire the artist. It was not necessary that the latter should surrender up the freedom belonging to him as such, and confine himself to following Grecian motives and intentions. In fact, the peculiar charms, or the grace and freshness, of Grecian architecture become withered, as soon as we begin to treat it according to dry systematic rules. The Vitruvius capable of legislating for it according to its genius and true spirit, perhaps is not yet born.” (p. 19.)
In conclusion he observes, with respect to the style which he means to adopt for H. B.'s country house: “ I do not mean to be confined either to a servile imitation of a pure Pompeian house'; or to be tied down to repeat your Elizabet han architecture, or the Gothic of Germany or England. Nor
its character as a wall; and, therefore, the boundaries of the panels ought neither to extend to the angles nor the ceiling, but leave enough at these places to show that the paintings only covered compartments, and were intended to ornament the wall, not to conceal it.
Dining-rooms, " strictly so called and employed, are generally unadorned with pictures: this hardly seems necessary. In theory, we may admit that subjects requiring some contemplation would be out of place in a room exclusively devoted to the table’; but portraits of celebrated individuals, and landscapes, although they cannot be duly examined in such moments, may convey associations, to which the spectator, even if not particularly conversant in pictures, is supposed to be alive at all times. Portraits of the class alluded to, as historic texts, are connected with time; and landscape, especially if founded on actual scenes, suggests the conditions of place. A room used for the purpose in question, and for nothing else, is, however, not the place where fine works of art should be bestowed; and I incline to think that this is the fittest field for small frescoes and arabesques. This, in short, is one of the occasions to please the eye and the imagination only. Accordingly, in the mode proposed, no definite idea is presented to the mind, but an idea of elegant and festive splendour surrounds the guests. There should, however, be endless variety ; scarcely a form should be repeated in the details, although an architectural symmetry is, as usual, to be preserved in the masses.” (p. 57.)
The Breakfast-room. Where a family betake themselves to particular rooms at stated hours, it may be allowable to decorate and furnish these rooms in such a manner as to insure a marked and agreeable variety of cha
“ The morning has its own feelings, even for those whom affluence frees from any kind of labour. The purposes of the day are unfinished ; every thing is contingent. Under such circumstances, the character or subject of pictures is to be adapted to the mind, not the mind to the subject. The open face of nature, by sea and land, may here enliven the walls, and agree with the excursive feelings of the hour. The chase and its incidents may here triumph. The English pastoral is here strictly in its place. Solemn themes, solemn effects, should not be admitted ; while all that responds to buoyancy of spirit would, on the contrary, be appropriate. It need not be gravely objected, that accidental, or even average, states of feeling may be little in unison with the impressions which the arts profess to give; for the same objection is frequently applicable to all of the accompaniments of civilised life, nay, to the beauties of nature, which so often appeal even to cultivated human sympathies in vain. The occasional contradiction is unavoidable where, of two conditions, one is permanent, the other mutable.” (p. 58.)
Corridors and Conservatories. Corridors not furnished with pictures, and garden pavilions, may be decorated with arabesques ; but not so conservatories, where the conventional forms and tints of art would contend injudiciously with
Frescoes are not adapted for sitting-rooms, because in general they require to be of a large size, and, being fixed, they cannot afford that variety which is produced by a number of small pictures, which may be changed at pleasure.
The Library. In libraries pictures of extensive interest divert the attention from the business of the place; but portraits may be admitted, and the library is the proper place for cabinets of gems and medals, collections of engravings, terra-cottas, &c. “ I prefer a library without coloured decorations ; the wood-work may be carved in flat relief, even to the panels of the walls; a mode of decoration now beautifully supplied by embossed leather, which need not be dark in colour. Whatever colour appears, except in the portraits, miniatures, or illuminations, hung around, should be in the books ; these should strike the eye, and be, so to speak, in the foreground of the picture. Vases or busts may surmount the cases.
“I see no objection even to inscribing both the subject and the name of the master under works of art generally; a volume bears its title and author's
name ; and pictures, to many, are as sealed books, till enquiry is stimulated or interest quickened by similar means. When the description is too long to admit of this, the words · See Catalogue, No.- .,' might be added.
“ If colour is admitted anywhere in the library, it might be in subjects on the ceiling, allowable here, if at all, in the region of easy chairs and occasional meditation ; perhaps too, to a certain extent, in the windows. The introduction of subjects on ceilings has not been recommended generally, but in the system of arabesque painting the universal decoration of the walls requires to be carried into the ceiling: Sculpture, from the reasons already given, or rather in accordance with the same taste, is quite admissible in the library.” (p. 60.)
The Drawingroom.— The principal drawingroom, as that most occupied in hours of calm seclusion and leisure, is the proper place for the choicest works of taste. “The arrangement of pictures comprehends some of the difficulties which the artist experiences in the production of one; for a certain balance and repose are as essential for the eye, as a harmonious impression for the mind. Enlightened connoisseurs see excellence both in the Dutch and Italian schools, but they are often embarrassed arranging them together. I am convinced, however, from instances I have seen, that this is to be accomplished satisfactorily. It is sometimes argued, that no one reads Milton and Crabbe alternately; but this is hardly a parallel case. Many go to a gallery to look at a particular picture, and see nothing else ; the eye is blind when the attention is not actively exerted. So, in a room, the spectator selects his favourites, bis favourites at least for the time, and scarcely looks beyond them. At another moment he will perhaps direct his undivided attention to works which he passed over on a former occasion. A certain congruity is sometimes to be accomplished, by attending to impressions rather than names and schools. Many an Italian picture would not be out of place with the Flemish and Dutch schools ; while Vandyck, Rembrandt, Cuyp, and others, might sometimes barmonise in many respects with the genius of the South.” (p. 61.)
“With regard to subjects, the mind, as well as the eye, must be respected : the ethos (spirit] of painting is quite compatible with familiar and homely subjects; and, on the other hand, the greatest Italian masters have sometimes sought for poetic impressions in regions where it would be unsafe to follow them. The subject often acquires elevation, and commands respect, by the evidence of mental labour and power in the artist. To a true connoisseur, this skilful application of principles derived from universal nature supersedes the mere subject ; and the idea which he recognises, whatever may be its vehicle, is grand and poetical. Less experienced observers are often deceived by the title of pictures: 'A Court-vard' (de Hooghe) sounds unpromising enough; but when it is seen that the painter has represented daylight with magical truth, and that all is subservient to this, his aim must be acknowJedged to be dignified. It is to be observed, too, that the influence of this high aim on the part of the artist often extends itself to the treatment of the materials which constitute his ostensible subject. It is easy to see from the unaffected feeling, as well as from the relative character of the execution in some (though not all) of the Dutch masters, that the real subject of their meditation was noble.” (p. 62.)
" With respect to the colour of the walls on which pictures are hung, my opinion is singular without being novel. I am quite aware that it is necessary to consider wall, pictures, gold frames, and all, in relation to general effect : the gold, especially, is to be treated as part of the coup-d'æil. But, though I remember examples of light walls hung with pictures producing an agreeable effect, I prefer a colour which displays the pictures more, and must also maintain that living pictures are seldom seen to the best advantage against a bright ground ; the quantity of actual light (it may always be assumed) making reflected light unnecessary : my idea, in one word, is, that the wall should not be so light as the lights of the pictures ; and this supposes a sufficiently low tint. Of such colours, the most agreeable is the long established rich red, which might be sufficiently allied to purple to give value to the gold frames and the warm colour of the pictures. I need not recommend avoiding too much unbroken polish in the frames, since this is now very generally disapproved of.” (p. 63.)
For a variety of details illustrative of the principles laid down in the above extracts we must refer to Mr. Eastlake's letter. We are happy to learn that this eminent artist has employed Mr. Moxon, the author of the Grainer's Guide, noticed in our Volume for 1842, p. 379., to paint his house. We are glad of this, because we feel confident it will contribute to the public taste in the pictorial decoration of rooms. Mr. Moxon's works, in the house of Mr. Tomalin in Carlton Terrace, for example, require only to be seen to be appreciated.
The reader will have observed that in the letters of M. de Châteauneuf there are various excellent remarks from which sound principles may be derived; but the whole subject of a country house is not discussed. Very little is said on what relates to domestic comfort, such as warming, ventilating, lighting, supplying water, &c. Indeed, these are subjects with which foreigu architects are not familiar; and, therefore, M. de Châteauneuf's remarks must be considered as chiefly relating to matters of taste.
The letters are illustrated by one ground plan and four perspective views. The latter are beautiful as specimens of architectural omposition ; but they want the characteristic features of a dwelling-house, chimney tops; and they have one feature far too large for a dwelling-house, a square tower surmounted by a dome. To conceal the chimneys of a dwelling-house is to omit its principal characteristic feature. Imagine for a moment that the country houses of England, which are as far superior to those of every other country in the world as the liberty of England is superior to the liberty of Russia, were without chimney tops, and what would th , represent ? Compare those Italian country houses in England, in which, as in M. de Châteauneut's design, an attempt has been made to conceal the chimneys, with those in the same style in which the chimneys have been rendered conspicuous architectural features, and say which afford the most pleasure to the beholder. Ask, also, in which of the two houses are there likely to be smoky chimneys. But we have said enough on this subject elsewhere.
We are sorry we can say little in behalf of the plan ; it exhibits much display, with but little convenience or comfort ; indeed we never yet saw a Continental architect that could design a country house fit for an English gentleman. It is in town houses that M. de Châteauneuf excels; and in these, as we have stated, when noticing his Architectura Domestica, he has very great merit. The whole of the work before us shows that M. de Châteauneuf, through the intended kindness of his friend H. B., has been brought into what is called a false position.
The five plates are very beautifully executed, as are the vignettes, which, however, have very little to do with the subject of the book, having been kindly “furnished by Mr. C. Knight and Mr. Jackson.” The translation of M. de Châteauneut's letters from the German, it is stated, “unfortunately have not had the advantage of being submitted to the writer for correction," which will account for the obscurity of some passages in them, though it will not furnish an excuse for the careless manner in which the proofs appear to have been corrected. We allude to the transposition of entire lines, as in p. 55. ; the omission of words, as in p. 32.; and the insertion of superfluous words, for example, “ treated with masterly and skill,” in p. 18.
One circumstance relating to this book, however, will cover a multitude of sins: it is published for the benefit of the Royal Schools of Industry, at Kensington, the Potteries, and Shepherd's Bush."
** On the formation of the schools, the plan of self-support was adopted, each child contributing a weekly payment; infants, ld. ; girls who are taught to work, and the younger boys, pay 2d.; and the elder boys, who are taught to write, 3d. Although these payments go some way towards the maintenance
of the establishment, yet the funds hitherto have been found very inadequate, and the deficiency has been supplied by voluntary contributions, the produce of bazaars, ladies' work, &c. One of the most successful sources of profit has been a small volume, printed under the title of Friendly Contributions : the profits from the sale of this work have been applied to the support of the schools ; three volumes have already appeared, and the present forms the fourth.” (Pref. p. 6.)
Art. II. Catalogue of Works on Gardening, Agriculture, Botany,
Rural Architecture, &c., lately published, with some Account of those considered the more interesting.
HORTICULTURAL Essays; being the Papers read at the Meetings of the Regent's
Park Gardeners' Society for mutual Instruction, fc. fc. Part 1. 8vo, pp. 73. London, 1813.
Too much cannot be said in favour of the usefulness of the societies for mutual improvement which have, within the last ten years, originated with journeymen gardeners in the neighbourhood of London, and been carried on entirely by them. The founder of the first of these societies was, we believe, Mr. Robert Fish, and it may safely be stated that they have done as much for the improvement of the young men which belong to them, as the Horticultural Society of London has done for the advancement of horticulture generally. The papers read at the meetings of the West London Gardeners' Society for mutual Instruction have, from time to time, appeared in this Magazine and in the gardening newspapers; those of the Regent's Park Society, recently formed, are collected together in the work before us.
The first article is on Cácti, by Mr. D. Maher. The second, on the Oak, by Mr. J. Bevis. Quércus sessiliflòra is described as having leaves with very short footstalks, the reverse of which is the case, as may be observed at Kenwood, where there are scarcely any of Q. pedunculàta. With the exception of this trifling inaccuracy, the article is correct.
Oo the Camellia, by Mr. E. Pigg, with a selected list of the best varieties in cultivation. Good.
On training Pear Trees, by Mr. T. Moore. A well-reasoned paper, though we differ from the author in being partial to espaliers, especially in a regular kitchen-garden surrounded by walls.
On the Mushroom, by Mr. C. M‘Donald. On the genus Agaricus, by Mr. D. Maher. In the latter article is given an interesting extract from Lyall's Moscow, enumerating the edible species of Agaricus, Bolètus, Phállus, Clavaria, &c., found in Russia. On the Atmosphere, by Mr. T. Moore. On planting Pear Trees, by the
Both these are valuable papers. On the Willow, by Mr. J. Bevis. Salix moschata is mentioned as the "Willow of the Persian harems, much cultivated in the East," and coming very near S. càprea. The male plant is now growing at Stratford ; in, we presume, Mr. Alcard's garden.
Water, with reference to its Application in Horticulture, by Mr. E. Pigg. An elaborate and instructive paper.
On protecting Plants, by Mr. T. Moore, contains many useful hints.
On the Drainage of Plants in Pots, by Mr. W. Field. Pieces of slate are recommended instead of potsherds, with moss placed over them; slate prevents the mould from being washed to the bottom of the pot, and has other advantages.
On Tropæolàceæ, by Mr. D. Maher. Eighteen species of Tropæ'olum are described. We agree with this author in recommending columnar trellises for