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for their temerity with a fever produced by the unwholesome exhalations which then begin to rise.
"These little buildings are so very numerous as to form a characteristic feature of the country. Each villa has its name, or some motto, inscribed over the gateway, the choice of which is generally meant to bespeak content and comfort on the part of the owner; and they afford a source of amusement to the stranger as he passes along. Thus, among others, we read, Lust en rust,' Pleasure and ease; Wel te vreede,' Well contented; Myn genegenheid is voldaan,' My desire is satisfied; Myn lust en leven,' My pleasure and life; Niet zoo kwaalyk,' Not so bad; Gerustelyk en wel te vreede,' Tranquil and content; • Vriendschap en gezelschap,' Friendship and sociability; Het vermaak is in't hovenieren,' There is pleasure in gardening. And over the entrance to one of the tea-gardens, near Rotterdam, was inscribed, De vleesch potten van Egypte,' The flesh-pots of Egypt. Some of the larger gardens abound with fruits and vegetables, and beds and borders of flowering shrubs and plants are laid out in all the grotesque shapes that can be imagined. It must be confessed, however, that an air of comfort presides over these villas. Most of the dwelling-houses are gaily painted in lively colours; all the offices and out-houses are kept in peat order; while the verdant meadows are covered with the finest cattle, most speckled black and white.”— Family Tour in South Holland.
The following description proceeds from the sarcastic and dashing pen of the author of "Vathek," and may be regarded as an amusing caricature of Dutch taste:-"Every flower that wealth can purchase diffuses its perfume on one side; whilst every stench a canal can exhale poisons the air on the other. These sluggish puddles defy all the power of the United Provinces, and retain the freedom of stinking in spite of any endeavour to conquer the filthiness. But, perhaps, I am too bold in my assertion; for I have no authority to mention any attempts to purify these noxious pools. Who knows but their odour is congenial to a Dutch constitution? One should be inclined to this supposition by the numerous banqueting rooms and pleasure-houses which hang directly above their surface, and seem calculated on purpose to enjoy them. If frogs were not excluded from the magistrature of their country (and I cannot but think it a little hard that they are), one should not wonder at this choice. Such burgomasters might erect their pavilions in such situations. But, after all, I am not greatly surprised at the fishiness of their sight, since very slight authority would persuade me there was a period when Holland was all water, and the ancestors of the present inhabitants fish. A certain oysterishness of eye and flabbiness of complexion are almost proof sufficient of this aquatic descent; and pray tell me for what purpose are such galligaskins as the Dutch burthen themselves with contrived, but to tuck up a flouncing tail, and thus cloak the deformity of a dolphin-like termination?"— Beckford.
14. DUTCH SCHOOL OF PAINTING PICTURE CALLERIES IN HOLLAND.
One point to which the traveller in Holland ought certainly to direct his attention is the collections of pictures of the Dutch school. Though specimens of its masters are dispersed through all the galleries of Europe, they are nowhere seen in greater perfection than in the museums of the Hague and Amsterdam, and in the numerous private cabinets in these and other Dutch towns.
*To enter fully into the history of the different schools of art is beyond the purpose and scope of this work; but the excellent Handbooks of Painting by Kugler (Italian schools edited by Eastlake, R.A., and German and Dutch schools edited by Sir Edmond Head), and that of the Spanish and French schools by Sir E. Head, may safely be recommended as indispensable companions to those who visit the picture-galleries of the Continent.
The great excellence of the criticisms on art and descriptions of paintings given by Sir Joshua Reynolds in his "Tour in Holland and Flanders," and their utility and value to all who would form a correct taste and accurate estimation of paintings, have induced the editor to incorporate in this work the greater portion of them. The quotations are marked by the letter R.
By way of introduction, his remarks on the Dutch school are inserted here; while those on the Flemish school, and especially on Rubens, are reserved for the description of Belgium. On quitting Holland, he observes,
"The account of the Dutch pictures is, I confess, more barren of entertainment than I expected. One could wish to be able to convey to the reader some idea of that excellence, the sight of which has afforded so much pleasure; but as their merit often consists in the truth of representation alone, whatever praise they deserve, whatever pleasure they give when under the eye, they make but a poor figure in description. It is to the eye only that the works of this school are addressed; it is not, therefore, to be wondered at that what was intended solely for the gratification of one sense succeeds but ill when applied to another.
"A market-woman with a hare in her hand, a man blowing a trumpet, or a boy blowing bubbles, a view of the inside or outside of a church, are the subjects of some of their most valuable pictures; but there is still entertainment even in such pictures: however uninteresting their subjects, there is some pleasure in the contemplation of the truth of the imitation. But to the painter they afford likewise instruction in his profession. Here he may learn the art of colouring and composition, a skilful management of light and shade, and, indeed, all the mechanical parts of the art, as well as in any other school whatever. The same skill which is practised by Rubens and Titian in their large works, is here exhibited, though on a smaller scale. Painters should go to the Dutch school to learn the art of painting, as they would go to a grammarschool to learn languages. They must go to Italy to learn the higher branches
"We must be content to make up our idea of perfection from the excellencies which are dispersed over the world. A poetical imagination, expression, character, or even correctness of drawing, are seldom united with that power of colouring which would set off these excellencies to the best advantage; and in this, perhaps, no school ever excelled the Dutch. An artist, by a close examination of their works, may, in a few hours, make himself master of the principles on which they wrought, which cost them whole ages, and perhaps the experience of a succession of ages, to ascertain.
The most considerable of the Dutch schools are Rembrandt, Teniers, Jan Steen, Ostade, Brouwer, Gerard Dou, Mieris, Metzu, and Terburg: these excel in small conversations. For landscapes and cattle, Wouwermans, P. Potter, Berchem, Ruysdael, Hobbema, Adrian Vandervelde, Both, and Cuyp; and for buildings, Vanderheyden. For sea views, W. Vandervelde, jun., and Backhuysen. For dead and live game and birds, Weenix and Hondekoeter. For flowers, De Heem, Vanhuysem, Rachel Ruisch, and Breughel; and for interiors and perspectives, Peter de Hooghe. These make the bulk of the Dutch school.
"I consider those painters as belonging to this school who painted only small conversations and landscapes, &c. Though some of those were born in Flanders, their works are principally found in Holland: and to separate them from the Flemish school, which generally painted figures large as life, it appears to me more reasonable to class them with the Dutch painters, and to distinguish those two schools rather by their style and manner than by the place where the artist happened to be born.
"Rembrandt may be considered as belonging to both, or either, as he painted both large and small pictures.
"The works of David Teniers, jun., are worthy the closest attention of a painter who desires to excel in the mechanical knowledge of his art. manner of touching, or what we call handling, has, perhaps, never been equalled. There is in his pictures that exact mixture of softness and sharpness which is difficult to execute.
"Jan Steen has a strong manly style of painting, which might become even the design of Raffaelle; and he has shown the greatest skill in composition and management of light and shadow, as well as great truth in the expression and character of his figures.
"The landscapes of Ruysdael have not only great force, but have a freshness which is seen in scarce any other painter. What excellence in colouring and handling is to be found in the dead game of Weenix!
"A clearness and brilliancy of colouring may be learned by examining the flower-pieces of De Heem, Huysum, and Mignon; and a short time employed in painting flowers would make no improper part of a painter's study. Rubens's pictures strongly remind one of a nosegay of flowers, where all the colours are bright, clear, and transparent.'
So many changes have taken place in the situation and condition of the pictures described by Sir Joshua, both in private and public collections, since 1781, when he travelled, more especially in consequence of the French revolution, as to detract from the value of his work as a guide; and it would only confuse the reader to present it entire, and in its original form. A careful arrangement and selection of the descriptions has therefore been made, after comparing them on the spot with the pictures as they exist; and they are here distributed in the places where the paintings are now to be found; while a great many works of art of the highest excellence, not seen by Sir Joshua, but added to the various collections since his time, are likewise enumerated.
15. SOME PECULIARITIES IN DUTCH MANNERS, ETC.
A voyage round half the globe would scarcely transport the English traveller to a scene more strange and enlivening, or more different from what he sees at home, than that presented by the streets of a Dutch town. They are so thoroughly intersected by canals (grachten), that most of them might properly be termed quays, lined with houses, and bordered with rows of tall trees. canals swarm with the picturesque craft whose gilt prows, round sterns, and painted sides are rendered so familiar beforehand by the paintings of Cuyp, Vandervelde, and other Dutch artists. At intervals the canals are crossed by drawbridges (ophaalbrugen), by which a communication is kept up between one part of the town and another. The intermixture of trees, water, shipping, and houses; the bustle of loading and unloading vessels in front of the owners' doors; and the tall red brick houses, with variously pointed gables, and variegated tiles, so highly polished that they glitter in the sunshine, have a pleasing as well as novel aspect.
Mirrors. One of the first things that will strike a stranger's eye in a Dutch town are the little mirrors (spions) projecting in front of the windows of almost all the houses. They consist of two pieces of glass placed at an angle of 45° to each other, the one reflecting up, the other down the street. By means of this contrivance, the Dutch lady may see all that passes outside, without the trouble of going to the window, or the necessity of exposing herself to the vulgar gaze; and, while she sits ensconced behind the gauze blind, may continue her knitting or sewing uninterruptedly.
Cleanliness. It may appear paradoxical to say that cleanliness is carried to excess in Holland; but the passion for purifying really runs to such a height
among Dutch housewives that the assertion is by no means groundless; every thing has an air of freshness, and the stranger in vain looks for a particle of dust. It will be productive of some amusement to issue out into the streets of a Dutch town early on a Saturday morning. It is on the last day of the week that an extraordinary schoonmaken (cleaning) takes place. Every house door presents a scene of most energetic activity: the brushing and mopping, the scrubbing and scraping, are not confined to steps and doorways; the pavement, wall, windows, however guiltless they may be of impurity, are all equally subjected to the same course of ablution. Those spots which are out of the reach of hand or broom do not escape a well-aimed stream from the pipe of a small engine-pump, which is always reserved for such service. The unsuspecting stranger who walks the streets is subjected to the danger of perpetual wettings. He looks up to ascertain whence the shower descends; and he perceives a diligent servant girl, stretched out of a window two thirds of her length, and with eyes intently turned upwards, discharging bowls full of water upon some refractory stain, imperceptible to all but herself. Spiders must stand a worse chance here than in any other country of the globe. Assiduous war is waged against them; the weapon in use being a broom as long as a boarding pike: and the forlorn attempt of a solitary spinner to establish himself in the corner of a window, to which elsewhere he might be supposed to have a prescriptive right, is immediately detected and scattered to the winds. The purification does not end without subjecting the instrument of cleanliness, the broom itself, however worn out or old, to a course of cleansing. Within doors equal purity and precision reign. The drawing or state room is a sort of sanctum, seldom entered more than once a week, and then only by the housewife and her handmaiden, with list shoes, to avoid scratching the polished floor, and soap and water in their hands. No sooner is the labour of washing and dusting over, than the furniture is covered, the windows closed, the door locked for another week. In some parts of Holland the visitor is obliged to put off his shoes before he enters the house; but he is every where expected to clean them most carefully before admission is granted. In the dairies of North Holland, and especially in the far-famed village of Broek, the traveller will have the best opportunity of appreciating the full extent of Dutch cleanliness. It does not, however, require a long acquaintance with the Dutch, to remark that this persevering and almost painful cleanliness is not always extended to their persons, especially among the lower orders, who indeed are not more cleanly than the same class in England. Goldsmith, who knew the country and people from a residence among them, declares that a Dutchman's house reminded him of a temple dedicated to an ox.
One of the essentials of comfort for a Dutch lady is the Vuur Stoof, a square box, open on one side to admit an earthern pan filled with hot embers of turf, and perforated at the top to allow the heat to ascend and warm the feet: it serves as a footstool, and is concealed under the dress. The use of it is rarely dispensed with, whatever be the season, in doors or out; the citizen's wife has it carried after her by her servant to church or the theatre. Hundreds of these fire-pots may be seen piled up in the aisles of the churches.
To announce that sickness is in a house, the knocker is not tied up as with us, but a paper is stuck upon the door, containing the daily bulletin of the invalid's health, drawn up by a doctor, which prevents the necessity of ringing, and the chance of disturbing the sick person when friends come to inquire after him. In two of the towns of Holland, Haarlem and Enckhuysen, when there is a "lady in the straw," a silk pincushion covered and fringed with plaited lace is exposed at the door: the sex of the infant is marked by the colour; if a boy red, if a girl white. The house which shows in this manner that the number of its inhabitants has been increased by a birth, enjoys by
ancient law and custom various immunities and privileges. For a certain number of days, nothing which is likely to disturb a lady so situated is allowed to approach it: it is protected from legal executions; no bailiffs dare to molest its inmates; no soldiers can be billeted in it; and, when troops pass it on the march, the drums cease to beat.
A sort of basket decorated with evergreen, ears of corn, bits of silk and tinsel hung out over a shop door, denotes the recent arrival of herrings, much prized as a delicacy by the Dutch.
Before a traveller has been many days in Holland he will probably meet in the street a man dressed in black, with a cocked hat and wig, a long crape hat-band, and a short cloak: he is called the Aanspreker, and his duty is, on the death of any one, to announce the event to the friends or connections of the deceased. The stranger, on first arriving in Holland, is liable to be roused out of his slumbers at night by a strange clatter in the streets. This is nothing more than the CLAPPER of the Dutch watchman, a wooden board with a flexible hammer or tongue attached to it, which he strikes from time to time to give warning to all thieves to get out of his way.
The Kirmess (wake or fair) is a sort of Dutch carnival, and exhibits many peculiarities of character. The servant girls, when being hired, always stipulate with their masters for a certain number of holidays or kirmess-days. They swarm at these festivals in company with their "sweethearts;" indeed, sweethearts are regularly hired for these occasions, so that the damsels who have not one for love may have him for money.
The Stork. One of the peculiarities of Holland is the sort of veneration in which the stork (called ooyevaar) is held by the inhabitants. These birds are not only never injured or disturbed, but a cartwheel or some other contrivance is often placed on the house-top for their use: if not expressly to invite them to settle, at least to prevent their becoming a nuisance, since otherwise the bird, attracted by the warmth of the fire, would naturally deposit the materials of its nest on the chimney-top itself, so as to stop it up, dirty the house, and perhaps set it on fire, which the owner prevents by a stand or rest so placed as to allow the smoke to escape from beneath it. Their huge nests may be seen perched on the roofs of farm-houses, and even in the town, on the edge of a gable, or near a chimney; it is considered a good omen to a dwelling and its inmates if the stork select it for its habitation; and to kill one of these birds is looked upon in hardly any other light than a crime. The main army of storks migrate to a southern climate about the middle of August, taking with them the young brood which they have reared. They return in the spring about the month of May. The old ones never fail to seek out their former nests. During a great fire, which, in 1536, destroyed a large part of the town of Delft, the storks were seen bearing away their young ones from their nest through the midst of the flames, and, where they were unable to effect this, perishing with them rather than abandon them. Several of the Dutch poets allude to this well-authenticated fact.
Nightingales, and singing birds in general, are also protected from molesta. tion in Holland; and bird-nesting, and every other injury to the melodists of the wood, is severely punished by local laws.
"The lover of music fares meagrely in Holland. National melody and native composition seem alike to have disappeared from the country. The operatic theatres at Amsterdam and the Hague are principally occupied (when open) by third-rate German, French, and Italian companies, which may be also met with in the smaller towns, shorn, of course, to provincial dimensions. But those who are "curious in organs" will find much to interest them in Holland. The taste for mechanical devices, which has planted bleating clock