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and the total ruin of Prussia. He moreover regards it'as very doubtful whether a steady prosecution of the war be not the most economical, as well as the safest course, we can at prè. sent pursue.'--He admits, however, that permanent war is & dreadful idea; but let it be contrasted, as to meet fairly the present arguments for war it ought, with permanent servitude to France, and perhaps its horrors will vanish.'
This tract contains abundance of matter which claims the most serious attention :--but to the remainder of it we can make only a brief reference. The writer considers our regular army as formed on much too small a scale; and he regards our volunteer force as requiring to be very differently modelled. We believe that similar sentiments are very prevalent; and we sincerely trust that the author may be successful in rousing public attention, and in directing it to these vital concerns. He displays in striking colours the vices which degrade thé character of the French chief; and he strenuously combats his title to the epithet of great, which his enslaved subjects have conferred on him. Altogether, we consider this performance as not unworthy of its author, and as one for which every lover of his country will feel indebted to him.
Art. XII. Orme's Graphic History of the Life, Exploits, and Death
of Horatio Nelson, Viscount and Baron Nelson of the Nile, &c. &c. &c.; containing 15 Engravings; and intended as an Accompaniment to the three celebrated Whole-sheet Plates of his Lordship’s splendid Victories, viz. the Battles of St. Vincent's, the Nile, and Trafalgar, which are explained by References and Keys. The Memoirs by Francis William Blagdon, Esq. Folio. 21. 28.
Boards. Orme, Longman and Co. &c. THE
He brilliancy of Lord Nelson's professional career, through
a series of unprecedented national services, and the splendour which illumined the close of a life so gloriously eventful, claim adequate commemoration from the poet, the historian, and the artist. Ordinary productions, however, are as ineffi cacious as they should be inadmissible : though the venerated name of Nelson may give temporary currency to every species of insufficient performance, whether of the pen, the lyre, or the pencil.-On the importance of engraving, that most useful handmaid to the arts, it is needless for us to comment at large; and we shall merely observe that its relative utility to works of design is as that of the press to the efforts of the muse and the labours of science. This invaluable acquirement, we have reason to believe, was unknown in Greece and in Italy until the 15th century; otherwise, we should probably have been in'
possession of the historic compositions of Apelles, Zeuxis, Pharasius, and other painters of the interesting ages of antiquity; and in architecture we should have been presented with the drawings of Vitruvius, which would have satisfactorily elucidated many ambiguities that now clood his valuable writings.The discovery of the graphic art seems, as was the case with that of printing, to have been accidental: the first plates used were wood and pewier, on which some German painters, with Albert Durer and others, engraved their own designs; and they were followed in example by many of the most celebrated of the Italian Schools.
To Mr. Orme's Graphic History of Lord Nelson, perhaps we cannot offer more than negative applause : but positive approbation must be bestowed on it in one respect, if we bs truly informed that the proprietor has departed from a prattice of late date, of striking from the plate numerous impressions under the delusive title of proof prints: a practice which involves a contradiction in terms, is contrary to every former proceeding, disgusting to our senses, and degrading to the dignity of an art emphatically termed liberal.
It is here stated that on the 4th of July 1806, a commitres of nobility, surveyors, &c. viewed the cathedral of St. Paul, and determined that the most appropriate spot for the intended monument to Lord Nelson's mentory was in the centre, beneath the dome, where it is to be erected without delay.' With all due respect to the enlightened part of the aristocracy, who have been poetically called the "Corinthian pillars of polished Society," we cannot help thinking that the circumstance of these nobles mingling with surveyors, on so important a consultation, bodes no good. Of what description of artists were the persons here called surveyors ? To answer the question, we shall in vain consult the pages of Vitruvius, Vasari, &c. Yet, whoever they might be, we are bound to applaud their determination : for the propriety of which we have the authority of Sir Christopher Wren, whose comprehensive power of discernment cannot be doubted, grounded as he was known to be in every branch of science, and pre-eminently versed in the law of optics. He was well aware that such an object was materially necessary for the classic embellishment of his noble edifice, and could only be attained by the aid of a mass of happily chosen sculpture ;-and who could blame him for wishing that it might be made his own monument, he who " bade temples rise, the beauteous works of peace ?"
Since this publication was printed, however, we have heard, with no common degree of concern, that the resolution of the Committee has been rescinded, and we have also the mortification of stating that the designs which we have seen, and which have been prepared for the consideration of the Committee, are in our opinion totally unworthy of adoption: the best being essentially defective in all that relates to those high considerations, which can alone procure fame for the labours of the sculptor. In the event of any one of those models being adopted, or any other that is equally insipiil, or equally bombastic, farewell to our fond expectation of a splendid and Attic display of meritorious and successful exertions ! The more such a monument to Lord Nelson's
memory may be concealed, the better, since its obscurity will prevent the future expence and trouble of its removal : a vexatious expence, and a degrading trouble, which, it is whispered, will be caused by the last two nameless national monuments that have been erected within St. Paul's Cathedral. If a third monument should submit to the same fate, it will be the more suitable to its demerits, and will afford -relief to the now suffering eye!
We return to Mr. Orme's Graphic history.' Plate i. presents a commendable representation of a black chalk drawing, made from a marble bust of Lord Nelson; on which the elegant pen of the late Lord Orford might have equally bestowed the compliment applied by him to the Eagle of the same fair artist,
“ Non me Praxiteles fecit, at Anna Damer." The second plate is intended to represent young Nelson's attack and discomfiture of a Polar Bear; a remarkable instance of that fearlessness which ever marked his character. The four following plates, which are scarcely more than large vignettes, are found in pages 19. 25*. 20. 31. and represent the four memorable sea-fights of this energetic Com. mander, We will allow that these are neatly executed, but they produce a sensation rather pleasing than impressively striking, from a want of all that boldness and sublimity of effect which should seize the eye and harrow up the soul of the contemplator.
We are next presented with a sketch of the memorable council held on board the Victory, previously to the action off Trafalgar. The sublimity of this subject, considered under all its varied and important relations, and subject so conspicuously epic,-demands from the powers of the painter a superiority of genius, and of highly cultivated talents: but for these we here look in vain. Perhaps few painters adequate to it have been produced in England.
* The representation of the action off St. Vincent's is strangely mingled with the details of the battle of Copenhagen.
required required by historic art admit none of that mediucrity of conception, which is too often concealed under the specious garb of false colours.
The decisive battle of Trafalgar was not less propitious to the glory, nor perhaps to the safety of Britain, than the fight at Salamis to the renown and the repose of Attica. When that action had proved fatal to the Persian invaders, whose superior fleets were vanquished by the intrepidity and valour of the Greeks , Minerva and the Muses, followed by Science and the Sister Arts, reascended the Acropolis ; the statues of the deliverers of Greece arose in majestie solid brass ; Pentelic marbles leaped into form under the influence of the creative chisel; and stately Athens eclipsed even her former glory. If we have imitated, nay surpassed, that memorable common-wealth in arms, why are we found unnecessarily trifling with those arts in which it ex celled ; and which are so important to the dignity of civi. lization, and to those attributes which become a nation decidedly distinguished in all other branches of human culture ?
We proceed to the next plate, representing Lord Nelson's funeral procession by water from Greenwich Hospital to WhiteHall, Jan. 8, 1806;' an imitation of a tinted drawing by Mr, Turper. It will not be essentially necessary for us to point out to the acute observer, that the mode in which this solemn subject is treated is very injudicious; that it portrays rather the tawdry festivity of a Lord Mayor's show, or the hoity-toity indecorous assemblage of laughing spectators at the contention for Doggett's coat and badge ; and that, in fact, in point of conception, it wants every merit which the history was capable of conveying, to suitably impress the mind of the sympathizing spectator.
Plate 8th. Funeral Procession of Lord Viscount Nelson.'Fitness and variety constitute the primary associations of every well defined composition, through each work of creative art : but these words are usually misunderstood, or are disregarded in painting, (we allude to colours ;) the vulgar idea goes no farther than the appearance of a gaudy jumble of crudities, met in yellows, reds, blues, &c. neglecting the harmonious effect observable in the prism, the use of which experimental proof it is the skilful painter's province to exhibit, in every manner that may be most suitable to the subject on his canvas.-In this representation, the funeral car makes the central and most
* It is singular that these two celebrated battles should have occurred in the same month, and on the same day but one of that month, at the distance of 2285 years !
conspicuous object. While we cannot praise the whole of its form, which is indeed a despicable production, we must give due merit to the fitness of the ornaments introduced in the decorative parts of the canopy, which are skilfully conceived, and well adapted to the occasion. They are taken from the tops of Cenotaphs that enshrined the bodies of the dead at Pagan Rome; of which examples many fragmented parts still remain ;--and chese ornaments were specifically applied to those particular purposes, never mistakenly introduced for ornaments called grotesque, or the fantastic. The propriety of their usage among the antients is decidedly illustrated by the fitness of the emblems, and the happy variety in their forms. Their angular, and sometimes elliptic external contours denote the instability of our lives, with the incidental changes in all mundane affairs; and these cenotaphics on the fascias are generally sunken into a panel, containing a flower, most commonly the honey-suckle, as emblematical of transitory vanity. When, however, we view such ornaments placed indiscriminately on the facades of a Bank, or in any other inap: plicable situation, they no longer please ; while they evince the distortion of all judgment in the composer, who, lost to every sense of fitness, looks for variety only in the delirium of distempered dream,
“ Non qui Sidonio contendere callidus ostro
Nescit Aquinatem potantia vellera jucum,
Quàm qui non poterit veri distinguere falsum.” Hor. The last plate delineates the “Ceremony of Interment.' This representation of the splendid and mournful finale, considered as a performance of art, has little merit: but it possesses in. terest, as commemorating the last honours bestowed by a grateful country on the remains of one of her most illustrious heroes.
For the advancement of the arts above the usual productions, in which only mediocrity seems to have been attained, we must look to the establishment of a National Museum, on a liberal and extensive scale: into wbich it is essential that not only students and professors, but the public at large, should enter without " lett, bindrance, or molestation," and without any expence ; not for the student to make servile copies, - which pernicious practice is an abuse of time, and produces those insuficient professors called mannerists, but to contemplate the best exemplars ; to compare and to trace the mind and principles of those who raised the standard of excellence; and to embody the whole of the important instruction thus gained in an oria X +