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distinguished living. A citation in the notice of Grose” tells us that “society droops for the loss of his jest:”
that antiquary's facetiousness enlivened the dullest company, and with the convivial he was the most jovial. Pennant’s numerous works bear internal evidence of his pleasant mindedness. Jacob Bryant, “ famous for his extensive learning, erudition,” and profound investigations concerning “Heathen Mythology,” and the situation and siege of “Troy,” was one of the mildest and most amiable beings: his society was coveted by youth and age, until the termination of his life, in his eighty-ninth year. Among the illustrious lovers of classic or black letter lore, were the witty and humorous George Steevens, the editor of Shakspeare; Dr. Richard Farmer, the learned author of the masterly “Essay on the Genius and Learning of Shakspeare,” is renowned by the few who remember him for the ease and variety of his conversation; Samuel Paterson, the celebrated bibliopolist, was full of anecdote and drollery; and the placid and intelligent Isaac Reed, the discriminating editor of “the immortal bard of Avon,” graced every circle wherein he moved. It might seem to assume an intimacy which the editor of this work does not pretend to, were he to mention instances of social excellence among the prying investigators of antiquity yet alive: one, however, he cannot forbear to name— the venerable octogenarian John Nichols, esq. F.S.A. of whom he only knows, in common with all who have read or heard of him, as an example of cheerfulness and amenity during a life of unwearied perseverance in antiquarian researches, and the formation of multiform collections, which have added more to general information, and created a greater number of inquirers on such subjects, than the united labours of his early contemporaries. Still it is not to be denied, that seclusion, wholly employed on the foundations of the dead, and the manners of other times, has a tendency to unfit such devotees for easy converse, when they seek to recreate by adventuring into the world. Early-acquired and long-continued severity of study, whether of the learned languages, or antiquities, or science, or nature, if it exclude other intimacies, is unfavourable to personal ap
* Vol. i. p.658.
rance and estimation. The mere schor, the mere mathematician, and the mere antiquary, easily obtain reputations for eccentricity; but there are numerous individuals of profound abstraction, and erudite inquiry, who cultivate the understanding, or the imagination, or the heart, who are, in manner, so little different from others, that they are scarcely suspected by the unknown and the self-sufficient of being better or wiser than themselves. Hence, “in company,” the individual whom all the world agrees to look on as “The Great Unknown,” may be scarcely thought of, as “The Antiquary”—the “President of the Royal Society” pass for “quite a lady's man"—and ELIA be only regarded as “a gentleman that loves a joke l"
NATURE AND ART. “Buy my images t” “Art improves nature,” is an old proverb which our forefathers adopted without reflection, and obstinately adhered to as lovers of consistency. The capacity and meshes of their brain were too smail to hold many great truths, but they caught a great number of little errors, and this was one. They bequeathed it to “their children and their children's children,” who inherited it till they threw away the wisdom of their ancestors with their wigs; left off hair powder; and are now leaving off the sitting in hot club rooms, for the sake of sleep, and exercise in the fresh air. There seems to be a general insurrection against the unnatural improvement of nature. We let ourselves and our trees grow out of artificial forms, and no longer sit in artificial arbours, with entrances like that of the cavern at Blackheath hill, or, as we may even still see them, if we pay a last visit to the dying beds of a few old tea-gardens. We know more than those who lived before us, and if we are not happier, we are on the way to be so. Wisdom is happiness: but “he that increaseth knowledge, increaseth sorrow.” Knowledge is not wisdom; it is only the rough material of wisdom. It must be shaped by reflection and judgment, before it can be constructed into an edifice fitting for the mind to dwell in, and take up its rest. This, as our old discoursers used to say, “brings us to our subject.” “Buy my images 1" or, “Pye m'imaitches," was, and is, a “London cry,” by talian lads carrying boards on their heads, with plaster figures for sale. “In my time,” one of these “images” (it usually occupied a corner of the board) was a “Polly"—
This representative of the most “po. pular" of “all the winged inhabitants of air,” might have been taken for the likeness of some species between an owl and the booby-birds; but then the wings and back were coloured with a lively green, and the under part had yellow streaks, and the beak was of a red colour, and any colour did for the eyes, if they were larger than they ought to have been. “In my time” too, there was an “image” of a “’ fine bow pot,” consisting of half a dozen green shapes like halbert tops for “make believe” leaves, spreading like a half opened fan, from a knot “that was not,” inasmuch as it was delicately concealed by a tawny coloured ball called an orange, which pretended to rest on a clumsy clump of yellowed plaster as on the mouth of a jar—the whole looking as unlike a nosegay in water as F. Then, too, there was a sort of obelisk with irregular projections and curves; the top, being smaller than the bottom, was marked out with paint into a sort of face, and, by the device of divers colours, it was bonnetted, armed, waisted, and petticoated—this was called a “fine lady.”
A lengthened mass became by colourable show, “ a dog”—like ingenuity might have tortured it into a devil. The feline race were of two shapes and in three sizes; the middle one—like physic in a bottle, “when taken, to be well shaken,” moved its chalk head, to the wonder and delight of all urchins, until they informed themselves of its “springs of action,” at the price of “only a penny," and, by breaking it, discovered that the nodding knob achieved its un-cat-like motion, by being hung with a piece of wire to the interior of its hollow body. The lesser cat was not so very small, considering its rice—“a farthing:”—I speak of when Hood button tops represented that plentiful “ coin of the realm.” Then there was the largest
The present representation favours the image too much. Neither this engraving, nor that of the “parrot,” is sufficiently like—the artist says he “could not draw it bad enough:” what an abominable deficiency is the want of “an eye”—heigho! Then there were so many things, that were not likenesses of any thing of which they were “images,” and so many years and cares have rolled over my head and heart, that I have not recollection or time enough for their description. They are all gone, or going—“going out” or “gone out” for ever! Personal remembrance is the
frail and only memorial of the existence of some of these “ ornaments” of the humble abodes of former times. The masterpieces on the board of the “image-man,” were “a pair,"—at that time “matchless.” They linger yet, at the extreme corners of a few mantlepieces, with probably a “sampler", between, and, over that, a couple of feathers from Juno's bird, gracefully adjusted into a St. Andrew's cross—their two gorgeous eyes giving out “beautiful colours,” to the beautiful eyes of innocent children. The “images,” spoken of as still in being, are of the colossal height of eighteen inches, more or less: they personate the “human form divine,” and were designed, perhaps, by Hayman, but their moulds are so worn that the casts are unfeatured, and they barely retain their bodily semblance. They are always painted black, save that a scroll on each, which depends from a kind of altar, is left white. One of the inscriptions says,
through the operation of time.
“Such were the forms that o'er th' incrusted souls Of our forefathers scatter'd fond delight.”
Price, and Alison, and Knight, have generalized “taste” for high-life; while those of the larger circle have acquired “taste” from manifold representations and vehicles of instruction, and comprehend the outlines, if they do not take in the details of natural objects. This is manifested by the almost universal disuse of the “images” described. With the inhabitants of every district in the metropolis, agreeable forms are now absolute requisites, and the demand has induced their supply. There are, perhaps, as many casts from the Medicean Venus, Apollo Belvidere, Antinous, the Gladiator, and other beauties of ancient sculpture, within the parish of St. George, in the East, as in the parish of St. George, Hanover-square. T. are reposited over the fire-places, or on the tables, of neighbourhoods, wherein the uncouth cat, and the barbarous parrot were, even “in my time,” desirable “images.” The moulds of the greater number of these deformities, are probably destroyed. It was with difficulty that the “cat” could be obtained for the preceding column, and an “image" of the “parrot” was not procurable from an “image-man.” Invention has been resorted to for the gratification of popular desire: two plaster casts of children, published in the autumn of 1825, have met with unparalleled sale. To record the period of their origin they are of in the annexed engraving, and, perhaps, they may be so perpetuated when the casts themselves shall have disappeared, in favour of others more elegant.
The “common people” have become uncommon;
The only use of eyes, I know of, is—to see.
$treet 3mage6 in 1826.
When these agreeable figures first app. the price obtained for them was our shillings. As the sale slackened they were sold for three shillings; now, in March, 1826, the pair may be bought for two shillings, or eighteen pence. The consequence of this cheapness is, that there is scarcely a house without them.
There can be no doubt that society is improving in every direction. As I hinted before, we have a great deal to learn, and something to unlearn. It is in many respects untrue, that “art improves nature;” while in many important respects it is certain, that “nature improves art.”
The Brothers. There are things in nature which
the human voice can scarcely trust itself to relate; which art never can represent, and the pen can only feebly describe. Such a scene occurred at Lyons, in the year 1794. The place of confinement to which those were hurried, who had been condemned to suffer by the revolutionary tribunal, was called “the Cave of Death.” A boy not fifteen years of age was sent thither. He had been one of the foremost in a sortie made during the siege, and for this was doomed to perish. His little brother, scarcely six years old, who had been accustomed to visit him at his former prison, no longer finding him there, came and called at the iron grate of the vault. His brother heard him, and came to the grate: the poor infant passed his little hands between the vast bars to embrace him, while the