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sang " Ri-100-ral-loo-ral-loo-ral-loo, Ri-too-ral-loo-ral-lay," &c. &c. A A strange summons to worship this must sound to ears accustomed to the solemn voice of the muezzin that,
Loud in air, calls men to prayer,
From the tapering summit of tall minarets. Out of the ordinary beat of travellers as Tetuan is, there is remarkably good accommodation to be had under the roof of the worthy Mr. Solomon Nahon, who is, I believe, vice-consul for every Power in Europe. His house stands in the Jewish quarter of the town, and is an excellent specimen of a Moorish dwelling of the better sort, a kind of domestic Alhambra with painted wooden galleries running round a patio in the centre ; where, by the way, he and his family on my arrival were celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles in a temporary arbour dressed up with palm branches. With comfortable quarters, a quaint and picturesque town to lounge about, and glorious scenery to gaze upon, I found time at Tetuan very pleasant, so pleasant that I began to think of further explorations; to dream of penetrating into the recesses of those noble Rift mountains which would make any mountaineer's mouth water, and even to speculate upon the possibility of a journey to Fez and Mequinez, only five days from Tetuan. But a conversation with the British Consul showed me that that little expedition was not one to be lightly undertaken. A Christian, in fact, going to Fez, must either go in disguise or with a strong armed party ; so, at least, I gathered from Mr. Green, who probably knows more about this corner of Africa than any other European. There appears to be nothing savage or fanatical, however, about the Tetuan people, as far as I could see; I found them in the main friendly, good-natured folk, and in my rambles about the streets and on the Kasbah hill I certainly met with no incivility, “but quite the contrary.”
There is one walk I ought to mention before I have done with walks in Spain,—that from Algeciras to Tarifa, and I speak of it with tender regret, as it was my last walk among the Andalusian mountains. Ford, recommending the route as a ride, calls it " glorious ;” and if it is glorious to the cavalier, it must be more so to the easy and independent pedestrian. It is a short walk, too, only four leagues, and those very cortas from the scenery through which they pass. The rough mountain track that runs westward from Algeciras, after three or four miles of ups and downs, opens at length on the vale of the Guadalmesil. Rugged grey mountains enclose the head of the valley ; its sides are thickly dotted with cork and evergreen oaks, among which the little river tumbles seaward in a succession of cascades, pools, and rapids; and beyond, through its jaws, are seen the African mountains, and the dark blue strait, flecked with slender white latteen sails, that look like the wings of dipping sea-birds. More splendid even is the view which follows when the summit of the opposite height is gained, and, looking back, you see Gibraltar, not now like a lion couchant,
as from San Roque, but in its cuerpo aspect, like the corpse of a warrior on his bier, the broad bay slumbering at his feet, and beyond the blue sierras of the Malaga mountains rising tier above tier, till they melt away into the sky. A little farther on the ancient town of Tarifa comes in sight, with its mole, its port, its girdle of Moorish walls and towers, and its old castle, where you may still see the window from which Guzman el Bueno threw the dagger to the Moors below when they offered his son's life as the price of the fortress. Fresh as I was from the land of the Moor, with the memory of Moorish sights, sounds, and smells still strong, Tarifa, with its horseshoe archways, barbed battlements, and narrow, dark, winding streets, struck me as being the most Moorish town I had seen in Spain. It is right that it should be so, for of all the towns in Spain, or in Europe, it is the nearest to the land of the Moors. The extreme south point of Europe, the complement of the North Cape, is to be found in the little peninsula which now constitutes the fort of Tarifa. I had some little difficulty in finding it-indeed, I had no right to enter the fort at all, and only got in through the lâches of a good-natured sentry—and when I did find it, I had but brief enjoyment of it. The rising tide—for there are tides here—drove me back, and I had to relinquish to an old artilleryman, who sat fishing on the next rock, and had no more sentiment in his composition than a conger-eel, the proud position of being the most southerly individual on the continent of Europe.
It was, perhaps, an appropriate end to a pedestrian ramble in the far south of Europe. I might well, I afterwards found, have gone on foot, at any rate, as far as the fine old Moorish town Vejer ; but the road did not look interesting, and I discovered there was a diligencia for Cadiz, and so I set down Tarifa as longe finis chartaque viaque.
Jottings from the Note-Book of an Undeveloped Collector.
On Saturday the 23rd of February, 1867, there was sold at the auctionrooms of Messrs. Sotheby, Wilkinson, and Hodge, an etching of Rembrandt, for the enormous sum of One thousand one hundred and eighty pounds. Never before has such a price, or anything like such a price, been paid for what, though unquestionably a very great rarity, is, after all, far from being unique. It is a memorable event, destined perhaps to hold the same place in the history of engraving that the sale of the Soult Madonna does in painting, or that of the 1471 Boccaccio in bibliography. Otherwise, if engravings are to fetch such astounding prices now-a-days, one of the inducements for print-collecting used by Mr. Maberly—a name I shall often have occasion to quote—will no longer be true : "One first-class picture would purchase every purchasable print that it is desirable to possess.”
But I must give some description of the etching in question. It represents Christ healing the sick, but is more commonly known among collectors by the name of the “Hundred Guilder,” because a copy of it was sold during Rembrandt's lifetime for that sum. Rembrandt is not happy in his attempts to represent Scripture subjects. Dutch burgomasters and their good ladies, estimable creatures as they are, hardly come up to our notions of models, either for devotional subjects or for beauty and grace.
In artistic effects, however, in the management of light and shade, in startling contrasts, and in versatility of imagination, Rembrandt's etchings are unrivalled, and all these charms are no doubt to be found in the “ Hundred Guilder.” And it is only proper to say that the impression in question is not one of the prints Mr. Maberly was thinking of. For there is a special circumstance which gives a peculiar value to this impression—which is, that it, with seven others, are the only known examples of the “ first state ” of the etching. But all my readers may not know what “first state” means.
When an etcher or engraver was busy about his plate, he was very naturally in the habit of taking off impressions every now and then to see how his work was getting on. These impressions were called artist's proofs, and no doubt in most instances, after serving their purpose, were considered of but little more value than waste paper. But Rembrandt, finding that not only were his finished etchings selling well, but that some curious collectors eagerly laid hold upon these unfinished scraps, thought he could turn an honest penny—rather a failing of his—by multiplying the "states" of his etchings as much as possible. It is but perhaps fair to
. say that Rembrandt, fond of money as he was, was yet no miser. The large sums he obtained were not hoarded away, but spent in buying pictures and the requisites of his art to such an extent, that though at the death of his wife, the pretty Jantje, he was worth more than 4,0001., he left, when he died, only a few guilders for his funeral expenses. In
some cases there are not less than ten states known and described, one here and there being simply ridiculous. In the “Gold Weighers,” for instance, the earliest and rarest state has the face blank.
Of the eight known impressions of the first state of the “Hundred Guilder,” five are safe in public collections. The British Museum has two, the Imperial Libraries of Paris and Vienna—the latter having an inscription in Rembrandt's handwriting to say it was the seventh impression taken from the plate--and the Museum at Amsterdam, one each. Of the remaining three, one belongs to Mr. R. S. Holford, who gave 4001. for it; the second to the Duke of Buccleuch, and the third has just passed into the hands of Mr. C. J. Palmer. The history of this last impression, which is described as a “magnificent impression, undoubtedly the finest known, on Japanese paper, with large margin, and in perfect condition," is thoroughly ascertained. From Rembrandt it was obtained by J. P. Zomers, and after gracing successively the collections of Signor Zanetti, Baron Denon, Messrs. Woodburn the printsellers, Baron Verstolke of Amsterdam, and Sir Charles Price, it has now found a resting. place in Bedford Row. At the Baron's sale in 1847, it was purchased for 1,600 guilders (1331.) We may congratulate Mr. Palmer, then, on having gained a real and rare treasure,—such as may not be in the market again this century at least, even though the price is, in its way, as princely as those which have been lavished on the art treasures of Hertford House.
The second state of the etching, which only consists in a few crosshatchings introduced in one part of the plate, is by no means to be had for nothing. A splendid impression on India paper, with large margin, from the Dubois cabinet, sold at Manuel Johnson's sale for 1601.; and even this is not the highest price this state is known to have fetched. It is by no means certain, however, that these India-paper impressions, though the earliest, are the best in point of effect. Many collectors prefer those on plain paper.
Many others of Rembrandt's etchings bring very large prices. His portrait of Advocate Tolling, a very splendid work, cost Baron Verstolke 2201., though it fetched at his sale only 1,800 guilders (1501.) It is worth at least twice that sum now. “ Ephraim Bonus," the Jewish physician-perhaps Rembrandt's finest etching—was bought at the same sale for the British Museum for 1,650 guilders. Only three other impressions of this state are known. “Coppenol," a writing-master, cost the Baron in 1835, though not in very good condition, 300 guineas, though it only produced 1,250 guilders at his sale. Of “Rembrandt holding a Sabre " there are four impressions of the earliest state known-one at Amsterdam, one at Paris, one in the British Museum,
purchased from the Baron for 1,805 guilders (1501.), and one in the collection of Mr. Holford, who is said to have paid 6001. for it.
None of these prices I have mentioned, except the last, at all approach that given by Mr. Palmer; but I believe they have for some time been considered inadequate. I remember Mr. Smith, of Lisle Street, telling me that when the authorities of the British Museum first thought of making that exhibition of engravings which has now been carried out, he offered-in exchange I think for one of the two copies of the “Hundred Guilder”-etchings by Rembrandt to the value of from 5001. to 6001. His offer, however, was not accepted.
About one of Rembrandt's etchings we have an amusing story. He had gone to spend a day with his great friend, Jan Six, a burgomaster of Amsterdam. As they were sitting down to dinner it was found the servant had forgotten to provide any mustard. He was sent off at once to the village close by; but Rembrandt, knowing that the favourite maxim of Dutch servants was “-much haste, little speed," laid a wager with the burgomaster that he would etch the view from the dining-room window before the servant returned. He took up a plate, tried his etching-point upon it, sketched the view, and won his bet. The engraving is a very rare
Baron Verstolke's impression sold for 171. 103., but he would be fortunate who could secure a good impression at that price now.
In Mr. Maberly's excellent book, The Print Collector, is an account of another of Rembrandt's etchings, which is worth compressing. One day that artist, struck apparently with the attitude of a dog lying asleep, determined to etch its portrait. The plate he took up was much larger than he required, so that the etching only occupied the left-hand corner. From this he printed an impression upon a piece of paper, which, though larger than was required for the etching, was not as large as the plate. The etching looked ridiculous enough, and the artist accordingly cut out the part of the plate containing the little dog, and the rest of the impressions were struck off in this reduced size. The first impression, fortunately or unfortunately, was preserved, and an account of the prices it has fetched at different times is a very instructive example of the mania of collectors. We first hear of it at Mr. Hibbert's sale in 1809, where it fetched thirty shillings, the purchaser being M. Claussin. He sold it at a small advance of price to a London printseller, who disposed of it to the Duke of Buckingham for 61. At the Duke's sale in 1834, it produced 611. But the purchaser made a good bargain, nevertheless. A Dutchman heard of it, offered the fortunate owner 100 guineas, then 1501., then any price he liked to ask for it; but no, he was proof against all temptation, and kept possession of his treasure, till at last, with many really valuable prints from the same collection, it passed into the British Museum for the sum of 1201. ; and in that print-room, where there are more treasures in the way of engraving to be found than in any other collection in the world, the visitor may see " a twenty-sbilling print on 1191. worth of blank paper,” all in the space of three or four inches.