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NEW DISCOVERY-ENGRAVING, AND BURNET'S CARTOONS.
WE WELL recollect many years ago drive varnishes out of the field, and hearing a letter read before the So- with it some absurdities and monstrociety at the Adelphi, from a tailor in sities, British artists may acquire a St Martin's Lane, in which he boast- lasting fame. While genius is at one ed of an invention to make pictures by time playing the capriccio with discopatches of cloth. The importance he veries, and at another time goes to attached to his scheme was amusing, sleep, hoping to awake to new and but more so from the manner in which more perfect ones; invention is still he insinuated the inconvenience of all busy, and despairing of the permaother processes of picture making, for nency of the works themselves, takes his invention was to supersede the pains to make the transcripts of them necessity of painting in oil.” The as multiplied as possible. Great have Royal Academy has still persevered been the “ improvements" in the art in oil, and to show their contempt of of engraving, and in imitation of enthe tailor and “ Rag Fair," have as- graving. First came Lowry's diasumed an extraordinary finery; and mond points--then the sky rulers, the purple patch has been adopted shade rulers, and substitution of machiwithout extraneous aid, and so effect- nery for the hand. Much more has ually daubed on, as to “supersede the consequently been done in all that necessity' of being stitched on by the concerns effects and tones ; but it must Knight Templar.
be confessed that this has been attain.
ed not without great sacrifice-a sacri“ Purpureus late qui splendeat unus et
fice of that which is, after all, the chief alter Assuitur pannus."
beauty, that free and inexplicable
execution, which is, as it were, the Since the tailor's failure to “ super sign manual of genius. The handling sede," many have been the inventions of the etcher, such as is visible in the to promote arts. A lady has disco. works of Wood, Mason, Vivares, men vered that the old masters did not, whose merits have been strangely after all, paint in oil, but saturated overlooked, is now never seen. For their works with it afterwards, though our own part, we would forego all the some of them, before that theory was advantages gained, for the recovery born, had painted themselves at their of the old " needle work” which easels, and exhibited their cups and showed so well the mind of the brushes, of which, according to her painter; it gave a transcript of the account, there was not the slightest spirit, more than of the tones. But necessity. Still the Royal Academy these “ improvements" have reflected are obstinate, and artists will persever themselves, as it were, back upon ingly entitle themselves " painters in painting; for now artists, seeing the oil and water colours." The art has power of the graver's tools, have bea little coquetted with encaustic paint. come themselves mechanical, and fleece ing, and there have been serious pro- and smoke, velvet and tin, represent posals of reviving fresco: while all or misrepresent, flesh, drapery, air, these great revolutions of art in land, water, and trees. The city. “ posse" are in contemplation, innu- bred and city-inhabiting population, merable are the contrivances in “esse," who take their ideas of external nato render colouring so brilliant, that, ture from our annuals, where white if much further progress be made this satin buildings, variously shaded, as it way, the sun himself will not be able were, with cigar smoke, stand for to look at them, and the dilettanti towns, and masses of soot for woods will labour under universal ophthalmia. and forests, sent off into proper disThe “ modesty of nature" has been tance by the most approved jet blackdiscovered to be a cheat, a coinage of ing, must be truly astonished, if they the brain. Varnish predominates have not already lost their eyes and painters crack of their pictures, and capability of taste, when they go out their pictures will, in a few years, to look at nature herself. It is true crack of themselves. But let inven- the steam-boilers by sea and rail-road, tion go on, and when it shall happily may for a while deceive them into a belief that all is right, but they must be particularly as suitable to the free unfortunate indeed, if they do not leave execution of Salvator), inundated as the low levels of the “ sooty Acheron." they are with preternatural, with hea. The substitution of steel for copper, venly light, bearing their radiation the power of multiplying plates as from the very seat of Divine intellibefore we did impressions, was an- gence, look in mezzotint as if emitted other wonderful stride ; and with it from a manufactory furnace, and the came a fear that the public would die angels appear as if they came out with of a plethora of taste, when good en- the smoky volumes. In the picture, gravings might be sold for little more the whole ground, not dark, is evidently than the cost of paper, and plates be high and under a clear atmosphere, renewed, ad libitum, for ever.-" Ex. and, besides, seems in some degree egi monumentum ære perennius" veri. itself pierced by the heavenly vision. fied to the letter. We know not how But the print is altogether too dark, it is, but just as we are going to have and yet the contrast with the high something good in this world, up starts lights does not give brilliancy. We are a mischief to mar it or to vilify it. sorry to say this in the teeth of a most There is not a real panacea, but has able engraver; and who, after all, if its rival. Engraving, set upon so firm he has failed in giving the full beauty a basis, one would have thought might of the original, has yet added to the have been supreme. No such thing, public stock a good and valuable print. her illegitimate sister, Lithography, We wish to see that picture and its comsets up her claim, and by means of panion, as they were exhibited at the cheap publications, calls in the masses, British Gallery, Pall Mall, well etched who naturally prefer the inferior ar. and engraved—to see the needle and ticle; and here commences the demo. the graver throw out the bold execucracy of art. Print shops have in- tion of Salvator Rosa's hand. The creased out of number-print auctions character he has thus given to the are every where; so that, if all the clouds is very important; they comworld do not become judges of art, it municate with the angels ascending cannot be for lack of means to make and descending ; they allure them and them acquainted with it. It is some accompany them in their heavenly what, perhaps, to be feared, that art and earthly mission. Here ends our itself will be held cheap, when all its digression on this particular specimen productions are so ; and that the bad of mezzotint. There is no breathing will outsell the good. Great, certainly, space-all is one great movement. are the powers of lithography, but it Where are we going? Who can tell ? affords a fearful facility of setting forth The phantasmagoria of inventions abundant mediocrity, and engendering passes rapidly before us—are we to bad taste, and ultimately disgust. Few see them no more ?-are they to be better specimens of lithography are to obliterated ? Is the hand of man to be seen than those of the Dresden be altogether stayed in his work ? Gallery, yet, in comparison with steel - the wit active — the fingers idle ? and copper plates, how unsatisfactory Wonderful wonder of wonders !! Vaare they!
nish aqua-tints and mezzotints - as We have omitted to speak of Mezzo. chimneys that consume their own tinto, which has been likewise greatly smoke, devour yourselves. Steel enimproved--the cheap “ gems of art" gravers, copper engravers, and etchsupplied the public with some very ers, drink up your aquafortis and die ! beautiful things; in these, the fault of There is an end of your black artmezzotinto, the opaque blackness, was “ Othello's occupation is no more." much remedied, and a transparency The real black art of true magic arises given to the shades and reflected and cries avaunt. All nature shall lights very gratifying to the eye. It paint herself - fields, rivers, trees, is, however, better adapted to subjects houses, plains, mountains, cities, shall of deep tones than of light; and in all paint themselves at a bidding, and those extraordinary illumination fails. at a few moments' notice. Towns will It is a pity this method was adopted no longer have any representatives for the engraving the beautiful subject but themselves. Invention says it. It of Salvator Rosa's Jacob's Dream. has found out the one thing new under The picture is too light for it, the the sun ; that, by virtue of the sun's bold clouds that require outline (more patent, all nature, animate and inani. VOL. XLV, NO. CCLXXXI.
mate, shall be henceforth its own will banish all others from the earth. painter, engraver, printer, and pub- Talk no more of “ holding the mirlisher. Here is a revolution in art; ror up to nature"-she will hold it up and, that we may not be behindhand to herself, and present you with a copy in revolutions, for which we have so of her countenance for a penny. What imitative a taste, no sooner does one would you say to looking in a mirror start up in Paris, but we must have and having the image fastened!! As one in London too. And so Mr Da- one looks sometimes, it is really quite guerre's invention is instantly rivalled frightful to think of it; but such a by Mr Fox Talbot's. The Dagueros- thing is possible—nay, it is probable cope and the Photogenic revolutions -no, it is certain. What will become are to keep you all down, ye painters, of the poor thieves, when they shall engravers, and, alas! the harmless race, see handed in as evidence against them the sketchers. All ye, by whom the their own portraits, taken by the room “ Flumen Rhenum, aut pluvius discu. in which they stole, and in the very bitur arcus," before whose unsteady act of stealing! What wonderful dis. hands towers have toppled down upon coveries is this wonderful discovery the paper, and the pagodas of the East destined to discover! The telescope have bowed, hide your heads in holes is rather an unfair tell-tale ; but now and corners, and wait there till you are every thing and every body may have called for. The “mountain in labour” to encounter his double every where, will no more produce a mouse; it will most inconveniently, and thus every reproduce itself, with all that is upon it. one become his own caricaturist. Any
Ye artists of all denominations that one may walk about with his patent have so vilified nature as her journey- sketch-book-set it to work-and see men, see how she rises up against you, in a few moments what is doing behind and takes the staff into her own hands, his back! Poor Murphy outdone!Your mistress now, with a vengeance, the weather must be its own almanac she will show you what she really is, the waters keep theirown tide-tables. and that the cloud is not “ very like a What confusion will there be in auto. whale." You must positively abscond. graph signs manual! How difficult Now, as to you, locality painters, with to prove the representation a forgery, your towns and castles on the Rhine, if nobody has a hand in it!! you will not get the “ready rhino" for Mr Babbage in his (miscalled ninth them now-and we have no pity for you. Bridgewater) Treatise announces the Bridges are far too arch now to put astounding fact, as a very sublime up with your false perspective. They truth, that every word uttered from will no longer be abridged of their due the creation of the world has regisproportions by you; they will mea. tered itself, and is still speaking, and sure themselves and take their own will speak for ever in vibrations. In toll. You will no longer be tolerated. fact, there is a great album of Babel. You drawers of churches, Britton, Pu. But what too, if the great business of gin, Mackenzie, beware lest you your the sun be to act registrar likewise, selves be drawn in. Every church will and to give out impressions of our show itself to the world without your looks, and pictures of our actions; and help. It will make its wants visible so, if with Bishop Berkeley's theory, and known on paper ; and, though there be no such thing as anything, vestry and churchwarden quash the quoad matter, for aught we know to church rates, every steeple will lift up the contrary, other worlds of the its head and demand proper repair. system may be peopled and conducted “ Mox reficit rates
with the images of persons and transQuassas, indocilis pauperiem pati."
actions thrown off from this and from
each other; the whole universal nature Ye animal painters, go no more being nothing more than phonetic and to the Zoologicals to stare the lions photogenic structures. As all readers out of countenance--they do not want may not have read the accounts of this your countenance any more. The singular invention, upon which we have day is come for every beast to be his made these comments, we subjoin the own portrait painter. “ None but letter of Mr Talbot to the editor of himself shall be his parallel." Every the Literary Gazette, in which valuable garden will publish its own Botanical periodical we first saw the announce Magazine, The true “ Forget monot" ment of the discovery in France, to which we will add, from the same source, or any one, for the means of overcom. the French account of M. Daguerre's ing the principal difficulties. As the invention. The extreme modesty of process of M. Daguerre is at present a Mr Fox Talbot's will be very striking. profound secret, even at Paris, it is Specimens have been exhibited at the evident that no one could imitate him Royal Institution and before the Royal here, or exhibit pictures formed in the Society.
same way, or depending on the same * To the Editor of the Literary optical principles, who was not already Gazette.
fully acquainted with a secret, not « DEAR SIR,
indeed the same, but similar or tanta« I have great pleasure in com mount to his. That M. Daguerre's plying with the wish you have ex- pictures will stand the effect of time, pressed to me, that I would go into is, I suppose, the fact, though I do not some details respecting the invention find it expressly mentioned in the rewhich I have communicated to the port of M. Arago, (Comptes Rendus, Royal Society, viz., the art of photo. 7th January). My own have stood genic drawing, or of forming pictures between three and four years; I and images of natural objects by means therefore consider that the principles of solar light. I do this the more of the art are firmly laid. Many instrureadily, on account of the interest with ments have been devised, at various which the scientific public have read times, for abridging the labour of the the accounts which have recently ap artist in copying natural objects, and peared respecting the discoveries of for insuring greater accuracy in the M. Daguerre, of Paris, in some re design than can be readily attained spects identical with mine : in others, without such assistance. Among these I think, materially different. Although may be more particularly mentioned I am very far indeed from being of the camera obscura and the camera the opinion, that
lucida, which are familiar to most • Chance rules supreme in the affairs of
persons; certainly very ingenious and
beautiful instruments, and in many men ;'
circumstances eminently useful, espeyet, I cannot help thinking that a cially the latter. Yet are there many very singular chance (or mischance) persons who do not succeed in using has happened to myself, viz. that, them, and, I believe, few are able to do after having devoted much labour so with great success, except those and attention to the perfecting of this who, in other respects, are skilled in invention, and having now brought drawing. Up to a certain point, these it, as I think, to a point in which inventions are excellent; beyond that it deserves the notice of the scien- point they do not go. They assist tific world--that exactly at the mo- the artist in his work, they do not ment when I was engaged in draw. work for him. They do not dispense ing up an account of it to be presented with his time, nor with his skill, nor to the Royal Society, the same inven- with his attention. All they can do tion should be announced in France. is to guide his eye and correct his Under these circumstances, by the judgment; but the actual performance advice of my scientific friends, I imme- of the drawing must be his own. From diately collected together such speci- all these prior ones, the present invenmens of my process as I had with me tion differs totally in this respect in town, and exhibited them to public (which may be explained in a single view at a meeting of the Royal Insti- sentence), viz. that, by means of this tution. My written communication contrivance, it is not the artist who to the Royal Society was, from its makes the picture, but the picture length, necessarily deferred to the which makes itself. All that the artist week following. These steps I took, does is to dispose the apparatus before not with the intention of rivalizing with the object whose image he requires ; M. Daguerre in the perfection of his he then leaves it for a certain time, processes (of which I know nothing, greater or less, according to circumbut am ready to believe all that Biot stances. At the end of the time, he and Arago have stated in their praise), returns, takes out his picture, and finds but to preclude the possibility of its it finished. The agent in this operabeing said that I had borrowed the tion is solar light, which being thrown idea from him, or was indebted to him, by a lens upon a sheet of prepared
paper, stamps upon it the image of placed in the sunshine; indeed I have the object, whatever that may chance specimens which have been left an hour to be, which is placed before it. The in the sun without having received any very foundation of the art, therefore, apparent deterioration. A fact, thereconsists in this-eminently curious fore, is thus established, which is not natural fact, viz. that there exists a without its importance in a theoretical substance so sensitive of light, as to point of view, besides its more immebe capable of receiving even its faint diate application to purposes of utility, impressions. The whole possibility With this kind of paper, eminently susof the process depends upon this; for, ceptible of being acted upon by light, if no such substance existed in rerum and yet capable of losing that property naturâ, the notion of thus copying when required, a great number of cuobjects would be nothing more than rious performances may readily be aca scientific dream. Moreover, it is complished. The most remarkable of not sufficient that the paper should be these is undoubtedly the copying the so sensitive as to receive the impres- portrait of a distant object, as the fusions of external objects; it is requisite cade of a building, by fixing its image in also, that, having received them, it the camera obscura ; but one, perhaps, should retain them; and, moreover, more calculated for universal use, is that it should be insensible with regard the power of depicting exact fac-simi. to other objects to which it may be les of smaller objects, which are in subsequently exposed. The necessity the vicinity of the operator, such as of this is obvious, for otherwise, new flowers, leaves, engravings, &c., which impressions would be received, which may be accomplished with great faci. would confuse and efface the former lity, and often with a degree of rapidones. But it is easier to perceive the ity that is almost marvellous. The spenecessity of the thing required than to cimens of this art, which I exhibited attain to its realization. And this has at the Royal Institution, though conhitherto proved a most serious obstacle sisting only of what I happened to have to those who have experimented with with me in town, are yet sufficient to this object in view. This was one of give a general idea of it, and to show the few scientific enquiries in which the wide range of its applicability. Sir Humphry Davy engaged, upon Among them were pictures of flowers which fortune did not smile. Either and leaves ; a pattern of lace ; figures his enquiries took a wrong direction, taken from painted glass; a view of or else, perhaps, the property sought Venice, copied from an engraving ; for was of so singular a nature, that some images formed by the solar mi. there was nothing to guide the search; croscope, viz, a slice of wood very or, perhaps, he despaired of it too highly magnified, exhibiting the pores soon. However this may be, the of two kinds, one set much smaller result undoubtedly was, that the than the other, and more numerous. attempt proved unsuccessful, and it Another microscopic sketch, exhibit. was abandoned. As Sir Humphrying the reticulations on the wing of Davy himself informs us, " no at. an insect. Finally, various pictures, tempts have as yet been successful." representing the architecture of my These words are quoted from his own house in the country; all these made account, in the Journal of the Royal with the camera obscura, in the sumInstitution, 1802. The subject then mer of 1835. And this I believe to dropped, and appears to have been no be the first instance on record of a more spoken of for upwards of thirty house having painted its own portrait. years ; when, in 1834, unaware of A person unacquainted with the proDavy's researches, I undertook a cess, if told that nothing of all this course of experiments with the same was executed by the hand, must imaobject in view. I know not what good gine that one has at one's call the gestar seconded my efforts. After various nius of Aladdin's lamp. And, indeed, trials, I succeeded in hitting upon a it may almost be said that this is some. method of obtaining this desideratum. thing of the same kind. It is a little By this process it is possible to destroy bit of magic realized-of natural mathe sensibility of the paper, and to gic. You make the powers of nature render it quite insensible. After this work for you, and no wonder that change it may be exposed with safety your work is well and quickly done. to the light of day; it may eyen be No matter whether the subject be large