Now and then, a tradesman shows historical predilections. Some remarkable event of ancient or modern days—some battle, siege, earthquake, or terrible volcanic eruption is delineated in his shop-window as a background to his goods; and the goods and the heroes or sufferers are so ingeniously mingled together, that whosoever contemplates the picture, must of necessity take both into his consideration, so that it may be that the storming of Seringa patam, the earthquake of Lisbon, the overwhelming of Pompeii, or the forcing of the North-west Passage, is indissolubly connected, in the spectator's mind, with the destruction of vermin by Jabez Dosem's Patent Cockroach Exterminator, or the newly invented heel-tips of Simon Bendleather.

Painting is thus, again, stooping to make progress along with the arts of buying and selling; nor is the sister art of sculpture altogether discountenanced by the sons of trade. Here and there, the bust of some great man is found presiding over the stock of some petty shop. We have seen Sir Isaac Newton among piles of potatoes labelled "three pounds twopence," and Shakspeare and Milton imbedded among the thread, wax, heel-ball, and sparables of the retail leather-seller.

Commercial art takes a still more familiar form in the hands of the modeller, who, besides the manufacture of dummies which pass for real stock, has assigned to him the fabrication of colossal models for exhibition as signs, in which the small wit of the trader receives as large an embodiment as he chooses to pay for. Thus the "little boot" hoisted over the door of an ambitious disciple of St. Crispin, is about large enough for the Colossus of Rhodes; and the "little dust-pan" which shuts out the light from the first-floor rooms of an aspiring tin-man, is broad enough to accommodate an average family tea-party, equipage and all: the "little cigar" is big enough for the topsail-yard of a frigate; and the "little stick of sealing-wax" might do upon an emergency for the mast of her long-boat.

We are bound in candour to remark, that the most notable characteristic in what we have denominated Commercial Art, is its want of originality. All its professors seem to depend more upon one another than upon themselves, and continually reproduce each other's designs in preference to inventing new ones. The same thing is as manifest, and much more mischievously so, in art as applied to manufactures. It is true that, as respects designs merely ornamental, intended for repetition in paper-hangings and textile fabrics, &c., we have been for many years past making respectable progress, and may be said to possess a rising school of designers of our own; but of designs entirely pictorial, also intended to be multiplied ad infinitum, and which are actually so multiplied, there is not one in a hundred to be met with which is not stolen, in whole or in part, from the works of established artists living or dead. These thefts are mostly committed without the licence or the knowledge of the proprietors of the copyright. The Potters are the most wholesale plunderers in this way, as their countless transcripts from the works of Landseer, Cooper, Ansdell, Bateman, &c., attest-numbers of which may be seen in any business street in London at any hour of the day. The manufacturers of papier-maché ornaments are just as unscrupulous in the use of what is not their own: thousands of pictures are painted monthly on these wares from the prints of Stanfield, Turner, Creswick, &c.—an original design by the artists employed being the rare exception. It would be easy for the proprietors of the copyrights in question to put an interdict upon these proceedings, and confine the manufacturers to their own resources; and it appears to us that they would further the interests of their own profession at once, and be eventually the means of infusing a leaven of art among the manufacturers themselves, were they to do so.

From the brief glance at the phases of art which are most

familiar to the view of the populace, we are forced to the conclusion, that, in spite of the rage for illustration, and the influence of that pictorial flood which has inundated our literature, less progress has been made in informing the popular taste than some of us are complacently disposed to admit. We are among the number of those who desiderate a universal appreciation of the higher qualities of art, and who regard the dissemination of true principles in relation to it among the people as an enterprise perfectly hopeful, because remunerative as well as practicable. What the press has done and is doing for literature, by rendering it cheap, abundant, and good, the press will also do for art, but neither so rapidly nor effectually, unless, and until its efforts are supplemented by practical teaching. To educate the eye, is always a slow process; but it is one that produces an important and valuable result, being, of all branches of education, that which best commends itself to the pupil. Unfortunately for the dwellers in English cities, most of the objects they gaze upon have a tendency to inure them to ugliness and ungracefulness; and this we take to be one principal reason why the perception of what is just and true in art is so rare among the masses of the population.


THE love of pictures, of representations of familiar or unfamiliar objects by outlines or colours, or both, if it be not a universal passion, is something very like it. The savage indulges it, in his way, as much as the man of education and refinement; in default of other means, he scores and tattoos designs upon his own skin or that of his fellows, and bedaubs his flesh with gaudy colours, making of himself the picture he loves to contemplate. All nations have had their pictorial representations; of not a few these have formed the national monuments and records; and of more, it may be, than we are aware of, they have been the originators of the alphabet, and thus the pioneers of literature. Perhaps the man was never born who, with the ordinary powers of vision, had not some taste, or, to say the least of it, some liking for art under some form or other, and who was not capable of deriving some instruction, as well as satisfaction, from gratifying that taste. We intend, with the reader's permission, to glance for a few moments at some of the popular methods, so far as they are traceable from present existing remains, which have been for a number of generations past in operation in our own country for supplying the humbler orders with the means of such gratification.

There was a time when comparatively few of our industrial classes could read, or cared to read; but there never was a time when they would not have looked with pleasure upon a picture. What were the household pictures, or

whether there were any at all to be found in the humbler dwellings of our land, even so late as the reign of Queen Elizabeth, we cannot undertake to say, but are inclined to think there was nothing of the kind; and that rude images and quaint casts or carvings constituted the only sort of domestic art familiar to the people. Though engraving on wood and copper has been practised for almost four hundred years, it would appear that, with the exception of such small specimens as were used for the illustration of a few books and ballads, but little of the engraver's work made its way to the mass of the populace. At anyrate we can meet with little or nothing now of a kind adapted for the walls of a cottage or humble residence, which dates further back than the close of the seventeenth century. We have a notion that the first commercial experiment in engraving pictures to meet a popular demand was made about that time. The works of the best continental engravers, and of the old etchers, were too expensive for general circulation; and, what is more, they were too learned for the general taste. To create a demand for pictures, it was necessary to descend to the comprehension of the multitude, and at the same time to give them enough for their money. The first popular engravings, judging from their style of execution, must have been exceedingly cheap. Probably they were not engraved upon copper, but upon some softer metal or admixture of metals; they were intended to be hung on the wall, portfolios being known only to artists and collectors; they were for the most part coloured, and were framed in a narrow black moulding. Among the oldest subjects now to be met with -and these must be looked for in the butler's parlour, or housekeeper's or servants' room of some old mansion in the country-are views of the palace and gardens of Versailles and of Fontainebleau, in which the old-fashioned trim gardens, as they existed once but exist no longer, are shown in a birds'-eye species of perspective not very correct.

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