Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

dessert dishes, vases, candelabra, and other articles. A cut-glass lustre of huge size, adapted for holding twelve dozens of candles, oppresses with its elaborate magnificence. Near this last-mentioned object are the porcelain wares of Minton, Copeland, and other potters of Staffordshire. Copeland has two vases of delicate workmanship approaching to the quality of foreign products of this class; but these we less admire than the statuary of pure porcelain after the best sculptors. Could this class of articles be sold at a moderate price, their dissemination would materially extend a taste for the fine arts. Adjoining hangs a large carpet of Berlin wool, executed by one hundred and fifty ladies of Great Britain — each doing a portion, and the whole séwed into one piece. This elegant carpet was presented to Her Majesty, and bears the initials of the fair executants. The pattern is floral and heraldic in design, but we are not impressed with its elegance. The truth is, that among the carpets in the Exhibition, few are of that quiet character that proves most pleasing to the eye when laid on a floor. We are sorry to say, that recent adaptations in the manufacture of carpets have been making matters worse instead of better. A good carpet, free of vulgarities, is still a desideratum.

Descending to the ground - floor of this northern side, and starting at the northern extremity, we travel through one of the most important sections of the Exhibition. First, there is a large collection of carriages, principally by metropolitan exhibitors. Among these, however, we mark nothing new except a carriage from which the top lifts off, leaving the lower portion an open calêche; and a carriage with a couch for invalids - this last an ingenious and useful invention. Among the carriages is an omnibus from Glasgow, very superior in point of lightness and spaciousness to those confined machines now in use in London. This Glasgow omnibus accommodates nineteen passengers inside, with abundant ventilation. Adjoining the carriage department is the large section for machines, at rest and in motion, any account of which would be quite hope less in this brief sketch: it can only be repeated that here lies England's greatness. But stepping aside to the kindred section of metallic ores and other raw substances, we have a key to the success which has rewarded the enterprise of mechanics. Some of the masses of materials are of vast dimensions. A block of coal, from the mines of Stavely in Derbyshire, measures 17 feet 6 inches long, 6 feet wide, and 4 feet thick, and was raised from a shaft 459 feet deep. Another specimen of coal is a block which measures 18 feet in circumference, and weighs 5 tons. One wonders how it got to the surface, and reached its present situation in safety. Cairngorm stones, Easdale slates, Caithness pavement, curling - stones from Ailsa Craig, and granite from Aberdeen, are among the Scottish articles in this department, with which may be ranked a large garden - seat resembling black marble, but consisting really of polished parrot-coal from the Wemyss Collieries in Fife, and made, as we are told, by a working - mason -- a most creditable work of art. Of iron and other ores there are many specimens; also masses of copper-one being of great size from Cornwall. The specimens of lead - ores and associated minerals from Allenheads, in Northumberland, will command attention in connection with the published account of the method of working and preparation. A cake of silver produced in the process of smelting these lead-ores, and weighing 8000 ounces, is shewn in one of the cases. The sections which follow in going eastward are those exhibiting manufactures in leather, wood, marbles, and paper, with some other articles, including letterpress printing, bookbinding, waxwork, printing in oil - colours, drawing, engraving, and other arts. The visitor will here admire the inlaid stone - tables from Derbyshire, the obelisks of serpentine from Penzance, and the fine carved vases in yellowish stone from Malta. Behind the tastefully-laid-out stand of De la Rue & Company will be found ensconced a variety of specimens of binding - some plain and good, others rather gaudy, and some overdone with ornament- not for human handling. The binding of one of these volumes, we were informed, cost L. 30. Perhaps the proprietor of this costly affair is of opinion with that ancient Scottish member of the craft who declared, that «onybody could vrite a beuk, but the bindin' was the thing!»

But we must leave the quarter of literature and fine arts, where one could spend days in admiring, and will merely recall to remembrance those exquisite little figures in wax, illustrative of Mexican town and savage life, modelled by Montanari, an artist resident in London. The last department in line, before crossing the transept to the foreign section, is that devoted to India, from the rudest to the richest products, with models of sundry processes of hand - labour. Much care has been bestowed in presenting as complete a collection as possible of Indian manufactures; and we see in many of these the germ, as it were, of those arts which, by the aid of capital and machinery, have attained such magnitude in modern Europe. The rude and tiny apparatus for weaving which dangles from the boughs of a tree, will be compared with the power-loom of recent invention. The process of two women grinding at the mill, will not only recall a passage in Scripture, but mark the vast stride which has been made in the industrial arts.

Here, on arriving at the lofty transept, with its murmuring fountains, its gay parterres of flowers, its leafy green trees, and its snow - white marble statues, we cross to the eastern section, occupied by the stands of foreign nations. At a glance, we observe that we are amidst a new style of things. Visitors who have carefully noted the peculiarities of the foreign products, will recollect the rich embroideries in gold from Tunis, the tasteful combinations of which transcend anything that could be effected by European art; but Tunis, as is well known, is renowned for this species of work, and executes orders for all parts of the East. An embroidered velvet saddle-cloth, shewn among the articles from India, is probably from Tunis. Turkey, China, Greece, send also some articles of a highly - fanciful kind; but the visitor is more occupied with the artistic products of Spain, Tuscany, and Rome. From these countries have been sent a variety of tables in mosaic, formed only by years of labour. Tuscany may be said to bear off the palm in this class of articles; but let us be just towards Rome, which sends a round table of mosaic, the work of Barberi, which cost the labour of six years, and is valued at L. 1500.- cheap, it may be, at the money; but who is to buy objects at such prices ? France, as is her right, occupies considerable space below and overhead. Her jewellery, carpets, paper-hangings, and bronzes, are of course very fine; and in ca

nets, and other articles for domestic use, she clearly carries the day against England. A bookcase in ebony and bronze, and a sideboard in carved oak, which flank the entrance to the department of Sevres china and Gobelins tapestry, are, we should think, the perfection of art. The vases and other grand porcelain from Sevres, and also the tapestries from the Gobelins, are of a high order; but being made by public money, and not as a matter of ordinary trade, it would be unfair to draw any comparison between them and the articles produced by private enterprise. Russia shews vases equally magnificent; they, likewise, are from national factories, and doubtless by the hands of imported French artisans. Austria contributes many beautiful and useful articles from her German and Italian dominions; and we need only recall the specious suite of princely apartments, at the entrance of which stands the massive candelabra of coloured glass from Bohemia.

Belgium makes a most manful exhibition of elegant furniture, cutlery, machinery, lace, and well – selected miscellaneous goods. At every turn,

[ocr errors]

however, we see that France presents the best taste in the art of laying out her wares. The French stands of wood and glass may be less costly than the English, but they excel in general effect. Another thing will not pass unheeded: few of the English stands have any attendants; all the French ones are waited on by natives, mostly females. There, precisely as we see them within the shop-windows of Paris, are seated the patient wives of «messieurs les exposants,» busy with their knitting needles or newspaper, ready to answer questions, and to hand a neatly-printed card to the visitor; while messieurs themselves, according to immemorial usage, lounge about in Iwos and threes, in the performance of no small quantity of work by head, tongue, and shoulders. As might have been expected, the United States come out much stronger in bread stuffs and other raw materials than in manufactures. They contribute only three kinds of articles worth noticing Colt's revolvers, a deadly species of pistol; carriage harness, and ladies' dress-shoes. One set of harness, with mountings in solid silver, from Philadelphia, is said to have cost 3200 dollars — a great waste of money. On the whole, the United States come out feebly in the arts, and occupy about double the space which they require. The marvellously fine statue, in pure white marble, of a Greek female slave, by Hiram Power, is the only redeeming feature in the American department; and it is contributed by a resident in London.

Such is a mere glance at this extraordinary collection of industrial products, the individual curiosities of which would require a lengthened report. It may be safely averred that, taken as a whole, the Exhibition goes considerably beyond the expectations formed of it. Always practical and looking to the main chance, Englishmen have asked what is to be the use of it all is it to do any good to trade? Now, it occurs to us that if the thing be gratifying in itself, and have a tendency to improve mechanical knowledge and artistic taste, a sufficiently important object will be served; but surely the bringing together of people fro all quarters of the world on a mission of mutual friendship, each shewing to his neighbour what he can do in the arts of peace, is worth all the trouble and expense that bave been incurred. There are, it is to be regretted, parties who imagine that England can maintain her supremacy only by keeping herself to herself a doctrine totally opposed to those generous feelings which distinguish her people; and it may be asked, has such generosity not been rewarded in a manner beyond precedent in ancient or modern times ? For centuries have mankind been called to perform the Christian duty of loving one another. Well here, in a common-sense, business - like way, the thing is exemplified. Who grudges the Frenchman the exhibition of his elegant little articles ? who is afraid that the foreigner from distant lands, who is permitted to shew his handicraft in this chosen shrine of industry, will rob us of our daily bread? Away with all such bigotries; most unworthy they are of the soil which gives them birth!

To whoever may belong the merit of suggesting this novel congress of universal art and industry, there can be but one opinion as to whose ingenuity we are indebted for its achievement. We allude to Mr. Paxton's happily-conceived idea of a palace of glass and iron, without which , in our humble belief, no Exhibition, at least in 1851, could have taken place; for the monstrous failure of the palace of legislation at Westminster, not to speak of other blunders in the palace - building line, leaves no reasonable doubt on the mind, that if the scheme of rearing a fabric of brick and mortar had been attempted, it would have proved to be a humiliating and expensive botch. To Joseph Paxton, therefore, be ascribed the glory of this marvellous achievement! Now that the thing is done, the wonder will of course cease; but it is not uninstructive to recall the pedantic fears of the wise and prudent with the actual result. The fabric was to be shaken II. Vierte Auflage.


down by the wind; its galleries were to be incapable of supporting the pressure of a moving crowd; its fragile roof was to be battered in by hailstones. The whole of these distressing apprehensions have proved to be visionary; and we are glad of it, if only to give a check to croaking. The happy effect of Mr. Owen Jones's colouring and general embellishment

much opposed at the oulset form an additional subject of gratulation. In having carried out the whole affair to a practical issue, the royal commissioners deserve the most eminent commendation. The Crystal Palace is one of the grandest triumphs of skill a thing for mankind to be proud of

a temple of art worthy of a great sovereign and a great people!

3. Poetische Darstellung.

1. The Launch ').

(By Lady Charlotte Bury.) It was a beautiful bright day, such a day as one makes a pet of ?) in England; shining sun - beams, balmy airs, and if a cloud now and then crossed the face of the heavens, it was only to render the succeeding moment more dazzling. An immense concourse 3) of persons were assembled, clad in every variety of colour, and the crowd waved to and fro like a field of corn whose undulations 4) were beautifully marked out in light and shadow, forming one vast mass of living sentient “) beings, all assembled for one purpose, that of seeing a ship launched, and the same interest inspiring them on the occasion. Of how great power are the united feelings of a multitude! It is fearful to think what an unanimous sentiment collected numbers may effect. If well directed, it is a power from heaven; but if ill, it is the niost tremendous instrument of Providence to chastise the sins of his creatures.

There was now a solemn silence in that immense crowd; not a sound, save 6) driving the ship from the stocks?) was to be heard, where previously the voices of thousands had been raised in evervarying tones expressive of the interest they felt. The deck of the Zephyr was crowded with people; the sailor's stood ready to break the wine upon her bows. Some persons have found fault with the custom as irreverend; but why so? Iis inanimate timbers are destined to contain many souls. The christening of a vessel is a type of their spiritual baptism; it may remind the spectator's that, as the ship is launched into the waters of the ocean, so they have been launched into the fountain of living waters; and that the work of men's hands, one of the most noble of mortal creations, ought to be blessed by holy thoughts and prayer, to fence it round from the dangers through which it is to pass. With the generalily of persons 8), all similar customs are considered as matters of ceremony or superstitious usance %); but, to the reflective, they speak a different language, and are otherwise regarded. All the nautical judges present admired the shape of the vessel her construction her symmetry; would she make a good launch? would she receive no injury in her first trial of the waters ? — Every body was eager 10); expectation was at its greatest height; the ham

1) Das (Schiff) vom Stapel lassen: als Zw. laufen, gehen lassen. 2) Zum Lieblingstag machen. 3) Menge. 4) Wellenförmige Bewegungen. 5) Empfindend. 9 That'of.° 1) Stapel (Gerüst). °3) Unter den meisten Menschen. " Gebrauch. 10) (339).

mers redoubled their work; the silence of the spectators became more silent still; the workmen drew back; the Zephyr rushed down her first course; a thousand voices greeted her; a thousand hats were thrown up in the air; a thousand demonstrations of kind wishes for the fate of the good ship Zephyr resounded far and wide. But the last effort to free her from earth was still to be made; the men resumed their labour; ten minutes more of anxiety, and the Zephyr flew, like a thing instinct with life, towards her rightful element. She rushed once again still more impetuously forward, and, with the swiftness of an arrow, took possession of her liquid throne. She reeled !) for a moment, and shivered 2) in the embrace of the waters then sat like a queen in her state, and every British heart echoed the national cry of «Rule Britannia!»

[ocr errors]

2. The Way to be Happy.

(By Capt. Marryat.) «Cut your coat according to your cloth,» is an old maxim, and a wise one; and if people will only square 3) their ideas according to their circumstances, how much happier might we all bel If we only would come down a peg or two 4) in our notions, in accordance with our waning 5) fortunes, happiness would be always within our reach. It is not what we have, or what we have not, which adds or subtracts from our felicity. It is the longing“) for more than we have, the envying of those who possess that more, and the wish to appear in the world of more consequence than we really are, which destroy ?) our peace of mind, and eventually lead to ruin.

I never witnessed a man submitting ) to circumstances with good humour and good sense, so remarkably as in my friend Alexander Willemott. When I first met him, since our school days, it was at the close of the war; he had been a large contractor 9) with government for army clothing and accoutrements, and was said 19) to have realised an immense fortune, although his accounts were not yet settled. Indeed, it was said that they were so vast, that it would employ the time of six clerks, for two years, to examine them, previous to the balance sheet being struck 11). As I observed , he had been at school with me, and, on my return from the East Indies, I called upon him to renew our old acquaintance, and congratulate 12) him upon his success.

«My dear Reynolds, I am delighted to see you. You must come down to Belem Castle; Mrs. Willemott will receive you with pleasure, I'm sure. You shall see my two girls. »

I consented. The chaise stopped at a splendid mansion, and I was ushered in by a crowd of liveried servants. Every thing was on the most sumptuous and magnificent scale. Having paid my respects to the lady of the house, I retired to dress, as dinner was nearly ready, it being 13) then half-past seven o'clock. It was eight before we sat down. To an observation that I made, expressing a hope that I had not occasioned the dinner being 14) put off 15), Willemott replied, «On the contrary, my dear Reynolds, we never sit down until about this hour. How people can dine at four or five o'clock, I cannot conceive. I could not touch a mouthful.»

The dinner was excellent, and I paid it 16) the encomiums which were its due.

1) Taumeln. 2) Killen (zittern). :) Einrichten, gemäß machen, anpassen. ^) Ein oder zwei Grade. 5) Abnehmend. 6) (232). 7) (242). 8) (253). 9 Lieferant. 19 (253). "1) Die Bilanz abschließen. 12) (239). 15) (232). 14) (253). 15) Verschieben. 16) Spendete demselben.

« AnteriorContinuar »