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HAND-BOOK OF TASTE :
HOW TO OBSERVE WORKS OF ART,
CARTOONS, PICTURES, AND STATUES.
LONGMAN, BROWN, GREEN, AND LONGMANS,
BOOKSELLERS, PROPRIETORS OF CIRCULATING
LIBRARIES, AND THE PUBLIC.
The Publishers of this work give notice that it is Copy-
Any person having in his possession for sale or for hire
It is necessary also to inform the Public generally, that
The above regulations are equally in force in our De-
London, June, 1843.
A PROPOSITION has been made to decorate the
New Houses of Parliament with productions of British Art. The Parliament has assented, and has appointed a committee for the purpose of furthering the object proposed. Nothing can be fairer or better adapted for that purpose than the instructions issued by that committee. No test can exhibit the capacities of an artist so fairly and truly as the production of a cartoon.* But those cartoons are, as is right, to be submitted to public inspection in Westminster Hall; and if the Public be intelligent and capable of judging,
* A cartoon means a chalk drawing upon paper. The word is adopted from the Italian cartone, a large piece of paper.
they will exercise a most useful influence upon the decisions of that committee; for in the multitude of counsellors there is wisdom. High lineage and noble birth give wealth, but not intellectual richness. The poet's chaplet and the peer's coronet are not of necessity identical ; nor is good taste always prominent in those to whom the world's worldly favours are most freely accorded. The minority, who do understand, may want the assistance of public opinion to make them a majority. Even foreign taste, in all probability better than our own upon such matters, may not regret that it is backed by an enlightened public opinion, if it should have to encounter ignorant prejudice.
It is, then, for the instruction of the Public that this little work has been compiled. It does not contain the opinions of one individual, but those of the best artists and best critics of all ages. such as Da Vinci, Winkelmann, Mengs, Milizia,
Lessing, and Sir Joshua Reynolds. Much is translated from Milizia ; and it is believed that there is no one maxim in the book for which authority may not be found in the writings of Sir Joshua — only his object was to teach the young student how to become a good artist, mine to instruct the observer how to distinguish
Experience has shown that he did not succeed. Why not? Because the public taste was unable to appreciate works in the grand style, which he therefore himself deserted. It has not advanced much from his time to our own. Partially perhaps it has receded, while that of other countries has advanced with giant steps. England, in her arts of design, is immeasurably behind what Italy has been, and, notwithstanding our unwillingness to confess it, what France aspires to, and Germany has accomplished. But is she incapable of progress? We shall see.