Festus, Paracelsus and Orion are more striking than the similarities, but Bailey had a pronounced admiration for both the latter poems. For the Brownings Mr. Bailey preserved an enthusiastic regard, but there is no trace of their style upon his. In fact, we look in vain for contemporary influences in Festus; Goethe for matter, Milton, Thomson and Shelley for manner, were Bailey's masters, and occasionally he was faintly touched by Byron. It will be found that what was ultimately discarded from Festus as immature is in the main Byronic. The prevailing Byronism was a weed which he uprooted from his poetic garden, as Tennyson and Browning are said to have done from theirs.

Mr. Bailey's interest in the successive generations which he saw rise up and pass away was kindly but fluctuating. He liked a gorgeous texture in poetry, and was therefore attracted to D. G. Rossetti and much later to Lord de Tabley. About 1872-75 he indulged, anonymously, in a certain amount of reviewing, and said very kind and delicate things about some of the poets that were at that time making their first bow to the public. But more interesting is the fact that in the fifties he was taken as a model by a group of writers who made a great stir for the moment, and are now too readily forgotten. These were the Spasmodists, as they were called, who accepted the rather formless Festus as the pattern for huge semi-dramatic pieces more amorphous still; Alexander Smith, in A Life Drama (1853), Sydney Dobell, in Balder (1854), and J. Stanyan Bigg, in Night and the Soul (1854), displayed themselves as the docile and reverent offspring of Bailey. Why the influence of Festus suddenly, after So many

1 Miss F. C. Carey, the niece and constant companion of Mr. Bailey, tells me that her uncle became acquainted with "Paracelsus" immediately after the publication of "Festus,"

years, made its appearance thus sown broadcast, is curious, and curious too the extravagance of these imitations. Perhaps no one ever soared and sank so violently as did the author of Night and the Soul. Yet even the Spasmodists had merits, which might detain a critic, but here they are interesting to us only as a cluster of satellites oddly circling round the planet of Festus in its mid-career.

The Spasmodists imitated Mr. Bailey's ecstasy, but not his moral earnestness and not his original strain of religious philosophy. His was a mind of greater weight and fuller body than theirs. He was often redundant and sometimes nebulous, but there was always something definite behind the colored cloud. His occasional excursions into prose were not fortunate, for his style was awkward and heavy, and he liked to coin impossible words: he says "evilhood," for instance, although even he sems to have blenched before the use of "goodhood." His prose was unattractive, therefore, but it is worth examining, because it reveals the intense convictions which led the writer onward. In natural temperament, I think, Mr. Bailey was timid, but in his determination to thrust his message on the world he showed an absolute courage which neither ridicule, nor argument, nor neglect could shake in the slightest degree. And this may bring us to a reflection to which the study of Festus must inevitably lead, namely that in this his single-minded earnest. ness lay the secret of Mr. Bailey's reward. A word to indicate in what way this operated must close this brief study of his work and character.

By a curious misuse of a phrase which has become almost a journalistic cliché, Mr. Bailey has been recently

probably in 1840, as the gift of Westland Marston. This disposes of any idea of the influence of the earlier on the later poem.

called a "poet's poet." If this term has a meaning at all, it refers to the quality which makes certain writers, whose nature leads them to peculiar delicacy of workmanship, favorites with their fellow-craftsmen, although little comprehended by the vulgar. Mr. Bailey was the exact opposite of these poets. There was nothing in his work to attract students of what is exquisitely put, and, as a rule, he has been little appreciated by these rarer spirits. His form is so plain as to be negligible; it is in his matter, in his ethical attitude, that he is found attractive by thoseand they are numerous-who in several generations have come under his spell. Festus appeals to the non-literary temperament, which is something very different indeed from saying that it apThe Fortnightly Review.

peals to the anti-literary. Those who love it appreciate its imagery, its large music, its spacious landscape, but they value it mainly for its teaching. No purely æsthetic estimate of the poem will satisfy those who reply, "Yes, what you say is technically true, no doubt; but it has helped and comforted me, and it helps me still." In many a distant home, in America even oftener than in Great Britain, a visit to some invalid's room would reveal the presence of two volumes on the bed, the one a Bible, the other Festus. This is an element in the popularity of Mr. Bailey which criticism is powerless to analyze. But no consideration of his remarkable career is complete if a record of it is neglected.

Edmund Gosse.



Few of us expect any remarkable initiative on the part of a Government office, and it is therefore with the greater pleasure that many people in all classes of life will have read the announcement that the Board of Education has projected a Loan Exhibition of Engraving and Etching for the early months of next year. The news will be welcomed by the wide and ever-increasing circle of enthusiastic print-collectors, who have hitherto been seldom able to examine and compare at their leisure the best work of the leading exponents of this fascinating art.

Superb as is the collection of the British Museum, and models of courtesy though the attendants are, the Print Room is undeniably more adapted to the examination of single specimens than to the survey of a period

or of a style. The prints are all stored away in portfolios, and some time is necessarily lost in tracing them and presenting them to visitors, with the consequence that this storehouse of gems is but little known to the general public. Space is wanting, and also the means of exhibiting specimens on the walls. What is required is a separate establishment, a large gallery for exhibition, a more generous endowment, and a better appreciation of the great artistic value of the treasures amassed by the intelligent foresight of our predecessors.

Another point deserving of consideration by the Government, now that it is engaged in turning its swords into "scrapers," is the question of revising the very strict rules which debar the Museum from lending their fine prints even for the purposes of an official ex

hibition. These precautions are really excessive, and might at least be relaxed in the case of the numerous duplicates which the Museum possesses. After all, the prints belong to the nation, and the nation has the right to look at them.

The programme of the forthcoming Exhibition is a very extensive one, embracing as it does old and modern copper and steel engravings, line, mezzotint, stipple, aquatint, and etching. I shall only venture one criticism of the scheme-namely, that, although it is on a smaller scale than what was first contemplated, it is still too pretentious and covers too wide a field, affording grounds for doubt whether the officials have quite realized the magnitude of the ambitious task they have set themselves with such a light heart. It would have been better, in my opinion, to have restricted the Exhibition to one period or one style of engraving-say, the mezzotints of the latter half of the eighteenth century— and to have postponed the remainder of the scheme to a later date. Even with such a more moderate pro gramme the selection and arrangement of the prints would have proved no light task; for no two mezzotinters work alike, and each one expresses his own artistic temperament and individuality in his plates. It is also hardly fair upon those who worked in the dainty and delicate art of stippling to place their miniatures-for the best examples really deserve the name-alongside the grand, bold, and powerful mezzotints of a Richard Earlom or a Valentine Green. It is even less fair upon the old line artists; for the depth, tone, poetry, and richness of mezzotint spoil the eye for the simultaneous consideration and enjoyment of the masterpieces of line engraving.

What the modern mezzotinters will think of being placed alongside the great engravers of the past I do not

know. A few-alas! how few-will bear the comparison; but machinemade paper and steel-faced plates,

combined with the absence of the toning and mellowing effect of time, will place them at a grievous disadvantage in such high company.

If the idea is merely to please all sorts and conditions of men and women, no doubt the catholic taste of the Board will attract numbers to South Kensington; but the tremendous difficulty of choice in so wide a field will scarcely permit the Board to fulfil its educational mission with desirable completeness, and there is a danger of interest lapsing in a wilderness of engraved space. Take mezzotints, for example. It is no doubt easy to name, and perhaps to secure on loan, a few hundreds of the best known and most desirable prints; but to convey an adequate and instructive exposition of this finest of fine arts, much order, method, and research are required. It would be necessary, as an act of bare justice, to begin with Ludwig von Siegen's portrait of Amelia Elizabeth, Dowager Landgravine of Hesse, the first known example of mezzotint, dating from 1642; to follow it by Prince Rupert's Great Executioner, produced sixteen years later; and then to exhibit, step by step, by means of the choicest works of all the best masters, the gradual advance of the art to the perfection it achieved in the closing years of the eighteenth century. Nor would it be either unwise or unprofitable to mark the decline of the art, after the last of the later masters, S. W. Reynolds, Charles Turner, David Lucas, and Samuel Cousins had done their best work. It would also be well not only to give portraits of the engravers to whom we owe so much, but to follow each one by his choicest examples in their various "states," and to show examples of altered and touched plates and of reverses or counter-proofs. To

be complete such an Exhibition should show the copper-plates themselves in their various states of preparation, more particularly in the stages of the process known as “laying the ground," in which I think modern practice has gone astray, and also to show the cradles, scrapers, roulettes, and burnishers used by engravers at various periods. Such an Exhibition would

be a real education in mezzotint and a triumph for South Kensington; but considering the great variety of styles and schools favored by the Board, one must entertain some doubt whether it will become a practical reality. Qui trop embrasse mal étreint!

However, after these preliminary grumbles one may frankly and unreservedly admit that all lovers of fine prints will be sincerely grateful that a British Government has at last given official countenance and recognition to an art which appeals in many ways to an even more numerous class than painting itself.1

One of the greatest charms of the mezzotint is the fact that by adoption and practice it is an essentially British monopoly. One can use the word "British" advisedly, for, if comparatively few of the best engravers have hailed from north of the Tweed, it was an Irishman, MacArdell, who kept alive the sacred fire at a time when it was threatened by extinction, while other Irishmen-Brooks, Purcell, Houston, Ford, Dixon, Fisher, and James Watson-continued the work and helped to perpetuate the healthiest traditions.

Whatever the art may owe to Von Siegen, Caspar à Furstenberg, and Thomas of Ypres, not one of their foreign contemporaries are worthy of mention beside the great British masters of the eighteenth century.


1 I am asked to express a hope that collectors who may chance to read this article will offer any fine prints they possess to the Secretary of ECLECTIC. VOL. LXXVII 459

latter must always occupy a privileged and distinguished position in the world of art, not only on account of the intrinsic merits of their productions in British eyes, but because the longer the space of time that elapses the more pre-eminent and unrivalled does their work appear to all connoisseurs and art-lovers in all classes and in all lands. Valentine Green at his best in his translations of Reynolds's masterpieces, J. R. Smith the immortal, Dixon, the two Watsons, Dean, Dickenson, Earlom, the Wards, Spilsbury, and S. W. Reynolds have one and all produced work of the very highest excellence; and Sir Joshua never spoke a truer word than when he prophesied that he would be immortalized by the engravers. They have carried his name and his fame and those of his great contemporaries into countless homes which would otherwise possess no records of the grand epoch of British art, and they have done more to popularize the fine arts than any academy or society in existence.

Strangely enough, the number of really good judges of fine prints in England is extremely limited. There are of course the great London dealers, and scattered here and there a few more in the provinces-rari nantes in gurgite vasto; there are some millionaire collectors and a small but very enthusiastic band of amateur connoisseurs; but taking the mass of the people, it is really astounding, considering the number interested in the art and the large number of ready buyers, how few know a good print when they see one or understand the alphabet of the art. How few there are who can go to Christie's and select a print on their own judgment without consulting a dealer: how many there are who at provincial sales constantly let slip the

the Exhibition of Engraving and Etching, Board of Education, South Kensington, in the course of the current month.-Ed. B. M.

opportunity of acquiring modest fortunes for the want of a little trouble and a little study. For study and experience are both required, and there is no royal road to print-collecting, be the collector never so satisfied with his eye and his judgment: there is a very formidable literature to assimilate, books too which bring high prices and cannot easily be procured, and then there is the need for frequenting the British Museum or some other fine collection, and of studying the psychology of the sale-rooms.

Every now and then the general public reads languidly of high prices paid for old engravings, yet to the great majority the paragraph conveys little. There are hundreds who read these things in blissful ignorance that they possess on the walls of their country-houses, or stored away in old portfolios in their attics, treasures many times more valuable than the speculative investments which they study nervously after breakfast in the City article of the "Times." Others, again, reading of 1200 guineas cheerfully paid for an old engraving, believe that the hobby of collecting is reserved for millionaires, and despair of acquiring treasures of such value. Yet with care and with time it is quite possible, even à l'heure qu'il est, to build up a collection representative of the whole history of British engraving, without excessive expenditure, if judgment waits on knowledge and patience on both.

Taking the very lowest point of view, and regarding collecting as a mere monetary speculation, there is no better investment in the market than old engravings of the right sort, since values have for years been steadily rising the rate of perhaps over 20 per cent 1er annum. The Blyth sale last year was a case in point: this collection had been made by the late Mr. Blyth, advised by one of the best of the London dealers, during some fif

teen years before his death at a cost of about £7000, and if my memory is not at fault it realized something like £27,000 at public auction. No great collection of the best sort nas since come under the hammer: had such fate befallen the magnificent collection of the late Lord Cheylesmore, all previous records would undoubtedly have been far surpassed.

To-day the rage is all for "first states" of the full-length portraits of women after Reynolds and his greatest colleagues, and for the most exquisite of the old stippled prints in colors. On the other hand, engraved portraits of famous men, Scriptural, historical, and some allegorical designs, and all line engravings, except those of the French school, go for next to nothing. A collector of taste who does not slavishly follow the fashion can acquire the finest proofs of Woollett's work after the Smiths or Richard Wilson for about a fifth of the price paid thirty years ago. Many of these things are superb. Take, for example, Woollett's First and Second Premium prints: for breadth and vigor of execution in the foregrounds and for tenderness and lightness of touch in the distances these works have never been equalled, and will probably never be surpassed. Fortunate is the collector who can secure them, for fashion always, sooner or later, returns from its rambles and recognizes whatever is really fine and meritorious in art.

The reason why prints of women frequently run up to 1000 guineas while proofs of men's portraits can still be bought for a few pounds is quite simple. Men buy pictures, and they have the good taste to prefer the ladies. From the point of view of art this is absurd, as Euclid used to depress our youth by inauspiciously observing; but fashion is a woman, and the wise man will not argue with her. At the same time one must candidly

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