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The Library
by Andrew Lang
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Yet a collection of MSS. has this great advantage over a collection of printed books, that every item in it is absolutely unique, no two MSS. being ever really the same. This circumstance alone would entitle a good collection of MSS. to very high consideration on the part of book-collectors. But, in addition to the great expense of such a collection, there is another and even more serious drawback. It is sometimes impossible, and is often extremely difficult, to tell whether a MS. is perfect or not.

This difficulty can only be got over by an amount of learning on the part of the collector to which, unfortunately, he is too often a stranger. On the other hand, the advantages of collecting MSS. are sometimes very great.

In addition to the pleasure—a pleasure at once literary and artistic—which the study of illuminated MSS. affords, there is the certainty that, as years go on, the value of such a collection increases in a proportion altogether marvellous.

I will take two examples to prove this point. Some years ago an eminent collector gave the price of 30 pounds for a small French book of Hours, painted in grisaille. It was in a country town that he met with this treasure, for a treasure he considered the book, in spite of its being of the very latest school of illumination. When his collection was dispersed a few years ago this one book fetched 260 pounds.

In the celebrated Perkins sale, in 1873, a magnificent early MS., part of which was written in gold on a purple ground, and which was dated in the catalogue "ninth or tenth century," but was in reality of the end of the tenth or beginning of the eleventh, was sold for 565 pounds to a dealer. It found its way into Mr. Bragge's collection, at what price I do not know, and was resold, three years later, for 780 pounds.

Any person desirous of making a collection of illuminated MSS., should study seriously for some time at the British Museum, or some such place, until he is thoroughly acquainted (1) with the styles of writing in use in the Middle Ages, so that he can at a glance make a fairly accurate estimate of the age of the book submitted to him; and (2) with the proper means of collating the several kinds of service-books, which, in nine cases out of ten, were those chosen for illumination.

A knowledge of the styles of writing can be acquired at second hand in a book lately published by Mr. Charles Trice Martin, F.S.A., being a new edition of "Astle's Progress of Writing." Still better, of course, is the actual inspection and comparison of books to which a date can be with some degree of certainty assigned.

It is very common for the age of a book to be misstated in the catalogues of sales, for the simple reason that the older the writing, the plainer, in all probability, it is. Let the student compare writing of the twelfth century with that of the sixteenth, and he will be able to judge at once of the truth of this assertion. I had once the good fortune to "pick up" a small Testament of the early part of the twelfth century, if not older, which was catalogued as belonging to the fifteenth, a date which would have made it of very moderate value.

With regard to the second point, the collation of MSS., I fear there is no royal road to knowing whether a book is perfect or imperfect. In some cases the catchwords remain at the foot of the pages. It is then of course easy to see if a page is lost, but where no such clue is given the student's only chance is to be fully acquainted with what a book OUGHT to contain. He can only do this when he has a knowledge of the different kinds of service-books which were in use, and of their most usual contents.

I am indebted to a paper, read by the late Sir William Tite at a meeting of the Society of Antiquaries, for the collation of "Books of Hours," but there are many kinds of MSS. besides these, and it is well to know something of them. The Horae, or Books of Hours, were the latest development of the service-books used at an earlier period. They cannot, in fact, be strictly called service-books, being intended only for private devotion. But in the thirteenth century and before it, Psalters were in use for this purpose, and the collation of a Psalter is in truth more important than that of a Book of Hours. It will be well for a student, therefore, to begin with Psalters, as he can then get up the Hours in their elementary form. I subjoin a bibliographical account of both kinds of MSS. In the famous Exhibition at the Burlington Club in 1874, a number of volumes was arranged to show how persistent one type of the age could be. The form of the decorations, and the arrangement of the figures in borders, once invented, was fixed for generations. In a Psalter of the thirteenth century there was, under the month of January in the calendar, a picture of a grotesque little figure warming himself at a stove. The hearth below, the chimney-pot above, on which a stork was feeding her brood, with the intermediate chimney shaft used as a border, looked like a scientific preparation from the interior anatomy of a house of the period. In one of the latest of the MSS. exhibited on that occasion was the self-same design again. The little man was no longer a grotesque, and the picture had all the high finish and completeness in drawing that we might expect in the workmanship of a contemporary of Van Eyck. There was a full series of intermediate books, showing the gradual growth of the picture.

With regard to chronology, it may be roughly asserted that the earliest books which occur are Psalters of the thirteenth century. Next to them come Bibles, of which an enormous issue took place before the middle of the fourteenth century. These are followed by an endless series of books of Hours, which, as the sixteenth century is reached, appear in several vernacular languages. Those in English, being both very rare and of great importance in liturgical history, are of a value altogether out of proportion to the beauty of their illuminations. Side by side with this succession are the Evangelistina, which, like the example mentioned above, are of the highest merit, beauty, and value; followed by sermons and homilies, and the Breviary, which itself shows signs of growth as the years go on. The real Missal, with which all illuminated books used to be confounded, is of rare occurrence, but I have given a collation of it also. Besides these devotional or religious books, I must mention chronicles and romances, and the semi-religious and moral allegories, such as the "Pelerinage de l'Ame," which is said to have given Bunyan the machinery of the "Pilgrim's Progress." Chaucer's and Gower's poetry exists in many MSS., as does the "Polychronicon" of Higden; but, as a rule, the mediaeval chronicles are of single origin, and were not copied. To collate MSS. of these kinds is quite impossible, unless by carefully reading them, and seeing that the pages run on without break.

I should advise the young collector who wishes to make sure of success not to be too catholic in his tastes at first, but to confine his attention to a single period and a single school. I should also advise him to make from time to time a careful catalogue of what he buys, and to preserve it even after he has weeded out certain items. He will then be able to make a clear comparative estimate of the importance and value of his collection, and by studying one species at a time, to become thoroughly conversant with what it can teach him. When he has, so to speak, burnt his fingers once or twice, he will find himself able to distinguish at sight what no amount of teaching by word of mouth or by writing could ever possibly impart to any advantage.

One thing I should like if possible to impress very strongly upon the reader. That is the fact that a MS. which is not absolutely perfect, if it is in a genuine state, is of much more value than one which has been made perfect by the skill of a modern restorer. The more skilful he is, that is to say the better he can forge the style of the original, the more worthless he renders the volume.

Printing seems to have superseded the art of the illuminator more promptly and completely in England than on the Continent. The dames galantes of Brantome's memoirs took pleasure in illuminated Books of Hours, suited to the nature of their devotions. As late as the time of Louis XIV., Bussy Rabutin had a volume of the same kind, illuminated with portraits of "saints," of his own canonisation. The most famous of these modern examples of costly MSS. was "La Guirlande de Julie," a collection of madrigals by various courtly hands, presented to the illustrious Julie, daughter of the Marquise de Rambouillet, most distinguished of the Precieuses, and wife of the Duc de Montausier, the supposed original of Moliere's Alceste. The MS. was copied on vellum by Nicholas Jarry, the great calligraph of his time. The flowers on the margin were painted by Robert. Not long ago a French amateur was so lucky as to discover the MS. book of prayers of Julie's noble mother, the Marquise de Rambouillet. The Marquise wrote these prayers for her own devotions, and Jarry, the illuminator, declared that he found them most edifying, and delightful to study. The manuscript is written on vellum by the famous Jarry, contains a portrait of the fair Julie herself, and is bound in morocco by Le Gascon. The happy collector who possesses the volume now, heard vaguely that a manuscript of some interest was being exposed for sale at a trifling price in the shop of a country bookseller. The description of the book, casual as it was, made mention of the monogram on the cover. This was enough for the amateur. He rushed to a railway station, travelled some three hundred miles, reached the country town, hastened to the bookseller's shop, and found that the book had been withdrawn by its owner. Happily the possessor, unconscious of his bliss, was at home. The amateur sought him out, paid the small sum demanded, and returned to Paris in triumph. Thus, even in the region of manuscript-collecting, there are extraordinary prizes for the intelligent collector.

TO KNOW IF A MANUSCRIPT IS PERFECT

If the manuscript is of English or French writing of the twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, or fifteenth centuries, it is probably either—(1) a Bible, (2) a Psalter, (3) a book of Hours, or (4), but rarely, a Missal. It is not worth while to give the collation of a gradual, or a hymnal, or a processional, or a breviary, or any of the fifty different kinds of service-books which are occasionally met with, but which are never twice the same.

To collate one of them, the reader must go carefully through the book, seeing that the catch-words, if there are any, answer to the head lines; and if there are "signatures," that is, if the foot of the leaves of a sheet of parchment has any mark for enabling the binder to "gather" them correctly, going through them, and seeing that each signed leaf has its corresponding "blank."

1. To collate a Bible, it will be necessary first to go through the catch-words, if any, and signatures, as above; then to notice the contents. The first page should contain the Epistle of St. Jerome to the reader. It will be observed that there is nothing of the nature of a title-page, but I have often seen title-pages supplied by some ignorant imitator in the last century, with the idea that the book was imperfect without one. The books of the Bible follow in order—but the order not only differs from ours, but differs in different copies. The Apocryphal books are always included. The New Testament usually follows on the Old without any break; and the book concludes with an index of the Hebrew names and their signification in Latin, intended to help preachers to the figurative meaning of the biblical types and parables. The last line of the Bible itself usually contains a colophon, in which sometimes the name of the writer is given, sometimes the length of time it has taken him to write, and sometimes merely the "Explicit. Laus Deo," which has found its way into many modern books. This colophon, which comes as a rule immediately before the index, often contains curious notes, hexameters giving the names of all the books, biographical or local memoranda, and should always be looked for by the collector. One such line occurs to me. It is in a Bible written in Italy in the thirteenth century -

"Qui scripsit scribat. Vergilius spe domini vivat."

Vergilius was, no doubt, in this case the scribe. The Latin and the writing are often equally crabbed. In the Bodleian there is a Bible with this colophon -

"Finito libro referemus gratias Christo m.cc.lxv. indict. viij. Ego Lafracus de Pacis de Cmoa scriptor scripsi."

This was also written in Italy. English colophons are often very quaint—"Qui scripsit hunc librum fiat collocatus in Paradisum," is an example. The following gives us the name of one Master Gerard, who, in the fourteenth century, thus poetically described his ownership:-

"Si Ge ponatur—et rar simul associatur - Et dus reddatur—cui pertinet ita vocatur."

In a Bible written in England, in the British Museum, there is a long colophon, in which, after the name of the writer—"hunc librum scripsit Wills de Hales,"—there is a prayer for Ralph of Nebham, who had called Hales to the writing of the book, followed by a date- -"Fes. fuit liber anno M.cc.i. quarto ab incarnatione domini." In this Bible the books of the New Testament were in the following order:- the Evangelists, the Acts, the Epistles of S. Peter, S. James, and S. John, the Epistles of S. Paul, and the Apocalypse. In a Bible at Brussels I found the colophon after the index:- "Hic expliciunt interpretationes Hebrayorum nominum Do gris qui potens est p. sup. omia." Some of these Bibles are of marvellously small dimensions. The smallest I ever saw was at Ghent, but it was very imperfect. I have one in which there are thirteen lines of writing in an inch of the column. The order of the books of the New Testament in Bibles of the thirteenth century is usually according to one or other of the three following arrangements:-

(1.) The Evangelists, Romans to Hebrews, Acts, Epistles of S. Peter, S. James, and S. John, Apocalypse.

(2.) The Evangelists, Acts, Epistles of S. Peter, S. James, and S. John, Epistles of S. Paul, Apocalypse. This is the most common.

(3.) The Evangelists, Acts, Epistles of S. Peter, S. James, and S. John, Apocalypse, and Epistles of S. Paul.

On the fly leaves of these old Bibles there are often very curious inscriptions. In one I have this:- "Haec biblia emi Haquinas prior monasterii Hatharbiensis de dono domini regis Norwegie." Who was this King of Norway who, in 1310, gave the Prior of Hatherby money to buy a Bible, which was probably written at Canterbury? And who was Haquinas? His name has a Norwegian sound, and reminds us of St. Thomas of that surname. In another manuscript I have seen

"Articula Fidei:- Nascitur, abluitur, patitur, descendit at ima Surgit et ascendit, veniens discernere cuncta."

In another this:-

"Sacramenta ecclesiae:- Abluo, fumo, cibo, piget, ordinat, uxor et ungit."

I will conclude these notes on MS. Bibles with the following colophon from a copy written in Italy in the fifteenth century:-

"Finito libro vivamus semper in Christo - Si semper in Christo carebimus ultimo leto. Explicit Deo gratias; Amen. Stephanus de Tantaldis scripsit in pergamo."

2. The "Psalter" of the thirteenth century is usually to be considered a forerunner of the "Book of Hours." It always contains, and usually commences with, a Calendar, in which are written against certain days the "obits" of benefactors and others, so that a well- filled Psalter often becomes a historical document of high value and importance. The first page of the psalms is ornamented with a huge B, which often fills the whole page, and contains a representation of David and Goliath ingeniously fitted to the shape of the letter. At the end are usually to be found the hymns of the Three Children, and others from the Bible together with the Te Deum; and sometimes, in late examples, a litany. In some psalters the calendar is at the end. These Psalters, and the Bibles described above, are very frequently of English work; more frequently, that is, than the books of Hours and Missals. The study of the Scriptures was evidently more popular in England than in the other countries of Europe during the Middle Ages; and the early success of the Reformers here, must in part, no doubt, be attributed to the wide circulation of the Bible even before it had been translated from the Latin. I need hardly, perhaps, observe that even fragments of a Psalter, a Testament, or a Bible in English, are so precious as to be practically invaluable.

3. We are indebted to Sir W. Tite for the following collation of a Flemish "Book of Hours":-

1. The Calendar.

2. Gospels of the Nativity and the Resurrection.

3. Preliminary Prayers (inserted occasionally).

4. Horae—(Nocturns and Matins).

5. (Lauds).

6. (Prime).

7. (Tierce).

8. (Sexte).

9. (None).

10. (Vespers).

11. (Compline).

12. The seven penitential Psalms

13. The Litany.

14. Hours of the Cross.

15. Hours of the Holy Spirit.

16. Office of the Dead.

17. The Fifteen Joys of B. V. M.

18. The seven requests to our Lord.

19. Prayers and Suffrages to various Saints.

20. Several prayers, petitions, and devotions.

This is an unusually full example, but the calendar, the hours, the seven psalms, and the litany, are in almost all the MSS. The buyer must look carefully to see that no miniatures have been cut out; but it is only by counting the leaves in their gatherings that he can make sure. This is often impossible without breaking the binding.

The most valuable "Horae" are those written in England. Some are of the English use (Sarum or York, or whatever it may happen to be), but were written abroad, especially in Normandy, for the English market. These are also valuable, even when imperfect. Look for the page before the commencement of the Hours (No. 4 in the list above), and at the end will be found a line in red,—"Incipit Horae secundum usum Sarum," or otherwise, as the case may be.

4. Missals do not often occur, and are not only very valuable but very difficult to collate, unless furnished with catch-words or signatures. But no Missal is complete without the Canon of the Mass, usually in the middle of the book, and if there are any illuminations throughout the volume, there will be a full page Crucifixion, facing the Canon. Missals of large size and completeness contain—(1) a Calendar; (2) "the proper of the Season;" (3) the ordinary and Canon of the Mass; (4) the Communal of Saints; (5) the proper of Saints and special occasions; (6) the lessons, epistles, and gospels; with (7) some hymns, "proses," and canticles. This is Sir W. Tite's list; but, as he remarks, MS. Missals seldom contain so much. The collector will look for the Canon, which is invariable.

Breviaries run to an immense length, and are seldom illuminated. It would be impossible to give them any kind of collation, and the same may be said of many other kinds of old service-books, and of the chronicles, poems, romances, and herbals, in which mediaeval literature abounded, and which the collector must judge as best he can.

The name of "missal" is commonly and falsely given to all old service-books by the booksellers, but the collector will easily distinguish one when he sees it, from the notes I have given. In a Sarum Missal, at Alnwick, there is a colophon quoted by my lamented friend Dr. Rock in his "Textile Fabrics." It is appropriate both to the labours of the old scribes and also to those of their modern readers:-

"Librum Scribendo—Jon Whas Monachus laborabat - Et mane Surgendo—multum corpus macerabat."

It is one of the charms of manuscripts that they illustrate, in their minute way, all the art, and even the social condition, of the period in which they were produced. Apostles, saints, and prophets wear the contemporary costume, and Jonah, when thrown to the hungry whale, wears doublet and trunk hose. The ornaments illustrate the architectural taste of the day. The backgrounds change from diapered patterns to landscapes, as the modern way of looking at nature penetrates the monasteries and reaches the scriptorium where the illuminator sits and refreshes his eyes with the sight of the slender trees and blue distant hills. Printed books have not such resources. They can only show varieties of type, quaint frontispieces, printers' devices, and fleurons at the heads of chapters. These attractions, and even the engravings of a later day, seem meagre enough compared with the allurements of manuscripts. Yet printed books must almost always make the greater part of a collection, and it may be well to give some rules as to the features that distinguish the productions of the early press. But no amount of "rules" is worth six months' practical experience in bibliography. That experience the amateur, if he is wise, will obtain in a public library, like the British Museum or the Bodleian. Nowhere else is he likely to see much of the earliest of printed books, which very seldom come into the market.

Those of the first German press are so rare that practically they never reach the hands of the ordinary collector. Among them are the famous Psalters printed by Fust and Schoffer, the earliest of which is dated 1457; and the bible known as the Mazarine Bible. Two copies of this last were in the Perkins sale. I well remember the excitement on that occasion. The first copy put up was the best, being printed upon vellum. The bidding commenced at 1000 pounds, and very speedily rose to 2200 pounds, at which point there was a long pause; it then rose in hundreds with very little delay to 3400 pounds, at which it was knocked down to a bookseller. The second copy was on paper, and there were those present who said it was better than the other, which had a suspicion attaching to it of having been "restored" with a facsimile leaf. The first bid was again 1000 pounds, which the buyer of the previous copy made guineas, and the bidding speedily went up to 2660 pounds, at which price the first bidder paused. A third bidder had stepped in at 1960 pounds, and now, amid breathless excitement, bid 10 pounds more. This he had to do twice before the book was knocked down to him at 2690 pounds.

A scene like this has really very little to do with book-collecting. The beginner must labour hard to distinguish different kinds of printing; he must be able to recognise at a glance even fragments from the press of Caxton. His eye must be accustomed to all the tricks of the trade and others, so that he may tell a facsimile in a moment, or detect a forgery.

But now let us return to the distinctive marks of early printed books. The first is, says M. Rouveyre, -

1. The absence of a separate title-page. It was not till 1476-1480 that the titles of books were printed on separate pages. The next mark is -

2. The absence of capital letters at the beginnings of divisions. For example, in an Aldine Iliad, the fifth book begins thus -

[Greek text]

It was intended that the open space, occupied by the small epsilon ([epsilon symbol]), should be filled up with a coloured and gilded initial letter by the illuminator. Copies thus decorated are not very common, but the Aldine "Homer" of Francis I., rescued by M. Didot from a rubbish heap in an English cellar, had its due illuminations. In the earliest books the guide to the illuminator, the small printed letter, does not appear, and he often puts in the wrong initial.

3. Irregularity and rudeness of type is a "note" of the primitive printing press, which very early disappeared. Nothing in the history of printing is so remarkable as the beauty of almost its first efforts. Other notes are -

4. The absence of figures at the top of the pages, and of signatures at the foot. The thickness and solidity of the paper, the absence of the printer's name, of the date, and of the name of the town where the press stood, and the abundance of crabbed abbreviations, are all marks, more or less trustworthy, of the antiquity of books. It must not be supposed that all books published, let us say before 1500, are rare, or deserve the notice of the collector. More than 18,000 works, it has been calculated, left the press before the end of the fifteenth century. All of these cannot possibly be of interest, and many of them that are "rare," are rare precisely because they are uninteresting. They have not been preserved because they were thought not worth preserving. This is a great cause of rarity; but we must not hastily conclude that because a book found no favour in its own age, therefore it has no claim on our attention. A London bookseller tells me that he bought the "remainder" of Keats's "Endymion" for fourpence a copy! The first edition of "Endymion" is now rare and valued. In trying to mend the binding of an old "Odyssey" lately, I extracted from the vellum covers parts of two copies of a very scarce and curious French dictionary of slang, "Le Jargon, ou Langage de l'Argot Reforme." This treatise may have been valueless, almost, when it appeared, but now it is serviceable to the philologist, and to all who care to try to interpret the slang ballades of the poet Villon. An old pamphlet, an old satire, may hold the key to some historical problem, or throw light on the past of manners and customs. Still, of the earliest printed books, collectors prefer such rare and beautiful ones as the oldest printed Bibles: German, English,—as Taverner's and the Bishop's,—or Hebrew and Greek, or the first editions of the ancient classics, which may contain the readings of MSS. now lost or destroyed. Talking of early Bibles, let us admire the luck and prudence of a certain Mr. Sandford. He always longed for the first Hebrew Bible, but would offer no fancy price, being convinced that the book would one day fall in his way. His foreboding was fulfilled, and he picked up his treasure for ten shillings in a shop in the Strand. The taste for incunabula, or very early printed books, slumbered in the latter half of the sixteenth, and all the seventeenth century. It revived with the third jubilee of printing in 1740, and since then has refined itself, and only craves books very early, very important, or works from the press of Caxton, the St. Albans Schoolmaster, or other famous old artists. Enough has been said to show the beginner, always enthusiastic, that all old books are not precious. For further information, the "Biography and Typography of William Caxton," by Mr. Blades (Trubner, London, 1877), may be consulted with profit.

Following the categories into which M. Brunet classifies desirable books in his invaluable manual, we now come to books printed on vellum, and on peculiar papers. At the origin of printing, examples of many books, probably presentation copies, were printed on vellum. There is a vellum copy of the celebrated Florentine first edition of Homer; but it is truly sad to think that the twin volumes, Iliad and Odyssey, have been separated, and pine in distant libraries. Early printed books on vellum often have beautifully illuminated capitals. Dibdin mentions in "Bibliomania" (London, 1811), p. 90, that a M. Van Praet was compiling a catalogue of works printed on vellum, and had collected more than 2000 articles. When hard things are said about Henry VIII., let us remember that this monarch had a few copies of his book against Luther printed on vellum. The Duke of Marlborough's library possessed twenty-five books on vellum, all printed before 1496. The chapter-house at Padua has a "Catullus" of 1472 on vellum; let Mr. Robinson Ellis think wistfully of that treasure. The notable Count M'Carthy of Toulouse had a wonderful library of books in membranis, including a book much coveted for its rarity, oddity, and the beauty of its illustrations, the "Hypnerotomachia" of Poliphilus (Venice, 1499). Vellum was the favourite "vanity" of Junot, Napoleon's general. For reasons connected with its manufacture, and best not inquired into, the Italian vellum enjoyed the greatest reputation for smooth and silky whiteness. Dibdin calls "our modern books on vellum little short of downright wretched." But the editor of this series could, I think, show examples that would have made Dibdin change his opinion.

Many comparatively expensive papers, large in format, are used in choice editions of books. Whatman papers, Dutch papers, Chinese papers, and even papier verge, have all their admirers. The amateur will soon learn to distinguish these materials. As to books printed on coloured paper—green, blue, yellow, rhubarb-coloured, and the like, they are an offence to the eyes and to the taste. Yet even these have their admirers and collectors, and the great Aldus himself occasionally used azure paper. Under the head of "large paper," perhaps "uncut copies" should be mentioned. Most owners of books have had the edges of the volumes gilded or marbled by the binders. Thus part of the margin is lost, an offence to the eye of the bibliomaniac, while copies untouched by the binder's shears are rare, and therefore prized. The inconvenience of uncut copies is, that one cannot easily turn over the leaves. But, in the present state of the fashion, a really rare uncut Elzevir may be worth hundreds of pounds, while a cropped example scarcely fetches as many shillings. A set of Shakespeare's quartoes, uncut, would be worth more than a respectable landed estate in Connemara. For these reasons the amateur will do well to have new books of price bound "uncut." It is always easy to have the leaves pared away; but not even the fabled fountain at Argos, in which Hera yearly renewed her maidenhood, could restore margins once clipped away. So much for books which are chiefly precious for the quantity and quality of the material on which they are printed. Even this rather foolish weakness of the amateur would not be useless if it made our publishers more careful to employ a sound clean hand-made paper, instead of drugged trash, for their more valuable new productions. Indeed, a taste for hand-made paper is coming in, and is part of the revolt against the passion for everything machine-made, which ruined art and handiwork in the years between 1840 and 1870.

The third of M. Brunet's categories of books of prose, includes livres de luxe, and illustrated literature. Every Christmas brings us livres de luxe in plenty, books which are no books, but have gilt and magenta covers, and great staring illustrations. These are regarded as drawing-room ornaments by people who never read. It is scarcely necessary to warn the collector against these gaudy baits of unregulated Christmas generosity. All ages have not produced quite such garish livres de luxe as ours. But, on the whole, a book brought out merely for the sake of display, is generally a book ill "got up," and not worth reading. Moreover, it is generally a folio, or quarto, so large that he who tries to read it must support it on a kind of scaffolding. In the class of illustrated books two sorts are at present most in demand. The ancient woodcuts and engravings, often the work of artists like Holbein and Durer, can never lose their interest. Among old illustrated books, the most famous, and one of the rarest, is the "Hypnerotomachia Poliphili," "wherein all human matters are proved to be no more than a dream." This is an allegorical romance, published in 1499, for Francesco Colonna, by Aldus Manucius. Poliam Frater Franciscus Columna peramavit. "Brother Francesco Colonna dearly loved Polia," is the inscription and device of this romance. Poor Francesco, of the order of preachers, disguised in this strange work his passion for a lady of uncertain name. Here is a translation of the passage in which the lady describes the beginning of his affection. "I was standing, as is the manner of women young and fair, at the window, or rather on the balcony, of my palace. My yellow hair, the charm of maidens, was floating round my shining shoulders. My locks were steeped in unguents that made them glitter like threads of gold, and they were slowly drying in the rays of the burning sun. A handmaid, happy in her task, was drawing a comb through my tresses, and surely these of Andromeda seemed not more lovely to Perseus, nor to Lucius the locks of Photis. {6} On a sudden, Poliphilus beheld me, and could not withdraw from me his glances of fire, and even in that moment a ray of the sun of love was kindled in his heart."

The fragment is itself a picture from the world of the Renaissance. We watch the blonde, learned lady, dreaming of Perseus, and Lucius, Greek lovers of old time, while the sun gilds her yellow hair, and the young monk, passing below, sees and loves, and "falls into the deep waters of desire." The lover is no less learned than the lady, and there is a great deal of amorous archaeology in his account of his voyage to Cythera. As to the designs in wood, quaint in their vigorous effort to be classical, they have been attributed to Mantegna, to Bellini, and other artists. Jean Cousin is said to have executed the imitations, in the Paris editions of 1546, 1556, and 1561.

The "Hypnerotomachia" seems to deserve notice, because it is the very type of the books that are dear to collectors, as distinct from the books that, in any shape, are for ever valuable to the world. A cheap Tauchnitz copy of the Iliad and Odyssey, or a Globe Shakespeare, are, from the point of view of literature, worth a wilderness of "Hypnerotomachiae." But a clean copy of the "Hypnerotomachia," especially on VELLUM, is one of the jewels of bibliography. It has all the right qualities; it is very rare, it is very beautiful as a work of art, it is curious and even bizarre, it is the record of a strange time, and a strange passion; it is a relic, lastly, of its printer, the great and good Aldus Manutius.

Next to the old woodcuts and engravings, executed in times when artists were versatile and did not disdain even to draw a book-plate (as Durer did for Pirckheimer), the designs of the French "little masters," are at present in most demand. The book illustrations of the seventeenth century are curious enough, and invaluable as authorities on manners and costume. But the attitudes of the figures are too often stiff and ungainly; while the composition is frequently left to chance. England could show nothing much better than Ogilby's translations of Homer, illustrated with big florid engravings in sham antique style. The years between 1730 and 1820, saw the French "little masters" in their perfection. The dress of the middle of the eighteenth century, of the age of Watteau, was precisely suited to the gay and graceful pencils of Gravelot, Moreau, Eisen, Boucher, Cochin, Marillier, and Choffard. To understand their merits, and the limits of their art, it is enough to glance through a series of the designs for Voltaire, Corneille, or Moliere. The drawings of society are almost invariably dainty and pleasing, the serious scenes of tragedy leave the spectator quite unmoved. Thus it is but natural that these artists should have shone most in the illustration of airy trifles like Dorat's "Baisers," or tales like Manon Lescaut, or in designing tailpieces for translations of the Greek idyllic poets, such as Moschus and Bion. In some of his illustrations of books, especially, perhaps, in the designs for "La Physiologie de Gout" (Jouaust, Paris, 1879), M. Lalauze has shown himself the worthy rival of Eisen and Cochin. Perhaps it is unnecessary to add that the beauty and value of all such engravings depends almost entirely on their "state." The earlier proofs are much more brilliant than those drawn later, and etchings on fine papers are justly preferred. For example, M. Lalauze's engravings on "Whatman paper," have a beauty which could scarcely be guessed by people who have only seen specimens on "papier verge." Every collector of the old French vignettes, should possess himself of the "Guide de l'amateur," by M. Henry Cohen (Rouquette, Paris, 1880). Among English illustrated books, various tastes prefer the imaginative works of William Blake, the etchings of Cruikshank, and the woodcuts of Bewick. The whole of the last chapter of this sketch is devoted, by Mr. Austin Dobson, to the topic of English illustrated books. Here it may be said, in passing, that an early copy of William Blake's "Songs of Innocence," written, illustrated, printed, coloured, and boarded by the author's own hand, is one of the most charming objects that a bibliophile can hope to possess. The verses of Blake, in a framework of birds, and flowers, and plumes, all softly and magically tinted, seem like some book out of King Oberon's library in fairyland, rather than the productions of a mortal press. The pictures in Blake's "prophetic books," and even his illustrations to "Job," show an imagination more heavily weighted by the technical difficulties of drawing.

The next class of rare books is composed of works from the famous presses of the Aldi and the Elzevirs. Other presses have, perhaps, done work as good, but Estienne, the Giunta, and Plantin, are comparatively neglected, while the taste for the performances of Baskerville and Foulis is not very eager. A safe judgment about Aldines and Elzevirs is the gift of years and of long experience. In this place it is only possible to say a few words on a wide subject. The founder of the Aldine press, Aldus Pius Manutius, was born about 1450, and died at Venice in 1514. He was a man of careful and profound learning, and was deeply interested in Greek studies, then encouraged by the arrival in Italy of many educated Greeks and Cretans. Only four Greek authors had as yet been printed in Italy, when (1495) Aldus established his press at Venice. Theocritus, Homer, AEsop, and Isocrates, probably in very limited editions, were in the hands of students. The purpose of Aldus was to put Greek and Latin works, beautifully printed in a convenient shape, within the reach of all the world. His reform was the introduction of books at once cheap, studiously correct, and convenient in actual use. It was in 1498 that he first adopted the small octavo size, and in his "Virgil" of 1501, he introduced the type called Aldine or Italic. The letters were united as in writing, and the type is said to have been cut by Francesco da Bologna, better known as Francia, in imitation of the hand of Petrarch. For full information about Aldus and his descendants and successors, the work of M. Firmin Didot, ("Alde Manuce et l'Hellenisme a Venise: Paris 1875)," and the Aldine annals of Renouard, must be consulted. These two works are necessary to the collector, who will otherwise be deceived by the misleading assertions of the booksellers. As a rule, the volumes published in the lifetime of Aldus Manutius are the most esteemed, and of these the Aristotle, the first Homer, the Virgil, and the Ovid, are perhaps most in demand. The earlier Aldines are consulted almost as studiously as MSS. by modern editors of the classics.

Just as the house of Aldus waned and expired, that of the great Dutch printers, the Elzevirs, began obscurely enough at Leyden in 1583. The Elzevirs were not, like Aldus, ripe scholars and men of devotion to learning. Aldus laboured for the love of noble studies; the Elzevirs were acute, and too often "smart" men of business. The founder of the family was Louis (born at Louvain, 1540, died 1617). But it was in the second and third generations that Bonaventura and Abraham Elzevir began to publish at Leyden, their editions in small duodecimo. Like Aldus, these Elzevirs aimed at producing books at once handy, cheap, correct, and beautiful in execution. Their adventure was a complete success. The Elzevirs did not, like Aldus, surround themselves with the most learned scholars of their time. Their famous literary adviser, Heinsius, was full of literary jealousies, and kept students of his own calibre at a distance. The classical editions of the Elzevirs, beautiful, but too small in type for modern eyes, are anything but exquisitely correct. Their editions of the contemporary. French authors, now classics themselves, are lovely examples of skill in practical enterprise. The Elzevirs treated the French authors much as American publishers treat Englishmen. They stole right and left, but no one complained much in these times of slack copyright; and, at all events, the piratic larcenous publications of the Dutch printers were pretty, and so far satisfactory. They themselves, in turn, were the victims of fraudulent and untradesmanlike imitations. It is for this, among other reasons, that the collector of Elzevirs must make M. Willems's book ("Les Elzevier," Brussels and Paris, 1880) his constant study. Differences so minute that they escape the unpractised eye, denote editions of most various value. In Elzevirs a line's breadth of margin is often worth a hundred pounds, and a misprint is quoted at no less a sum. The fantastic caprice of bibliophiles has revelled in the bibliography of these Dutch editions. They are at present very scarce in England, where a change in fashion some years ago had made them common enough. No Elzevir is valuable unless it be clean and large in the margins. When these conditions are satisfied the question of rarity comes in, and Remy Belleau's Macaronic poem, or "Le Pastissier Francais," may rise to the price of four or five hundred pounds. A Rabelais, Moliere, or Corneille, of a "good" edition, is now more in request than the once adored "Imitatio Christi" (dateless), or the "Virgil"' of 1646, which is full of gross errors of the press, but is esteemed for red characters in the letter to Augustus, and another passage at page 92. The ordinary marks of the Elzevirs were the sphere, the old hermit, the Athena, the eagle, and the burning faggot. But all little old books marked with spheres are not Elzevirs, as many booksellers suppose. Other printers also stole the designs for the tops of chapters, the Aegipan, the Siren, the head of Medusa, the crossed sceptres, and the rest. In some cases the Elzevirs published their books, especially when they were piracies, anonymously. When they published for the Jansenists, they allowed their clients to put fantastic pseudonyms on the title pages. But, except in four cases, they had only two pseudonyms used on the titles of books published by and for themselves. These disguises are "Jean Sambix" for Jean and Daniel Elzevir, at Leyden, and for the Elzevirs of Amsterdam, "Jacques le Jeune." The last of the great representatives of the house, Daniel, died at Amsterdam, 1680. Abraham, an unworthy scion, struggled on at Leyden till 1712. The family still prospers, but no longer prints, in Holland. It is common to add duodecimos of Foppens, Wolfgang, and other printers, to the collections of the Elzevirs. The books of Wolfgang have the sign of the fox robbing a wild bee's nest, with the motto Quaerendo.

Curious and singular books are the next in our classification. The category is too large. The books that be "curious" (not in the booksellers' sense of "prurient" and "disgusting,") are innumerable. All suppressed and condemned books, from "Les Fleurs du Mal" to Vanini's "Amphitheatrum," or the English translation of Bruno's "Spaccia della Bestia Trionfante," are more or less rare, and more or less curious. Wild books, like William Postel's "Three Marvellous Triumphs of Women," are "curious." Freakish books, like macaronic poetry, written in a medley of languages, are curious. Books from private presses are singular. The old English poets and satirists turned out many a book curious to the last degree, and priced at a fantastic value. Such are "Jordan's Jewels of Ingenuity," "Micro-cynicon, six Snarling Satyres" (1599), and the "Treatize made of a Galaunt," printed by Wynkyn de Worde, and found pasted into the fly-leaf, on the oak-board binding of an imperfect volume of Pynson's "Statutes." All our early English poems and miscellanies are curious; and, as relics of delightful singers, are most charming possessions. Such are the "Songes and Sonnettes of Surrey" (1557), the "Paradyce of daynty Deuices" (1576), the "Small Handful of Fragrant Flowers," and "The Handful of Dainty Delights, gathered out of the lovely Garden of Sacred Scripture, fit for any worshipful Gentlewoman to smell unto," (1584). "The Teares of Ireland" (1642), are said, though one would not expect it, to be "extremely rare," and, therefore, precious. But there is no end to the list of such desirable rarities. If we add to them all books coveted as early editions, and, therefore, as relics of great writers, Bunyan, Shakespeare, Milton, Sterne, Walton, and the rest, we might easily fill a book with remarks on this topic alone. The collection of such editions is the most respectable, the most useful, and, alas, the most expensive of the amateur's pursuits. It is curious enough that the early editions of Swift, Scott, and Byron, are little sought for, if not wholly neglected; while early copies of Shelley, Tennyson, and Keats, have a great price set on their heads. The quartoes of Shakespeare, like first editions of Racine, are out of the reach of any but very opulent purchasers, or unusually lucky, fortunate book-hunters. Before leaving the topic of books which derive their value from the taste and fantasy of collectors, it must be remarked that, in this matter, the fashion of the world changes. Dr. Dibdin lamented, seventy years ago, the waning respect paid to certain editions of the classics. He would find that things have become worse now, and modern German editions, on execrable paper, have supplanted his old favourites. Fifty years ago, M. Brunet expressed his contempt for the designs of Boucher; now they are at the top of the fashion. The study of old booksellers' catalogues is full of instruction as to the changes of caprice. The collection of Dr. Rawlinson was sold in 1756. "The Vision of Pierce Plowman" (1561), and the "Creede of Pierce Plowman" (1553), brought between them no more than three shillings and sixpence. Eleven shillings were paid for the "Boke of Chivalrie" by Caxton. The "Boke of St. Albans," by Wynkyn de Worde, cost 1 pounds: 1s., and this was the highest sum paid for any one of two hundred rare pieces of early English literature. In 1764, a copy of the "Hypnerotomachia" was sold for two shillings, "A Pettie Pallace of Pettie his Pleasures," (ah, what a thought for the amateur!) went for three shillings, while "Palmerin of England" (1602), attained no more than the paltry sum of fourteen shillings. When Osborne sold the Harley collection, the scarcest old English books fetched but three or four shillings. If the wandering Jew had been a collector in the last century he might have turned a pretty profit by selling his old English books in this age of ours. In old French, too, Ahasuerus would have done a good stroke of business, for the prices brought by old Villons, Romances of the Rose, "Les Marguerites de Marguerite," and so forth, at the M'Carthy sale, were truly pitiable. A hundred years hence the original editions of Thackeray, or of Miss Greenaway's Christmas books, or "Modern Painters," may be the ruling passion, and Aldines and Elzevirs, black letter and French vignettes may all be despised. A book which is commonplace in our century is curious in the next, and disregarded in that which follows. Old books of a heretical character were treasures once, rare unholy possessions. Now we have seen so many heretics that the world is indifferent to the audacities of Bruno, and the veiled impieties of Vanini.

The last of our categories of books much sought by the collector includes all volumes valued for their ancient bindings, for the mark and stamp of famous amateurs. The French, who have supplied the world with so many eminent binders,—as Eve, Padeloup, Duseuil, Le Gascon, Derome, Simier, Bozerian, Thouvenin, Trautz-Bauzonnet, and Lortic—are the chief patrons of books in historical bindings. In England an historical binding, a book of Laud's, or James's, or Garrick's, or even of Queen Elizabeth's, does not seem to derive much added charm from its associations. But, in France, peculiar bindings are now the objects most in demand among collectors. The series of books thus rendered precious begins with those of Maioli and of Grolier (1479-1565), remarkable for their mottoes and the geometrical patterns on the covers. Then comes De Thou (who had three sets of arms), with his blazon, the bees stamped on the morocco. The volumes of Marguerite of Angouleme are sprinkled with golden daisies. Diane de Poictiers had her crescents and her bow, and the initial of her royal lover was intertwined with her own. The three daughters of Louis XV. had each their favourite colour, and their books wear liveries of citron, red, and olive morocco. The Abbe Cotin, the original of Moliere's Trissotin, stamped his books with intertwined C's. Henri III. preferred religious emblems, and sepulchral mottoes—skulls, crossbones, tears, and the insignia of the Passion. Mort m'est vie is a favourite device of the effeminate and voluptuous prince. Moliere himself was a collector, il n'es pas de bouquin qui s'echappe de ses mains,—"never an old book escapes him," says the author of "La Guerre Comique," the last of the pamphlets which flew from side to side in the great literary squabble about "L'Ecole des Femmes." M. Soulie has found a rough catalogue of Moliere's library, but the books, except a little Elzevir, have disappeared. {7} Madame de Maintenon was fond of bindings. Mr. Toovey possesses a copy of a devotional work in red morocco, tooled and gilt, which she presented to a friendly abbess. The books at Saint-Cyr were stamped with a crowned cross, besprent with fleurs-de-lys. The books of the later collectors—Longepierre, the translator of Bion and Moschus; D'Hoym the diplomatist; McCarthy, and La Valliere, are all valued at a rate which seems fair game for satire.

Among the most interesting bibliophiles of the eighteenth century is Madame Du Barry. In 1771, this notorious beauty could scarcely read or write. She had rooms, however, in the Chateau de Versailles, thanks to the kindness of a monarch who admired those native qualities which education may polish, but which it can never confer. At Versailles, Madame Du Barry heard of the literary genius of Madame de Pompadour. The Pompadour was a person of taste. Her large library of some four thousand works of the lightest sort of light literature was bound by Biziaux. Mr. Toovey possesses the Brantome of this dame galante. Madame herself had published etchings by her own fair hands; and to hear of these things excited the emulation of Madame Du Barry. She might not be CLEVER, but she could have a library like another, if libraries were in fashion. One day Madame Du Barry astonished the Court by announcing that her collection of books would presently arrive at Versailles. Meantime she took counsel with a bookseller, who bought up examples of all the cheap "remainders," as they are called in the trade, that he could lay his hands upon. The whole assortment, about one thousand volumes in all, was hastily bound in rose morocco, elegantly gilt, and stamped with the arms of the noble house of Du Barry. The bill which Madame Du Barry owed her enterprising agent is still in existence. The thousand volumes cost about three francs each; the binding (extremely cheap) came to nearly as much. The amusing thing is that the bookseller, in the catalogue which he sent with the improvised library, marked the books which Madame Du Barry possessed BEFORE her large order was so punctually executed. There were two "Memoires de Du Barry," an old newspaper, two or three plays, and "L'Historie Amoureuse de Pierre le Long." Louis XV. observed with pride that, though Madame Pompadour had possessed a larger library, that of Madame Du Barry was the better selected. Thanks to her new collection, the lady learned to read with fluency, but she never overcame the difficulties of spelling.

A lady collector who loved books not very well perhaps, but certainly not wisely, was the unhappy Marie Antoinette. The controversy in France about the private character of the Queen has been as acrimonious as the Scotch discussion about Mary Stuart. Evidence, good and bad, letters as apocryphal as the letters of the famous "casket," have been produced on both sides. A few years ago, under the empire, M. Louis Lacour found a manuscript catalogue of the books in the Queen's boudoir. They were all novels of the flimsiest sort,—"L'Amitie Dangereuse," "Les Suites d'un Moment d'Erreur," and even the stories of Louvet and of Retif de la Bretonne. These volumes all bore the letters "C. T." (Chateau de Trianon), and during the Revolution they were scattered among the various public libraries of Paris. The Queen's more important library was at the Tuileries, but at Versailles she had only three books, as the commissioners of the Convention found, when they made an inventory of the property of la femme Capet. Among the three was the "Gerusalemme Liberata," printed, with eighty exquisite designs by Cochin, at the expense of "Monsieur," afterwards Louis XVIII. Books with the arms of Marie Antoinette are very rare in private collections; in sales they are as much sought after as those of Madame Du Barry.

With these illustrations of the kind of interest that belongs to books of old collectors, we may close this chapter. The reader has before him a list, with examples, of the kinds of books at present most in vogue among amateurs. He must judge for himself whether he will follow the fashion, by aid either of a long purse or of patient research, or whether he will find out new paths for himself. A scholar is rarely a rich man. He cannot compete with plutocrats who buy by deputy. But, if he pursues the works he really needs, he may make a valuable collection. He cannot go far wrong while he brings together the books that he finds most congenial to his own taste and most useful to his own studies. Here, then, in the words of the old "sentiment," I bid him farewell, and wish "success to his inclinations, provided they are virtuous." There is a set of collectors, alas! whose inclinations are not virtuous. The most famous of them, a Frenchman, observed that his own collection of bad books was unique. That of an English rival, he admitted, was respectable,—"mais milord se livre a des autres preoccupations!" He thought a collector's whole heart should be with his treasures.

En bouquinant se trouve grand soulas. Soubent m'en vay musant, a petis pas, Au long des quais, pour flairer maint bieux livre. Des Elzevier la Sphere me rend yure, Et la Sirene aussi m'esmeut. Grand cas Fais-je d'Estienne, Aide, ou Dolet. Mais Ias! Le vieux Caxton ne se rencontre pas, Plus qu' agneau d'or parmi jetons de cuivre, En bouquinant!

Pour tout plaisir que l'on goute icy-bas La Grace a Dieu. Mieux vaut, sans altercas, Chasser bouquin: Nul mal n'en peult s'ensuivre. Dr sus au livre: il est le grand appas. Clair est le ciel. Amis, qui veut me suivre En bouquinant?

A. L.



ILLUSTRATED BOOKS {8}



Modern English book-illustration—to which the present chapter is restricted -has no long or doubtful history, since to find its first beginnings, it is needless to go farther back than the last quarter of the eighteenth century. Not that "illustrated" books of a certain class were by any means unknown before that period. On the contrary, for many years previously, literature had boasted its "sculptures" of be-wigged and be-laurelled "worthies," its "prospects" and "land-skips," its phenomenal monsters and its "curious antiques." But, despite the couplet in the "Dunciad" respecting books where

" . . . the pictures for the page atone, And Quarles is saved by beauties not his own;" -

illustrations, in which the designer attempted the actual delineation of scenes or occurrences in the text, were certainly not common when Pope wrote, nor were they for some time afterwards either very numerous or very noteworthy. There are Hogarth's engravings to "Hudibras" and "Don Quixote;" there are the designs of his crony Frank Hayman to Theobald's "Shakespeare," to Milton, to Pope, to Cervantes; there are Pine's "Horace" and Sturt's "Prayer- Book" (in both of which text and ornament were alike engraved); there are the historical and topographical drawings of Sandby, Wale, and others; and yet—notwithstanding all these—it is with Bewick's cuts to Gay's "Fables" in 1779, and Stothard's plates to Harrison's "Novelist's Magazine" in 1780, that book-illustration by imaginative compositions really begins to flourish in England. Those little masterpieces of the Newcastle artist brought about a revival of wood-engraving which continues to this day; but engraving upon metal, as a means of decorating books, practically came to an end with the "Annuals" of thirty years ago. It will therefore be well to speak first of illustrations upon copper and steel.

Stothard, Blake, and Flaxman are the names that come freshest to memory in this connection. For a period of fifty years Stothard stands pre-eminent in illustrated literature. Measuring time by poets, he may be said to have lent something of his fancy and amenity to most of the writers from Cowper to Rogers. As a draughtsman he is undoubtedly weak: his figures are often limp and invertebrate, and his type of beauty insipid. Still, regarded as groups, the majority of his designs are exquisite, and he possessed one all-pervading and un-English quality—the quality of grace. This is his dominant note. Nothing can be more seductive than the suave flow of his line, his feeling for costume, his gentle and chastened humour. Many of his women and children are models of purity and innocence. But he works at ease only within the limits of his special powers; he is happier in the pastoral and domestic than the heroic and supernatural, and his style is better fitted to the formal salutations of "Clarissa" and "Sir Charles Grandison," than the rough horse-play of "Peregrine Pickle." Where Rowlandson would have revelled, Stothard would be awkward and constrained; where Blake would give us a new sensation, Stothard would be poor and mechanical. Nevertheless the gifts he possessed were thoroughly recognised in his own day, and brought him, if not riches, at least competence and honour. It is said that more than three thousand of his drawings have been engraved, and they are scattered through a hundred publications. Those to the "Pilgrim's Progress" and the poems of Rogers are commonly spoken of as his best, though he never excelled some of the old-fashioned plates (with their pretty borders in the style of Gravelot and the Frenchmen) to Richardson's novels, and such forgotten "classics" as "Joe Thompson", "Jessamy," "Betsy Thoughtless," and one or two others in Harrison's very miscellaneous collection.

Stothard was fortunate in his engravers. Besides James Heath, his best interpreter, Schiavonetti, Sharp, Finden, the Cookes, Bartolozzi, most of the fashionable translators into copper were busily employed upon his inventions. Among the rest was an artist of powers far greater than his own, although scarcely so happy in turning them to profitable account. The genius of William Blake was not a marketable commodity in the same way as Stothard's talent. The one caught the trick of the time with his facile elegance; the other scorned to make any concessions, either in conception or execution, to the mere popularity of prettiness.

"Give pensions to the learned pig, Or the hare playing on a tabor; Anglus can never see perfection But in the journeyman's labour," -

he wrote in one of those rough-hewn and bitter epigrams of his. Yet the work that was then so lukewarmly received—if, indeed, it can be said to have been received at all—is at present far more sought after than Stothard's, and the prices now given for the "Songs of Innocence and Experience," the "Inventions to the Book of Job," and even "The Grave," would have brought affluence to the struggling artist, who (as Cromek taunted him) was frequently "reduced so low as to be obliged to live on half a guinea a week." Not that this was entirely the fault of his contemporaries. Blake was a visionary, and an untuneable man; and, like others who work for the select public of all ages, he could not always escape the consequence that the select public of his own, however willing, were scarcely numerous enough to support him. His most individual works are the "Songs of Innocence," 1789, and the "Songs of Experience," 1794. These, afterwards united in one volume, were unique in their method of production; indeed, they do not perhaps strictly come within the category of what is generally understood to be copperplate engraving. The drawings were outlined and the songs written upon the metal with some liquid that resisted the action of acid, and the remainder of the surface of the plate was eaten away with aqua-fortis, leaving the design in bold relief, like a rude stereotype. This was then printed off in the predominant tone— blue, brown, or yellow, as the case might be—and delicately tinted by the artist in a prismatic and ethereal fashion peculiarly his own. Stitched and bound in boards by Mrs. Blake, a certain number of these leaflets—twenty-seven in the case of the first issue—made up a tiny octavo of a wholly exceptional kind. Words indeed fail to exactly describe the flower-like beauty—the fascination of these "fairy missals," in which, it has been finely said, "the thrilling music of the verse, and the gentle bedazzlement of the lines and colours so intermingle, that the mind hangs in a pleasant uncertainty as to whether it is a picture that is singing, or a song which has newly budded and blossomed into colour and form." The accompanying woodcut, after one of the illustrations to the "Songs of Innocence," gives some indication of the general composition, but it can convey no hint of the gorgeous purple, and crimson, and orange of the original.

Of the "Illustrations to the Book of Job," 1826, there are excellent reduced facsimiles by the recently-discovered photo-intaglio process, in the new edition of Gilchrist's "Life." The originals were engraved by Blake himself in his strong decisive fashion, and they are his best work. A kind of deisidaimonia—a sacred awe— falls upon one in turning over these wonderful productions of the artist's declining years and failing hand.

"Leaving the old, both worlds at once they view, That stand upon the threshold of the new,"

sings Waller; and it is almost possible to believe for a moment that their creator was (as he said) "under the direction of messengers from Heaven." But his designs for Blair's "Grave," 1808, popularised by the burin of Schiavonetti, attracted greater attention at the time of publication; and, being less rare, they are even now perhaps better known than the others. The facsimile here given is from the latter book. The worn old man, the trustful woman, and the guileless child are sleeping peacefully; but the king with his sceptre, and the warrior with his hand on his sword-hilt, lie open-eyed, waiting the summons of the trumpet. One cannot help fancying that the artist's long vigils among the Abbey tombs, during his apprenticeship to James Basire, must have been present to his mind when he selected this impressive monumental subject.

To one of Blake's few friends—to the "dear Sculptor of Eternity," as he wrote to Flaxman from Felpham—the world is indebted for some notable book illustrations. Whether the greatest writers—the Homers, the Shakespeares, the Dantes—can ever be "illustrated" without loss may fairly be questioned. At all events, the showy dexterities of the Dores and Gilberts prove nothing to the contrary. But now and then there comes to the graphic interpretation of a great author an artist either so reverential, or so strongly sympathetic at some given point, that, in default of any relation more narrowly intimate, we at once accept his conceptions as the best attainable. In this class are Flaxman's outlines to Homer and AEschylus. Flaxman was not a Hellenist as men are Hellenists to- day. Nevertheless, his Roman studies had saturated him with the spirit of antique beauty, and by his grand knowledge of the nude, his calm, his restraint, he is such an illustrator of Homer as is not likely to arise again. For who—with all our added knowledge of classical antiquity—who, of our modern artists, could hope to rival such thoroughly Greek compositions as the ball-play of Nausicaa in the "Odyssey," or that lovely group from AEschylus of the tender- hearted, womanly Oceanides, cowering like flowers beaten by the storm under the terrible anger of Zeus? In our day Flaxman's drawings would have been reproduced by some of the modern facsimile processes, and the gain would have been great. As it is, something is lost by their transference to copper, even though the translators be Piroli and Blake. Blake, in fact, did more than he is usually credited with, for (beside the acknowledged and later "Hesiod," 1817) he really engraved the whole of the "Odyssey," Piroli's plates having been lost on the voyage to England. The name of the Roman artist, nevertheless, appears on the title-page (1793). But Blake was too original to be a successful copyist of other men's work, and to appreciate the full value of Flaxman's drawings, they should be studied in the collections at University College, the Royal Academy, and elsewhere. {9}

Flaxman and Blake had few imitators. But a host of clever designers, such as Cipriani, Angelica Kauffmann, Westall, Uwins, Smirke, Burney, Corbould, Dodd, and others, vied with the popular Stothard in "embellishing" the endless "Poets," "novelists," and "essayists" of our forefathers. Some of these, and most of the recognised artists of the period, lent their aid to that boldly- planned but unhappily-executed "Shakespeare" of Boydell,—"black and ghastly gallery of murky Opies, glum Northcotes, straddling Fuselis," as Thackeray calls it. They are certainly not enlivening- -those cumbrous "atlas" folios of 1803-5, and they helped to ruin the worthy alderman. Even courtly Sir Joshua is clearly ill at ease among the pushing Hamiltons and Mortimers; and, were it not for the whimsical discovery that Westall's "Ghost of Caesar" strangely resembles Mr. Gladstone, there would be no resting-place for the modern student of these dismal masterpieces. The truth is, Reynolds excepted, there were no contemporary painters strong enough for the task, and the honours of the enterprise belong almost exclusively to Smirke's "Seven Ages" and one or two plates from the lighter comedies. The great "Bible" of Macklin, a rival and even more incongruous publication, upon which some of the same designers were employed, has fallen into completer oblivion. A rather better fate attended another book of this class, which, although belonging to a later period, may be briefly referred to here. The "Milton" of John Martin has distinct individuality, and some of the needful qualities of imagination. Nevertheless, posterity has practically decided that scenic grandeur and sombre effects alone are not a sufficient pictorial equipment for the varied story of "Paradise Lost."

It is to Boydell of the Shakespeare gallery that we owe the "Liber Veritatis" of Claude, engraved by Richard Earlom; and indirectly, since rivalry of Claude prompted the attempt, the famous "Liber Studiorum" of Turner. Neither of these, however—which, like the "Rivers of France" and the "Picturesque Views in England and Wales" of the latter artist, are collections of engravings rather than illustrated books—belongs to the present purpose. But Turner's name may fitly serve to introduce those once familiar "Annuals" and "Keepsakes," that, beginning in 1823 with Ackermann's "Forget-me- Not," enjoyed a popularity of more than thirty years. Their general characteristics have been pleasantly satirised in Thackeray's account of the elegant miscellany of Bacon the publisher, to which Mr. Arthur Pendennis contributed his pretty poem of "The Church Porch." His editress, it will be remembered, was the Lady Violet Lebas, and his colleagues the Honourable Percy Popjoy, Lord Dodo, and the gifted Bedwin Sands, whose "Eastern Ghazuls" lent so special a distinction to the volume in watered-silk binding. The talented authors, it is true, were in most cases under the disadvantage of having to write to the plates of the talented artists, a practice which even now is not extinct, though it is scarcely considered favourable to literary merit. And the real "Annuals" were no exception to the rule. As a matter of fact, their general literary merit was not obtrusive, although, of course, they sometimes contained work which afterwards became famous. They are now so completely forgotten and out of date, that one scarcely expects to find that Wordsworth, Coleridge, Macaulay, and Southey, were among the occasional contributors. Lamb's beautiful "Album verses" appeared in the "Bijou," Scott's "Bonnie Dundee" in the "Christmas Box," and Tennyson's "St. Agnes' Eve" in the "Keepsake." But the plates were, after all, the leading attraction. These, prepared for the most part under the superintendence of the younger Heath, and executed on the steel which by this time had supplanted the old "coppers," were supplied by, or were "after," almost every contemporary artist of note. Stothard, now growing old and past his prime, Turner, Etty, Stanfield, Leslie, Roberts, Danby, Maclise, Lawrence, Cattermole, and numbers of others, found profitable labour in this fashionable field until 1856, when the last of the "Annuals" disappeared, driven from the market by the rapid development of wood engraving. About a million, it is roughly estimated, was squandered in producing them.

In connection with the "Annuals" must be mentioned two illustrated books which were in all probability suggested by them—the "Poems" and "Italy" of Rogers. The designs to these are chiefly by Turner and Stothard, although there are a few by Prout and others. Stothard's have been already referred to; Turner's are almost universally held to be the most successful of his many vignettes. It has been truly said—in a recent excellent life of this artist {10}—that it would be difficult to find in the whole of his works two really greater than the "Alps at Daybreak," and the "Datur Hora Quieti," in the former of these volumes. Almost equally beautiful are the "Valombre Falls" and "Tornaro's misty brow." Of the "Italy" set Mr. Ruskin writes:- "They are entirely exquisite; poetical in the highest and purest sense, exemplary and delightful beyond all praise." To such words it is not possible to add much. But it is pretty clear that the poetical vitality of Rogers was secured by these well-timed illustrations, over which he is admitted by his nephew Mr. Sharpe to have spent about 7000 pounds, and far larger sums have been named by good authorities. The artist received from fifteen to twenty guineas for each of the drawings; the engravers (Goodall, Miller, Wallis, Smith, and others), sixty guineas a plate. The "Poems" and the "Italy," in the original issues of 1830 and 1834, are still precious to collectors, and are likely to remain so. Turner also illustrated Scott, Milton, Campbell, and Byron; but this series of designs has not received equal commendation from his greatest eulogist, who declares them to be "much more laboured, and more or less artificial and unequal." Among the numerous imitations directly induced by the Rogers books was the "Lyrics of the Heart," by Alaric Attila Watts, a forgotten versifier and sometime editor of "Annuals," but it did not meet with similar success.

Many illustrated works, originating in the perfection and opportunities of engraving on metal, are necessarily unnoticed in this rapid summary. As far, however, as book-illustration is concerned, copper and steel plate engraving may be held to have gone out of fashion with the "Annuals." It is still, indeed, to be found lingering in that mine of modern art-books—the "Art Journal;" and, not so very long ago, it made a sumptuous and fugitive reappearance in Dore's "Idylls of the King," Birket Foster's "Hood," and one or two other imposing volumes. But it was badly injured by modern wood-engraving; it has since been crippled for life by photography; and it is more than probable that the present rapid rise of modern etching will give it the coup de grace. {11}

By the end of the seventeenth century the art of engraving on wood had fallen into disuse. Writing circa 1770, Horace Walpole goes so far as to say that it "never was executed in any perfection in England;" and, speaking afterwards of Papillon's "Traite de la Gravure," 1766, he takes occasion to doubt if that author would ever "persuade the world to return to wooden cuts." Nevertheless, with Bewick, a few years later, wood-engraving took a fresh departure so conspicuous that it amounts to a revival. In what this consisted it is clearly impossible to show here with any sufficiency of detail; but between the method of the old wood-cutters who reproduced the drawings of Durer, and the method of the Newcastle artist, there are two marked and well-defined differences. One of these is a difference in the preparation of the wood and the tool employed. The old wood-cutters carved their designs with knives and chisels on strips of wood sawn lengthwise—that is to say, upon the PLANK; Bewick used a graver, and worked upon slices of box or pear cut across the grain,—that is to say upon the END of the wood. The other difference, of which Bewick is said to have been the inventor, is less easy to describe. It consisted in the employment of what is technically known as "white line." In all antecedent wood-cutting the cutter had simply cleared away those portions of the block left bare by the design, so that the design remained in relief to be printed from like type. Using the smooth box block as a uniform surface from which, if covered with printing ink, a uniformly black impression might be obtained, Bewick, by cutting white lines across it at greater or lesser intervals, produced gradations of shade, from the absolute black of the block to the lightest tints. The general result of this method was to give a greater depth of colouring and variety to the engraving, but its advantages may perhaps be best understood by a glance at the background of the "Woodcock" on the following page.

Bewick's first work of any importance was the Gay's "Fables" of 1779. In 1784 he did another series of "Select Fables." Neither of these books, however, can be compared with the "General History of Quadrupeds," 1790, and the "British Land and Water Birds," 1797 and 1804. The illustrations to the "Quadrupeds" are in many instances excellent, and large additions were made to them in subsequent issues. But in this collection Bewick laboured to a great extent under the disadvantage of representing animals with which he was familiar only through the medium of stuffed specimens or incorrect drawings. In the "British Birds," on the contrary, his facilities for study from the life were greater, and his success was consequently more complete. Indeed, it may be safely affirmed that of all the engravers of the present century, none have excelled Bewick for beauty of black and white, for skilful rendering of plumage and foliage, and for fidelity of detail and accessory. The "Woodcock" (here given), the "Partridge," the "Owl," the "Yellow- Hammer," the "Yellow-Bunting," the "Willow-Wren," are popular examples of these qualities. But there are a hundred others nearly as good.

Among sundry conventional decorations after the old German fashion in the first edition of the "Quadrupeds," there are a fair number of those famous tail-pieces which, to a good many people, constitute Bewick's chief claim to immortality. That it is not easy to imitate them is plain from the failure of Branston's attempts, and from the inferior character of those by John Thompson in Yarrell's "Fishes." The genius of Bewick was, in fact, entirely individual and particular. He had the humour of a Hogarth in little, as well as some of his special characteristics,—notably his faculty of telling a story by suggestive detail. An instance may be taken at random from vol. I. of the "Birds." A man, whose wig and hat have fallen off, lies asleep with open mouth under some bushes. He is manifestly drunk, and the date "4 June," on a neighbouring stone, gives us the reason and occasion of his catastrophe. He has been too loyally celebrating the birthday of his majesty King George III. Another of Bewick's gifts is his wonderful skill in foreshadowing a tragedy. Take as an example, this truly appalling incident from the "Quadrupeds." The tottering child, whose nurse is seen in the background, has strayed into the meadow, and is pulling at the tail of a vicious-looking colt, with back-turned eye and lifted heel. Down the garden-steps the mother hurries headlong; but she can hardly be in time. And of all this—sufficient, one would say, for a fairly-sized canvas—the artist has managed to give a vivid impression in a block of three inches by two! Then, again, like Hogarth once more, he rejoices in multiplications of dilemma. What, for instance, can be more comically pathetic than the head-piece to the "Contents" in vol. I. of the "Birds"? The old horse has been seized with an invincible fit of stubbornness. The day is both windy and rainy. The rider has broken his stick and lost his hat; but he is too much encumbered with his cackling and excited stock to dare to dismount. Nothing can help him but a Deus ex machina,—of whom there is no sign.

Besides his humour, Bewick has a delightfully rustic side, of which Hogarth gives but little indication. From the starved ewe in the snow nibbling forlornly at a worn-out broom, to the cow which has broken through the rail to reach the running water, there are numberless designs which reveal that faithful lover of the field and hillside, who, as he said, "would rather be herding sheep on Mickle bank top" than remain in London to be made premier of England. He loved the country and the country-life; and he drew them as one who loved them. It is this rural quality which helps to give such a lasting freshness to his quaint and picturesque fancies; and it is this which will continue to preserve their popularity, even if they should cease to be valued for their wealth of whimsical invention.

In referring to these masterpieces of Bewick's, it must not be forgotten that he had the aid of some clever assistants. His younger brother John was not without talent, as is clear from his work for Somervile's "Chace," 1796, and that highly edifying book, the "Blossoms of Morality." Many of the tail-pieces to the "Water Birds" were designed by Robert Johnson, who also did most of the illustrations to Bewick's "Fables" of 1818, which were engraved by Temple and Harvey, two other pupils. Another pupil was Charlton Nesbit, an excellent engraver, who was employed upon the "Birds," and did good work in Ackermann's "Religious Emblems" of 1808, and the second series of Northcote's "Fables." But by far the largest portion of the tail-pieces in the second volume of the "Birds" was engraved by Luke Clennell, a very skilful but unfortunate artist, who ultimately became insane. To him we owe the woodcuts, after Stothard's charming sketches, to the Rogers volume of 1810, an edition preceding those already mentioned as illustrated with steel- plates, and containing some of the artist's happiest pictures of children and amorini. Many of these little groups would make admirable designs for gems, if indeed they are not already derived from them, since one at least is an obvious copy of a well-known sardonyx—("The Marriage of Cupid and Psyche.") This volume, generally known by the name of the "Firebrand" edition, is highly prized by collectors; and, as intelligent renderings of pen and ink, there is little better than these engravings of Clennell's. {12} Finally, among others of Bewick's pupils, must be mentioned William Harvey, who survived to 1866. It has been already stated that he engraved part of the illustrations to Bewick's "Fables," but his best known block is the large one of Haydon's "Death of Dentatus." Soon after this he relinquished wood-engraving in favour of design, and for a long period was one of the most fertile and popular of book-illustrators. His style, however, is unpleasantly mannered; and it is sufficient to make mention of his masterpiece, the "Arabian Nights" of Lane, the illustrations to which, produced under the supervision of the translator, are said to be so accurate as to give the appropriate turbans for every hour of the day. They show considerable freedom of invention and a large fund of Orientalism.

Harvey came to London in 1817; Clennell had preceded him by some years; and Nesbit lived there for a considerable time. What distinguishes these pupils of Bewick especially is, that they were artists as well as engravers, capable of producing the designs they engraved. The "London School" of engravers, on the contrary, were mostly engravers, who depended upon others for their designs. The foremost of these was Robert Branston, a skilful renderer of human figures and indoor scenes. He worked in rivalry with Bewick and Nesbit; but he excelled neither, while he fell far behind the former. John Thompson, one of the very best of modern English engravers on wood, was Branston's pupil. His range was of the widest, and he succeeded as well in engraving fishes and birds for Yarrell and Walton's "Angler," as in illustrations to Moliere and "Hudibras." He was, besides, a clever draughtsman, though he worked chiefly from the designs of Thurston and others. One of the most successful of his illustrated books is the "Vicar of Wakefield," after Mulready, whose simplicity and homely feeling were well suited to Goldsmith's style. Another excellent engraver of this date is Samuel Williams. There is an edition of Thomson's "Seasons," with cuts both drawn and engraved by him, which is well worthy of attention, and (like Thompson and Branston) he was very skilful in reproducing the designs of Cruikshank. Some of his best work in this way is to be found in Clarke's "Three Courses and a Dessert," published by Vizetelly in 1830.

From this time forth, however, one hears less of the engraver and more of the artist. The establishment of the "Penny Magazine" in 1832, and the multifarious publications of Charles Knight, gave an extraordinary impetus to wood-engraving. Ten years later came "Punch," and the "Illustrated London News," which further increased its popularity. Artists of eminence began to draw on or for the block, as they had drawn, and were still drawing, for the "Annuals." In 1842-6 was issued the great "Abbotsford" edition of the "Waverley Novels," which, besides 120 plates, contained nearly 2000 wood- engravings; and with the "Book of British Ballads," 1843, edited by Mr. S. C. Hall, arose that long series of illustrated Christmas books, which gradually supplanted the "Annuals," and made familiar the names of Gilbert, Birket Foster, Harrison Weir, John Absolon, and a crowd of others. The poems of Longfellow, Montgomery, Burns, "Barry Cornwall," Poe, Miss Ingelow, were all successively "illustrated." Besides these, there were numerous selections, such as Willmott's "Poets of the Nineteenth Century," Wills's "Poets' Wit and Humour," and so forth. But the field here grows too wide to be dealt with in detail, and it is impossible to do more than mention a few of the books most prominent for merit or originality. Amongst these there is the "Shakespeare" of Sir John Gilbert. Regarded as an interpretative edition of the great dramatist, this is little more than a brilliant tour de force; but it is nevertheless infinitely superior to the earlier efforts of Kenny Meadows in 1843, and also to the fancy designs of Harvey in Knight's "Pictorial Shakespeare." The "Illustrated Tennyson" of 1858 is also a remarkable production. The Laureate, almost more than any other, requires a variety of illustrators; and here, for his idylls, he had Mulready and Millais, and for his romances Rossetti and Holman Hunt. His "Princess" was afterwards illustrated by Maclise, and his "Enoch Arden" by Arthur Hughes; but neither of these can be said to be wholly adequate. The "Lalla Rookh" of John Tenniel, 1860, albeit somewhat stiff and cold, after this artist's fashion, is a superb collection of carefully studied oriental designs. With these may be classed the illustrations to Aytoun's "Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers," by Sir Noel Paton, which have the same finished qualities of composition and the same academic hardness. Several good editions of the "Pilgrim's Progress" have appeared,—notably those of C. H. Bennett, J. D. Watson, and G. H. Thomas. Other books are Millais's "Parables of our Lord," Leighton's "Romola," Walker's "Philip" and "Denis Duval," the "Don Quixote," "Dante," "La Fontaine" and other works of Dore, Dalziel's "Arabian Nights," Leighton's "Lyra Germanica" and "Moral Emblems," and the "Spiritual Conceits" of W. Harry Rogers. These are some only of the number, which does not include books like Mrs. Hugh Blackburn's "British Birds," Wolf's "Wild Animals," Wise's "New Forest," Linton's "Lake Country," Wood's "Natural History," and many more. Nor does it take in the various illustrated periodicals which have multiplied so freely since, in 1859, "Once a Week" first began to attract and train such younger draughtsmen as Sandys, Lawless, Pinwell, Houghton, Morten, and Paul Grey, some of whose best work in this way has been revived in the edition of Thornbury's "Ballads and Songs," recently published by Chatto and Windus. Ten years later came the "Graphic," offering still wider opportunities to wood-cut art, and bringing with it a fresh school of artists. Herkomer, Fildes, Small, Green, Barnard, Barnes, Crane, Caldecott, Hopkins, and others,—quos nunc perscribere longum est—have contributed good work to this popular rival of the older, but still vigorous, "Illustrated." And now again, another promising serial, the "Magazine of Art," affords a supplementary field to modern refinements and younger energies.

Not a few of the artists named in the preceding paragraph have also earned distinction in separate branches of the pictorial art, and specially in that of humorous design,—a department which has always been so richly recruited in this country that it deserves more than a passing mention. From the days of Hogarth onwards there has been an almost unbroken series of humorous draughtsmen, who, both on wood and metal, play a distinguished part in our illustrated literature. Rowlandson, one of the earliest, was a caricaturist of inexhaustible facility, and an artist who scarcely did justice to his own powers. He illustrated several books, but he is chiefly remembered in this way by his plates to Combe's "Three Tours of Dr. Syntax." Gillray, his contemporary, whose bias was political rather than social, is said to have illustrated "The Deserted Village" in his youth; but he is not famous as a book-illustrator. Another of the early men was Bunbury, whom "quality"-loving Mr. Walpole calls "the second Hogarth, and first imitator who ever fully equalled his original (!);" but whose prints to "Tristram Shandy," are nevertheless completely forgotten, while, if he be remembered at all, it is by the plate of "The Long Minuet," and the vulgar "Directions to Bad Horsemen." With the first years of the century, however, appears the great master of modern humorists, whose long life ended only a few years since, "the veteran George Cruikshank"—as his admirers were wont to style him. He indeed may justly be compared to Hogarth, since, in tragic power and intensity he occasionally comes nearer to him than any artist of our time. It is manifestly impossible to mention here all the more important efforts of this indefatigable worker, from those far-away days when he caricatured "Boney" and championed Queen Caroline, to that final frontispiece for "The Rose and the Lily"—"designed and etched (according to the inscription) by George Cruikshank, age 83;" but the plates to the "Points of Humour," to Grimm's "Goblins," to "Oliver Twist," "Jack Sheppard," Maxwell's "Irish Rebellion," and the "Table Book," are sufficiently favourable and varied specimens of his skill with the needle, while the woodcuts to "Three Courses and a Dessert," one of which is here given, are equally good examples of his work on the block. The "Triumph of Cupid," which begins the "Table Book," is an excellent instance of his lavish wealth of fancy, and it contains beside, one—nay more than one—of the many portraits of the artist. He is shown en robe de chambre, smoking (this was before his regenerate days!) in front of a blazing fire, with a pet spaniel on his knee. In the cloud which curls from his lips is a motley procession of sailors, sweeps, jockeys, Greenwich pensioners, Jew clothesmen, flunkies, and others more illustrious, chained to the chariot wheels of Cupid, who, preceded by cherubic acolytes and banner-bearers, winds round the top of the picture towards an altar of Hymen on the table. When, by the aid of a pocket-glass, one has mastered these swarming figures, as well as those in the foreground, it gradually dawns upon one that all the furniture is strangely vitalised. Masks laugh round the border of the tablecloth, the markings of the mantelpiece resolve themselves into rows of madly- racing figures, the tongs leers in a degage and cavalier way at the artist, the shovel and poker grin in sympathy; there are faces in the smoke, in the fire, in the fireplace,—the very fender itself is a ring of fantastic creatures who jubilantly hem in the ashes. And it is not only in the grotesque and fanciful that Cruikshank excels; he is master of the strange, the supernatural, and the terrible. In range of character (the comparison is probably a hackneyed one), both by his gifts and his limitations, he resembles Dickens; and had he illustrated more of that writer's works the resemblance would probably have been more evident. In "Oliver Twist," for example, where Dickens is strong, Cruikshank is strong; where Dickens is weak, he is weak too. His Fagin, his Bill Sikes, his Bumble, and their following, are on a level with Dickens's conceptions; his Monk and Rose Maylie are as poor as the originals. But as the defects of Dickens are overbalanced by his merits, so Cruikshank's strength is far in excess of his weakness. It is not to his melodramatic heroes or wasp-waisted heroines that we must look for his triumphs; it is to his delineations, from the moralist's point of view, of vulgarity and vice,—of the "rank life of towns," with all its squalid tragedy and comedy. Here he finds his strongest ground, and possibly, notwithstanding his powers as a comic artist and caricaturist, his loftiest claim to recollection.

Cruikshank was employed on two only of Dickens's books—"Oliver Twist" and the "Sketches by Boz." {13} The great majority of them were illustrated by Hablot K. Browne, an artist who followed the ill-fated Seymour on the "Pickwick Papers." To "Phiz," as he is popularly called, we are indebted for our pictorial ideas of Sam Weller, Mrs. Gamp, Captain Cuttle, and most of the author's characters, down to the "Tale of Two Cities." "Phiz" also illustrated a great many of Lever's novels, for which his skill in hunting and other Lever-like scenes especially qualified him.

With the name of Richard Doyle we come to the first of a group of artists whose main work was, or is still, done for the time-honoured miscellany of Mr. Punch. So familiar an object is "Punch" upon our tables, that one is sometimes apt to forget how unfailing, and how good on the whole, is the work we take so complacently as a matter of course. And of this good work, in the earlier days, a large proportion was done by Mr. Doyle. He is still living, although he has long ceased to gladden those sprightly pages. But it was to "Punch" that he contributed his masterpiece, the "Manners and Customs of ye Englyshe," a series of outlines illustrating social life in 1849, and cleverly commented by a shadowy "Mr. Pips," a sort of fetch or double of the bustling and garrulous old Caroline diarist. In these captivating pictures the life of thirty years ago is indeed, as the title-page has it, "drawn from ye quick." We see the Molesworths and Cantilupes of the day parading the Park; we watch Brougham fretting at a hearing in the Lords, or Peel holding forth to the Commons (where the Irish members are already obstructive); we squeeze in at the Haymarket to listen to Jenny Lind, or we run down the river to Greenwich Fair, and visit "Mr. Richardson, his show." Many years after, in the "Bird's Eye Views of Society," which appeared in the early numbers of the "Cornhill Magazine," Mr. Doyle returned to this attractive theme. But the later designs were more elaborate, and not equally fortunate. They bear the same relationship to Mr. Pips's pictorial chronicle, as the laboured "Temperance Fairy Tales" of Cruikshank's old age bear to the little-worked Grimm's "Goblins" of his youth. So hazardous is the attempt to repeat an old success! Nevertheless, many of the initial letters to the "Bird's Eye Views" are in the artist's best and most frolicsome manner. "The Foreign Tour of Brown, Jones, and Robinson" is another of his happy thoughts for "Punch;" and some of his most popular designs are to be found in Thackeray's "Newcomes," where his satire and fancy seem thoroughly suited to his text. He has also illustrated Locker's well-known "London Lyrics," Ruskin's "King of the Golden River," and Hughes's "Scouring of the White Horse," from which last the initial at the beginning of this chapter has been borrowed. His latest important effort was the series of drawings called "In Fairy Land," to which Mr. William Allingham contributed the verses.

In speaking of the "Newcomes," one is reminded that its illustrious author was himself a "Punch" artist, and would probably have been a designer alone, had it not been decreed "that he should paint in colours which will never crack and never need restoration." Everyone knows the story of the rejected illustrator of "Pickwick," whom that and other rebuffs drove permanently to letters. To his death, however, he clung fondly to his pencil. In technique he never attained to certainty or strength, and his genius was too quick and creative—perhaps also too desultory—for finished work, while he was always indifferent to costume and accessory. But many of his sketches for "Vanity Fair," for "Pendennis," for "The Virginians," for "The Rose and the Ring," the Christmas books, and the posthumously published "Orphan of Pimlico," have a vigour of impromptu, and a happy suggestiveness which is better than correct drawing. Often the realisation is almost photographic. Look, for example, at the portrait in "Pendennis" of the dilapidated Major as he crawls downstairs in the dawn after the ball at Gaunt House, and then listen to the inimitable context: "That admirable and devoted Major above all,—who had been for hours by Lady Clavering's side ministering to her and feeding her body with everything that was nice, and her ear with everything that was sweet and flattering—oh! what an object he was! The rings round his eyes were of the colour of bistre; those orbs themselves were like the plovers' eggs whereof Lady Clavering and Blanche had each tasted; the wrinkles in his old face were furrowed in deep gashes; and a silver stubble, like an elderly morning dew, was glittering on his chin, and alongside the dyed whiskers, now limp and out of curl." A good deal of this—that fine touch in italics especially—could not possibly be rendered in black and white, and yet how much is indicated, and how thoroughly the whole is felt! One turns to the woodcut from the words, and back again to the words from the woodcut with ever-increasing gratification. Then again, Thackeray's little initial letters are charmingly arch and playful. They seem to throw a shy side-light upon the text, giving, as it were, an additional and confidential hint of the working of the author's mind. To those who, with the present writer, love every tiny scratch and quirk and flourish of the Master's hand, these small but priceless memorials are far beyond the frigid appraising of academics and schools of art.

After Doyle and Thackeray come a couple of well-known artists—John Leech and John Tenniel. The latter still lives (may he long live!) to delight and instruct us. Of the former, whose genial and manly "Pictures of Life and Character" are in every home where good- humoured raillery is prized and appreciated, it is scarcely necessary to speak. Who does not remember the splendid languid swells, the bright-eyed rosy girls ("with no nonsense about them!") in pork pie hats and crinolines, the superlative "Jeames's," the hairy "Mossoos," the music-grinding Italian desperadoes whom their kind creator hated so? And then the intrepidity of "Mr. Briggs," the Roman rule of "Paterfamilias," the vagaries of the "Rising Generation!" There are things in this gallery over which the severest misanthrope must chuckle—they are simply irresistible. Let any one take, say that smallest sketch of the hapless mortal who has turned on the hot water in the bath and cannot turn it off again, and see if he is able to restrain his laughter. In this one gift of producing instant mirth Leech is almost alone. It would be easy to assail his manner and his skill, but for sheer fun, for the invention of downright humorous situation, he is unapproached, except by Cruikshank. He did a few illustrations to Dickens's Christmas books; but his best-known book-illustrations properly so called are to "Uncle Tom's Cabin," the "Comic Histories" of A'Beckett, the "Little Tour in Ireland," and certain sporting novels by the late Mr. Surtees. Tenniel now confines himself almost exclusively to the weekly cartoons with which his name is popularly associated. But years ago he used to invent the most daintily fanciful initial letters; and many of his admirers prefer the serio- grotesque designs of "Punch's Pocket-Book," "Alice in Wonderland," and "Through the Looking-Glass," to the always correctly-drawn but sometimes stiffly-conceived cartoons. What, for example, could be more delightful than the picture, in "Alice in Wonderland," of the "Mad Tea Party?" Observe the hopelessly distraught expression of the March hare, and the eager incoherence of the hatter! A little further on the pair are trying to squeeze the dormouse into the teapot; and a few pages back the blue caterpillar is discovered smoking his hookah on the top of a mushroom. He was exactly three inches long, says the veracious chronicle, but what a dignity!—what an oriental flexibility of gesture! Speaking of animals, it must not be forgotten that Tenniel is a master in this line. His "British Lion," in particular, is a most imposing quadruped, and so often in request that it is not necessary to go back to the famous cartoons on the Indian mutiny to seek for examples of that magnificent presence. As a specimen of the artist's treatment of the lesser felidae, the reader's attention is invited to this charming little kitten from "Through the Looking-Glass."

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