11 DECEMBER 1841, Page 19

We may here mention, that the occasion of our visit

to the School of Design was to see some specimens of French Paper Hangings and Silk Draperies, that Mr. DYCE has recently brought over for the use of the pupils. It is impossible not to be struck with the great superiority in the design and colours of the patterns of paper, and the lively and ele- gant effect produced by simple means : one or two colours only are employed in most instances, with the addition of silver or gold ; yet the richness of some is equal to our most gaudy papers, while for chasteness and fancy they are unrivalled. The foliage, or scroll, is never shaded so as to imitate relief, as in our barbarous fashion ; but all is flat orna- ment. A Moresque scroll of dark-blue, on a silver ground, is particu- larly novel and beautiful : the imitations of thread lace falling over pink linen, and of damask pattern, in paper, are illusory. The silk draperies are sumptuous in effect ; and some of the worsted, with yellow silk in- troduced, to imitate the appearance of gold, are gorgeous. Yet all these splendid hangings, resembling brocade in richness of colour and sub- stance, are made with an economy of material that excites the surprise of English weavers; one of whom stated that the fabric could not be imitated by our artisans. Thus, not only in taste, but ingenuity, do the French manufacturers surpass us in the ornamental branches of work- manship. Let us hope that the Schools of Design will soon put our mechanics on a level with their Continental rivals, by educating a class of artist-workmen. As a preliminary step towards applying the 10,0001., voted by Parliament for the establishment of Provincial Schools of De- sign, letters have been sent to the Mayors of the different towns, asking for information as to the want of these schools, and the efforts, if any, made to supply them.

But all these specimens, and all the dexterity of band in drawing, acquired by the pupils, will be of little avail,,if the working-men are not taught to understand the principles of art on which the beauty or ugli- ness of the designs depend: for to be able to produce any thing original, or even a variety of what is good without spoiling it, and to avoid what is distasteful, a designer must thoroughly understand in what beauty or ugliness in the work consists. It is this acquaintance with first prin- ciples that has enabled foreign manufacturers to surpass us: in their schools the science of design is taught, though not so completely as is desirable.