13 MARCH 1852, Page 10


On Thursday, Mr. Leighton delivered a lecture on the process of colour- ' printing which has lately become so familiar to the artistic and so po- pular with the unartistic public, through the specimens of Mr. Baxter and others in the shop-windows. After reviewing the progress of the art from its first samples in the printing of tinted blocks to its more elaborate developments in the last and in the caner portion of the present century, the lecturer noticed, as first in date among the living representatives of the process, Mr. Baxter— whose patent contemplates the printing of colour over an original neu- tral tint ; whereas, in Mr. Leighton's own system, and others, the en- graving, which requires frequently not fewer than twenty stones or blocks, is printed upon the colours. The connexion of Messrs. Reynolds, Gregory, and Co. with Mr. Cundall, the Bond Street publisher, was next touched on. In their works wood-blocks were substituted for copper-plates- which are retained by the patent of Mr. Baxter ; the chief objection against whom the lecturer finds in his mechanical effects, the too evident symptom of means rather than end. Messrs. Leighton discontinued the printing of the outline in colour—using either stone, metal, or wood, for their primary sketches.

The remainder of the lecture—which was illustrated with a practical demonstration of the process—consisted chiefly of an exposition of the difficulties of the art, and the caution required to obviate ill success ; and the necessity of observing a particular order in the succession of colours was prominently enforced. The figure of a young girl in a costume of last century—one of the best known examples of the chromatic printing— is the result of eleven stones of various colour.

The lecture was followed by a discussion, one of the speakers in which expressed an opinion nearly enough resembling our own—that the print- ing in colours popularizes art of moderate quality, but that it is not with- in its compass to elevate or im_prove art.