21 JANUARY 1843, Page 12


good earnest upon purifying our churches. Having got the movement against pews fairly under weigh, it is now directing its thunder against sepulchral monu- ments. Minerva and Victory are denounced as desecrations of Christian temples, and from the sacred walls each " parting genius is with sighing sent." And it must be admitted that these Pagan divinities are strangely out of place there. For this, however, there is reason to believe that the poverty of our artists' invention is more to blame than any other cause. It does not appear that there is sufficient evidence for accusing those who erected the heathenish monuments in St. Paul's of any deliberate intention to subvert the

Christian religion. The scandal will be less effectually dealt with by the divine than by the real artist. The poets of the earlier middle ages not unfrequently made a strange mixture of Christian sentiment and imagery. As the public taste became cultivated, a higher class of poets arose ; and they in turn completed the msthetical education of the public. So will it be as soon as we have a school ofartists able to strike out original designs, instead of perpetually reproducing effects which have pleased at the hands of their great predecessors—playing continual variations upon one or two popular tunes. A really great sculptor will devise monuments in harmony with the feelings and opinions of his age, instead of copying the conventional allegories of an extinct faith. A few of the single statues which are to be found in our churches or other public buildings are creditable specimens of portrait-sculpture ; but the groups are, with scarcely an exception, monuments not of the person to whom they are understood to be dedicated, but of the low state of the art at the time they were erected.