4 JUNE 1853, Page 18



The Department of Science and Art—to which title, judging from the Catalogue, that of "Practical Art," objected to by Mr. Dyce, seems to have been altered—has obtained from the Royal Commissioners for the Exhibition of 1851 permission to use Gore House for the dis- play of two collections, distinct, but connected : the first consisting of specimens of cabinet-work, furniture, tapestry, &c., lent by various owners, among whom the Queen is conspicuous; the second, of works the production of students in the schools of art receiving Parliament- ary grants. Thus are brought together distinguished examples of what has been accomplished aforetime, and the suggestions and experiments of what is to succeed it in the present age. In the former section, "the styles principally represented "—as Mr. Redgrave remarks in an introduction to the Catalogue—" are Italian, German, French, and English Renaissance, sixteenth and seventeenth century; and French furniture of the period of Louis XIV and XV, and the latter period of the French monarchy, until the end of the last oen- tury," Of medieval works there is scarcely a trace. We think this much to be regretted ; for although it may be undeniable that furniture proper, of a date anterior to the Tudor period, was scanty at the time, and has become scantier, and that specimens of Tudor furniture "are chiefly to be found in houses at a distance from the Metropolis, and are inconvenient for removal on account of size and dilapidated condition," yet a variety of vessels and objects, not without their equivalents here of later ages, might beyond question have been obtained. The grace which accompanies the finish of their elaboration, and their defined con- sistent type, would have contrasted only too favourably with the pre- vailing character of the styles represented in the collection ; where, generally speaking, lumbering form compounded of incongruities labours under an excrescence of tasteless ornament. There are, of course, ex- ceptions, and continual instances in which, though both framework and system of decoration may be bad, beauty of workmanship or costliness of material atones to a great extent for other deficiencies. Some of the mosaic inlayinga are astonishing for characteristic invention, pliancy and truth of design, and gorgeous brilliancy of colour. Rare indeed are the cases in which that highest and choicest beauty, simplicity of form, exists ; but it is to be found here and there in some of the articles which most obviously demand it—such as vases and tables. Of the tapestries, the best is the oldest—of a date about 1480, coming from Knole, and treating a legend of St. Veronica with a great deal of character and ex- pression. Much may be learned by our designers, and considerable be- nefit may result from the liberal manner in which the owners of the several works have come forward,—provided it be constantly borne in mind that study must not merge into imitation ; that past styles, even when they deserve to be revived, which is not often the case, cannot be forced upon the public ; and that they generally supply less instruction in the thing done than in the method of doing it. To pass to the second part of the collection. The works of the stu- dents come from the principal seats of industry in the United King- dom, under a requisition for "a limited number of studies for annual inspection and competition." The course of instruction is divided into twenty-four "stages," but only thirteen of these are represented here,—anatomy, ornament in colour, flowers painted from nature, compositions and studies of colour of shells, birds, and natural ob- jects, the figure painted from casts, the figure in colour painted from flat examples, ornaments modelled from casts, the figure modelled, flowers and fruit modelled from nature, studies from life, elementary design, applied design, and fabrics in metal. In the third and fourth of these stages we observed various satisfactory specimens ; the Me- tropolitan Female School and the School of the Potteries showing well. The painted figures, whether from the round or the flat, are not very cheering. The applied designs include many of excellent taste and skill, for cat pets, dresses, paperings, &c., with some carried out in the material itself. There are but two fabrics in metal, both from Sheffield ; one of which, a medallion of James Montgomery, is a work of great spirit and talent. As a general rule, the ladies are fully a match for the male students. Nor is the display as a whole by any means discouraging. Industry is apparent, invention not deficient, taste more noticeable per- haps in the designs adaptative of Nature's forms than in the direct imita- tions: and the former is the object of the schools.

The great feature of this section, however, is a series of eleven studies from the life by Mr. Mulready—taken, some very recently, in the Life School of the Royal Academy. Admirable indeed are these for force united to the utmost delicacy, unassailable drawing, the individuality of portraiture, the literality of studies, and yet with all this a tone which one scarcely knows whether to call more grand or more poetical. Higher models could not have been placed before the student. Mr. Townsend has presented also seven very "full, true, and particular" drawings in comparative anatomy. We may add, that there is a good deal of sound and precise criticism in Mr. Redgrave's introduction to the Catalogue, and in the remarks which the compiler, Mr. J. C. Robinson, inserts. The terms of admission are sixpence on Mondays and Tuesdays, half-a-crown on Saturdays, and a shilling on the remaining days, with the privilege to all visitors of en- tering the gardens of Gore House for the two ensuing months, and of making drawings and sketches from the objects contributed.