FINE ARTS. ILLUSTRATED BOOKS.
THE inducements which the completeness, elegance, cheapness, and Periodical publication of the various reprints of our classic authors bold out to purchasers, are not their best recommendation in our eyes. It is the strong temptation they offer to the purchasers to become readers also, that makes us welcome their recurrent appearance. He must be a man of small leisure and strong disinclination indeed who can resist the attractions of a neat duodecimo, with its full yet invit- ing pages of bold clear type. The beautiful embellishments of the frontispiece carry you as it were over the threshold of the book, to see if the picture without gives a correct idea of the contents within ; and if the designer should prove to have disappointed the eye, the author more than compensates for it by laying hold of the fancy. In this point of view the pictures are an aid as well as an ornament ; and we prefer an indifferent design to none at all. The embellishments to the republication of Rogers's Poetical Works need no such qualification. They embody the ideal pictures of the poet, or at least scenes and persons akin to them. STOTHARD'S charming groups of meek-eyed maidens, graceful swains, and lovely little urchins, disporting ill cmhowered retreats, shadow forth the delightful serenity of the Golden Age. TURNER's ultra-picturesque and gorgeous pencil is subdued to the sober quality of those peaceful and homefelt scenes which form so principal a part of the " Pleasures of Memory." The illustrations of ROGERS are not limited to a frontispiece to each number; vignettes, and head and tail pieces, enrich the text at every break. LAWRENCE'S refined and characteristic sketch of the poet faces the title in the First Part. The hnpressiens of this new issue of plates are perfect. The illustrations of Munn:ors edition of oswell's Life of Johnson are valuable as graphic documents as well as pictorial ornaments. A full-length portrait of the Leviathan of Letters, "in his habit as he lived," with bowed head and raised hand—the habitual action of the intense and eloquent eolloquist—faces the title; which gives us a lively and real-looking view, by the faithful pencil of STANFIELD, of the fine old house in the market.place of Lichfield where JOHNSON was born. We have besides a fac-simile of a curious old print representing the well-walk at Tunbridge Wells with the most remarkable charac- ters among its visiters introduced on the promenade. The portly figure of COLLEY Cruses, the dapper person of GARRICK, and the dumpy form of RICHARDSON, are more recognizable than Dr. JOHNSON, who at this time had not acquired the bulk that he shows in the frontispiece.
The embellishments of COLBURN'S Modern Novelists are finely en- graved, and JOHN WRIGHT'S designs are improving. The vignette in the title to the First Volume of O'Donnel IS graceful, simple, and ex. pressive ; and the portrait of Lady MORGAN is a characteristic like- miss of the authoress at the time when the novel was written. But the vignette to the Second Volume of 13uLwea's Pelham is not happier than that of the first. Tle frontispiece might furnish H. B. with an idea for a sketch of Lord JOHN RUSSELL listening to the suggestions of the genius of Radicalism : it is intended to represent Glanville re- ceiving the confession of his distracted mistress. Why will artists choose such painful subjects, and those that if not perfect in their treatment become ludicrous ? Perhaps the failure in this instance may rest with the engraver. The artist is safer in embellishments of a scenic character, where the general effect has only to be preserved in the copy ; or in portraits, where the face being on a larger scale, and its expression more distinctly defined, the engraver has less room to err.
Such are those of Scott's Prose Works. The landscapes, actual and ideal, are by TURNER ; who gives us two striking and spirited sketches of scenes of the Life of NAFOLEON,—namely, the exercises of the boy troops at Brienne, and the battle of Piacenza; besides more peaceful views of the localities ; Napoleon's lodging on the Quai Conti ; the Hotel de Ville, Paris; the A unphitheatre at Verona; St. Murk's Place, Venice ; which are all characterized by his usual variety and power of effect. The vignette to the last volume (the Eleventh) gives a very vivid scenic picture of the shooting of the Due d'Enghien in the ditch of the fortress of Vincennes, by torch-light. In the view of Napoleon's lodging, the broad and simple way in which the house is represented, yet with picturesque effect, exemplifies the skill of the artist, almost as much as the more elaborate scenes. Isa ers's miniature portrait of the First Consul shows, in the admirable engraving of CHARLES ROLLS, the piercing look and fixed purpose of the man of action. Apropos of portraits. With the Thirty-fourth Number of the Gately of _Portraits, brought out under the superintendence of the Useful Knowledge Society, is a most satisfactory refutation of the in- sinuations of their incorrectness, made by a weekly journal, and of their inferiority, by the publisher of Lonee's Portraits. The only error that has occurred is shown to have been a misnomer, that was immediately corrected by the substitution of another plate ; which circumstance gave the first information of the error to the journal that made it the foundation of an attack upon the character of the work generally. If any proof be needed of the cure and expense with which the work is got up, beyond that afforded by the fidelity, spirit, and finish of the en- gravings themselves, the names of the artists employed to copy the original pictures may suffice. The high reputation, for executive skill, of Messrs. WITIIERINGTON, FRADELLE, and Buss, is sufficient guano:- tee for the truth of the copies, in conjunction with the superintendeni e of the Society. Having spoken rather of the illustrations than of the books illus- trated, we may as well include under this head the Landscape Illustra- tions (g' the Bible. Part XIII. introduces a new name among the artists engaged. LINTON has furnished an interior of the Mamertime Prison at Rome, certainly one of the oldest buildings in the city, and venerated by the credulous as the actual dungeon wheie:n the Apostles Paul and Peter were confined. In his view of Puteoli, showing the piers of the Mole of Caligula, LINTON has forgotten the horizon. We have seen views with two horizons, but rarely any without one : the water therefore looks as if it went up-hill. By the way, the solidity and squareness of the piers of this mole, which are erected in 80 feet water, show the ancients to have known something more of the art of bridge-building than we do. Neither caissons nor cofferdams were used in those days, we presume. HARDING'S view of the renowned cedars of Lebanon is picturesque ; but the size of the figures in the fOreground has the effect of diminishing the magnitude of the trees, which therefore do not come up to the idea of their size excited by the description. In STANFIELD'S view of the Areopagus at Athens, where St. Paul preached, the dimensions of the fragnients in the fore- ground also cause Mars Hill to dwindle into insignificance : this is making " Ossa like a wart" indeed. TURNER manages these things better.