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We must have pure air, to begin with ; freedom to breathe ; power of seeing, unhindered by clouds of smoke and dust. We must have, also, parks and gardens for open-air recreation. We must have, again, public buildings, ample and stately, and rich enough in their ornament to symbolize and to dignify the corporate life. Then our authorities should have and exercise power to deal with street architecture of all kinds, for this exerts a powerful and constant influence for good or evil upon public taste, and through this upon manners and morals. If Art were thought of as it should be, and if municipal powers were sufficient and were rightly exercised, the character of our streets would undergo a marked and rapid change. We should deny, or limit, the right of an individual to disfigure the main thoroughfares of a great town by monstrosities or basenesses in brick, or stone, or plaster, according to the measure of his ignorance, or vulgarity, or parsimony, or lack of the sense of beauty and fitness. Take, for example, such streets as High Street, Exeter, or High Street, Oxford; no man should have the power—now unrestricted in our intense reverence for the rights of property—to demolish at his caprice their characteristic features, or to improve them by building, say a manufactory or other incongruous edifice upon their exquisitely beautiful lines. The railway companies, again, should be put under severe restraint: the Thames, for example, should not be disfigured by the horrible bridges that are run across it; the view of St. Paul's from Ludgate Hill should not be blotted out or hopelessly ruined by the arch of a viaduct. We want, in such matters, a wholesome tyranny. Of course the convenience of the public must be considered, traffic must be carried on, railways and telegraphs must, somewhere or other, cross our streets. But we need not, as we do now, groan under the tasteless rule of the engineers, and their passion for cast iron, and their detestable invention of the girder style. Necessary though these things may be, they can be made, if not perfectly beautiful, at least somewhat less hideous than they are now. It is a misfortune, in some respects, that we are proud of being a practical people, for the worship of the practical is a superstition which kills the desire for beauty, and casts out Art, and turns, sooner or later, from all directions to the shrine of the deity who unites ancient and modern mythology in the common adoration of the God of Riches. He has a wide-reaching priesthood, described by the comprehensive name of the Business Man; and when this personage and his supposed necessities come into contact with Art, then, certainly so far as Art interferes with or hinders him, Art has to give way. It is he who lines our streets with uniform warehouse-like houses, propped up on girders, and built as plainly as possible, to save the cost of space in light and shade, and thickness of wall, and variety of line and projection, which are



essential to all good and picturesque building. It is he who pulls down the relics of antiquity, let them be ever so venerable or so graceful, because by destroying them he can get more rent out of the sites they occupy. He is the person who hangs hideous bunches of telegraph wires across our public ways; it is he who straightens the curved street lines; it is he who throws a railway bridge—a huge tube, or a couple of lofty iron walls—across such a thoroughfare as the Foregate at Worcester; or who, with another such bridge, shuts out the view of St. Paul's from Ludgate Hill; or who spans the Thames with his girders, and puts up vast black yawning sheds of stations on the river bank. He does all this because he knows or cares nothing about Art, and never thinks that the community may care for it, and because he wants to go straight, to save time. To gain ten minutes he would level St. Paul's or Westminster Abbey, or plant a station on the site of Ely, or sweep away Tintern, or turn Valle Crucis into a goods station, or put up a mass of contractor's masonry—as, indeed, he has done-in front of Conway, or cut a railway right through the Lledr Valley, as he is doing now. There are places and occasions on which the business man may, with general advantage, and to his own benefit, if he only knew it, be invited to go round instead of driving right on, through and over everything, and to take his practical ideas, and his straight cuts, and his engineers and their cast-iron girders, along with him; and this is one of the lessons which an Art-knowing and an Art-loving community has to teach him. Indeed, to put it on the very lowest ground, the lesson is worth learning, even for profit's sake. Dwell for a moment upon our street architecture. Practical-minded people—remember, it is they who assume the designation--are much comforted by the spectacle of so many boxes of brick and stone, ranged in regular order side by side, as close as they can be, with openings to go in by and to look out of, and with bits of carving or moulding (very often in plaster, which peels off in patches) stuck on here and there, and mostly where they ought not to be. These boxes are called houses, the openings are described as doors and windows, the bits and dabs of plaster are spoken of as ornaments, and the whole dismal combination is regarded as being solid, comfortable, practical, unpretentious, and

thoroughly English.” Now, in fact, as Mr. Ruskin showed long ago in his Stones of Venice, the so-called practical is really the most absolutely unpractical. At Venice,” he says, “and the cities


" grouped around it, Vicenza, Padua, and Verona, the traveller may ascertain, by actual experience, the effect which would be produced upon the comfort and luxury of daily life by the revival of the Gothic school of architecture. He can still stand upon the marble balcony in the soft summer air, and feel its smooth surface warm from

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the noon-tide, as he leans on it in the twilight; he can still see the strong sweep of the unruined traceries drawn on the deep serenity of the starry sky, and watch the fantastic shadows of the clustered arches shorten in the moonlight on the chequered floor; or he may close the casements fitted to their unshaken shafts against such wintry winds as would have made an English house vibrate to its foundation, and in either case compare their influence on his daily home-feeling with that of the square openings in his English wall. And let him be assured, if he find there is more to be enjoyed in the Gothic window, there is also more to be trusted. It is the best and strongest building, as it is the most beautiful. I am not now speaking of the particular form of the Venetian Gothic, but of the general strength of the pointed arch as opposed to that of the level lintel of the square window; and I plead for the introduction of the Gothic form into our domestic architecture, not merely because it is lovely, but because it is the only form of faithful, strong, enduring, and honourable building, in such materials as come duly to our hands. By increase of scale and cost, it is possible to build, in any style, what will last for ages; but only in the Gothic is it possible to give security and dignity to work wrought with imperfect means and materials.”

Thus, the beautiful and the useful—the true practical work -are united ; and if people who build would only build in this way, thinking for others, and for the general good and improvement, as well as of themselves, then, in street architecture—the commonest and most obvious means of expressing taste—we should have a development of Art in the community for which all of us would be the stronger and the better, and in due time the community itself might rise to the dignity of its dwelling-places. Local authorities, surely, might be invested with some control over this matter, and over the materials as well as the design of building. There is a chance now of trying to exercise some such influence, in the new streets which are being made in London and other towns under the Artisans' Dwellings Act. Here the corporations may make themselves owners of the sites, and, in letting them for building, may impose their own conditions on the character, style, and material of the edifices to be erected. They may also secure, what are much

, needed in all large towns, open spaces, adorned with trees and flowerbeds, with fountains and statues : oases in the deserts of brick and stone-places of rest for the aged, and of healthful play for the children, and of recreation and enjoyment for citizens of all classes. This is work which the community, by means of its recognised authorities, may easily do for Art, if it is so minded. also take care to see that while public edifices, for the business of the community, are made stately without, they are also made beautiful as well as commodious within. These works of internal decoration may take any range you will, may be simple or

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elaborate, costly or inexpensive ; but they should always be found wherever the corporate life has to be expressed, or the corporate business to be conducted. Even the roughest elements of the most turbulent popular assemblies are all the better—are, indeed, insensibly educated — by such decoration. Most of our great towns have histories which, with honour and profit, are capable of being recorded in pictorial decorations of their public edifices. Manchester links our modern days with the earliest in our history, for it was a Roman station, and then a fortified place in early English times; and it was for a while the head-quarters of the Pretender, when England was last threatened with military revolution. These are events worthy of commemoration, and so are the leading incidents of its later history—the Reform struggles at the beginning of this century; the Anti-Corn Law agitation; the rise and progress of its great textile industry; the eminent men who have conferred lustre upon its annals. Liverpool, a free borough so far back as the thirteenth century, furnishes subjects of illustration in abundance in the development of its magnificent commerce, and the birth of the great system of navigation which constitutes a daily union between the old world and the new. Birmingham might record with honest pride the help its people gave to Simon de Montfort in the great war of the barons, its gallant resistance to Prince Rupert in the civil wars, its powerful demonstrations in the Reform period of 1832,

, and the contests and victories, greater even than these, endured or won by its most notable citizens—by Priestley over bigotry and prejudice, by Watt and Boulton in the application of steam to industry, and by Murdock in the invention of gas.

There is other work, too, that might be done in the same direction with advantage—the formation of museums of Industrial Art adapted to the staple trades of each community : gold and silver work, jewellery, brass and iron, and arms in Birmingham — thanks to the liberality of the gun trade, the last named is already richly provided in a special museum ; cutlery, ancient and modern, in Sheffield ; pottery in Stoke, and Hanley, and Burslem (where the Wedgwood Institute has made a good beginning); lace at Nottingham and Norwich; carpets at Kidderminster; ribbons and watches at Coventry; cottons at Manchester; and woollen fabrics at Leeds. In such work a revival of the old trade guilds might take an honourable and useful part; no longer confining and restricting trade, but helping to bring together all the best examples of ancient work from which anything has to be learned, and of modern work to illustrate progress, to correct mistakes, and to stimulate honourable rivalry with foreign competitors.

These are some of the means of cultivating Art in the community, and of bringing it home to the minds and hearts of the people. There are others, familiar to most of us. Picture exhibitions, for example—not merely great collections, hung closely, good and bad together, and left to tell their own story; but selections of a few great pictures, so hung as to be seen separately, and explained to the less instructed by competent critics, from time to time, in public lectures. Collections, again, of special works—drawings, etchings, engravings—such as those which have been, to their great honour, brought together by the Burlington Fine Arts Club in London, and by the Liverpool Art Club. In the churches, again, and in all places of worship, there is ample scope for effort by covering the walls with suitable pictures, by stained glass in the windows, by carving and other decorations-gifts for which individuals, in the true spirit of sacrifice, might well make themselves responsible. In the theatres, also, Art in the community might be materially helped by care and thought in the production of scenes, painted as works of Art, perfected in detail, and thus conveying solid lessons to those who can be instructed in no better way.

While much might and should be done by corporate effort, or by those whose business is intimately associated with Art, we must, after all, in the present state of our knowledge, and with our present organization, rely to a great extent upon personal and individual effort. The idea of the community should be present to the minds of our richer classes, so that from private stores and accumulations something might be spared for the general benefit. It is lamentable to note the growth and dispersion of a noble collection of picturesbrought together with infinite pains and labour, kept in privacy during the owner's life, and then, at his death, broken up in the saleroom, and scattered throughout the land. It is too much, perhaps, to ask that such collections may be dedicated to the public—though Vernon, and Sheepshanks, and Ellis set admirable examples of such devotion ; but, at least, the man who has taken pride in the formation

; of a gallery might spare some example of a great master for the benefit of his countrymen or his townsfolk. By such means inadequate corporate funds might be helped and supplemented, or set free for use in other ways. When we think of the private wealth of our great towns, of the fortunes made in them, of the millionaires who grow silently, and whose accumulations are revealed to the admiration and envy of the country after their death, we cannot but reflect with sadness upon the rarity of the instances in which any portion of such wealth is devoted to the benefit of the vast numbers of poorer people who have helped to make it. There is no considerable town in England in which there are not some people who, without feeling the loss themselves, or without injuring their families, could build a picture gallery, or give the public some fine work of Art, or decorate a building, or lay out a park or a garden, or endow a library with precious collections, or in numberless other ways--


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