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his happier judgment seemed often on the point of vanquishing allegory, but the dark abstraction always prevailed. Forms which came without the pain of study or the labour of meditation, were made too welcome; he was ambitious of finding a new labour for Hercules, and a Christian employment for Minerva. Nor was he content with the common circulating medium of allegory; he added new figures, without succeeding in making us understand them. His ingenuity in letting us into the secret of his meaning was something in the way of a badge or label; a pot with a sensitive plant indicated the statue of Sensibility. Bacon's skill in workmanship was great, and he never spared it. His draperies are too fluttering and voluminous. His monuments are crowded with figures, and overloaded with auxiliary symbols. British lions, horns of plenty, and idle boys abound.
But let us conclude with praise: Bacon's statue of Samuel Johnson is an excellent work—stern, severe, full of surly thought and conscious power: and his Howard has the look of the philanthropist. The limbs, arms and necks of both are naked; but the sentiment overcomes historical inaccuracy. These statues stand atvtbe entrance to the choir of St. Paul's; and Johnson with his scroll, and Howard with his key, have been mistaken for St. Paul and St. Peter.
Bankes with some poetry in his nature failed in impressing it strongly on his productions. He dismissed all the idle pageantry with which Wilton and Bacon had overlaid their monuments, and sought to make a few figures express an intelligible story. His allegories—for artists were long in learning to tell in a simple way that a man died for his country—his allegories are obvious, or at least not easy to be mistaken. Victory crowns Captain Westcott with laurel —and Victory gives Captain Burgess her sword. There are two monuments and but four figures, yet no artist has contrived with such small means to give so much offence. Only think of Victory, a modest well dressed lady, presenting a sword to a naked gentleman!—historical truth and national delicacy are alike wounded. He thought that dress concealed sentiment, and that his hero had only to be naked to be heroic. He was ever aspiring after simplicity and loftiness—had a profound contempt for all that was modern, and thought that the charm of the antique arose from its nudity. The present costume of our country is much more comfortable than poetic, nor is it to be compared for a moment with the flowing robes of the Asiatic Greeks. Yet in a monument which pretends to record history, there should be some little attempt at historical accuracy. No British warriors carry antique shields—wear sandals—or go naked into battle. Bankes, however, did sometimes condescend to court British na»ture— tare—his figure of the daughter of Sir Brooke Boothby is the first of that kind of domestic sculpture, or rather it is a revival in a better taste of the old natural monuments in our churches. Were such a figure produced now it would be forgotten in a day—r, but a work which was the forerunner of such excellence as Flaxman and Chantrey have exhibited, merits a different fate. Of his statue of Achilles mourning the loss of Briseis he was justly vain: it merits to be in marble. But the English people should not be reproached for want of taste in not admiring it. Achilles cannot force himself on our affections; and our sculptors have themselves to blame for not having discovered the fact long ago. tannia can do to show her sorrow for her sons; and Neptune fishes their bodies out of the sea that Fame may fly over them with her laurel. The workmanship only wants a good subject. When Nollekens ceased to make busts he ceased to interest us— he is feeble and unimaginative—but place the head of a man of sense before him, and all that nature had given, and no more, he could transfer to his marble. He studied at Rome, but a man who takes moderate genius thither cannot expect to bring much excellence away. Young artists are all eager to have an impulse given to their minds at the ancient school of sculpture; and perhaps they are right—for our noblemen and gentlemen often give commissions to talent when they find it in Rome, which they would allow to starve at home.
The bust sculpture of Nollekens is deservedly esteemed. This popular branch of the art, when confined to legislators, warriors, orators, and poets, becomes the handmaid of history; but the calls of vanity bring a thousand heads to the sculptor's chissel, which have no other claim to distinction than what money purchases, while a man of genius contents himself with the fame of his productions, and is either too poor or too careless to confer a marble image of his person on posterity. Nollekens, like Bankes, had the ambition to introduce a purer and more tasteful style of art, but the works on which he expended his invention and employed his skill, promise to make but an ungrateful return. His busts, which he considered as the mere small change that enabled him to buy his marble and pay his men, will alone preserve his name. In his well known Venus he strove hard with the antique—in his statue of Pitt he aspired to give an historical image of English mind, and in his monument to the three Captains, Manners, Bayne and Blair, he sought to outdo the works of Roubiliac and Bacon. He has not succeeded in any of these attempts. His Venus wants the great charm of original thought and natural propriety of action. A handsome limb and a fine body will not carry a sculptor through without higher qualities. The goddess is dropping incense on her hair from a bottle, and looking aside. Had he made her comb her locks like the ladies in the old ballads, she might have done with her eyes what she pleased; but in pouring out liquid the eye must aid the hand. We see that the action requires such attention, and the absence of it has spoiled the statue. Pitt is too theatrical—he is standing and looking with all his might—the action passes the bounds of self-possession and clear-headed thought. By the judicious use of the university gown—the statue belongs to Cambridge—the more incurable parts of modern dress are concealed, and Nollekens has fairly earned the rare praise of having used modern costume like a man of taste. His monument to the Three Captains has all that art in the absence of genius c;m give.. Britannia does all that Bri
In Flaxman's mind the wish to work in the classic style of Greece and the love to work in the original spirit of England have held a long and an equal war, sometimes forming natural and beautiful unions, and often keeping purely and elegantly asunder. To the aid of his art he brought a loftier and more poetical mind than any of our preceding sculptors—and learning unites with good sense and natural genius in all the works which come from his hand. He has penetrated with a far deeper sense of the majesty of Homer, into the Iliad and Odyssey, than Canova, who dedicated his whole life to the renovation of the antique, nor has he failed to catch the peculiar inspiration of whatever poet his fancy selected for illustration. We do not mean to say that he has entered into all the minute graces—the more evanescent and elusive qualities, those happinesses of thought and elegant negligences of nature which are subordinate to the ruling sentiment whether of heroism or of pathos. But we feel that he has never failed to reflect a true general image of the great original—we see the same grave majesty and the same simplicity, and we own the group at once as the offspring of the spirit of Homer, iEschylus, or Dante. These works have spread the fame of Flaxmau far and wide—for they fly where marble cannot be carried; they have given the world a high idea of the present genius of England. On the bulk of his works in marble he has impressed the same serene and simple spirit—he always thinks justly, his conceptions are all inspired by strong sense and by the severer part of poetic feeling. But his workmanship is often slovenly and his draperies heavy. His statues trust entirely to the sentiment they visibly express, they can have little fame from the subordinate graces of careful execution. The sculptor's conception triumphs over the negligences of his hand, and possessed, as he is, of the loftier part, he seems unsolicitous about the lesser. But in all the works of great minds he will see, and we are sure he has
seen, that though they have often dashed off at a lucky hit, at one heat of the fancy, many of their finest designs, yet they have never neglected the charms of finished workmanship. Michael Angelo and Flaxman are the only two sculptors who, with genius for the minute as well as the grand, have dared sometimes to be remiss, and leave sentiment to make its way without the accompanying graces of skilful labour. Like other artists of his time our countryman deals in Britannias and Muses, and Historys and Minervas, but his learning and his poetry enable him to confine allegory to its own proper employment. His abstract ideas at least labour in character—Valour buries not the slain, Victory digs no graves, and Ocean never comes far inland. He makes such figures the quiet, the thoughtful occupants of a monument, looking sentiment rather than acting it. But these are labours too cold for genius like his :—:to express one thing by means of another is a way of getting rid of a difficulty which invention such as Flaxman's ought to despise. The sculptor, who speaks by means of ideas done in marble, works with very limited materials. What can Valour do but win a battle?—Victory can only hover over a general or perch on a standard—Wisdom can at the best sit still and look wise. The fancy of Flaxman is prolific, his works are scattered largely abroad, and, though far advanced in life, he still works with all the eagerness and enthusiasm of youth.
Westmacott has shared largely in public and in private favour, and some of the most expensive of our monuments have been confided to his talents. He has in so far profited by the wise example of West and the good sense of Flaxman, obeyed the admonition of our cold climate, and respected the blushes of our ladies—and clothed some of his works in the costume of the country. He has tried the allegorical, the natural, and the poetical, and to which of them he is most devoted it is impossible to guess. His nature is rather heavy, his allegories somewhat startling, aud his poetry deficient in elegance and simplicity. We like his nature the best. In his Hindoo Girl there is a certain wildness of eye; the stamp of a remote land is upon her: and in his Widowed Mother and Child he has attained the pathos of truth. A little more, not of workmanship alone, but of genius, and those works would have been excellent. We would advise him to go to Westminster Abbey, and instantly remove the stick and bundle of rags from the feet of his Widowed Mother: they mingle vulgarity with her look of sorrow, and spoil the sweetest group he ever executed. His allegory we cannot endure—no man can be much gratified with what he cannot well understand, and even when we have pondered out Mr. Westmacott's meaning, our toil has no reward in pleasure. We stood and looked on his Collihg
Vol. xxxiv. No. Lxvii. i wood
wood stretched cold on the deck of that ship which had so often borne him to victory, and watched, as we imagined, by the guardian angel of his country; and said in our hearts—'This is poetical.' But we were mistaken. It is a Fame and not an Angel that guards the admiral's body, while a large figure, a Neptune or a Father Thames, lies dry and comfortable on the sea-side gazing on the melancholy spectacle. This poverty of invention is not redeemed by any particular beauty of workmanship.
His poetical work from Horace was made rather in ignorance of the limit of his art. The vision of the poet was bold and graphic, and the images which made it glow in verse were objects beautiful for their varied colours rather than their form. But it is by form and sentiment alone that sculpture lives: the winding motion of a snake with its vivid hues, its glittering eye and poisonous tongue are all matters for poetry and not for marble; the snake of the sculptor is nolonger the snake of the poet, when stript of its gorgeous emblazonry. But human character is the same in both, and men can recognize in marble the female beauty which they have felt in verse. The severity of sculpture rejects all that owes its importance to colour. A lady arrayed in gems and jewels, and all the pride of elaborate dress, shines on the painter's canvass: but transfer her to marble, and all those accessories become deformities. Her rings, rubies, diamonds, her Vandyke capes, her clasps, tags, tassels—we make sad work, we are afraid, among these toys, but we shall be understood—all these are converted into lumps of dull stone which sparkle no longer, but only pull the fair form of the lady down. She is no longer a breathing figure of flesh and blood—her diamonds catch no lustre from her skin, nor communicate any to it: the rubies in her ears no longer glitter as she goes, and the pearls and gold glance no more amidst her ringlets:—woman, woman alone, with all her pomp laid aside, is the study for the sculptor.
The statues of this artist merit some attention; they are numerous, and they are all historically correct with regard to portraiture ; but their costume is of a mixed nature, sometimes of a Roman, sometimes of an English character, yet neither the one nor the other in perfection. The antique part wants graceful simplicity, the modern is inclined to be coarse; he is unable to vanquish the obstinate flaps, lappels and kneebands of English dress. The statue of Addison is not ill imagined: yet it wants somehow the general air of a gentleman, and the feet are, we fear, too heavy to be moved by the legs without pain. Of his Pitt we cannot judge; it stands so high in Westminster Abbey and in so dark a place as to be secure from criticism. The statue of Fox is a dull and clumsy performance. That of the late Lord Erskine has a