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they have explained them in their own way, but their conclusions can be shown by the infallible light of science to be entirely illusory and contrary to the facts of the case.
They have had to account for the changes on the supposition that the pigment, Indian red, exercised some malign action on the indigo with which it was mixed, and they assert that the latter pigment, if employed in connection with other reds, such as Venetian or light red, would have undergone no change; but as a matter of fact all these three pigments, as Professor Church has shown, are only slightly varied tints of almost the same substance-simple iron ochre, a certainly innocuous and inert substance, which can exercise no decomposing influence whatever on any other colour.
The real explanation is that whilst these reds are permanent and unfading colours, the indigo, at all events as it was prepared in those days, was a highly fugacious colour, and under the influence of light is has often entirely disappeared, leaving indeed not a trace of its existence behind. At the same time, as further evidence that light, not chemical action, has been the cause of this disappearance, it may be mentioned that there are many drawings to be found in which exactly the same pigments have been employed, but which, having always been kept in portfolios away from the light, still remain in their pristine condition, exhibiting no appearance whatever of change.
I had intended to go especially into the question of the state of conservation of the drawings of the greatest of all watercolourists-Turner-but space warns me to be brief. Now I yield to no man in my admiration of that immortal artist, and the undeniable deterioration of his admirable drawings has long been a source of pain and regret to me. It was, then, with no little surprise that I found myself taken to task in the Times by no less an authority than Mr. Ruskin for having alluded to the faded condition of the beautiful Turner drawings exhibited at the last Royal Academy winter exhibition. So far as I could understand the gist of Mr. Ruskin's letter it was to minimise or call in question the reality of the changes in the Turner drawings, which nevertheless were only too obvious, and had notoriously been the subject of universal discussion by hundreds and thousands of sympathetic and disinterested observers.
In regard to this matter, however, I cannot do better than call in the assistance of a high authority who had repeatedly brought this subject to public notice years before, and that in so lucid and emphatic a manner as to dispense me entirely from adding anything further of my own. I shall, then, in bringing this paper to a conclusion, simply quote and fully endorse the statements and opinions so well expressed by my fellow labourer and predecessor in the field.
In the Literary Gazette of November 13, 1858, this writer,
after describing the particular method of preserving the watercolour drawings of Turner from the influence of light, says
You will find that the officers of the Louvre and the British Museum refuse to expose their best drawings or missal pages to light, in consequence of ascertained damage received by such drawings as have been already exposed; and among the works of Turner I am prepared to name an example in which the frame having protected a portion whilst the rest was exposed, the covered portion is still rich and lovely in colours, whilst the exposed spaces are reduced in some parts nearly to white paper and the colour in general to a dull brown. . . .
Again, Turner's drawings, now national property,
were all kept by him in tight bundles or in clasped books; and all the drawings so kept are in magnificent preservation, appearing as if they had just been executed, whilst every one of those which have been in the possession of purchasers and exposed in frames are now faded in proportion to the time and degree of their exposure; the lighter hues disappearing, especially from the skies, so as sometimes to leave hardly a trace of the cloud forms. For instance, the great Yorkshire series is, generally speaking, merely the wreck of what it once was. That water-colour drawings are not injured by darkness is also sufficiently proved by the exquisite preservation of missal paintings, when the books containing them have been little used.
Eighteen years after the above remarks appeared the same writer reaffirmed his convictions on the subject in a letter which appeared in the Daily Telegraph (July 5, 1876). He there tells us again of the proper way to preserve the drawings of Turner. They are to be framed and glazed, and kept, when they are not actually being looked at, in portable cabinets, where they are
never exposed to the light. . . . Thus taken care of, and thus shown, the drawings may be a quite priceless possession to the people of England for the next five centuries; whereas those exhibited in the Manchester Exhibition were virtually destroyed in that single summer. There is not one of them but is the mere wreck of what it was. I do not choose to name destroyed drawings in the possession of others; but I will name the vignette of the Plains of Troy in my own, which had half the sky baked out of it in that fatal year, and the three drawings of Richmond (Yorkshire), Egglestone Abbey, and Langharne Castle, which have had, by former exposure to light, their rose colours entirely destroyed, and half of their blues, leaving nothing safe but the brown. . . . The public may, therefore, at their pleasure treat their Turner drawings as a large exhibition of fireworks, see them explode, clap their hands, and have done with them; or they may treat them as an exhaustless library of noble learning.
Lastly, in a brief note which appeared in the Daily Telegraph of July 19, 1876, still the same writer repeats 'that no watercolour work of value should ever be constantly exposed to light.'
Now what is the name of this outspoken and, as I hold, most discerning writer? None other than John Ruskin! 2
The cloud forms, which have disappeared from the drawings, may be seen in the engravings.
2 For further and equally explicit utterances in the same sense, see Arrows of the Chase, 1880 section 4.
Surely, then, some counterfeit Ruskin must have penned these lines in the Times of April 14 this year :—
Out of direct sunlight it (a water-colour drawing) will show no failing on your room wall till you need it no more. . . . We may wisely spend our money for true pleasures that will last our time or last even a very little part of it; and the highest price of a drawing which contains in it the continuous delight of years cannot be thought extravagant as compared to that we are willing to give for a melody that expires in an hour.
Truly, the worth of a Turner drawing set against that of a single tune on the fiddle!
J. C. ROBINSON.
THERE were many poets in the age of Shakespeare who make us think, as we read them, that the characters in their plays could not have spoken more beautifully, more powerfully, more effectively, under the circumstances imagined for the occasion of their utterance: there are only two who make us feel that the words assigned to the creatures of their genius are the very words they must have said, the only words they could have said, the actual words they assuredly did say. Mere literary power, mere poetic beauty, mere charm of passionate or pathetic fancy, we find in varying degrees dispersed among them all alike; but the crowning gift of imagination, the power to make us realize that thus and not otherwise it was, that thus and not otherwise it must have been, was given-except by exceptional fits and starts -to none of the poets of their time but only to Shakespeare and to Webster.
Webster, it may be said, was but as it were a limb of Shakespeare: but that limb, it might be replied, was the right arm. "The kinglycrowned head, the vigilant eye,' whose empire of thought and whose reach of vision no other man's faculty has ever been found competent to match, are Shakespeare's alone for ever: but the force of hand, the fire of heart, the fervour of pity, the sympathy of passion, not poetic or theatric merely, but actual and immediate, are qualities in which the lesser poet is not less certainly or less unmistakably pre-eminent than the greater. And there is no third to be set beside them: not even if we turn from their contemporaries to Shelley himself. All that Beatrice says in The Cenci is beautiful and conceivable and admirable but unless we except her exquisite last words-and even they are more beautiful than inevitable-we shall hardly find what we find in King Lear and The White Devil, Othello and The Duchess of Malfy; the tone of convincing reality; the note, as a critic of our own day might call it, of certitude.
There are poets-in our own age, as in all past ages-from whose best work it might be difficult to choose at a glance some verse sufficient to establish their claim-great as their claim may be-to be remembered for ever; and who yet may be worthy of remembrance among all but the highest. Webster is not one of these though his fame assuredly does not depend upon the merit of a casual passage
here or there, it would be easy to select from any one of his representative plays such examples of the highest, the purest, the most perfect power, as can be found only in the works of the greatest among poets. There is not, as far as my studies have ever extended, a third English poet to whom these words might rationally be attributed by the conjecture of a competent reader.
We cease to grieve, cease to be fortune's slaves,
There is a depth of severe sense in them, a height of heroic scorn, or a dignity of quiet cynicism, which can scarcely be paralleled in the bitterest or the fiercest effusions of John Marston or Cyril Tourneur or Jonathan Swift. Nay, were they not put into the mouth of a criminal cynic, they would not seem unworthy of Epictetus. There is nothing so grand in the part of Edmund; the one figure in Shakespeare whose aim in life, whose centre of character, is one with the view or the instinct of Webster's two typical villains. Some touches in the part of Flamineo suggest, if not a conscious imitation, an unconscious reminiscence of that prototype: but the essential and radical originality of Webster's genius is shown in the difference of accent with which the same savage and sarcastic philosophy of selfinterest finds expression through the snarl and sneer of his ambitious cynic. Monsters as they may seem of unnatural egotism and unallayed ferocity, the one who dies penitent, though his repentance be as sudden if not as suspicious as any ever wrought by miraculous conversion, dies as thoroughly in character as the one who takes leave of life in a passion of scorn and defiant irony which hardly passes off at last into a mood of mocking and triumphant resignation. There is a cross of heroism in almost all Webster's characters which preserves the worst of them rom such hatefulness as disgusts us in certain of Fletcher's or of Ford's: they have in them some salt of manhood, some savour of venturesome and humorous resolution, which reminds us of the heroic age in which the genius that begot them was born and reared-the age of Richard Grenvile and Francis Drake, Philip Sidney and William Shakespeare.
The earliest play of Webster's now surviving-if a work so piteously mutilated and defaced can properly be said to survive-is a curious example of the combined freedom and realism with which recent or even contemporary history was habitually treated on the stage during the last years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The noblest poem known to me of this peculiar kind is the play of Sir Thomas More, first printed by Mr. Dyce in 1844 for the Shakespeare Society the worst must almost certainly be that Chronicle History of Thomas Lord Cromwell which the infallible verdict of German intuition has discovered to be not only unquestionably Shakespeare's, but worthy to be classed among his best and maturest works.' About