W M Craig
Release Date: 01 October 2008
Category: Art Forms
Publisher: Orth Press
THE honour you did me by an unceasing and profound attention, during the delivery of those Lectures on Art which I was requested to prepare for you, will ever hold a gratifying place in my memory. The solicitations of many that would publish them, encrcased greatly the honour conferred upon me, and I have determined to yield to such wishes. The substance of my Lectures for nine seasons, are here consolidated and arranged and I beg to ask for my publication, your kind and generous patronage, being Oxford Street. My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen, Your very obedient and devoted servant, has been frequently remarked, that scientific men write on their respective subjects, as if they were addressing each other only, and that their style is, in consequence, too technical or too elevated for those who wish to learn. But the duty which devolved upon me, of delivering a course of lectures to a mixed, though enlightened auditory, rendered circurnspection upon this point exceedingly important. I had to address many who were already practitioners in elegant arts, yet who might not have gone deeply into their principles I had to make myself intelligible to others who had, probably, never before thought on such subjects, and who might, perhaps, be inclined to adopt them amongst the number of their pursuits, by an apparent facility in understanding and in addition, I had to soothe my hearers, in order to induce them to remain with me to the end. If in my endeavours for the attainment of these objects, I have been too familiar, it is an error on the side of usefulness if I have sometimes been too florid, I trust it has not been at the expence of elegance. My mind was from the first most power- fullyimpressed with the important consequences that might result, horn leading such an audience to examine and imbibe, the principles on which all the practices of imitative art ought to be conducted. Patronage is the proper nutriment of arts, but it should be patronage founded on solid common sense, and on feelings refined by contemplation or, like deleterious food, it will excite bad habits, and unwholesome usages, in those who receive it. He, therefore, who endeavours on such subjects, to form the judgments of those, who by their rank or opulence, are destined to be the patrons of imitative art, is essentially serving its professors, he is rendering an important benefit to the country. An artist may labour for years, and without ceasing to produce works of real excellence but it is all in vain, unless he find persons qualified to appreciate his powers and, on the other hand, when youthful talent begins to show its dawnings, the well-informed patron may greatly assist to guide and direct its course, till it arrive at meridian splendour. These considerations led me to under- take reading a course of lectures at the Royal Institution, as was suggested to me by a distinguished nobleman, then one of the committee of managers. The success which appeired to attend my enderavour in nine following seasons of that establishment, induced me to extend the same benefit to all who may wish for it by a printed publication of those lectures...
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