Excerpt from Colour in the Home: With Notes on Architecture, Sculpture Painting, and Upon Decoration and Good Taste
In literature the whole level of literary composition has been raised, and the work of the day labourer at the present time Often surpasses the work of those re... garded as men Of genius in the days of Dr. Johnson or Professor Wilson. In art, on the contrary, the level has remained unaltered, and the gulf between the great men we have produced and the journeyman is indeed a wide one.
As Sir J. Gardner Wilkinson said long ago: Taste, to be of use, must pervade all classes; and by this means graceful and beautiful objects for every-day use will come into general demand, and be generally made. They will also be obtained at moderate prices, and be placed within the reach Of all, instead Of being confined to the wealthy few who happen to be possessed of cultivated taste. Until good things are within the reach of all, and recognised by the majority, it is vain to hope for excellence in any country.
It would be well if we realised these facts, for during the next twenty years there is promise of important developments in trade, and, if we would hold a foremost place, those engaged in the industrial arts will need a very much more thorough education than is provided at the present moment. Art and industry must be united. Countries of taste like Italy and France have long recognised the value of art as a national asset and have profited by their wisdom in giving it organised and persistent support.
Has the reader ever considered how pitiful would have been the state of our art museums and galleries if it had not been for private benefactors like Sir John Soane, Sir Richard Wallace.
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