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Baron Huddleston thought this was going too far. The learned counsel would have to prove first that the picture was Titian's.

Mr. Bowen said he should do that.

Baron Huddleston referred to the story of the “genuine” Titian which was purchased by some artists to determine the secret of that master's wonderful colouring. On being rubbed down the explorers found a red surface, and exclaimed, “Here's the secret"; but on going a little further in the process it was discovered that the red substratum was a portrait of George III. in a militia uniform. (Laughter.)

After some discussion the picture was produced, and appeared to be a portrait of a “Doge” of Venice.

Mr. Edward Burne-Jones described it as a beautiful example of Titian's works It was a portrait of Andrea Gritti, and a splendid arrangement of flesh and blood

. It was a most perfect specimen of a highly finished work of ancient art. He considered that Mr. Whistler possessed great power, but had not fulfilled his earlı promise. He had evaded the difficulties of painting by not carrying his pictures far enough. He had an unrivalled sense of atmosphere.

Cross-examined : The value of this specimen of Titian depended upon the accident of a sale-room. It would be worth many thousands to him, but might have been sold for forty guineas. Lord Elcho had a beautiful Titian which he purchased for twenty guineas. It now belonged to Mr. Ruskin. Mr. Whistler had 10 almost unrivalled appreciation of atmosphere, and his colour was beautiful, especially in moonlight seas; but there his merits stopped.

Mr. Frith, R.A., said he did not consider the pictures of Mr. Whistler which had been produced in court were serious works of art. There was beautiful colour

, but it was no more than could be had on a wall-paper or a piece of silk. To him they did not represent either moonlight or water. The one in black and gold was not worth 200 guineas. He had come reluctantly to speak against a brother artist, and had only attended upon subpæna.

In cross-examination he said one of Turner's pictures—“The Snowstorm”-had been properly described by Mr. Ruskin as a mass of soap-suds and whitewash." Turner was an idol of Mr. Ruskin's, and should be of all painters; but that applied to his early works. His latest pictures were as insane as the people who admired them.

Mr. Tom Taylor, as an art critic, also expressed an unfavourable view of the pictures exhibited by Mr. Whistler at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1877. He read a criticism which he wrote at the time, in which he said that they were only one set nearer pictures than delicately tinted wall-paper.

In cross-examination he admitted Mr. Whistler had high merit as an artist, but all his work was unfinished.

The learned counsel on each side having addressed the jury,

Baron Huddleston, in summing up, said that if a man committed to paper language disparaging to another and holding him up to hatred, contumely, and contemp he was guilty of a libel. The law presumed malice, but that might be rebutted by the author of the language proving that it was a fair and bona fide criticism, therefore the question in the present

case for the jury was whether Mr. Ruskin' pamphlet was a fair and bona fide criticism upon the plaintiff's works ; and it was for the defendant to make that out. It was of the last importance that a critic should have full latitude to express the judgments he honestly formed, and for that purpose there was no reason why he should not use ridicule as a weapon ; but a critic must confine himself to criticism, and not make it the veil for personal sure, nor allow himself to run into reckless and unfair attacks merely for the love of exercising his power of denunciation.

The jury after being absent for an hour came into the court for an from the learned judge of the words “wilful imposture” in the alleged libel, and

, again retiring, came back shortly afterwards and gave a verdict for the plaintiffdamages one farthing.

The learned judge gave judgment for the plaintiff, but without costs.

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(6) "MY OWN ARTICLE ON WHISTLER” [Ruskin at the time of the trial was not well enough to attend. Among the MSS. at Brantwood are the following passages, headed “My own Article on Whistler”]:

It has long been alleged against me, I with much indignation, that in criticism I do not help my friends. The sentiment that every expression of a man's opinions ought to help either himself, his friends, or his party, is now so completely the first commandment of English morality that I have ceased to be surprised when, if I say anybody's picture is goodthough I don't know the painter from Noah-he immediately writes to thank me for my unexpected kindness; and if I say it is bad, similarly writes to ask what he has done to offend me, or institutes an action for libel, in which the English law will politely estimate the force of my injurious opinion at a farthing, and make my friends pay it four hundred pounds 2 for the expression of its own opinion to that effect.

The function of the critic, in his relation to contemporary art, is of course the same as that of the critic with respect to contemporary literature; namely, to recommend "authors” (the word is properly common to men of original power in both the arts) of merit to public attention, and to prevent authors of no merit from occupying it. All good critics delight in praising, as all bad ones in blaming (there is an interesting letter in Lockhart's Life of Scott, describing the vital difference between Scott and Jeffrey in this respect 3); and I am both proud and happy in being able to say of myself that the entire strength of my life has been spent in the praise of artists who among the ancients had remained unappreciated, or among the moderns, maligned or unknown.

I use the word "maligned" deliberately and sorrowfully in thinking of the criticisms which first provoked me into literature ;4 before I was old enough to learn with Horace and Turner Malignum spernere vulgus.". If attacks such as those I refer to (in Blackwood's Magazine, anonymous, and in recent periodicals by persons who even assert their ignorance for the pledge of their sincerity) could be repressed by the care and acumen of British Law, it would be well alike for the dignity of Literature and the interests of · [See, on this point, Academy Notes, 1875 (Vol. XIV. p. 261).]

(This, the amount of Ruskin's costs, was paid by a subscription among his friends and admirers: see the Introduction, above, p. xxiv.]

3 [See Lockhart, vol. ii. pp. 156–157. “It struck me," writes the correspondent quoted by Lockhart, "that there was this great difference-Jeffrey, for the most part, entertained us, when books were under discussion, with the detection of faults, blunders, absurdities, or plagiarisms; Scott took up the matter where he left it, recalled some compensating beauty or excellence for which no credit had been allowed, and by the recitation, perhaps, of one fine stanza, set the poor victim on his legs again.” For Ruskin's views on the function of criticism, see further The Art of England, § 192.]

* [For the anonymous article in Blackwood which provoked Ruskin, see Vol. I. p. xxxiii., and Vol. III. p. xviii. Ruskin's article replying to Blackwood was submitted to Turner, who, despising the “malignum vulgus,” dismissed the attack

"of no import”: see Præterita, i. § 243.]

[Odes, II. xvi. 39, 40 (quoted also in Vol. XVII. p. 228, and see Vol. XX. p. 358).]

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Art. But the Bench of honourable Criticism is as truly a Seat of Judg. ment as that of Law itself, and its verdicts, though usually kinder, must sometimes be no less stern. It has ordinarily been my privilege to extol, but occasionally my duty to condemn, the works of living painters. But no artist has ever been suspected of purchasing my praise, and this is the first attempt that has been made through the instrumentality of British Law to tax my blame. I do not know the sense attached, legally, to the word “ libel”; but the sense rationally attaching to it is that of a false description of a man's person, character, or work, made wilfully with the purpose of injuring him.

And the only answers I think it necessary to make to the charge of libel brought against me by the plaintiff, are first, that the description given of his work and character is accurately true so far as it reaches; and secondly, that it was calculated, so far as it was believed, to be extremely beneficial to himself and still more to the public. In the first place, the description given of him is absolutely true. It is my constant habit, while I praise without scruple, to weigh my words of blame in every syllable

. I have spoken of the plaintiff as ill-educated and conceited, because the very first meaning of education in an artist is that he should know his true position with respect to his fellow-workmen, and ask from the public only a just price for his work. Had the plaintiff knową either what good artists gave, habitually, of labour to their works, or received, contentedly

, of pay for them, the price he set on his own productions would not have been coxcombry but dishonesty.

I have given him the full credit of his candid conceit, and supposed him to imagine his pictures to be really worth what he asks for them. And I did this with the more confidence, because the titles he gave

them showed a parallel want of education. All well-informed painters and musicians are aware that there is analogy between painting and music

. The public would at once recognize the coxcombry of a composer

, who advertised a study in chiaroscuro for four voices, or a prismatic piece of colour in four flats, and I am only courteous in supposing nothing worse than coxcombry in an artist who offers them a symphony in green and yellow for two hundred pounds.

Nor is the final sentence, in which the plaintiff is spoken of as throwing his palette in the public's face, other than an accurate, though a brief, definition of a manner which is calculated to draw attention chiefly by its impertinence. The standard which I gave, thirty years ago, for estimate of the relative value of pictures, namely, that their preciousness depended ultimately on the greatness and the justice of the ideas they contained and conveyed,1 has never been lost sight of by me since, and has been especially insisted on lately, in such resistance as I have been able to offer to the modern schools which suffer the object of art to be ornament rather than edification. It is true that there are many curious collectors of libraries, in whose eyes the binding of the volumes is of more importance than their contents; and there are many patrons of art who benevolently comply with the fashion of the day, without expecting to derive more benefit from the fronts of their pictures

[See Modern Painters, vol. i. (Vol. III. p. 92).]

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than from the backs of their books. But it is a critic's first duty in examining works proposed in public exhibition to distinguish the artist's work from the upholsterer's; and although it would be unreasonable to expect from the hasty and electric enlightenment of the nineteenth century, any pictorial elucidations of the Dispute of the Sacrament, or the School of Athens, he may yet, without any severity of exaction, require of a young painter that he should work a little with his head as well as with his fingers; and may explain to the spectator, without libellous intention, the difference between Attic air and a London fog.

It gives me no little pain to be compelled to point out, as the essential grounds of the present action, the confusion between art and manufacture, which, lately encouraged in the public mind by vulgar economists, has at last, in no small manner, degraded the productions even of distinguished genius into marketable commodities, with the sale of which it is thought as unwarrantable to interfere as with the convenient dishonesties of popular trade.

This feeling has been still farther increased by the idea of many kindly persons that it is a delicate form of charity to purchase the feeble works of incompetent artists, and by the corresponding efforts of large numbers of the middle classes, under existing conditions of social pressure, to maintain themselves by painting and literature, without possessing the smallest natural faculties for either.

I will confine myself, with reference to this, in my estimate, infinitely mischievous tendency of the public mind, to the simple statement that in flourishing periods, whether of trade or art, the dignity, whether of operatives or artists, was held to consist in their giving, in every sense, good value for money and a fair day's work for a fair day's wages. The nineteenth century may perhaps economically pride itself on the adulteration of its products and the slackness of its industries. *But it ought at least to instruct the pupils of its schools of Art, in the ancient code of the Artist's honour, that no piece of work should leave his hands, which his diligence could further complete, or his reflection further improve, and in the ancient decision of the Artist's pride, that his fame should be founded on what he had given, not on what he had received.

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1 [For Raphael's “Dispute of the Sacrament,” spoken of by Ruskin as most perfect effort yet made by art to illustrate divine science," see Eagle's Nest, § 46 (Vol. XXII. p. 156); for the “School of Athens,” Vol. V. p. 49, and Vol. XXII. p. 422.]

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XXIX.

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21

MYTHS AND NOVELS'

[See Letter 79, § 7 (above, p. 150)]

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For our working men, no such tales exist.” The question is, how we are to get on without them. For when Plato comes to attack the chief of all political difficulties—the incontinence of the masses—he does not at all attempt to attack it by Teetotal Societies, illusive liquor laws, or the like, but essentially by three things, namely, stories, sermons, and songs; called in Greek, myths, words, and melodies.

The entirely worst book, so far as I know, produced by the modern insolence of infidelity contains the following sentence: Greek myths have no moral purpose_whatsoever.” Which is accurately and exquisitely the reverse of fact.

For not only every Greek myth has a moral purpose which is its entire life, as much as the breath is of the human body, but no good myth, or, as we call it, novel, was ever written, or can be, without such a purpose ; only in the finest forms of myth it is always so hidden, and partly beyond the consciousness of the story-teller himself

, that it heals and saves like the medicinal power in a herb, which we gather only for its sweet scent and beauty.

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* My literary readers may fancy they know a great many good and yet immoral novels. There are no such things. Whatever good there is in immoral novel writers depends on some instinct they have for good, which may be polluted or directed in a thousand ways, but in which their strength wholly consists. George Sand will not live indeed, nor Victor Hugo, being both too far tainted ; ' but both of them got their power from the sense of Justice, and George Sand from her enjoyment of the simplicities of real virtue (read La Petite Fadette, and the Péké de Monsieur Antoine). "De Balzac and all other strong tellers of his school derire their power from the analysis of crime-the moral sense never failing (read la Père Goriot, for a type 3). The moment the moral sense really fails, all genius is dead ; in its vitality, all genius revives. The best novel in the world is the Vicar of Wakefield.

p. 121.

1 [This passage is printed from the Fors MSS. at Brantwood.]

2 {For other references to Le Péché de Monsieur Antoine, see Fiction, Fair and Foul,* $$ 107, 109; and to George Sand generally, Vol. V.'p. 360, and Vol

. XII

. For references to Victor Hugo, see Fiction, Fair and Foul, § 14, and Preterita, i. $ 164.]

* [For Ruskin's summary of this story, see Fiction, Fair and Foul, $ 5; and for other references to Balzac generally, see Vol. V. pp. 323, 330, 332.]

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