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́HOLBEIN AND HIS WORKS.
JOHN HOLBEIN, (or, as he is better known by his German name, Hans Holbein the Younger, to distinguish him from his father, Hans Holbein, who was also a painter of considerable reputation,) is said by some writers to have been born at Basle, in Switzerland, in 1498; but M. Huber thinks it more probable that he was a native of Augsbourg, in which city the elder Holbein resided at the time of the birth of Hans, as appears from an inscription on the father's picture of St. Paul: "This work was completed by John Holbein, a citizen of Augsbourg, in 1499." However this may be, the father soon afterwards settled at Basle, where he resided during the remainder of his life. Charles Patin places the birth of our artist three years earlier than 1498, supposing it very improbable that he could have attained such maturity of judgment and perfection in painting as he displayed in 1514 and 1516.
Young Holbein learned the rudiments of his art from his father. At the early age of fourteen the son gave proof of uncommon capacity in the portraits he painted of his father and himself, which, says Bryan, are engraved in Sandrart's Academia, and which, if they have not been greatly improved by the engraver, must have been very extraordinary performances for a boy. He painted a picture of our Saviour's Passion, which was placed in the town-house of Basle, and, in the fishmarket of the same town, a dance of peasants, and Death's dance. These productions are exceedingly remarkable, and it is said that Erasmus* was so affected with them, that he requested of him to draw his picture, and was ever after his friend. Holbein, notwithstanding his genius and skill, had no elegance or delicacy of manners; but was attached to wine and boisterous company; for which he met with the following gentle rebuke from Erasmus. When Erasmus wrote his Moria Encomium, he sent a copy of it to Holbein, who was so pleased with the several descriptions of folly given in it, that he designed them all in the margin; and where he had not room to draw the whole figures, pasted a piece of paper to the leaves. He then returned the book to Erasmus, who, seeing that he had represented a wine bibber by the figure of a fat Dutchman hugging his bottle, wrote under it "Hans Holbein," and so sent it back to the painter. Holbein, however, to be revenged of him, drew the picture of Erasmus for a musty book-worm who busied himself in scraping together old manuscripts and antiquities, and wrote under it "Adagia."
walls of houses according to the fashion of that period with fancy and historical compositions; and made designs for goldsmiths and wood-engravers.
About this time an English nobleman (supposed by some to have been the Earl of Surrey, and by others the Earl of Arundel,) travelling through Switzerland to Italy, was struck with the beauty of his pictures, that he sat to him, and invited him to visit England, where his talent would be esteemed and rewarded, and promised him a favourable reception from Henry the Eighth; but Holbein was too much occupied by his pleasures to listen to such a proposal, however advantageous.
Holbein appears to have married early, for in a painting of his wife and two children, (which forms the subject of our frontispiece,) executed before he left Basle for England in 1526, the eldest child appears to be about four or five years old. The name of Holbein's wife is not known. It is said that she was of an unhappy temper, and greatly disturbed her husband's peace. But, perhaps, his own unsettled disposition and straitened circumstances also contributed to render his home uncomfortable. Like most other artists of that period, he appears to have travelled frequently, but his journeys do not seem to have extended beyond Switzerland and Suabia. He travelled probably rather in search of employment than to improve himself by studying the works of other masters. Though there can be no doubt of his talents being highly appreciated by his fellow townsmen, yet, during his residence at Basle, his profession appears to have afforded him but a scanty income. The number of works executed by him between 1517 and 1526 sufficiently testifies his industry and his versatile ability in the practice of his art, for he painted portraits and historical subjects; decorated the interior * See Saturday Magaziue, Vol. VII., p. 145.
A few years after, however, being moved by the necessities to which an increased family and his own mismanagement had reduced him, as well as by the persuasions of his friend Erasmus, (who was visiting Basle for the purpose of superintending the publication of some of his works,) Holbein consented to go to England. Before he left Basle, Holbein had painted two or three portraits of Erasmus, and there is a large wood-cut of that distinguished scholar, which is said not only to have been painted, but also engraved by Holbein. This cut is of folio size, and the figure of Erasmus is a whole length. His right arm rests upon a terminus, and from a richly ornamented arch is suspended a tablet with the inscription, ER. ROT. Some old impressions have two verses printed underneath, which merely praise the likeness without alluding to the painter, while others have four, which contain a compliment to the genius of Erasmus, and to the art of Holbein. The original block is still preserved in the public library at Basle; but there is not the slightest reason for believing that it was engraved by Holbein.
It appears that in 1525 Erasmus had already mentioned Holbein's intention of visiting England, to Sir Thomas More*, for, in a letter written by Sir Thomas to Erasmus, dated from the Court at Greenwich, 18th of December, 1525, there is a passage in Latin to the following effect:
"Your painter, dear Erasmus, is an excellent artist, but I am apprehensive that he will not find England so fruitful and fertile as he may expect. I will, however, do all that I can in order that he may not find it entirely barren."
From a letter dated 29th of August, 1526, written by Erasmus to his friend Petrus Ægidius at Antwerp, it seems reasonable to conclude that Holbein left Basle for England about the beginning of September.
Though Holbein's name is not expressly mentioned in this letter, there cannot be a doubt of his being the artist who is thus introduced to Ægidius:-"The bearer of this is he who painted my portrait. I will not annoy you with his praises, although he is indeed an excellent artist. Should he wish to see Quintin, and you not have leisure to go with him, you can let a servant show him the house. The arts perish here; he proceeds to England to gain a few angels; if you wish to write [to England] you can send your letters by him."
During his journey Holbein remained some days at Strasbourg, and applying to a very great master in that city for work, was taken in and ordered to give a specimen of his skill. Holbein finished a piece with great care, and painted a fly upon the most conspicuous part of it; after which he withdrew privily, in the absence of his master, and pursued his journey When the painter returned home, he was astonished at the beauty and elegance of the drawing; and especially at the fly, which, upon his first casting his eye upon it, he so far took for a real fly, that he endeavoured to remove it with his hand. He sent all over the city for his journeyman, who was now missing; but after many inquiries, found that he had been thus deceived by the famous Holbein. This story has been somewhat differently told, but with the same effect.
*See Saturday Magazine, Vol. IV., p. 220,
After almost begging his way to England, the artist arrived in London in 1526, with his own portrait of Erasmus, together with a letter of introduction, from that distinguished philosopher, to Sir Thomas More. He was received by the lord chancellor with all possible kindness, and accommodated by him with apartments in his house at Chelsea. Holbein remained in the house of his patron a considerable time, during which he painted the chancellor's portrait, and the portraits of his family, and many of his friends and relations, with other considerable works. One day Holbein happening to mention the circumstance of his having been invited to visit England by a nobleman, previous to his being advised to do so by Erasmus, Sir Thomas was very desirous to know who he was. Holbein replied that he had forgotten the title, but remembered his features so well that he thought he could draw his likeness from memory; which he did so exactly that it was immediately recognised.
The chancellor was desirous of introducing Holbein to his royal master, in the manner most likely to secure him the favour and protection of Henry the Eighth. He accordingly decorated his apartments with Holbein's productions, and disposed a large number of them in the best order, and in the best light, in the great hall of his house, and invited his majesty to an entertainment. The king upon his first entrance was so struck with the beauty of the paintings, and expressed his admiration of them in such terms, that Sir Thomas requested his majesty would condescend to accept of whatever he liked; but the king enquired eagerly "whether such an artist were now alive, and to be had for money?" on which Sir Thomas presented Holbein to the king, who received him graciously, observing, "that now he had got the painter, Sir Thomas might keep his pictures." Henry immediately took him into his service, ordered apartments to be allotted for him in the palace, with a salary of two hundred florins, in addition to the price he was to be paid for his pictures.
About the autumn of 1529, Holbein paid a short visit to Basle, probably to see his family, whom he had left in but indifferent circumstances, and to obtain permission from the magistracy for a further extension of his leave of absence, for no burgher of the city of Basle was allowed to enter into the service of a foreign prince, without their sanction. According to some accounts, he spent most of the time of his visit with his old tavern companions, and treated the more respectable burghers, who wished to cultivate his friendship, with great disrespect; but we are inclined to agree with Hegner, who considers all those accounts which represent Holbein as a man of intemperate habits and dissolute character, as unworthy of credit; and that it seems impossible that he who was so long an inmate of Sir Thomas More's house, should have been a dissolute person.
About 1532-3 Holbein again visited Basle, and his journey appears to have been chiefly influenced by an order of the magistracy, which was to the following effect:-"To M. Hans Holbein, painter, now in England. We, Jacob Meier, burgomaster and councillor, herewith salute you, our beloved Hans Holbein, fellow burgher, and give you to understand that it is our desire that you return home forthwith. In order that you may live easier at home, and provide for your wife and child, we are pleased to allow you the yearly sum of thirty guilders, until we can obtain for you something better. That you may make your arrangements accordingly, we acquaint you with this resolution. Given, Monday, 23rd September, 1532.”
It is not known how long Holbein remained at Basle, on his second visit. He seems to have had sufficient interest with the magistracy to obtain a further extension of his leave of absence. In 1538 he visited Basle for the third and last time: when from a licence signed by the burgomaster, Jacob Meier, it appears that he obtained permission to return to England, to remain there for two years longer. In
He thinks justly of God, who believes him to be the supreme director of human affairs, and the author of all that is good or fitting in human life. He worships God piously, who reveres him above all beings; who perceives and acknowledges him in all events; who is in everything resigned and obedient to his will; who patiently receives whatever befalls him from a persuasion that whatever God appoints must be right; and in fine, who cheerfully follows wherever Divine Providence leads him, even though it be to suffering and death.-Philosophy of the Stoics.
AN English lady in India, whose great delight was to illustrate the Sacred Volume by a comparison with the modern manners and customs of the Hindoos, reading the interesting interview between Abraham's servant and Rebecca at the gate of Nahor, to an intelligent native, when she came to that passage where the virgin went down to the well with her pitcher upon her shoulder, her attentive friend exclaimed, "Madam, that woman was of high caste:" this he implied from the circumstance of carrying the pitcher upon her shoulder, and not on her head. Some of the highest classes among the Brahmins do the same.— FORBES' Oriental Memoirs.
How happy must be the situation of a rational creature, exerting all his powers for the best and noblest purposes, performing all the duties of his station, and making continual advances towards the perfection of his nature; depending with humble confidence on the Divine assistance to support his weakness, and constantly and sincerely endeavouring to do the will of his Heavenly Father; who watches over him with far more than fatherly affection; who orders all events as shall be really best for him; accepts his endeavours; forgives his imperfections; and leads him through all the various paths of life to everlasting happiness.-BOWDLER.
MEN are never so ridiculous, by reason of the qualities they do possess, as for those which they affect to have. 739-2
THE LIGHTING OF PUBLIC STREETS BY the supply of the galvanic battery by which the light is
IN proportion as science is cultivated with success so
structure and modes of action of a Galvanic or Voltaic
When a galvanic battery of sufficient power is in
Any one of our readers who can glance retrospectively over five-and-twenty years, will be able to call to mind the streets of London by night. He will probably remember them by the association of two objects, namely, the street-lamps and the old watchmen, and admit that one was about as conducive to his safety as the other. He will also remember the welcome change from the "darkness visible" of the oil lamps to the splendour of gas burners; their gradual introduction into houses and shops; and the vast establishments erected for the supply of the gas.
burned charcoal, a vivid light is produced, extremely
But estimable as are, indeed, the advantages of gas
same in each of the cells of the battery; along the
conductor to another.
The brilliant effects produced by voltaic electricity have led many persons to attempt how far this source might be made available for artificial illumination. For a long time, the success has been very doubtful, not for want of brilliancy in the light, but chiefly on account of the difficulty in securing permanence and steadiness. Some recent experiments, however, made at Paris, by M. Archereau, seem to encourage the hope that, ere long, the galvanic light may be employed as a substitute for gas. The light exhibited appeared to be about an inch and a half in diameter, and was inclosed in a glass globe of about twelve inches in diameter. In the first instance the gas-lights of the Place de la Concorde, amounting to one hundred in number, were not extinguished. The appearance of those nearest the galvanic-light was quite as faint, and had the same dull hue, as the ordinary oil-lamps, when near a gas-light of the full dimensions. When the gas-lights of the place were put out, the effect of the galvanic light was exceedingly brilliant, eclipsing even, in the opinion of many persons present, that of the hydro-oxygen light. It was easy to read small print at the distance of one hundred yards, and it was only necessary to look at the shadow of the objects in the way of the light to be convinced of its great illuminating power. The single light exhibited did not replace the whole of the gas-lights which had been put out, but it was estimated as being equal to at least twenty of the gas-burners of the Place de la Concorde, where they are larger than in most of the other parts of Paris. It would, therefore, require five of these galvanic lights to light the whole of the Place; but the rays of these five lights meeting each other, would, in all probability, give a much more intense light, to say nothing of the superiority in softness and colour,-than the present gas-lamps. That the substitution of the galvanic-light for gas-light would be a great improvement there can be no doubt; the expense of renewing
This intense light is also associated with intense heating effects. A brush of fine iron-wire placed between the charcoal points is instantly fused, and globules of the metal heated white-hot fall about in all directions. Oil, alcohol, ether, naphtha, gunpowder, &c., are readily ignited by the same means.
The heat and light thus produced are not, however, the effect of combustion, or the union of the oxygen of the air with combustible matter. A candle, it is well known, will not burn long in a confined portion of air, and not at all in vacuo, or in nitrogen gas, or under the surface of water. But this galvanic light is as brilliant in vacuo as in common air; it will burn well in nitrogen gas, and even under the surface of water. The difficulty of understanding why this should be the case, will disappear when it is considered that it is not fire or flame that passes between the charcoal points, but simply electricity, which will pass along conductors, of which water is a very good one. The following figure shows. the apparatus for exhibiting the light in vacuo, in the different gases, or in water.
The application of the galvanic light to the lighting of public streets is, in fact, but little more than the repetition of this experiment on a large scale, and with certain contrivances for ensuring permanency and steadiness of light. In the success of these contrivances lies the merit of the invention, or rather of the application.
But charcoal is not the only substance which produces
*On Voltaic Electricity, Saturday Magazine, Vol. XX., p. 228 Vol. XXI., p. 92; and Vol. XXII., p. 227
poles of the battery are united by means of thin platinum wire; on removing the thick brass wire at a, the platinum wire becomes white-hot, fuses, and falls about in a liquid state.
These experiments illustrate, to a certain extent, the theory which seeks to explain the production of heat by the voltaic battery. It is supposed to be due to the resistance which the electric current encounters in ing from one pole to the other along a bad conductor; and that the portion of electricity thus momentarily arrested, produces the heat. By attaching an alternating series of wires of the same length and diameter, but of different metals, such as platinum and silver, the worse conductor becomes incandescent, and the better conductor remains cold. This instructive and striking experiment is arranged thus:
Pieces of fine platinum and silver wire, p, s, p, s, being fastened together alternately, are made to close the voltaic current by being attached to the poles P, N. The pieces of platinum then become ignited, and give a red light, while the silver pieces are not affected.
A similar arrangement of platinum and gold wires produces the same results; with gold and silver, the gold only becomes incandescent; with gold and copper, both metals are heated to redness; with gold and iron, the latter only is ignited.
These experiments are beautiful and instructive; they connect the heating power of the battery with the electrical conducting powers of the metals, which also bear a remarkable relation to their calorific conducting powers. Platinum conducts electricity less perfectly than silver; the resistance to its passage is greater for the former than for the latter metal, and consequently it becomes ignited; but the current passing rapidly along the silver wire produces no such effect. This inverse relation between the conducting power of a metal, and the facility with which it becomes incandescent, greatly favours the truth of the above expla
THE BERNACLE-GOOSE TREE. (Fac-simile of a cut in
IN reading the works of naturalists who flourished and were highly extolled, some centuries ago, we cannot help being struck with the love of the marvellous which seems to have prevailed among them. The state of general knowledge was so different to that of our own times that we are bound to make allowance for their credulity; but we are nevertheless surprised to find that an unexplained fact in Natural History, instead of stimu lating their powers of observation, and quickening their zeal to arrive at the true solution, was frequently invested with a mysterious importance, and accounted for by the wildest and most improbable theories. And when once these theories had been formed, the senses seem to have been entirely led captive; so that popular and pleasing writers are found declaring themselves eye-witnesses of occurrences which we are well assured could never have taken place in the ordinary course of nature.
We have a curious instance of this in the history of the Bernacle Goose, a bird which is by no means uncommon in the Orkney and Shetland isles, during the autumn and winter months. This species of goose has not been ascertained to breed either in the islands or in any part of the north of Scotland: so that naturalists or former times, observing the bird, and not being able to discover its eggs, set themselves to discover by what wonderful means the bird could be propagated.
Now there is a well-known molluscous animal called the bernacle, which attaches itself to the bottoms of ships, or to floating wood. This animal becomes rooted to the timber by means of a sort of stalk, which at the other end has the shell of the bernacle. During the violent storms which rage in the North Sea these bernacled logs of wood are frequently cast ashore, and driftwood is seen in all directions with the bernacles on the under side. It also happens that the same circumstances which drive ashore these bernacled logs of wood, exhaust the strength of the geese in question, so that their dead bodies are frequently seen floating on the waters, or the living bird is cast ashore in an enfeebled state. These two circumstances, produced by the same cause, but having no connection whatever with each other, were soon made the subject of a marvellous tale, which was believed all the more readily, for its very improbability, and which was soon enhanced by popular
rumour. The bernacles were believed to be the geese in an embryo state, and the geese were nothing more than the bernacles arrived at perfection. One of the oldest Scottish historians, who pretends to have been an eye-witness of this circumstance, gravely informs his readers that when trees in the course of time fall into the sea, and become worm-eaten, then in all the bores and small holes of the timber little worms do grow which first of all do show their heads and feet, and afterwards their plumes and wings. Then he relates a story of a great tree that by alluvion and flux of the sea was brought to land, near the castle of Pitsligo, in the sight of many people, and when the laird of the castle had caused it to be cut asunder, immediately there appeared a multitude of worms throwing themselves out of the holes. Some of them were rude and misshapen; some had both head, feet, and wings, but they had no feathers; while some of them were "perfect shapen fowls." Again he speaks of a vessel that had lain three years at anchor in one of the Scottish isles, and was afterwards brought to Leith, and there broken up. The timber was very much worm-eaten, and "all the holes thereof full of geese." This writer also gives the additional piece of information that the fruits of trees standing near the sea, drop into the water, and are speedily changed into geese.
An English naturalist, named Turner, of some celebrity in his day, helped to confirm the notions just alluded to. He says " Nobody has ever seen the nest, or egg, of the bernacle; nor is it marvellous, inasmuch as it is without parents, and is spontaneously generated, in the following manner. When, at a certain time, an old ship, a plank, or a pine-mast, rots in the sea, something like fungus at first, breaks out thereupon, which at length puts on the manifest form of birds. Afterwards these are clothed with feathers, and at last become living and flying fowl. Should this appear to any one to be fabulous, we might adduce the testimony, not only of the whole people who dwell on the coasts of England, Ireland, and Scotland, but also that of the illustrious historiographer Gyraldus, who has written so eloquently the history of Ireland, that the bernacles are produced no other way?
Not satisfied with the marvellous nature of these stories, several writers, and Turner among the number, went on to state that not only was one species of bernacle engendered from decayed timber, but that there was another species found growing upon trees on the sea-coast of Scotland.
In the time of Queen Elizabeth, the botanist Gerard fully participated the belief in these marvels; and gives his own testimony as an eye-witness, saying, "There is a small island in Lancashire, called the Pile of Foulders, wherein are found broken pieces of old and bruised ships, some whereof have been cast thither by shipwreck, and also the trunks and bodies, with the branches of old and rotten trees, cast up there likewise; whereon is found a certain spume, or froth, that in time breedeth unto certain shells, in shape like those of the mussel, but sharpe-pointed, and of a whitish colour, wherein is contained a thing in form like a lace of silk finely woven together, of a whitish colour; one end whereof is fastened unto the inside of the shell; the other end is made fast unto a rude mass, or lump, which in time cometh to the shape and form of a bird: when it is perfectly formed, the shell gapeth open, and the first thing that appeareth is the foresaid lace or string; next come the legs of the bird hanging out, and as it groweth greater, it openeth the shell by degrees, till at length it has all come forth, and hangeth only by the bill; in short space after it cometh to full maturity, and falleth into the sea, where it gathereth feathers, and groweth to a fowl bigger than a mallard and lesser than a goose, having black legs, and bill, or beak, and feathers black and white, spotted in such a manner as our mag-pie, called in some places pie-annet, which the people of Lancashire call by no other name than tree-goose.'
Though men of penetration occasionally protested against these stories, and declared their disbelief of them; and though several foreign writers bore testimony to the fact that these geese laid eggs and hatched their young in the usual way; yet almost to our own
times there has been a certain degree of importance attached to these tales, and many persons have been found credulous enough to believe them, in spite of their absurdity, and the outrage they put upon common sense. Bernacle geese, as distinguished from common geese, are described by Cuvier as having a shorter smaller bill, whose edges are not apparent beyond the extremities of the laminæ. In the Orkneys the bird is called claik or clack goose, and Cuvier states that klake is the Scotch name for goose. In this he was mistaken. The only meaning of "claik" as applied to this goose refers to the clacking gabbling noise which it makes. The bernacle goose measures about two feet and a half in length; the bill is scarcely an inch and a half long, black, and crossed with a pale reddish streak on each side. The head is small, and as far as the crown, together with the cheeks and throat, white; the rest of the head and neck, to the breasts and shoulders, is black. The upper part of the plumage is prettily marbled, or burred, with blue-grey, black, and white; that of the wing coverts grey with a black and white border; the tail coverts and under parts white, the tail itself black, and five inches and a half in length. The feet and legs dusky, very thick and short, and answering well with some of the habits of the bird. The bernacle goose is much more on the water than is usual with its congeners, and does not migrate so far, or so much inland. It is common in the northern parts of Europe, and has been observed in great abundance in Greenland, where its eggs have been seen in large quantities. We can only account for some of the stories related above, by supposing that the authors were really deceived by the curious structure of the bernacle shell-fish, and mistook the peduncle, or foot-stalk, for the neck of the young goose, and the tentaculæ, or feelers, for the feathers of the bird.
I MUST tell you of a feat of my dog Beau. Walking by the river-side, I observed some water lilies, floating at a little distance from the bank. I had a desire to gather one, and, having a long cane in my hand, by the help of it endeavoured to bring one of them within my reach. But the attempt proved vain, and I walked forward. Beau had all the while observed me very attentively. Returning soon after towards the same place, I observed him plunge into the river, while I was about forty yards distant from him; and, when I had nearly reached the spot, he swam to land with a lily in his mouth, which he brought and laid at my feet.-Cowper.
MANY of the sports and pastimes of our forefathers, are, in the retrospect, picturesque and pleasant; but attempt to practice them at the present day, and the very villagers would laugh at them as ridiculous child's play, and in fact they are child's play. They were the amusements of a generation-children in intellectual culture, though of brawny growth of body-they were the pastimes of beings whom, in the race of real knowledge, our very clowns have left behind. Nay, I question whether our peasantry could witness, without an internal feeling of contempt, what at one time were the highest entertainments of the highest classes-at which "lords, and dukes, and noble captains" toiled day after day, and the proudest and brightest_dames sate witnesses, not in impatience, but in pleasure. In vain do we lament our Christmas sports, and the old games of gentle and simple-they are pleasant pictures in pleasant associations-they are highly to be valued as relics and remembrances of the olden time-of the good olden time— good to the good people who enjoyed them-good possibly
Another race has been, and other palms are won. Knowledge has run to and fro in the earth. It has penetrated into the remotest hamlet-in the obscurest nook; and though many a goodly superstition and many a jocund folly have fled before it, I trust, and I think I know, that sufficient simplicity of heart and manner remains, and is likely to remain, in what may be called truly the country; and instead of ignorance and laughter, we have intelligence, industry stimulated by higher views, and, whenever there is occasion to display it, mirth and good-fellowship.-Book of the Seasons.