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Neither Booth nor Eginton patented on this head, on an application made the invention they practised. Booth in- above a year ago to one of the first men sists on taking us into his confidence and the world has produced in his line. Suftelling us frankly why. He says it has fice it to say, that Sir Joshua Reynolds, been a matter of "" surprise to some peo- with a protecting hand, generously asple” that he has not. Had he given no sisted him in his invention in a manner reason we might perhaps have shared in truly great and noble. . . . Mr. West, the “surprise." As it is we find it difficult too, with a mind superior to professional to reconcile the reason with the facts. prejudices, indulged the artist with the He says that if he had patented his inven- use of one of his pictures (" Jupiter and tion he must have disclosed the secret in Europa '), from which he has taken the his specifications; but unless there were first piece which he dares submit to the two Joseph Booths, both artists of Lewis- inspection of the public, numbers of ham, flourishing at the same time, our former productions having been laid aside friend Joseph must excuse us for being from the many improvements which the very imperfectly satisfied with the expla- art has undergone within the last year." nation. A Joseph Booth, of Lewisham, In the title-page of this curious work, we artist, if we can trust the record of the read that a specimen of the Art “ may Office of the Great Seal, obtained in the now be inspected at the inventor's house year 1792, Letters-Patent for an inven- near Golden Square, admittance gratis, tion, the nature of which he was by a price of the pamphlet is.”— a form of special Act of Parliament (32 Geo. III. invitation not unknown to patrons of art c. lxxiii.) allowed to keep secret. It was of the present day. for “a machine or apparatus, and certain Four years elapse before we catch sight chemical compositions invented by him, of our artist friend again. He is evidently for the purpose of making various kinds prospering. His society has been formed, of woollen cloths and other articles.” I and Pollaplasiasmos has become Polyhave the specification of the patent (No. graphy; the very title, as I pointed out 1,888) before me, and I see fronı it that in just now, adopted for Eginton's process pursuance of the act Lord Darnley and a at Soho. The lapse of time has left the Mr. Nicholson have examined our artist, artist as didactic but unfortunately as unand certify in an affidavit that the specifi- communicative (about picture painting) as cation, amended at their suggestion, ever. He is now publishing a second "fully', completely, and accurately de- pamphlet; it is without date, but assigned scribes the whole and every part of such by the learned in such matters in the invention and discovery, and the method British Museum to 1788. He pens this of using and employing the same for the time uses and purposes therein set forth." We run through the specification, from
An Address to the public on the Polygraphwhich the seal of secresy has long since in oil colours, by a chemical and mechanical
ic Art, or the copying and multiplying pictures been removed, and find that whatever
process, the invention of Mr. Joseph Booth, “other articles” may have been invented portrait painter. by the patentee, he has said no word that
Utque artes pariat Solertia nutriat usus. can be construed into the description of any method of chemically and mechani- We have no space left to record the cally painting in oil.
wanderings of our hero in his second Booth's pamplet concludes with an ad- manifesto, in which he praises his art as dress to his patrons. He tells them that “ having a tendency to strengthen reli"he has lately refused a very advantageous gious principles and conceptions, and to offer made by a foreign power,” for the improve the morals of the people. A establishment of his art “in a place where taste for the fine arts," he observes and he was assured of the greatest success.” the sentiment was probably a novelty then But no terms “can induce him to leave _“is incompatible with ferocity of manbis native country in expectation of the ners. It even restrains the fierceness of patronage and protection of foreigners, war. ... Painting in particular is favourmore especially as he is well assured he able to virtue. . . ." and so on. The will be amply rewarded in throwing him- man is incorrigible as ever, and we lay self for support in his undertaking on down the second pamphlet, like the first, that candour and liberality which have without having in any way improved our ever been the characteristic of Britons. knowledge of the process he invented. He has already received the most flatter- This source of information failing us, ing proof of the justness of llis sentiments' we revert naturally to the neighbourhood LIVING AGE. VOL. III.
of Soho. So long as the Heathfield work- against such a supposition, and several room remained closed, there was ground arguments in favour of it.” The paper of of course for hope that within it would be one ("The Stratonice") furnished a strong found the very instruments that had been probability of the antiquity of the picture. used in the manufacture of the pictures. It was shown by a letter from the present The idea must indeed have impressed proprietors of the mills where it was itself with singular force upon the minds manufactured that it must have been made of those interested in the matter, when prior to 1794. we find a writer, usually so careful as Mr. The general discussion at the Society's Smiles,* including in the list of articles meeting was led off by Dr. Diamond, who which presented themselves to those who cited the opinion of one of our most comat last, on the 4th May, 1862, got access petent authorities, Mr. William Smith, to the chamber — an “extemporized cam- deputy chairman of the National Portrait era !” Unhappily, to the few persons Gallery, to the effect that the pictures who (among them were Sir Francis Smith “ were not produced either by engraving, and Mr. Woodcroft) entered the workroom drawing, or painting, or by any method so long closed, no such object was appar- of which he had any knowledge. They ent, carefully as every nook and corner of bore no traces of any handwork whatthe premises was searched. The only ever.” Much interest was expressed on optical apparatus to be seen were three the production by the speaker of a Cataor four lenses with paper mounts, and logue of the Exhibition of Joseph Booth these were lying about in drawers. and the Polygraphic Society at 381,
With the unsuccessful search in Watt's Strand. The rest of the discussion was workroom the attempts to collect evidence hardly profitable, the critics selecting for in the neighbourhood of Soho seem to their attacks precisely those points of have ceased, and the photographic world, the story on which it was exceptionally in which the rumoured discovery had strong. One gentleman, who objected made a stir, prepared for a discussion that in the early days of photgraphy "no over what materials had come to light. lens existed capable of producing a sharp On the first night of its winter session in impression,” found apparently no one at 1863, the rooms of the London Photo- the meeting to remove his doubts. He graphic Society were crowded, and Sir receives a reply, however, a few days Francis made his statement, which it is after, in the British Journal of Photogneedless to say was listened to with the raphy, somewhat in the style of the deepest interest. When the sensational Yorkshireman who accounted for a parpart of it had been winnowed out of the ticular phenomenon by "dooting the story, the modest tone in which the spec- fact." The answer, the editor says, “ is ulations of the speaker had been put for- simple ; the image is not sharp, but preward earned for him perhaps still heartier senis precisely the appearance that would admiration. The evidence in the shape be anticipated of an uncorrected lens of of products of the Lost Art was of course a particular character, that is to say, if subjected to the severest scrutiny. The taken by the aid of a quartz spectacle more the paper pictures were examined lens (pebble), an instrument very likely to the more wonderful and extraordinary have been used.” they appeared. As if to destroy at a blow The meeting at the Society's rooms by the theories of those who maintained that no means exhausted the discussion, and they were simply copper-plate engravings pamphlets had to be exchanged before ali coloured after some expeditious method, parties could receive even imperfect satisit was found that the whole picture could faction. One by Mr. M. P. W. Boulton be wiped out with a sponge as a boy's (grandson of Matthew Boulton), pubsums are rubbed off a slate ! The British lished in 1865, went far to clear up all Journal of Photography, one of the high- the points as to which we can even now est authorities I suppose upon the mat- feel sure. Adopting a species of arguter, was obliged some days after the ment especially applicable to the case, meeting to content itself with thus sum- he made the eye the arbiter in the disming up the status of the pictures that pute as to the silver plates, and proved had been found : -“There is no direct that the “sun picture of old Soho," beevidence proving them to have been pro- fore 1791, was a daguerreotype of Winsor duced by photography. On the other Green, taken by his aunt, Miss Wilkinhand, there is nothing which militates son, in 1840. He did this by the simple
expedient of appending to his pamphlet a Lives of Boulton and Watt.
lithograph copy of the picture on the silver plate and a sketch of Winsor Green, nearly half the time.” If the art was taken in 1841. On that point no one worked secretly its concealment was posdoubted more.
sibly due to much the same course of Segnius irritant animos demissa per aures
proceeding on the part of those who Quam quæ sunt oculis subjecta fidelibus.
worked it, as that described by Edgar Poe
in his famous story of “The Purloined Mr. Boulton expresses himself as ad- Letter.” Had it been known to be a verse to the supposition that the so- secret, it seems strange that it escaped called mechanical pictures were photo the attention of the “ Eavesdroppers graphic. As regards the word “sun about Soho, with whose wiles Mr. Smiles pictures," he says, “ neither my sisters nor makes us acquainted in his charming I ever heard this title made use of ; but little sketch of the wayside inn at HandsI have found persons who, when at Soho worth ; and if — but we might lose ourabout 1830, heard the pictures there selves to any depth in conjecture on spoken of as 'sun pictures,' and I believe this curious matter, with regard to which that Mr. Hodgson heard the title used at those most competent to decide agree an earlier period."
only in differing. Without staying to The last shot fired by way of con- draw the moral, or morals, — for there troversy was by Mr. George Wallis, of are morals in the story for all sorts and the South Kensington Museum in the conditions of men from dealers in waste Art-Journal for 1866, under the title of paper to Ministers of State, — I would “ The Ghost of an Art Process practised recommend the reader simply to visit the at Soho, near Birmingham, about 1777 to little chamber of Sir Francis Smith, at 1780, erroneously supposed to have been the Patent Museum of South KensingPhotography.” But for the considera- ton, see the pictures which have been tion of this and many other interesting actually found, and decide for himself speculations that have been hazarded on upon what Mr. Wallis very happily christhe subject we have no space left. tened while his judgment was in sus
I think I have now said all that is pense, “ An Art mystery awaiting a soluneedful to induce those interested in tion.” curiosities of invention to look into this
JOHN CORYTON. singular matter for themselves. So far as concerns the process by which the pictures were produced, we are perplexed rather than assisted by the repeated "explanations” of discordant experts. If it
From Good Words. was merely mechanical reproduction of THE PRESCOTTS OF PAMPHILLON. any given subject, one can fancy how the
DOROTHY Fox.” good people of Soho chuckled over the letter (which still survives) of one of their London customers begging the next
THE MYSTERY OPENED. pictures they ordered might be painted “in a much more masterly style.” If With the help of the remedies which they were not, and hand labour was not were at hand Mrs. Prescott was soon dispensed with by the art, it seems im- restored to consciousness. Faintness possible to understand the delight ex- was no unusual thing to her; it was pressed by Matthew Boulton in one of rather the certain result of any undue ins letters (ist February, 1781), at having excitement or fatigue, so that her son was his engine drawing copies by the art“ on able to attend to her without calling for thick paper, in which case the drawing is any assistance. reversed, and is so perfect as not to be “ I am so sorry, mother,” he said, lookdistinguished from the original.” That ing anxiously at her. it was mechanical, or that the outline " It is I who am sorry, Stephen, to let (and possibly the dead colour) was se- my silly nervousness so completely mascured without labour, seems a fair infer- ter me; but I am better now — I shall be ence from one of Burney's letters, where able to talk to you presently." he is writing about a picture that would “ Never mind to-night, mother; you seem to have not been well adapted to must not worry yourself. Tell me tothe process. “Your idea was perfectly morrow.” right,” he says, “about “Telemachus': Mrs. Prescott pressed the hand in had it been mechanized, but at present which her son held hers, and was silent the outline and the dead colour take for a few moments.
BY MRS. PARR, AUTHOR OF
“I will tell you now,” she said, " and any man ever wronged the widow and you must promise me not to be vexed the orphan, he did.” that I have not spoken of it before. Of While Mrs. Prescott was saying this, ourse you were a boy at the time, and I Sir Stephen was walking up and down could not mention it; then as years went the room trying to grasp this unexpected on, and all connection between us was revelation. Suddenly he stopped. broken, I grew almost to forget that such “Do you mean to tell me, mother, that a circumstance had ever happened, and you never did anything for this boy, but it appeared a pity that you should be let the whole cost and burden of his given occasion to think less of your un- maintenance rest upon this old Mr. cle. That was the only reason, Stephen. Despard ?” You know, do you not, that I have never “Stephen !” and here Mrs. Prescott's kept anything from you ? There has tears came to her assistance ; but her been always the most perfect confidence son took no notice of them. between us.”
“1-1 did all I could," she sobbed; “So I have believed, mother."
“I deprived myself of what ready money “Yes, and if I kept this to myself, it I possessed at the time to send to Mr. was on your account; I feared the knowl- Despard - five hundred pounds, which edge might vex you.”
afterwards got the young man his com* You forget that I have not the slight- mission; and I gave the old man this est idea to what you are alluding. Of living, a great thing for a struggling Loncourse I suppose it relates to this Mr. don curate, for that was all he was before ; Despard. Tell me at once, who is he?” and surely it was far better that the boy “ Your Uncle Bernard's son."
should be brought up respectably as the “What! Uncle Bernard's son! Mother, adopted son of a clergyman, than that it say it again — I cannot believe my ears." should be known that he belonged to
Ah, Stephen! nor could I my eyes nobody." when first I read the letter which told me “ Belonged to nobody, mother! he beof it," and she shuddered at the recollec- longed to us. Now I can solve the ridtion.
dle which has puzzled me all my life. “ The mother was not his wife then ?” Uncle Bernard's speculations were made “Stephen, how could she be?” to leave something to this boy. He
Oh, I don't know !” he exclaimed knew the wrong he had done him, and I bitterly. “I am so astounded at this, suppose he guessed rightly that, with no and that you could keep it to yourself all claim to justice, the lad had little chance these years, that I am prepared to hear of getting it given to him by his family." anything."
Mrs. Prescott put her hands over her “She was a low, bad woman,” said ears. “I won't listen,” she exclaimed; Mrs. Prescott, taking no notice of his " I shall go mad! After all I have sacriexcitement; "she deceived your uncle ficed and done for you, Stephen, to turn in every way. He met her at some of around like this upon me. Oh, I am the places he used to frequent, and was indeed punished !” and she rocked herstruck with her appearance and took her self to and fro. away with him. Sh
never knew what But Stephen seemed dead to everything his real position in life was, or she would but his sense of the injury which Leo had not have left him, which she did just sustained. before your grandfather's death. Not “ What opinion could Mr. Despard knowing what to do with the child, your have formed of us?” he exclaimed; uncle asked Mr. Despard to give it shel- " what must he have thought of me, ter for a little time, and, from some rea- inheriting all my uncle had to leave, yet son, with Mr. Despard it remained until not caring whether his son was alive or your uncle's death, when, in a letter dead ? " which he left for me, I first heard of the “Really, Stephen, you are the most circumstance. While I was considering unreasonable person I ever met with. what was best to be done, Mr. Despard So far from having a bad opinion of us, wrote offering to adopt the boy, and the few letters that Mr. Despard sent me bring him up as his own son. I was were filled with expressions of gratitude, only too glad to accept the offer, for at that he was permitted to have the boy, that time, God knows, I had enough on whom he spoke of as being the greatest
Oh, your uncle was cruel, comfort of his life. Oh, how I wish now very cruel! He is dead and gone, Ste- that I had never consented to come here ! phen, and I wish to forgive him ;'but if I had a presentiment of evil from the
first, and though I fought against it, as I have done through life wherever your wishes were concerned, a shudder ran
ALL SOUND TILL WE'RE SIFTED." through me each time I thought of the The next morning, having despatched odious place.”
a messenger to Sharrows sufficiently early “Well, mother, I cannot understand to prevent Hero's visit, Sir Stephen, at you. My only wonder is that you could the appointed time, presented himself at ever rest anywhere ; the fact — alone Aunt Lydia's cottage, thereby so startling of keeping such a thing from me would the old lady that some time elapsed behave been sufficient, I should have said, fore she knew what she was saying to to worry you to death.”
him, or what he was saying to her. By “Our anxieties do not kill us, Stephen, chatting about Mallett, the people he had or I should have been in my grave long met there, and the pleasure it gave him ago. Sometimes," and here her tears to come among them, he gave her time to began afresh, “ I think there is very lit- recover her composure, and, with a view tle for me to live for."
of leading up to the subject, he at length "I see we have talked enough for to- mentioned Leo's
Immediately night," Sir Stephen said impatiently, as Aunt Lydia's face changed and her manhe rang the bell.
ner altered ; so, laying aside all further “Of course you will not think of men- reserve, he said, tioning the subject to any one, Stephen. “ Miss Despard, I am a very poor diYou see that the young man himself plomatist, and I am sure you understand knows nothing of it. It would be cruel straightforwardness far better than anyto undeceive him; he seems so very thing else; therefore you must forgive happy and contented, far more than- any seeming bluntness, if I come to what But her son interrupted her.
I have to say without more preamble.” * For Heaven's sake, mother, say no Poor Aunt Lydia's heart seemed to more. Leave me to decide how I shall beat quicker at every word. Could Sir act for the future.”
Stephen have leard what she had said The sternness of his face and manner about him and I ero, and had he come to frightened her into silence, until, startled say that it was alse, or, worse still, that by a knock at the door, she said, “Who it was true ? can that be ?"
“Until last night,” he went on, “ I was ** Only Davis. I rang for her to come perfectly ignorant of the debt of gratitude to you. I will assist you to your room.” which I and my family owe to you and
Many things connected with this dis- your brother. From some mistaken moclosuré seemed to hurt and irritate him. tive, my mother never told me that my That his mother, between whom and him- uncle, Sir Bernard Prescott, had left a self he had believed perfect confidence to son, and until I came down here, except exist, could keep an important secret like as rector of Mallett, I never heard of Mr. this from him, was sufficiently startling Despard. Now that I am made aware of - and for what reason? Why was he to his generosity and goodness to my uncle's be kept in ignorance? Who had so great son, I am grieved beyond measure that I a right to know? Well might Miss Des- cannot tell him, that what must have pard wish to avoid him --- in her conduct seemed unfeeling, selfish neglect, arose he saw the reflection of her brother's solely from total ignorance of the facts. feelings. The odd thing was, that after My mother's life had been one long sacremaining silent, that is, if she had re- rifíce of self to duty, so that I know her mained silent for all these years, she silence was caused by an idea that she should suddenly speak to Hero. What was acting rightly. She says that defercould be her motive ? This thought per- ence to Mr. Despard's wishes was her plexing him considerably, he determined principal reason for not speaking to me, to write a note asking Hero to oblige or doing anything in the matter." him by not keeping her appointment, as, “ It is quite true ; she only acted as from a conversation he had had with his my dear brother always desired that she mother, he intended paying Miss Des- would,” exclaimed Aunt Lydia, whose, pard a visit himself, and by going at the anger had vanished before Sir Stephen's time she had appointed to see Hero, he truthful, earnest manner. “ Antony was hoped in all probability to find her at most grateful that you never interfered, home and alone.
but let him bring up Leo as if he were indeed our own boy. Ah ! Sir Stephen, if ever my poor brother made an idol, it