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Frondes Agrestes Readings in 'Modern Painters'   By: (1819-1900)

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First Page:

FRONDES AGRESTES.

READINGS IN 'MODERN PAINTERS.'

CHOSEN AT HER PLEASURE, BY THE AUTHOR'S FRIEND, THE YOUNGER LADY OF THE THWAITE, CONISTON.

'Spargit agrestes tibi silva frondes.'

Thirty Eighth Thousand.

London: George Allen, 156, Charing Cross Road. 1902.

Printed By Ballantyne, Hanson & Co. At the Ballantyne Press

PREFACE.

I have been often asked to republish the first book of mine which the public noticed, and which, hitherto, remains their favourite, in a more easily attainable form than that of its existing editions. I am, however, resolved never to republish the book as a whole; some parts of it being, by the established fame of Turner, rendered unnecessary; and others having been always useless, in their praise of excellence which the public will never give the labour necessary to discern. But, finding lately that one of my dearest friends, who, in advanced age, retains the cheerfulness and easily delighted temper of bright youth, had written out, for her own pleasure, a large number of passages from 'Modern Painters,' it seemed to me certain that what such a person felt to be useful to herself, could not but be useful also to a class of readers whom I much desired to please, and who would sometimes enjoy, in my early writings, what I never should myself have offered them. I asked my friend, therefore, to add to her own already chosen series, any other passages she thought likely to be of permanent interest to general readers; and I have printed her selections in absolute submission to her judgment, merely arranging the pieces she sent me in the order which seemed most convenient for the reciprocal bearing of their fragmentary meanings, and adding here and there an explanatory note; or, it may be, a deprecatory one, in cases where my mind had changed. That she did me the grace to write every word with her own hands, adds, in my eyes, and will, I trust, in the readers' also, to the possible claims of the little book on their sympathy; and although I hope to publish some of the scientific and technical portions of the original volumes in my own large editions, the selections here made by my friend under her quiet woods at Coniston the Unter Walden of England will, I doubt not, bring within better reach of many readers, for whom I am not now able myself to judge or choose, such service as the book was ever capable of rendering, in the illustration of the powers of nature, and intercession for her now too often despised and broken peace.

Herne Hill,

5th December, 1874.

CONTENTS.

PAGE PREFACE V

SECTION I. PRINCIPLES OF ART 1

II. POWER AND OFFICE OF IMAGINATION 10

III. ILLUSTRATIVE: THE SKY 35

IV. " STREAMS AND SEA 64

V. " MOUNTAINS 74

VI. " STONES 107

VII. " PLANTS AND FLOWERS 115

VIII. EDUCATION 140

IX. MORALITIES 151

FRONDES AGRESTES.

SECTION I.

PRINCIPLES OF ART.

1. Perfect taste is the faculty of receiving the greatest possible pleasure from those material sources which are attractive to our moral nature in its purity and perfection; but why we receive pleasure from some forms and colours, and not from others, is no more to be asked or answered than why we like sugar and dislike wormwood.

2. The temper by which right taste is formed is characteristically patient. It dwells upon what is submitted to it. It does not trample upon it, lest it should be pearls, even though it look like husks. It is good ground, penetrable, retentive; it does not send up thorns of unkind thoughts, to choke the weak seed; it is hungry and thirsty too, and drinks all the dew that falls on it. It is an honest and good heart, that shows no too ready springing before the sun be up, but fails not afterwards; it is distrustful of itself, so as to be ready to believe and to try all things; and yet so trustful of itself, that it will neither quit what it has tried, nor take anything without trying... Continue reading book >>




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