Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


Wilson, J. G. Lockhart, Sir David Wilkie, and other eminent men of the day. His writings, spread over the periodical literature of his timeparticularly the Edinbu& Magazim and Annual Registw-are very numerous, and he was the first among modern Scotsmen who made art the subject I feri-ed to in Peter?s .(? Letters to and study had suggested, it is not to be wondered at that in exercises of this sort he took particular delight and obtained great excellence. He was secretary of the Dilettanti Society of Edinburgh. The establishment of the Bridges is thus re- OLD TIMBER-FRONTED HOUSE, LAWNMARKET. of systematic criticism; and from the purity and clearness of his style, his perfect knowledge of the subject, and the graceful talent he possessed of mingling illustration with argument, he imparted an interest to a subject, which, to many, might appear otherwise unattractive. And when it is considered that it was to the acting of the great Mrs. Siddons, John K e d e , Kean, and Miss O?Neil, that he had to apply those rules which his taste his Kinsfolk?:- ? Wastle immediately conducted me to this dilettanti lounge, saying, that here was ?the only place where I might be furnished with every means of satisfying my curiosity. On entering, one finds a very neat and tasteful-looking shop, well-stocked with all the tempting diversities of broad-cloth and bombaseens, silk stockings and spotted handkerchiefs. A few sedate-looking old-fashioned cits are probably engaged in conning over the Edinburgh
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newspapers of the day, and perhaps discussing mordi~us the great question of Burgh Reform. . . After waiting for a few minutes, the younger partner tips a sly wink across his counter, and beckons you to follow him through a narrow cut in its famous Hercules, the Dancing Fawn, the Iaocoon, and the Hermaphrodite, occupy conspicuous stations on the counters, one large table is entirely covered with a book of Canova?s designs, Turner?s ? Liber Studiorum,? and such like manuals ; and in GLADSTONE?S SAND. mahogany surface, into the unseen recesses of the establishment. X few steps downward, and in the dark, land you in a sort of cellar, below the shop proper, and here by the dim religious light, which enters through one or two well-grated peeping holes, your eyes soon discover enough of the furniture of the place to satisfy you that you have reached at last the sanctum sanctorum of the tine arts. Plaster of Paris casts of the head of the the corners where the little light there is streams brightest, are placed, upon huge piles of corduroy and kerseymere, various wooden boxes, black, brown, and blue, wherein are locked up from all eyes, save those of privileged and initiated frequenters of the scene, various pictures and sketches, chiefly by living artists, and presents to the proprietor. Mr. Bridges, when I asked him on my first nsit what mightbe the contents of thesemysteriousreceptacles,
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