Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

then they convey such noble ideas, and have such elegance in their forms as greatly compensates for their being unnaturally joined together.

I shall mention but one more instance of this sort, and that the most extraordinary of all, which is an infant's head of about two years old, with a pair of duck's wings placed under its chin, supposed always. to be flying about, and singing psalms *

A painter's representation of heaven would be nothing without swarms of these little inconsistent objects, flying about, or perching on the clouds; and yet there is something so agreeable in their form, that the eye is reconciled and overlooks the absurdity, and we find them in the carving and painting of al. most every church. St. Paul's is full of them.

As the foregoing principles are the very groundwork of what is to follow; we will, in order to make them the more familiar to us, just speak of them in the way they are daily put in practice, and may be seen, in every dress that is worn; and we shall find P. 34 not only that ladies of fashion, but that women of every rank, who are said to dress prettily, have known their force, without considering them as principles.

Fitness is first considered by them, as knowing that their dresses should be useful, commodious, and fitted to their different ages; or rich, airy, and loose, agreeable to the character they would give out to the public by their dress..

II. Uniformity is chiefly complied with in dress on account of fitness, and seems to be extended not

10

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

much farther than dressing both arms alike, and
having the shoes of the same colour. For when any
part of dress has not the excuse of fitness or p
for its uniformity of parts, the ladies always call it
formal.

For which reason, when they are at liberty to make what shapes they please in ornamenting their persons, those of the best taste chuse the irregular as the more engaging; for example, no two patches are ever chosen of the same size, or placed at the same height; nor a single one in the middle of a feature, unless it be to hide a blemish. So a single feather, flower, or jewel is generally placed on one side of the head; or if ever put in front, it is turned awry to avoid formality.

It was once the fashion to have two curls of equal size, stuck at the same height close upon the foreP. 35 head, which probably took its rise from seeing the pretty effect of curls falling loosely over the face.

A lock of hair falling thus cross the temples, and by that means breaking the regularity of the oval, has an effect too alluring to be strictly decent, as is very well known to the loose and lowest class of women: but being paired in so stiff a manner, as they formerly were, they lost the desired effect, and ill deserved the name of favourites,

III. Variety in dress, both as to colour and form, is the constant study of the young and gay-But then,

IV. That taydriness may not destroy the proper effect of variety, simplicity is called in to restrain its superfluities, and is often very artfully made use of

to set native beauty off to more advantage. I have not known any set of people that have more excelled in this principle of simplicity, or plainness, than the Quakers.

V. Quantity, or fulness in dress has ever been a darling principle; so that sometimes those parts of dress, which would properly admit of being extended to a great degree, have been carried into such strange excesses, that in the reign of Queen Elizabeth a law was made to put a stop to the growth of ruffs: nor is the enormous size of the hoops at present, a less sufficient proof of the extraordinary love of quantity P. 36 in dress, beyond that of convenience or elegance.

VI. The beauty of intricacy lies in contriving winding shapes, such as the antique lappets belonging to the head of the sphinx *, or as the modern lappet when it is brought before. Every part of dress, that will admit of the application of this principle, has an air (as it is termed) given to it thereby; and although it requires dexterity and a taste to execute these windings well, we find them daily practised with success.

. This principle also recommends modesty in dress, to keep up our expectations, and not suffer them to be too soon gratified. Therefore the body and limbs should all be covered, and little more than certain hints be given of them through the cloathing.

The face indeed will bear a constant view, yet always entertain and keep our curiosity awake, without the assistance either of a mask, or veil; because

[ocr errors]

vast variety of changing circumstances keeps the eye and the mind in constant play, in following the numberless turns of expression it is capable of. How soon does a face that wants expression grow insipid, though it be ever so pretty?- The rest of the body, not having these advantages in common with the face, would soon satiate the eye, were it to be as constantly exposed, nor would it have more effect than a marble

statue. But when it is artfully cloathed and deco, P.37 rated, the mind at every turn resumes its imaginary

pursuits concerning it. Thus, if I may be allowed a simile, the angler chooses not to see the fish he angles for, until it is fairly caught.

CHAPTER VII.

OF LINES.

It may be remembered that in the introduction, the reader is desired to consider the surfaces of objects as so many shells of lines, closely connected together, which idea of them it will now be proper to call to mind, for the better comprehending not only this, but all the following chapters on composition.

The constant use made of lines by mathematicians, as well as painters, in describing things upon paper hath established a conception of them, as if actually existing on the real forms themselves. This likewise we suppose, and shall set out with saying in general

-That the straight line, and the circular line, together with their different combinations, and variations, &c. bound and circumscribe all visible objects whatsoever, thereby producing such endless variety of forms, as lays us under the necessity of dividing, and distinguishing them into general classes; leaving the intervening mixtures of appearances to the reader's own farther observation. .

First, * objects composed of straight lines only, as the cube, or of circular lines, as the sphere, or of both together, as cylinders and cones, &c.

Secondly, † those composed of straight lines, cir- P. 39

* Fig. 23. T. p. 1.

+ Fig. 24. T. p. 1.

« AnteriorContinuar »