Billeder på siden

behind, in the "Carew." A great compliment to Hughes's exactitude in these matters was paid in regard to the picture of "Bronllys Castle," by Mr. Banks, the owner of that old ruin, who lived long in the neighbourhood. At the first glance he exclaimed, "There are the farmers returning from the weekly fair at Talgarth," a bit of local truth which only a resident could fully appreciate. In the "Caerphilly Castle" there is a ragged boy hanging on an almost skeletonised horse, which recalls some of Bewick's vignettes.

In regard to the conspicuous quality of Hughes's work, truthfulness, it has been mentioned that certain of the engravings have been compared with the scenes. Besides those previously referred to we have compared "Conway Castle," "Pont y Pair," "Harlech," and "Caerphilly." In all cases very great accuracy is found, so that we may look at these works as giving us truly the state of the subjects in Hughes's time. This in itself is a great merit, for it was thought then, as to some extent it is still, quite permissible for an artist to re-arrange his subject with socalled "artistic" license. Sometimes, however, Hughes forsook his usual principles. The foreground of "Cardiff Castle is, we fear, an instance of this; or, in 1820, the old bridge over the Taff must have been in a shocking state of unrepair.

We regret that the positive information with regard to the personal history of Hugh Hughes is so scanty; for the little we have we are indebted to a friend in Swansea, who, it were greatly to be wished, would place his voluminous notes upon ait in Wales and elsewhere before the public. He has favoured us with the following particulars concerning our artist:Referring to his own boyhood, he says "I was taken to Carmarthen by my father, and introduced to Mr. Evans, the printer, editor and proprietor of the Carmarthen Journal

A gentleman dined with us who was introduced as Mr. Hugh Hughes; he talked in Welsh to Mr. Evans. Over the mantelpiece was, as I thought, a wonderful picture in oil, large, of Mr. Evans and his whole family at breakfast; but what entranced me was the painting of the cups and saucers together with the table adornments. After dinner the Beauties of Cambria was introduced. Then I learnt that the gentleman who dined with us was the doer of the picture and the book. of which a fine copy is in the D. F. Collection, cuts and letter-press, all on India paper. A copy may also be seen in the Cardiff Free Library. On referring to my notes, I find H. Hughes was born in Carmarthen A.D. 1796, died 1828, I have no record where." He also writes a brief note of his estimate of the work, "admiring it, as knowing it to be by far, up to its date, the most beautiful specimen of wood engraving.' He adds "I find no evidence of Hughes having been a pupil of Bewick. I doubt it, forasmuch as Hughes, as far as landscape

[ocr errors]

work is concerned, is entirely beyond anything Bewick ever did in landscape delineation."

In the new edition of Jackson and Chatto's History of Wood Engraving, and in an interesting review of that work in Cassell's Magazine of Art, vol v., p. 240, by Mr. H. V. Barnett, will be found a reprint of Hughes' block of "Pwll Caradog." Upon it Mr. Barnett remarks: "Hugh Hughes, a successor of Bewick and Branston, was a man of original talent, some of his work evincing wonderful appreciation of nature. Like Bewick and Branston, he drew his own subjects, one of which, Pwll Caradog, we give. It displays a knowledge of natural form and a masterly handling of the tool hardly second to Bewick's, while it is full of delicately varied tones, light and shade, and natural spirit. Note too the skilful and artistic rendering of the foam and spray from the falling water, and the charmingly delicate treatment of the stems and branches of the trees."

In concluding these critical notes, it will be of interest to quote the opinion of a most skilful artist of our own time, one who as an engraver of highly finished blocks of small size has few equals we refer to Mr. George Pearson, of London, who on our applying to him for information and an opinion replied as follows:

"I consider them [the engravings in Beauties of Cambria] equal to any of the landscape illustrations of Hughes's period, which is saying a good deal. There is the same dexterous use of the graver in the white line, tooling of foliage and plants in the foreground, and the same realistic treatment of natural objects, minute, careful, and laborious. I think he fails most in skies and in water, both of which are very stiff compared with the varied aerial effects of present wood-engraving. I except his waterfalls, i.e., the falls themselves. The use of pure black as the ground on which near objects are to be depicted is a marked characteristic of the period, and would not now be tolerated, as being too artificial-see • Glynhir Waterfall,' and 'Nelson's Tower,' the former containing a good specimen of natural treatment in the fern group. I cannot say I think very highly of the figures, with the exception of his humorous groups, which are worthy of Bewick-see 'Caerphilly Castle and Bardsey.' I might say more, something about every plate, but it is not necessary. Precision is one of their main characteristics, but before this even I should place accurate observation, and, as a consequence, correct delineation, except so far as this is hindered by the conventional ideas of tooling then prevalent-a sort of wriggle which is facetiously termed by many engravers the imperial wriggle,' see 'Pembroke Castle' foreground, &c."


The chief object of this article has been to call attention to the work of an artist of whom Wales should be proud, and of

whose powers but very few are cognisant. Of the work of which we have given this meagre account there cannot be very many copies in existence, and we deem it of much importance that their artistic value should be known, and copies, where existing, should be carefully preserved. No less do we wish to discover other examples of the artist's powers. The writer would feel special gratitude for any information which may be in the hands of Red Dragon readers in regard to the personal or artistic history of Hugh Hughes, the delineator of the Beauties of Cambria, lest, in the words of Tennyson :


Surely a precious thing, one worthy note,
Should thus be lost for ever from the earth,
Which might have pleased the eyes of many men.



Tho' low thy lady lies beneath the mould!

And on her grave flowers grow, and grass is green:

While she from heaven's delight to thee doth lean,
And one with her, strong love doth thee enfold,
Still shall your souls commune for all the stars between!
Till near thee thrill her soft hair's golden sheen,
Her robes of light! as Heaven's gates are unrolled;
And ye two meet-Love-crowned, and aureoled!

Not Love is dead! but Death is changed by Love
To a fair Angel by earth's prison gate;
That shall the barrier of flesh remove,
And bring thee to thy Bride, with joy elate,
Where waits the Lord of Life to bid thee prove
With her, the bliss for which thou wert create.




Several objects of interest to the geologist and the antiquary have recently been found in the course of excavations which are being made for the piers of the new railway viaduct above Newport bridge in Monmouthshire. The total depth to which the foundations extend is about fifty feet, and various strata have been bored through. Peat was found about twenty feet below the river mud. A number of bones in various stages of petrification have also been collected by one of the officials in charge of the works. One is the antler of a red deer, and there is also a large rib bone, which has been fractured during the life of the animal and got welded together again. These discoveries, says a local paper, point to the fact that the locality was the site of a ford across the river from a very remote date.

The University of Edinburgh have conferred the title of Doctor of Divinity upon the Rev. Thomas Charles Edwards, Principal of the University College of Wales, Aberystwith.

The Senates of the University Colleges of South Wales and Monmouthshire and of Aberystwith have urged upon the Senate of the University of London the importance of inserting Welsh among the alternative languages in which candidates may be examined at the matriculation examination.

The commission for the portrait which is to be presented to the Lord-Lieutenant of Anglesey (Mr. R. Davies), as a memento of his long Parliamentary connection with the county, has been given to Mr. Frank Holl, R.A.

Numerous designs for the Jubilee memorial on Moel Fammau, near Mold, have been on view at Chester Town Hall. A model is also exhibited by Mr. G. F. Lyster, of Liverpool.

A curious relic of the 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers has been brought from the Crimea by Major W. T. Walker, 3rd Middlesex Regiment. The 23rd Royal Welsh lost at the Battle of the Alma

their colonel and eight officers, who were all interred about sixty feet from the face of the earthworks. Their fellow soldiers placed a stone on the grave with an inscription giving the names of those who fell, and the stone remained undisturbed

for thirty years. A large marble monumental tomb has now been erected over the grave, and the old stone was broken by the workmen and thrown on one side. The stone arrived in England in a very broken condition, but was carefully put together by Messrs. Dunkeley, of Highgate. It bears the names of Sergeant-Major H. Jones, Colour-Sergeant R. Hitchcock, Sergeant T. E. Edmunds, drummers and privates killed on the field. The following is the inscription on the front face:-During the attack on these heights, 20th September, 1854, H. B. M. xxiii. R. W. Fusiliers lost the following officers: Lieutenant-Colonel Harry George Chester; Captains Arthur W. Williams Wynn, Francis E. Evans, John Charles Conolly: Lieutenants Frederick P. R. Delme Radcliffe, William N. Young, Bart., Henry Anstruther, and Joseph Butler, all killed on the field; also Lieutenant and Adjutant Augustus Applewaite, mortally wounded and died on the 22nd of September, 1854. This stone is sacred to their memory."

The Welshmen resident in Toronto have established a St. David's Society of Canada, the first Welsh society formed in the Dominion.

At a recent meeting of the Liverpool Welsh National Society, a paper was read by the Rev. Griffith Ellis, M.A., on the subject of a revised version of the New Testament in Welsh. Passing over the objections to a revision arising from the supposed danger to faith in the divine authorship of the Scriptures, a brief review was taken of the history of previous revisions from the time of Jerome in the fourth century down to the revision of 1881. The Welsh translation of Dr. Parry was issued in 1620— nine years later than the English revision-which shows that the Greek text in the hands of the Welsh revisers must have been practically the same as that in the hands of King James's revisers. It was pointed out that in many places the Welsh translation is more correct than the English Authorised Version, and gives the renderings which the revised version has adopted; but in many cases there is ample room for improvement. Finally, it was shown that Welshmen have practically already all the advantages of a revision from the English revised version, though a serious disadvantage arises from the necessity of constantly correcting the Welsh text. It was desirable to have a revised version were it possible to produce it without destroying the charm and perfection of style characterising the present version. The speaker could not, however, with any confidence

« ForrigeFortsæt »