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cury; and according to others, from the god Teuth.

ters to have been eternal. This fhews the antiquity of the practice to extend beyond the era of authentic history.


2. The caballistical doctors of the Jews maintain, that alphabetical writing was one of the ten things which God created on the evening of the fabbath.

4. Is there any reafon to fuppofe, from the history of the human mind, that oral language, which has been long perfect, beyond any memorials of our fpecies in heathen writers, and is coeval with man, according to the teftimony of fcripture: is there any reafon, I fay, to fuppofe, that even language itself is the effect of human ingenuity and experience?"

3. Most of the profane authors of antiquity afcribe the firft ufe of alphabetical characters to the Egyptians; who, according to fome, received the expedient from Mer


[From the fame Publication. ]



HE most ancient of the Greek writers, that takes notice of glass, I believe, is thought to be Ariftophanes, who, in his comedy of the Clouds, introduces Socrates, as inftructed by Strepfiades, how to pay his debts, by placing a tranfparent fubitance between the fun and the writings, that ferved as a fecurity for the fums borrowed, and thus confuming them. But it is not abfolutely certain, that artificial glafs was h re meant, as the word Ya fignifies cryital, and, as fome fay, transparent amber like wife. If glafs, however, be here meant, it fhews that it must have been brought to confiderable perfection, both in point of clearness, and the art of grinding it into a convex form, fo to tranfmit and collect the fun's rays as to produce this effect. Aritotle has two problems relative to glafs: the first endeavouring to explain its tranfparency, and the other, its want of malleability. But the learned think then both to be fpurious. Alex

ander Aphrodifæus, another ancient Greek writer, fpeaks particularly of glafs, and of its tranfparency.

"Galen makes mention of glass in feveral places. He appears to have been well acquainted with it, and the method of making it. He tells us, that it was made from sand melted in furnaces, which was required to be pure, fince, if any metallic fubftance was mixed therewith, the glafs was fpoiled. Those concerned in the manufacture knew, by looking at it, if it would ferve their purpofe. In other places, he advifes medicines of a corrofive nature to be kept in glafs veffels, as fuch are not liable to be affected, or to impart any bad qualities.

"Glafs was alfo ufed for cupping veffels, in the time of Galen, much in the fame way as at prefent.

"Dion Caffius relates, that a man, in the time of the emperor Tiberius, brought a glass cup into the prefence of the latter, which he threw with great force upon the M 2 ground

day by the obfcure, defpifed, and wretched people in England, whofe language has been confidered as a fabricated gibberish, and confounded with a cant in ufe amongst thieves and

beggars, and whofe perfons have been (till within the period of a year) an object of the perfecution, initead of the protection of our laws."


[From his Biographical Dictionary of Engravers.]

"H preceding part of this Ef- the reft 1466 and 1467; which ac

AVING proved, the one of dated as

count, refpecting the two latter
dates, is confirmed by M. Heinne-
ken, an excellent and able writer
upon this fubject, whofe publica-
tions are frequently referred to in
the courfe of this work. These, it
feems, were the earliest German
prints they could produce with
dates; whereas the first dated en
gravings in Italy, are faid to be the
geographical charts for an edition
of Ptolemy, published at Rome,
A. D. 1478. The plates for the
large edition of the Poems of Dante,
invented by Boticelli, and engraved
by him, or Baldini, did not appear
till 1481. Hence we find the dif
ference of twelve years between the
date of the Italian engravings and
thofe produced in Germany.

"It is indeed remarkable, that
no print has hitherto been produced
by the Italians, which can with the
leaft degree of certainty be attri
buted to Finiguerra. Neither has
there been found in the foreign col-
lections any engravings of a prior
date to thofe mentioned above; but
others rudely executed, and with-
out date, are mentioned however as
proofs of the exercise of the art as
well in Italy as in Germany, be
fore the publication of those prints
which were dated. But it would be
highly improper to place an impli

fay, the great antiquity of engrav. ing, it remains now to confider the art in a far more extenfive point of view, and to examine, when it was profeffedly executed for the purpofe of producing fpecimens on paper; which happy invention increafed its reputation, and rendered it more generally ufeful. The confequence it now acquired with the public, occafioned its feparation from the shop of the goldfmith, and worker in metals, with whom it feems to have remained for many ages, as a branch of their profef fion; and the engraver by himself was properly confidered as an artist of the first rank.

"The Germans and the Italians both lay claim to the invention of the art of taking impreffions from engraved plates on paper. The former place their dependence upon the antiquity of the works which they produce; as the engravings of the old masters of that country: the latter upon the pofitive affertion of Georgio Vafari, who attributes it to Mallo Finiguerra, a Florentine artift; and declares, that it was accidentally discovered by him about the year 1460.

Profeffor Chrift mentions feve ral old engravings, evidently the production of fome German artift;

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of the latter to one of the former (which has continued to be the flux for glafs from the earliest to the prefent times) in furnaces, into maffes of a dull black colour. Thefe were again melted by the refiners, either into a colourlefs glafs, or tinged of any hue they thought proper. The grofs mafs, from the firft fufion, feems to have been called ammonitrum, and probably did not differ much from the lapis obfidianus, which is faid to have been of Ethiopian or Egyptian origin. It is faid to have been a kind of black vitreous fubftance, but still pellucid, which was used for cafting into large works. Pliny fays, he faw folid ftatues of the emperor Auguftus made of this material; and the fame emperor dedicated four elephants of the fame fubftance in the Capitol. It appears to have been known from great antiquity, as Tiberius Cæfar, when he governed that country, found a ftatue of Menelaus of this compofition. Xenocrates likewife, according to Pliny, fpeaks of the fame compofition, as in ufe in India, Italy, and Spain. Sidon in Phoenicia had been, in early times, famous for glafs. In the time of Pliny, that of the Bay of Naples was preferred.

"The perfectly clear glafs was, however, moft valued. Nero gave for two cups, of no very extraordinary fize, with two handles to each, upwards of fix thousand feftertia, or above fifty thoufand pounds fterling. But, though the finest kinds of glafs were fo valuable and rare, yet I apprehend, from the frequent mention of glafs in Martial, and from what Pliny fays, that glafs for drinking vefiels had nearly fuperfeded the ufe of gold and filver, that the inferior forts must have been common enough.

"The Romans were acquainted with the art of engraving upon, or cutting glafs, which is exprefly mentioned by Pliny, and confirmed by the antique gems fo frequently found. It was formed either by blowing it with a pipe, grinding it in a lathe, or catting it in a mould like metal. The colours principally in ufe were an obfcure red glafs, or perhaps rather earthen ware, called hæmatinon; one of various colours, called myrrhinum, a clear red, a white, a blue, and indeed most other colours.

"Pliny likewife mentions the effects of hollow glafs globes, filled with water, in concentrating the rays of light, fo as to produce flame in any combustible fubitance upon which the focus fell, and relates, that fome furgeons in his time made use of it as a cauftic for ulcers and wounds.

"He was alfo acquainted with the comparative hardness of gems and glafs, as he obferves, that the lapis obfidianus would not fcratch gems. And he likewife mentions the counterfeiting of the natural gems by glafs, as a very lucrative art, and in high perfection in his time; and the fame feems to be con firmed by Trebellius Pollio. Vopifcus fays, that Firmus furnished his houfe with fquare pieces of glafs, faftened together with bitumen or other fubftances; but whether they were to ferve for windows, or as reflectors of the light and objects, does not appear.

"As fpecula, or metal reflectors, in the prefent age, bear fome reference to glafs, and as they were in confiderable ufe among the ancients, I fhall here fubjoin a few words concerning them.

"The antiquity of fpecula, or metal reflectors, muft, according to Plutarch, have been very great. Не

M 3

other artists of that time. After which period it died away, and we hear no more of it. And that this ftyle of workmanship was not the moft ancient, we need only refer to the oldest dated prints, and beyond them to the brais plates on tombs, and other fpecimens of the art, for centuries paft, and we fhall find the ftrokes promifcuoufly laid upon them, forming the fhadows, and croffed or rectoffed without the leaft restraint.

"According to what has been faid, it appears, that 1465 is the carlieft date affixed to any print, produced by the Germans, except indeed one mentioned by Sandrart, in his Academy of Painting, which he fays he had feen, bearing date ten years earlier, and marked with a cypher, compofed of an H. and an S. joined to the cross-bar of the H. precifely in the fame manner as that ufed by Hans Schauflein. But even the moft fanguine of his own countrymen cannot help allowing their fufpicion of a mistake in the date; and fome have faid, it should have been written 1477, which o'thers think is still too early. It is readily allowed that an older mafter than Schauflein did exift, who used the fame monogram; but his prints in general bear the evident marks of being copies from others, and by no means, from the manner of their execution, juftify the fuppofition of their being the works of a mafter, greatly anterior to the year 1500. The fubject of the print mentioned by Sandrart, is a girl careffing an old man while fhe fteals his purfe from him. This fubject, it is well known, was frequently engraved, both on copper and on wood, by a variety of ancient mafters; but, except Sandrart, I never heard of any one who had feen the print alluded

A fuller account of this artist,

with his works, may be seen in the fecond volume, under the article Schauflein. The story, that Peter Schoffer invented the art of engraving on copper, and taking impreffions from plates of that metal, does not bear any fimilitude to the truth; neither have we the leaft plausible reafon given, in fupport of such an affertion.

"With refpect to the edition of Ptolemy, printed at Rome in the year 1478, we must take notice, that the plates were not engraved by Italian artists, but by Conrad Sweynheym, and Arnold Buckinck, both of them Germans. The former, as appears from the dedication, first brought, not only the art of taking impreffions from engraved plates, but that of printing alfo, to Rome, where he died, three years after the commencement of the work, which was at length completed by the latter; and the plates for this book are fuppofed to have been begun about the year 1472. It will doubtleis feem very extraordinary, that the art of engraving fhould have been difcovered at Florence fo early as 1460, and yet unknown twelve years afterwards at Rome, where it was first introduced by foreign artifts. It appears from this circum. ftance, that though Finiguerra, Boticelli, and Baldini, all of them Florentines, poffeffed the fecret, they did not divulge it fpeedily; and hence, as a good prefumptuous proof, it may be urged, that such Italian engravings, as are to be found prior to the year 1472, are by the hand of one or other of these artifts. If this be granted, and great plaufibility, at least, is on its fide, it will follow that the origi nals, from whence the plates II. and III. are taken, are fo. These curious and valuable specimens of ancient engravings, which, I be

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lieve, are unique, must have been executed as early as the year 1464; a very short interval, from the time, which Vafara gives us for the invention of the art; and are confiderably more early than any hitherto produced, though all the great foreign libraries have been repeatedly fearched for that purpofe. Two of them, I thought, were fufficient to fhew the ftyle in which they are executed; but the fet confifts of eight plates, namely, the feven planets, and an almanack by way of frontispiece, on which are directions for finding Eafter from the year 1465 to 1517 inclufive; and the dates regularly follow each other, which plainly proves, that there can be no mistake with refpect to the first; and we may be well af fured, in this cafe, the engravings were not antedated; for the almanack of course became lefs and lefs valuable every year. A full defeription of all thefe engravings will be given in the feventh chapter of this Effay.

"If we are inclined to refer thefe plates to either of the three Italian artifts before mentioned, we fhall naturally fuppofe them to be the work of Finiguerra, or Baldini; for they are not equal, either in draw ing or compofition, to thofe afcribed to Boticelli; which we know at least were defigned by him; and as Bal dini is exprefly faid to have worked from the defigns of Boticelli, it will appear most probable, if they are to be attributed to any one of thefe three artists, they belong to the former. The reader must be left to judge for himself, whether he con. ceives them to be fufficiently well executed; for he is to remember, that Finiguerra is fpoken of by Vafari, as a man of no fmall ability. I own, after all, if I could but tell to whom one might reasonably a

fcribe thefe curious plates, I fhould yet be tempted to fuppofe the original of the plate No. V. was really the production of Finiguerra's graver.

"We have now feen what pretenfions the Italians have laid to the invention of the art of engraving, and have proved, by producing undoubted fpecimens, that it did exist nearly about the time stated by Va-. fari. With refpect to what he has faid concerning the art of taking impreffions from engraved plates being invented by Finiguerra, the ingenious obfervations of M. Heineken are well deferving of notice. "According to Vafari, fays he, and others, his countrymen, it was the goldfmith Finiguerra who invented this art, about the year 1460; and perhaps he was not miftaken, if he fpeaks of Italy only. It is very poffible, that the art of engraving fhould have been long practifed in Germany, and unknown in Italy.. The Italians, thofe of Venice excepted, had very little correfpondence with the Germans. For this reafon, Finiguerra might difcover this art, without knowing that it had been already invented in Ger many. All the merchandizes of this country were fent from Antwerp to the Italians, who were much better acquainted with the people of the Low Countries than thofe of the other provinces. For this caufe, Vafari fuppofed that Martin Schoen, who was born at Culmback, and refided at Colmar, was a Fleming, and constantly calls him Martin of Antwerp."

"We fhall now proceed to examine, what claim the Germans can bring, prior to that of the Italians; and in that cafe we fhall have recourfe to their works. The earliest dated print I ever faw produced by this fchool, is copied, plate I. and N 3 the

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