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the seventeenth century are curious enough, and invaluable as

authorities on manners and costume.  But the attitudes of the

figures are too often stiff and ungainly; while the composition is

frequently left to chance.  England could show nothing much better

than Ogilby's translations of Homer, illustrated with big florid

engravings in sham antique style.  The years between 1730 and 1820,

saw the French "little masters" in their perfection.  The dress of

the middle of the eighteenth century, of the age of Watteau, was

precisely suited to the gay and graceful pencils of Gravelot,

Moreau, Eisen, Boucher, Cochin, Marillier, and Choffard.  To

understand their merits, and the limits of their art, it is enough

to glance through a series of the designs for Voltaire, Corneille,

or Moliere.  The drawings of society are almost invariably dainty

and pleasing, the serious scenes of tragedy leave the spectator

quite unmoved.  Thus it is but natural that these artists should

have shone most in the illustration of airy trifles like Dorat's

"Baisers," or tales like Manon Lescaut, or in designing tailpieces

for translations of the Greek idyllic poets, such as Moschus and

Bion.  In some of his illustrations of books, especially, perhaps,

in the designs for "La Physiologie de Gout" (Jouaust, Paris, 1879),

M. Lalauze has shown himself the worthy rival of Eisen and Cochin.

Perhaps it is unnecessary to add that the beauty and value of all

such engravings depends almost entirely on their "state."  The

earlier proofs are much more brilliant than those drawn later, and

etchings on fine papers are justly preferred.  For example, M.

Lalauze's engravings on "Whatman paper," have a beauty which could

scarcely be guessed by people who have only seen specimens on

"papier verge."  Every collector of the old French vignettes, should

possess himself of the "Guide de l'amateur," by M. Henry Cohen

(Rouquette, Paris, 1880).  Among English illustrated books, various

tastes prefer the imaginative works of William Blake, the etchings

of Cruikshank, and the woodcuts of Bewick.  The whole of the last

chapter of this sketch is devoted, by Mr. Austin Dobson, to the

topic of English illustrated books.  Here it may be said, in

passing, that an early copy of William Blake's "Songs of Innocence,"

written, illustrated, printed, coloured, and boarded by the author's

own hand, is one of the most charming objects that a bibliophile can

hope to possess.  The verses of Blake, in a framework of birds, and

flowers, and plumes, all softly and magically tinted, seem like some

book out of King Oberon's library in fairyland, rather than the

productions of a mortal press.  The pictures in Blake's "prophetic

books," and even his illustrations to "Job," show an imagination

more heavily weighted by the technical difficulties of drawing.

The next class of rare books is composed of works from the famous

presses of the Aldi and the Elzevirs.  Other presses have, perhaps,

done work as good, but Estienne, the Giunta, and Plantin, are

comparatively neglected, while the taste for the performances of

Baskerville and Foulis is not very eager.  A safe judgment about

Aldines and Elzevirs is the gift of years and of long experience.

In this place it is only possible to say a few words on a wide

subject.  The founder of the Aldine press, Aldus Pius Manutius, was

born about 1450, and died at Venice in 1514.  He was a man of

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