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limited question as to the cost of the proposed art gallery was more easily met. If £6,000 were raised, the project could be tried. Over £2,000 had already been promised.
The PRESIDENT, in closing the discussion, directed attention to some evidence given by Mr. Ruskin before the House of Commons Committee on Public Institutions in 1860, in which views were expressed concerning the kind of art collections suited for the general body of the people precisely similar to those now advocated by Mr. Horsfall. Mr. Ruskin was strongly of opinion that the masterpieces in the National Gallery and South Kensington were valueless to the working classes, their merits being wholly imperceptible except to persons who have given many years of study to endeavour to qualify themselves to discuss them." What was wanted, according to Mr. Ruskin, was "an extension of our art institutions, with interesting things teaching a man and amusing him at the same time (after a hard day's work); above all large printed explanations under very print and picture; and the subject of all the paintings such as they can enjoy." Mr. Horsfall a few months ago had suggested the placing of collections of fine works of art, such as cass and autotypes, in all the board schools of the city. That was an excellent idea which ought not to be allowed to drop. To subject the children for several hours a day to the silent education of the eye in the perception of beautiful forms and possibly lovely and harmonious colour could not fail to have a great influence for good. Possibly, too, these board schools could be obtained on some evenings in each week for musical, artistic, and literary gatherings, similar to those contemplated by Mr. Horsfall in his art museum, and thus they would be able to extend the scheme over the whole city.
READING IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS.
OCTOBER 15.- Mr. WILLIAM LAWSON read a paper on the Teaching of Reading in Elementary Schools. It was in substance a manual which he has prepared for the use of teachers and scholars. At the outset he called attention to numerous references to the neglect of reading by Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools and other educational authorities, and cited passages from their reports. Thus, Mr. Fraser, now Bishop of Manchester, in the report of the Royal Commission on Education, in 1861, said: "Good reading, by which I mean distinct articulation, proper expression, and intelligent appreciation of the drift of the passage read, is a treat that I was seldom permitted to hear." Mr. Wilkinson, in the same document, is reported as saying that "the system of reading taught in too many schools is faulty;
instead of teaching' to read, it ordinarily consists in only 'hearing' to read." Mr. Brodie, one of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools in the Manchester district, in his report for 1857, says: "The reading peremptorily demands attention. By.. great courtesy only, and forbearing allowance, can that inaudible sound-which, because a pupil is standing with a book in his hands, and his lips are doubtfully moving, you hope you hear, but might as easily hope to see-be called reading. Teachers too seldom explain difficult words, or enliven the lesson by an explanation where it might aptly be introduced, and pay too little heed to errors of emphasis, expression, or punctuation." And the Rev. J. G. Fussill, in his report for 1869, said: "No secular subject comprised in the time-table is of greater importance than reading, whether we regard it as an end in itself, or as the chief means to other ends. The practical working, however, of a very large number of schools is not so conducted as to lead to the conclusion that this belief is shared by the teacher, or his staff. In some, reading is not taught at all in any real sense; in others, the reading lessons of the lower classes particularly are conducted with regard to clearness of articulation or corrections of pronunciation." Mr. Lawson, as remedy for these admitted, and too prevalent defects, strongly recommended in the first place the plan of simultaneous reading. Where there is a large class, individual reading necessarily occupies much time, and the pupil has only the opportunity of reading a few sentences. Progress must therefore necessarily be slow and the reading ineffective. By the plan of simultaneous reading, on the other hand, the greatest amount of practice is gained at the least sacrifice of time. It has another advantage. Many children are timid, and shy of reading aloud in the presence of others. These would gain confidence when reading along with others. Again, this method is calculated to give spirit to the reading, as a feeling of animation is indisputably created by numbers acting in concert. A successful method of teaching has been proved by experience to be this:-The teacher, standing in front of the class, 'with a short pointer in his hand, first carefully reads the passage to be read aloud, explaining the meaning of the harder words and general sense of the subject. The class follows, with a slow and clear utterance of the syllabic formations, making full stoppage at each pausing place, not only at the grammatical, but also at the oratorical pauses, until a signal is given to proceed to the next group. This creates a habit of pausing. The passage is again read, this time giving the proper time for the pauses. The teacher should read with the class. Finally, the pupils themselves read, the teacher guiding the time with his pointer. By these means a tolerably long extract or lesson will have been read clearly and effectively in a comparatively short time, and each pupil will have
practised the entire lesson, which could not have been done by the common mode of individual and consecutive reading. Having laid down this general plan, Mr. Lawson then went in detail through a series of rules which he comprehended under the several heads of vocality, articulation, pause, inflection, and emphasis, illustrating the same with much minuteness and lucidity. His closing "general directions" were: stand perfectly upright; expand the chest; throw the shoulders well back; hold the head erect;
Learn to read slow; all other graces
CONVERSAZIONE: JAPANESE ART.
OCTOBER 29.-The first conversazione of the session was held in the Albion Hotel, Piccadilly, the large hall of which contained a choice and extremely interesting collection of examples of . Oriental and particularly of Japanese art. Thirty-seven illustrated Japanese books were contributed by Mr. William M. Rossetti, as well as a number of prints and coloured crape pictures, and Miss Olivia Rossetti lent an exquisite and very valuable example of Japanese ivory work inlaid with pearls. Cloisonné enamels from Japan were sent by Mr. John Mark, fans and carvings from the same country by Messrs. Lasenby, Liberty, and Co., London, and metalwork and embroidery by Mr. William A. Turner. The delicacy, lightsome fancy, and harmonious colour of these several objects extorted warm admiration. In order to show the influence of these and other eastern art work on home productions, one side of the room was hung with specimens of the manufactures of Messrs. Cowlishaw, Nicol, and Co., of Portland Street, Manchester, made at their works in Blackley, and for the most part designed here. In addition to these eastern examples, which of course largely preponderated, three figures of Una, Amoret, and Britomart, from Spenser's Fairy Queen, designed for stained glass by Mr. Frederick J. Shields, occupied one end of the hall, and Mr. Madox Brown's new work, Cromwell, Protector of the Vaudois, containing figures of Cromwell, Milton, and Marvell, was exhibited for the first time in public. It is the property of Mr. Charles Rowley, jun. Mr. Shields' work displays the excellent and admirable drawing for which he has long been reputed, and, in addition, a subtle and discriminating perception of character, the representation of which is extremely rare in stained glass work. Mr. Madox Brown's picture, as usual, was the subject of much controversy.
An interesting "Note on Japanese Work and Art," written by Mr. Rowley, was printed on the programme distributed in the
room. In it Mr. Rowley said: "In speaking of the Art of the East, we are at once met with the enormous extent of its force, its surprising variety, and its varied excellence. We are fortunately able to show in our little exhibition a tolerably comprehensive series of Eastern art workmanship, from Persian rugs to the wonderful production of far-away Japan. We will briefly only refer to the latter production, because there is so much more of new interest in the work of this great people, and because they have become of late so much impressed with Western ideas that there is a fear of their distinct individualities as art-producers suffering. The Japanese have not only taken to revolutions in politics, such as we have long been familiar with, but have even had the bad taste to import our pot hats and dress coats, and, worse than all, have taken quite strongly to the use of aniline dyes. Travellers tell us that their chief characteristic is their supreme childlike attitude in all the ways of life. This is shown in a marked way in their books, numbers of which, by the kindness of Mr. W. M. Rossetti, we show, in their clear and joyous delight in portraying simple forms of natural growth, their intense love of birds, beasts, and fishes, in their innate feeling for colour, and in their evident enjoyment of all kinds of sportive fun. They seem to be one of the few intelligent races still left who can really enjoy themselves heartily in the open air, with an unconscious glee unknown to us in England at least. Their ingenuity, especially in dealing with the grotesque, is most surprising; and, although we may be puzzled to make out the drift of much of their work, by patient attention we shall always find the motive, although it is often so elaborated or involved we stand great chance of missing it altogether. The books shown give a fair idea of their domestic and public life. We have histories of wars terribly realistic and grotesquely vivid, scenes of domestic brawling and wife-beating, garden parties, impossible gymnastic feats, yet drawn as if from nature, hunting, mountain climbing, marine views and sea fights, processions, fêtes, and all the varied life one would expect to find in Yeddo itself. The books are beautifully printed, many of them in colours. Quite as surprising is the workmanship displayed in their pottery, in their metal work, and in all their wood work. The workman is said to do all these wonders with so few tools that a Western workman would consider it ridiculous to attempt such work with a kit so limited. In many cases it is said the Japanese cabinet maker "uses his ribs for a bench, and his toes for a vice." The result is an article of subtle delicacy, of lightness and firmness combined, and of such cheapness that we often wonder how the retailer here cares to sell, even if it were all profit. For examples of cheap and beautiful work, I would point to a japanned case for two packs of cards, which cost 25. 9d.; and for a perfect specimen of subtle
woodwork, on which is a decoration as refined, graceful, and complete as could be found, I refer the reader to a small tray, which will be a delicacy in fairyland. Of the masterly decorative power of the Japanese there is no room to speak, and it is to be hoped that our little show will reveal to many something of that fascination which seizes those who have seen much and thought much of their work."
In the course of the evening, Mr. W. Burnett Tracy read a paper on the Life and Music of Mendelsohnn, and it was illustrated by selections from the Elijah, the Hymn of Praise, and other works.
FICTIONS IN HISTORY.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 1877.-The Rev. R. HENRY GIBSON, B.A., read a paper on Certain Fictions in History commonly accepted as Historical Facts. He remarked that, in spite of the great progress made during recent years in historical research, not a few dark corners were still left wholly unexplored, e.g., the subject of the authenticity of the MSS. of Greek and Roman history had hitherto scarcely been touched; and, even in modern history the first principles of investigation were still much disputed. But, passing this over, he contended that alike in ancient and modern history, many commonly accepted statements were intrinsically either highly improbable or absolutely incredible. In proof of this assertion he brought forward, among other instances, the number of the inhabitants in certain States of Ancient Greece, which could be conclusively shown to be grossly exaggerated; the number of ships alleged to have taken part in the naval battle of Salamis which, he demonstrated, could not possibly have been contained in the narrow compass of the gulf. He regarded the acceptance of these figures, even by such historians as Niebuhr and Grote, as a proof of the mighty force still exerted by the genius of ancient Greece on the imagination of the modern world. Casting a glance at similar examples of exaggerated numbers in Roman history, the essayist next proceeded to examine the accuracy of some usually accepted statements in English history; as, for example, the relative numbers of the English and French armies, with their relative losses, in the battles of Crecy and Poitiers; the number of persons alleged to have died of the Black Death in the fourteenth century, amounting in the case of the city of Norwich alone to no fewer than upwards of fifty-seven thousand. Passing to another.class of historical fictions, less easy of refutation, Mr. Gibson maintained that the ordinary conception of the early Britons as savages was an error; that the ordinary division of the early English into Angles and Saxons, the fallacy