The artist is the creator of beautiful things. (...) Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all. (...) No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything. (...) All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril. Those who read the symbol do so at their peril. It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors. Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital. When critics disagree the artist is in accord with himself...
O. Wilde (1854-1900), Preface to 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'
Sunday, October 30, 2011
James Hall Nasmyth, by George Bernard O'Neill
(date unknown, but author died in 1917)
inventor of the steam hammer.
Throughout his life he developed important hobbies,
‘Let me turn for a time from the Foundry, the whirr of the self-acting tools, and the sound of the steam hammers, to my quieter pursuits at home. There I had much tranquil enjoyment in the company of my dear wife. I had many hobbies. Drawing was as familiar to me as language. Indeed, it was often my method of speaking. It has always been the way in which I have illustrated my thoughts. In the course of my journeys at home and abroad I made many drawings of places and objects, which were always full of interest, to me at least and they never ceased to bring up a store of happy thoughts.
Now and then I drew upon my fancy, and with pen and ink I conjured up "The Castle of Udolpho,""A Bit of Old England," "The Fairies are Out," and "Everybody for Ever." The last is crowded with thousands of figures and heads, so that it is almost impossible to condense the drawing into a small compass. To these I added "The Alchemist," "Old Mortality," "Robinson Crusoe," and a bit of English scenery, which I called "Gathering Sticks." I need not say with how much pleasure I executed these drawings in my evening hours. They were not "published", but I drew them with lithographic ink, and had them printed by Mr. Maclure. I afterwards made presents of the series to some of my most intimate friends.’