Chapman, J.G. (John Gadsby), 1808-1889. / The American drawing-book: a manual for the amateur, and basis of study for the professional artist: especially adapted to the use of public and private schools, as well as home instruction.
(1870 [1873 printing])
[Introduction], pp. [unnumbered]-10
I N T ROD U C T ION. Of all people in the world, we stand most in need of knowledge in the Arts of Design. If in Europe, surrounded as they are by monuments of art, the accumulation of ages, it has been round necessary to make Drawing a part of common education, how much more essential is it here, where there is little or nothing of the sort. We must learn to think, and feel, and do, for ourselves. We must begin and carry out a new system of education in this respect; and, once placed in possession of a beginning, the energy and independent character of our people, so evident in everything else, will he made available to the cultivation of national taste in art, and the just appreciation of the sublime and beautiful. Art, in its higher efforts, will no longer suffer from the pedantry of travelled quackery, but will be elevated in itself; and elevated in its efforts, by the existence of a fair, honest, and intelligent tribunal. The cast-off frippery of European garrets and workshops will no longer find place beside our home productions in the Fine and Industrial Arts. The vast resources of mind and matter with which a bountiful Providence has endowed our land, will be brought forth to add to its national greatness; and, although we have no vast cathedrals or regal palaces to fill with pictures and statues, or adorn with works of ornamental art, we have a vast, an independent and intelligent people to appeal to: who need only to be shown the truth, to know and maintain it. That a general taste for the Fine Arts does exist, however uncultivated it may be, is evident. Where is there the humblest cottage that has not its walls or mantlepiece decorated with a picture or plaster figure? However rude may be the work of art which hangs as "the bright ~ of the cottage, yet the household care bestowed upon its preservation, and the pleasure it affords by its possession and contemplation, show an appreciation of its worth, a decided taste, that, if cultivated, would Jead to better productions; for the supply would assuredly be improved in character, in proportion to the demand. A wooden clock sells the readier for its picture, and more especially, if that picture touch a chord of national pride. Washington and Mount Vernon, although pictured with a most libellous pencil, have saved many a worthless machine from the rubbish-loft. What village school-girl is there, whose ambition does not reach to the imitation of natural objects in needlework? and, although it may often puzzle the most acute to discover a rose from a tulip, or a cat from a squirrel, in her worsted-picture, yet the taste, the inclination-to try-is there. Could she be able to select subjects for imitation, from the boundless resources of nature with which she is surounded - could she have the means and opportunity afforded her, by proper instruction, of perpetuating, by her pencil or brush, the flower she has reared, the home she has 2
Based on date of publication, this material is presumed to be in the public domain.| For information on re-use, see http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/Copyright