London at the End of the Century:A Book of Gossip
a Beckett, Arthur William
THE DIGNITY OF ART.
As I write there is no more enviable position in the wide world than the Presidentship of the Royal Academy. A season or two ago I happened to be present at the meeting of two Royal Academicians in the rooms at St. James's Palace. They were both in Court dress, and both had paid their respects to the Representative of their Sovereign. They looked and were cultured and comely gentlemen. Amidst the glittering throng of scarlet and blue uniforms the two members of the Royal Academy more than held their own. They were . And I could not help contrasting with these
|admirable representatives of modern English art the sort of worker that found his pictorial embodiment in Keene's sketch of The painter of twenty or thirty years ago was a Bohemian . He had hosts of friends, and these friends chaffed him unmercifully if he showed the slightest inclination to go If a man appeared after dark in a studio in evening dress, he was held up to ridicule as if he accepted an invitation to stay a week or so at a country house he was regarded with real concern as a dangerous madman. Charles Keene's "Stodge" was the companion sketch to Tom Robertson's The latter was the of Bohemia. They both were thoroughly good fellows -in the best sense of the word gentlemen-but I am afraid, from a society point of view, just a little Nowadays is all that he should be, and is nothing that he shouldn't be. They are welcome in halls of dazzling delight in Belgravia and Mayfair, and are asked to meet all sorts of august personages. Very right and proper. A king picked up an artist's pencil, and for centuries our principal portrait painters have received the honour of knighthood.|
The old affectation (for it was nothing more) of preferring clay pipes and beer to cigars and wine, has passed away. Long hair is nowadays scarcely a
|sign of genius, and a tail coat does not bar the road to distinction. In a word, artists and journalists have rejoined the company that ages ago included Sheridan and Reynolds, Goldsmith and Dr. Johnson.|