The speaking canvas is eloquent; its language, universal, its immortality, sure. So may it prove with the distinguished art-masters and patrons of our name and descent.
RESPONSE BY MR. A. H. BICKNELL, OF MALDEN, MASS.
When Ball Hughes, the sculptor, came to this country, Andrew Jackson told him that he came fifty years too soon. To-day it is fifty years too soon to call for a response from "our artists." In art our family have "great expectations," we look to the future rather than to the dead past for great achievements. Buckle tells us that "As long as any man is engaged in collecting materials necessary for his own subsistence, there will be neither leisure nor taste for higher pursuits." With nations, great achievements in art never appear during the formative period aesthetic development comes later. As with nations, so with the Bicknells!
That the true art instinct with the Bicknells is inherent, I cannot doubt. An accomplished artist informs me that many years ago while sketching in Switzerland, he made the acquaintance of a lady who painted in water-colors so much better than he that he was ashamed to show his own works in her presence. This lady was a daughter of the late Elhanan Bicknell, of London.
My lamented friend, William M. Hunt, declared that an art critic never was known to discover an original artist before he was forty; however that may be, a Bicknell discovered Turner, became his friend and patron thirty years before the peerless John Ruskin uttered a word in that renowned painters praise. We have no great art achievements to record and dwell upon to-day, but later let the roll be called, the record be read and "honor to whom honor is due," let us then,
"Bring Art to tremble nearer, touch enough
The verge of vastness to inform our soul."