قراءة كتاب The International Monthly, Volume 4, No. 3, October, 1851

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‏اللغة: English
The International Monthly, Volume 4, No. 3, October, 1851

The International Monthly, Volume 4, No. 3, October, 1851

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 5

There are two classes of persons engaged, on a large scale, in the exportation of Bohemian glass—the fabricant and the collector; generally speaking, however, the latter is the direct exporter, and he also superintends the cutting, painting, and packing. The fabricant is more frequently engaged in furnishing the collector, and to a great extent, with the glass in its original and more simple forms as it comes from the furnace, and it is then cut and painted by the cottagers who surround the dwelling of the collector; so that many of these villages are entirely formed by the collector and his people. Others however, employed in the same way, cluster round the fabrique; but even their productions for the most part go to the collectors, who have their correspondents in America, Spain, Turkey, Greece, England, &c.


As might be expected, there is a considerable difference in the designs of different houses; some are much superior to others, both as to color and design. Those of Egermann, in Hyda, who has added many new and valuable discoveries in the art of making and coloring the glass, and Hoffman, in Prague, are the best I have visited, to which may be added Zahn, in Steinschönau, for whom Günter engraves. Egerman's establishment in Hyda, for cutting, painting, and engraving, is very considerable, and exhibits first-rate talent, which can only be appreciated by a personal inspection of his works; and the taste and judgment of Hoffman, in Prague, in his selections, the designs he gives, and the artists he employs, cannot be surpassed, if equalled, in Germany. He has entirely abandoned the modern school, and returned to the first principles of art,[3] and produces, both in form and decorations, subjects worthy of the ancient masters.


The glass villages are scattered all through the mountainous districts, whose ridges, and summits, and upper ranges are covered with a forest, which extends forty or fifty miles in length, by thirty broad; the fabriquants maintain that the finer glass cannot be brought to perfection but by wood heat, and hence, the glass fabriques are only to be found in these vast forests. One of the most interesting natural formations within this circle is the volcanic rock, called "Spirlingstein," which shoots up out of a little valley on the right bank of the Elbe crowned with a shattered mass of natural towers and turrets which it is difficult to believe, till closely examined, are not the ruins of one of those feudal holds crowning the summits of so many of the hills in Bohemia. Every village has its school, in which are to be found all the children too old for the nursery, and too young to be employed. Several I visited contained as many as three hundred; the specimens of their writing are beautiful, some quite like engraving; the eldest child, whose specimen I saw, was only thirteen; they sing most sweetly, and many accompanying themselves on the guitar, the schoolmaster being almost always a musician, and capable of playing two or three instruments. There is a church and good organ in each village, and a very good choir entirely composed of these villagers, all of whom play some instrument, and form the choir by turns, generally directed by the schoolmaster. Some of these amateur bands play exquisitely, as an idea may be formed by the families or communities who occasionally visit England, and who are often from a district such as I have described, and whose sole instruction has been that which they could pick up from each other in their hours of recreation. At the fabrique of A. Kittls-Erben of Kreibitz, while at dinner in the garden, and which was provided by the hospitality of the fabriquant, and in great profusion, with a variety of Hungarian and Bohemian wines, I observed a little girl of twelve years of age, who came into the bower with a guitar, and while I was looking round for the performer, the master of the fabrique lifted the little girl on a chair, and laid a music book before her, from which she played and sang a number of Bohemian songs with much taste and execution. All the instruction she ever had was from the schoolmaster, who taught her during the leisure hours of the scholars. She was an orphan, and brought up by the fabriquant. After dinner we walked up the valley to visit a fabrique of Chichorie; in the way I remarked a little cottage, like the rest, with its fruit-trees and garden, but which had, in addition to its projecting roof and windows filled with flowers, both in pots and Bohemian glass vases, verandahs in carved oak, the scroll-work of which was quite classic, and the execution admirable. While I stopped to examine this, the fabriquant who accompanied me remarked that the owners were makers of musical instruments. On inquiring of what kind, he replied a variety,—violins, accordions, and others. I was met at the door by a man whose appearance was that of a simple cottager, and his manners indicated all the simplicity of rural life. He was told that I wished to see some of his instruments, upon which he bowed, slightly elevated his shoulders, and replied, that he had nothing worth seeing, but would be happy to receive us, and showed us the way, with that natural kindness and politeness, which distinguish the peasants of this country. We followed him up a little carved-wood staircase, and he ushered us into a small, yet clean apartment, where, to my surprise, I found two rather large organs, sufficiently large for a moderate church; one was a peculiar instrument, a pan-harmomicon, invented by himself, with improvements and great facility and simplicity in tuning; it formed a concert of the single organ, brass horns, and kettle drums, having a double row of keys behind, so that the performer was masked by the instrument, which had a handsome front; the face of it could be removed to show the whole interior of the mechanical arrangement. A variety of other instruments were packed in different parts of the room, some of which were large and highly improved accordions, which, as well as the organ, are beautifully played by the brothers,[4] of whom there are three; their talent for music is extraordinary.


The church in this country is still the great patron of the arts. In every little chapel, however remote or small, (and in some of the minute villages in the mountains, they are not larger than an ordinary room,[5] though of a vast height in proportion to the length and breadth,) is found a good organ, and always well played. There is also an amateur choir attached to each. These chapels are decorated by paintings and frescoes, some of which are of considerable