Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 29.djvu/93

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THE CARE OF PICTURES AND PRINTS.

ers and compounders state that liquors made from pure cologne or neutral spirits are the purest liquors that can be found. That may be true; also, sulphuric acid and aqua-fortis may and presumably are pure, but they are, nevertheless, dangerous and deadly poisons.

This neutral spirit has been robbed of all its native richness and reduced to a skeleton of extreme poverty by eliminating its natural oils and leaving it with a harsh, cutting, penetrating nature, and when taken internally it produces the worst effects upon the tissues. The natural oils in the materials from which alcoholic liquors are produced are the oils that have the greatest natural affinity for that particular kind of liquor, and if permitted to remain where they belong, when taken into the stomach in a refined condition, properly combined and assimilated, are bland and sedative in their effects, and any spirit that has been deprived of them is not fit to enter the human stomach.

 

THE CARE OF PICTURES AND PRINTS.
By PHILIP GILBERT HAMERTON.

AMONG the most curious apparent inconsistencies of human nature is the possibly complete independence of the productive and the conservative states of mind. It seems as if the talent for producing things often led, of itself, to a carelessness about their preservation, perhaps from a feeling that it is easy to replace what may happen to be deteriorated. The most conspicuous instance of this temper is that of Turner, among artists. He was the most productive of painters and the most accumulative, liking to keep his own works about him much more than painters generally do; and yet at the same time he does not appear to have given a thought to the preservation of the works he so greatly valued. His pictures were carelessly kept in a gallery that was never repaired; his drawings were never arranged till Mr. Ruskin arranged them six years after Turner's death, and it cost Mr. Ruskin a whole autumn and winter (1857), with the help of two assistants, working "every day, all day long, and often far into the night," to convert the Turnerian mess of confusion into order.

Had it been confusion or disorder simply, the evil would have been completely remediable by careful labor; but unfortunately the same carelessness that led to disorder involved carelessness about preservation. Many of the drawings were eaten away by damp and mildew, "and falling into dust at the edges, in capes and bays of fragile decay." Others were worm-eaten, some were mouse-eaten, "many torn half-way through." Turner's way of keeping his drawings was to roll them up in bundles and cram them into drawers. The rolled bundles do not even appear to have been protected by paper closed at the end against dust, and the squeezing seems to have flattened them;