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THE history of engraving is one of those subjects which cannot be lightly approached, and of course nothing more than a mere outline can be attempted in the narrow compass of eight one-hour lectures. But Mr. Perkins possesses the happy faculty of condensing much information into a little space, and also of presenting it in such an attractive way as to interest and instruct at the same time. Without striving to be what is called a popular lecturer, Mr. Perkins supposes in each of his hearers an interest in the subject, and to such his lectures cannot fail to be of profit.
The lectures are of greater value for the reason that they are presented by a gentleman of culture, who has not only a theoretical, but a practical knowledge of the subject; and the description of the difficulties of an amateur engraver, although certainly not inspiring to those who stand on the threshold of the art, are yet illustrative of what patience and perseverance can accomplish in this branch of the Fine Arts.
Another great merit of the course, and one which evinces the lecturer's practical knowledge of the art, is the great number of illustrations, not only of engravings, showing the various characteristics of the different methods, but also of the artist's tools and materials, which alone are worthy of the time given to the lectures.
In fact, no one who is interested in the subject can attend the course without being able to form intelligent opinion upon the subject, and to gain some standard, beside that of a mere uncultivated fancy, by which to judge of the merit of engravings; and the audience, although not as large as might be expected from the value of the course, yet is all that could be wished in the evident interest and attention which it manifests.
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