—and he could not well have done more in that direction than he did—he was fully repaid by the refined dignity and magnificence which were instilled into the material environment of his reign by the genius and instrumentality of such men as Percier, Fontaine, David, and their co-workers.
THE " NEW ART" IN FRANCE
It is common to regard, and speak of, the temperament of the French people as one to which perpetual change and excitement are essential; and when the Gallic disposition, so instinct with vivacity, so full of vervey is contrasted with our own, something more than a slender foundation for that view may perhaps appear to exist. Proud as we may be, and unquestionably are, of our national characteristics, it is useless to deny the fact that the attitude of mind which we present under certain circumstances, and our actions, when compared with those of the French, must appear to the people of other nations sluggish and phlegmatic in the extreme ; though which traits are the more desirable to cultivate is quite another matter, and one which does not call for discussion here.
Yet, in some respects our neighbours across the Channel have displayed, from time to time, a conservatism altogether unlooked for in a people possessed of such rare versatility; this was especially the case in the attitude which they assumed towards all matters appertaining to the arts of house furnishing and decoration as practised by them during nearly the whole of the nineteenth century. I would not, for one moment, suggest that there was not much admirable work done during that period by the designers and craftsmen of France, who were determined to sustain the old, and respected, traditions of their land. That task they accomplished without difficulty; they easily succeeded, moreover, in retaining their supremacy in the particular walks with which long acquaintance had made them familiar—a supremacy that has not by any means been wrested from them yet. It is true that they sustained old traditions; but, up to within a few years of the close of
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