the most exalted of lawful sovereigns of more modern times. As an illustration calculated to place this point in its most forcible light, the Jubilee presents of the late Queen Victoria are quoted, and, as may be imagined, the comparisons drawn are by no means to their credit. Intrinsically they were, of course, of almost fabulous value, but as works of art it would perhaps be more kind to say nothing further about them. What can be said in their praise ? But that is a matter which does not call for discussion here, though the question itself that is raised is rather curious and interesting, and fully worth noting in passing.
The query naturally arises, what was the secret of the attainment of so high a standard by the artists and craftsmen of France under the rule of Louis the Fourteenth ? I am more than a little disposed to claim that direct, generous, energetic, and, above all, wisely-directed State patronage was mainly responsible for it all, or, at least, for the "lion's share." The artist or craftsman of those days who distinguished himself in any way was certain, at the very least, of a living, and possibly a fortune if he managed his affairs wisely. If he attained the " blue riband " of his art or craft, an appartement au Louvre, he was indeed to be envied. We cannot but recognise the fact, from whatever point of view we regard it, that the institution of these State ateliers—one of Colbert's many ideas—where the workers were placed under the immediate patronage of the sovereign, was a master stroke. It is quite possible, of course, that working in particular and duly specified grooves, in order to " tickle the tastes and please the fads " of the powers that were, may have tended in some degree to curb the artistic aspirations and stunt the originality; but, nevertheless, rare advantages compensated for any temporary harm which may have accrued in that respect. For one thing, the position of the occupants of the appartements was officially recognised by the State; they were, in fact, quite distinguished personages in their way, and apart altogether from the honour
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