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purchased it from the artist for thirty-five thousand roubles, about fifteen hundred pounds. The general effect of this picture on the eye, at a first glance, is disagreeable, from the nature of the subject, and the glare of colouring which belongs to such a scene; the hot falling cinders, moreover, have the appearance of a shower of blood. The conception of the picture, however, shows no ordinary genius, and the expressions and attitudes of the figures and faces are beautifully imagined and admirably painted. The most striking figures are those of an old man borne in the arms of his son, and a woman stretched dead or dying in the foreground, with black hair streaming on the pavement; she has apparently been thrown out of a chariot, of which the axle is broken, and the horses are rushing wildly away; next to these is a family group, including a mother with an infant in her arms, which is unconscious of the danger, and stretches out its hands to catch a small bird fluttering on the ground. Lastly, at the left side of the picture appears a group of Christians, as is evident from a cross hung round the neck of one: their resigned, though awe-struck faces, and their attitudes of prayer, are finely contrasted with the terror and despair expressed on the faces and forms which surround them. The portrait of Brilloff himself is to be seen behind the Christians in a man who carries the implements of a painter on his head. The architectural parts of this picture are not as well drawn as
the figures ; at the right hand there are three statues intended to be tottering on the parapet of a high building, but which look as if, in bathing language, they were preparing to take “headers” into the midst of the crowd below.
In walking through the rooms of the Academy, we found a young artist copying a picture, the details of which, it being a battle-piece, he was extremely civil in explaining, as well as in answering other questions; and we found afterwards that he was a son of the famous Kotzebue, who was sent to Siberia (by mistake) by the Emperor Paul.
As I am now on the subject of works of art, I must mention, though they have nothing to do with the Academy, the productions of the Imperial manufactory of tapestry in Petersburg. It is on the plan, I believe, of the Gobelins at Paris, and is now in full operation, preparing carpets and hangings for the Winter Palace. The carpets are exceedingly rich and splendid, chiefly in the French style. The tapestry, however, is of course more curious, and it is exceedingly beautiful. One or two pictures which have been copied, or are now in progress, have quite the effect of paintings at a little distance. The best of those which we saw, is a picture of Alexander the Great, receiving the family of Darius.
Another splendid work of art which we have lately seen, is a temple destined to be placed in the Church of St. Isaac, and which in the meantime stands for
safety in the large hall of the Tauride, which serves at present as a receptacle for the furniture saved from the Winter Palace. The temple consists of a dome about seven feet in diameter, supported on eight Corinthian pillars about eight feet high. The exterior of the dome is covered with a profusion of gilding on a ground of malachite, and the interior is of lapis lazuli, the pillars are of malachite, with gilt bases and capitals; the floor is of polished stone of various colours; and the whole is raised on steps of polished porphyry. There is, perhaps, altogether too much gilding about this very beautiful work, but this is much in accordance with its destined position in a Greek church. It was presented to the Emperor by M. Demideff, who procured the malachite from his mines in Siberia, and sent it to Italy to be worked. Malachite is, as you probably are aware, a stone peculiar to the copper mines of Siberia : it is of the colour of verdigris marbled, and bears evident marks of having once been in a state of fusion.
In the visit of which I have spoken to the Public Library, I was chiefly interested by the collection of MSS., some of the most remarkable of which were pointed out to me by Mr. Atkinson, the Librarian, who was kind enough to accompany me over the whole institution. The Library contains about four hundred thousand volumes, a considerable part of which were acquired by right of might, having been
transferred to Petersburg from the Public Library at Warsaw. There are about forty thousand volumes of MSS.
Among others which I examined, is a missal which was purchased in France, and which formerly belonged to Mary Queen of Scots: it is quite perfect, except that in the illuminations with which it is abundantly ornamented, there have once been numerous coats of arms, every one of which, from the beginning of the book to the end, has been carefully erased, and the shield left vacant. It is difficult to guess with what object this has been done, as no other mutilation is apparent. The chief interest of this missal lies in numerous scraps of the Queen's hand-writing which are to be found in it, breathing in general of her unhappy fortunes, though it must be owned, much cannot be said in favour of her poetry, the exact meaning of which is not always very
clear. Near the beginning is written across the bottom of two pages, Ce livre est a moi, Marie reyne, 1553.*
In another page are written the following lines in the Queen's hand.
Un cour que l'outrage martire,
* The last figure is very indistinct, but it appears to be a 3.
In another place, in the same writing, are these
Qui iamais davantage eust contraire le sort,
Below these lines, the Queen has scrawled a memorandum, “escrire au Secretare pour Douglas.” I was afterwards shewn, in a collection of original letters, one from Mary to the King of France, written during her imprisonment, in which, addressing the King, as Monsieur Mon Frere, and signing herself votre bonne sæur Marie, she speaks of Douglas, recommending him to the future favour of his most Christian Majesty; whom she at the same time thanks for his attention to her former request in behalf of the same person.
In another letter from Fotheringay Castle, the unhappy Queen expresses her too-well-grounded fear of never being released from prison. This collection includes autographs of Henry the Seventh, Henry the Eighth, Elizabeth, James the First, Charles the First and his Queen Henrietta, with those of many distinguished persons ; among others, Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, in whose hand are two or three letters to the King of France, expressing the deepest gratitude and devotion to his Most Christian Majesty, and entreating for a continuance of his favour. I am afraid Queen
* Both these words are thus written.