THE readers of Mr. Eastlake’s handsome and pleasantly written book on “ Household Taste ” must — some of them at least — have shared with us the feeling that the pleasure it gives would have been more complete if, after having been stirred up to enthusiasm over chairs and tables, side-boards and bookcases, and made zealously in earnest to learn the whole duty of man in the house-furnishing way, and to do it, we could have found a place where the things we ought to have could be bought for money. But the people with ideals do, by dint of everlasting harping on their favorite topics, get other people interested, worked up to a white heat of desire, and of consequent effort to get their desire satisfied ; out of which ferment comes, in every case, some tangible improvement, some approach, if it be no more, to the sought-for perfection. Thus, since Pugin in England began to laugh and scold at the desolation of the average London drawing-room, and since Downing, here at home, tried to light a little fire of enthusiasm for more poetical and individual home surroundings, to the present times, when Mr. Eastlake, with more knowledge than Downing and more practical sense than Pugin, comes to us with his helpful hints as to what to do and what to avoid, if we would make our houses beautiful, there have been constant efforts making to supply the demand, all the time growing, for prettier and more sensible furniture, and for household utensils that should please and not vex the eye. It would be long if we were to catalogue in detail all the improvements : the cheap wall-papers with designs as good as those of the clear ones, — a work Pugin started, since taken up by several hands, notably by Owen Jones, who has lately made some first-rate designs and had them carried out ; the glass and crystal of to-day, much of it, especially the French crystal, being better than has been made for a hundred years back, and within the reach of very humble purses ; the earthen-ware, not yet quite out of the imitative stage, but fast learning to think for itself, and even now pleasanter to look at than the best to be had twenty years ago ; stuffs of all sorts for furniture-coverings and curtains, oftener with good designs than bad ; and so forth and so on, improvement being evident everywhere but in furniture, properly so called. Here the world has never been quite so badly off, so at its wit’s end, as it is to-day. Yet there is good furniture to be had to-day, and of to-day’s make, too, if we only knew where to go for it. And this is the case with many things beside furniture. One principal reason why we see so much bad, or, at best, indifferent, uninteresting furnishing is, that the art of getting good things together is so long, and time so short and so taken up with more serious things. If only somebody would bring the good things together into one place, combine them, set them off, and let us see how these fine theories of Pugin, Eastlake, Downing, Walter Smith, look, put into practice ! That is what the young couples who have houses to furnish, and middle-age couples who have houses to refurnish, are anxiously asking for this long while.

And, at last, we have a scheme fairly set on foot for giving us what we want. “ The Household-Art Company” — a modest association of a few men of taste and energy, whose business it will be to bag all household gears of a picturesque nature that may be found flying — has settled itself comfortably down into pleasant quarters in Boston, and offers the public the fruit of its second year’s gleaning of England and the Continent. The collection of objects is not an ambitious one, and whoever has travelled much, and seen the great brica-brac shops of London arid Paris, with the workshops of the Salviatis and Decks, the Collinets and Castellanis, may easily sniff at the contents of these unpretending, pretty parlors. But this, as the visitor will soon learn, is only the beginning; the undertaking is an experiment, and if it succeeds, the measures have been taken to extend operations in many directions. If people like, or can be taught to like, the pretty things, the quaint things, the artistic things, that are already here, there are plenty of the same sort where these came from, and better and better, and the supply can be made equal to the demand. And how can people, — young folks with fresh eyes and taste as yet unspoiled by fashion, or older people, well rid of fashion, and with experience of what there as in the world of truly beautiful, — how can either of these sets not like instinctively, or be easily taught to like, the greater number of the things the Household-Art Company has to show them ? Last year, when the company’s ship came home, it brought great store of the beautiful English furniture of the last century, and the eagerness with which it was bought up should have led, some thought, to more coming this year; but Holland was the field chosen to be scoured by the last foraging party, Holland and Friesland ; and we, for our part, find Holland as much to our taste as the England of ’76. These Holland cabinets, covered with surface carving, and ample closet above and below, or a single closet supported on pillars which rest on a platform raised a few inches above the floor, are, practically, very convenient things in a house, beside furnishing a room well, standing out boldly from the wall, and filling the eye with their solidly picturesque proportions. We never saw two of them exactly alike, and the usual variety obtains in the specimens in the company’s rooms. Another strong point in the collection this year is the pottery, Majolica, Delft, Chinese, and Japanese, all being represented, not, indeed, by many splendid, or even by any very remarkable specimens, but by a large number of good pieces, some old, but more of modern make, and consequently more easily compassed by moderate purses. Among these specimens are many pieces of the material called Flanders gray ware, clever copies of the real old grès de Flandre, and certainly very attractive substitutes for the common pitcher of the crockery-shops, which cost more and are not so strong. There is also a small but well-chosen collection of old grès de Flandre, and two or three complete tea-sets of old Worcester ware which ought to have magic enough in them to bring back the very ghosts of our grandmothers, if once the fragrant Hyson should be poured from these tiny teapots and circulate through these bits of cups. But old Worcester is getting as rare as real grandmothers, and a man is lucky who owns either of these precious products of art and nature working in harmony. We would like to call attention also to the good stock of tiles imported by this company. They are not all from one manufactory, but represent several works, and offer us some choice, where, hitherto, we have been shut up to the productions of one house, an excellent one, it is true, and well deserving its name, but — we are glad to see what other people can do ! Tiles are not half as much used as they might be ; they are always decorative, and can take a variety of expressions, cheerful as a rose-and-rosebud paper, grave and respectable as Spanish leather, picturesque as tapestry, neat as a check apron; and then they last forever, and can be kept as clean as a dinner-plate. Among these tiles are two sets of the old Wedgewood plaques, to our thinking as satisfyingly lovely as anything in modern earthen-ware, designed to serve as panels in mantel-pieces. Let these be set into a well-designed mantel-piece made of oak, or maple, or mahogany, that out-of-fashion but most beautiful of all woods, and what marble mantel of to-day’s make could compare with it ? These brass sconces, too, — here is another old fashion come back again, and a pretty, cheap, useful fashion it is ! What modern gas-fixture would look so picturesque with a bit of Christmasgreen about it as one of these same sconces of beaten work (to English the technical phrase repoussé), with the soft shimmer of the candles reflected in broken light from its surface ? These sconces are of modern make, the old ones are becoming scarce, and are much sought for, much affected in Paris by artists, and thought pretty in an antechamber, with a bit of tapestry, if one can get it, on the wall. And, speaking of tapestry, here are a half-dozen remarkably fine pieces of old Gobelin in excellent condition, worth, for decorative effect, as every artist knows, acres of wall-paper ; aird if we think the brass sconces not fine enough, or too picturesque for modern surroundings, here are magnificent specimens of electrotypy, copies of the Shakespeare Dish, of the Milton and the Dante Shields, and the Amazon Dish, and the Siege-of-Troy Dish, brilliant ornaments for dining-room or entrance-hall.

One want which tins company offers to meet is that of architects, and of all of us, too, who are fitting up our houses, for ornamental brass and iron work, sometimes elegant or even rich, but oftener serviceable, comely, and yet low in price. It is at present almost impossible to get welldesigned hinges, door-plates, key-plates, knobs, and closing-rings made in this country without going to great expense; and though the manufacture of these things is now carried to great perfection in England, very few of the articles are imported. Yet how welcome they would be is shown by the fact that somebody here having hit upon the device of covering flat hingeplates and plain door-knobs with thin pieces of electrotype copper, ornamented with designs in low relief, there has been such a demand for them that they are being used everywhere, though the effect of even the best of them is mean and mechanical. The English iron and brass work for these “ hardware ” purposes is well and solidly made by cutting the plates out of boiler-iron or even out of thick sheet-iron, and the same for brass, while wrought iron and brass are very much in use. It is not at all uncommon to see handsome new houses in England fitted, all through, with hinges, door-latches (not mortice-locks), key-plates, and the rest of the hardware, of wrought iron and brass, — handsome to look at, well made, and serviceable, not possible to get out of order with ordinary usage, and always looking better the more it is rubbed and handled. All this English hardware the Household-Art Company is prepared to import, and they have on hand a small supply of it, together with some very attractive specimens of the French brass-work, firedogs, fire-irons, etc., etc., copied literally from old renaissance and Gothic examples, and made to do service, not merely to look at. We wish this enterprise may thrive, for though there is a real desire to furnish our homes more picturesquely and cosily, and, at the same time, usefully, for every-day living, and not for stage effect, there has thus far been no way in which this could he done without giving a great deal more time to it than most people can afford. And, oftentimes, the result was not satisfactory. Now there is a place promised us where one can go for advice and assistance, can see what others are doing, and learn the best way of infusing a little of the artistic, the poetic element into our too mechanic and monotonous ways of living. But we shall not think the Household-Art Company has done the best it can for us, until it gives a fillip to the arts here at home ; does its possible, however little that may be, to set our own mechanics at work, and to develop the capacity, which is here abundantly, if one will look for it, of making beautiful things, glass, pottery, iron-work, carpets, and stuffs, as well as steam-engines and reapers. However, the taste must be formed first, we admit, and this new association can do a good deal to that end.

— Our quarrel with the Nation over the measurement of Mr. Ward’s Shakespeare has at last reached Touchstone’s “ seventh cause,” and the Nation accuses us bluntly and insolently of not telling the truth when we asserted that we had measured Mr. Ward’s statue. “The Atlantic, however, supports an untenable theory with a humorous juggle of measurement. Its own words show that it has not had the head of the Shakespeare measured at all.” We certainly should not be at the trouble to contradict this were it not that we are under an unquestioned responsibility to the public, and have not the right to choose whether we will allow ourselves to be misrepresented or not. The Nation, pretending to a sincere desire not to misunderstand our words, represents us as saying that, having found the distance from the point of the chin to the bridge of the nose of the statue to be six and a half inches, we did not proceed to examine if this be half the head, but simply took it for granted that it is, and, without further measuring, settled the height of the head to be thirteen inches. We will now say that, having found the dimensions of half the head by the ordinary rule, we proved the correctness of the rule by measuring from the bridge of the nose to the summit of the skull for the other half and found that this also was six and a half inches. This is what our words always meant, and not what the Nation, desperate for an argument, and catching at any straw, affects to believe they meant. We shall not resume the discussion, of this matter until the Nation shall bring forward the name of some sculptor as well known and as worthily known as Mr. Henry K. Brown, who will say that the Nation’s method of measuring is correct, or who will say that, by his own habitual way of measuring statues, Mr. Ward’s Shakespeare, measured from the statue itself or from the cast, is less than seven and five thirteenths of its heads in height. We considered ourselves no authority on such a point, and we called in the aid of the best trained sculptor in the country to settle the fact. The Nation is no authority ; let it therefore call in a professional opinion. Let it take that of Mr. Marshall Wood, a distinguished English sculptor now in New York, or that of Mr. Launt Thompson; we wish it would call upon either of these gentlemen, or any other sculptor. We feel sure, however, that it will do nothing of the kind, but will prefer to abide by the injustice it has done Mr. Ward,