Sunday, February 20, 2011

Words of Wisdom: HRH Prince Leopold Albert

A wise prince you were, and well worthy of the name,
And to write in praise of thee I cannot refrain;
Because you were ever ready to defend that which is right,
Both pleasing and righteous in God's eye-sight.

~ William McGonagall, The Death of Prince Leopold

When Queen Victoria's youngest son, Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, was denied a military career because of hemophilia, he focussed his royal duties instead on his passion - the arts - of which he became an ardent and valued patron.  In 1881, just  a few years before his untimely death at the age of thirty, Prince Leopold gave the dedication speech for the opening of the University of Nottingham, in which he extolled the virtues of technical training and the value of being wholly invested in one's own work.  Though his speech was not directed specifically toward painting, Leopold's words resonated with artists, and within the year of his oration, those words found their way to the introduction of Philip Hamerton's The Graphic Arts : A Treatise on the Varieties of Drawing, Painting, and Engraving in Comparison with Each Other and with Nature (Roberts Brothers, Boston, 1882).

'There is a great advantage in thorough technical training which must not be overlooked.  When a man learns anything thoroughly it teaches him to respect what he learns.  It teaches him to delight in his task for its own sake, and not for the sake of pay or reward.  The happiness of our lives depends less on the actual value of the work which we do than on the spirit in which we do it.  If a man tries to do the simplest and humblest work as well as he possibly can, he will be interested in it ;  he will be proud of it.  But if, on the other hand, he only thinks of what he can get by his work, then the highest work will soon become wearisome.'



adebanji said...

Powerful Words-Just what I needed this morning as I go to the studio- I will copy straight away in my notebook

adebanji said...
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