Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/871

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LITERARY NOTICES.

in the study of astronomy. An introduction containing explanations and definitions is followed by systematically arranged data concerning the constellations. The data are accompanied by diagrams and illustrations, and consist of a short history of each constellation, a catalogue of the stars, with their designations, magnitudes, and positions, and notes on the principal curiosities contained in the constellations. Following this portion of the book are tables of old and new constellations, names given to the principal stars, etc. There are also brief chapters on shooting stars, star showers, comets, and the planets. The text is illustrated with one hundred and forty cuts.

Some Hints on Learning to Draw. By G. W. Caldwell Hutchinson. London and New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 199. Price, $2.25.

The first "hints" given in this book relate to the reasons why drawing is an art that every one should desire to be acquainted with. There is the story of James Nasmyth, who, being in Sweden, where the party of either side could not understand the language of the other, secured a good supper by drawing its principal features, and got his other wants satisfied in a like way, with great admiration on the part of his hosts. The "graphic" language is thus evidently a universal one. Drawing is of first importance to architects, in teaching them to see artistically, without which they can not build artistically. It is a momentous aid in the cultivation of the observing powers, and "practically the first step in drawing is to learn to see accurately." One of the earliest lessons to be learned is "how very untrustworthy is the testimony of the untrained eyesight; when this is realized, the importance of keen observation becomes apparent." Erroneous conceptions, which are among the great difficulties in the way of good drawing, must be got rid of, for which purpose the student should be placed face to face with the object as soon as possible. Care should be taken to have the best specimens of the model obtainable. Freehand outline copies from the flat may, with advantage, be alternated every now and then with outline drawings from objects, so that we, by seeing and working from good copies, may have a high standard before us to show what our own work should be like. From the drawing of such common objects we may pass to outline drawings from casts of leaves or fruit, and thence to outlines from natural leaves and growing plants and shells, and casts from the antique. The time is not wasted that is spent in striving to do everything as thoroughly as possible, even the smallest thing. It follows from any fair consideration of the subject that there is no simple road, no one process or rule by which success may be obtained in drawing. Another important reason why every one should learn to draw and so learn to see, is in order that our taste for what is really good may be improved. The student is led from the opening story and these interesting considerations to the practical maxims and their application, which are given in a plain style, and are illustrated by numerous diagrams and by drawings from a group of living artists of the first rank.

Report of the United States National Museum. For the Year ending June 30, 1891. Washington: Government Printing Office. Pp. 869.

The catalogued collections in the museum now number 3,028,714 specimens, having increased about nineteen fold during the past ten years. It is observed, however, that a large portion of the material catalogued in 1884 and in later years has been in the custody of the Smithsonian Institution for several years, but in storage. There are now thirty-three organized departments and sections in the museum, under the care of curators, including honorary and acting curators and assistant curators. In the division of anthropology progress in the ethnological department has been satisfactory; the collection in prehistoric anthropology has been reclassified and rearranged according to locality, and special researches have been pursued in many directions. In forestry a systematic display of the more important lumber trees by means of maps showing their distribution, photographs of typical trees, and photomicrographs, has been begun. The zo├Âlogical, botanical, mineralogical, and geological collections have been increased in nearly every department. The largest gift to the library during the year was from the Rev. John Crumbie Brown, of Scotland, of