A truly good book is something as wildly natural and primitive, mysterious and marvelous, ambrosial and fertile, as a fungus or a lichen.—Journal, 16 November 1850
For the true art is not merely a sublime consolation and holiday labor, which the gods have given to sickly mortals; but such a masterpiece as you may imagine a dweller on the tablelands of central Asia might produce, with threescore and ten years for canvas, and the faculties of a man for tools,—a human life; wherein you might hope to discover more than the freshness of Guido's Aurora, or the mild light of Titian's landscapes,—no bald imitation nor even rival of Nature, but rather the restored original of which she is the reflection. — "The Service"—"The Service"
He is the true artist whose life is his material; every stroke of the chisel must enter his own flesh and bone and not grate dully on marble.—Journal, 23 June 1840
He sketches first, with strong, practical English pencil, the essential features in outline, black on white, more faithfully that Dryasdust would have done, telling us wisely whom and what to mark, to save time, and then with a brush of camel's hair, or sometimes with more expeditious swab, he lays on the bright and fast colors of his humor everywhere. — "Thomas Carlyle and His Works"—"Thomas Carlyle and His Works"