This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
This is a simple little device to aid the student in sketching from nature. Anyone handy with the glue-pot, saw, and plane can make such a machine with a very little outlay of money. With its assistance the young sketcher out-of-doors can correct his perspective; and not only that; it will be found a help for drawing the interior of a room. Cloud forms, too, can be traced on the ground-glass before they can change, and the sketch thus obtained can be enlarged by the use of squared paper or pantograph.
Make the box about twelve inches in length, four in depth.
and six in width. In the middle of one end of it let a hole be bored las at A in my diagram), in which insert a doubly convex lens; and at the other end, inside the box, place a piece of looking-glass (as at B), inclining it at an angle of 45°, or midway between horizontal and perpendicular, so as to reflect objects upward. Part of the top of the box must be made to act as a lid or cover upon hinges (as at D), and the space beneath filled up by a piece of ground-glass (C), upon which the objects or scenes are reflected with the greatest beauty and exactness. The line E indicates sides of thin leather or cloth tacked on the cover and sides of the box to keep off as much of the circumambient light as possible. In some cameras, instead of a fixed lens, a sliding tube, with a lens at the extremity, is employed. The inside of the box should be painted over with lamp-black, or if that is not handy, it may be stained with ink. The machine has not been patented, and therefore anyone may make it. - G. S. Mitchell.
The Surrey Art Circle Exhibition held at the Art Gallery, Croydon, from June 14th to 18th, contained an interesting display of work. The " Circle " owes much of its success to the efforts of Mr. Sidney Moore, honorary secretary, and in recognition of this he was presented with a beautiful cabinet containing twenty-three sketches and pictures by his fellow-members. Notable among the exhibitors were Albert Toft with a Statuette. " Young Vulcan "; Alexander Mann, "A Study of a Head"; Claude Hayes, Adam Proctor, Montague Smythe, and Tatton Winter.
The late George Frederick Watts, R.A., O.M., D.C.L., LL.D.
Facsimile of the Etching by Professor Alphonse Legros.
George Frederick Watts.
IT is scarcely an exaggeration to speak of Mr. Watts as the greatest artist whom the British school has produced; he was certainly the most accomplished master of imaginative art, and as a portrait painter he ranks among the finest exponents of this form of practice whose names are recorded in our history. As a sculptor, too, he achieved real distinction. Not many men, indeed, have been so nobly endowed, or have used remarkable gifts with such consistent judgment and with such absolute devotion to the highest principles. He will always be remembered as a practical advocate of all that is worthiest and noblest in artistic expression, as a teacher of great truths concerning which he had an unhesitating conviction, and to the advancement of which he was prepared to give the whole of his energies. Yet,withall hisfaith inthevalue of didactic painting, he was not content to depict a persuasive motive in a popular manner, or to strive for the attention of the crowd by doing work which would satisfy merely the lovers of a telling subject. Neither was he a pedant who sought to impress by abstruse-ness and by vaguely suggesting ideas which were too profound to be intelligible to ordinary minds. The middle course which he steered between these two extremes led him to achievement which was always distinguished, always lofty in intention, and beautiful in conception, and yet was unfailingly clear and explanatory in its educational purpose. No one who has studied his work would fail to perceive the perfection of sympathy which inspires it throughout, and assuredly no one, whether in agreement with his teaching or not, could deny the single-mindedness which dignified his effort and gave a peculiar charm to all his productions.
One of the most interesting charactistics of his technical method was his avoidance of all those tricks of handling and all those executive mannerisms which mark an artist as a follower of this or that school. His style was based at the outset upon minute and careful study of the Elgin marbles, and was amplified by the impressions which he received in his early manhood during a period of some years spent in Italy. Upon this basis he built up a purely personal manner, a mode of rendering his mental creations which was as peculiar to himself as the ideas upon which he drew for the presentation of his theories about human life. He was an idealist in his creed, so in his methods he kept clear of everything which would tend to bind him down to literalism of interpretation or actuality of record. At the same time no one knew better how realism could be used to make credible an imaginative composition, or how essential careful understanding of nature and close observation of facts were to give a due measure of meaning to pictorial fantasies. He shirked none of the grammar of his craft, and his scholarly draughtsmanship, his noble sense of form, his broad and massive modelling and his serious management of tone relations all show how sincere a student he was, and how well equipped for attempting the highest flights in art.
That his influence upon the artists of this country has been considerable may be taken as a matter of course, and that it will endure may equally be assumed. But he has not left any large school of followers or of imitators, who are trying to carry out his ideas in his particular way. The strength of his influence comes from his practical advocacy through his working life of nearly seventy years - he was born in 1817 and first exhibited in 1837 - of the claims of the finest type of design. In his sculpture and in his pictures, his portraits not excepted, the decorative intention is as apparent as the didactic, and few painters have proved more clearly how effectively decoration can be allied with intellectual art. That he did not execute a series of important mural paintings which would have borne comparison with the achievements of the masters of the Italian Renaissance was certainly not his fault; this type of practice he specially desired to adopt, and he proved by his frescoes in the Houses of Parliament and the Hall of Lincoln's Inn that he was wholly fitted for such undertakings. But his aspirations in this direction were not encouraged by the public - the refusal of his offer to decorate the hall of Euston Railway Station is a matter of history - and more or less against his will he was forced to paint easel pictures instead. However, in these the soundness of his creed is so plainly proved that all artists who wish to be guided by a great example can learn from his canvases the lessons they desire It is in this way especially that his influence will be permanent and will tend rather to increase than diminish. Moreover, in other directions he made felt his educational power during the later years of his life - by his encouragement of applied art and by his ready support of all effort which tended to popularise the higher forms of decoration. Happily his wife, who has so admirably seconded his schemes for the elevation of public taste, lives to carry on this part of his work. She helped 'him devotedly for nearly twenty years, and now it can well be imagined that the fulfilment of his aims will be regarded by her as a sacred trust. It is necessary, however, that all lovers of art should remember what a debt of gratitude they owe to a man who has never failed in his mission as a teacher of the purest and finest form of aesthetics, who has laboured always to benefit the people of this country, and has sacrificed much for the sake of the arts which were to him the engrossing interest of his life.
A. L. Baldry.