This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
A Practical Demonstration by Professor Lanteri (of the Royal College of Art).
With Blackboard Illustrations and Special Photographs, showing, in its various stages, the production of a Bust.
To see a bust grow under the hand of Professor Lanteri, from the ovoid of rough clay, into an exquisitely modelled production such as that by which the Master is represented at the Royal Academy this year, is a privilege ordinarily reserved for students of the RoyalCollege of Art. That it should have been extended to the present writer is the more appreciated by the latter, because he is permitted to invite every student of modelling to benefit by it. This is the first time, we believe, that a work of sculpture, during the progressive stages of its development, has been photographed for publication in any magazine. The value of the fact that the work represents the method of the ablest teacher of modelling in England will not be lost on the numerous schools in affiliation with the parent; institution at South Kensington, and it will hardly be less appreciated by the ordinary student or amateur.
Fig. 1. - The Armature.
Fig. 2. - The Unmodelled Clay.
Of the eight plates of the bust taken for us during the demonstration, live are given in the present article; the others, showing the Professor's finished work from three different points of view, are reserved for our next issue. The clearness of the photographs and the care with which they have been produced would almost seem to render it superfluous to add one word to the story they tell so well. This would, indeed, be so, so far as only artists are concerned; but as it is, primarily, for the benefit of students that Arts And Crafts has availed itself of this privilege, it has been found desirable to reproduce, so far as possible, in their entirety the observations made by the Professor in accompaniment to the rapid movements of his nimble fingers. We use the word "fingers" literally, for in the first stages of the work at least it may almost be said he employed no other tool.
Figs. 3, 4, 5, 6. - First Measurements.
It was the appointed hour for the beginning of the bust, and the model, a favourite pupil of the Professor, was already seated. In our photograph, by the way, the sitter appears to be somewhat out of focus, but that is a matter of no importance.
The clay had been roughly shaped, in advance, into the usual ovoid form. As vet it suggested but little resemblance to anything human. The elongated column destined to form the neck looked particularly uncanny.
"The principle is to begin with the smallest possible amount of clay, and build up," said the Professor. "Avoid carving your clay. Proceed always by adding to the foundation.
"The initial stage of our work will be for the bony construction only. We begin by taking careful measurements of the model and seeing that they accord with those of our bust.
"I have drawn on the blackboard, as Fig. 1, a
Figs. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. Measurements.
Appearance of the Bust at the conclusion of the First Stage.
Three-quarter View of the Bust at the end of the First Stage of Development.
Profile View of the Bust at the end of the First Stage of Development.
Modelling from Life. By Professor E. Lanteri 1
Three-quarter View of the Bust at the end of the Second Stage of Development.
Profile View of the Bust at the end of the Second Stage of Development.
[Three views of the completed work as it appears now at the Royal Academy Exhibition will be given in our next issue. - Editor, Arts and Crafts.] diagram showing the construction of the armature, or framework, which is inside the ovoid of clay on the pedestal before us. The armature for a bust consists of a board one inch thick and about ten inches square, on which is nailed vertically a square piece of wood nine inches long and two inches thick. To this piece of wood two pieces of lead-pipe are attached - one on each side of the wood - and on the top of the lead-pipe two crossed pieces of wood, which the students call 'butterflies,' are fixed to support the clay. In Fig. 2 you will notice the position of the concealed armature is indicated by the dotted lines.
"Our bust at this preliminary stage must be set up quite straight, the better to ensure the accuracy of our measurements, to which we will now proceed. I have indicated on the blackboard my method of arriving at these measurements. With our callipers we will measure now from the model himself, and, proceeding with great caution, mark upon the bust each point as we determine it, securing it by means of an ordinary lucifer match, which makes a very good peg - it is just thick enough and firm enough for the purpose. We shall presently push the match into the clay until the unburied end of the wood accords exactly with the projection we shall have found by measuring from the model.