This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
The Royal College of Art lost one of its most brilliant pupils in Miss L. Simpson, who, while yet quite young, died, in 1896, about two years after executing this exquisitely beautiful work, which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in the year of her death. Our photograph is taken from the replica in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Another replica was bought by King Edward, when Prince of Wales, as a binding for the visitors' book at Sandringham. The original work-, which is 16 1/2 inches by 9 inches, was designed and modelled for the Art Union of London, and gained for Miss Simpson a gold medal in the National Competition of all the Schools of Art under the Science and Art Department, as it was then called. According to the official description, " the idea embodied in the design is that of the growth of Life (represented by the flower and fruit) watched over by Spirits (shown in the eight angles), whilst Love (the central figure) kisses the buds into bloom, and, as shown on the clasp, binds together the pages of the Book of Life." We may add, on the authority of an intimate friend of the artist, that the mount was originally intended for a copy of Rossetti's poems. Miss Simpson was a devoted admirer of the work of Alfred Stevens, and some of her sculpture frankly shows the inspiration of that great English master of arts and crafts.
We had at some pains collected illustrations of the best work of this gifted lady, with a view to doing justice to her memory, for her fame belongs to the nation. Her family, however, have thought fit to withhold their approval of the project, and our readers must be content with our presentation of this single example of her genius, the copyright of which, fortunately, is in the keeping of so public-spirited a body as the Art Union of London.
Few artists, even, know the pedigree of the term "pot-boiler," so common an expression for pictures painted for money merely. Here it is: "Gainsborough, the charming landscape painter, was necessitated to take to portrait painting; and when he was questioned why he did it, answered, 'To make the pot boil'; from that they have the name."
Album Mount in Pierced and Beaten Silver, in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Reproduced by Permission of the Art Union of London, owners of the Copyright.
Designed and Modelled by the late Miss M. Lilian Simpson.