This section is from the book "Ideals In Art: Papers Theoretical Practical Critical", by Walter Crane . Also available from Amazon: Ideals in Art: Papers Theoretical, Practical, Critical.
The Chamber Idyll
Wood Engravings by Edward Calvert
The Lady and the Rooks
The Brook and printed by himself which remain the remark-able monument of his neglected genius.
The group of artists associated with him, too, such as Edward Calvert and Samuel Palmer,
"The Ballad of Oriana." By Holman Hunt
Quite a different kind of sentiment was fostered by the writings of Scott upon which so
"The Palace of Art." By D. G. Ros-setti many generations have been fed, but they had their effect in keeping alive the sense of romance and interest in the life of past days, still further enlightened by the researches of antiquarians, and the increased study of the Middle Ages, and above all of Gothic architecture. All these must be considered as so many tributary streams to swell the main current of thought and feeling which carried us on to the artistic revival of our own times.
The poetry of Tennyson, with its sense of colour, sympathy with art and nature, and the romance of the historic past, its thoroughly English feeling, and its revival of the Arthurian Legend, and its association (in the Moxon edition of 1857) with the designs of some of the leading pre-Raphaelitepainters must be counted if not as a very strong influence upon, at least as an evidence and an accompaniment of that movement.
The Bride (from "The Talking Oak"). By Sir J. E. Millais
The names of Ford Madox Brown, of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, of William Holman Hunt, at once suggest artists of extraordinary individuality, remarkable decorative instinct, and carefulness for, and scholarly knowledge of, beautiful and significant accessories of life, of which all have not only given evidence in their own craft of painting, but also as practical designers.
The name of another remarkable artist must be mentioned, that of Frederick Sandys, contemporary with the pre-Raphaelites, imbued with their spirit, and following their methods of work. A wonderful draughtsman and powerful designer, who in all his work shows himself fully alive to beauty of decorative design in the completeness, care, and taste with which the accessories of his pictures and designs are rendered. His powers of design and draughtsmanship are perhaps best shown in the illustrations engraved on wood which appeared in "Once a Week," "The Cornhill Magazine," and elsewhere, which were shown with the collections of the artist's work at the International Society's last exhibition at the New Gallery, and at the Winter Exhibition at Burlington House in the present year (1905).
In some quarters it appears to be supposed that the pre-Raphaelite movement consisted entirely of Rossetti, and that to explain its development you have only to add water - or cari-cature. It is extraordinary to think in what uncritical positions professional critics occasionally land themselves.
Manoli. By Frederick Sandys
From "The Cornhill Magazine "
I cannot understand how any candid and fairly well-informed person can fail to perceive that the pre-Raphaelite movement was really a very complex movement, containing many dif-ferent elements and the germs of different kinds of development in art.
If it was primitive and archaic on one side, it was modern and realistic on another, and again, on another, romantic, poetic, and mystic; or again, wholly devoted to ideals of decorative beauty.
The very names of the original members of the brotherhood, to say nothing of later adherents, suggest very marked differences of temperament and character, and these differences were reflected in their art.
The stimulating writings of Ruskin must also be counted a factor in the movement, in his recognition of the fundamental importance of beautiful and sincere architecture and its relation to the sister arts: in his enthusiasm for truer ideals both in art and life: in the ardent love of and study of nature so constantly, so eloquently expressed throughout his works.
Despite all controversial points, despite all contradictions - mistakes even - I think that every one who has at any time of his life come under the influence of Ruskin's writings must acknowledge the nobility of purpose and sincerity of spirit which animates them throughout.
It is the fashion now in some quarters to undervalue his influence, but at all events it was at its best a wholesome and stimulating influence, provocative of thought, and no man must be held accountable for the mistakes or misapplications of his followers - the inevitable Nemesis of genius.
It was an influence which certainly had practical results in many ways, and not least must be counted its influence upon the life, opinions and work of the man to whose workshop is commonly traced the practical revival of sincere design and handicraft in modern England - I need hardly say I mean William Morris.