Granting this, however, would go a long way towards solving the next problem - What to teach? for we should then find that art was not separable from life.

Children are never at a loss what to learn, or what to teach themselves, when they see any manner of interesting work going on and have access to tools and materials. They gather at the door of the village blacksmith, or at the easel of the wayside painter. Demonstration is the one thing needed - demonstration, demonstration, always demonstration. This is, perhaps, at the bottom of the present strong determination to French modes on the part of our younger painters. You can learn this part of the painting business because you can see it done. You could learn any craft if you saw it done, and had ordinary aptitude. But it does not follow that there is no art but painting, and that impressionism is its prophet.

It might be said almost that the modern cabinet or competitive gallery picture, unrelated to anything but itself, and not always that, has destroyed painting as an art of design.

I would, therefore, rather begin with the constructive, and adaptive, side of art. Let a student begin by some knowledge of architectural construction and form. Let him thoroughly understand the connection, both historic and artistic, between art and architecture. Let him become thoroughly imbued with a sense of the essential unity of art, and not, as is now so often the case, be taught to practise some particular technical trick, or meaningless elaboration; or be led to suppose that the whole object of his studies is to draw or paint any or every object from the pictorial point of view exclusively. Let the two sides of art be clearly and emphatically put before him, which may be distinguished broadly as: (1) Aspect, or the imitative; (2) Adaptation, or the imaginative. Let the student see that it is one thing to be able to make an accurate presentment of a figure, or any object, in its proper light and shade and relief in relation to its background and surroundings; and quite another to express them in outline, or to make them into organic pieces of decoration to fit a given space:

Design for Embroidery

Royal Col-lege of Art : Design School under Prof. Lethaby

Design for Embroidery. By Miss L. M. Dunkley

Royal Col-lege of Art : Design School under Prof. Lethaby

Museum Studies in Embroidery. By Miss L. M. Dunkley

Museum Studies in Embroidery. By Miss L. M. Dunkley

Sheet of Heraldic Studies

Royal Col-lege of Art : Design School under Prof. Lethaby

Sheet of Heraldic Studies.

By Miss C. M. Lacey

Then, again, he should perceive how the various media and materials of workmanship naturally determine the character and treatment of his design, while leaving ample range for individual choice and treatment.

The constructive and creative capacity may exist in a high degree without any corresponding power of drawing in the pictorial sense, and considerable proficiency in some of the simpler forms of various handicrafts, such as ornamental modelling in relief, wood-carving, and repousse work, is quite possible of attainment by quite young people; whereas the perception of certain subtleties in pictorial methods of representation, such as perspective, planes, and values, and the highly selective sense which deals with them are matters of matured mental perception, as well as technical experience and practical skill. The same is true as to power of design. It is a question of growth.

Studies in Counter change

Royal College of Art: Design School under Prof. Lethaby

Studies in Counter-change. By W. G. Spooner

So that there are natural reasons for a primary training in some forms of handicraft, which, while affording the same scope for artistic feeling, present simpler problems in design and workmanship, and give a tangible and substantial foundation to start with.

In thus giving the first places in a course of study in art to architecture, decorative design, and handicraft we are only following the historic order of their progress and development. When the arts of the Middle Ages culminated in the work of the great painters of the earlier Renascence, their work showed how much more than makers of easel-pictures they were, so that a picture, apart from its central interest and purpose was often a richly illustrated history of contemporary design in such things.

Now, my contention is, that whereas a purely pictorial training, or such a training as is now given with that view, while it often fails to be of much service in enabling a student to paint a picture, unfits him for other fields of art quite as important, and leaves him before the simplest problem of design helpless and ignorant; while a training in applied design, with all the forethought, sense of beauty and fitness, ingenuity and invention it would tend to call forth, would not only be a good practical education in itself, but would enormously strengthen the student for pictorial work, especially as regards design and the value of line, while he would get a clear apprehension of the limitations of different kinds of art, and their analogies.

Studies of Scroll Forms

Royal College of Art: Design School under Prof. Lethaby

Studies of Scroll Forms. By W. G. Spooner

In studying form, if we model as well as draw, we enormously increase our grasp and understanding; of it, and so it is as regards art gener-ally that studies in every direction will be found to bear upon and strengthen us in our main direction.

I should, therefore, endeavour to teach relatively - to teach everything in relation not only to itself, but to its surroundings and con-ditions; design in relation to its materials and purpose; the drawing of form in relation to other forms; the logic of line; pictorial colour and values in relation to nature but controlled by pictorial fitness.

The ordinary practice of drawing and study from the human figure - the Alpha and Omega of all study in art - does not seem sufficiently alive to the help that may be gained by comparative anatomy. We should study the figure, not only in itself and for itself, but in relation to the forms of other animals, and draw the analogous parts and structures, side by side, not from the anatomist's point of view but the artist's. We should study them in life and action no less.

Now a word as regards action. We have been recently told that artists have been fools since the world began in their manner of depicting the action of animals, or rather animals in action, but it was by a gentleman who (though I fully acknowledge the value and interest of Mr, Muybridge's studies and discoveries) did not appear to have distinguished between moments of arrested action, and the action represented, which is the sum of those moments. Instantaneous photographs of animals in action will tell you whereabouts their legs are found at a given moment, but it is only when they are put in a consecutive series, and turned on the inside of a horizontal wheel before the eye that they represent action, and then it is illusion, not art. Now the artist has to represent or to suggest action without actual movement of any kind, and he has generally succeeded not by arresting the literal action of the moment, but by giving the sum of consecutive moments, much as the wheel does, but without the illusory trick. His business is to represent, not to imitate. Art after all is not science or analysis, or we might expect fidelity to the microscope on the part of our painters and draughtsmen. Until we all go about with photographic lenses in our heads instead of eyes, with dry plates or films instead of retinas, we shall, I fancy, still be interested in what artists have to say to us about nature and their own minds, whether instantaneous impressions, or the long result of years.

Studies of Plant Form.

Royal College of Art: Design School under Prof. Lethaby

Studies of Plant Form. By W. G. Spooner

This is only one of the many questions which rise up at every step in the study of art, and I know of no system of teaching which adequately deals with them. No doubt our systems of teaching or attempting to teach art want constant overhauling, like most other systems. When we are overhauling the system of life itself, it is not wonderful.

I do not, of course, believe in any cast-iron system of education from any point of view. It must be varied according to individual wants and capacities. It must be made personal and interesting or it is of little good; and no system, however efficient, will manufacture artists in anything: any more than the most brilliant talents will do away with the necessity of passionate devotion to work, careful thought, close observation and constant practice which produce that rapid and intimate sympathy of eye and hand, and make them the responsive and delicate interpreters of that selective and imaginative impulse which results in Art.

Pen Drawing.

Royal College of Art: Design School under Prof. Lethaby

Pen Drawing. By H. A. Rigby

Of The Teaching Of Art 29

Royal College of Art: Design School under Prof. Lethaby

Pen Drawing. By H. A. Rigby