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.
Yet each and all are constant and favourite subjects of the modern painter. Why?
Fundamentally, I think, because their dress is expressive of their occupation and character, as may be said of the dress of all working people.
The peasantry in all European countries alone have preserved anywhere national and local pic-turesqueness and character in their dress; often, too, where it still lingers unspoiled, as in Greece, and in Hungary and Bohemia, adorned with beautiful embroidery worked by the women themselves.
The last relics of historic and traditional costume must be sought therefore among the people, and for picturesqueness we must still seek the labourer.
This seems a strange commentary upon all modern painstaking, conscious efforts to attain the natural, simple, beautiful, and suitable in dress, to be at once healthy and artistic. There really ought not to be so much difficulty about it.
If we lived simple, useful, and beautiful lives, we could not help being picturesque in the highest sense.
There is the modern difficulty.
We are driven back from every point to the ever-present social question.