This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
(For enlarged detail, see the Supplement.)
Some Books Of Permanent Value For The Art Worker's And The Art Lover's Library.
"Ornament And Its Application"
By Lewis F. Day.
Attention has already been called in these A columns to Mr. Lewis F. Day's important new work on "Ornament," and in accordance with our promise we return to its fascinating pages. No book we could name is more worthy of consideration for a place in our
Detail of Wood Inlay and the Plan of the Complete
From Lewis F. Day's " Ornament and its Applicationi (By courtesy of Mr. B. T. Batsford.) select library for the art worker and the art lover. It should indeed prove valuable not only to the student of design, but to everyone who would understand the principles governing art applied to industry. And this naturally would include every person who has the least claim to aesthetic cultivation. Unfortunately, the great majority of those who naturally would resent the suggestion that they do not come in this category prove that they fully warrant the aspersion, by the deplorable medley of objects of bad or inappropriate design with which they daily surround themselves in their homes - we mean not only objects supposed to be ornamental, but objects intended solely for purposes of utility.
So long as, through ignorance, they condone the bad taste of the manufacturer, so long will the latter delay the reformation in his wares which a little better taste in the community would compel him to inaugurate. Of course, in this respect matters have improved wonderfully within the last few decades, and, no doubt, they will continue to improve under the surely increasing influence of our excellent technical schools; but the widespread dissemination of the principles set forth in this volume of Mr. Day's would exert such a missionary influence on the general public as, reacting on the manufacturer, would assuredly hasten the advent of the better days for art in common things.
To artists and workmen practically engaged in design, the author no doubt - as he seems to apprehend - tells much that they already know; but, even so, it is no small privilege to have the information presented so lucidly, so well arranged, so easily accessible. To the student of design, hardly less than to the general reader, Mr. Day's masterly exposition of the appropriateness of pattern to the process of its execution, "the difference between certain arts, crafts, or trades commonly grouped together, and the likeness between
Engraved Brass with Blackened Ground.
From Lewis F. Days "Ornament and its Application." (By courtesy of Mr. B. T. Batsford.) others not usually regarded as in any way connected," will, in some respects, we venture to think, come almost as a revelation. Especially useful are the chapters respectively entitled "The Teaching of the Tool" and "Where to Stop."
The numerous illustrations of the volume, as remarkable for their perfect execution as for the judgment with which the objects and examples they represent have been selected, are so logically arranged that to the average student of design they might be relied on to indicate the general aims of the author, even without the aid of the letterpress. Each serves a particular purpose in the -elucidation of a process, and together they would form the nucleus of such a grammar of design as we would like to see undertaken some day by Mr. Day, with such a publisher as the present one, whose faultless "get up" of this volume is worthy of the best traditions of his famous house. (London: B. T. Batsford, High Holborn. Price 8s. 6d. net.)
"Art Enamelling Upon Metals."
By Henry Cunynhame.
In Mr. H. Wilson's handbook on "Jewellery" (John Hogg, publisher), reviewed in these pages last month, admirably practical instructions are given in enamelling, and they are made especially lucid for the beginner by means of numerous diagrams and other illustrations by the author. The volume before us, "Art Enamelling upon Metals," by Henry Cunynhame, while giving two beautifully executed reproductions in colours, perhaps leaves something to be desired in such of its illustrations as are given merely as examples of technical demonstration; but apart from this, it will be found invaluable to the student in the special department of jewellery of which it treats. It is rive years since it appeared - the first English publication of its kind - and although many other handbooks for the art worker have followed, nothing, in the same line, has superseded it.
The introductory chapter is a capital review of the historical side of the subject. Mr. Cunynhame is sceptical as to the use of enamel upon metal by the ancient Egyptians, and thinks that what in many Egyptian jewels at first sight seems to be enamel will, in most instances, on further examination prove to be "small pieces of marble or glass cut out and fastened into recesses in the metal with cement." Yet, if our recollection is not at fault, there is in the British Museum, an Egyptian necklace of true enamel; it was once worn by the Empress Eugenie, who discarded it as soon as she learned that it had been worn for centuries by a mummy.
That the ancient Greeks understood the execution of true enamel upon metal is proved by specimens in the same collection. So did the Celts and the Franks - the latter probably used it upon their horse trappings at the time of the Roman dominion in Gaul and Britain. That the Saxons also practised the art would appear from the famous "Jewel of Alfred the Great," in a Saxon setting, in the Ash-molean Museum at Oxford. Our author traces the progress of the art until the Byzantine period is reached. Here we stand on firmer ground, for the examples - they are always of the kind called cloisonne - are numerous and admirable - admirable technically, at least. The sacred figures represented, with "their rigid drapery and staring eyes," cannot be called beautiful, but, as Mr. Cunynhame remarks, "they are religious hieroglyphics rather than pictures," and, he adds, with characteristic directness, "considered simply from the standpoint of religious art, they are superior to the groups of fat, half-naked, howling women which Rubens introduced into his pictures of the Crucifixion." He describes and passes in review the period of Limoges champleve enamels of Gothic times - when "cloisonne was rarely practised in the West, except for jewels and personal ornaments"; the painted enamels of the Renaissance, apparently introduced simultaneously in Italy, in Germany, and in France, and since specially associated with the name of Limoges, the town which again took the lead in this manufacture; plique-a-jour enamels, a specimen of which Francis I. introduced to the notice of Benvenuto Cellini, who tells us that he successfully copied it; the effect upon enamelling of the discovery of porcelain in Europe, with what our author seems to regard as the meretricious influence of the school of Boucher, Watteau, and Fragonard; and so, down to the days of our own factories of Battersea and Bow, which witnessed the culmination of that long period of decadence, when one was satisfied with "pretty art," "great art" having then virtually ceased to exist.
Ivory Inlaid into Wood, and Engraved.
From Lewis F. Day's " Ornament and its Application." (By courtesy of Mr. B. T. Batsford.