This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
Mr. Gilbert said that many statements had been put forward as to the date of this revival in England, but he would like, before going into this, to speak to them of the influence of a great man whose work - though it might be dead to the students - he had never ceased to admire for its prowess and for its fixed and steadfast purpose. The man was Foley, who towards the end of his days launched out and created something that is still alive through his pupils. The names of a host of men might be mentioned who carried on the work of Foley, and its influence would some day place Foley in a position that has hitherto been denied to him.
Among foreign influences, that of France had affected us most in plastic art. The influence came to us through the war of 1870, which sent us Carpeaux, Dalou, and many others who handed on to us the impulse that French sculpture had received from the work of Rude. Chiefly the men through whom the French influence came were Carpeaux, Dalou, and another who was alive, and therefore might not be named, but who had done more than anyone else to help the British aspirant in sculpture. Dalou's influence came second, but that of Carpeaux was not so strong, because he was more Latin, less classic, than the others. Car-peaux's great group of "The Dancers" in Paris was a masterpiece before which one should take off one's hat. There was another foreign influence to be reckoned with in British sculpture, that of Boehm. We discounted his teaching nowadays, but if the students were to study Boehm's work they would see in it the instigation of a new train of thought and purpose.
MR. Clausen, R.A., ON "Style."
BY his recent admirable address at Burlington House, Mr. Clausen has shown again, as he did last year, his fitness for the high position of Professor of Painting at the Royal Academy. His lecture on "Style " especially was worthy of the best traditions of that body. Style, he pointed out, is something beyond mere manner; it shows a grasp of the greater truths, something that comes nearest to the profoundest impression of Nature. The Ilyssus, a model of style, is yet Nature itself. Style does not depend on symmetry or proportion, for a Tanagra figure may be clumsy and yet fine in style. Style depends on expression, action, and structural rightness. In Greek sculpture everything was brought down to the simplest, yet, with all its severity, expression and character were perfectly given, and nothing essential was left out.
After the Greeks the chief masters of style are the great men of the Renaissance of Pisanello. In the medals we find the same grasp of structure and essentials that are displayed in Greek work. In showing on the screen a reproduction of a splendid drawing of an undraped figure by Michael Angelo in the British Museum, he said that Michael Angelo has been accused of exaggeration, but this drawing, so far from being exaggerated, is even modest. It has been searched out to the last truth - never carried beyond the point needed for expression, but taken right up to the limit of that point. A modern painter with whose art he declared himself in special sympathy was Francois Millet, who, he said, drew all his impressions from the nature around him, yet his style is that of the Greeks. There was something of their simplicity and feeling for the essentials in the drawing of a youth bathing which he showed on the screen; and a second picture of a girl churning had the "rightness" of a Greek gem. Millet said: "An artist must be moved himself if he is to move others," and that was the secret of it all. Mr. Clausen said that some years ago, when in a difficulty - he could not get a model to pose as he wanted - he told his trouble to Watts, to whom he explained that he had to rely on memory for what he wanted. "Well," said Watts, "memory is very good, but knowledge is better." He took a piece of chalk and drew the bones of the knee. "There," he said, "when you know that, it doesn't matter in what position you want to draw a knee." That is the difference between skill and knowledge. Skill we learn in the schools, knowledge from Nature, and the latter should control the former. If an artist has knowledge of Nature he knows that his utmost skill is as nothing compared with the beauty of the nature he wishes to express. Nature never suggests effort, nor does the masterpiece. The effect of a great painting is that you feel that you can go home at once and do something like it, but you can't.
If you make a poor start, do not go on with it. Always be ready, without regret, to destroy what you have done. However, this carried to excess produces bad results. Some students get in the habit of never completing anything.
George H. Boughton, R.A.
The sudden death of Mr. Boughton, from heart failure, has deprived the art world of London of one of the kindest of men, and one of the most congenial of companions. It is pleasant to recall that he took a keen interest in this magazine from its inception. In the first number, it will be remembered, we reported a short talk with him in his studio, and one of the many "good stories" he told so well. These trifles were to be only a prelude to a suitable appreciation of his art, and it is a painful circumstance that when, after unavoidable postponements, the time has come, to publish some of the studies he so freely put at our disposal, the reference to them must of necessity be in the nature of an obituary notice of our friend.
On the Beach at Scheveningen. From the Painting by Geo. H. Boughton, R.A.
Though born in England, Mr. Boughton passed much of his life in the United States, whither his parents removed when he was a child. As will appear presently, it was by the merest accident that he resumed his residence in this country. Having in mind the extraordinarily rapid success he attained in England - beginning with the acceptance by the Royal Academy of the first picture he submitted, followed by his election as an Associate and afterwards as a full member of that body - the writers of all of the obituary notices of Mr. Boughton that we have seen, speak of him as if he had always been one of those favoured artists who have known neither failure nor privation. That is a great mistake. During the time of his American residence he experienced both to an unusual degree.