This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
Miss Reeks says she enjoyed doing this more than anything else she has ever carved, as she felt in perfect sympathy with the style, for which she has a great admiration. It took her three years to complete, but she thinks it might have been done in one year, had she worked at it uninterruptedly. An exact reproduction being required, every little detail had to be most accurately measured, which naturally made the progress slower than under ordinary circumstances. Miss Reeks may. indeed.
be proud to hand down to posterity such a splendid piece of work.
The Victoria and Albert Museum also purchased the walnut stool illustrated herewith. The top measures 19 1/2 in. by 12 in., and has a border about 2 in. wide carved in very low relief, with an interlacing guilloche with rosettes in the centre. The top moulding consists of leaves formed by a series of gouge cuts, without any modelling. The dentil band below is unusual, but very effective. The bands at the sides are 3 1/2 in. deep, and are ornamented with the bead and astragal, and with flutes. The contour of the turned legs is a little clumsy.
The stool was copied from an old Italian example and has a drawer on one side. Such small carved stools, varying considerably in size, were very popular in Italy at the beginning of the sixteenth century, and two larger and more elaborate examples (Nos. 6,005, 6,006, 1857) are now in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Some of Mr. Lewis F. Day's designs have been carried out by Miss Reeks, under his own personal supervision, which means that, when it comes to an important point, he watches every cut. She says she feels very nervous when his critical eye is fixed on her tools, but nevertheless she seems to enjoy his criticism very much. The Memorial Tablet she carved from his design is decidedly original, and is especially suitable for carving in wood. The inscription was incised and filled in with paste, composed of whiting and size toned with yellow ochre. It would be well for the student to notice the lettering and spacing. The Dandelion and the Oak Panel designed by Mr. Day, given in the February issue of Arts & Crafts, were carved by Miss Reeks. The Super-Altar, carved in oak, and the Hymn-Board, carved in Walnut with gilded background, she executed from her own designs. There should also be mentioned a figure of Time, represented by an old man with scythe and hourglass, to be placed on the top of a clock, which Miss Reeks designed and executed for Lord Kitchener, to whom she submitted sketches, modelling in clay the one selected before carving it in the wood.
Walnut Stool. Italian Sixteenth Century.
(Top 19 1/2 x 12 in. Border 2 in. wide.)
Carved by Maria E. Reeks for the Victoria and Albert Museum.
The walnut mirror frame she adapted from some strapwork on one of the doors of the Chateau d'Azay le Rideau. She is very fond of the strap-work of the Henri II. period, which is, as a rule, far more refined and graceful than our interpretation of it in the Elizabethan and the Jacobean periods. Closely allied to this is the Celtic interlaced ornament, and in this style Miss Reeks has designed many memorial crosses.
Miss Reeks is a member of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, which sent to the St. Louis Exhibition a charming little head that she carved from a design by Miss Levick. It may be mentioned, in conclusion, that Miss Reeks has had the honour of executing work for H.R.H. the Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, who has on several occasions given her gracious patronage to the School. Eleanor Rowe.
Several of the men now foremost in general decoration - Walter Crane in England, Wil-lette and Grasset in France, and Lafarge and Tiffany in America - began with stained glass, and we may believe that they, in a considerable degree, formed their style in accordance with its requirements. The leading characteristics of the modern style in decorative design are the use of broad, Hat tints, of strong, pure outline, and of a sort of composition in which all important parts are carefully "tied" to one another. This last characteristic is, obviously, a necessity in stained glass; for if the figures do not make up the window, the background becomes as important structurally as they, which would never answer. But this feeling we now carry into every other sort of design. We require that the decoration of a wall should look as though it would stand were the background completely removed; and in a poster we wish to see the same feeling recognised, and the Hat tints of the background, often brighter and more "advancing" than those of the fore-' ground, kept in their place by permitting its large, free spaces to separate from one another the principal foreground objects. The rule is, indeed, only a particular form of that long admitted, that construction should not only govern but appear to govern decoration; but we,now look for its application, where years ago we should never have thought of requiring any serious sort of design.