This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
By R. C. Wallhead and H. Faulkner.
O large was the number, and so high the quality, of the exhibits at the Clarion Guild's recent display at Manchester, that, though we are again devoting much space to the subject, it is hardly possible to do full justice to the many clever craftsmen who contributed. There were considerably over a thousand articles on view, and the official catalogue - so nicely printed and "got-up" that we hope other exhibition secretaries will have opportunities for studying it and profiting by it - is a bulky little volume of one hundred and fifty-six pages.
As usual, the best work in enamels came from Birmingham, on this occasion the work of Sidney H. Meteyan, whose subjects were "St. George," "Faire Lady Rosamond," "Eurydice," and "The Evening Star." We do not remember having come across Mr. Meteyan before as an enameller, and the excellence of these examples, both in design and execution, was a delightful surprise.
In the interesting exhibit of jewellery by Albert E. Bonner enamels were the chief feature. This conscientious craftsman always impresses one with striving to get the utmost out of the material. His enamelled butterfly with stone and chrysoprase body was a capital bit of work, not unlike his dragon-fly, illustrated on another page.
There was a considerable display of lace, both old and new; the former was shown chiefly by Georges Moens & Co., who, by the way, also made a curious display of what claimed to be "old brass ware," but the character of the objects so designated was so obvious that there could have been no calculation to deceive. The North Bucks Lace Association, which has contributed much to the revival of old cottage industries, had a very interesting exhibit, consisting, for the most part, of fine pillow-point, or "half-stitch," as it is locally termed; it is made with fine linen thread, not cotton, as is most of the modern Continental lace. The method of making this lace is, we understand, the same as that long employed throughout Upper Flanders. The design, pricked on a strip of parchment, is pinned to a bolster-shaped pillow and worked with bobbins. As each strip of "down" is finished, another is placed immediately beneath it, and so the work is continued round and round the pillow till the length required is completed. It is interesting to learn that the Association now employs some three hundred lace makers, and has established classes for children in various centres. The success of the Association (founded in 1897) should encourage other districts in the same direction. We must not omit to mention the exhibit of Mrs. Vere O'Brien's lace school, which included embroidery and frocks. The designs were chiefly by Miss Anderson and Mrs. O'Brien; many of them were charming, and all were admirably carried out.
Architecture scarcely comes within the scope of this magazine, but at the present time, when so much attention is being given to the building of country cottages, the clever designs by Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin cannot be overlooked. We were much interested in the plans of model homes built for the employees of Messrs. Rown-tree, of York. These country cottages would seem to combine, in a marked degree, beauty of exterior with inside comfort. .
Carved Table. By William Daniell.
Of the furniture shown there was little that was specially noteworthy as to design, although in nearly all cases the general improvement in point of construction and finish, which we have noted at most of the recent arts and crafts exhibitions, was well maintained. The designing by one exhibitor, however, is worthy of special mention. Indeed, the furniture by A. W. Simpson stood quite alone in this department of the exhibition; not for any striking originality or mere "tour de force" - which on the score of good taste is seldom acceptable in domestic furniture - but on account rather of the artistic reticence of the craftsman, and his evident masterly appreciation of the beauty of the material in which he works. In most of the nine examples of fine cabinet work by which he was represented, he relied for effect mainly on simple panels of richly grained woods, and the decorative qualities of these he has turned to wonderful account. No pictorial representation of such work can do justice to its peculiarly delicate charm, and for this reason we have only attempted to reproduce a single example of Mr. Simpson's exhibit. The oak stationery box we illustrate is inlaid with box and Italian walnut. We would especially call attention to the graceful ingenuity with which the handle has been incorporated with the design. The rather obtrusive metal "furniture," which for some years has formed an important decorative feature of such articles of cabinet work, it will have been noticed is becoming eliminated almost to the vanishing point. It is a question, of course, if the reaction is not carrying us to the opposite extreme; but however this may be, no one will deny the excellence of the ingenious method adopted in this particular case.
Chair in Oak. By a. W. Simpson.
Another notable piece of furniture by Mr. Simpson was a very compact little sideboard in oak, combining beauty with utility in a remarkable degree. Intended, probably, for a small room, by an arrangement of flaps somewhat on the lines of the usual bureau the whole piece can be closed, so as to occupy but little space.
Oak Stationery Box, inlaid with Box and Italian Walnut. By A. W. Simpson.
In leaving the subject a word of credit is due to T. Dixon, J. Shearer, L. Lancaster, and J. S. Cook-son for their beautiful workmanship in carrying out these designs.
The young artist, W. Mellor, to whose capital work we specially referred last month, showed some notably good bindings, the best being the "Book Beautiful," in gold tooled maroon morocco. His treatment of "The Brotherhood Treasury" was interesting chiefly on account of a somewhat original scheme of tooling. The volume had a very rich appearance bound in green morocco, inlaid with vellum panels, and tooled in gold and colours; the flowers were in blue, the stems and leaves in dark and light green, and the lettering, hearts and clots, in gold. Mr. Mellor also sent black and white designs for book plates and initials, printer's marks and devices, some of which we shall reproduce. The work of this clever young fellow - he is little more than a boy - deservedly attracted a good deal of attention. With his industry, decorative instinct and facility of expression, he should have a brilliant career; but he must beware of the danger of attempting too much. In his examples of illuminating, the lettering was rather weak, although on various posters and notices placed around the Gallery, which we understood were his work, the lettering was distinctly good.
It would seem that the tardy recognition of the existence of a considerable class in the community with a taste for ornamental pottery of simple but
Rose Bowl and Top in Brass and Pewter • By Hugh Wallis Door Furniture in Brass Designed and Executed by H. H. Stansfield artistic character, obtainable at reasonable prices, which has found expression in the beautiful single glazed wares of Mr. Howson Taylor, of Birmingham, to which attention has lately been specially drawn in this magazine, is not to be restricted to objects mainly for ornament, such as constituted the bulk of the Ruskin Pottery's exhibits at the
Alms Dish in Hammered Copper. Designed by John Williams and recent shows of industrial art at Leeds and Leicester. Nor is the production to be confined to a single business concern. Another enthusiast in this branch of manufacture is in the field, and he has been so fortunate as to find an enterprising firm of; English potters who believe with him that there is a similar need for extremely simple pottery of good design, suitable for ordinary domestic purposes, which may be bought at strictly moderate prices. George R. Rigby is the artist, and Messrs. E. Brain & Co., of Fenton, Staffs., are the potters who are to carry out his designs. A few pieces of the new ware, shown at the Clarion Guild's exhibition, are illustrated herewith. The forms are excellent, the glaze is unctuous and transparent; the colouring in the present instance is a rich cream body with ornamentation in a delicate tone of green.