This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
AS already intimated, the display of jewellery and silversmith's work was one of the most striking of the exhibition at the Leeds City Art Gallery, which closed last month. The exhibits of Messrs. Liberty & Co. can but add to the well-earned reputation of the firm. Among the smaller objects we noted with particular pleasure two oxy-dised silver cloak clasps, pierced and hammered and set with turquoise and blue enamel, and two exquisitely pierced and chased fruit spoons, pure and elegant in outline. Among the more important pieces was a silver casket in blue and green enamel, set upon four slender pillar-like supports, resting upon a tray nearly covered with blue and green enamel. of charming design; the entire object was not more than two inches high and about ten inches long. Another silver casket, no less tasteful in form and artistically executed, was set with mother-of-pearl and peacock blue enamel. Of several examples of copper inlaid with enamel, the most striking, perhaps, was a cigar-box, shown by the Guild of Handicraft, with a painted landscape on the cover, reflecting a vivid blue sky in a stream. Mr. Fisher's finger bowls, in similar beaten
Jewellery by Miss
Halle metal, but fiery red, and relieved by no other decoration than a plain disc of blue-green enamel at the bottom of each, looked tawdry. He was best represented by objects shown at previous exhibitions, notably by a finely conceived and beautifully executed silver casket - oddly catalogued as "Silver Iron Casket." The most
Jewellery by Miss Elinor Halle notable example of enamels was a painted plaque in a very beautiful setting of silver and pearl, by Mrs. Nelson Dawson, representing an incident in the life of St. Simeon Stylites. This accomplished craftswoman shared with her husband the credit for a silver loving-cup of singularly simple and chaste design, with a touch of red enamel cunningly reserved for the lid only. Mr. Nelson Dawson showed nothing else in the precious metals-, but a large display of his admirable wrought-iron work was one of the features of the occasion. In this department he shared the honours with the Guild of Handicraft, and Edward Spencer, who designed some capital iron work exhibited by Mr. Montague Ford-ham. There were good examples of electric light fittings shown by the latter and the Guild of Handicraft, and also by Messrs. Jesson, Birkett & Co., Ltd., but nothing particularly fresh in design.
We have strayed away from our notes on the silver work and jewellery, which we have yet to conclude. Of Mr. John Williams's noble wrought silver chalice, set with cairngorms, it must suffice to point to our photograph. No less beautiful than the objects of jewellery we show, by Miss Elinor Halle and Miss Agnes Pool, were some pieces by Mr. H. Wilson, the Guild of Handicraft, Mr. Bernard Cuzner, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Gaskin, and others. A gold and enamel pendant and chain, by the last-named, set in pearls, with a fascinating mermaid drop in pierced, chased, and enamelled metal, was especially tempting. But it has been preferred to show in detail a few such pieces as we have given, rather than many pieces which, necessarily, would have had to be given much reduced in size.
The display of furniture and cabinet work was less remarkable for elaborate design than for simplicity of line, sensible construction, and sound workmanship. The examples that we illustrate herewith have been selected especially for these old-fashioned qualities, the return to which we consider among the most gratifying signs of the times. It is curious to notice how strong is the reaction now against the aggressive use of metal hinges and strap-work, which a little while ago was so much in evidence in our English cabinet work. Perhaps Mr. Armitage carries it to extremes in the cupboard doors of his oak sideboard, which open only when the key is in the lock. Mr. Ambrose
Jewellery, by Miss Elinor Halle, at the Leeds Exhibition.
Heal, junr.'s ingenious device of a sunken wooden handle turning an invisible lock in the centre of the cupboard door is much more satisfactory. The convenience, too, of having a chest of drawers quite innocent of any metal handles and escutcheon plates to pull off is too obvious for discussion. His writing cabinet is not only well designed, but beautifully executed, while the inlay of pewter in the panels of the doors and of ebony at the base of the cupboard seem sufficient ornamentation for an object so evidently made for use. Perhaps we ought to explain that the darkness of the outside of the desk, as it appears in the illustration, is due to some idiosyncrasy of the camera, and not to any extraneous treatment of the wood itself, which is oak throughout. It is not easy to find small cast-iron mantelpieces of good design, and we signalise our discovery of those by Mr. Bedford, at the Leeds exhibition, by reproducing two of them, by permission of the Teale Fireplace Company. The face of the upper one has for decoration two cats watching a mouse, but in our illustration the latter is too small to be recognised.
The Leeds School of Art had a large exhibit representing nearly all of the many branches embraced by its curriculum. The enamels were not as good as might have been hoped for from the excellent equipment of the school laboratory. Some good examples of bookbinding were shown, and some pieces of embroidery of considerable merit, notably a figure screen panel, designed by Miss Clara Lavington and executed by Miss Myra Naylor, a panel of birds and roses by Miss Alice Groocock, a table-cover by Miss Isabel N. Towler, a piano front by Miss Mary H. Willson, and cushion covers by Miss Florence Mattinson and Miss Margaret Hankey, A Carrickmacross applique lace collar and a cut linen chalice veil, with a Pelican centre, designed and worked by Miss Nora Porteous, deserve mention, as does also some excellent machine-made lace by Miss Olive Millard, from her own designs. Creditable exhibits were made by the art classes of the Liverpool University and the Keswick School of Industrial Arts, but we cannot include among those of the first-named the embroidered panel called "Roses," a sad example of misdirected industry, in which a semi-nude lady in pink with a yellow wig - or is it a hat ? - figures in the tangle of flowers and foliage which gives the panel its title. Such puerilities should certainly not come with the endorsement of any school of art.
I must not omit to notice the beautifully modelled figure by Miss Frances Darlington, designed to hold an electric light, nor to the Barnstaple Guild's finely conceived and beautifully executed casket, trowel and mallet, presented to the King at the laving of the foundation stone of St. Bartholomew's Hospital. My marked catalogue reminds me, too, that no reference has been made to the exquisitely painted boxes by Mrs. Reginald Hirst in "vernis Martin" style. Specially worthy of mention is Mr. J. Lawrence's "Carved Frame," executed by Mr. J. Ridsdale, of the Kirby Overbeck Wood-carving School. It is not more than a foot high; when open it shows three oblong frames for pictures at the back and an oval frame on the inside of each door. Besides Miss Marie Jefferson's carved oak smoker's cabinet, and Miss Hilda Ware's "Honesty" panel (which we shall reproduce later), reference must also be made to Miss F. M. Jackson's panel for an overmantel, A. W. Simpson's frame, William Clayton's frieze, and Miss Alice Gray's capital Gothic panel.
Altogether the exhibition was one of great interest, and, if there were room, mention might justly be made of much that has of necessity been omitted in the present notice. M. M.
In rough carving of exterior woodwork, a great deal may be done with a small adze. It is admirable for shaping posts and beams, but may be used on large flat surfaces. The design, which should be simple, may be incised with the sharp corner of the tool, and the line thus made may be chipped into from the outside, or the background may be all chipped away, leaving the design in flat relief.
The Clarion Handicraft Exhibition.
The third annual exhibition of the Clarion Guild of Handicraft, held this year at the Athenaeum, Manchester, was opened on October 28 by the Lord Mayor, and on following days by Mr. Walter Crane, the Countess of Warwick, the Duchess of Sutherland, and Mr. Robert Blatchford. It was a striking demonstration of the remarkable growth of this guild, which was started four years ago by The Clarion newspaper. It consists of associations of workmen and women, many of them employed during the day in uncongenial tasks, who meet together at a common workroom to engage at craftwork in all its branches. There are no paid teachers, but the more expert craftsmen place their talents and experience at the disposal of their fellow-workers. The cost to members is but a few pence per week to cover rent and incidental expenses. All profits resulting from the exhibitions go to a central fund, upon which the various branch guilds may draw as necessity requires. The present exhibition had been contributed to by many outside sympathisers. The work of the branch guilds was submitted in competition for the Challenge Shield, which was held by the Liverpool Guild. Mr. Walter Crane, who judged the exhibits this year, awarded the Shield to the London Guild, and his criticisms, terse and to the point, must have been invaluable to the craftsmen concerned.
The principal exhibits of the Leeds Guild were furniture and cabinet work. A dressing table in waxed walnut, with oxidised silver fittings, designed by E. J. Simmons (woodwork by D. Cook, needlework by Miss M. Simmons) was very ingenious and well constructed, the drawers sliding with perfect freedom - evidence of careful workmanship. The same may be said of a writing cabinet designed by E. J. Simmons, and executed by members of the Guild, though both pieces would have been better with less ornamentation. Leatherwork, bookbinding, rugs, and copper repousse work chiefly represented the Liverpool Guild. A shouldered vase, shape by H. M. Worrall, being specially commended; it was without ornamentation, and was beaten up from the sheet. The London Guild was awarded the Challenge Shield " for quality and variety and general high level of technical accomplishment." Its exhibits included gesso-work, embroidery, stained glass, leatherwork, and jewellery. Mr. Godfrey Brount's designs for embroidery were specially picked out for commendation, and we would mention also the fine stencilled panels for a four-fold screen by Thomas Todd Blaylock. A good display of jewellery was shown by Mr. A. E. Bonner, and Miss Muriel Moller's carved oak panelling was quite the best example of wood-carving in the exhibition. The Chester Guild contributed metal work and lace, the Colne Guild furniture only. A china cabinet in old oak and copper, designed by F. W.