This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
When Mr. Gilbert, in his lecture, at Burlington House, on the revival of sculpture in England, spoke of what that art in this country owed to Dalou and his countrymen, he referred particularly to another Frenchman, who, being still alive, it was not permissible to mention by name. Many persons supposed that he meant Rodin, but, of course, the reference was intended for Professor Lanteri, of the Roval College of Art.
It is hardly surprising that the County Council rejected the scheme for establishing a " Paris in London" on the central portion of the crescent site between Aldwych and the Strand, especially if they saw the illustration in one of the daily papers of "what it would look like." Mr. John Burns declared that it would be no more like Paris really than the Italian Exhibition at Earl's Court was like Florence or Rome. Inasmuch, however, as Venice was the Italian city represented at Earl's Court, the comparison was rather unfortunate.
Japan should be the next foreign country to be represented by a great exhibition in London. It is strange the suggestion has not been made before, for the commercial as well as the artistic possibilities of such an enterprise are evident. No other country in the world is at present so interesting to Englishmen, and yet they know next to nothing about it. The attractions of a panorama of the War would hardly be greater than one illustrating the customs of the country and the inner life of the people in their ordinary avocations of peace. The ladies, too. Think of the interest they would find in the flower culture, the aesthetic floral arrangements for the house, the gardens in miniature with their dwarf rock-work and stunted forest trees, to say nothing of the needlework, the costumes, the varied mysteries of the toilet of their sisters in far Cepango.
There are certain other domestic mysteries - those of the table, I mean - which might prove less attractive. I have especially in mind the practice of serving up raw fish, scientifically articulated, to be eaten alive, the integrity of the vital organs of the poor creature being preserved as long as possible. Although of a more refined form of cruelty than anything to which we are accustomed, this, after all, may not seem more shocking to the Japanese than some of our own sybaritic propensities; such, for instance, as devouring oysters raw, or boiling lobsters alive, or, still worse, broiling them alive in the American fashion. Be this as it may, a native Japanese restaurant would certainly have to be among the attractions of my projected exhibition, even though the scope of its menu might have to be abridged to meet the exigencies of occidental prejudices and, incidentally, the objections of the S.P.C.A.
But, above all, what a vista of delightful possibilities does such an exhibition open to the student of arts and crafts. Imagine the simultaneous presentation of Japanese artists engaged in painting, wood-block printing, stencil cutting, calico printing and embroidering. See them engaged in gold and silver work, damascening, niello, and the making of cloisonne and other kinds of enamel. In the making of porcelain and pottery, too, how much we might learn by watching their clever manipulation of paste and glaze and colour. In wood-carving, in which they greatly surpass us, what more delightful than to witness demonstrations of their admirably-planned courses of instruction as followed in their National schools ? But I am at the end of my space, and must stop, although I have not told half that might be said in favour of a Japanese exhibition in London, got up under the right kind of management.