This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
While these are eligible for N.C. it is most inconsistent to mark a drawing N.C. and throw out the same drawing tor certificate. This has been done in many eases in my school. The Department are manifestly unfair in rejecting a certificate work without comment as to its errors. Neither master nor student is a bit the wiser as to what is needed or where the mistake lies. One drawing is seemingly rejected for its merit and another accepted for its errors. These remarks are agreed with by all the art masters with whom I am acquainted, and, after nearly twenty-five years, teaching here and in Birmingham, 1 have arrived at these conclusions Staffs.
" London Schools Might do Without it."
To the Editor of Arts & Crafts.
I think that the competition, with all its faults, is still a very useful institution. London schools might do without it, but provincial schools, I think, would be liable to deteriorate from the artistic ideal unless we have some means of comparing our work with the best student work in the country.
Some people think that the Royal College of Art student work should be included. I think otherwise. Their students should be mostly past that stage; and, besides, they have the South Kensington Museum as a means of keeping up their standard.
I think the examiners might with advantage insist that the works should in all eases be practical. As a rule, the works are practical: but I think that high awards are sometimes given to work that is very beautiful, but hardly suitable to the material named. If it were possible, the examiners might insist that the work should be of a character that would be useful in the district where the work comes from. Prizes have a tendency to go to certain subjects, which become fashionable, and thereby tempt schools to do work that is of no use to the district. Now that we are working under Muncipalities, our masters are expecting us to do the work that will be most useful to the locality.
C. Stephenson, A.R.C.A. (Lond.) Head Master (Art Department) Bradford Municipal and Technical College.
The Judges not Experts in the Industrial Arts.
To the Editor of Arts & Crafts
(a) No. (b) I would suggest that the works of the Royal College of Art and Art Schools ought to be exhibited in the large cities of the tinted Kingdom for a lew weeks at least. and that practical applied art be more representative than at present. Also that there be a Director for Art at South Kensington, as formerly, and that more awards be given for works of merit than at present. (c) That works be adjudged by Experts in each branch of Industrial Art for which the designs are intended. I think that the industrial art manufactures of the United Kingdom would profit by such an arrangement. - F. Neaves Brearey, Art Master, Nottingham.
" Purely Pictorial Men" as Judges.
To the Editor of Arts & Crafts.
(a) Yes. The present system allows us great freedom, and freedom is what we want.
(b) The selection of the judges in some special subjects is unfortunate. In some cases purely pictorial men are set to judge ornamental work. The samples of work done at the personal examinations are not chosen with sufficient care, and are often, on this account, misleading. - C. F. Dawson, Head Master, Accrington Municipal School of Art.
A More Representative Exhibition Called For.
To the Editor of Arts & Crafts.
The Exhibition of the National Competition should be more largely representative -
(j) By including in it all the premiated works, and also a number of those not successful but which have been selected for the National Competition by the preliminary examiners.
(ii) Also works in sections which are now entirely or practically excluded from the Exhibition, such as drawings of plants. etc, from nature, light and shade studies from casts of ornaments or natural forms, etc.
(i) At present the Exhibition can scarcely be called a National Competition Exhibition, but an exhibition of most of the premiated works in this National Competition. If the scope of the Exhibition is extended as here suggested, its value educationally will be largely increased to both masters and students.
(2) Drawings from plants, etc, and light and shade studies from casts of ornaments and plants are in many schools the most advanced work to which the large majority of the students attain, especially in provincial schools. More advanced students drift to London, with its opportunities for remunerative work, for study, and the holding of various scholarships, etc, in the Royal College of Art. Much of the work in these sections is admirable, hut the schools having a low standard are unaware of the high standard in other schools, and the exclusion of these works from the Exhibition is also a temptation to neglect these important and difficult subjects and to attempt [ill-prepared) more advanced work which does enter into the National Competition.
In the earliest National Competition Exhibitions these staeg-and the much-abused elementary designs were largely represented Now they are absent, except a few works done certificates in elementary design; vet the corresponding stage in modelling to light and shade from the cast (modelling from drawings and photographs) is well represented, and even a lower stage (modelling from cast) which corresponds to light and shade from copy.
A different arrangement of the exhibition might be tried, with possibly good results, hanging together all the gold medal and the same with silver, bronze, and National book prizes. There are many judges for the various sections, including many of our best artists, and complaints have been made of the inequality of standard for the gold medals in the various sections. I have not considered the awards from this point of view, so cannot say what is the degree of this inequality, but such an arrangement might possibly reduce it in succeeding years, and it would at least give a new interest to the exhibition. The main suggestions which I venture to make are that there be a more representative-exhibition of those sections now included in the National Competition, and the inclusion of other sections not represented.
An Interested Reader.
Many Local Committees "Very Uneducated."
To the- Editor of Arts & Crafts.
(a) No. In fact, I consider it altogether misleading, and in many instances doing great harm. Frequently a very inferior student receives a high award, and a first-rate student gets nothing. This tends both to discourage the good student and inflate the poor one. A school often receives a large number of awards one year, and the next year, when the work is equally good, it gets next to nothing. The committees, who, in many instances, are, so far as art is concerned, very uneducated, cannot be expected to understand that it is the whim of an official or examiner, and visits the discredit on the teachers. The examiners in many instances award to works which are utterly unpractical, and would be absurd if produced, whilst they ignore many designs which show good reserved art feeling and high-class technique.
(b) The remedy: - I. The examiners should include art masters in practice and technical experts, who can themselves produce the work under trade conditions. II. Every work good or bad sent up by the schools should be exhibited, so that those interested may see what is " awarded," and what is not; and until this is done the National Competition will never be satisfactory. It is no use for the Board to say this suggestion is impracticable, because it can easily be done if the number of works sent up is limited.
For Bona-fide Students.
To the Editor of Arts 6& Crafts
The only modification that occurs to me is that the works of bona-fide students should be distinguished from those of professionals. Ipswich.
The R.C.A. Should Compete.
Editor of Arts & Crafts. On the whole, it is difficult to see how a better system could be devised, but certainly the Royal College of Art should compete with the other schools for honorary awards, as formerly. Colhester
A Committee of Inquiry Suggested.
To the Editor of Arts & Crafts.
a) No, because a large proportion of the works receiving awards are not bona fide " the work of students." (b) i. The abuses are so many and the difficulty of removing them so great, that I think a joint Committee of Inquiry should be appointed too insider the mailer and report to the Board. The Committee to be composed of representatives appointed by the Board and an equal number nominated by the council of the Art Masters Society. 2. More awards should be given. 3. Designs until for commercial reproduction should be excluded. Bournemouth.
Each of the Principal Industries should have an Opportunity of obtaining the Highest Awards.
To the Editor of Arts fit Crafts.
The system could probably be modified with advantage by a) all the Medals.mil Prizes being awarded which are offered: (b) that each of the principal industries should have an opportunity of obtaining the highest awards. The list of industries to be tabulated. Subscriber.
"It does not Touch the Majority."
To the Editor of " Arts & Crafts."
(1) I do not. It does not touch the majority of students, but only the few in day classes, and those who are already experienced craftsmen or designers.
\2) I should limit to less than a quarter the medals awarded, dividing the awards into sections lor design, certificate work for art teachers, modelling, and drawing and painting. 1 should think that something in the style of the old " 3rd grade" prizes would be of value to the average student. In fact, something to reward those who do excellent work of a more elementary character, that being the only class of work their leisure allows, or their trade requires. B. E , Jr., A.R.C.A. (Lond.)