Engravings and photogravures most satisfactorily reproduce paintings, as hand work always has more life than the photographic copy. All reproductions, however, bring the works of world-famous artists within our reach, and enable us to be on intimate terms with the animals of Rosa Bonheur, the peasants of Millet, the portraits of Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyck, Sargent, and Gainsborough, the landscapes of Corot, Daubigny, Dupré, and Turner, and the madonnas of Raphael, Botticelli, Bodenhauser, and Correggio. Amateur photography, with its soft pastel effects in black, green, white, red, and gray, is making rapid strides and doing much to advance the cause of art in the home. The hand-colored photograph is acceptable if the coloring is true and rightly applied, while certain charming colored French prints, so like water colors as to be hardly distinguishable from them, have distinct worth. Then there are the reproductions of our present-day illustrators, in both black-and-white and colors, and in which we seem to have a personal interest. Originals are always costly and hard to get, the exception being the obscure but worthy artist whose fame and fortune are yet to be won. The carved Florentine frame is a valuable setting for certain colored heads or painted medallions.
Although any good picture may be hung with propriety in almost any of the first-floor rooms, heads of authors and pictures having historic and literary significance seem especially suggestive of the library; musicians and musical subjects of the music room, or wherever one's musical instruments may be; dignified subjects, such as cathedrals, with the game and animal pictures which used to hang in the dining room, of the hall; while we now picture our dining room with pretty landscapes or anything else cheery and attractive. Family portraits, if we must have them, hang better in one's own room, but really their room is better than their company, as a rule.
As to hanging pictures, the main thing is to have them on a level with the eye, and each subject in a good light - dark for light parts of the room, light for dark. Small pictures are most effective in groups, hung somewhat irregularly and compactly. All pictures lie close to the wall, suspended by either gilt or silvered wire, whichever tones best with the wall decoration. The use of two separate wires, each attached to its own hook, is preferable to the one wire, whose triangular effect is inharmonious with the horizontal and vertical lines of the room. Small pictures are best hung with their wires invisible, thus avoiding a network on the walls.