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Studio: international art — 2.1894

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Letters from Artists to Artists.—VI. London

times even his umbrella; to draw, compose and

IETTERS FROM ARTISTS TO paint figures, architecture, traffic, and all the ele-

ARTISTS. VI. LONDON AS A ments of busy street.Hfe. his el5ow constantiy

SKETCHING GROUND. BY jostledj stray mud spiashing over him and at

^HERBERT MARSHALL, R.W.S., every moment imperilling his sketch; to be stared

R.P-E. at, criticised and chaffed, and under all these

My dear P.,—When you ask me for inform*- arduous circumstances to preserve an equal

tion about London as a fresh field for your mind. It is true there are often at hand cabs as

labours, you must not expect to find in it the same a refuge, and they are most valuable for mid-street

facilities and opportunities for sketching as in work ; but the accommodation and light inside a

Venice or Holland, or other places wherein we cab is insufficient for anything beyond a small

have worked together, the memory of which is still study. Personally, I prefer a four-wheeler—dis-

sweet to me. London is the easiest and at the mount the driver, put the nose-bag on the horse,

same time the most difficult place to paint. Easy and as you look over the box-seat a very fair view

on account of the extreme simplicity of its colour is obtained. The cabman, moreover, as he walks

LOOKING TOWARDS CHARING CROSS

scheme, its invariable presentment of mass before up and down is a competent sentry against in-
detail—the whole before the part—its clearly de- trusive faces at the side windows,
fined values and aerial perspective; and from what The great strength of London's character lies in
it offers in the vastness and variety of its scenery, the indefinable colouring and grandeur of its scenic
a boundless field of work for painters alike of effects. The sun's behaviour and apparent disregard
landscape, figures, or architecture. On the other of all optical laws is quite unintelligible. I have
hand, it is difficult as being almost beyond the seen at noon-time, looking due south, an orange
sphere of any satisfactory and straightforward and rose-coloured horizon, and in the evening a
attempt in practical painting, and before an artist green-white light hovering over the western sky;
ventures into its streets he should question himself at times an amber distance advances by steps of
seriously as to his special qualifications. greenish gold to a cold grey foreground, all dark
First, he must have a strong back and an easy objects as they retreat becoming gradually
temper. His back must be as of cast-iron, for he warmer in tone until they are finally absorbed by
will have to do most of his work standing (I the thick yellow haze; at other times, towers and
have not sat down on a camp-stool for eighteen spires are seen shooting up from the cold frosty
months), he must be prepared to hold in one mist enveloping their base, into the bright cream-
hand his drawing block, palette and water, and at coloured sky of a sunny winter's morning. Watch

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