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Studio: international art — 3.1894

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THE EDITOR'S ROOM

THE STUDIO PRIZE COMPETITIONS.

This number, which marks the entry of The
Studio upon the second year of its existence,
seems a fitting place to reiterate the motives
which led to the institution of the Prize Com-
petitions, and to state anew their purpose and
manner of working.

The chief object of the Competitions, especially
in Class A, is to encourage students to reduce their
theories of ornament to practice; and to do so
within certain limits which correspond to those
ruling in the various industries that employ design
in their finished products. It is true that in some
existing schools of design certain subjects are set
that include many of those which have been, and
will be, set for competition here. But in such
case, the student is very rarely compelled to work
within the rigid limits imposed by the mechanical
requirements of the craft and their economical
employment. One may set, vaguely—a wall-paper,
for example—and find the designs submitted, how-
ever beautiful in themselves, unfitted to catch the
taste of buyers, needlessly costly to produce, or so
planned that they are practically useless. To bring
the student into direct touch with the manu-
facturer, and to give the latter a chance of finding
young artists who have proved their power to
scheme practicable as well as beautiful designs, is
the double purpose that is kept in view in the
Competitions for Industrial Design, Class A.

In Class B, the object is similar to that which
governs Class A—namely, to educate the draughts-
man to produce practical drawings and designs
suitable for reproduction by process. Only those
who have had wide experience of such things
can realise how the most elementary principles
are disregarded even in pen-and-ink and wash
drawings. But with the greater skill on the part
of the photo-engraver, and many specially pre-
pared papers and materials, the art of making
suitable drawings for blocks becomes more varied
than it was a few years ago. Hence various sub-
jects have been already set—such as lithographic
chalk on Allonge" paper—which are practically
unused in the ordinary illustrated paper to-day.
Another class of designs for trade or social
purposes, such as the covers of catalogues, book-
plates, and the like which come also in this Class,
.affords the pattern-designer an opportunity for a

design complete in itself, standing apart from
the merits of the material, and offers a welcome
change to his routine work. The preparation of
bold working drawings, copied from photographs,
is also a method of commercial importance to-day,
and one that requires far more artistic selection
and presentation than is usually accorded to it.
The first of these, which proved to be a very popular
competition, has already been set, and others will
be announced in due course.

Class C is governed by a somewhat different
idea. Here the object is twofold—to induce the
worker in the home arts to design for those special
subjects of which he has practical knowledge, and
also to encourage workers to attempt more artistic
styles than those usually in vogue. The mis-
directed labour of most amateurs' work is lament-
able. It is only too common to find really skilled
craft devoted to the production of the most worth-
less designs, in needlework, wood-carving, and
similar minor arts. By these Competitions we
hope to show that almost any of the home crafts
may produce really artistic results, provided the
design be suitable to its purpose and consistent in
itself.

Such, then, is a brief statement of the reason
for the existence of these Competitions and the
objects they aim to fulfil. The successful record
of their first year warrants The Studio in retain-
ing and amplifying a department that has proved
acceptable to so many readers.

Not only have many of the prize designs found
purchasers and, by the amount thus added to the
prize itself, brought up the remuneration to at
least the best level of the market, but many com-
petitors, both prize winners and those receiving
honourable mention only, have found other com-
missions awaiting them. Long after the awards
have been published, we receive letters asking for
particulars of the competitors, and are glad to be
able to state that in not a few cases regular employ-
ment has been the result.

It is obvious that to expect that the verdict
passed on the very large number of subjects sent
in would satisfy all competitors, were a Utopian
hope. It may happen often that the published
prize designs look inferior in every way to those in
the third rank. Passing over the question of the
judges being mistaken—which could hardly be
discussed impartially here—we must remember
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