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Studio: international art — 10.1897

Seite: 50
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http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/studio1897a/0061
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0.5
1 cm
facsimile
The Harpies

either of the foregoing specimens, being somewhat
wanting in the important quality of cohesion.
Nevertheless, it may prove of value in the sugges-
tion of form; the d and g are both interesting,
while the signature alone would justify the repro-
duction of the whole.

The remaining illustrations are from pen-drawings
by Lucas, of Roman and Italic type-letters respec-
tively, and are included in view of the intimate—and
at that time so recent—connection between the forms
of type and of script. It will be remembered that the
earliest printing had for its object simply a cheap
and expeditious production which could take the
place of the old manuscripts, and there is not the
slightest doubt that printed matter was often palmed
off as the work of a scribe. The first designers of
type based their models on accepted standards of
handwriting, and, in cutting' the letters, reproduced
many details arising solely from the nature of the
pen. Although the second generation of type-
founders were at some pains to seek out good
classical forms for their alphabets, they by no
means discarded the element of penmanship ; and
the fact of a writing-master, a century later, thinking
it worth his while to show his ability in the matter
of type-letters, shows how long the tradition per-
sisted.

In conclusion, we may epitomise some of the
great secrets of all caligraphic excellence. It rests
on a few general principles, so self-evident as
scarcely to need repetition were not the badness of
writing an artistic crime of such common occur-
rence.

Legibility, reticent selection of ornament, a
careful choice of tool and material, with study
and frank acceptance of the peculiarities of each—
these are always to be borne in mind. Weak and
unnecessary excrescences must be avoided, a sense
of good construction cultivated; and the result will
be, if not the fine writing of a master-scribe, at
least such as would delight him from the hand of
a disciple. Edward F. Strange.

ETTER FROM MR. J. D. BAT-
TEN CONCERNING HIS
WATER-COLOUR PRINT
"THE HARPIES"

Dear Sir,— Since writing the letter which
appeared in The Studio, No. 34, describing
the method employed in the production of my
colour-print of Eve and the Serpent, a great many
alterations and improvements have taken place in
the mode of printing.


Mr. F. Morley Fletcher has given the whole
of his attention to the development and perfecting
of the process, with the result that many of the
uncertainties and difficulties that attached to my
earlier experiments have been overcome.

In almost every instance Mr. Fletcher has
reverted to the actual method of the Japanese.

The use of milk for the sizing of the paper, and
the use of glycerine and dextrine as a medium for
the colours have been abandoned.

The present edition of The Harpies is being
printed on Japanese paper sized with parchment
size, and the colours employed are, with the ex-
ception of the black, Newman's tube water-colours
mixed with a paste made from the finest rice
flour.

For the black, " Indian ink," or more correctly
Chinese ink, is used. The Chinese have for cen-
turies devoted the utmost care to the production of
this pigment and its beauty cannot, I think, be
rivalled by any black of European manufacture.

The elimination of glycerine from the process
has been an improvement of the greatest import-
ance. In the first place, it has rendered unneces-
sary my previous practice of washing the finished
proofs in alcohol; and in the second place it has-
removed a great source of danger to the wood
blocks, a danger which we have experienced to our
cost. For the blocks having become saturated
with glycerine had a constant tendency to absorb
moisture. This caused the wood to swell and was
apt to throw the blocks considerably out of
register.

When we first set to work upon this colour-
print we had a line block cut by a wood-engraver
in the ordinary way upon the cross-section of the
box-wood. The rest of the blocks were cut by
Mr. Fletcher with a knife upon the plank section
of cherry and sycamore wood. The block cut
upon the cross section expanded much more
than the others. The result was that the line
block was thrown completely out of register, and
only a few of the very earliest proofs from this
block were fit to be included in the edition.

Mr. Fletcher then set himself to cut the line
block with a knife upon a carefully chosen plank
of English cherry, a method of work which I
suppose has scarcely been attempted in England
since the use of the graver was established a full
century ago. (It is impossible to use the graver
except upon the cross-section of the wood.) In
this attempt he has been completely successful; so
that all the blocks are cut in the same manner. It
is not easy to over-estimate the advantage of
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