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Studio: international art — 10.1897

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The Work of Miss Ethel Reed

mezzotint engraving, we can realise what it means
to bring to a successful conclusion a number of these
plates without any outside assistance. It is worth
while emphasising this point, because a study of
the set of " Liber " in the Print Room reveals the
inestimable advantage it was to the engravers to
have such a critic as Turner to direct and advise
them. Masterly as the drawings are, in translating
them by engraving a fresh quality is imported into
the effect, for the tones from a mezzotint plate are
quite different from those given by washes of sepia,
and consequently to Turner's criticisms and touches
on working proofs much of the effect is due. Mr.
Short has had to be both engraver and critic,
a very difficult partnership. Mr. Ruskin told the en-
graver, when some years ago he engraved Procris
and Cephalus, that such work as the " Liber " could
not be done again, but on seeing Frank Short's
plates has admitted that he was hasty in his judg-

It is satisfactory to be able to give reproduc-
tions of two of Frank Short's etchings before the
mezzotint ground was laid, for Turner's original
etchings (except in a few instances he, con-
trary to his original intention, etched all the plates
himself, which was a great gain to the engravers)
are admitted to be some of the finest specimens of
free outline ever made.

Mr. Short told me that he had tried the effect of
mezzotinting without this strong etching which we
find in Turner's plates, but, except in such effects
as the two moonlights (Nos. 4 and 7) the loss was
considerable, as the etching gives that needful
accent or emphasis which prevents the plates look-
ing tame.

In comparing these plates therefore with the
rest of the work, we must remember that they
have not been etched by Turner, nor have they
had the help he gave the engravers who worked for
him, but Mr. Short's work is able to challenge
comparison with any plates in the "Liber."

Mr. Short lays most of his grounds himself, so
that he may rock them in various ways and with
different tools to secure variety of texture. Having
a large press he is able to prove his own plates,
but the printing of them is in the hands of Mr.
F. Goulding. _

The Autotype Company, London, have recently
published an interesting autogravure reproduction
of a portrait by Rossetti of Robert Browning. The
original painting hung in Rossetti's studio before
his death, and is now in the possession of Mr. C.
Fairfax Murray.

It is somewhat curious to find that
the Art of the Woman has almost
invariably lacked just those qualities of daintiness,
exquisite subtlety, and elegance which might natur-
ally have been its chief characteristics. The sex of
Mary Moser, R.A., Rosa Bonheur, or Elizabeth
Thompson (Lady Butler), could never have been
deduced from a study of their paintings. Some of
Watteau's lighter fancies, certain heads by Greuze,
or figures like Mr. G. F. Watts' Uldra, supply far
more closely the type that might be expected to
represent the feminine ideal. Therefore to claim
for the work of Miss Ethel Reed those peculiar
qualities which in other domains than art have
been supposed to be the sole property of woman
is to put forward the least hackneyed plea for their
appreciation, although at first sight it appears the
most obvious. For sober truth compels one to
own that excepting, possibly, Miss Kate Greena-
way's—which after all is nearer simplicity than dain-
tiness—it would be difficult to recall the work of
any lady artist at once so fragile and yet sound as
to its technique, and as gracefully fancied and
wrought. For her delicacy is not weakness, but a
curious restrained vigour. Nothing could be more
straightforward than her method in solid black
silhouettes, and bold sweeping lines, yet even
there the strength is hidden by a peculiarly
buoyant touch which seems to have put the lines
down in the most facile manner. The dexterous
treatment of fanciful themes could not be easily

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