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Studio: international art — 11.1897

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Reviews of Recent Publications

Exhibition. While the Dutch School is growing
more monotonous and dull every day, the French
section exhausting itself in over-large canvases of
indifferent execution, and the Belgian exhibits for
the most part are disfigured by great vulgarity
of style, the English artists show their distinc-
tion and reticence in a series of rational pro-
ductions. The few pictures on too large a scale
to be seen in the British section bear evident
traces of a foreign influence. What could one wish
for better in their several styles—to name but a few
of these works—than Burne-Jones's Wheel of For-
tune, superb in treatment and of truly rare and
noble colouring; or Alma-Tadema's delightful
Shrine of Venus ; or Albert Moore's most charming
Sopha, exquisite in arrangement and absolutely
silky in colouring ? And there are many more.
Ford Madox Brown's Chaucer, for example, a re-
markable work, which can never be sufficiently
praised. England may indeed be proud of artists
such as these.

Edouard Duyck the painter, who has recently
died in Brussels, was, with his friend Crespin, one
of the first artists in Belgium to devote himself
steadily to decorative art in its widest sense. He
designed a great number of posters, theatrical cos-
tumes, &c, in which he gave free play to his
fancy, full of unstudied grace and charm. He
was an untiring worker, who disdained no sort of
labour; now turning out a set of simple programmes
in his facile way, now undertaking the great scheme
illustrative of African customs, which adorns the
large hall in the Congo section of the Brussels Ex-
hibition. He was appointed a teacher at one of
the professional schools here, and in a very short
space of time produced results surpassing all ex-

F. K.


Fors Clavigera. By John Ruskin, D.C.L.,
LL.D. Vol. IV. (London : G. Allen.) This fourth
volume completes the admirable new edition of this
work. Do younger artists read Ruskin now ?
One doubts if they read him as an earlier
generation did. Yet possibly a certain glamour of
old-time fancy and prejudice that has gathered
round his pages, makes them even more valuable.
There was a danger once lest an over-zealous dis-
ciple should take the waywardness of Mr. Ruskin's
moods too literally. Now, when much he has

pleaded for has come to pass, it is well to recall
the arguments he set forth and to recognise his
powerful guidance. No edition could be more
handy or better produced than this ; and few books
so discursive in their matter would be more helpful
indirectly to the making of an artist than these
same Fors which rarely discuss painting or sculpture,
and are more concerned with that right state of
life which is fertile to the production of fine work in
the arts.

French Wood Carvings, from the National Museum.
Edited by Eleanor Rowe. Second Series.
(London: Batsford; 12s. net.)—This excellent
work is if anything still better in its second series.
The collotypes are as good as possible, the examples
are well chosen, the letterpress interesting, and of
great practical value. The first series, it will be
remembered, dealt chiefly with late fifteenth cen-
tury Gothic. This, the second, is devoted entirely
to sixteenth century work from the time of Fran-
cis I. to the death of Charles IX. The style
prevalent then has much in common with our own
Jacobean carving, especially in its use of strap-work,
and the frequent introduction of cartouches. The
eighteen plates are sold separately at sixpence
each; so that those who want them for working
designs need not run the risk of soiling one of a
set, but can obtain a duplicate for actual use.

Suggestions in Architectural Design, prefaced
with Thoughts on Architectural Progress. By John
Cotton. (London: Batsford.)—The preface is
ably written and logically argued, so that you agree
with the writer's protest against the undue influence
which precedent has imposed on modern archi-
tectural design. But when you turn to the plates
which embody the result of this theory, they are-
to put it mildly, very mildly—disappointing. For
Mr. Cotton seems to consider detail, and especially
detail of ornament, the life and essence of archi-
tecture. But surely it is in the treatment of the
mass—the greater proportions—and the due balance
between plain surface and decoration which reveal
the art of the architect.

It is hard to condemn outright an effort so
praiseworthy, but the most hackneyed obedience
to dead precedent were better than the nightmares
he depicts here—designs where every line strikes a
discord with its neighbour, compositions where
the lavish ornament is employed not to adorn the
construction but to justify it. " More or less sug-
gestively novel in treatment" they may be, but
from such novelty may we be preserved.

Neue Folge von Allegoricn. (Vienna : Gerlach
and Schenk.) This publication consists of a series

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