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Studio: international art — 14.1898

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Reviews of Recent Publications

in a doorway, lighted from various and variegated
sources, and also a picture of a young woman
and old man on a roof at night, in a dark-bluish
light. H. W. S.

REVIEWS OF RECENT
PUBLICATIONS.

Felix Vallotton: A Biography. By J. Meier-
graefe. (Berlin: J. A. Stargardt; Paris: E.
Sagot.) Price 16 marks.—The school of modern
wood-engraving based on the characteristics of the
work of the fathers of the art is exemplified in
England in the prints of Mr. Nicholson, and in
France in those of M. F. Vallotton. The revived
mannerism displayed in the work of these artists
does not appeal directly to the tastes of the
average patron of art—first, because it is not
understood by him; and secondly, because it is
too often accompanied by defects in workmanship
which, however pardonable they might be in early
work, are at best but evidences of a faulty training
of eye and hand. Such a charge could not in
justice be laid against the woodcuts of either Mr.
Nicholson or M. Vallotton; but in the selection
of work of the latter which is now before us there
are evidences in some cases of what might be
described as a deliberate carelessness in drawing,
the only effect of which is to materially weaken
the effect of the stronger parts of the work.

The power of Vallotton lies especially in his
successful application to wood-engraving of that
fundamental principle of art which is involved in
the production of the greatest effect with the least
apparent labour, and in the decorative arrange-
ment of his compositions. In his slightest work
he never loses touch with its essentially artistic
side, the expression of character and emotion;
and although he usually seeks for inspiration from
the baser and more trivial rather than from the
higher phases of humanity, he occasionally shows
us, as in his excellent portrait of Richard Wagner,
that he is impressionable to its nobler qualities.

The Print Gallery. Vol. I. containing 96
plates. (London: H. Grevel & Co.) Price 215.
—A collection of reproductions of woodcuts,
engravings on copper, and etchings of the fif-
teenth century to the beginning of the nineteenth,
including examples of the work of Mantegna,
Albrecht Differ, Lucas Cranach, Holbein, Alde-
grever, Ostade, Potter, Delaunay, Moreau, Bar-
tolozzi, and numerous other engravers.

The great rarity of the prints here reproduced is
an ample excuse for the issue of the present

volume; and although the reproductions are
naturally inferior in effect to the original impres-
sions, they are sufficiently good to be of prac-
tical use to the student of the great masters of
engraving.

Bow, Chelsea, and Derby Porcelain. By William
Bemrose. (London: Bemrose & Sons, Ltd.)
Price 25s. net.—Collectors of old English porcelain
owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Bemrose for this
interesting book, in which certain fallacies relating
to these wares are exposed. The beautiful way in
which the work is illustrated and printed adds
greatly to its value.

Spikenard: A Book of Devotional Love Poems.
By Laurence Housman. (London: Grant

Richards.) Price 31-. 6d. net.—The contents of
this little book are scarcely suitable for discussion
here, although not a few of the poems —and they
are veritably poems, not mere verse—would supply
a religious painter with inspiring themes. The
cover of brown paper incrusted with gold is an
ideally perfect example of restrained decoration.
It is worthy to be placed among the first dozen
modern bindings.

The Bases of Design. By Walter Crane.
(London: Geo. Bell & Sons.) i8l net.—This
work is founded upon ten lectures, delivered to the
art students of Manchester, which are both prac-
tical in aim and clearly expressed, besides being
singularly catholic in their view. Their didactic
value is enforced by a medium in which Mr. Crane
is still more at home, for among the two hundred
illustrations a large proportion are from his
sketches and drawings. These show, in nervous
sympathetic handling, the points he especially wishes
to enforce. This important work is destined to
take its place among the few essential volumes for
reference and study that a designer requires.

Letters and Papers of Andrew Robertson, A.M.
Edited by Emily Robertson. (London : Eyre
& Spottiswoode.) Price 12s. 6d. net.—The prin-
cipal new feature in this, the second edition of
the work, is the introduction of twelve Woodbury-
type illustrations from Mr. Robertson’s miniatures.
The letters and papers are mainly private docu-
ments, vivid evidences of the struggles, the suc-
cesses, the disappointments of a miniaturist’s life
in the early part of this century. One of the most
valuable of the documents is a letter written to
Andrew Robertson by his brother Archibald in
the year 1800. It is a short treatise on miniature
painting, and is full of useful and practical hints
which cannot fail to be interesting to workers in
the present-day revival of this dainty art.

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