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Studio: international art — 17.1899

Seite: 170
DOI Heft: DOI Artikel: DOI Seite: Zitierlink: i
http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/studio1899b/0198
Lizenz: Creative Commons - Namensnennung - Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen Nutzung / Bestellung
0.5
1 cm
facsimile
Mr. Mortimer Menpes House

An experiment in the

APPLICATION OF JAPAN-
ESE ORNAMENT TO THE
DECORATION OF AN
ENGLISH HOUSE.

During the last twenty years many attempts
have been made, upon a limited scale, to engraft
Japanese ornament upon British construction, and
the results have been almost invariably unsatisfac-
tory. The want of success has arisen either from
a lack of knowledge of the characteristics of
Japanese decorative art, or from incongruity in
its application, or incompetence in its execu-
tion. There are many people who imagine that
the whole art of Japan is summed up in the
decorations of a fan or an umbrella. Such
fallacies have been promulgated again and again
by would-be teachers of decorative art, who, while

MR. MORTIMER MENPES HOUSE, 25 CADOGAN GARDENS

A. H. MACKMURDO, ARCHITECT

they have rightly inveighed against the painting
of birds and flowers in falsely-called Japanese
fashion upon mirrors, umbrella stands, and door
panels, have omitted to add that such applications
of ornament are as opposed to the canons of
Japanese taste as they must be to those of any
other thinking people. It has come to pass, there-
fore, from the ignorance of lecturers and writers,
as well as from that of the general public, that a
fallacious idea of Japanese decoration has become
general, and that in almost every attempt to intro-
duce it into Western buildings its principles have
been absolutely ignored, and the greatest of
aesthetic crimes committed in its name.

That Japan has an art in the decoration of its
buildings—an art of rare perfection—is evident to
all those who have- studied it intelligently in situ.
The simplest cottage, in which ornamentation is
reduced to a minimum, can be made by a Japanese
carpenter into a thing of
beauty, dependent for its
charm on frank simplicity,
absence of pretence,
beauty of proportion and
perfection of workman-
ship. However much the
houses of the wealthy
may be enriched by the
decorative artist, the work
is done with a sense of
fitness that gratifies the
most fastidious. We find
richness without obtrusive-
ness. Each thing is in its
right place, and it is diffi-
cult to imagine any change
even in the smallest detail
but would detract from
the perfection of the
whole. But this great
beauty, this marvellous
perfection of craftsman-
ship, is due in a less
degree to individual effort
than to the experiences of
generation after genera-
tion of cultivated men
with whom aestheticism
has been the very breath
of life. The habits of
thought of the Japanese,
affected doubtless by the
varied cults of Shintoism
and Buddhism—opposed

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