International studio — 42.1910

Page: XXIX
DOI issue: DOI article: DOI Page: Citation link:
License: Free access  - all rights reserved Use / Order
1 cm

vol. xlii. No. 166 Copyright, 1910, by John Lane Company DECEMBER, 1910


For some time before his recent death,
at the age of ninety-three, Sir Seymour Haden had
ceased to etch, but his best work remained a living
force and is such to-day. Moreover, Haden was an
influence by virtue of his personality, and his mas-
terfulness is echoed in the forcible note of mastery
which is a dominant quality in so much of his work.
Yet there was great diversity of expression in his
artistic production covering half a century.

His etchings range from such large performances
as Calais Pier, after Turner (done in heavy, widely
spaced lines, at first intended to be used as a basis
for mezzotint), to the five little plates thrown off in
one day.

In prints such at Sawley Abbey or By Inveroran,
done almost in outline, there is a virile certainty in
the lines set down with unhesitating vigor. This
firmness of statement, this sureness of self, is ex-
pressed in greater fineness of line, with magisterial
effect, in the Shere Mill Pond, pronounced by Ham-
erton the finest landscape etching, with the excep-
tion of Claude's Bouvier, that had ever been exe-

An interesting contrast in method is offered by the
five plates already referred to: Newcastle in Emlyn;
House oj the Smith; Kenarth, South Wales; Kilgaren
Castle and Cardigan Bridge, all done on August 17,
1864. In these the needle has moved about briskly
in little sweeps and curls and triangular scratches,
leaving an effect of ready obedience of the hand to
the impulse given by vision—of free, rapid notation
of a picturesque effect seen with a quick grasp of its
artistic possibilities.

The charm of these lies perhaps in the somewhat
unexpected outlook on a different way of expression.
One feels this even more, possibly, in some of the
proofs and counterproofs worked over with water
color shown at the' recent Haden exhibition at the

Keppel gallery in New York. In passing it may be
noted that in one of these latter, The Assignation, a
gnarled old willow stump brings to mind a similar
one in the etching of St. Jerome Writing, by Rem-
brandt, to whose manner of handling one can
also trace a certain resemblance, though the print-
ing here is done with a rich surplus of ink. The
young woman beside the stump, however, is rather
in the Whistler vein, so that he who is so inclined
may go into contemplation over the union of three
master spirits in one plate. As a matter of fact, un-
mistakable evidences of the influence of others are
rather rare in Haden's work—such, for example, as
the suggestion of the earlier manner of Whistler, in
Whistler's House, Old Chelsea. On the other hand,
Haden's influence can be felt in the Greenwich Park
of his brother-in-law. (The old gentleman in
Whistler's Greenwich Pensioner is repeated, much
smaller, in Haden's Sub Tegmine. But that means
simply a use of the same model, both plates having
been etched on the same day.)

Generally, Haden is absolutely himself, a vigor-
ous and interesting personality who expresses him-
self in his plates with almost as charming a frank-
ness of self-possession as he has shown in some of
his manuscript notes and verbal statements about
his work.

The emphatic positiveness of his nature is mir-
rored in the precision with which he sets before us a
scene on copper. But this same emphasis was
joined to a fine appreciation of delicate effects which
he rendered with equal delicacy.

The hand which put down the bold, heavy strokes
of the large Windsor or of Near the Grand Char-
treuse (done, like the Calais Pier, for mezzotinting,
in the deeply bitten lines of the etchings of Turner's
"Liber "), produced also A Byroadin Tipperary and
Early Morning, Richmond. In the Byroad the
carefully and well-drawn trees, with all their detail,
take their proper place, while between and behind
their trunks there appears, indistinctly, a view be-
yond the' shaded seclusion of the woods, a hint of

loading ...