International studio — 80.1925

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CT"-he earliest American Although more recent and once solemnly assured the

2 sporting prints were crude than the finest English author that k wouId take

published before the examp[es tney have great "years.of study" t0 write
middle of the last century, , , ,Y n 4 an article about English

and so just come within the appeal to the collector prints or t0 understand

scope of that obligingly JO PENNINGTON" them sufficiently to discuss

elastic word, "antiques." their merits with a collector.

So long as a dealer is able to describe any article There is a sacred jargon to be mastered; a knowl-

he has for sale as "almost a hundred years old," edge of the popular engravers and their methods,

he is justified in the eyes of the public in calling it and of the painters from whose work they fre-

an antique—much to the amusement of our quently derived the subjects of their prints. All

British cousins. A few years ago none except a this is more or less true. The British print makers

few enthusiasts had so much as heard of American had a delicacy of touch and a skill in color that

sporting prints, but with the increasing interest makes our own prints seem crude. But two things

in all forms of Americana somehow these sporting must be remembered: The best English prints

prints leaped into favor. appeared before 1830, and the earliest American

Before they became the fashion, collectors of ones appeared between 1840 and 1850. It is

sporting prints were collectors of English sporting unfair to compare the American art in its infancy

prints and even today these faithful sneer quite with the British art in its highest peak of perfec-

openly at the idea of their being any reason for tion. Moreover, the British prints now coming

admiring our native products. They base their to America represent the very finest examples

exclusion of Americana on the ground that there produced because they command prices which the

is nothing to be said of them—they have neither British collectors are unable to meet. The earliest

"periods," nor variety of treatment nor the grace English prints show the same weaknesses as our

and charm of their British predecessors. A dealer own; they are as gaudy and crude as ours and

jour sixty

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