Studio: international art — 2.1894

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1 cm
Awards in "The Studio" Piize Competitions

second prize, " demi-semi-quaver '

AWARDS IN "THE STUDIO" Exhibition of French Decorative Art, at the Grafton
PRIZE COMPETITIONS. Galleries, proved that it was possible to make a

pianoforte even more ugly than is its normal state.
A Cottage Pianoforte Case (A. IX). One, enamelled in white, with flowers painted at
The pianoforte is a bugbear to haphazard upon it, and another with Correggio-
people who would fain furnish their rooms in llke cupids and rococo gold encrusted borders,
artistic fashion. Despite many individual attempts
to improve it, a search in the average music
warehouse will scarcely yield a single satisfactory
specimen, and this, if found, will be, as a rule,
merely a negatively pleasing object, an inoffensive
thing that seems to apologise for its presence. Six-
teen years have passed since Mrs. Orrinsmith, in
The Drawing Room, a volume of the excellent Art
at Home Series, bewailed its inelegance. Most
of the reforms advocated by the evangelists of the
movement those books supported have become
the commonplace creed of villadom to-day; but
the pianoforte is little better than it was then.
More especially is this true as regards the costlier
instruments. A pianette or a plain "grand " may
be tolerable; but the "upright trichord" or the
" elegant walnut grand " are sure to be ugly at best,
and intolerable when they attempt to hide their
defects by lavish ornamentation. True, the famous
" Graham " piano, decorated by Sir Edward Burne-
Jones; the monumental instrument, designed by
Mr. Alma-Tadema, .R.A.; a very fine one lately

made from '^^^r^-^^^!^ ^ in 0ne's memo^ - examples to avoid,

by Messrs Morns & Co in this number, a few That ^ ^ ^ { *

others exhibited at the: Arts.and ^ Exhibition ^ ^ ^ y

wVcav/ figured on pSe t ot E'volu^of - ^strate may readily be granted but if
vv. r. ^ave, ngureu on pabc you take the of thg mQSt popular makerSj Jt

fl . wul De °dd if a bare half-dozen can be found whose

/4Wr~~L presence would not vulgarise a room carefully fur-

^l^^l^-^^^^ nished with good designs in fabrics and chattels.

The main fault of most attempts at improvement
would seem to be the desire to add superfluous
features merely for their ornamental effect. These
may consist of ponderous pillars which carry no
weight, or in wings that would certainly be in the
way and cannot claim to any intrinsic use; or
else they may take the form of surface ornament
r and elaborate carving, which may possibly be good
of its sort and yet an excrescence on the form
it professes to beautify, or it may be so carefully
selected and so sparingly applied that it almost
solves the problem.

The most objectionable features in the cottage
piano as it is, would seem to be, first and fore-
. most the legs, which are either gouty misshapen
j pillars, huge trusses that would support a balcony,
^ or meagre rods that, in some cases, do not even
touch the floor. Of late it has been more usual
to connect these feet with the base, and so to give
them some semblance of being a part of the struc-
^Mi| \JJ ture ar)d not irrelevant additions to it.

The fretwork front, silk lined, is not so popular
first prize, " boz " to-day, but the solid panel, with meaningless in-

cised ornament in gold, which replaced it, is
The Studio—all show individual efforts to break scarcely better artistically, and may possibly impede
away from the conventional routine by devising the sound to a greater extent. The arrangement
harmonious cases for the drawing-room orchestra, of the music desk is usually faulty even for a
On the other hand, some examples in the late single player, and quite inadequate should a heavy

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