Studio: international art — 3.1894

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The Poetic in Paint

■upright warp process. But the plant still remains
.at the Windsor works, and the management, so I
am given to understand, is ready to receive com-
missions and to muster its forces for the execution
-of any orders which may be entrusted to it."

" Can you account for the success of your own
undertaking at Merton, while the factory at
Windsor, upheld as it was by the most august
patronage, has proved to all intents and purposes
a failure ? "

" That is not a fair question to ask me. But I
will say this much, that they had not the advantage
-of working from Sir Edward Burne-Jones' designs."

" Does Sir Edward provide you with full-sized
working cartoons ? "

" Not exactly, though he goes all over the figure
-work. The original studies are not above 15
inches high. The figures are grouped and drawn
from carefully prepared studies : for the rest there
is but little minuteness of detail, and they are only
slightly tinted. That is the form in which they
come into our hands. We have to have them
enlarged by photography, in squares varying in
size and number according to the ''full dimensions
required. The enlarged sections are then fitted
together, and the whole, now of the proper size,
submitted, together with a small coloured study, to
the artist for his revision and approval; and on
these enlargements he does a great deal of work,
especially to the heads and hands. The orna-
mental accessories, the patterns of brocades in the
draperies, the flowers and foliage, are left to us, and
are drawn, for the most part, by Mr. H. Dearie, who
has been associated with me in my work for many
years past. Notwithstanding, a considerable latitude
in the choice and arrangement of tints in shading,
&c, is allowed to the executants themselves, who
are in fact, both by nature and training, artists, not
merely animated machines."

" May I take it, Mr. Morris, that you approve of
the removal of the South Kensington tapestries to
their present position in the large court in place
of the casts from the antique ? "

" Most certainly. I advocated such a reform
years before the appointment of my friend, Dr.
Middleton, to the directorship of the Museum.
That these magnificent tapestries without rival in
this country save for the specimen at St. Mary's
Hall, Coventry, and the collection at Hampton
Court, should have been placed in a passage where
the light was too defective and the space too con-
fined to enable them to be seen properly, was
nothing short of a reproach to the nation."

" I presume you are aware that the change has

met with most determined opposition, and has
been the occasion of much controversy in the
newspapers and elsewhere ? "

" Of course I am. But for what purpose was
the Kensington Museum founded and endowed,
and still maintained at tlie public cost ? "

" For the improvement of our national industries
by the exhibition of representative examples of the
best work in the various branches."

" Exactly ; and you can judge by which means
those conditions are likely to be best fulfilled. I
shall not attempt to bias you by naming which of
the two classes of manufactures I consider it to be
for the greater service of the nation to develop
at the present day, beautiful textiles or classical
gods and goddesses."

Aymer Vallance.

" What is Poetic-paint ? "
This pointed question brought us up
suddenly in the middle of a somewhat heated dis-
cussion on the attitude of the times towards the
poetic in Art.

" I suppose," continued the querist, answering
himself, "it is only after all a poetic subject
sympathetically treated."

I turned my eyes to a little scribble in crayon,
by Millet, hanging above the chimney-piece. " It
is there," I said; " but there is no subject." And
we decided that the matter required further con-

It seems obvious enough that if every painter
who deals with an acknowledged poetic subject and
has sufficient liking for his task is to rank among
the poets of paint, then these are indeed piping
times of plenty and appreciation. The artistic
public, or at any rate the female side of it, are so
terribly well up in their poets ; and if they do not
do the buying themselves, their obedient male be-
longings are only too happy to purchase a picture
and their approval in one transaction. And so the
fashion in favour of the so-called poetic picture is
fairly in swing, and it has come about that to ran-
sack the pages of our writers and elaborately illus-
trate their ideas is an established road to fame
and favour; and Shelley and Keats and Tennyson
(especially Tennyson) have a very bad time of re-
incarnation upon the Academy walls. Our artists
are indeed all poets together !

Of course this is all wrong. The poet, whether
on paper, piano, or in paint, has never been a

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