Studio: international art — 3.1894

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Sir Frederic Leighton on the Relation of the Arts

he wants, can always stand without the circle of
competition and command his price."

" You were speaking just now of unsaleable de-
signs—are there any special instances ? "

" There are some floral subjects that are never
popular—the fuchsia, for example, is always con-
sidered unsaleable."

" Must this be so, do you think ? "

" I see no reason," said Mr. Silver. " I will set
it for you as a test subject in my studio."

Some weeks after this interview, a batch of designs

based on this flower, treated naturally and con-
ventionally as an "all over" pattern, came in
accordance with Mr. Silver's promise. We repro-
duce them here, not merely as a protest against the
unfair neglect of a graceful flower, but as excellent
examples of varied treatment of one subject.

We are also allowed to illustrate some other
examples of Mr. Silver's works, which have been
already reproduced by various manufacturers. It
need hardly be said that these are strictly copyright
designs which we are permitted to use for this
purpose ; nor'would it be fitting to discuss their
beauty, since it is self-evident without any comment.


I may perhaps ask you to bear with me whilst I
briefly profess my faith on the relationship of the
arts one to another—a subject on which very
divergent opinions are at times expressed, and in
regard to which it seems to me that some little
confusion of thought obtains. This, indeed, none
deny, that the co-operation of the arts has given
to the world many of its choicest masterpieces \
that though the House of the Virgin Goddess at
Athens would have been indeed a supreme work
in its balanced strength and subtlety without the
added majesty of the Phidian sculptures, the colla-
boration of Phidias and Ictinus has enhanced in-
finitely the dignity of this perfect edifice; or that
the purple radiance of the lights of Chartres
Cathedral and the sombre gleam of the mosaics
of St. Mark's of Venice have greatly heightened the
poetry and appeal of those two famous structures.
Neither is it open to challenge that great advantage
must accrue to the followers of each of these arts
from a knowledge of and sympathetic insight into
the nature of the other two, and a living perception
of the fundamental affinities which unite them. On
the other hand, the fruitfulness of solidarity, if I may
use an un-English word, between them has led, I
think, to no little misapprehension as to the true
character of their relationship. In sight of the mag-
nificent results of their union, and of the fact that

the graphic arts have furnished in so many cases the
^ crowning adornment of the builder's work, adorn-
1) ing it as the flower adorns the tree ; noting, fur-
^ ther, the great significance of architecture—and

would that this significance were more constantly
" remembered—as an expression, in its works, of

the temper and spirit of nations and of epochs,

some have assumed that the only fit function of
those arts is to enhance the works of the architect,
and that architecture, therefore, is the generating
master art to which the others are but auxiliary and
subordinate. Gentlemen, I am treading delicate
ground, but even in your midst I must affirm this
assumption, and its corollary, the subordination of
painting and sculpture, to be a shortsighted fallacy,
revealing but a scant apprehension of the character
of that house of many mansions, the house

* The above speech, delivered by Sir Frederic Leighton,
P.R.A., on the occasion of the gold medal of the Royal
Institute of British Architects being conferred upon him,
is, by his permission, here reprinted in full.
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