Studio: international art — 8.1896

Page: 28
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The Revival of English Domestic A rchitecture

in the original. Even if a highly elaborate list of fully the reticence of an artist. Clients are not
them accompanied each picture, the bald cata- always capable of judging the effect of a building
logue would not convey the effect of them to the from a drawing, and the less eager they chance to be
average person. Yet the colour of the terra cotta, for economy, the more dangerous will be their in-
the sharpness or otherwise of the stone mouldings, fiuence. That Mr. Ernest George, who seems to
the particular tiles and slates employed for the have almost a monopoly of palaces, has convinced
roof, and a thousand such items, are those which his clients that the higher beauty of a building is un-
make or mar the work. cornered with carving and meretricious adornment,
Mr. Ernest George is one who lays great stress counts peculiarly to his credit. The architect to-
on the importance of these matters. With the day has rarely enough an unfettered hand. Either
instinct of a painter, he realises that beauty is his estimates are pared down, his carefully chosen
a complex quality depending no less upon decoration spoilt by parsimonious clients, or else
practical than upon purely aesthetic factors. He he has to battle against unbridled taste of a sort
also feels that certain substances suit certain that wants all the resources of modern craft lavished
places, and has more than once found a local on a single building. The honour of victory over
material, despised by reason of its cheapness, temptation is usually considered to be based on the
far more happy in its effect than the costly temptation it encountered, and that Mr. Ernest
imported substance which less artistic architects George has been reticent and austere when blank
would have employed. It is this attention to cheques were available, and his clients secretly, or
really vital qualities—proportion, colour, and tex- perhaps openly, pined for florid embellishment, is
ture — which marks the
work of the artist as op-
posed to the mere orna-
mentist. Mr. George
believes in proportion and
the right disposition of the
parts, and reckons details
of ornament as quite sub-
sidiary to these qualities.
So in woodwork ; he pre-
fers to employ moulding
rather than carving, to keep
the details simple, and
never to confuse the effect
of the whole by undue
prominence given to deco-
rative adjuncts. These
things are the common
places of theory, but for
a hundred who accept
their creed on paper,
scarce one has courage to
reduce them to practice.
Not only does ornament
cover up second-rate work ;
but it is so much easier to
make a thing attractive to
the majority of critics by
plenty of applied decora-
tion. The simple beauty of
proportion is not a quality
that arrests the chance
passer-by; indeed only an
artist can ever appreciate " redroofs," streatham Messrs. ernest george and peto, architects
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