Studio: international art — 15.1899

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1 cm
Christopher Dresser

many works of the decorative revival, as initiated because the standard set by amateurs awakened
and developed by Morris, there is scarce one so possibilities in a degraded craft notably above the
complete and so important as this. For it is the level of the market, we are tempted to be unjust to
only example of a complete series of arras tapestries work produced under the ordinary conditions of
designed and wrought for a given room, and so professional supply and demand. We do not ask
stands alone and memorable. if the firm of Morris & Co. became before many

years a commercial and, as we believe, a profitable
concern. We are unconcerned whether Mr.

THE WORK OF CHRISTO- Cobden-Sanderson's bindery does or does not yield
FHER DRESSER ^m a Pron^> because we know that these, in

common with other industries, were started for
It is possible that many people, even art's sake, and still maintain the standard first set
those who believe themselves wholly un- up, even if the personal handicraft of the founders
prejudiced in the criticism of current design, are has ceased, or is less frequent. Yet to refuse to
unconscious of an insidious danger. Because much allow that worthy things may not come from a firm
of the finest work of the new revival has come from existing ostensibly as a business enterprise, or from
non-commercial hands, because much of it was a trained artist whose livelihood depends on the
started with little thought or hope of profit, and sale of his designs, is illogical. In fact, the whole

question is one we are apt to
beg, or dismiss with generalities.
Beyond doubt those who have
to earn their daily bread must
sometimes accept commissions
which are not wholly to their
taste. But lookers on who have
the unpopular habit of seeing
both sides of a question do not
find a ready answer to a common
protest from men thus situated
when they ask, "If we try to
make every design that leaves
our hands a little better than the
commercial taste requires, or,
indeed, accepts without demur,
are we not helping on your
crusade ? If the man who makes
two blades of grass grow where
one grew before is the ideal
benefactor of his species, surely
we who replace wholly bad de-
signs by others not wholly bad
are entitled to your sympathy."
It would seem that even the least
of these should be counted for
artistic righteousness ; and when,
as in the case of Christopher
Dresser, we have not the least
but perhaps the greatest of com-
mercial designers imposing his
fantasy and invention upon the
ordinary output of British indus-
try, it would argue blindness or
prejudice to decline to recognise
glass vessels designed by Christopher dresser in him a very loyal friend of the

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