Studio: international art — 17.1899

Seite: 212
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The Lay Figure


“Talking about advertisements,”
resumed the Man with a Clay Pipe,
“ can’t anything be done to stop them ?”
“Mercury!” ejaculated the Journa-
list, “ what is a poor newspaper to live on ? ”

“ Well,” said the Man with a Clay Pipe,
“admitting that it is necessary for a poor news-
paper to live, I should have thought that its daily
facts about fiction and fiction founded on facts
would have given it a sufficient livelihood.”

“ I quite agree,” remarked the Landscape Painter,
“ and the farmers are as bad as the newspaper
people. I suppose it is not really true that they feed
their cattle on offensively named pa'.ent medicines,
or manure their land with a certain type of penny
weekly paper—though the vile notices they put up
on their farms would seem to imply it.”

“The railway stations are even worse,” said the
Man with a Clay Pipe. “ Have you ever noticed
the appalling ingenuity with which the Companies
hide away their own announcements in favour of
those of traders with things to sell, so that even
their station name-boards cannot readily be dis-
tinguished ? ”

“ I do not know anything about farms,” the
Minor Poet lisped, “and I never travel by train if
I can avoid it. But my nights are haunted by
green and red and yellow things on houses. They
glare at you for five seconds at a time and then go
out. And before you’ve had time to rub your eyes
and wish that you’d never been born they do it
again. It is an outrage ! ”

The Lay Figure had been unusually silent. At
last he remarked, “Well, I must confess to a liking
for the poster, although I admit that one has some-
times to pay a heavy price for it.”

“ Exactly,” said the Man with a Clay Pipe;
“ you like the brilliant colour and the clever design.
A good poster should be as concentrated and
pointed as an epigram. And there is as much dif-
ference between such a one and the things we
usually have to endure as between the retort of a
polished wit and the coarse abuse of a Southwark

“No man,” complained the Minor Poet, queru-
lously, “ has a right to try nerves with blobs of bad

“ I certainly think,” said the Lay Figure, “ that
the flash-light advertisement should be put down
by force. Yet it is conceivable that something
decent might be done with light in the way of



“ Stop there,” interjected the New Man. “ You
are only thinking of the decoration. And for the
sake of a good design you would willingly see all
our walls illuminated with visions of purple
powders and desiccated mutton. Cannot you
understand that we humans like to choose our
own food, and prefer not to have tonics thrust
down our throats at every street corner ? ”

“ Why cannot the Lay Figure,” remarked the
Landscape Painter, “lay aside his sophistry, and
say in so many words that people ought to deco-
rate the exteriors of their houses 1 for Art’s sake,’
as the cant of the last generation had it ? ”

“ Heaven forbid ! ” murmured the Man with a
Clay Pipe.

“Why not?” replied the Landscape Painter.
“ Of course you would get some positively fiendish
effects, but atmospheric conditions would soon tone
them down, and the bad colours would run or
fade. Believe me it would be better.”

“ And the advertisers ? ” suggested the Journalist.
“ Are they to be abolished from the face of the
earth ? ”

“They certainly might be taught discretion,”
said the New Man. “At present they tyran-
nise over harmless citizens by sheer force of
capital. I wonder the Labour papers don’t take
the matter up.”

“ That idea is worth consideration,” said the
Lay Figure.

“You see we cannot touch the newspapers,”
said the Landscape Painter, “ we are not obliged
to buy them. But I maintain that no one should
have a prescriptive right to compel me to look at
what I don’t want to see, as far it can be pre-
vented. My sensibilities are not as delicate as
those of our young friend the Poet, but I entirely
agree with him as to the flash-light horrors.”

“ I am trying to understand,” said the Lay
Figure. “ I admit that I am not interested in
cheap garments or thirteenpenny specifics. But
I really am honest in liking the poster. You will
never get rid of advertisements, but you can easily
make them far more grateful to the eye than they
generally are. Mere lettering even can be good;
and the humour of the salesman will always pay
him and please the crowd whether on a hoarding
or in front of a butcher’s shop on Saturday night.
But no flash-light, if you love me. Get a good
artist to try his hand at a transparency if you will,
but spare our eyesight from eternal winks and
our nerves from the ache of quick-changing

The Lay Figure.
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