THE LAY FIGURE. Champs-Elysees the English display of Fine Art
makes up for all that? Surely that display is
Seated in the stern of a river steamer calculated to give one a true impression of English
bearing a crowd of Parisians and others painting and sculpture ? Has any one seen it ? "
from the Exhibition to the Pont-Royal is the Lay The Lay Figure bends his head, and maintains
Figure, surrounded by his friends. a sorrowful silence.
As the boat comes alongside the Quai des " I've seen it," says the French Art Critic, "and
Nations, whence rise the "Pavilions Etrangers," it really grieved me. I am very fond of modern
sumptuous, original, grandiose, fantastic, the Bel- English painting, and I hoped to find a complete
gian Painter asks : and characteristic display. I expected to see, side
" But where is the British building ? " by side with the great painters of thirty or forty
" Well," exclaims the German Poet, " no one years ago, the big men of to-day; but, alas ! the
has yet been able to tell me. It must be a real great masters are either not represented at all, or
marvel of modern decorative art . . . ." at best only their second-rate work is exhibited."
"There it is," sighs the Lay Figure, pointing "At any rate," enquires the German Poet, "I
contemptuously to an Elizabethan structure. suppose the young men are there in force, with
" This must be a joke," observes the Belgian strong, characteristic work ? "
Painter. "Not at all," replies the French Art Critic.
The Lay Figure makes a gesture of despair. " The Glasgow School is practically absent; and,
" I can understand his anger and his annoyance, in fact, nearly all those who should be there are
which I share," observes the French Art Critic, wanting."
" Why, you English have a School of Architecture " But who are there, then ? " demanded the
which within the last twenty years has completely Belgian painter.
revived the art of building, and has created a style "There are the Academicians and the Mediocri-
which the whole world admires—and imitates! ties!"
So, to show all and sundry the progress you have "And, you must know," adds the Lay Figure,
made, and have inspired, in decorative art, you are "that there was no 'Jury.' It was all done by
content to reconstruct an old house, which, doubt- invitation."
less, would be well enough amid the proper sur- " But who drew up the list ? How came it that
roundings of its ancient park but is absolutely out so many men of merit were overlooked ? " asks
of place here. It is incomprehensible." the French Art Critic. "How was it? Why?"
" And have you seen the English Applied Art " Don't ask me" responds the Lay Figure
section in the Esplanade des Invalides ? " enquires sadly.
the Belgian Painter of the German Poet. "As to the arrangement of the English Section,"
" Not yet, but I am saving it up as a treat, for I continues the French Art Critic, "it's simply
am sure I shall find there all sorts of lovely things pitiable. But we are just as badly off ourselves.
It must be a marvellous collection." Both the English and the French departments
" My dear man," cries the Lay Figure, " you are have their walls covered with the same horrible
doomed to disappointment. There is nothing and vulgar red hangings."
worth seeing there, or almost nothing. Not one "I've heard it said," observes the Belgian Artist,
of our great decorative draughtsmen is represented ; timidly, " that this is due to the smallness of the
nor any artistic group of modern tendency. You space reserved to Great Britain."
will find none of the lovely jewels, the fine window " Not a bit of it," declared the Lay Figure,
glass, the copper and silver and enamel work you excitedly. " Germany's display is no bigger than
seem to admire so greatly. One representative ours, yet it is disposed in the most tasteful manner
thing there is, and one only—the pavilion erected possible. And even though we haven't much
by the Peninsular and Oriental Company, the room, surely that is the greater reason why we
external decoration of which—delightful friezes in should make an effort to have at least as good a
coloured low-relief—has been done by F. Lynn show as the others."
Jenkins, while the internal ornamentation is by And on the French Art Critic, the German Poet
Gerald Moira. This we have ; and this is all." and the Belgian Painter once more demanding—
"It's not excessive," observes the German Poet, in unison— to know "Why is this?"
"You're quite right," says the Belgian Painter; The Lay Figure raises his hands, and exclaims,
" but I take it that in the Grand Palais des " Heaven only knows !"