Studio: international art — 29.1903

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Phil May

etching in colours is essentially a delicate thing.
The artist places on the marble, as on a palette,
a number of carefully-selected oil colours, then he
paints on the plaque as on a canvas, carefully
modelling his figures and his accessories, and
never losing sight of the engraving, which almost
disappears mid the accumulation of colours.
Finally, one begins to print from the plate, using
for that purpose a sheet of paper which has been
well brushed, after having been plunged in water.

Such, briefly, are the phases through which the
engraving in colours passes before attaining the
results to be seen and admired in these pages.
Each impression—is it necessary to repeat it ?—is
a work unique and original, since at each printing
the painter has to reclothe his colour- plate; and
this it is which explains once more the interest
which has been aroused among collectors and
artists by the revival of engraving in colours.

Henri Frantz.

made friends who were able to give him some help
in his struggle for recognition ; and at last, by the
assistance of Mr. Lionel Brough, he obtained a
footing on a paper called " Society," for which he
executed several cartoons and illustrative drawings.
Then followed an engagement on the " St.
Stephen's Review"; and a little later he went to
Australia on the staff of the "Sydney Bulletin "
He did not return to London until 1888, but by
that time he had become famous as one of the
cleverest and most original of modern draughtsmen,
and he found himself in request as a contributor
to many illustrated papers. His work appeared
again in the "St. Stephen's Review," in " Pick me-
up,"the "Pall Mall Budget," the "Graphic "and
"Punch" ; and in 1894 he became a member of
the " Punch" staff. Since then he has worked
almost exclusively for that periodical, and practi-
cally the only drawings which he has not reserved
for it have appeared in independent publications,

There is something peculiarly pathetic
in what may fairly be called the premature death
of Phil May. For fully half his life he was con-
demned to an unceasing struggle with poverty,
and he had to make his way in the face of diffi-
culties which would have crushed a man of less
determination and of less ability. He was born,
in 1864, at Leeds, where his father, an engineer,
had started in business as a brass founder; but
when he was only nine years old his father died
in financial straits, and the boy was left to fight
the battle of life as best he could. He was not
more than twelve when he began to work for
a living; but even then he had decided that the
artistic career was the one which he must adopt.
Of art training, in the ordinary sense, he had
none; he taught himself by constant practice,
by drawing what he could and when he could.
At the age of fourteen he was an assistant scene
painter in the Grand Theatre at Leeds, and was
earning small sums by drawing portraits of the
actors and actresses with whom he was brought
in contact there; and during the next three
years he kept afloat by doing various odd jobs
in connection with several touring companies.

In 1882 he came to London without money
and without prospect of employment; and entered
on a period of two years, during which he was
often perilously near starvation. But slowly his
work began to attract attention. One by one he

ORUEK AND D 15 0 ^ D £ K *


(By iermission of The Leadenhatt Press)
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