Studio: international art — 35.1905

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A Caricaturist


with pargetting, the designs representing scroll work
and birds acting as supporters of a shield.

The ceilings were fastened to thick laths made
of oak. This thickness of the laths is a sign of
early work. The plasterers of later times used
thinner laths, as they found that the plaster pressed
between the laths gained a firmer hold. The earlier
artificers used reeds and fibre or rye-straw as a
foundation of their work ; but there are no evi-
dences of these materials in the Reading ceilings.
The abundance of fine cow-hair used in their con-
struction did away with the necessity of such aids.
The tenacity of the cow-hair is certainly remark-
able. In the projected portions of the ceilings
there is a considerable quantity, the hair being
more generously used there than in the other parts.

A friendly architect, who has examined these
works of art, tells me that the heavier ceilings
(page 18) were first floated up in plain plaster,
and then the finishing coat, with all the pro-
jections downward, put on afterwards. The
tenacity of the hair allowed of this being done with
safety, but the first coat was left very rough, in
order to support the second, and the power of the
adherence of the latter must have been very great.
The moulded portions were what architects call
“run,” that is, worked by a trammel, and then the

enrichment stamped in the soft plaster. There are
no indications of an undercut, and the exact simi-
larity of the enrichments shows that they were
stamped from the same die.

The appearance of the ceilings before they were
destroyed was singularly beautiful and effective.
It is fortunate that, by the courtesy of the owners
of the property, we have been enabled to preserve
a large number of the panels, which were very
carefully cut out, and will doubtless serve as useful
models for future work.



Some seven years ago, at an exhibition of
bookplates in London, there was discovered a new
black-and-white artist of power, Joseph Simpson.


The bookplates that thus brought the name of Joseph
Simpson before the critics were, strange to say, the
first attempts of the artist in the province of black-
and-white; and, in spite of a certain hardness of
line and the considerable influence of James Pryde
and his school, they struck an original note and
displayed a rare decorative sense. So far, Joseph
Simpson had sought artistic repute through land-
scape - painting in water - colours ; and that his

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