Studio: international art — 49.1910

Page: 249
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Reviews and Notices


The Thoughts of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius
Antoninus, translated by George Long. Illus-
trated by W. Russell Flint. (London: The
Medici Society.) Boards jQ2 125. 6d. net., Limp
Vellum, ^s. oci.—Mr. Russell Flint’s technique
as a water-colour illustrator is often singularly happy,
for he has a sense of the decorative values of
colours. Perhaps his work is always more decora-
tive in colour than in form. But there are points
in his colour-schemes which we must take excep-
tion to, in regard to the particular character of the
subject he has in hand. Those touches of pretty
blue ribbon, for instance, in the picture Certain
Islands of the Happy, are too reminiscent of
“the ribbon department” for the austerities of
the text of Marcus Aurelius. We are anxious,
however, not to underrate Mr. Russell Flint’s
success. Design, drawing and colour in each
plate deserve high praise, and the artist does not
lack plenty of imagination. The illustrations are
charming, but that is not quite what they should
be, as the interpretation of these severe reflections.
The make-up of the book, with its plain binding,
fine paper, carefully mounted pictures, and par-
ticularly its clear and pleasant type, is both highly
attractive and suitable.

The Evolution of Italian Sculpture. By Lord
Balcarres. (London : John Murray.) 21s. net.
—Lord Balcarres has written a book of much
interest, and made a painstaking attempt to con-
nect a chain of influences determining the history of
Italian sculpture. Besides the archaeological know-
ledge and appreciation of historical event which
such research implies, there must be a suscepti-
bility to many styles and catholic sympathy with
ideals often opposed to each other. For the
thread which the author seeks is the invisible
quantity which one generation of artists receives,
along with the craftsman’s technical lore, from
another. However such a book was treated it
would be interesting, because the standpoint is
so interesting. Carried out without ponderous-
ness, for all its insight, it becomes a contribution of
permanent value to the literature relating to
Italian sculpture. The theory of evolution, what-
ever its ultimate fate, has been the stimulus to a
fresh order of inquiry in every department of
life, and in the history of the arts there is still
much room for its application. Of course a
measure of pure speculation must modify the
historical aspect of this kind of work, since the
sequence of works, as traced by the tendencies

expressed, must provide gaps which have to be
bridged by dates, and the constant search for the
cause of every effect is an oft-recurring temptation
to guesswork.

Aquatint Engraving : A Chapter in the History
of Book Illustration. By S. T. Prideaux. (Lon-
don : Duckworth & Co.) 15J. net. While line-
engraving and etching, mezzotint and stipple, in
fact, all the other methods of the copper-plate, have
had their historians, till now the delicate process of
aquatint has been treated with scant attention by
the writers on prints. A casual reference, a portion
of a chapter in a general work on engraving—at most
a brief chapter—has had to suffice. Considering,
then, how important a part was played by the
aquatinted plate in the book-illustration of a
century ago and earlier, there was ample room for
a book that should tell us of the technique, the
history, and the artistic use, of this charming
medium, and guide us to the works that exemplify
it. Miss Prideaux’s book admirably fulfils this
purpose. It is a monument of patient industry, and
should prove invaluable to the collector of those
innumerable books in which water-colour, in its
development from the early “stained” or tinted
drawing, was represented by the aquatints—generally
hand-coloured, and rarely printed in more than two
tints—of such notable exponents of the method as
the Havells, the Daniells, the Alkens, Bluck, J. C.
Stadler, F. C. Lewis, Jukes, Fielding and Clark.
Miss Prideaux is so conscientiously generous with
her bibliographical information that it may seem,
perhaps, a little ungracious to wish that she had
not confined herself to aquatint as found in the
books of the period, but had traced it also through
the important and separately-published plates of
naval actions, sporting subjects, scenery and so on.
This would have made the work more comprehen-
sive in its survey of the subject, though it must
perforce have considerably extended the volume,
already of goodly proportions, unless, perhaps, the
author had steeled herself to forego her interesting
dalliance with the history of garden-culture and
other matters not absolutely essential to the study
of aquatint. For in Miss Prideaux’s informing
pages one may digress pleasantly into many curious
byways, while one is learning how Le Prince, St.
Non, Floding and Ploos Van Amstel were, about
the middle of the 18th century, all severally dis-
covering, more or less, the way of aquatint; how
the colour-print developed from the early experi-
ments of Seghers, Teyler and Le Blon to the
charming accomplishment of Janinet, Descourtis
and Debucourt; how Paul Sandby, in 1774,

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