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Studio: international art — 58.1913

DOI issue:
No. 242 (May 1913)
DOI article:
Reviews and notices
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Reviews and Notices


George Du Manner: The Satirist of the
Victorians. By T. Martin Wood. (London:
Chatto and Windus.) js. 6d. net.—One of the
compensations of the middle-aged person of to-
day must be the remembrance of laughter provoked
week after week, through the seventies and eighties
of last century, by the "Punch" drawings of
George Du Maurier; and it is because Mr.
Martin Wood's book recalls so vividly these pleasant
memories that we give it cordial welcome. In
these bright pages we peep once more into those
Victorian drawing-rooms, and meet our unforget-
table old friends Mrs. Ponsonby de Tomkyns with
her background husband, Sir George and Lady
Midas, the Duchess, Maudle and Postelthwaite
and their " esthetic " followers, Mrs. Lyon Hunter,
the Philistine Grigsby, the Colonel, and the rest, and
we hear again those inimitable scraps of conver-
sation in which, with unfailing satire, the artist
shrewdly epitomised the social fads, crazes, and
snobbisms of the later Victorians. But this is not
merely a book of reproduction and quotation; it
has sound critical value. With true insight Mr.
Wood interprets Du Maurier's mental and social
attitude as expressed in his art, and analyses the
spirit of his pictorial satire, showing its scope and
its limitations. Very happily he contrasts the
" Punch" drawings of Du Maurier, illustrating
types from a restricted aristocratic outlook, with
those of his greater colleague, the incomparable
Charles Keene, whose broader vision gave us
individual personalities of delicious humour. But
although Du Maurier's genius was primarily
expressive in illustration—and in nothing does Mr.
Wood show sounder criticism than in attributing
the exceptionally wide appeal of " Trilby " to its
writer's extraordinary power of illustrating his own
text—the critic very justly recognises that there
was in the famous pictorial satirist a finer artist
than was allowed full expression in the pages of
"Punch," especially in his later period. With
critical appreciation and with reproductions of the
earlier drawings, Mr. Wood helps us to realise the
expressive grace of form, the romantic pictorial
feeling, as well as the artistic predilection for
social elegance, refinement and beauty of type.
This book is an admirable piece of original inter-

The Armourer and his Craft from the Xlth
to the XVIth Century. By Charles Ffoulkes,
B.Litt. Oxon. (London : Methuen and Co.)
£2 2S.—The author's aim in this work has been

to fill up a gap in the subject by collecting all the
records and references, more particularly in English
documents, relating to the actual making of armour
and the regulations which controlled the armourer
and his craft, and the pages of his book bear
witness to the wide range of his researches and
the thoroughness with which he has pursued his
investigations. The craft was, as he well points
out,, one of very vital importance in the middle
ages, when the king himself with his princes and
nobles took a foremost part in the fray, and on his
and their invulnerability great national issues largely
depended. It was to securing that immunity from
the thrust of the enemy's weapons that the master
armourer directed his attention, and the most
perfect suits were indeed triumphs of the skill and
cunning displayed by him and his assistants. It
is interesting to note that in attaining this perfection
of craftsmanship the armourer also achieved an
aesthetic result independently of actual ornamenta-
tion. This is strikingly exemplified by the illustra-
tion of a- remarkably graceful suit made for Sigis-
mund of Tirol by an unknown armourer in 1470;
with this is shown a suit made two centuries later
for Louis XIV which by comparison with the other
is both ungainly and cumbrous. Decoration
proper was resorted to with increasing frequency
from the end of the thirteenth century onwards, and
some beautiful examples are illustrated in the
volume; but when the craft was at its best the
decoration of the plates was, as the author shows,
always rigorously subordinated to their vital function
—that of offering a glancing surface to the weapon
of the antagonist.

Ayrshire Idylls. ByNEiLMuNRO, LL.D. Illus-
trated by George Houston, A.R.S.A., R.S.W.
(London : A. and C. Black.) -js. 6d. net.—The word
idyllic not inaptly describes this addition to Messrs.
Black's series of colour books—at all events so far
as the illustrations are concerned. Mr. Houston's
drawings, of which there are twenty in colour in
addition to the same number of pencil sketches,
make us familiar with many places that will for ever
be intimately associated with the name of Robert
Burns—Afton Water, the Brig o' Doon, and the
"Auld Brig" being amongst them. Dr. Munro's
text also revives these associations as well as the
memory of a prose writer who has given Ayrshire
and its folk an enduring place in literature—James

Owing to pressure on our space this month we
are obliged to hold over various reviews of books
and other matter.—Editor.