Studio: international art — 88.1924

Page: 360
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THE LAY FIGURE : ON DESIGN-
ING TEAPOTS. 000

" Hullo, youngster; what have you
been doing with yourself since we last
met i " cried the Plain Man, slapping the
Young Highbrow on the back. " Are you
still struggling to put the world to
rights S"' 00000

" I wish you would not be so boisterous
and so unpleasantly familiar," snapped
the Young Highbrow, acidly. " I fail to
see that my occupations are any concern of
yours." 00000

" I can assure you that I always take the
most profound interest in your great
thoughts," laughed the Plain Man. "Don't
be fractious; tell us something about
your latest doings." 000

" Well, if you really want to know,"
replied the Young Highbrow a little sus-
piciously, " I have been investigating a
most important subject, the rhythmical
repetition of vortical vibrations. It is a
great discovery which promises to revolu-
tionise the whole theory of pictorial
practice. We are forming a new society to
explain it to the public." 000

" I wish someone would start a society
to teach you boys common sense," ex-
claimed the Old Artist; " and I would
like the president of the society to be an
old sergeant-major who would say plainly
what he thought about you. Why don't
you learn to perform some useful task in
life, and try to find out what the public
really want i" 0 0 0 0

" Because the public do not know what
they want, and so we propose to give them
what they ought to want," sneered the
Young Highbrow. " Our mission is to
act as guides and to point the road to higher
things. That is supremely useful work;
upon our efforts depend all the hopes of
the future." 00000

" But, meanwhile, does it not occur to
you that you are entirely neglecting the
present i " broke in the Critic impatiently.
" You are so possessed by your unpractical
dreams of revolution that you cannot see
the vast field of real reform that lies open
to you. Get down to facts and leave
theories alone." 0000

" Yes, suppose you apply your vortical
vibrations to the evolution of some com-

360

mon object in a decently artistic manner,"
suggested the Old Artist. " See if by the
help of rhythmical repetitions you can
design a teapot or a candlestick which will
be better than the shameless abortions
which are usually put on the market. You
will be doing something then to earn your
keep." 000000

" And you will be supplying something
that the public really want," agreed the
Plain Man. " There is more demand for
teapots than for a new theory of pictorial
practice." 00000

" Do you seriously suggest that I should
waste my energies in designing teapots i "
wailed the Young Highbrow, reduced
almost to tears. 0000

" Great Heavens ! Why not i " de-
manded the Critic. " Which is the greater
achievement—to make a commonplace
thing an object of beauty and to bring art
within the reach of everybody, or to stuff
yourself up with offensive affectations for
the benefit of a few faddists and hum-
bugs i *' 0 0 0 0 0

" But would you bind down a great
artist to such a mean employment i"
asked the Young Highbrow. 0 0

" No one could bind down a great
artist," replied the Critic : " his greatness
would always assert itself. But he would
lose none of his greatness by applying his
art to practical purposes and indeed, there
are many instances in history of masters
engaging in what you foolishly call mean
employment. While you are waiting for
the world to recognise your greatness you
would be much better occupied in follow-
ing their example than in preaching
revolutionary rot, which is the last thing
with which the truly great man would
concern himself." 0000

" You might add that the vast majority
of men who can never achieve greatness
would be more useful members of society
if they turned their art to practical account
than if they went on struggling hopelessly
for things beyond their reach. I have had
my share of this sort of employment and
I am not ashamed of it," said the Old
Artist. 000000

" Shall we follow the fashion and start
a society of teapot designers i " chuckled
the Plain Man. 0000
The Lay Figure.
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