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Title: Line and Form (1900)
Author: Crane, Walter, 1845-1915
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Line and Form (1900)" ***

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                                LINE & FORM

                              BY WALTER CRANE


                       LONDON: G. BELL & SONS, LTD.

                    _First published, medium 8vo_, 1900.

            _Reprinted, crown 8vo_, 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914.



                           TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES

In the original of this work, most pages are headed by a topic phrase so
that a topic can be located quickly by riffling the pages of the book.
In this etext, the same topic phrases can be found right-aligned above
the paragraph that begins that topic. Thus a topic can be found by
scrolling the text and scanning the right margin.

The original of this work is copiously illustrated. Although this etext
cannot include the figures, it does include their caption as lines like
the following:

[Illustration (f002): The Origin of Outline]

Here f002 is a numeric label for the figure. Because an etext of this
type does not have page numbers, in references to a figure in the List
of Illustrations and in the Index these figure labels are used
instead of page number. In the body text, references to figures by page
number have been supplemented with the figure labels.

The illustrations f006, f007, f008 and f016 do not have captions in the
original and descriptive captions have been added.

The caret is used to indicate superscripts, for example ED^wd^ indicates
ED followed by a small superscript "wd".

Two minor typographical errors were corrected: "thing" to "think" on
page 10 and "intregal" to "integral" on page 197.


As in the case of "The Bases of Design," to which this is intended to
form a companion volume, the substance of the following chapters on Line
and Form originally formed a series of lectures delivered to the
students of the Manchester Municipal School of Art.

There is no pretension to an exhaustive treatment of a subject it would
be difficult enough to exhaust, and it is dealt with in a way intended
to bear rather upon the practical work of an art school, and to be
suggestive and helpful to those face to face with the current problems
of drawing and design.

These have been approached from a personal point of view, as the results
of conclusions arrived at in the course of a busy working life which has
left but few intervals for the elaboration of theories apart from
practice, and such as they are, these papers are now offered to the
wider circle of students and workers in the arts of design as from one
of themselves.

They were illustrated largely by means of rough sketching in line before
my student audience, as well as by photographs and drawings. The rough
diagrams have been re-drawn, and the other illustrations reproduced, so
that both line and tone blocks are used, uniformity being sacrificed to

                                    WALTER CRANE.
     Kensington, July, 1900.



  Origin and Function of Outline--Silhouette--Definition of Boundaries
  by--Power of Characterization by--Formation of Letters--Methods of
  Drawing in Line--The Progressive Method--The Calligraphic Method--The
  Tentative Method--The Japanese Direct Brush Method--The Oval Method--
  The Rectangular Method--Quality of Line--Linear Expression of
  Movement--Textures--Emotion--Scale of Linear Expression                 1


  The Language of Line--Dialects--Comparison of the Style of Various
  Artists in Line--Scale of Degrees in Line--Picture Writing--Relation
  of Line to Form--Two Paths--The Graphic Purpose--Aspect--The
  Ornamental Purpose--Typical Treatment or Convention--Rhythm--Linear
  Plans in Pattern Designing--Wall-paper Design--Controlling
  Forms--Memory--Evolution in Design--Variety in Unity--
  Counterbalance--Linear Logic--Recurring Line and Form--Principle
  of Radiation--Range and Use of Line                                    23


  Of the Choice and Use of Line--Degree and Emphasis--Influence of the
  Photograph--The Value of Emphasis--The Technical Influence--The
  Artistic Purpose--Influence of Material and Tools--Brushwork--
  Charcoal--Pencil--Pen                                                  51


  Of the Choice of Form--Elementary Forms--Space-filling--Grouping--
  Analogies of Form--Typical Forms of Ornament--Ornamental Units--
  Equivalents in Form--Quantities in Design--Contrast--Value of
  Variations of Similar or Allied Forms--Use of the Human Figure
  and Animal Forms in Ornamental Design                                  73


  Of the Influence of Controlling Lines, Boundaries Spaces, and Plans in
  Designing--Origin of Geometric Decorative Spaces and Panels in
  Architecture--Value of Recurring Line--Tradition--Extension--
  Adaptability--Geometric Structural Plans--Frieze and Field--
  Ceiling Decoration--Co-operative Relation                             108


  Of the Fundamental Essentials of Design: Line, Form, Space--Principles
  of Structural and Ornamental Line in Organic Forms--Form and Mass in
  Foliage--Roofs--The Mediæval City--Organic and Accidental
  Beauty--Composition: Formal and Informal--Power of Linear
  Expression--Relation of Masses and Lines--Principles of Harmonious
  Composition                                                           138


  Of the Relief of Form--Three Methods--Contrast--Light and Shade, and
  Modelling--The Use of Contrast and Planes in Pattern
  Designing--Decorative Relief--Simple Linear Contrast--Relief by Linear
  Shading--Different Emphasis in relieving Form by Shading Lines--Relief
  by means of Light and Shade alone without Outline--Photographic
  Projection--Relief by different Planes and Contrasts of Concave and
  Convex Surfaces in Architectural Mouldings--Modelled Relief--
  Decorative Use of Light and Shade, and different Planes in Modelling
  and Carving--Egyptian System of Relief Sculpture--Greek and Gothic
  Architectural Sculpture, influenced by Structural and Ornamental
  Feeling--Sculptural Tombs, Medals, Coins, Gems--Florentine
  Fifteenth-century Reliefs--Desiderio di Settignano                    165


  Of the Expression of Relief in Line-drawing--Graphic Aim and
  Ornamental Aim--Superficial Appearance and Constructive
  Reality--Accidents and Essentials--Representation and Suggestion of
  Natural Form in Design--The Outward Vision and the Inner Vision       204


  Of the Adaptation of Line and Form in Design, in various materials and
  methods--Mural Decoration--Fresco-work of the Italian Painters--
  Modern Mural Work--Mural Spacing and Pattern Plans--Scale--The
  Skirting--The Dado--Field of the Wall--The Frieze--Panelling--
  Tapestry--Textile Design--Persian Carpets--Effect of Texture on
  Colour--Prints--Wall-paper--Stained Glass                             224


  Of the Expression and Relief of Line and Form by _Colour_--Effect of
  same Colour upon different Grounds--Radiation of Colour--White Outline
  to clear Colours--Quality of Tints relieved upon other Tints--
  Complementaries--Harmony--The Colour Sense--Colour Proportions--
  Importance of Pure Tints--Tones and Planes--The Tone of Time--
  Pattern and Picture--A Pattern not necessarily a Picture, but a
  Picture in principle a Pattern--Chiaroscuro--Examples of Pattern-work
  and Picture-work--Picture-patterns and Pattern-pictures               256

INDEX                                                                   283

                          LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

 The Origin of Outline                                                 f002

 Silhouettes                                                           f003

 Coast and Mountain Lines--Gulf of Nauplia                             f004

 Proportions of Roman Capital Letters and of lower-case               f005a
 German text. From Dürer's "Geometrica"

 The Progressive Method of Drawing in Line                            f006a

 The Calligraphic Method                                              f007a

 The Tentative Method                                                 f007b

 The Oval and Rectangular Methods                                      f008

 Lines of Characterization in the Form and Feature of                  f009
 Flowers: Lily and Poppy

 Silhouette of Beech Leaves and Line Rendering of the same            f010a

 Lines of Movement                                                    f010b

 Effect of Wind upon Trees                                             f011

 Line Arrangement in ribbed Sea-sand                                   f012

 Lines of different Textures, Structures, and Services                 f013

 Lines of Exaltation and Rejoicing in Unison. The Morning              f014
 Stars, after William Blake

 Lines of Grief and Dejection: Designs from Flaxman's Homer            f015

 Landscape                                                             f016

 Scale of various Degrees of Linear Weight and Emphasis                f017

 Curvilinear Scale of Direction                                        f018

 Rectangular Scale of Direction                                        f018

 Picture Writing                                                       f019

 Olive Branch, from Nature                                             f020

 Olive Branch, simplified in Decorative Treatment                      f021

 Study of Horned Poppy                                                 f022

 Adaptation of Horned Poppy in Design: Vertical Panel for              f023

 Question and Answer in Line                                     f024, f025

 Diagram showing the Use of a Geometric Basis in Designing a           f026
 Repeating Pattern

 Use of Controlling Boundaries in Designing Sprays                     f027

 Method of Testing a Repeating Pattern                                 f028

 Sketch to show how a Pattern of Diverse Elements may be               f029
 harmonized by Unity of Inclosing and Intermediary Lines

 The Principle of Counterbalance in different Systems of               f030

 Border Units and Border Motive                                        f031

 Recurring Line and Form in Border Motives                             f032

 Radiating Principle of Line in Natural Form                           f033

 Radiating Lines of the Pectoral Muscles and Ribs                      f034

 Vaulting of Chapter House, Westminster                                f035

 Lines of Characterization of Feathers and Shells                      f036

 Pen Drawing of Fruit                                                  f037

 Effect of different Emphasis in Treatment of the same           f038, f039

 Effect of different Emphasis in the Drawing of Landscape              f040

 Example of Page Treatment to show Ornamental Relation                f041a
 between Text and Pictures

 Suggestion for a Carpet Pattern and Abstract Treatment of            f041b
 the same on Point Paper as detail of Brussels Carpet

 Brush Forms                                                           f042

 Direct Brush Expression of Animal Form                                f043

 Japanese Drawing of a Bird. From "The Hundred Birds of Bari"          f044

 Elementary Geometrical Forms                                         f045a

 Use of the same Forms in Architecture                                f045b

 Poppy-heads                                                           f046

 Apple cut to show Position of Seeds                                   f047

 Cube and Sphere in Architectural Ornament                            f048a

 Filling of Square Space                                              f049a

 Filling of Circular Space                                            f049b

 Inlay Design: Pattern Units and Motives                               f050

 Grouping of Allied Forms: Composition of Curves                      f051a

 Grouping of Allied Forms: Composition of Angles                      f051b

 Still-life Group illustrative of Wood-engraving                       f052

 Japanese Diagonal Pattern                                             f053

 Treatment of Fruit and Leaf Forms: Corresponding Curvature            f054

 Correspondence in General Contour between Leaf and Tree              f055a

 Some Analogies in Form                                               f055b

 Tree of Typical Pattern Forms, Units and Systems                      f056

 Sketches to show Use of Counterbalance, Quantity, and                 f057
 Equivalents in Designing

 Quantities and Counterchange of Border and Field in Carpet            f058

 Sketches to illustrate Value of different Quantities in          f058-f061
 Persian Rugs

 Recurrence and Contrast in Border Motives                             f062

 Use of inclosing Boundaries in Designing Animal Forms in             f063a
 Decorative Pattern

 Decorative Spacing of Figures within Geometric Boundaries            f063b

 Simple Linear Motives and Pattern Bases                               f064

 Use of Intervals in Repeating the same Ornamental Units               f065

 Designs of Floral, Human, and Animal Forms, governed by               f066
 Shape of inclosing Boundary

 The Parthenon: Sketch to show Spaces used for Decorative              f067
 Sculpture in Greek Architecture

 The Tower of the Winds, Athens                                        f068

 Sketch of part of the Arch of Constantine to show spaces for          f069
 Decorative Sculpture in Roman Architecture

 Byzantine (Mosaic) Treatment of Architectural Structural              f070
 Features: Apse, S. Vitale, Ravenna

 Detail of Canopy of Tomb of Gervaise-Alard, Winchelsea                f071

 Walberswick Church: West Door                                         f072

 Miserere in St. David's Cathedral                                     f073

 Recessed Panel from the Tomb of Bishop John Morgan, St.               f074
 David's Cathedral

 Corbel from Bishop Vaughan's Chapel, St. David's Cathedral            f075

 Gothic Tile Pattern, St. David's Cathedral                            f076

 Surface Pattern Motives derived from Lines of Structure              f077a

 Repeating Patterns built upon Square and Circular Bases              f077b

 Plan of a Drop Repeat                                                 f078

 Sketch Designs to show Relation between Frieze and Field in           f079

 Principles of Structural and Ornamental Line in Natural               f080

 Radiating, Recurring and Counterbalancing Lines in the               f081a
 Structure of the Skeleton and the Muscles

 General Principles of Line and Form in the Branching and             f081b
 Foliage Masses of Trees

 Principles of Structure in Foliage Masses                             f082

 Albert Dürer: Detail from "The Prodigal Son"                          f083

 Albert Dürer: St. Anthony                                             f084

 Roof-lines: Rothenburg                                                f085

 St. Margaret Street, Canterbury                                       f086

 Figure Designs controlled by Geometric Boundaries               f087, f088

 Expression of Storm and Calm in Landscape                             f089

 Expression of Repose and Action                                       f090

 Controlling Lines of Movement: Movement in a Procession              f091a

 Lines left by a Watercourse--Lines governing fallen Débris           f091b
 from a Quarry

 Relief of Form, (1) by Outline, (2) by Contrast, (3) by               f092
 Light and Shade

 Relief of Form and Line in Pattern Design by means of                 f093
 Contrast and the Use of Planes

 Treatment of Mantling (14th-16th centuries)                   f094a, f094b

 Brass of Martin de Visch, Bruges, 1452                                f095

 Relief in Pattern Design by means of Simple Linear Contrasts         f096a

 Relief by adding Shading Lines to Outline                            f097a

 Relief by Diagonal Shading                                           f097b

 Different Method and different Emphasis in Relieving Form by          f098
 Shading Lines

 Albert Dürer's Principle in the Treatment of Drapery: From            f099
 the Woodcut in the "Life of the Virgin" Series

 Albert Dürer: Pen-drawing                                             f100

 Filippino Lippi: Study of Drapery                                     f101

 Raphael: Studies of Drapery                                           f102

 Relief by means of Light and Shade alone, in Pen-drawing             f103a
 without Outline

 Relief by means of White Line on a Dark Ground and _vice             f103b

 Relief in Architectural Mouldings                                     f104

 Roman Treatment of Corinthian Order, Forum of Nerva, Rome             f105

 Egyptian Relief Sculpture: Thebes                                     f106

 Greek Relief: Eleusis                                                 f107

 Egyptian Relief: Denderah                                             f107

 Chartres Cathedral: Carving on West Front                             f108

 Chartres Cathedral: Tympanum of Central Door of West Front

 Medals of the Lords of Mantua, Cesena, and Ferrara, by                f110
 Vittore Pisano

 Treatment of Draped Figure in Black on White Ground and              f111a
 _vice versâ_

 Treatment of the same Figure in Light and Shade                      f111b

 The Graphic Principle of the Expression of Form by Light and          f112
 Shade; with and without Outline

 Linear Expression of Features, Feathers and Fur: Notes from           f113

 Sketches to illustrate the Graphic and the Decorative                 f114
 Treatment of Draped Figures

 Decorative Treatment of Birds                                         f115

 Floral Designs upon Typical Inclosing Shapes of Indian and            f116
 Persian Ornament

 Dancing Figure with the Governing Lines of the Movement              f117a

 Lines of Floral Growth and Structure: Lily and Rose                  f117b

 Coast-lines, Gulf of Nauplia                                         f118a

 Lines of Movement in Water, Shallow Stream over Sand                 f118b

 Giotto: Chastity (Lower Church, Assisi)                               f119

 Pinturicchio: Mural Painting (Piccolomini Chapel, Siena)              f120

 Diagram showing the Principal Fundamental Plans or Systems            f121
 of Line governing Mural Spacing and Decorative Distribution

 Diagram to show how the apparent Depth of a Space is                  f122
 increased by the Use of Vertical Lines, and its apparent
 Width by the Use of Horizontal Lines

 Decorative Spacing of the Wall: Sketches (to half-inch                f123
 scale) to show different Treatment and Proportions

 Figure of Laura, from the Burgundian Tapestries: The                  f124
 Triumphs of Petrarch, in the South Kensington Museum

 Pinturicchio: Fresco in the Appartimenti Borgia                       f125

 Portion of Detail of the Holy Carpet of the Mosque of                 f126
 Ardebil: Persian, sixteenth century

 Sketch to illustrate Treatment of Borders in a Persian Rug            f127

 Arras Tapestry: Diagrams to show the Principle of Working             f128
 and Surface Effect

 Contrasting Surfaces in Warp and Weft in Woven Silk Hanging           f129

 Indian printed Cotton Cover: South Kensington Museum                  f130

 Stained Glass Treatment: Inclosure of Form and Colour by              f131
 Lead Lines

 Sketch to show Effect of the same Colour and Form upon                f132
 different Coloured Grounds

 Principle of the Effect of the Blending or Blurring of                f133
 Colours at their Edges

 Use of Black and White Outline to clear the Edges of                  f133
 Coloured Forms upon different Coloured Grounds

 J. Van Eyck: Portrait of J. Arnolfini and his Wife                    f134

 Ver Meer of Delft: Lady at a Spinet                                   f135

 Botticelli: The Nativity                                              f136

 Holbein: The Ambassadors                                              f137

 Botticelli: Madonna and Child                                         f138

 Crivelli: The Annunciation                                            f139

 Perugino: The Virgin in Adoration with St. Michael and St.            f140
 Raphael, and Tobias

 Titian: Bacchus and Ariadne                                           f141

 Madox Brown: Christ Washing St. Peter's Feet                          f142

[Illustration (f002): The Origin of Outline.]

                             OF LINE AND FORM

                                CHAPTER I

    Origin and Function of Outline--Silhouette--Definition of
    Boundaries by--Power of Characterization by--Formation of
    Letters--Methods of Drawing in Line--The Progressive Method--The
    Calligraphic Method--The Tentative Method--The Japanese Direct
    Brush Method--The Oval Method--The Rectangular Method--Quality of
    Line--Linear Expression of Movement--Textures--Emotion--Scale of
    Linear Expression.

Outline, one might say, is the Alpha and Omega of Art. It is the
earliest mode of expression among primitive peoples, as it is with the
individual child, and it has been cultivated for its power of
characterization and expression, and as an ultimate test of
draughtsmanship, by the most accomplished artists of all time.

The old fanciful story of its origin in the work of a lover who traced
in charcoal the boundary of the shadow of the head of his sweetheart as
cast upon the wall by the sun, and thus obtained the first profile
portrait, is probably more true in substance than in fact, but it
certainly illustrates the _function_ of outline as the definition of the
boundaries of form.


As children we probably perceive forms in nature defined as flat shapes
of colour relieved upon other colours, or flat fields of light on dark,
as a white horse is defined upon the green grass of a field, or a black
figure upon a background of snow.

[Illustration (f003a): Silhouette]

[Illustration (f003b): Silhouette]

                                                [Definition of Boundaries]

To define the boundaries of such forms becomes the main object in early
attempts at artistic expression. The attention is caught by the
edges--the shape of the silhouette which remains the paramount means of
distinction of form when details and secondary characteristics are
lost; as the outlines of mountains remain, or are even more clearly
seen, when distance subdues the details of their structure, and evening
mists throw them into flat planes one behind the other, and leave
nothing but the delicate lines of their edges to tell their character.
We feel the beauty and simplicity of such effects in nature. We feel
that the mind, through the eye resting upon these quiet planes and
delicate lines, receives a sense of repose and poetic suggestion which
is lost in the bright noontide, with all its wealth of glittering
detail, sharp cut in light and shade. There is no doubt that this
typical power of outline and the value of simplicity of mass were
perceived by the ancients, notably the Ancient Egyptians and the Greeks,
who both, in their own ways, in their art show a wonderful power of
characterization by means of line and mass, and a delicate sense of the
ornamental value and quality of line.

[Illustration (f004): Coast and Mountain Lines--Gulf of Nauplia]

                                                    [Formation of Letters]

Regarding line--the use of outline from the point of view of its value
as a means of definition of form and fact--its power is really only
limited by the power of draughtsmanship at the command of the artist.
From the archaic potters' primitive figures or the rudimentary attempts
of children at human or animal forms up to the most refined outlines of
a Greek vase-painter, or say the artist of the Dream of Poliphilus, the
difference is one of degree. The tyro with the pen, learning to write,
splotches and scratches, and painfully forms trembling, limping O's and
A's, till with practice and habitude, almost unconsciously, the power to
form firm letters is acquired.

Writing, after all, is but a simpler form of drawing, and we know that
the letters of our alphabet were originally pictures or symbols. The
main difference is that writing stops short with the acquisition of the
purely useful power of forming letters and words, and is seldom pursued
for the sake of its beauty or artistic qualities as formerly; while
drawing continually leads on to new difficulties to be conquered, to new
subtleties of line, and fresh fascinations in the pursuit of distinction
and style.

[Illustration (f005a): Proportions of Roman Capital Letters and Method
of Drawing Them (From Albert Dürer's "Geometrica").]

[Illustration (f005b): Proportions of Lower-Case German Text and Method
of Drawing the Letters (From Albert Dürer's "Geometrica").]

The practice of forming letters with the pen or brush, from good types,
Roman and Gothic, however, would afford very good preliminary practice
to a student of line and form. The hand would acquire directness of
stroke and touch, while the eye would grow accustomed to good lines of
composition and simple constructive forms. The progressive nature of
writing--the gradual building up of the forms of the letters--and the
necessity of dealing with recurring forms and lines, also, would bear
usefully upon after work in actual design. Albert Dürer in his
"Geometrica" gives methods on which to draw the Roman capitals, and also
the black letters, building the former upon the square and its
proportions, the thickness of the down strokes being one-eighth of
square, the thin strokes being one-sixteenth, and the serifs being
turned by circles of one-fourth and one-eighth diameter. The capital O,
it will be noted, is formed of two circles struck diagonally.

                                              [Methods of Drawing in Line]

Letters may be taken as the simplest form of definition by means of
line. They have been reduced through centuries of use from their
primitive hieroglyphic forms to their present arbitrary and fixed types,
though even these fixed types are subject to the variation produced by
changes of taste and fancy.

But when we come to unformulated nature--to the vast world of complex
forms, ever changing their aspect, full of life and movement, trees,
flowers, woods and waters, birds, beasts, fishes, the human form--the
problem how to represent any of these forms, to express and characterize
them by means of so abstract a method as line-drawing, seems at first
difficult enough.

But since the growth of perception, like the power of graphic
representation, is gradual and partial, though progressive, the eye and
the mind are generally first impressed with the salient features and
leading characteristics of natural forms, just as the child's first idea
of a human form is that of a body with four straight limbs, with a
preponderating head. That is the first impression, and it is
unhesitatingly recorded in infantine outline.

The first aim, then, in drawing anything in line is to grasp the general
truths of form, character, and expression.

                                                  [The Progressive Method]

There are various methods of proceeding in getting an outline of any
object or figure. To begin with, the student might begin progressively
defining the form by a series of stages in this way. Take the profile
of a bird, for instance; the form might be gradually built up by the
combination of a series of lines:

[Illustration (f006a): (bird forms)]

or take the simpler form of a flask bottle:

[Illustration (f006b): (bottle forms)]

or a jar on the same principle:

[Illustration (f006c): (jar forms)]

or, simpler still, a leaf form, putting in the stem first with one
stroke (1):

[Illustration (f006d): (leaf forms)]

and building the form around it (2, 3).

                                                 [The Calligraphic Method]

[Illustration (f007a): (calligraphic forms)]

This might be termed the calligraphic method of drawing; and in this
method facility of hand might be further practised by attempting the
definition of forms by continuous strokes, or building it up by as few
strokes as possible. The simpler types of ornament consisting of
meandering and flowing lines can all be produced in this way, i.e., by
continuous line, as well as natural forms treated in a certain abstract
or conventional way, which adapts them to decoration.

                                                   [The Tentative Method]

[Illustration (f007b): (jar forms)]

Another method is to sketch in lightly guide lines for main masses,
building a sort of scaffolding of light lines to assist the eye in
getting the correct outline in its place, using vertical centre lines
for symmetrical forms to get the poise right. This is the method very
generally in use, but I think it very desirable to practise direct
drawing as well, to acquire certainty of eye and facility of hand; and
one must not mind failure at first, as this kind of power and facility
is so much a matter of practice.

[Illustration (f007c): (birdbath sketch)]

                                        [The Japanese Direct Brush Method]

The Japanese, who draw with the brush, have accustomed themselves to
draw in a direct manner without any preliminary sketching, and the charm
of their work is largely owing to that crisp freshness of touch only
possible to their direct method. The great object is to establish a
perfectly intimate correspondence between eye and hand, so that the
latter will record what the former perceives.

Abundant specimens of the freedom and naturalism of the modern school of
Japanese artists in this direct brush method may be found in the work of
Bari, Hiroshigi, and Hokusai, and in the numerous prints and books of
designs from their hands. To all draughtsmen and designers they are most
valuable to study for their direct method and simple means of expression
of form and fact. Accidental as they frequently seem in composition, the
placing of the drawing upon the paper is carefully considered before
starting, and this, of course, is always a very important point.

Yet another method of drawing, more especially in relation to the
drawing of the human figure and animal forms, I may mention as a help to
those who do not feel strong enough for the direct method. At the same
time it must be borne in mind that we can accustom ourselves to _any_
method; and the more dependent we become upon a single method, the less
facility we shall have for working in any other. But for all that it is
desirable to master _one_ method--that is, to be able to draw in line
_freely_ in one way or another--and experience and practice alone will
enable us to find the method most satisfactory.

                                        [The Oval and Rectangular Methods]

[Illustration (f008): (human and horse forms)]

                                                  [The Rectangular Method]

This other method is to block in the principal masses of the forms we
desire to represent by means of a series of ovals, as shown in the
illustration, and when we have got the masses in their proper relations,
to proceed to draw in the careful outline of the figure, or whatever it
may be, upon this substructure of guiding lines, correcting as we go
along. It would be quite possible to work on the same principle, but
upon a structure of more or less rectangular masses. The real use of the
method is to assist the student to get a grasp of the relation of the
masses of a figure and a sense of structure in drawing; whether square
or oval blocking in is used may be a matter of choice. It may be said
for the oval forms that they resemble the contours of the structure in
human and animal forms.

If one had a tendency to round one's forms too much, it would be well to
try the rectangular method to correct this, and _vice versâ_.

After a certain facility has been acquired in rendering form by means of
line, we shall perceive further capacities of expression in its use, and
begin to note how different characteristics of form and natural fact may
be expressed by varying the quality of our outline.

If we are drawing a plant or a flower, for instance, we should endeavour
to show by the quality of our line the difference between the fine
springing curves in the structure of the lily, the solid seed-centre and
stiff radiation of the petals of the daisy, and the delicate silky folds
of the poppy.

                                                         [Quality of Line]

[Illustration (f009): Lines of Characterization in the Form and Feature
of Flowers: Lily and Poppy.]

But, as leaves come before flowers, it would be best to begin with leaf
forms and try to express the character of oak and beech, lime and
chestnut leaves, for instance, by means of outline. Probably at first
we shall feel dissatisfied with our outline as not being full enough: it
may look meagre in quality and small in definition of form. This
probably arises from not allowing enough space--from setting the
outline too much within the boundary of the form. To correct this one
cannot do better than block in the form of the object we are drawing
(leaf, flower, or figure) with a full brush in black silhouette, placing
the object against the light or white paper, so that its true boundary
may be seen uninterfered with by surface markings or shadows, and,
concentrating our attention upon the _edge_, follow it as carefully as
possible with the solid black. Then, if we compare the result with our
outline, it will help to show where it has failed; and the practice of
thus blocking in with the brush in solid silhouette will tend to
encourage a larger style of drawing, since good outline means good
perception of mass; and as a general principle in drawing, it may be
recommended to place one's outline _outside_ the silhouette boundary of
the form rather than within it; that is to say, when the figure or
object is relieved in light against dark, as the line in that case
defines the edge against the background. When the figure or object
appears as dark upon a light ground, however, the outline should be
within the silhouette, obviously, or its delicate boundary is lost.

[Illustration (f010a): Silhouette of Beech Leaves and Line Rendering of
the Same.]

                                           [Linear Expression of Movement]

Another important attribute of line is its power of expressing or
suggesting _movement_. By a law of inseparable association, undulating
lines approaching the horizontal, or leading down to it, are connected
with the sense of repose; whereas broken curves and rectangular lines
always suggest action and unrest, or the resistance to force of some

[Illustration (f010b): Lines of Movement]

The recurrence of a series of lines in the same direction in a kind of
crescendo or wave-like movement suggests continuous pressure of force in
the same direction, as in this series of instantaneous actions of a man
bowling, where the line drawn through or touching the highest points in
each figure takes the line of the curve of a wave. The wave-line,
indeed, may be said not only to suggest movement, but also to describe
its direction and force. It is, in fact, _the line of movement_. The
principle may be seen in a simpler way, as Hogarth points out in his
"Analysis of Beauty," by observing the line described along a wall by
the head of a man walking along the street. Or, as we may see sometimes
near the coast, trees exposed to the constant pressure of the wind
illustrate this recurrence of lines in the same direction governing
their general shape; and as each tree is forced to spread in the
direction away from the wind, the effect is that of their being always
struggling against its pressure even in the calmest weather; and this is
entirely due to our association of wind-movement with this peculiar
linear expression.

[Illustration (f011): Lines Expressive of Movement: Effect of Wind Upon

Flowing water, again, is expressed by certain recurring wave-lines,
which remind us of the ancient linear symbols of the zigzag and meander
used from the earliest times to express water. In the streams that
channel the sands of the sea-shore when the tide recedes we may see
beautiful flowing lines, sometimes crossing like a network, and
sometimes running into a series of shell-like waves; while the sands
themselves are ribbed and channelled and modelled by the recurring
movement of the waves, which leave upon them the impress and the
expression of their motion (much as in a more delicate medium the
air-currents impress the fields of cloud, and give them their
characteristic forms).

[Illustration (f012): Line Arrangement in Ribbed Sea Sand]

                                           [Linear Expression of Textures]

Textures and surfaces, too, fall within the range of linear expression.
One would naturally use lines of totally different consistency and
character to express rough or smooth surfaces: to express the difference
of value, for instance, between the ivory-like smoothness of an egg and
the scaly surface of a pine-cone, entirely different qualities of line
are obviously wanted. The firm-set yet soft feathers of the plumage of a
bird must be rendered by a very different touch from the shining scales
of a fish. The hair and horns of animals, delicate human features,
flowers, the sinuous lines of thin drapery, or the broad massive folds
of heavy robes, all demand from the designer and draughtsman in line
different kinds of suggestive expression, a translation or rendering of
natural fact subordinate to the artistic purpose of his work, and in
relation to the material and purpose for which he works.

                                            [Linear Expression of Emotion]

[Illustration (f013): Lines of Different Textures, Structures, and

Then, again, when we come to the expression of ideas--of thought and
sentiment--we find in line an abstract but direct medium for their
illustration; and this again, too, by means of that law of inseparable
association which connects the idea of praise or aspiration and
ascension, for instance, with long lines inclining towards the severe
vertical, as when we draw a figure with upraised hands; while the
feeling might be increased if led up to or re-echoed by other groups and
objects in the composition, forming a kind of vertical crescendo on the
same principle which we were considering in regard to the expression of
lateral movement. Few things in design are finer or more elevated in
feeling than William Blake's design of the Morning Stars singing
together, in the series of the Book of Job, yet it is little more than
a vertical arrangement of figures with uplifted and intercrossing arms.
The linear plan gives the main impetus to the expressiveness of the
design, and is the basis of the beauty, which culminates in the rapture
of the fresh youthful faces.

[Illustration (f014): Expression of Emotion: Lines of Exaltation and
Rejoicing in Unison. The Morning Stars, After William Blake. (From the
Book of Job.)]

                                              [Scale of Linear Expression]

Bowed and bent lines tending downwards, on the other hand, convey the
opposite ideas of dejection and despair. This is illustrated in these
figures of Flaxman's, who was a great master of style in outline.

[Illustration (f015): Lines of Grief and Dejection. Flaxman: Designs to

                                                        [Capacity of Line]

We seem here to discover a kind of scale of linear expression--the two
extremes at either end: the horizontal and the vertical, with every
degree and modulation between them; the undulating curve giving way to
the springing energetic spiral, the meandering, flowing line sinking to
the horizontal: or the sharp opposition and thrust of rectangular, the
nervous resistance of broken curves, the flame-like, triumphant,
ascending verticals. Truly the designer may find a great range of
expression within the dominion of pure line. Line is, indeed, as I have
before termed it, a language, a most sensitive and vigorous speech of
many dialects; which can adapt itself to all purposes, and is, indeed,
indispensable to all the provinces of design in line. Line may be
regarded simply as a means of record, a method of registering the facts
of nature, of graphically portraying the characteristics of plants and
animals, or the features of humanity: the smooth features of youth, the
rugged lines of age. It is capable of this, and more also, since it can
appeal to our emotions and evoke our passionate and poetic sympathies
with both the life of humanity and wild nature, as in the hands of the
great masters it lifts us to the heavens or bows us down to earth: we
may stand on the sea-shore and see the movement of the falling waves,
the fierce energy of the storm and its rolling armament of clouds,
glittering with the sudden zigzag of the lightning; or we may sink into
the profound calm of a summer day, when the mountains, defined only by
their edges, wrapped in soft planes of mist, seem to recline upon the
level meadows like Titans and dream of the golden age.

[Illustration (f016): (landscape)]

                                CHAPTER II

    The Language of Line--Dialects--Comparison of the Style of
    various Artists in Line--Scale of Degrees in Line--Picture
    Writing--Relation of Line to Form--Two Paths--The Graphic
    Purpose--Aspect--The Ornamental Purpose--Typical Treatment or
    Convention--Rhythm--Linear Plans in Pattern Designing--Wall-paper
    Design--Controlling Forms--Memory--Evolution in Design--Variety
    in Unity--Counterbalance--Linear Logic--Recurring Line and
    Form--Principle of Radiation--Range and Use of Line.

I spoke of Line as a Language, and gave some illustrations of its power
and range of expression, showing that line is capable not only of
recording natural fact and defining character, but also of conveying the
idea of movement and force, of action and repose; and, further, of
appealing to our emotions and thoughts by variations and changes in its
direction, the degree of its emphasis, and other qualities.


Yet every designer and draughtsman uses line in a different way, and of
a different quality, according to his preference, habit, training, or
personality. The endless variations which result I should--to pursue the
analogy of speech further--term _dialects_. We might collect abundant
examples of these from the work of line-designers since the world began,
or compare the methods of any of the popular illustrators of to-day to
find constant variations and individual differences occurring even
among those which might be said, under the influence of a prevailing
mode, to be variations of one type.

Compare a Greek vase-painter's delicate brush line-drawing with the bold
pen-line of Albert Dürer (to get a contrast in historic style). Compare
(to take two masters of different schools, but of the same country) the
line-treatment of Mantegna with the line-treatment of Raphael; or, to
take another jump, compare the line-work of Blake and Flaxman; or, to
take a modern instance, and to come to our own contemporary artists,
compare a drawing by Burne-Jones and one by Phil May.

We might construct a sort of scale of the degrees and qualities of line.

There is, for instance, outline of every degree of boldness or fineness,
from the strong black half-inch outline and upwards used in mosaic-work
and stained-glass leading; the outline of the pattern designer for
block-printing; the outline of the pen draughtsman for process-work or
woodcut; and so on, down to the hair-line of the drypoint etcher.

                                                [Scale of Degrees in Line]

There are the _qualities_ of line in different degrees of firmness,
roughness, raggedness, or smooth and flowing. There are the degrees of
_direction_ of line, curvilinear or angular. On the angular side all
variations from the perpendicular and horizontal, or rectangle, within
which we may find all these degrees, and on the curvilinear side, all
the variations from spiral to circle: so that we might say that the
rectangle was the cradle of all angular variations of line, while the
semicircle was the cradle of all curvilinear variations. (See the
diagrams on p. 26.[f018])

[Illustration (f017): Scale of Various Degrees of Linear Weight and

Every artist, sooner or later, by means of his selective adaptive sense,
finds a method in the use of line to suit his own personality--to suit
his own individual aim in artistic expression--and in course of time it
becomes a characteristic manner, by which his work is instantly known,
like a friend's handwriting.

[Illustration (f018): Curvilinear and Rectangular Scales of Direction.]

Now what determines this choice, this personal selection, over and above
necessities of method and material, it would be difficult to say, unless
we had more minute knowledge of the natural history of a human being
than we are likely to possess. We can only say that from practice are
evolved certain methods or principles, consciously or unconsciously; and
it is only these general methods or principles that can be explained and
tested for the benefit of those essaying to follow the arduous and
difficult path of art.

                                                [Relation of Line to Form]

At the outset we see that we need a means of definition in drawing, just
as a child needs a word to express a thing it wants. _Line_, at the
point of the pencil, pen, or brush, places this possibility of
definition within our reach; but before we can grasp it we need some
knowledge, however rudimentary, of its inseparable companion, _Form_.

I recall two innocent and entertaining methods from the traditions of
the nursery, which appeal at once in a curious way to both the oral and
graphic senses, and unite story and picture in one. These are
illustrated on p. 28.[f019] By such devices a child learns to associate
line and form, unconsciously and step by step defining form in the use
of, or pursuit of, line.

[Illustration (f019): Modern Picture-writing According to Nursery

It would be very entertaining and agreeable if we could carry the
principle further, and get a passable study from the antique, for
instance, by a similar process. In line-drawing we may, however, always
tell some story or fact, or character, phase, or idea.

                                                     [The Graphic Purpose]

But supposing we have mounted our steed _Form_, and taken our bridle
_Line_ in hand, and have started riding at large in the vast domain of
nature, with the primary object of finding and hunting down truth at
last; we soon perceive that there are so many truths, or rather that
truth, even of natural fact, has so many sides, that it is difficult to
make up our mind which one to pursue. Thought, however, will soon
discover that in this pursuit of truth we strike a road that naturally
divides itself, or branches out, into two main paths distinct in aim.
These two paths in art have been called by many names; they occasionally
cross each other, or overlap, and are sometimes blended, or even
confused; but it will be useful for our present purpose to keep them
very distinct. I will term them, for convenience:

    1. The Graphic Purpose. (Accidental form.)
    2. The Ornamental Purpose. (Typical form.)

Our use of line will largely depend upon which of these two it is our
object to pursue. Now when we look at anything with intent to draw--say
a leafy bough as it grows in the sunshine--we see great complexity of
form and surface-lighting. The leaves, perhaps, take all manner of
variations of the typical form, and are set at all sorts of angles. In
making a rapid sketch with the object of getting the appearance of the
bough, we naturally dwell upon these accidents and superficial facts. At
the same time, with nothing but line to express them, we are compelled
to use a kind of convention, though our aim be purely naturalistic, to
get a faithful portrait of the bough.

We must make our line as _descriptive_ as possible, defining the main
forms boldly, and blocking in broadly the main masses of form and light
and shade. We are now aiming at the general look of the thing. We are
striving to grasp the facts of _Aspect_. We are concerned with the
purely graphic purpose, to make a picture upon paper.

[Illustration (f020): Olive Branch From Nature]

We cannot, however, even under these simple conditions, altogether
leave out of account considerations which, strictly speaking, must be
termed "decorative." For instance, there is the question of placing the
study well upon the paper, a very important point to start with; and
then the question of beauty must arise, not only in the selection of our
point of view, but in the choice of method, in the treatment of line we
adopt; and it does not follow that the most apparently forcible way of
getting bold projection by means of black shadows, at the cost of the
more delicate characteristics of our subject, is the best. On the
contrary, the finest draughtsmanship is always the most subtle and
delicate, and one cannot get subtle and delicate draughtsmanship without
faithful study and careful constant practice--_knowledge of form_, in
short--and I am afraid there is no short cut to it.

                                                  [The Ornamental Purpose]

[Illustration (f021): Olive Branch Simplified in Decorative Treatment]

Now supposing we make our study of leaves, not as an end in itself, and
for its simple pictorial values or qualities only, but with an
ornamental or decorative purpose in view, intending to make use of its
form and character in some more or less systematic design or
pattern-work--adapted to special methods and materials--intended to
decorate a wall-surface or a textile, for instance; we might certainly
start with a general sketch of its appearance as before, but we should
find that we should want to understand it in its detail; the law of its
growth and construction; we should want to dwell upon its typical
character and form, the controlling lines of its masses, rather than on
its accidental aspects, because it would really be only with these that
we could successfully deal in adapting anything in nature to the
conditions and limitations of a design. To do this requires as much art
as to make a clever graphic sketch, perhaps more; but it is certainly
not so easily understood and appreciated, as a rule. Pattern-work is
taken so much for granted, except by those technically interested,
whereas a graphic sketch may bring the drama of nature, and of human
character and incident, before our eyes. It does not require us to stop
and think out the less obvious meaning, or trace the invention or grace
of line, to appreciate the rhythmic, silent music which the more
formalized and abstract decorative design may contain, _quite apart from
the forms it actually represents_.

[Illustration (f022): Study of Horned Poppy]

[Illustration (f023): Adaptation of the Horned Poppy in Design: Vertical
Panel For Needlework.]

                                             [Question and Answer in Line]

Here we discover another function of line. For, directly we endeavour to
construct a decorative design--that is, a design intended to adorn or to
express an object or surface--we find that we must build it upon some
sort of a plan, or geometric controlling network or scaffolding, so as
to give it unity, rhythm, and coherence--especially so in the case of
repeating designs. Even in an isolated panel or picture the necessity of
this linear basis will be felt, since one cannot draw a line or define a
form without demanding an answer--that is, a corresponding, re-echoing
line or mass.

[Illustration (f024): Curves 1.Q and 2.A]

The curve (1. Q) is a proposition or question. It is answered or
balanced by the corresponding curve (2. A), and forms the basis for a
scroll design.

[Illustration (f025): Curves 1 and 2]

The five radiating lines (1) are obviously incomplete by themselves, but
if we add another four, in reverse order, (2) we get a centred and
symmetric motive of an anthemion character.

                                                       [Wall-Paper Design]

Take, however, a wall-paper. The problem is to construct a design
pleasant to the eye in line, form, colour, and suggestion; which will be
interesting in detail, and yet repeat upon a wall-surface without flaw,
and without becoming wearisome. Moreover, one which will lend itself to
being cut upon wood, if for block-printing, and which may be reproduced
with a due regard to economy of means. The designer may have a square of
twenty-one inches in which to make his design.

[Illustration (f026): Diagram Showing the Use of a Geometric Basis in
Designing Repeating Pattern.]

A useful way to begin with is to rule out a sheet of paper into squares,
say on the scale of 1-1/2 inch to the foot, and upon this jot down your
first ideas of linear arrangement and colour motive, and get the
general effect, and test the plan of repeats. When you are satisfied
with one, enlarge it to full size, correct and amplify it, and improve
it in form and detail. Changes will probably be found necessary in
drawing it upon the larger scale, sometimes additions, sometimes
omissions. Now in sketching out the general plan, one builds, as before
said, upon some basis or plan, however simple, since one cannot put a
simple spot, sprig, or spray upon paper intending to repeat, without
some system of connection to put them into relation.

                                                       [Controlling Forms]

In designing one's sprig, too, the best plan to secure good decorative
effect is to see that its general form is inclosed or bounded by an
agreeable linear shape, although itself not actually visible. Simple
leaf and flower forms are generally the best to use for these
controlling boundaries. Sprays designed on this principle may be relied
upon for repeating pleasantly and safely when they are placed upon, and
connected by, the controlling geometric plan. A good practical test of
the truth and completeness of your square repeat is, when the design is
done, or even in progress, to cut it into four equal parts (supposing it
to be a twenty-one inch square). This will enable you to get the joints
true, and also, by altering the position of the squares, to give you a
very good idea of the effect of the repeat full size. (See the diagrams
on p. 41.[f028])

These things must be considered, of course, merely as practical aids to
invention: not by any means as substitutes for it. One cannot give any
recipe for designing, and no rules, principles, or methods can supply
the place of imagination and fancy. "He who would bring back health from
the Indies," says an old proverb, "must take it out with him."

At the same time the imagination can be enfeebled by starvation and
neglect. It can be depressed by dull and sordid surroundings. It is apt
to grow, like other living things, by what it feeds on, and is stronger
for exercise and development.

[Illustration (f027): Use of Controlling Boundaries in Designing


Memory, too, is an important and serviceable thing in designing, and
this, again, can be cultivated to an almost unlimited extent. I mean
that selective kind of memory which, by constant and close observation,
extracts and stores up the essential serviceable kind of facts for the
designer: facts of form, of structure, of movement of figures,
expressive lines, momentary or transitory effects of colour--all those
rare and precious visual moments which will not wait, and which happen
unexpectedly. They should be captured like rare butterflies and
carefully stored in the mind's museum of suggestions, as well as, as far
as is possible, pinned down in the hieroglyphics of the note-book.

                                                     [Evolution in Design]

As regards procedure in working out a design, one generally thinks of
some leading feature, some central mass or form or curve--of a figure or
a flower, say--and one thinks of its capacity in repeat; and, since one
form or line should inevitably suggest or necessitate--as by a kind of
logic--another, one adds other forms until the design is complete. For
it must never be forgotten that design is a growth which has its own
stages of evolution in the mind, answering to the evolution of the
living forms of nature--first the blade, then the ear, after that the
full corn in the ear.

Experience teaches us that the most harmonious arrangements of form and
line are those in which the leading lines and forms through all sorts of
variations, continually recur. We cannot place a number of sharply
contrasting and contradictory forms together in design satisfactorily--
at least we cannot do so without recourse to other elements to harmonize
and to bring them into relation. For instance, we might get a great deal
of ornamental variety by means of a number of heraldic devices upon
shields, full in themselves of quaintness and contrasts, but brought
into harmony by the boundary lines of the shields and the divisions; or,
still further, by throwing them upon a background of leaves and stems,
the meandering lines and recurring forms of which would answer as a kind
of warp upon which to weave the heraldic spots into a connected and
harmonious pattern.

[Illustration (f028): Method of Testing a Repeating Pattern.]

                                                        [Variety in Unity]

But even in the ornamental treatment of diverse forms, as the mediæval
heraldic designers were well aware, they can be brought into
decorative harmony by following a similar principle to the one already
laid down in regard to the designing of sprigs and sprays: that is to
say, that in designing an animal or figure for heraldry or introduction
into a pattern, one should arrange it so that it should fall within the
boundary of some geometric or foliated form, square, circular,
elliptical or otherwise, as might be desirable. To this, however, I
hope to return in a future chapter.

[Illustration (f029): Sketch to Show How a Pattern of Diverse Elements
May Be Harmonized by Unity of Inclosing and Intermediary Lines.]


We may here consider another important principle in designing with line
and mass, that of _counterbalance_.

[Illustration (f030): The Principle of Counterbalance in Different
Systems of Design.]

Take any defined space as a panel, tile, or border to be filled with
design: you place your principal mass, and instantly feel that it must
be balanced by a corresponding mass, or some equivalent. Its place will
be determined by the principle upon which the design is built. If on a
symmetrical arrangement, you find your centre (say of a panel), and you
may either throw the chief weight and mass of the design upon the
central feature (as a tree), and balance it by smaller forms or wings
each side, or _vice versâ_; or, adopting a diagonal plan, you place your
principal mass (say it is a tile) near the top left-hand corner (suppose
it is a pomegranate), connecting it with a spiral diagonal line (the
stem); the place of the counterbalancing mass (the second pomegranate)
is obviously near the bottom right-hand corner of the square. You may
then feel the necessity for additional smaller forms, and so add to it
(the leaves), completing the design. (See preceding page.)

                                                            [Linear Logic]

On the same principle one may design upon various other plans. The exact
choice of the distribution of the counterbalancing masses must always be
a matter of personal feeling, judgment, and taste, controlled by the
perception of certain logical necessities: as it seems to me that
designing is a species of linear reasoning,* and might almost be
worked in its elementary stages on the principle of the syllogism,
consisting of two propositions and a conclusion. A spiral curve is a
harmonious line, says the designer: repeat it, reversed, and you
prolong the harmony; repeat it again, with variations, and you complete
the harmony. Or, harmonious effect is produced by recurring form and
line. Here is a circular form; here is a meandering line: combine and
repeat them, and you get a logical and harmonious border motive.

  [*] I recall here a saying of Sir E. Burne-Jones, that "a bad
      line can only be answered by a good line."

[Illustration (f031): Border Units and Border Motive.]

                                                 [Recurring Line and Form]

The everlastingly recurring egg and dart moulding and the volute are
instances of the harmonious effect of very simple arrangements of
recurring line and form. We also get illustrated in these another linear
quality in design--that up-and-down movement which gives a pleasant
rhythm to the simplest border, and is of especial consequence in all
repeating border and frieze designs. The borders of early, ancient, and
classical art might be said to be little besides rhythmical and logical
arrangements of line. The same rhythmical principle is found in the
designs of the classical frieze in all its varieties, culminating in the
rhythmic movement of the great Pan-Athenaic procession in that
master-frieze of the Parthenon, which, though full of infinite variety
and delicate sculptured detail, is yet controlled by a strictly
ornamental motive, and constructed upon the rhythmic recurrence of pure

[Illustration (f032): Recurring Line and Form in Border Motives.]

                                              [The Principle of Radiation]

Another great linear principle in design is what is known as the
_radiating_ principle, which gives vitality and vigour alike to both
arrangements of line and delineations of form. It is emphatically and
abundantly illustrated in natural forms, from the scallop shell upon the
sea-shore to the sun himself that radiates his light upon it. The
palm-leaf in all its graceful varieties demonstrates its beauty, its
constructive strength combined with extraordinary lightness, which
becomes domesticated in that fragile sceptre of social influence and
festivity, the fan, and which again spreads its silken, or gossamer,
wing as a suggestive field for the designer. We find the principle
springing to life again in the fountain jet, and symbolical of life as
it has ever been; by means of the same principle applied to construction
the Gothic architects raised their beautiful vaults, and emphasized the
structural principle and the beauty of recurring line by moulding the
edges of their ribs; while we have but to look at the structure of the
human frame to find the same principle there also, in the fibres of the
muscles, for instance, the radiation of the ribs, and of the fingers and

[Illustration (f033): Radiating Principle of Line in Natural Form.]

In truth, as I have said, if there can be said to be one principle more
than another, the perception and expression of which gives to an
artist's work in design peculiar vitality, it is this principle of
radiating line. One may follow it through all stages and forms of
drawing and design, and it is equally important in the design of the
figure, in the structure of a flower, in the folds of drapery, and alike
in the controlling lines of pictorial composition and decorative plan,
whether the lines radiate from seen or from hidden centres, which in all
kinds of informal design are perhaps the most important.

[Illustration (f034): Radiating Lines of the Pectoral Muscles & Ribs]

                                                   [Range and Use of Line]

We see, therefore, that line possesses a constructive and controlling
function, in addition to its power of graphic expression and decorative
definition. It is the beginning and the end of art. By means of its
help we guide our first tottering steps in the wide world of design;
and, as we gain facility of hand and travel further afield, we discover
that we have a key to unlock the wonders of art and nature, a method of
conjuring up all forms at will: a sensitive language capable of
recording and revealing impressions and beauties of form and structure
hidden from the careless eye: a delicate instrument which may catch and
perpetuate in imperishable notation unheard harmonies: a staff to lean
upon through the journey of life: a candid friend who never deceives us:
perchance a divining rod, which may ultimately reveal to us that Beauty
and Truth are one--as they certainly are, or ought to be, in the world
of art.

[Illustration (f035): Radiating Line in Architectural Construction:
Vaulting of Chapter House, Westminster.]

                               CHAPTER III

    Of the Choice and Use of Line--Degree and Emphasis--Influence of
    the Photograph--The Value of Emphasis--The Technical
    Influence--The Artistic Purpose--Influence of Material and

Recognizing the great range and capacity of line as a means of
expression, and also the range of choice it presents to the designer and
draughtsman, the actual exercise of this choice of line, with a view to
the most expressive and effective use in practice, becomes, of course,
of the first consequence.

In this matter of choice we are helped by natural bias, by personal
character and preferences, for which it would, as I have said, be
difficult fully to account; but beyond this a kind of evolution goes on,
arising out of actual practice, which controls and is controlled by it.
Draw simply a succession of strokes with any point upon paper, and we
find that we are gradually led to repeat a particular kind of stroke, a
particular degree of line, partly perhaps because it seems to be
produced with more ease, and partly because it appears to have the
pleasantest effect.

                                                          [Choice of Line]

By a kind of "natural selection," therefore, influenced no doubt by many
small secondary causes, such as the relation of the particular angle of
the hand and pencil-point to the surface--the nature of the point
itself and the nature of the surface--we finally arrive at a choice of
line. This choice, again, will be liable to constant variation, owing
to the nature of the object we are about to draw, or the kind of design
we want to make.

                                                             [Use of Line]

The kind of line which seems appropriate to representing the delicate
edges of a piece of low-relief sculpture, for instance, would require
greater force and firmness if we wanted to draw an antique cast in the
round, and in strong light and shade. The character of our line should
be sympathetic with the character of our subject as far as possible, and
sensitive to its differences of character and surface, since it is in
this sensitiveness that the expressive power and peculiar virtue of
line-drawing consists.

[Illustration (f036): Lines of Characterization.]

A feather, a lily, a scallop shell, all show as an essential principle
of their form and construction the radiating line; but what a different
quality of line would be necessary to express the differences of each:
for the soft, yet firm, smooth flowing curves of the feather fibres no
line would be too delicate; and the lily would demand no less delicacy,
and even greater precision and firmness of curve, while a slight
waviness, or quiver, in the lines might express the silken or waxy
surface of the petals; while a crustier, more rugged, though equally
firm line would be wanted to follow the rigid furrows and serrated
surface of the shell. The leaves of trees and plants of all kinds, which
perhaps afford the best sort of practice in line-drawing at first,
present in their varieties of structure, character, and surfaces
continual opportunities for the exercise of artistic judgment in the
choice and use of line.

The forms and surfaces of fruits, again, are excellent tests of line
draughtsmanship, and their study is a good preparation for the more
subtle and delicate contours of the human form--the greatest test of
all. Here we see firmness of fundamental structure (in the bones) and
surface curve (of sinew and muscle), with a mobile and constantly
changing surface (of flesh and sensitive skin). To render such
characteristics without tending to overdo either the firmness or the
mobility, and so to become too rigid on the one hand, or too loose and
indefinite on the other, requires extraordinary skill, knowledge, and
practice in the use of line. I do not suppose the greatest master ever
satisfied himself yet in this direction.

[Illustration (f037): Pen Drawing of Fruit.]

                                                     [Degree and Emphasis]

When we have settled upon our quality of line and its _degree_--thick or
thin, bold or fine--we shall be met with the question of _emphasis_, for
upon this the ultimate effect and expression of our drawing or design
must largely depend. In the selection of any subject we should naturally
be influenced by the attractiveness of particular parts, characters, or
qualities it might possess, and we should direct our efforts towards
bringing these out, as the things which impress us most. That is the
difference between the mind and hand working together harmoniously and
the sensitized plate in the photographic camera, which, uncontrolled in
any way by human choice (and even under that control as it always is to
some extent), mechanically registers the action of the light rays which
define the impress of natural forms and scenes through the lens focussed
upon the plate. So that, as we often see in a photograph, some
unimportant or insignificant detail is reproduced with as much
distinctness (or more) as are the leading figures or whatever form the
interesting features or the motive of the subject. The picture suffers
from want of emphasis, or from emphasis in the wrong place. It is, of
course, here that the art of the photographer comes in; and, although he
can by careful selection, arrangement, and the regulation of exposure,
largely counteract the mechanical tendency, a photograph by its very
nature can never take the place of a work of art--the first-hand
expression, more or less abstract, of a human mind, or the creative
inner vision recorded by a human hand.

                                             [Influence of the Photograph]

Photography does wonders, and for certain qualities of light and shade,
and form and effect without colour, no painting or drawing can approach
it; but it has the value and interest of science rather than of art. It
is invaluable to the student of natural fact, surface effect, and
momentary action, and is often in its very failures most interesting and
suggestive to artists--who indeed have not been slow to avail themselves
of the help of photography in all sorts of ways. Indeed the wonder is,
considering its services to art in all directions, how the world could
ever have done without it.

But a photograph cannot do everything. It cannot make original designs,
and it cannot draw in line. You can design in the solid, and make your
groups in the studio or the open air; you can select your point of view,
and the photograph will reproduce. You can make your drawing in line,
and it will copy it; and we know its sphere of usefulness in this
direction is enormous, since it can bring before our eyes the whole
range of ancient art.

In short, photography is an excellent servant and friend, but a
dangerous master. It may easily beguile us by its seductive
reproductions of surface relief and lighting to think more of these
qualities than any other, and to endeavour to put them in the wrong
places--in places where we want colour planes rather than shadow planes,
flatness and repose rather than relief, for instance, as mostly in
surface decoration.

But one way of learning the value of emphasis is to draw from a
photograph, and it will soon be discovered what a difference in
expression is produced by dwelling a little more here, or a little less

                                                   [The Value of Emphasis]

In designing, the use of emphasis is very important; and it may be said
that drawing or designing without emphasis is like reading without
stops, while awkward emphasis is like putting your stops in the wrong

By a difference in emphasis the same design may be given quite a
different effect and expression.

[Illustration (f038): Effect of Different Emphasis in the Treatment of
the Same Design.]

Suppose, for instance, we were designing a vertical pattern of stem,
leaves, and fruit in one colour. By throwing the emphasis upon the
leaves, as in No. 1, we should gain one kind of effect or decorative
expression. By throwing the emphasis upon the fruit, and leaving the
leaves in outline, we should get quite a different effect out of the
same elements, as in No. 2. While by leaving stem, leaves, and fruit all
in outline, and throwing the emphasis upon the ground, we should get,
again, a totally distinct kind of effect and expression.

Similar differences of effect and expression, owing to differences of
emphasis, might be studied in the drawing and treatment of a head (as in
A, B, and C). The possibilities of such variations of emphasis in
drawing are practically unlimited and co-extensive with the variations
of expression we see in nature herself. The pictorial artist is free to
translate or represent them in his work, controlled solely by the
conditions and purpose of his work.

[Illustration (f039): Different Emphasis in the Treatment of a Head
[examples A, B, C].]

It is these conditions and purposes which really control both choice and
treatment, and determine the emphasis, and therefore the expression of
the work.

No kind of art can be said to be unconditioned, and the simplest and
freest of all, _the art of the point and the surface_, which covers all
the graphic art and flat designing, is still subject to certain
technical influences, and it may be said that it is very much in so far
as these technical influences or conditions are acknowledged and
utilized that the work gains in artistic character.

                                                  [The Technical Influence]

The draughtsman in line who draws for surface printing, for the book or
newspaper, should be able to stand the test of the peculiar conditions;
and, so far from attempting to escape them, and seeking something more
than they will bear, should welcome them as incentives to a distinct
artistic treatment with a value and character of its own, which indeed
all the best work has. It is, for instance, important in all design
associated with type for surface printing, that there should be a
certain harmonious relation between lettering or type and printer's
ornament or picture.

[Illustration (f040): Sketches to Illustrate Effect of Different
Emphasis in the Treatment of the Same Elements in Landscape.]

[Illustration (f041a): Example of Page Treatment to Show Ornamental
Relation Between Text and Pictures.]

[Illustration (f041b): I. Textile Motive: Suggestion for a Carpet

[Illustration (f041c): II. An Abstract Treatment of the Same on Point
Paper, as Detail of Brussels Carpet.]

A firm and open quality of line, with bright black and white effects,
not only has the most attractive decorative effect with type, but lends
itself to the processes of reproduction for surface printing best,
whether woodcut or one of the numerous forms of so-called automatic
photo-engraving, as well as to the conditions of the printing press.

In all design-work which has to be subjected to processes of engraving
and printing, clearness and definiteness of line is very necessary.
Designs for textile printing of all kinds, for wall-papers, especially,
require good firm drawing and definite colour planes. This does not,
however, mean hardness of effect. A design should be clear and
intelligible without being hard.

For weaving, again, definiteness in pattern designing is very necessary,
since the design must be capable of being rendered upon the severe
conditions of the point paper, by which it is only possible to produce
curves by small successive angles (which sounds like a contradiction in
terms). The size of these angles or points, of course, varies very much
in the different kinds of textile with which pattern is incorporated,
from the fine silk fabric, in which they are almost inappreciable, to
carpets of all kinds, where they are emphatic; so that a certain
squareness of mass becomes a desirable and characteristic feature in
designs for these purposes, and, indeed, I think it should be more or
less acknowledged in all textile design, in order to preserve its
distinctive beauty and character.

                                                    [The Artistic Purpose]

_Beauty and character._--In these lies the gist of all design. While the
technical conditions, if fully understood, fairly met, and frankly
acknowledged, are sure to give _character_ to a design, for whatever
purpose, _beauty_ is not so easy to command. It is so delicate a
quality, so complex in its elements, a question often of such nice
balance and judgment--depending perhaps upon a hair's-breadth difference
in the poise of a mass here, or the sweep of a curve there--that we
cannot weave technical nets fine enough to catch so sensitive a
butterfly. She is indeed a Psyche in art, both seeking and sought, to be
finally won only by devotion and love.

This search for beauty--this Psyche of art--is the purely inspiring
artistic purpose, as distinct from the technical and useful one, which
should, perfectly reconciled and united with it, determine the form of
our work.

In drawing or design we may seek particular qualities in line and form
either of representation or of ornament. We may desire to dwell upon
particular beauties either of object or subject. Say, in drawing from a
cast or from natural form of any kind, we desire to dwell upon beauty of
line or quality of surface. Well, since it is most difficult, if not
impossible, to get everything at once, and nothing without some kind of
sacrifice, we shall find that to give prominence to--to bring out--the
particular quality in our subject (say beauty of line), it becomes
necessary to subordinate other qualities to this. A drawing in pure
outline of a figure may be a perfect thing in itself. The moment we
begin to superadd shading, or lines expressive of relief of any kind, we
introduce another element; we are aiming at another kind of truth or
beauty; and unless we have also a distinctly ideal aim in this, we shall
mar the simplicity of the outline without gaining any compensating
advantage, or really adding to the truth or beauty of the drawing.

In designing, too, unless we can so contrive the essential
characteristics of our pattern that they shall be adaptable to the
method and material of its production, and make its reproduction quite
practicable, it is sure to reappear more or less marred and incomplete.
The thing is to discover what kind of character and beauty the method
will allow of--whether beauty or quality of line, or surface, or colour,
or material; and if to be reproduced in a particular method or material,
the design should be thought out in the method or material for which it
is destined, rather than as a drawing on paper, and worked out
accordingly, using every opportunity to secure the particular kind of
beauty naturally belonging to such work in its completed form.

Thus we should naturally think of _planes of surface_ in modelled work,
and the delicate play of light and shade, getting our equivalent for
colour in the design and contrast of varied surfaces. In stained glass
we should think of a pattern in lead lines inclosing one of translucent
colour, each being interdependent and united to form a harmonious whole.
In textile design we should be influenced by the thought of the
difference of use, plan, and purpose of the finished material; as the
difference between a rich vertical pattern in silk, velvet, or tapestry,
to be broken by folds as in curtains or hangings, and a rich carpet
pattern, to be spread upon the unbroken level surface of a floor. The
idea of the wall and floor should here influence us as well as the
actual technical necessities of the loom. It would be part of the
artistic purpose affecting the imagination and artistic motive, and
working with the strictly technical conditions.

The mind must project itself, and see with the inner eye the effect of
the design as it would appear in actual use, as far as possible.
Invention, knowledge, and experience will do the rest.


Keeping, however, to strictly pictorial or graphic conditions--to the
art of the point and the surface--with which, as designers and
draughtsmen, we are more immediately concerned, we cannot forget certain
technical considerations strictly belonging to the varieties of point
and of surface, and their relations one to another. The flexible point
of the brush, for instance, dipped in ink, or colour, has its own
peculiar capacity, its own range of treatment, one might say, its own

The management admits of immense variation of use and touch, and its
range of depicting and ornamental power are very great: from the simpler
leaf forms, which seem to be almost a reflection or shadow of the moist
pointed brush itself, to the elaborate graphic drawing in line or light
and shade.

[Illustration (f042): Brush Forms.]

In forming the leaf shape one begins with a light pressure, if at the
point, and proceeds to increase it for the middle and broader end. On
the same principle of regulation of pressure any brush forms may be
built up. It is essential for freedom in working with the brush not to
starve or stint it in moisture or colour. For ornamental forms a full
brush should be used: otherwise they are apt to look dragged and meagre.
For a rich and flowing line also a full brush, however fine, is
necessary. It is quite possible, however, to use it with a different
aim, and to produce a sort of crumbling line when half dry, and also in
colour-work for what is called dragging, by which tone, texture, or
quality may be given to parts of a drawing. One should never lose
sight, in using the brush as a drawing tool, of its distinctive quality
and character, and impart it to all work done by its means.

[Illustration (f043): Direct Brush Expression of Animal Form.]

The direct touch with the full brush--to cultivate this is of enormous
advantage to all artists, whatever particular line of art they may
follow, since it may be said to be of no less value in design than it is
in painting pure and simple. We can all feel the charm of the broad
brush washes and emphatic brush touches of a master of water-colour
landscape such as De Wint. This is mastery of brush and colour in one
direction--tone and effect. A Japanese drawing of a bird or a fish may
show it equally in another--character and form. A bit of Oriental
porcelain or Persian tile may show the same dexterous charm and
full-brush feeling exercised in a strictly decorative direction.

[Illustration (f044): Japanese Drawing of a Bird. From "The Hundred
Birds of Bari."]

The empire of the brush, if we think of it in all its various forms and
directions, is very large; and it commands, in skilled hands, both
_line_ and _form_, in all their varieties, and leaves its impress in all
the departments of art, from the humble but dexterous craftsman who puts
the line of gold or colour round the edges of our cups and saucers, to
the highly skilled and specialized painter of easel pictures--say the
academician who writes cheques with his paint-brush!

                                                     [Charcoal and Pencil]

Then we have the ordinary varieties of the firm point: charcoal, pencil,
pen. Charcoal, being halfway between hard and soft--a sort of halfway
house or bridge for one passing from the flexible brush to the firm and
hard points of pencil and pen--is first favourite with painters when
they take to drawing. Its softness and removability adapts it as a tool
for preliminary and preparatory sketching in for all purposes, and both
for designer and painter; but it lends itself to both line and tone
drawing, or to a mixture of both. It is therefore a very good material
for rapid studies (say from the life) and the seizing of any effect of
light and shade rapidly, since the masses can be laid in readily, and
greater richness and depth can be obtained in shorter time, perhaps,
than by any other kind of pencil.

Charcoal is also very serviceable for large cartoon-work, since it is
capable of both delicacy and force, and bears working up to any extent.
A slight rubbing of the finger gives half tones when wanted, and is
often serviceable in giving greater solidity and finish to the work.

Then there is the lead pencil--the point-of-all-work, as it might be
called--more generally serviceable than any other, whether for rapid
sketches and jottings in the note-book, or careful and detailed
drawings, or sketching in for the smaller kinds of design-work. It is
also, of course, used for drawings which are afterwards "inked in." I do
not think, however, that pen-work done in this way is so free or
characteristic as when done direct, or at any rate quite freely, upon a
mere scaffolding of preliminary lines, used only to make the plans for
the chief masses and forms.

Pencil drawing is capable of being carried to a greater pitch of
delicacy and finish, and has a silvery quality all its own. It has not
the force or range of charcoal, but in its own technical range it
possesses many advantages. Its gray and soft line, however charming in
itself, does not fit it for work where sharpness and precision of line
and touch are required, as may be said to be the case with all work
intended to be reproduced by some process of handicraft or manufacture,
except some sorts of photo-engraving or lithography. We must therefore
look to another implement to enable us to obtain these qualities,
namely, the brush, the use and qualities of which I have already touched

                                                                 [The Pen]

There remains yet another point of the firm and decisive order, the pen,
which enables us to get firmness and sharpness of line and precise
definition, as well as considerable range of treatment and freedom of

The pen seems to bear much the same relation to the brush as the lead
pencil does to charcoal--not capable of such full and rich effects or
such flowing freedom of line, but yet possessing its own beauty and
characteristic kinds of expression. Its true province is in
comparatively small scale work, and its natural association is with its
sister-pen of literature in the domain of book-design and decoration,
and black and white drawing for the press. Its varieties are endless,
and the ingenuity of manufacturers continually places before us fresh
choice of pen-points to work with; but though one occasionally meets
with a good steel pen, I have found it too often fails one just when it
is sufficiently worn to the right degree of flexibility. One returns to
the quill, which can be cut to suit the particular requirements of one's
work. For large bold drawing the reed-pen has advantages, and a pleasant
rich quality of line.

But with whatever point we may work, the great object is to be perfectly
at ease with it in drawing--to thoroughly master its use and capacities,
so that in our search for that other command, of line and form, we may
feel that we have in our hands a tool upon which we can rely, a trusty
spear to bear down the many difficulties and discouragements that beset,
like threatening dragons, the path of the art-student.

                                CHAPTER IV

    Of the Choice of Form--Elementary Forms--Space-filling--Grouping--
    Analogies of Form--Typical Forms of Ornament--Ornamental Units--
    Equivalents in Form--Quantities in Design--Contrast--Value of
    Variations of Similar or Allied Forms--Use of the Human Figure
    and Animal Forms in Ornamental Design.

We were considering the choice and use of Line in the last chapter: its
expressive characters and various methods. We now come to the no less
important question to the designer and draughtsman--_The Choice of

If Line may be said to be the bone and sinew of design, Form is the
substance and the flesh, and both are obviously essential to its free
life and development.

                                                        [Elementary Forms]

The _cube_ and the _sphere_ give us the fundamental elements, or primal
types from which are derived the multifarious, ever varying, and complex
forms, the products of the forces and conditions of nature, or the
necessitous inventiveness of art, just as we may take the square and the
circle to be the parents of linear and geometric design.

[Illustration (f045a): Elementary Forms: Pyramid, Sphere, Cube, Hexagon,

The cube and the sphere, the ellipse, the cone, and the pyramid, with
other comparatively simple forms of solid geometry, present themselves
to the student as elementary tests of draughtsmanship--of the power,
that is, of representing solid bodies upon a plane surface. Such forms
being more simple and regular than any natural forms, they are supposed
to reduce the problem of drawing to its simplest conditions. They
certainly afford very close tests of correctness of eye, making any
fault in perspective or projection at once apparent.

[Illustration (f045b): Use of Elementary Forms in Architecture.]

To avoid, however, falling into mechanical ways, and to maintain the
interest and give vitality to such studies, the relation of such forms
to forms in nature and art should be borne in mind, and no opportunity
missed of comparing them, or of seeking out their counterparts,
corresponding principles, and variations, as well as their practical
bearing, both functional and constructive; as in the case of the typical
forms of flowers, buds, and seed-vessels, for instance, where the cone
and the funnel, and the spherical, cylindrical, and tubular principles
are constantly met with, as essential parts of the characters and
organic necessities of the plant: the cone and the funnel mostly in buds
and flower-petals for protection and inclosure of the pollen and seed
germs, the tube for conducting the juices; the spherical form to resist
moisture externally, or to hold it internally, or to avoid friction, and
facilitate close storage, as in the case of seeds in pods. The
seed-vessel of the poppy, for instance, has a curious little pent-house
roof to shield the interstices (like windows in a tower) till the seed
is ripe and the time comes for it to be shaken out of the shell or pod.
A further practical reason for the prevalence of spherical form in seeds
is that they may, when the outer covering or husk perishes, more readily
roll out and fall into the interstices of the ground; or when, as in the
case of various fruits, such as the apple and orange, the envelope
itself is spherical and intended to carry their flat or pointed seeds to
the ground, where it falls and rolls when ripe.

[Illustration (f046): Poppyheads.]

The cube and the various multiple forms may be found in crystals and
basaltic rocks, as well as in organic nature, as, for instance, in the
honeycomb of bees, where choice of form is a constructive necessity: the
cube is in every sense of the word the corner-stone in architecture, and
without squaring and plumbing no building could be constructed, while
the cylindrical and conical principles of form are illustrated in towers
and roofs, spires and pinnacles. In architectural ornament and carved
decoration the cube and sphere again form the basis, both forming
ornaments themselves by mere recurrence and repetition, and also forming
constructional bases of ornament.

[Illustration (f047): Apple Cut to Show Position of Seeds.]

                                                      [Dog-Tooth Ornament]

[Illustration (f048b): Dog-tooth Formed From Cube.]

A very simple but effective form of carved ornament characteristic of
early Gothic work is what is known as the dog-tooth. This is formed
simply by cutting a cube of stone into a pyramid, depressing the sides,
and cutting them into geometric leaves, leaving the sharp angles of the
pyramid from the base to the apex standing out in bold relief. In
ground-plan this is simply composed geometrically of a rectangle divided
diagonally into four equal parts, and by striking four semicircles from
the centres of the four sides of the rectangle. Here we get a form of
ornament in the flat which appears to have been very widely used, and
reappears in the early art of nearly all races so far as I am aware. We
find it, for instance, in Assyrian carving and in early Greek
decoration, in China and Japan, and in European mediæval work of all
kinds. Its charm perhaps lies in its simplicity of construction yet rich
ornamental effect, either as carved work or as a flat painted diaper. It
might also be used as the geometric basis of an elaborate repeating
wall-pattern over a large surface.

[Illustration (f048a): Cube and Sphere in Architectural Ornament: Brick
Dental, Ball Flower Moulding, and Dog-tooth Moulding.]

                                                       [Filling of Spaces]

When it comes to the choice of form, when we are face to face with a
particular problem in design, ornament, or decoration (say, as most
frequently happens, it is to fill a panel of a given shape and size), we
are bound to consider form in relation to that particular panel, to the
subject we propose to treat, and the method by which the design is to be
produced, or the object and position for which it is intended. This
generally narrows the range of possible choice. Firstly, there is the
shape of the panel itself. A well-known exercise for the Teacher's
Certificate under the Department of Science and Art is to give a drawing
of a plant adapted to design in a square and a circle. Now in the
abstract one would be inclined to select for a circular fitting
different forms from those one might select for a square filling, since
I always consider that the shape of the space must influence the
character of the filling in line and form. Still, if the problem is to
fill a square and a circle by the same forms, or an adaptation of them,
we must rely more and more upon difference of _treatment_ of these
forms, and not try to squeeze round forms into rectangular space, or
rectangular forms into circular space. In a rose, for instance, it would
be possible to dwell on its angular side for the square, and on its
curvilinear side for the circle. Anyway, we should seek in the first
place a good and appropriate motive.

[Illustration (f049a): Filling of Square Space.]

Supposing the design is for wood inlay, we should have to select forms
that would not cause unnecessary difficulty in cutting, since every form
in the design would have to be cut out in thin wood and inserted in the
corresponding hollow cut in the panel or plank to receive it. Complex or
complicated forms would therefore be ruled out, as being not only
difficult or impossible to reproduce in the material, but ineffective.

[Illustration (f049b): Filling of Circular Space.]

                                                            [Inlay Design]

A true feeling for the particular effect and decorative charm of inlaid
work should lead us to limit ourselves to comparatively few and simple
forms, treating those forms in an emphatic but abstract way, and making
use of recurring line and form as far as possible. We might make an
effective panel, say, for a casket, or a clock-case, or a floor, by
strictly limiting ourselves to very few and simple forms--say, for
instance, a stem, a leaf, a berry, or disc, and a bird form, or fruit
and leaf forms. It would be possible to build up a design with such
elements both pleasant in effect and well adapted to the work. An
excellent plan would be to cut out all one's forms with knife or
scissors in stiff paper, as a test of the practicability of an inlay
design. This is actually done with the working drawing by the inlay

[Illustration (f050): 1. Units of Simple Inlay Pattern; 2. Motive for
Inlaid Pattern Built of the Same Units; 3. Treatment of Form as Pattern
Units for Inlaid Work; 4. Pattern Motive for Inlaid Work]

I once designed an inlaid floor for the centre of a picture gallery.
The scale was rather large, and the work was bold. One kept to large,
bold, and simple forms--water-lilies and broad leaves, swans, scallop
shells, and zigzag borders. Forms which can be readily produced by the
brush would generally answer well for inlay, since they would have
simple and sweeping boundaries and flat silhouette. And for inlay one is
practically designing in black, white, or tinted silhouette. This makes
it very good practice for all designers, both for the invention it tends
to call out, owing to the limited resources and restriction as to forms,
and also as giving facility and readiness in blocking in the masses of

The water-colour painter, too, would find that blocking in in flat local
colour all his forms and the colours of his background was an excellent
method of preparatory work, and afforded good practice in direct
painting, since he could add his secondary shades and tints in the same
manner until the work was brought to completion, while preserving that
fresh effect of the undisturbed washes which is the great charm of

                                                [Grouping of Allied Forms]

In seeking forms to group together harmoniously--which is the whole
object of composition--we shall find that much the same kind of
principle holds good whether we are arranging a still-life group or
designing a wall-paper or textile. It is only a difference of degree and
scale. In the one case we are designing in the solid with the actual
objects, before drawing or painting them as a harmonious pictorial
composition; in the other we are arranging forms upon the flat with a
view to harmonious composition with a strictly decorative purpose in
view. In the first we are dealing with concrete form in the round; in
the second, generally speaking, with abstract form in the flat.

[Illustration (f051a): Grouping of Allied Forms: Composition of Curves.]

But in either case we want harmony. We cannot, therefore, throw together
a number of forms unrelated to each in line, contour, or meaning. We
seek in composing or designing not contradictions, but correspondences
of form, with just an element of contrast to give flavour and point. In
grouping pottery, for instance, we should not place big and little or
squat and slender forms close together without connecting links of some
kind. We want a series of good lines that help one another and lead up
to one another in a kind of friendly co-operation. Broad smooth forms
and rounded surfaces, again, require relief and a certain amount of
contrast. We feel the need of crisp leaves or flowers, perhaps, with
our pottery form. We may safely go far, however, on the principle of
grouping similar or allied forms, giving our composition as a whole
either a curvilinear or angular character in its general lines, masses,
and forms, on the principle of like to like. This will entirely depend
upon our choice of grouping of form; but the more by our selection we
make our composition tend distinctly in the one direction or the other,
the more character it will be likely to possess.

[Illustration (f051b): Grouping of Allied Forms: Composition of Angles.]


[Illustration (f052): Still-life Group Illustrative of Wood-Engraving.]

In selecting forms for still-life grouping and painting, I think
increased interest might be gained by arranging significant objects,
accessories bearing upon particular pursuits, for instance, in natural
relationship and surrounding. Groups suggesting certain handicrafts, for
instance, such as the clear glass globe of the wood-engraver, the
sand-bag, the block upon it, the tools, gravers lying around, the
eye-glass, an old book of woodcuts, and so forth. Other groups
suggestive of various arts and industries could be arranged--such
motives as metal-work, pottery, literature, painting, music, embroidery,
spring, summer, autumn, and winter, might all be suggestively
illustrated by well-selected groups of still life. Even different
historic periods might be emblematically suggested--I should like to see
more done in this way.

[Illustration (f053): Japanese Diagonal Pattern.]

To return to design in the flat. If we start with a motive of circular
masses, we cannot suddenly associate them with sharp angles--I mean in
our leading forms. Of course we can make a network or trellis or diaper
of the angles, to form a mat, ground, or a framework on which to place
our broad masses, as we may see effectively done by the Chinese and

                                                     [Corresponding Forms]

[Illustration (f054): Treatment of Fruit and Leaf Forms: Corresponding

If the principal group of forms in our pattern, say, are fruit
forms--apples, pomegranates, or oranges--we must re-echo or carry out
the curves in a lesser degree in the connecting stems and leaves. Change
the form of the fruit, say, to lemons, and a further variation of
connecting or subsidiary curve in stems and leaves will naturally
suggest itself, and at the same time in following such principles we
shall be expressing in an abstract way more of the character of the tree
or plant itself. In looking at the leaf of a tree one may often see a
suggestion of the general character and contour of the tree itself, and
we know the line:

    "Just as the twig is bent the tree's inclined."

In dealing with angular motives the same principle would be followed,
but corresponding to the difference of motive. Let the form of your
detail be reflected in the character of your mass.

I have spoken of the necessity in designing of seeking correspondences
in form, and although, could we place every form in proper sequence and
supply all the intermediary links to unite them harmoniously, forms of
extreme diversity might thus be associated, given great extension of
space (as in wall decoration, for instance), even then we should want
these forms to correspond and recur. Yet, as a rule, having to deal in
design with what are really parts rather than wholes, we can only
endeavour by making the design of these parts simple and harmonious in
line and form, and true to their special conditions, to render their
association decoratively possible.

[Illustration (f055a): Correspondence in General Contour Between Leaf
and Tree.]

[Illustration (f055b): Some Analogies in Form.]

Certain forms seem to lend themselves to design in ornament better than
others, because they give the designer certain lines and masses which
can be harmoniously repeated or combined with other allied forms or
lines. Design from this point of view becomes a search for analogies of

                                                       [Analogies of Form]

I mentioned certain simple geometric forms common to nature and art.
Early ornament consists in the repetition of such forms. The next step
was to connect them by lines: and so form and line, through endless
vicissitudes and complexities, became united, to live happily in the
world of decorative motive ever after. But long after the primitive
unadorned geometric forms themselves have ceased to be the chief forms
in ornament, their controlling influence is asserted over the boundaries
of the more complicated masses introduced.

                                               [Typical Forms of Ornament]

The simple rectangle is disguised under the fret, the circle and spiral
assert their sway over the boundaries of the palmette, or circle and
semicircle unite to form the oval so frequently used both as a unit in
Greek ornament and as a controlling boundary. These are typical border
forms: for extension and repetition in fields of pattern we find the
same geometric plans at work in combination and subdivision, forming at
first the ornament itself, and afterwards furnishing the plan and
controlling boundaries only. Even in later stages in the evolution of
surface decoration, in what are called naturalistic floral patterns,
amid apparent carelessness and freedom, by the exigencies of repetition
the ghost of buried geometric connection reappears, and compels the
most naturalistic roses on a wall-paper to acknowledge themselves
artificial after all, as they nod to their counterparts from the masked
angles of the inevitable diaper repeat.

[Illustration (f056): Tree of Typical Pattern Forms, Units, and

We find in the historical forms of decorative art constantly recurring
types of form and line, such as the lotus of the Egyptians, the anthemia
of the Greeks, the pineapple-like flower and palmette of the Persians,
the peony of the Chinese. These forms, at first valued solely for their
symbolical and heraldic significance, and continually demanded, became
to the designer important elements or _units_ in ornament. They gave him
fine sweeping curves, radiating lines, and bold masses, without which a
designer cannot live, any more than a poet without words. They were
capable, too, of infinite variation in treatment, a variation which has
been continued ever since, as by importation to different countries (the
movement going on from east to west) the same forms were treated by
designers of different races, and became mixed with other native
elements, or consciously imitated as they are now by Manchester
designers and manufacturers, to be sold again in textile form to their
original owners, as it were, in the far East. Truly, a strange turn of
the wheel.

                                                        [Ornamental Units]

The range of choice in ornamental units is, indeed, embarrassingly large
for the modern designer, and a careful and tasteful selection becomes of
more and more importance. It is not the number of forms you can combine,
or because they are of Persian or Chinese origin, that your work will be
artistic, but the judicious and inventive use made of the elements of
your design. Ready-made units, such as the Oriental forms I have
mentioned, are no doubt easier to combine, to make an effect with,
because a certain amount of selection has already been done. In fact,
with such forms as the Persian or Indian palmette, we are dealing with
the results of centuries of ornamental evolution, and with emblems
immemorially treasured by ancient races. It behoves us, if we are called
upon to recombine them, to treat them with sympathy, refinement, and
respect, and to let them deteriorate as little as possible, for the
spirit of an important ornamental form is like a gathered flower--it
soon withers and becomes limp.

[Illustration (f057): Sketches to Show Use of Counterbalance, Quantity,
and Equivalents in Designing.]

                                                     [Equivalents in Form]

It is the _spirit_, after all, that is the important thing to preserve,
in decorative design, however widely we may depart from the _letter_
sometimes. This is a difficult quality to define, but I should say it
chiefly consists in a nice attention to the character of form, the
elastic spring of curves, an understanding of the construction and
proportions, and grasp of the effect. In designing we constantly feel
the need of repeating certain masses with variations or balancing them
by equivalents, or the necessity of leading up to certain main forms by
subsidiary forms, and to carry out their lines in other parts of the
composition. In designing figures or emblems, for instance, within
inclosed spaces, such as shields or cartouche shapes, forming leading
elements in a design, it requires much invention and ornamental feeling
so to arrange them that, while different in subject or meaning, and
differently spaced, they shall yet properly counterbalance each other,
and, though varied in detail, shall yet be equivalent in quantity. The
same sort of feeling would govern the case of designing two masses of
fruit and foliage, say, forming two halves of an oblong panel, which,
though starting on the symmetric plan from the centre, are not intended
to be alike in detail; or in a frieze composed of a series of formalized
trees, where it was desired to have each different, say, to express the
progression of the seasons, it would be the sense of the necessity of
equivalents which would govern the decorative effect.

[Illustration (f058): Quantities and Counterchange of Border and Field
in Carpet Motives.]

                                                    [Quantities in Design]

[Illustration (f059): Sketch to Illustrate Value of Different Quantities
in Persian Rugs.]

Such considerations naturally lead us to the question of the use of
_quantities_ in design--the ornamental proportions of ornament, or the
contrasting distribution of form and line. For the mere repetition of
ornamental forms over surfaces and objects without reference to
proportion or structure is not decoration. The perception of appropriate
quantities in design is really the decorative gauge or measure of

[Illustration (f060): Sketch to Illustrate Value of Different Quantities
in Persian Rugs.]

In designing a bordered panel--or say a carpet--we might decide to
throw the weight of pattern, colour, or emphasis upon either the field
or border. Supposing the field had a dark ground upon which the
arabesque or floral design was relieved, in the border it would be most
effective to transpose this arrangement, making the ground light, and
bringing out the border design dark upon it. Or, if the motive were
reversed, giving a light ground to the centre, with the pattern dark,
the border might be brought out on a dark field. Or, again, for a less
emphatic treatment the quantities of the pattern itself might be almost
infinitely varied, massive forms and close fillings contrasting with
open borders and united with intermediary bands.

[Illustration (f061): Sketch to Illustrate Value of Different Quantities
in Persian Rugs.]

These intermediary bands or subsidiary borders are very important in
Eastern rugs and carpets, and their quantities very carefully
considered. A Persian designer, for instance, would never leave a blank
unbroken strip of colour to surround his field; his object is not to
isolate the quantities of his pattern, but to distinguish and unite
them: so he makes use of the subsidiary borders as additional
quantities. A usual arrangement which always looks well is to have the
border proper inclosed in two bands of about the same width and quantity
in pattern--or they might be a repeat of each other--and to inclose the
field or centre within another narrow subsidiary border. But the
variations to be observed in any chance selection of Persian rugs or
carpets are constant, and the amount of subtle variety and invention in
these subsidiary borders is endless.

Very excellent examples of the treatment and distribution of quantities
may also be studied in the older Indian printed cottons, such as maybe
seen at South Kensington.


The consideration of quantities in form and design involves the question
of _contrast_, which, indeed, can hardly be separated from it. There is
the contrast of form and line, and the contrast of colour and plane. It
is with the first kind we are dealing now.

Take the simplest linear border, such as the type common in Greek work.
We should easily weary of the continual repetition of such a form alone
and unassisted, but add a vertical with an alternative dark filling, and
we get a certain richness and solidity which is a relief at once. Add
another quantity, and we get the rich effect of the egg and tongue or
egg and dart moulding.

A still simpler instance of the use of contrast, however, is the
chequer, or the principle of equal alternation of dark and light masses;
but this touches colour contrast rather than form.

[Illustration (f062): Recurrence and Contrast in Border Motives.]

The love of contrast makes the Chinese porcelain-painter break the blue
borders of his plates with small cartouche-like forms inclosing the
light ground, varied with a spray or device of some light kind; or the
diagonal, closely-filled field of his woven silk by broad discs or
cartouches of another plane of ornament. But the love of sharp or very
violent contrasts, more especially of form, may easily lead one astray
and be destructive of ornamental effect. Like all decorative
considerations, the artistic use of contrast depends much upon the
particular case and the conditions of the work, and one cannot lay down
any unvarying rules. There are agreeable and disagreeable contrasts, and
their choice and use must depend upon the individual artist.

                                               [Variation of Allied Forms]

The most beautiful kinds of design rather seem to depend upon the
harmonious variation in association of similar or allied forms than on
sharp contrasts.

In compositions of figures the association of the delicate curves and
angles of the human form, and the lines of drapery, with the emphatic
verticals and horizontals, the semicircles and rectangles of
architectural form, for instance, are always delightful in competent
hands; as also compositions of figure and landscape, with its
possibilities of undulating line corrected by the severe horizon, or
sea-line, and contrasted with the vertical lines of trees, stems, and
the rich forms of foliage masses.

For the same reasons both of correspondence and contrast, masses of type
or lettering of good form are admirable as foils to figure designs, in
which commemorative monuments of all kinds and book designs afford
abundant opportunities to the designer.

                                    [Use Of Human Figure and Animal Forms]

In surface or textile decoration of all kinds nothing gives so much
relief and vitality as the judicious use of animal forms and the human
figure, although they are not much favoured at present. The forms of
birds and animals, if designed in relation to the rest of the pattern,
will give a pleasant variety of form and line, and in their forms and
lines we find just those elements both of correspondence and contrast,
in their relation to geometric or to floral design, which are so

[Illustration (f063a): Use of Inclosing Boundaries in Designing Animal
Forms in Decorative Pattern.]

In order to combine such forms successfully, however, great care in
designing is necessary; and a good sound principle to follow as a
general guide is to make the boundaries of the bird or animal touch the
limits of an imaginary inclosing form of some simple geometric or floral
or leaf shape (see p. 104[f063a]). This would at once control the form
and render it available in a pattern as a decorative mass or unit. The
particular shape of the controlling form must, of course, depend upon
the general character of the design, whether free and flowing or square
and restricted, the nature of the repeat, the ultimate position of the
work, and so on. A study of Gothic heraldry and the early Sicilian silk
patterns would be very instructive in this connection, since it is
rather the heraldic ideal than that of the natural history book which is
decoratively appropriate. At the same time it is quite possible to
combine ornamental treatment with a great deal of natural truth in
structure and character.

[Illustration (f063b): Decorative Spacing of Figures Within Geometric

Much the same principles apply to the treatment of the human figure as
an element in ornament; they should be designed, whether singly or in
groups, under the control of imaginary boundaries, and care must be
taken that in line and mass they re-echo (or are re-echoed by) other
lines which connect them with the rest of the design, if they occur as
incidents in repeating wall-paper or hanging design, for instance. It
is, however, quite possible to imagine a decorative effect produced by
the use of figures alone (see p. 105[f063b]), with something very
subsidiary in the way of connecting links of linear or floral pattern,
much as figures were used by the ancient Greek vase-painters,
beautifully distributed as ornament over the concave or convex surfaces
of the vases and vessels of the potter, the forms of which, as all good
decoration should do, they helped to express as well as to adorn.

                                CHAPTER V

    Of the Influence of Controlling Lines, Boundaries, Spaces, and
    Plans in Designing--Origin of Geometric Decorative Spaces and
    Panels in Architecture--Value of Recurring Line--Tradition--
    Extension--Adaptability--Geometric Structural Plans--Frieze and
    Field--Ceiling Decoration--Co-operative Relation.

The function of line considered from the point of view of its
controlling influence as a boundary, or inclosure, of design, upon which
I touched in the last chapter, is a very important one, and deserves
most attentive study.

The usual problem a designer in the flat has to solve is to fill
harmoniously a given space or panel defined by a line--some simple
geometric form--such as a square or a circle, a parallelogram, a
diamond, a lunette.

                                    [Influence of Controlling Lines, etc.]

Now it is possible to regard such spaces or panels as more or less
unrelated, and simply as the boundaries of an individual composition or
picture of some kind. Yet even so considered a certain sense of
geometric control would come in in the selection of our lines and
masses, both in regard to each other and in regard to the shape of the
inclosing boundary. We seem to feel the need of some answering line or
re-echo in the character of the composition to the shape of its
boundary, to give it its distinctive reason for existence in that
particular form--just as we should expect a shell-fish to conform to the
shape of its shell. Such a re-echo or acknowledgment might be ever so
slight, or might be quite emphatic and dominate as the leading motive,
but for perfectly harmonious effect it must be there.

[Illustration (f064): Relation of Design to Boundary: Simple Linear
Motives and Pattern Bases.]

A strictly simple and logical linear filling of such spaces might be
expressed in the most primitive way, as in the illustration on p.

By these means certain primitive types of ornament are evolved, such as
the Greek volute and the Greek key or fret, the logical ornament of a
logical people.

Such arrangements of line form simple linear patterns, and a decorative
effect of surface is produced simply by their repetition, especially if
the principle of alternation be observed. This principle may be
expressed by taking, say, a series of squares or circles, and placing
them either in a line as for a border arrangement, or for extension
vertically and laterally over a surface, and filling only the alternate
square or circle, leaving the alternate ones, or dropping them out
altogether (see illustration, p. 111[f065]).

[Illustration (f065): Use of Intervals in Repeating the Same Ornamental

When we desire to go beyond such primitive linear ornaments, however,
and introduce natural form, we should still be guided by the same
principles, if we desire to produce a strictly decorative effect, while
varying them in application to any extent.

It matters not what forms we deal with, floral, animal, human; directly
we come to combine them in a design, to control them by a boundary, to
inclose them in a space, we shall feel this necessity of controlling
line, which, however concealed, is yet essential to bring them into that
harmonious relation which is the essence of all design (see
illustration, p. 112[f066]).

[Illustration (f066): Designs of Floral, Human, and Animal Forms,
Governed by Shape of Inclosing Boundary.]

We may take it as a general rule that the more purely ornamental the
purpose of our design, and the more abstract in form it is, the more
emphatically we may carry out the principle of correspondence of line
between that of the inclosing boundary and that of the design itself;
and, _vice versâ_, as the design becomes more pictorial in its appeal
and more complex and varied in its elements, the more we may combine the
leading motive or principle of line with secondary ones, or with
variations, since every fresh element, every new direction of line,
every new form introduced, demands some kind of re-echo to bring it into
relation with the other elements of the design, or parts of the
composition, whatever may be its nature and purpose.

Now, if we seek further the meaning and origin of this necessity of the
control of geometric lines and spaces in design, I think we shall find
it in the constructive necessities of architecture: for it is certainly
from architecture that we derive those typical spaces and panels the
designer is so often called upon to fill.

[Illustration (f067): The Parthenon: Sketch to Show Spaces Used for
Decorative Sculpture in Greek Architecture.]

                                   [Origin of Geometric Decorative Spaces]

Lintel architecture--the Egyptian and the Greek--gave us the frieze,
both continuous, as in that of the Cella of the Parthenon, or divided by
triglyphs, which represented the ends of the beams of the primitive
timber construction; and the interstices left between these determined
the shape of the sculptured panel or slab inserted, and influenced the
character of its masses and the lines of its design, which was under the
necessity of harmonizing with the whole building (see illustration, p.

[Illustration (f068): Tower of the Winds Athens BC 50]

The same may be said of the pediments. The angle of the low-pitched roof
left another interstice for the sculptor at each end of the building;
and I have elsewhere* pointed out the influence of the inclosing space
and the angles of the pediment of the Parthenon upon the arrangement of
the groups within it, and even upon the lines taken by some of the
figures, especially the reclining figures near the acute angles.

   [*] See "Bases of Design."

Certain lines become inseparably associated with constructive
expression, and are used to emphasize it, as the vertical flutings of
the Doric column, by repeating the lines of the column itself, emphasize
its constructive expression of supporting the weight of the horizontal
lintels, the lines of which, repeated in the mouldings of the frieze and
cornice, are associated with level restfulness and secure repose.

As examples of design which, while meeting the structural necessities
and acknowledging the control of space and general conditions, as the
form of the slabs upon which they are sculptured, yet expresses
independent movement, the figures of the octagonal tower of the winds at
Athens are interesting (see illustration, p. 115[f068]).

Quite a different feeling, corresponding to differences in conception
and spirit in design, comes in with the Roman round _arch_ its allied
forms of _spandril_ and _vault_, _lunette_ and _medallion_, presenting
new spaces for the surface designer, and new suggestions of ornamental
line (see illustration, p. 117[f069]). It is noticeable how, with the
round-arched architecture under Roman, Byzantine (see illustration, p.
118[f070]), and Renaissance forms, the scroll form of ornament
developed, the reason being, I think, that it gave the necessary element
of recurring line, whether used in the horizontal frieze in
association with round arches, or in spandrils of vaults and arcades,
and on marble mosaic pavements.

[Illustration (f069): Sketch of Part of the Arch of Constantine to Show
Spaces for Decorative Sculpture in Roman Architecture.]

[Illustration (f070): Byzantine (Mosaic) Treatment of Architectural
Structural Features: Apse, S. Vitale Ravenna.]

                                             [Value of the Recurring Line]

The development of Gothic architecture, with its new constructive
features and the greater variety of geometric spaces, forms, and
interstices which, as a consequence, were available for the designer of
associated ornament, whether carved work, mosaic, stained glass, or
painting, naturally led to a corresponding variety in invention and
decorative adaptation; and we may trace the same principle at work in
other forms--I mean the principle of corresponding, counterbalancing,
and recurring line--Gothic ornament being indeed generally an essential
part of the structure, and architectural features being constantly
repeated and utilized for their ornamental value, as in the case of
canopies and tabernacle work.

We see, for instance, in the Decorated period the acute gable moulding
over the arched recess, niche, doorway, or tomb, lightened and vivified
by a floriated finial springing into vigorous curves from a vertical
stem, forming an emphatic ogee outline which re-echoes the ogee line of
the arch below, and is taken up in variations by the crockets carved
upon the sides of the gable; and their spiral ascending lines lead the
eye up to the finial which completes the composition. We may trace the
same principle in the carved fillings of the subsidiary parts, such as
the trefoiled panels, the secondary mouldings, and the cusps of the
arches, which continue the line-motive or decorative harmony to the last
point (see illustration, p. 120[f071]). The elegance and lightness of
the pinnacles is increased in the same way, and further emphasized by
the long vertical lines of the sunk panels upon their sides.

[Illustration (f071): From Canopy of Tomb of Gervaise-Alard 1303. Temp
ED^wd^ I^st^ Winchelsea]

In church doorways we may see certain voussoirs of the arch allowed to
project from the hollow of the concave moulding, and their surfaces
carved into bosses of ornament; while, again, the doorway is emphasized
by the recurring lines of the mouldings, with their contrasting planes
of light and shadow, and the point of their spring is marked by a
carved lion, controlled in the design of its contour by the squareness
of the block of stone upon which it is carved (see illustration, p.

[Illustration (f072): Structural Control of Line in Architectural
Enrichments West Door Walberswick Ch. Suffolk]

The carvings of miserere seats in our cathedral choirs often afford
instances of ingenious design and arrangement of elements difficult to
combine, yet always showing the instinct of following the control of the
dominating form and peculiar lines of the seat itself. There is an
instance of one from St. David's Cathedral--apparently a humorous
satire--a goose-headed woman offering a cake to a man-headed gull (?),
or perhaps they are both geese! I won't pretend to say, but it evidently
is intended to suggest cupboard love, and there is a portentously large
pitcher of ale in reserve on the bench. But note the clever arrangement
of the masses and lines, and how the lines of the seat and the curves
of the terminating scroll are re-echoed in the lines of the figures and

[Illustration (f073): C. 1460-1480 Wood Carving Miserere Seat Choir
Stalls St. David's Cathedral. Controlling Line in Design of Subsidiary
Architectural Decoration.]

A stone-carving from the end of a tomb in the same cathedral--that of
Bishop John Morgan, 1504--of a griffin with a shield shows an emphatic
repetition of the inclosing line of the arched recess in the curves of
the wings which follow it.

[Illustration (f074): Recessed Panel Carved Stone From the Tomb of
Bishop John Morgan D. 1504, St. David's Cathedral.]

There is also a charming corbel of a half-figure of an angel, which,
though somewhat defaced, shows the architectural sense very strongly in
its design--the vertical droop of the wing-feathers inclosing the figure
repeating and continuing the vertical lines of the shafts and the
subsidiary mouldings of the arrangement of the drapery, and its
termination in crisp foliated forms, which pleasantly counterbalance the
set of the scale feathers of the wings and break the semicircular
mouldings of the base of the corbel, repeating those of the shafts

[Illustration (f075): Constructive Line Reechoed in Architectural
Ornament. Corbel, Bishop Vaughan's Chapel, St. David's 1509-]

                                                  [Adaptability in Design]

[Illustration (f076): Gothic Tile Pattern S. David's Cath^l.]

Adaptation to spaces upon a flat surface is also illustrated in some
tile patterns from the same place. They are simple and rude but very
effective bits of spacing, and show a thorough grasp of the principles
we have been considering--if, indeed, it is so far conscious work at
all. But whether or not the outcome of a tradition which seemed to be
almost instinctive with mediæval workmen--a tradition which yet left the
individual free, and under which design was a thing of life and growth,
ever adapting itself to new conditions, and grafting freely new
inventions to flower in fresh phantasy upon the ancient stock--the
movement in art in the Middle Ages, exhibiting as it does a gradual
growth and a constant vitality, always accompanying and adapting itself
to structural changes, to life and habit, was really more analogous to
the development of mechanical science in our own day, where each new
machine is allied to its predecessors, though it supplants them. The one
law being adaptability, the one aim to apply means to ends, and more and
more perfectly, inessentials and superfluities are shed, and invention
triumphs. It is, too, a collective advance, since each engineer, each
inventor, builds upon the experience of both his forerunners and his
fellow-workers, and everything is brought to an immediately practical

We are not yet in the same healthy condition as regards art, and art can
never be on the same plane as science, though art may learn much from
science, chiefly perhaps in the direction of the inventive adaptation of
analogous principles. But in art the question is complicated by human
feeling and association, and her strongest appeal is to these, and by
these, and as yet we do not seem to have any terms or equivalents
precise enough to describe, or any analysis fine enough to discover


The next consideration in spacing we may term _extension_. This bears
upon all surface design, but more especially upon the design of patterns
intended to repeat over a large surface, and not specially designed for
particular spaces. It is a great question whether any design can be
entirely satisfactory unless it has been thought out in relation to some
particular extent of surface or as adapted to some particular wall or
room. Modern industrial conditions preclude this possibility as a rule,
and so the only sure ground, beyond individual taste and preference, is
technical adaptability to process or material. We should naturally want
to give a different character to a textile pattern, whether printed or
woven, and intended to hang in folds, from one for flat extension as a
wall-paper; and a different character again to such designs intended for
extension horizontally from those intended for vertical space alone.
Floor patterns, parquets and carpets, for instance, naturally demand
different treatment from wall patterns, as those orders of plants in
nature which cling and spread on the flat ground differ from those which
grow high and maintain themselves in the air, or climb upon trees. The
rule of life--_adaptability_--obtains in art as in nature, and, beneath
individual preference and passing fashion, works the silent but real law
of relation to conditions. This again bears upon the choice of scale,
and differentiates the design of dress textiles from furniture textiles,
and the design of varied surfaces and objects, which, while demanding
their own particular treatment, are brought into general relation by
their association with use and the wants of humanity.

[Illustration (f077a): Extension: Surface Pattern Motives Derived from
Lines of Structure.]

                                        [Geometric Structural Plans, etc.]

The law governing extension of design over surface is again geometric,
and our primal circle and square are again the factors and progenitors
of the leading systems which have governed the design of diapers and
wall patterns and hangings of all kinds. Nay, the first weaver of the
wattled fence discovered the principle of extension in design, and
showed its inseparable association with construction; and the builder
with brick or stone emphasizes it, producing the elements of linear
surface pattern, from the mechanical necessity of the position of the
joints of his structure. At a German railway station waiting-room I
noticed an effective adaptation of this principle as a wall decoration
in two blues upon a stone colour (see illustration, p. 128[fig077a]). We
may build upon such emphatic structural lines, either incorporating them
with the design motive, as in all rectangular wall diapers, or we may
suppress or conceal the actual constructive lines by placing the
principal parts or connections of our pattern over them, but one cannot
construct a satisfactory pattern to repeat and extend without them; for
these constructive lines or plans give the necessary organic life and
vigour to such designs, and are as needful to them as the trellis to the
tendrils of the vine (see illustration, p. 129[f077b]).

[Illustration (f077b): Surface Extension: Repeating Patterns Built Upon
(1) Square and (2) Circular Basis.]

The same principle is true of designs upon the curvilinear plan. The
mere repetition of the circle by itself gives us a simple geometric
pattern, and we are at liberty to emphasize this circular plan as the
main motive; or, as in the case of the rectangular plans, to treat it
merely as a basis, and develop free scroll motives upon it; or follow
it through its principal variations, as in the ogee, formed by dropping
out two intermediate semicircles; or the various forms of the scale
arrangement. These simple geometric plans are the most generally useful
as plans of designs intended for repetition and extension over space,
and they are always safe and sound systems to build upon, since a
geometric plan is certain to join comfortably if our measurements are

[Illustration (f078): Surface Extension: Plan of a Drop Repeat.]

We may, however, often feel that we want something bolder and freer, and
start with a motive of sweeping-curves, non-geometric, but even then a
certain geometric relation will be necessary, or an equivalent for it,
since each curve must be counterbalanced in some way, though not
necessarily symmetrically, of course; and even where a square of
pattern--say to a wall-paper repeat of twenty-one inches--has been
designed, not consciously upon a geometric base, but simply as a
composition of lines and masses to repeat, the mechanical conditions of
the work when it comes to be printed will supply a certain geometric
control, since it necessarily begins in the process of repetition a
series of squares of pattern in which the curves are bound to recur in
corresponding places. Without a geometric plan of some sort, however, we
may easily get into difficulties with awkward leading lines, gaps, or
masses, that tumble down, and are only perceived when the paper is
printed and hung.

The designer should not feel at all restricted or cramped by his
geometric plan, but treat it as an aid and a scaffolding, working in as
much variety and richness of detail as he likes, bound only by the
necessity of repeating or counterbalancing his forms and lines. In the
diagram (p. 131[f078]) the plan of making a repeat less obvious by means
of what is termed "a drop" is given, and this system also increases the
apparent width of a pattern.

                                                        [Frieze and Field]

The feeling which demands some kind of contrast or relief to a field of
repeating pattern, however interesting in itself, seems now almost
instinctive. It is felt, too, in the case of plain surfaces, where the
eye seeks a moulding to give a little variety or pattern-equivalent in
play of light and shadow upon different planes, lines, or concavities
and convexities. The common plaster cornice placed to unite walls and
ceiling, in our ordinary houses, is a concession (on the part even of
the jerriest of builders) to the æsthetic sense. We get the decorated
frieze in architecture in obedience to the same demand, though
originally a necessary feature of lintel construction, as we have seen,
from the days of the festal garland hung around the eaves of the classic
house, to its perpetuation in stone in so many varieties.* The carved
garland depending in a series of graceful curves, or contrasted with
pendants, or their rhythm punctuated, as it were, by ox-heads, as on the
temple of the Sibyls, Tivoli, formed the needed contrast to the plane
masonry of the wall below. Sculptured figures, with the added interest
of story, as on the choragic monument of Lysicrates, fulfilled the same
decorative function in a more complex and elaborate way.

   [*] "Bases of Design."

To satisfy the same feeling we place a frieze above the patterned field
of our modern wall-papers. Such a frieze may be considered as a
contrasting border to the pattern of the field, much as the border of a
carpet, allowing for difference of material and position; or the frieze
may assert itself as the dominant decoration of the room. In this case
it would be greater in depth than the simpler bordering type. The
interest of the field filling would then be subsidiary, and lead up to
the frieze. In wall-paper friezes the difficulty in designing is to
think of a motive which will not tire the eye in the necessarily
frequent repeats of twenty-one inches. Longer ones have occasionally
been produced, the limit being sixty inches. It is often a good plan to
recur in the main lines or forms of the frieze to some variation of the
lines or forms of the field. If, for instance, the main motive in the
field was a vertical scroll design, a _horizontal_ scroll design upon a
large scale used for the frieze would answer, the field being kept flat
and quiet; or the fan, or radiating shell form, used as a frieze, above
a pattern on the scale plan, would be quite harmonious. Relation and
balance of line and mass, and arrangement of quantities in such designs,
are the chief considerations.

With painting or modelling an artist is freer, as he is at liberty to
design a continuous frieze of figures, and introduce as much variety as
he chooses.

A painted frieze of figures above plain oak-panelling has a good effect
in a large and well-proportioned room, and is perhaps one of the
pleasantest ways of treating interior walls.

[Illustration (f079): Sketch Designs to Show Relation Between Frieze
and Field in Wall-paper.]

                                                      [Ceiling Decoration]

Ceiling decoration, again, presents problems of extension in designing,
and the large flat plaster ceilings of modern rooms are by no means easy
to deal with satisfactorily. The simplest way is to resort to
wall-paper, and here, restricted in size of repeat and the usual
technical requirements of the work, the designer must further consider
appropriateness of scale, and position in regard to eye, relation to the
wall, and so forth.

The natural demand is for something simpler in treatment than the
walls--a re-echo, in some sort, of plans agreeable to the floor, yet
with a suggestion of something lighter and freer: here we may safely
come back to rectangular and circular plans again for our leading lines
and forms.

Painting and modelling, again, offer more elaborate treatment and
possibilities, and we know that beautiful works have been done in both
ways; but art of this kind seems more appropriate to lofty vaulted
chambers and churches, such as one sees in the palaces of Italy, at
Genoa and Venice, at Florence and Rome.

I remember a very striking and bold treatment of a flat-beamed ceiling
in the Castle of Nuremberg, where a huge black German eagle was painted
so as to occupy nearly the whole field of the ceiling, but treated in an
extremely flat and heraldic way, the long feathers of the wings
following the lines of the beams and falling parallel upon them and
between them; and upon the black wings and body of the eagle different
shields of arms were displayed in gold and colours, the eagle itself
being painted upon the natural unpainted wood--oak, I think. The work
belonged to the thirteenth or fourteenth century, I believe. It seemed
the very antithesis of Italian finesse and fancy, but the fitness of
such decoration entirely depends upon its relation to its surroundings,
which in this case were perfectly appropriate.

                                                   [Co-operative Relation]

That is the great point to bear in mind in all design--the sense of
relation; nothing stands alone in art. Lines and forms must harmonize
with other forms and lines: the elements of any design must meet in
friendly co-operation; it is not a blind struggle for existence, a
fierce competition, or a strife for ascendency between one motive and
another, one form and another, or a war of conflicting efforts. There
may be a struggle _outside_ the design, in the mind of the designer. He
may have tried hard against difficulties to express what he felt, and
have only reached harmony through discord and strife, but the work
itself should be serene; we should feel that, however various its
elements, they are not without their purpose and relation one to
another, that all is ordered and organized in harmonious lines, that
everything has its use and place, that, in short, it illustrates that
excellent motto, whether for art or life: "Each for all, and all for

                                CHAPTER VI

    Of the Fundamental Essentials of Design: Line, Form,
    Space--Principles of Structural and Ornamental Line in Organic
    Forms--Form and Mass in Foliage--Roofs--The Mediæval
    City--Organic and Accidental Beauty--Composition: Formal and
    Informal--Power of Linear Expression--Relation of Masses and
    Lines--Principles of Harmonious Composition.

We may take it, then, from the principles and examples I have
endeavoured to put before you in the previous chapters, that there are
three fundamental elements or essentials of Design--Line, Form, Space.

                                        [Fundamental Essentials of Design]

Line we need, not only for our ground-plan and framework, but also to
define or express our forms. Form we need to give substance and mass,
interest and variety; and it is obvious that Space is required to
contain all these elements, while Space asserts its influence, as we
have seen, upon both Line and Form in combination upon it, whether
object or surface, by the shape of its boundary, the extension of its
plane, and the angle and position of its plane in regard to the eye, as
well as from the point of view of material and use.

Questions of the character of line and form, and their combination and
disposition in or over spaces, are questions of composition. They demand
the most careful solution, whatever our subject and purpose may be,
from the simplest linear border up to the most elaborate figure design.
But although the three essentials to composition must be always present,
it is always possible to rely more upon the qualities of one of them for
our main motive and interest, keeping the other two subsidiary. We might
centralize the chief interest of our composition upon _Line_, for
instance, and make harmonious relation or combination of lines our
principal object (as in line-design and ornament), or we might rather
dwell upon the contours, masses, and contrasts and relationships of
_Form_: as in pictorial design, figure compositions of all kinds, and
modelling and sculpture: or, again, we might choose that the peculiar
character given by the control of certain inclosing spaces should
determine the interest of our design, as the due filling of particular
panels and geometric shapes; or seek the interest of aerial perspective
in the pictorial and atmospheric expression of space.

Taking combinations of Line first, and bearing in mind what has been
said regarding its capacities for expression, whether of emotion,
direction of force, movement, rest, as well as of facts of structure and
surface, let us see if we can trace the principle of harmonious
composition, of which these things may be considered as parts.

                                                   [Line in Organic Forms]

Look at any of the systems of line in the organic structures of nature:
the radiating ribs of the scallop shell, or the spiral of many other
varieties; the set of the feathers upon the expanded wing of a bird; the
radiation of the sun's rays; the flowing line of the wave movement; the
lines of structure in flowers and leaves; the scales of a fish; the
scales of a pine-cone or an artichoke. We feel that any of these
combinations of lines are harmonious and beautiful, and we know that
they are essential to the character and structure. They are organic
lines, in short. They mean life and growth. In principle they are
radiating and recurring lines; in each form they repeat each other in
varying degrees of direction and declension of curve. No two lines are
alike, yet there is no contradiction and no unnecessary line, and
variety is combined with unity. Each affords a perfect instance of
harmonious composition of line, and gives us definite principles upon
which to work (see illustration, p. 140[f080]).

[Illustration (f080): Principles of Structural and Ornamental Line in
Natural Forms.]

These systems of line in organic nature have been adopted and adapted by
art, and are found throughout the historical forms of ornament which, as
we have good reason to believe, were often derived from mechanical
structures, illustrating the same principles; which, again, the logic of
geometry enforces in drawing on plane surfaces.

All organic structures teach us the same lesson of relation and
recurrence of line. The bones of all vertebrate animals, from _fish_ to
_man_, illustrate the constant repetition in different degrees of the
same character and direction of line. The vertebral column itself is an
instance, and the recurring spring of the ribs from it, like the
branches from the stem of a tree, further expressed in the ramification
of the jointed bones of the limbs and extremities. The principle may be
followed out in the structure of the muscles in their radiating fibres,
which the delicate contours and flowing lines of the surface of the
body only combine in a greater degree of subtlety (see illustration, p.

[Illustration (f081a): Radiating, Recurring and Counterbalancing Lines
in the Structure of the Skeleton and the Muscles.]

Look at the anatomy of any tree, as it is disclosed to us in its wintry
leaflessness, a beautiful composition of line rather than of form (see
illustration, p. 143[f081b]).

[Illustration (f081b): General Principles of Line and Form in the
Branching and Foliage Masses of Trees.]

Here we see organic life and structure expressed in the vigorous spring
of inter-dependent and corresponding curves, from the rigid sinuous
column of the main stem springing from the ground, presently divided
into the main forks of the branches, which again subdivide and subdivide
into smaller forks, so that the tree may sustain and spread its life in
the air and the sun, both supporting and continuing its existence by
this wonderful economic system of co-operative, subdivided, and
graduated helpfulness.

The massive green pavilion of summer, which this delicate vaulting of
branch-work sustains, gives us another, more sumptuous, but perhaps not
a greater beauty in the combination or substitution of form and mass for
line composition.

                                                [Form and Mass in Foliage]

We might express, in an abstract way, the principle of the
line-structure of the ramifying tree by super-imposing vertically fork
upon fork in gradually diminishing scale, either curvilinear or
rectangular; and the principle of the mass-structure in the formation of
the foliage might be expressed by a series of overlapping curves,
suggestive of scales or cloud masses: to both of which indeed they
correspond in principle, illustrating the scale principle in detail and
the cloud principle in the mass; thus repeating the same general law of
natural roofing, or covering, in different materials (see
illustration, p. 145[f082]).

[Illustration (f082): Principles of Structure in Foliage Masses.]

In a mass of foliage each leaf falls partly over the one below it, as by
the system of their growth and suspension upon the stem they are of
course bound to do, whether symmetric or alternate in their arrangement,
the gaps caused by decay or accident being generally filled by new
shoots. Each shoot, eager to expand its leaves in the light, ever
spreading, forms mass after mass of the beautiful green panoply--the
coat armour of the forest, arboreal man's first form of domestic

[Illustration (f083): Albert Dürer: Detail from 'The Prodigal Son.']

The principle of structure here is just the same as the overlapping
principle of the tiles and slates upon our ordinary house-roofs; but
each leafy tile is different, being alive, and in the mass infinitely
varied and beautiful in form and colour, instead of being mechanical and
uniform, as we try to make our artificial roofs.

                                                            [German Roofs]

Very pretty and varied effects are produced in the old roofs of
southern Germany by the use of different coloured glazed tiles--red,
green, and yellow--arranged in simple patterns. One of the old towers at
Lindau has such a roof, and the colour effect is very rich and striking.

But I must not be led into a disquisition upon roofs further than in so
far as they illustrate the subject of composition of line and form, and
from the painter's point of view they frequently do in a very
delightful and instructive way.

[Illustration (f084): Albert Dürer: St. Anthony.]

What, for instance, can be more varied and charming than the
compositions we constantly meet with in the rich backgrounds of Albert
Dürer? Those steep barn roofs, and those quaint German towns inclosed in
walls with protecting towers--nests of steep tiled gables of every
imaginable degree--which give so much character and interest to his
designs, as in the background of his copper-plates "The Prodigal Son"
and "St. Anthony" here given. Their prototypes still exist here and
there in Germany, in such towns as Rothenburg, practically unchanged
since the sixteenth century, and give one an excellent idea of what such
houses were like. A visit there is like a leap back into the Middle
Ages. Every street is a varied and interesting composition. No two
houses are alike. They were built by the citizens to really pass their
lives in. The town is strongly placed upon the crest of a hill, with a
river at its foot, and well fortified and protected by massive
encircling walls and towers and deep gates, which give it so strong and
picturesque a character, while the timber and tile-roofed gallery for
the warders still exists along the inside of the walls. Such cities
arose by the strength of the social bond among men--the necessity for
mutual help in the maintenance of a higher standard of life, and mutual
protection against the ravages of sinister powers.

                                                       [The Mediæval City]

Strong externally, internally they were made as home-like and full of
the varied delight of the eyes, as if the people had reasoned, "Since we
must live close together in a small place, let us make it as delightful
and romantic as we can." We know that the idea of Paradise and the New
Jerusalem to the imagination of the Middle Ages was always the fair
walled garden and the fenced city. The painters embodied the idea of
security and protection from the savage and destructive forces of nature
and man--a sanctuary of peace, a garden of delight.

[Illustration (f085): Roof-lines: Rothenburg.]

We have in modern times turned rather from the city as a complete and
beautiful thing, to the individual home, and to the interior of that,
and, in the modern competitive search for the necessary straws and
sticks to make our individualist-domestic composition of comfort and
artistic completeness, bowers are too often built upon the ruins of
others, or are fair by reason of surrounding degradation. The common
collective comfort and delight of the eyes is too often ignored, so that
it comes about that, if our modern cities possess any elements of beauty
or picturesqueness, it is rather owing to accidents and to the
transfiguring effects of atmosphere than to the beauty or variety of
architectural form and colour. We have to seek inspiration among the
fragments of the dead past in monuments and art schools.

                                           [Organic and Accidental Beauty]

The modern development of the municipality and extension of its
functions may, indeed, do something, as it has done, and is doing,
something to protect public health and further public education; but we
have yet to wait for the full results, and everything must finally
depend upon the public spirit and disinterestedness of the citizens, and
in matters of art upon a very decided but somewhat rare and peculiar
sympathy and taste, as well as enthusiasm.

The absence of beauty of line, form, and proportion from the external
aspects of daily life in towns has probably a greater effect than we are
apt to realize in deadening the imagination, and it certainly seems to
produce a certain insensibility to beauty of line and composition, since
the perception must necessarily be blunted by being inured to the
commonplace and sordid. The instinct for harmony of line and form
becomes weakened, and can only be slowly revived by long and careful
study in art, instead of finding its constant and most vital stimulus in
every street.

For all that, however, an eye trained to observe and select may, even in
the dullest and dingiest street, find artistic suggestions, if not in
the buildings, then in the life. And where there is life, movement,
humanity, there is sure to be character and interest. Groups of children
playing will give us plenty of suggestions for figure composition.
Workpeople going to and from their work, the common works going on in
the street, the waggons and horses, the shoal of faces, the ceaseless
stream of life--all these things, whether we are able to reproduce them
as direct illustrations of the life of our time, or are moved only to
select from them vivid suggestions to give force to ideal conceptions,
should all be noted--photographed, as it were, instantaneously upon the
sensitive plate of the mind's vision. We can only learn the laws of
movement by observing movement--the swing and poise of the figure, the
relation of the lines of limbs and drapery to the direction of force and
centre of gravity, so important in composition. We must constantly
supplement our school and studio work by these direct impressions of
vivid life and movement, and neglect no opportunity or despise no source
or suggestion.

There are still in England to be found such old-world corners as the
quaint street of Canterbury (p. 153[f086]), which forms an excellent
study in the composition of angular and vertical lines.

[Illustration (f086): St. Margaret St Canterbury Aug: 27 1894]

                                                      [Formal Composition]

We may perceive that there are at least two kinds of composition, which
may be distinguished as:

     I. Formal.
    II. Informal.

I. Under the head of Formal may be classed all those systems of
structural line with which I started, and which are found either as
leading motives or fundamental plans and bases throughout ornamental
design. Yet even these may be used in composition of figures and other
forms where the object is more or less formal and decorative, as
governing plans or controlling lines.

The radiating ribs of a fan, for instance, might be utilized as the
natural boundaries and inclosing lines of a series of vertical figures
following the radiating lines. A strictly logical design of the kind
would be a series of figures with uplifted arms, forming radiating lines
from the shoulders, somewhat in the position of Blake's well-known and
beautiful composition of the Morning Stars in the Book of Job, already

Using the overlapping vertical scale plan we should get relative
positions for a formal composition of three figures, although they need
not necessarily be formal in detail. A typical design of three
associated ideas treated emblematically would be the most natural use of
such an arrangement--as Faith, Hope, and Charity; Liberty, Equality,
Fraternity; Science, Art, and Industry; or the three goddesses Heré,
Pallas, and Aphrodite, as choice and purpose might decide. A
semicircular scale plan would not only repeat in a safe and sound
manner, but would afford suggestive shapes in which to throw designs of
figures, and could be effectively utilized either for a wall or ceiling

The inclosure formed by two spiral lines gives a graceful ornamental
shape for a half-reclining figure; while a series of floating or flying
figures linking their hands would be appropriately governed by similar
spiral lines, uniting them with the meandering wave line (see
illustration, p. 155[f087]).

[Illustration (f087): Formal Composition: Figure Designs Controlled by
Geometric Boundaries.]

Upon a series of semicircles or ellipses, alternating horizontally,
might be arranged a little frieze of children with skipping ropes, or
Amorini with pendent garlands; the up-and-down movement in the former
case being conveyed by a variation, each alternate semicircle being
struck upwards. This would restore the emphatic wave or spiral line,
which always conveys the sense of rhythmic movement in a design.

Such a line, vertically employed, will give again a good plan for a
series of seated figures, say emblematic of the Hours, where similarity
of attitude and type would be appropriate, while the emblems and
accessories might be varied. A severer treatment would be suggested by
making the controlling line angular (see illustration, p. 156[f088]).

[Illustration (f088): Formal Composition: Figure Designs Controlled by
Geometric Boundaries.]

Such are a few illustrations of what I have termed formal composition,
in which the geometric and structural plans of pure ornament or
ornamental line maybe utilized to combine, control, or even suggest
figure designs.

                                                    [Informal Composition]

II. While formal compositions, though naturally falling into classes and
types, may be varied to a very great extent, when we come to informal
compositions the variations are unlimited, and a vista of extraordinary
and apparently endless choice, invention, and selection opens out before
the designer, co-extensive with the variety of nature herself.

In seeking harmonious and expressive composition in the pictorial
direction the guides are much less definite and secure. Individual
feeling and instinct, which must have an important influence in all
kinds of designing, are in this direction paramount. Yet even here, if
we look beneath the apparent freedom and informality, we find certain
laws at work which seem to differ only in degree from the more definite
and constructive control of line which we have been considering. In the
first place, there are our direct impressions from nature; and,
secondly, our conscious aims and efforts to express an idea in our
minds. We have the same restricted and definite forms of language and
materials in each case--line, form, space, brushes, pencil, colour,
paper, canvas, or clay. We are taken by some particular scene: the
composition of line and form at a particular spot attracts us more than
another. We do not stop as a rule to ask why, since it usually takes all
our time and our best skill to get into shape what we are seeking--and
carry away with us an artistic record of the place. We have seen that in
the case of certain natural structures, shells, leaves, flowers, the
fundamental structural lines are so beautiful that they not only form
ornament in themselves, but furnish the basis for whole types and
families of ornament. When we look at a landscape, putting aside for the
moment all the surface charms of colour and effect, and concentrating
our attention upon its lines of structures, we shall find that it owes a
great part of its beauty to the harmonious relation of its leading
lines, or to certain pleasant contrasts, or a certain impressiveness of
form and mass, and at the same time we shall perceive that this linear
expression is inseparable from the sentiment or emotion suggested by
that particular scene.

A gentle southern landscape--undulating downs, and wandering
sheep-walks; the soft rounded masses of the sheep upon smooth cropped
turf--all these are so many notes or words in the language of line and
form which go to express the idea of pastoral life. They are
inextricably bound up with inseparable associations conveyed by such
lines and forms. The undulating lines of resting or dancing figures
would only give point, true emphasis, and variety, and a note of
contrast in the forms would serve to bring out the general sentiment
more strongly.

Substitute rugged rocks, swollen torrents, wind-tossed trees and stormy
skies, and all is changed. Such things cannot be expressed without much
more emphatic lines and masses, and the use of opposing angles and
energetic curves of movement which would be destructive of the sentiment
of peace, in other cases. Yet even then to convey the expression of
energy and rapid movement, concerted groups of lines are none the less
necessary (see illustration, p. 159[f089]).

[Illustration (f089): Informal Composition: Expression of (1) Storm and
(2) Calm In Landscape.]

Such comparisons indicate not only that there is a necessary
association of ideas with certain lines and forms, but also that certain
relations and associations of line of a similar character are necessary
to produce a harmonious composition, and one which conveys a definite
and pervading sentiment or emotion, just as we saw that the controlling
lines of structural curves, spirals, and angles require to be in
relation, and to be re-echoed by the character of the design they
inclose or which is built upon them.

The same law holds true in figure composition. The sense of repose and
restfulness necessary to sitting or reclining groups depends upon the
gentle declivities of the curves and their gradual descent to the

[Illustration (f090): Informal Composition: Expression of Repose and

Draw a figure sitting rigid, tense, and alert, and you destroy the sense
of repose at once, and you are obliged also to resort to angles, still
more emphatic where strong action is to be expressed; while to express
continual or progressive movement, a choice of associated lines of
action in different stages of progress leading up to the crescendo of
the final one (as in a group of mowers) would be necessary (see
illustrations, p. 161[f090]). We cannot, then, in any composition have
too definite a conception. We must, at any sacrifice of detail, bring
out the main expression and meaning. Every group of figures must be in
the strictest relation to each other and to the central interest or
expression of the design. You cannot, for instance, in a procession of
figures, make your faces turn all sorts of ways without stopping the
onward movement which is essential to the idea of a procession. This
would not preclude variety, but the general tendency must be in one
direction. Every line in a composition must lead up to the central idea,
and be subordinated or contributory to it (see illustration, Nos. 1 and
2, p. 163[f091a]).

[Illustration (f091a): (1) and (2) Movement in a Procession]

The same with masses: you cannot put a number of forms together without
some sort of relation, either of general character and contour or some
uniting line. We may learn this principle from nature also. Look at a
heap of broken stones and débris, which in detail may contain all sorts
of varieties of form, as we find them tumbled down a steep place, as the
rocky bed of a mountain stream, a heap of boulders upon a hillside, or
the débris from a quarry or mine; in each case the law of gravity and
the persistence of force working together arrange the diverse forms in
masses controlled by the lines, which express the direction and degree
of descent, and the pressure of force. The same thing may be seen on any
hilly ground after heavy rain; the scattered pebbles are arranged in
related groups, combined and composed by the flow of miniature streams,
which channel the face of the ground and form hollows for their
reception (see Nos. 3 and 4, p. 163[f091b]). The force of the tides and
currents upon the sea-shore illustrates the same principle and affords
us magnificent lessons in composition, not only in the delicate lines
taken by the sculptured sand, but in the harmonious grouping of masses
of shingle and shells, weeds and drift, arranged by the movement of the

[Illustration (f091b): (3) Lines Left by a Watercourse, (4) Lines
Governing Fallen Débris from a Quarry.]

                                    [Principles of Harmonious Composition]

So that we may see that the principles of harmonious composition are not
the outcome of merely capricious fancy or pedantic rule, but are
illustrated throughout the visible world by the laws and forces of the
material universe. It is for the artist to observe and apply them in his
own work of re-creation.

                               CHAPTER VII

    Of the Relief of Form--Three Methods--Contrast--Light and Shade,
    and Modelling--The Use of Contrast and Planes in Pattern
    Designing--Decorative Relief--Simple Linear Contrast--Relief by
    Linear Shading--Different Emphasis in relieving Form by Shading
    Lines--Relief by means of Light and Shade alone without
    Outline--Photographic Projection--Relief by different Planes and
    Contrasts of Concave and Convex Surfaces in Architectural
    Mouldings--Modelled Relief--Decorative Use of Light and Shade,
    and different Planes in Modelling and Carving--Egyptian System of
    Relief Sculpture--Greek and Gothic Architectural Sculpture,
    influenced by Structural and Ornamental Feeling--Sculptural
    Tombs, Medals, Coins, Gems--Florentine Fifteenth-century
    Reliefs--Desideriodi Settignano.

We come now to the consideration of the various means and methods of
expressing relief in line and form.

We may define a form in outline and give it different qualities of
expression by altering the quality and consistency of our outline, and
we may obtain very different kinds of decorative effect by the use of
lines of various degrees of thickness or thinness; but if we want to
give it force and colour, and to distinguish it from its background more
emphatically, we must add to our outline.

                                      [Three Methods of Expressing Relief]

There are three principal methods or systems of giving relief by adding
to our outline.

One is the method of giving relief to form by contrasts of tone, colour,
or tint.

Another by means of the expression of light and shade: and the third by
means of modelling in relief.

Now, still keeping to expression by means of line, the three arms I have
sketched (p. 167[f092]) illustrate: (1) the form in outline alone; (2)
the contrast method; and (3) the light and shade method. The three pots
underneath illustrate the same three stages in a simpler manner.

In number one we see the outline defining the form pure and simple: in
number two the form is relieved by a half-tone formed of diagonal lines,
forming a plane or background behind it. The arm is still further
relieved by the dark drapery. Number three shows the relief carried
further by lines expressive of the modelling of the arm and the rounding
of the pot, and also by cast shadows from the forms.

[Illustration (f092): The Relief of Form: (1) By Outline, (2) By
Contrast, (3) By Light and Shade.]

The system of expressing relief I have termed relief by contrast
includes two kinds of contrast: there are the contrasts of line and
form, and there are the contrasts of planes of tone or tint and local
colour. We may consider that the contrast method covers generally all
forms of pattern and certain kinds of pictorial design. The method of
expressing relief by means of line covers generally all forms of design
in black and white, graphic sketching, pen-drawing, and work with the
point of all kinds.

                                       [Of the Use of Contrast and Planes]

Taking the principle of contrast as applied to pattern design, we can,
even within the limited range of black and white and half-tint (as
expressed by lines), get a considerable amount of decorative effect. In
the first place by bringing out our pattern, previously outlined, upon
a black ground (as in Nos. 1 and 2, p. 169[f093]), increasing the
richness of effect, and getting a second plane by treating the lower
part in an open tint of line.

Simple contrasts of dark upon light or light upon dark are effective,
and sufficient for many purposes, such as borders (as in Nos. 2 and 3,
p. 169[f093]).

When a lighter kind of relief and effect is required, the recurring
forms in a border are often sufficiently emphasized by a tint of open
lines: movement and variety being given by making them follow the minor
curves of the successive forms, as in this instance (No 4, p. 169[f093])
the movement of the water is suggested behind the fish.

The relation of the plain ground-work to the figure of the pattern is
also an important point; indeed the plain parts of the pattern, or the
interstices and intervals of the pattern, are as essential to the
pattern as the figured parts.

In designs intended for various processes of manufacture, such as
printed or woven textiles, wall-papers, etc., where blocks or rollers
are used to repeat the pattern, the extent of plain in proportion to
figured parts must be governed in some measure by the practicable size
of the repeat: but within certain limits great variety of proportion is

A simple but essentially decorative principle is to preserve a certain
equality between the figured masses and the ground masses. The leaf
patterns (Nos. 6 and 7, p. 169[f093]) consist simply of the repetition
and reversal of a single element. An emphatic effect is obtained by
bringing the leaves out black upon a white ground (as in No. 6), while a
flatter and softer effect is the result of throwing them upon a plane
of half-tint expressed by horizontal lines, with a similar effect of
relief to that which would be given by the warp, if the pattern were

For larger surfaces, greater repose and dignity in pattern may be
obtained by a greater proportion of the repeat being occupied by the
ground (as in No. 5, p. 169[f093]).

[Illustration (f093): Relief of Form and Line in Pattern Design by Means
of Contrast and the Use of Planes.]

Indeed we may consider as a general principle that the larger the
interspaces of the ground, plane, or field of the pattern, the lighter
in tint they should be, or the necessary flatness is apt to be lost.
Relief in pattern design may be said to be adding interest and richness
without losing the flatness and repose of the design as a whole. When
pattern and ground are fairly equally balanced in quantity the ground
may be rich and dark, and darkest as the interstices, where the ground
is shown, become less. The figure of a pattern relieved as light upon a
dark plane, as a rule, requires to be fuller in form than dark-figuring
upon a light ground.

                                                       [Decorative Relief]

In decorative work the use of contrast in the relief of parts of a
design is often useful and effective, as, for instance, the dark shading
or treatment in black or flat tone of the alternating under side of a
turn-over leaf border.

The decorative value of this principle is recognized by heraldic
designers in the treatment of the mantling of the helmet, which in
earlier times is treated simply as a hanging or flying strip of drapery
with a lining of a different colour, by which it is relieved as it hangs
in simple spiral folds. This ornamental element became developed by the
designers of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries into elaborate
scroll designs springing from the circlet of the helmet and surrounding
the shield: but the principle of the turned-up lining remained, often
variegated and enriched with heraldic patterns (see illustrations, pp.
172[f094a], 173[f094b]).*

    [*] The increased importance given to the mantling in later times
    may have been due to the disappearance of the housings of the
    knight's horse and his surcoat, which originally displayed his
    arms and colours. The mantling of later times displayed the
    heraldic colours of the knight, when, being clad in plate armour,
    there was no other means of displaying them except on the shield.
    Decoratively, of course, the mantling is of great value to the
    heraldic designer, enabling him to form much more graceful
    compositions, to combine diverse and rigid elements with free and
    flowing lines and masses, and to fill panels with greater
    richness and effect, whether carved or painted, or both.

[Illustration (f094a): Decorative Relief: Counterchange, Treatment of
Mantling, Fourteenth and Sixteenth Centuries.]

[Illustration (f094b): Decorative Relief: Treatment of Mantling.]

                                             [Use of Diapered Backgrounds]

The principle, too, of counterchange in heraldry answers to our
principle of relief by contrast, and though its chief charm lies in its
ornamental range of form and colour combinations, it can be expressed in
black and white, and it remains a universal principle throughout
decorative art. The decorative effect and charm of the relief of large
and bold forms upon rich and delicate diapers is also an important
resource of the designer. The monumental art of the Middle Ages affords
multitudes of examples of this principle in ornamental treatment. The
miniaturist of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries constantly relieved
his groups of figures upon a diapered ground. The architectural sculptor
relieved the broad masses of flowing drapery and the bold projection of
his effigies and recumbent figures by delicately chiselled diapers upon
the surface of the wall behind them. This treatment may frequently be
seen in the recessed tombs of the fourteenth century.

The incisor of memorial brasses, again, more especially in continental
examples, shows a fondness for the same principle. The long vertical
lines of drapery of ladies and ecclesiastics, the broad masses of the
heraldic surcoat, or armour of the knights, the rich and heavy furred
gowns of the burghers, are often relieved upon beautiful diapered or
arabesque grounds, generally embodying some heraldic device, motto, or
emblem of the person or family whose tomb it ornaments. Such decoration
is strictly linear, yet within its own limits, and perhaps because of
them, we find in this province of design extremely admirable work, no
less for delineation of character and decorative treatment than for
ornamental invention controlled by strict economy of line.

[Illustration (f095): Relief Upon a Diapered Ground: Brass of Martin De
Visch, Bruges, 1452.]

                                        [Relief of Form by Linear Shading]

This brings us to the consideration of our second method of relief by
means of line.

Take any simple allied elements to form a repeating pattern, say spiral
shells, place them at certain rhythmic intervals, and we can unite and
at the same time give them relief by filling in the ground by a series
of waved lines to suggest the ribbed sand. Add a few dots to soften and
vary the effect, and we get a pattern of a certain balance and
consistency (No. 1, p. 177[f096a]).

[Illustration (f096a): Relief in Pattern Design by Means of Simple
Linear Contrasts (1)]

With the more varied and complex floral form, but treated in a very
abstract way, placing the daisies in a line, horizontally, and reversing
the sprig for the alternate row, we have another motive, which is
connected and steadied as well as relieved by the suggestion of grass
blades in groups of three slightly radiated vertical strokes (No. 2,
p. 177[f096b]). A pattern of two elements, again, may be formed in a
still more simple way by linear contrast, as in No. 3, where the
pyramidal trees are formed by a continuous serpentine stroke of the pen
terminating in a spiral stem. The diagonal arrangement of the trees
produces a chequer, the intervals of which can be varied by the
contrasting black masses of the birds.

[Illustration (f096b): Relief in Pattern Design by Means of Simple
Linear Contrasts (2), (3)]

In graphic drawing, lines to express forms in the relief of light and
shade are often needed to give additional force even where no great
degree of realism is desired. A tint formed by horizontal lines is
sufficient to relieve a face from the background and give it solidity,
while local colour may be given to the hair, and at the same time serve
to relieve the leaves of a wreath encircling the head (see illustration,
p. 178[f097a]).

[Illustration (f097a): Relief by Adding Shading Lines to Outline.]

The rich effect of clustered apples growing among their leaves could
hardly be suggested without the use of lines expressive of light and
shade, the interstices of the deepest shade running into solid black (p.
178[f097a]). In adding lines in this kind of way to give relief or extra
richness or force, the draughtsman is really designing a system of lines
upon his outline basis, which may have quite as decorative a quality as
the outline itself. At the same time nothing is more characteristic of
the artist than the way in which such lines are used, and of course the
choice of direction and arrangement of such lines will make all the
difference in the effect of the drawing.

                                                        [Diagonal Shading]

Where the object is to express the figure in broad masses of light and
shade, the use of a series of diagonal lines is an effective, and
probably the most ready and rapid, method when working with the pen (see
p. 179[f097b]). This system of expressing the broad surfaces of shade
was much used by the Italian masters of the Renaissance in their rapid
pen sketches and studies of figures, and a certain breadth and style is
given to their drawings owing in part to the simplicity of this linear

[Illustration (f097b): Relief of Form by Diagonal Shading.]


No doubt the simpler the system of line adopted in giving relief to
figures the better, if the particular expression aimed at is
accomplished, and, as a general rule, we should endeavour to get the
necessary force and depth without the use of cross-line, or many
different directions of line in shading a figure: but, given any power
of draughtsmanship, the individuality of the artist is bound to come in,
and it is not likely, nor is it to be desired, that any two artists in
line should give exactly the same account of natural fact, or reproduce
the images in their minds in the same forms, any more than we should
expect two writers to express their ideas in the same terms.

The kind and degree of emphasis upon different parts, the selection of
moment or fact, would all naturally make considerable differences in the
treatment. The three sketches of the skirt dancer are given as instances
of the different effects and expression to be obtained in rendering the
same subject (p. 181[f098]).

[Illustration (f098): Different Method and Different Emphasis in
Relieving Form by Shading Lines.[A, B, C]]

In A the broad relief of the white dress against the tones of the floor
and background, and the darker note of the hair, are the facts chiefly
dwelt upon. In B the form of the figure is brought out in broad light
and shade and cast shadow, and the dress relieved by radiating folds. In
C quicker movement is given, the lines of the successive wave-shaped
folds radiating spirally from the shoulders being the chief means of
conveying this, while the head and arms are thrown into strong relief
against a dark background, the cast shadow being of a lighter tone.

The direction of line used in relieving forms, and expressing modelling
and details, must depend much upon individual taste and feeling as well
as knowledge of form. The element of beauty of design also comes in, and
the question between this and force or literalness--the difference
between a study or direct transcript from nature, and a design with a
purely ornamental aim, or a composition directed mainly to the
expression of a particular idea or emotion.

Such considerations will ultimately determine the choice and use of
line, the degree of relief and emphasis, for these and the direction of
the line itself are the syllables and the words which will convey the
purport of the work to the mind of the beholder.

Study of the masters of line--Dürer, Titian, Mantegna, Holbein--will
inform us as to its capacities and limitations. The limitations, too, of
method and material will be a powerful factor in the determination of
style in the use of line and in the economy of its use.

The bold firm line suitable to the facsimile woodcut, the broad and
simple treatment of line with solid black useful in the plank-cut line
block to be used with colour blocks, the comparatively free and
unconditioned pen-drawing for the surface-printed process block--all
these will finally give a certain character to our work beyond our own
idiosyncrasies in the use of the pen or the brush.

[Illustration (f099): Albert Dürer's Principle in the Treatment of
Drapery: From the Woodcut in the "Life of the Virgin" Series.]

Useful things may be learned by the way, such as Albert Dürer's
principle of giving substance to his figures and details, more
especially seen in his treatment of drapery, when the lines run into
solid black and express the deeper folds and give emphasis and solidity
to the figure (p. 183[f099]). The reproductions here given of sketches
of drapery by Filippino Lippi and Raphael also show the same principle.

[Illustration (f100): Albert Dürer: Pen-Drawing.]

A figure or object of any kind, seen in full light and shade, is
relieved at any of its edges either as dark against light, or as light
against dark, and we recognize it as a solid form in this way; the
boundaries of natural light and shade defining it, and projecting it
from the background upon the vision. There may be infinite modulations,
of course, between the light part, the half-tones, and the darkest
parts; but this broad principle governs all work representing light and

[Illustration (f101): Filippino Lippi: Study of Drapery.]

It is, in fact, _the principle of the relief of form_ represented upon a
plane surface.

[Illustration (f102): Raphael: Studies of Drapery.]

                                         [Relief by Light and Shade Alone]

If the draughtsman's object be to represent the _appearance_ of a figure
or any object in full natural light and shade with the pen or other
point, he could do so without using outline at all, but by simply
observing this principle and defining the boundaries of light on dark or
half-tone in their proper masses and relations. The pen sketch of the
man with the hoe (p. 188[f103a]) is intended to illustrate this method.

[Illustration (f103a): Relief by Means of Light and Shade Alone, in
Pen-drawing Without Outline.]

There is also the method of representing form in relief by means of
working with white line only upon a dark ground, the modelling and
planes of surface being entirely expressed in this way (as in A, p.
189[f103b]). This may be termed drawing by means of _light_, and may be
contrasted with the opposite method of working by means of black line
only on a light ground, or drawing by means of _shade_ (as in B, p.

[Illustration (f103b): Relief of Form: (A) By White Line Only on Dark
Ground, and (B) By Black Line Only on Light Ground.]

Yet another method, and one in which the effect of relief can be
obtained more readily and rapidly, perhaps, is by working on a
half-toned paper, drawing in the form with pencil, chalk, or brush,
blocking in the darker shadows and heightening the highest lights with
touches of white. These white touches, however, should be strictly
limited to the highest lights. This method is represented by the
half-tone blocks used in this book, those which were taken from drawings
made on brown paper and touched with white.

                                         [The Principle of the Photograph]

The definition of form by means of light is strictly the principle of
the photograph, which comprehends and illustrates its complementary of
relief by means of shade, and I think it is due to the influence of the
photograph that modern black-and-white artists have so often worked
on these principles. The drawings of Frederick Walker and Charles Keene
may be referred to as examples. I shall, however, hope to return to this
branch of the subject later.

                                       [Relief in Architectural Mouldings]

So far we have been considering the relief of form by means of line. We
now come to what may be termed the relief of form by actual form and
plane, or modelling in actual light and shade, as in architecture and
sculptors' and carvers' work. Then relief is gained by the contrast of
actually different planes, forms, surfaces, and textures. The simplest
illustrations of the principles of modelled relief are to be found in
architectural mouldings, by means of which buildings are relieved and
enriched, and important structural or functional parts are emphasized,
as in cornices and ribs of vaults, arches, and openings.

Place a concave moulding side by side with a convex one either
horizontally or vertically, and a certain pleasant effect of contrasting
light and shade is the result, reminding one of the recurring concave
and convex of the rolling waves of the sea (A, p. 191[f104]).

A series of flat planes of different widths and at different levels also
produces a pleasant kind of relief useful in a picture frame or the jamb
of a door (B).

All architectural mouldings might be said to be modifications or
combinations of the principles illustrated by these two.

Very different feeling may be expressed in mouldings, and if we compare
the two types, the classical and the Gothic, the comparatively broad and
simple effect of the former (C, D, E, F, G) contrasts with the
richness and variety and the stronger effect of light and shade,
produced by deep undercutting, in the latter (H, I, J, K).

[Illustration (f104): Relief in Architectural Mouldings.]

The Romans, however, produced rich and highly ornate effects in the use
of these types of mouldings, as they reappeared in the Corinthian order,
the ovolo cut into the egg and dart, with the Astralagus beneath, the
Cyma recta above the brackets of the cornice casting a bold shadow, and
both in the cornice and the hollow beneath the dentils enriched with
carving, as seen in the splendid fragment of the Forum of Nerva.

[Illustration (f105): Roman Treatment of Corinthian Order, Forum of
Nerva, Rome.]

When we pass to the more complex problems of figure modelling and
sculpture, it is but carrying on and developing the same principle of
the contrast of planes, of the relief of plane upon plane, of forms upon
one plane, to forms upon forms in many planes. From the contrast of bead
and hollow we come to consider the contrast between the rounded limb and
the sinuous folds of drapery; from the rhythm of the acanthus scroll we
turn to the less obvious but none the less existing rhythm of the
sculptural frieze.

Line, we may say, controls the modeller's and sculptor's composition,
but form and its treatment in light and shade give him his means of
ornament. The delicate contours of faces and limbs contrasted with the
spiral and radiating folds of drapery, or rich clusters of leaves and
fruits, the forms of animals and the wings of birds--these are his
decorative resources.

                                                        [Egyptian Reliefs]

The early stages of sculpture in relief may be seen in the monumental
work of ancient Egypt.

Simple incised work appears to have been the first stage, and the
forms afterwards slightly modelled or rounded at the edges into the
hollow of the sunk outline.

Large figures and tables of hieroglyphic inscription were thus cut upon
vast mural surfaces, and carried across the joints of the masonry,
without disturbing the flatness and repose of the wall surface (p.
195[f106]). The Egyptians, indeed, seem to have treated their walls more
as if they were books for record and statement, symbol and hieroglyphic.

[Illustration (f106): Egyptian System of Sculptured Relief: Thebes.]

Messrs. Perrot and Chipiez, in their "History of Ancient Art in Egypt,"
speak of three processes in the treatment of Egyptian reliefs (vol. ii.,
p. 284):

1. That followed by the Greeks, in which the figures are left standing
out from a smooth bed, sometimes slightly hollowed near the contours
(see illustration, p. 196[fig106]).

2. Where the figures are modelled in relief in a sunk hollow, from an
inch to one and a half inch deep.

3. Where the surface of the figures and the bed or field of relief are
kept on one level (see illustration, p. 196[f107]), the contours
indicated by hollow lines cut into the stone; very little modelling,
little more than silhouette, in which the outline is shown by a hollow
instead of by the stroke of a pencil or brush.

One would be inclined to reverse the order of these three processes, on
the supposition that No. 3 was the earliest process, and that it arose,
as I have conjectured, from the practice of representing forms by
incised lines only.

There is certainly a strong family likeness as to method between the
Egyptian reliefs and the Assyrian, the Persian, and the archaic Greek;
and there is a far greater difference in treatment between archaic Greek
relief sculpture and the work of the Phidian period than between the
archaic work of the three races named.

The strictly mural and decorative conditions which governed ancient
sculpture no doubt gave to Greek sculpture in its perfection a certain
dignity, simplicity, and restraint, and also accounted in a great
measure for that rhythmic control of invisible structural and ornamental
line which asserts itself in such works as the Pan-Athenaic frieze. It
was strictly slab sculpture, and became part of the surface of the wall.

[Illustration (f107): Greek Relief. Eleusis. Egyptian Relief. Denderah.]

                                                        [Gothic Sculpture]

The structural and ornamental feeling also asserts itself strongly in
Gothic sculpture, owing to its close association with architecture, as,
when it was not an integral part of the structure, it was always an
essential part of the expression of the building, and it was this which
controlled its treatment decoratively, in its scale and its system and
degree of relief.

In the porches of the Gallo-Roman churches of France of the twelfth
century, the figures occupying the place of shafts became columnar in
treatment, the sinuous formalized draperies wrapped around the elongated
figures, or falling in vertical folds, as in the figures in the western
door of Chartres Cathedral (p. 199[f108]). The lines of the design of
the sculptured tympanum were strictly related to the space, and the
degree and treatment of the relief clearly felt in regard to the
architectural effect (p. 201[f109]).

[Illustration (f108): Chartres Cathedral: Carving on the West Front.]

[Illustration (f109): Chartres Cathedral: Tympanum of the Central Door
of the West Front.]

                                                 [Architectural Influence]

In the sculptured tombs of the Middle Ages, with their recumbent figures
and heraldic enrichments, again, we see this architectonic sense
influencing the treatment of form and relief, as these monuments were
strictly architectural decorations, often incorporating its forms and
details, and often built into the structure of the church or cathedral
itself, as in the case of the recessed and canopied tombs of the
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.

As sculptures became detached from the building and wall, and appeared
in full relief in the round, though still, as it were, carrying a
reminiscence of their origin with them in the shape of the moulded
pedestal, architectural control became less and less felt, statues in
consequence being less and less related to their surroundings. The
individual feeling of the sculptor or the traditions of his school and
training alone influenced his treatment, until we get the incidental and
dramatic or sentimental isolated figure or group of modern days.

                                                        [Medals and Coins]

It is noteworthy, however, that even in the smaller works of the
modeller, carver, or sculptor of the Middle Ages or the early
Renaissance, a sense of decorative fitness and structural sense is
always present. We see it in the carved ornaments of seats and
furniture, in the design and treatment of coins and seals and gems and
medals. These latter from the time of the ancient Greeks afford
beautiful examples of the decorative treatment of relief in strict
relation to the object and purpose. The skill and taste of the Greeks
seemed to have been largely inherited by the artists of the earlier
Italian Renaissance, such as Pisano, whose famous medal of the Malatesta
of Rimini affords a splendid instance not only of the treatment of the
portrait and subject on the reverse perfectly adapted to its method and
purpose, but also of the artistic use of lettering as a decorative
feature (see p. 203[f110]).

[Illustration (f110): Medals of the Lords of Mantua, Cesena, and
Ferrara, by Vittore Pisano of Verona (Middle of the Fifteenth Century).]

The treatment and relief of figures and heads upon the plane surfaces of
metals and coins, the composition controlled by the circular form, have
always been a fine test of both modelling and decorative skill and
taste. Breadth is given by a flatness in the treatment of successive
planes of low relief, which rise to their highest projection from the
ground, in the case of a head in profile, about its centre. The delicate
perception of the relation of the planes of surface is important, as
well as the decorative effect to be obtained by arrangement of the light
and shade masses and the contrast of textures, such as hair and the
folds of drapery, to the smooth contours of faces and figures, and the
rectangular forms of lettering.

In gems we see the use made of the concave ground, which gives an
effective relief to the figure design in convex upon it. Bolder
projection of prominent parts are here necessary in contrast to the
retiring planes, the work being on so small a scale, and also in view of
its seal-like character; for, of course, it is the method of producing
form by incision, and modelling by cutting and hollowing out, that gives
the peculiar character to gems and seals; and it is in forming human
figures that the building up of the form by a series of ovals, spoken of
in a previous chapter, becomes really of practical value: the method of
hollowing the stone or metal in cutting the gem or making a die and
the character of the tool leading naturally in that direction.

                                                 [Desiderio di Settignano]

Perhaps the most delicate and beautiful kind of sculptured or modelled
relief is to be found in the work of the Florentine school of the
fifteenth century, more especially that of Donatello and Desiderio di
Settignano, who seem indeed to have caught the feeling and spirit of the
best Greek period, with fresh inspiration and suggestion from nature and
the life around them, as well as an added charm of grace and sweetness.

It is difficult to imagine that marble carving in low relief can be
carried to greater perfection than it is in the well-known small relief
by Desiderio di Settignano of the "Madonna and Child," now in the
Italian Court of the South Kensington Museum. The delicate yet firmly
chiselled faces and hands, the smooth surfaces of the flesh, and the
folds of drapery, emerging from, or sinking into, the varied planes of
the ground, for refinement of feeling and treatment seem almost akin to
the art of the painter in the tenderness of their expression.

                               CHAPTER VIII

    Of the Expression of Relief in Line-drawing--Graphic Aim and
    Ornamental Aim--Superficial Appearance and Constructive
    Reality--Accidents and Essentials--Representation and Suggestion
    of Natural Form in Design--The Outward Vision and the Inner

I have already said that when we add lines or tints of shadow, local
colour or surface, to an outline drawing, we are seeking to express form
in a more complete way than can be done in outline alone. These added
lines or tints give what we call relief. That is their purpose and
function, whether by that added relief we wish to produce an ornamental
effect or simply to approach nearer to the full relief of nature, for of
course the degrees of relief are many.

                                                  [Relief in Line-Drawing]

What may be called the natural principle of relief--that system of light
and shade by which a figure or any solid object is perceived as such by
the eye--consists in each part of the form being thrown into more or
less contrast by appearing as dark on light upon its background, more
especially at its edges. A figure wholly dark, say in black drapery,
appearing against a light ground, might be supposed to be flat if no
cast shadow was seen; the same with the reverse--a light figure upon a
dark ground--except that in this latter case, unless the light was very
level and flat, a certain concentration of light upon the highest parts,
or indicating a modulation of shadow in interstices, might betray its
solidity (see p. 206[f111a]).

[Illustration (f111a): The Two Principles of Contrast in Black and

But if we place a figure so that the light falls from one side, we
perceive that it at once stands out in bold relief in broad planes of
light and shade, further emphasized by cast shadows (p. 207[f111b]).

[Illustration (f111b): Treatment of the Same Figure in Light and Shade.]

It would be possible to represent or to express a figure or object so
lighted by means of laying in the modulations and planes of shadow only,
or by means of adding the light only on a toned ground. In sketching in
black and white, it is a good plan to accustom oneself to complete as
one goes along, as far as may be, putting in outline and shadow
together; but this needs a power of direct drawing and a correctness of
eye only to be gained by continual practice. A slight preliminary basis
of light lines to indicate the position and proportions, and yet not
strong enough to need rubbing out, is also a good method for those who
do not feel certain enough for the absolutely direct method of drawing.

[Illustration (f112): Expression of Form by Light and Shade: (1) Light
and Shade Without Outline; (2) Light and Shade Enforced by Outline.]

Now in drawing, as I think I have pointed out before, no less than in
all art, there are two main governing principles of working which may be

     I. The graphic aim.
    II. The ornamental or decorative aim.

                                                         [The Graphic Aim]

The graphic aim--the endeavour to represent a form exactly as it
appears--a power always valuable to acquire whatever may be our ultimate
purpose, leaves the draughtsman great freedom in the choice and use
of line, or other means of obtaining relief, local tint, and tone.

In line-work the broad relief of the flat tones of shadow may be
expressed in lines approaching the straight, diagonally sloping from
right to left, or from left to right, as seems most natural to the
action of the hand.

The quality of our lines will depend upon the quality we are seeking to
express. We shall be led to vary them in seeking to express other
characteristics, such as textures and surfaces.

In drawing fur or feathers, for instance, we should naturally vary the
quality and direction of line, using broken lines and dots for the
former, and flowing smooth fine lines for the latter, while extra force
and relief would be gained by throwing them up upon solid black grounds.
Solid black, also, to represent local colour, or material such as
velvet, is often valuable as a contrast in black and white line-drawing,
giving a richness of effect not to be obtained in any other way (see No.
2, p. 213[f114]). Its value was appreciated by the early German and
Italian book-illustrators, and in our own time has been used almost to
excess by some of our younger designers, who have been largely
influenced by Hokusai and other Japanese artists, who are always skilful
in the use of solid blacks.

[Illustration (f113): Linear Expression of Features, Feathers and Fur:
Notes from Nature.]

In line-drawing a very useful principle to observe, to give solidity to
figures and objects, is to let one's lines--say of drapery or
shadow--run into solid blacks in the deepest interstices of the forms,
as when folds of drapery are wrapped about a figure, or in the deeper
folds themselves (No. 1, p. 213[f114]).

[Illustration (f114): Sketches to Illustrate (1) The Graphic and (2) The
Decorative Treatment of Draped Figures.]

                                                      [The Ornamental Aim]

I have spoken of the graphic and the ornamental aims as distinct, and so
they may for practical purposes be regarded; although in some cases it
is possible to combine a considerable amount of graphic force with
decorative effect, and even in purely graphic art there should always be
the controlling influence of the sense of composition which must be felt
throughout all forms of art.

For the simplest ornamental function, however, very little graphic
drawing is needed, over and above the very essential power of definition
by pure outline, and feeling for silhouette; but a sense for the relief
of masses upon a ground or field, and of the proportions and relations
of lines and masses or distribution of quantities, is essential. Now an
ornamental effect may be produced by the simple repetition of some form
defined in outline arranged so as to fall into a rhythmic series of

A series of birds upon a plan of this kind, for instance, would form a
frieze on simple bordering in abstract line alone, and might be quite
sufficient for some purposes. The same thing would be capable of more
elaborate treatment and different effect by relieving the birds upon a
darker ground, by defining the details of their forms more, or by
alternating them in black or white, or by adopting the simple principle
of counterchange (see p. 215[f115]).

[Illustration (f115): Decorative Treatment of Birds.]

Flowers or figures would be capable of the same simple and abstract
treatment; and almost any form in nature, reduced to its simplest
elements of recurring line and mass, and rhythmically disposed, would
give us distinct decorative motives.

                                                      [The Ornamental Aim]

It is quite open to the designer to select his lines and forms straight
from nature, and, bearing in mind the necessity for selection of the
best ornamental elements, for a certain simplification, and the
rhythmical treatment before mentioned, it is good to do so, as the work
is more likely to have a certain freshness than if some of the
well-known historic forms of ornament are used again. We may, however,
learn much from the ornamental use of these forms, and use similar forms
as the boundaries of the shape of our pattern units and masses.

It is good practice to take a typical shape such as the Persian
radiating flower or pine-apple, and use it as the plan for quite a
different structure in detail, taking some familiar English flower as
our motive. The same with the Indian and Persian palmette type. It is
also desirable, as before pointed out, to draw sprays within formal
boundaries for ornamental use. By such methods we may not only learn to
appreciate the ornamental value of such forms, but by such adaptation
and re-combination produce new varieties of ornament (see p. 217[f116]).

[Illustration (f116): Floral Designs Upon Typical Inclosing Shapes of
Indian and Persian Ornament.]

We may perceive how distinct are the two aims as between simple graphic
drawing, or delineation, and what we call design, or conscious
arrangements of line or form. While planes of relief, varied form and
surface, values of light and shade, and accidental characteristics are
rather the object with the graphic draughtsman, typical form and
structure, and recurring line and mass, are sought for by the
ornamentist. Both series of facts, or qualities, or characteristics, are
in nature.


Judicious selection, however, is the test of artistic treatment;
selection, that is, with a view to the aim and scope of the work. The
truth of superficial appearance or accidental aspect is _one_ sort of
truth: the truth of the actual constructive characteristics--be they of
figure, flower, or landscape--is _another_. Both belong to the thing we
see--to the object we are drawing; but we shall dwell upon one truth or
set of truths rather than the other, in accordance with our particular
artistic aim, though, whatever this may be, and in whatever direction it
may lead us, we shall find that selection of some sort will be

In making studies, however pure and simple, the object of which is to
discover facts and to learn mastery of form, our aim should be to get as
much truth as we can, truth of structure as well as of aspect. But these
(as far as we can make them) exhaustive studies should be accompanied or
followed by analytical studies made from different points of view and
for different purposes.

Studies, for instance, made with a view to arrangements of _line_
only--to get the characteristic and beautiful lines of a figure, a
momentary attitude, the lines of a flower, or a landscape: studies with
a view, solely, to the understanding of structure and form, or again,
with the object of seizing the broad relations of light and shade, or
tone and colour--all are necessary to a complete artistic education of
the eye.

                                                [Accidents and Essentials]

If we are drawn as students rather towards the picturesque and graphic
side of art, we shall probably look for accidents of line and form
more than what I should call the essentials, or _typical_ line and form,
which are the most valuable to the decorative designer.

In both directions some compact or compromise with nature is necessary
in any really artistic re-presentation.

The painter and the sculptor often seek as _complete representation_ as
possible, and what may be called complete representation is within the
range of their resources. Yet unless some individual choice or feeling
impresses the work of either kind it is not a _re-presentation_, but
becomes an _imitation_, and therefore inartistic.

The decorative designer and ornamentist seek to _suggest_ rather than to
_re-present_, though the decorator's suggestion of natural form, taking
only enough to suit or express the particular ornamental purpose, must
be considered also as a re-presentation. How much, or how little, he
will take of actual nature must depend largely upon his resources, his
object, and the limitations of his material--the conditions of his work
in short; but his range may be as wide as from the flat silhouetted
forms of stencils or simple inlays to the highly-wrought mural painting.

Design motive, individual conception and sentiment, apart from material,
must, of course, always affect the question of the choice and degree of
representation of nature. The painter will sometimes feel that he only
wants to suggest forms, such as figures or buildings, half veiled in
light and atmosphere, colours and forms in twilight, or half lost in
luminous depths of shadow.

[Illustration (f117a): Dancing Figure with the Governing Lines of the

[Illustration (f117b): Lines of Floral Growth and Structure: Lily and

                                     [The Outward Vision and Inner Vision]

The decorative designer will sometimes want to emphasize forms with the
utmost force and realism at his command, as in some crisp bit of carving
or emphatic pattern, to give point and relief in his scheme of

There is no hard-and-fast rule in art, only general principles,
constantly varied in practice, from which all principles spring, and
into which, if vital, they ought to be capable of being again resolved.

But a design once started upon some principle--some particular motive of
line or form--then, in following this out, it will seem to develop
almost a life or law of growth of its own, which as a matter of logical
necessity will demand a particular treatment--a certain natural
consistency or harmony--from its main features down to the smallest
detail as a necessity of its existence.

We might further differentiate art as, on the one hand, the image of the
_outward vision_, and, on the other, as the outcome or image of the
_inner vision_.

The first kind would include all portraiture, by which I mean faithful
portrayal or transcript whether of animate or inanimate nature; while
the second would include all imaginative conceptions, decorative
designs, and pattern inventions.

The outward vision obviously relies upon what the eye perceives in
nature. Its virtue consists in the faithfulness and truth of its graphic
record, in the penetrating force of observation of fact, and the
representative power by which they are reproduced on paper or canvas,
clay or marble.

[Illustration (f118a): 1 and 2, Mountain and Crag Sculpture: Coast
Lines, Gulf of Nauplia.]

[Illustration (f118b): Lines of Movement in Water: Shallow Stream Over

The image of the inner vision is also a record, but of a different order
of fact. It may be often of unconscious impressions and memories which
are retained and recur with all or more than the vividness of
actuality--the tangible forms of external nature calling up answering,
but not identical, images in the mind, like reflections in a mirror or
in still water, which are similar but never the same as the objects they

But the inner vision is not bound by the appearances of the particular
moment. It is the record of the sum of many moments, and retains the
typical impress of multitudinous and successive impressions--like the
composite photograph, where faces may be printed one over another until
the result is a more typical image than any individual one taken

The inner vision sees the results of time rather than the impressions of
the moment. It sees _space_ rather than landscape: race rather than men:
spirits rather than mortals: types rather than individuals.

The inner vision hangs the mind's house with a mysterious tapestry of
figurative thoughts, a rich and fantastic imagery, a world where the
elements are personified, where every tree has its dryad, and where the
wings of the winds actually brush the cheek.

The inner vision re-creates rather than represents, and its virtue
consists in the vividness and beauty with which, in the language of
line, form, and colour, these visions of the mind are recorded and
presented to the outward eye.

There is often fusion here again between two different tendencies,
habits of mind, or ways of regarding things. In all art the mind must
work through the eye, whether its force appears in closeness of
observation or in vivid imaginings. The very vividness of realization
even of the most faithful portraiture is a testimony to mental powers.

The difference lies really in the _focus_ of the mental force; and, in
any case, the language of line and form we use will neither be forcible
or convincing, neither faithful to natural fact nor true to the
imagination, without close and constant study of external form and of
its structure as well as its aspect.

                                CHAPTER IX

    Of the Adaptation of Line and Form in Design, in various
    materials and methods--Mural Decoration--Fresco-work of the
    Italian Painters--Modern Mural Work--Mural Spacing and pattern
    Plans--Scale--The Skirting--The Dado--Field of the Wall--The
    Frieze--Panelling--Tapestry--Textile Design--Persian Carpets--
    Effect of Texture on Colour--Prints--Wall-paper--Stained Glass.

We have been considering hitherto the choice and use of line and form,
and various methods of their representation in drawing, both from the
point of view of the graphic draughtsman and that of the ornamental

We now come to consider the subject solely from the latter standpoint
(the point of view of ornamental design); and it will be useful to
endeavour to trace the principles governing the selection of form and
use of line as influenced by some of the different methods and
conditions of craftsmanship, and as adapted to various decorative

                                                        [Mural Decoration]

The most important branch of decorative art may be said to be mural
decoration, allied as it is with the fundamental constructive art of
all--architecture, from which it obtains its determining conditions and
natural limitations.

Its history in the past is one of splendour and dignity, and its record
includes some of the finest art ever produced. The ancient Asiatic
nations were well aware of its value not only as decoration but as a

[Illustration (f119): Giotto: "Chastity" (Lower Church, Assisi).]

The palace and temple and tomb-walls of ancient Egypt, Persia, and
Assyria vividly illustrate the life and ideas of those peoples, while
they conform to mural conditions. The painted council halls and churches
of the Middle Ages fulfil the same purpose in a different spirit; but
mural decoration in its richest, most imaginative and complete form was
developed in Italy, from the time of Giotto, whose famous works at the
Arena Chapel at Padua and Assisi are well known, to the time of Michael
Angelo, who in the sublime ceiling of the Sistine Chapel seemed to touch
the extreme limits of mural work, and in fact might be said to have
almost _defied_ them, painting mouldings in relief and in perspective
to form the framework of pictures where figures on different scales are
used. In the Sistine Chapel the series of earlier frescoes on the lower
wall by Botticelli, Lorenzo di Credi, Ghirlandajo, Pinturicchio, and
other Florentine painters of the fifteenth century are really more
strictly mural in feeling, and safer as guides in general treatment,
than the work of the great master himself. They have much of the repose
and richness as well as the quiet decorative effect of tapestry.

                                         [Fresco-Work of Italian Painters]

The frescoes in the Palazzo Publico at Siena, Pinturicchio's work in the
Piccolomini Chapel and the Appartimenti Borgia, the Campo Santo at Pisa
and the Riccardi Chapel of Benozzo Gozzoli at Florence, may be mentioned
as among the gems of mural painting.

                                                       [Modern Mural Work]

We have but little important mural painting in this country. Doubtless,
from various traces discovered under Puritan whitewash, the walls of our
mediæval churches were painted as frequently as in continental
countries, but so completely did artistic tradition and religious
sentiment change after the Reformation that the opportunities have been
few and the encouragement less for mural painting. An attempt to revive
fresco-painting was made in our Houses of Parliament, and various scenes
from our national history have been rendered with varying degrees of
merit; but they have chiefly demonstrated the need of continuous
practice in such work on the part of our painters and the absence of a
true decorative instinct.

[Illustration (f120): Pinturicchio: Mural Painting (Piccolomini Chapel,

It is to the honour of Manchester that her Town Hall contains one of
the most important and interesting pieces of mural painting by one of
the most original of modern English artists--Ford Madox Brown--a work
conceived in the true spirit of mural work, being a record of local
history, as well as a decoration, while distinctly modern in sentiment
and showing strong dramatic feeling, as well as historical knowledge.

The chapel on which Mr. F. J. Shields is engaged in London will probably
be unique in its way as a complete piece of mural decoration by an
English artist of singular individuality, sincerity, and power, as well
as decorative ability.

But unfortunately opportunities for important mural decoration of this
kind are very rare in England. The art is not popularized: we have no
school of trained mural designers, and we have no public really
interested. Our commercial system and system of house tenure are against
it. Our only chance is in public buildings, which indeed have always
been its best field. Yet we neglect, I think, a most important
educational influence. The painted churches and public halls of the
Middle Ages filled in a great measure the place of public libraries. A
painted history, a portrait, a dramatic or romantic incident told in the
vivid language of line, form, and colour, is stamped upon the memory
never to be forgotten. It would be possible, I think, to impart a
tolerably exact knowledge of the sequence of history, of the conditions
of life at different epochs, of great men and their work, from a
well-imagined series of mural paintings, without the aid of books; and
in this direction, perhaps, our school walls would present an
appropriate field.

Modern opportunities of mural decoration are chiefly domestic. The
country mansion, or the modest home of the suburban citizen, affords the
principal field in our time for the exercise of the taste or ingenuity
of the wall-decorator. In this comparatively restricted field, taste is
perhaps of more consequence than any other quality. A sense of
appropriateness, a harmonizing faculty, a power of arrangement of simple
materials--these are invaluable, for, more than any others, they go to
the making of a livable interior.

                                         [Mural Spacing and Pattern Plans]

On first thought it would almost seem as if the designer was less
technically restricted in this direction of mural work than any other;
yet he will soon feel that he cannot produce an artistic and thoughtful
scheme without taking many things into consideration which really belong
to the conditions or natural limitations of his work.

There is, firstly, the idea of the wall itself--part of the
house-structure--a shelter and protection or boundary. It is no part of
a designer's business to put anything upon the wall in the way of
decoration which will induce anyone to forget that it is a wall--nothing
to disturb the flatness and repose.

The four walls of a room inclose a space to dwell in, in comfort and
security. The windows show us outward real life and nature. The walls
should not compete with the windows. Nature must be translated into the
terms of line and form and colour, and invention and fancy may be
pleasantly suggestive in the harmonious metre and rhythm of pattern.

A wall surface extends horizontally and vertically, but the vertical
extension seems to assert itself most to the eye.

Any arrangement of lines of the trellis or diaper order logically covers
a wall surface, and may be appropriately used as a basis for a wall
pattern, whether merely to mark the positions of a simple spray or
formal sprig pattern, or as a ground-plan for a completely filled field
of repeating ornament, whether painted, stencilled, or in the form of
wall-paper or textile hanging.

In the simple geometric net of squares or diamonds or circles, however,
there is nothing that emphatically marks adaptability to a vertical
position. Such plans in themselves are equally appropriate to the floor
in the form of paving and parquet. The ogee plan, however, and its
variant, the vertical serpentine or spiral plan, at once suggest
vertical extension, the former perhaps by its leaf-like points arranging
themselves scale-wise, and the latter by its suggestion of ascending

It is noteworthy that in the course of the historic evolution of mural
decoration, designs based upon these systems constantly recur. They are
part of the pattern-designer's vocabulary of line, and among the
principal, though simplest, terms by which he is able to express
vertical extension.

The question of _scale_ in designing mural decoration of any sort is
very important. This demands a certain power of realizing the effect of
certain lines and masses if carried out, and the relation of one part to
another as well as to the dimensions of the walls and the room itself.
Here, as indeed throughout art, a reference to the human figure will
give us our key, since after all decoration goes to form a background
for humanity. With natural flowers and leaves it is always right to
design for mural purposes on the same scale as nature.

[Illustration (f121): Diagram Showing the Principal Fundamental Plans or
Systems of Line Governing Mural Spacing and Decorative Distribution.]


Scale in design should be also considered in relation to the general
character of a building and its purpose, the use and lighting of a
living room: its dimensions and proportions, and relation to other
rooms. There is great range for individual taste and fancy.

The artist would naturally look to the capacity of the space which he
had to decorate, and what it suggested to his mind. He might want to
emphasize a long, low room by horizontal lines, or to accentuate a lofty
one by verticals.

[Illustration (f122): Diagram to Show (1) How the Apparent Depth of a
Space Is Increased by the Use of Vertical Lines, and (2) How the
Apparent Width Is Increased by the Use of Horizontal Lines.]

By the judicious use of line and scale in design, the designer holds a
certain power of transformation in his hands, not to speak of the
transforming effect of colour of different keys and tones, the apparent
contraction or expansion of surfaces by patterns of different character
and scale.

It would obviously not do to regard any wall merely as so much expanse
of surface available for sketching unrelated groups and figures upon, as
they might be jotted down in a sketch-book, and to offer it as
decoration. In an interior thus treated, we should lose all sense of
repose, dignity, and proportion.

Use and custom, which fix and determine so many things in social life
without written laws, have also prescribed certain divisions of the
wall, which, in regard to the exigencies of life and habit and modern
conditions generally, seem natural enough.

                                                            [The Skirting]

The lower parts of the walls of most modern dwellings being generally
occupied by furniture placed against them, and liable to be soiled or
injured, it would be out of place to put important and elaborate
ornament or figure designs extending to the skirting. The wooden
skirting, of about nine inches or a foot in depth, which is placed along
the foot of the wall in our modern rooms, is the armour-plating to
protect the plaster, which otherwise might be chipped and litter the
floor. It is perhaps the last relic of the more substantial and
extensive wood panelling and wainscotting which, up to the latter part
of the last century, covered the lower walls of the more comfortable
houses, and has been revived in our own day. The decorator may use
panelling, or wainscotting, or a simple chair-rail above plain painting,
wall-paper, dado, or stencilling, or a dado of matting, as methods of
covering, and at the same time decorating, the lower walls of rooms.

The use of the dado of a darker colour and of wainscot is, no doubt, due
to considerations of wear and tear, and so, like the origin of much
ornamental art, may be traced to actual use and constructive necessity.
When the wood-work of a room--the doors and window frames--is of the
same colour and character as the dado, a certain agreeable unity is
preserved, and it forms a useful plain framing to set off the patterned
parts of the wall. This wainscot or dado framing with the wood-work
should be as to colour arranged to suit the general scheme adopted.
Where paint is used, white for the wood-work usually has the best

                                                       [Field of the Wall]

The largest space of wall occurs above the chair-rail, or dado, and,
according to modern habits and usage, portable property in the shape of
framed pictures, etc., is usually placed here along the eye-line, so
that any decoration on this--the main field of the wall--is regarded as
subsidiary to what is placed upon it; but, of course, pictures can be
used as the central points of a decorative scheme. On the upper part of
a wall, below the plaster cornice, the mural designer has the chance of
putting a frieze, and a frieze usually gives the effect of additional
height to a room, besides enriching the wall.

[Illustration (f123): Decorative Spacing of the Wall: Sketches (to
1/2-in. Scale) to Show Different Treatment and Proportions.]

An effective treatment of a large room, and one which is more reposeful
than cutting up the wall into these portions, as in dado, field, and
frieze, is to carry up wood panelling to the frieze, and let this (the
frieze) be the important decorative feature.

Supposing the room was twelve feet high, one could afford to have eight
feet of panelling, and then a frieze of four feet deep. In this case one
would look for an interesting painted frieze of figures--some legend or
story to run along the four sides of the room, and in such a case it
might be marked with considerable pictorial freedom.

More formal figure design or ornamental work in coloured plaster-work,
stucco, and gesso could also be appropriately used in such a position,
as also on the ceiling.

Now as regards choice of line and form in their relation to the
decoration of such mural spaces. Taking the lower wall, dado, or
panelling, one reason why panelling has so agreeable an effect is, I
think, that the series of vertical and horizontal lines seem to express
the proportions, while they emphasize the flatness and repose of the
wall, and when used beneath a painted frieze they lead the eye upwards,
forming a quiet framing of rectangular lines below to the ornate and
varied design of the frieze. Where we are limited to decorating a wall
by means of plain painting, stencils, or wall-paper, this idea of
reposeful constructive lines and forms on the lower wall should still
dominate upon the field. Subject to our repeating plan we may be freer
both in line and form, using free scrolls, branch-work, fruit, and
flower masses at pleasure, because the space is more extended, and we
shall feel the necessity in a repeating pattern of spreading adequately
over it; but such designs, however fine in detail, should be constructed
upon a more or less geometric base or plan. We are, as regards the main
field of the wall, still unavoidably, though not disadvantageously,
influenced by the tradition of the textile hanging or arras tapestry, no
doubt; and certainly there is no more rich and comfortable lining for
living rooms than tapestry, or, at the same time, more reposeful and
decoratively satisfying. But, of course, where we can afford arras
tapestry (such as the superb work of William Morris and his weavers), we
ought not to allow anything to compete with it upon the same wall. It is
sufficient in itself.

[Illustration (f128): Arras Tapestry: Diagrams to Show the Principle of
Working and Surface Effect: (1) Vertical Position of Warp as Worked in
the Loom and Relief Effect of the Wefts; (2) Enlarged Section of Warp as
Hung (Horizontal); (3) Single Threads of Warp and Weft; (4) Warp and
Weft as in the Loom (Vertical).]


Of what splendour of colour and wealth of decorative and symbolical
invention tapestry was capable in the past may be seen in magnificent
Burgundian specimens of the fifteenth century, now in the South
Kensington Museum.

Tapestry hangings of a repeating pattern and quiet colour could be used
appropriately beneath painted upper walls, or a frieze, as no doubt
frequently was the custom in great houses in the Middle Ages.

                                                     [Appartimenti Borgia]

In the Appartimenti Borgia in the Vatican, for instance, which consists
of lofty vaulted rooms with frescoes by Pinturicchio upon the upper
walls between the spans of the vaulting, and upon the vaulting itself,
we may see, about eleven feet from the floor, along the moulding, the
hooks left for the tapestry hangings, which completed the decoration of
the room. The lower walls are now largely occupied by book-shelves; but
books themselves may form a pleasant background, as one may often
observe in libraries, especially when the bindings are rich and good in
tone: and here, too, we get our verticals and horizontals again.

[Illustration (f125): Pinturicchio: Fresco in the Appartimenti Borgia.]

So long as the feeling for the repose and flatness of the wall surface
is preserved, there are no special limitations in the choice of form. It
becomes far more a matter of _treatment of form and subject_ in
perfectly appropriate mural design. There is one principle, however,
which seems to hold good in the treatment of important figure subjects
to occupy the main wall surfaces as panels: while pictorial realization
of a kind may be carried quite far, it is desirable to avoid large
masses of light sky, or to attempt much in the way of atmospheric
effect. It is well to keep the horizon high, and, if sky is shown, to
break it with architecture and trees.

Still more important is it to observe this in tapestry. It is very
noticeable how tapestry design declined after the fifteenth century or
early years of the sixteenth, when perspective and pictorial planes were
introduced, and sky effects to emulate painting, and thus the peculiarly
mural feeling was lost, with its peculiar beauty, richness, and repose.

[Illustration (f124): Figure of Laura, from the Burgundian Tapestries:
The Triumphs of Petrarch (South Kensington Museum).]

In the translation into tapestry even of so tapestry-like a picture as
that of Botticelli's "Primavera," it is noteworthy how Mr. Morris has
felt the necessity of reducing the different planes, and the chiaroscuro
of the painting, by more leafy and floral detail; making it, in short,
more of a pattern than a picture.

                                                              [The Frieze]

A frieze is susceptible of a much more open, lighter, and freer
treatment than a field. A frieze is one of the mural decorator's
principal means of giving lightness and relief to his wall. In purely
floral and ornamental design the field of close pattern, formal diaper,
or sprigs at regular intervals may be appropriately relieved by bolder
lines and masses, and a more open treatment in the frieze. The frieze,
too, affords a means of contrast in line to the line system of the field
of the wall, its horizontal expression usefully opposing the verticals
or diagonals of the wall pattern below. The frieze may be regarded as a
horizontal border, and in border designs the principle of transposition
of the relation of pattern to ground is a useful one to bear in mind, as
leading always to an effective result. I mean, supposing our field shows
a pattern mainly of light upon dark, the frieze might be on the reverse
plan, a dark pattern on a light ground.

And whereas, as I have said, one would exclude wide light spaces from
our mural field, in the frieze one might effectively show a light sky
ground throughout, and arrange a figure or floral design upon that.

The principle governing the treatment of main and lower wall spaces or
fields, which teaches the designer to preserve the repose of the
surface, may be said to rule also in all textile design, and textile
design has, as we have seen in the form of tapestry, and hangings of all
kinds, a very close association with mural decoration.

                                                          [Textile Design]

Any textile may be considered, from the designer's point of view, as
presenting so much _surface_ for pattern, whether that surface is hung
upon a wall, or curtains a door or a window, or is spread in the form of
carpets or rugs upon floors, or over the cushions of furniture, or
adapts itself to the variety of curve surface and movement of the human
form in dress materials and costume. Textile beauty is beauty of
material and surface, and unless the pattern or design upon it or woven
with it enhances that beauty of material and surface, and becomes a part
of the expression of that material and surface, it is better without

[Illustration (f126): Portion of Detail of the Holy Carpet of the Mosque
of Ardebil: Persian, Sixteenth Century.]

To place informal shaded flowers and leaves upon a carpet, for instance,
where the warp is very emphatic, and the process of weaving necessitates
a stepped or rectangularly broken outline, is to mistake appropriate
decorative effect, capacity of material, and position in regard to the
eye. We cannot get away, in a carpet, from the idea of a flat field
starred with more or less formal flowers, and colour arrangements which
owe their richness and beauty, not to the relief of shading, but to the
heraldic principle of relieving one tint or colour upon another. The
rich inlay of colour which a Persian or any Eastern carpet presents is
owing to its being designed upon this principle; and in Persian work
that peculiarly rich effect of colour, apart from fine material, is
owing to the principle of the use of outlines of different colours
defining and relieving the different forms in the pattern upon different
grounds. The rectangular influence arising from the technical conditions
of the work gives a definite textile character to the design which is
very agreeable; besides, as a question of line and form, in a carpet or
rug which is rectangular in shape and laid usually upon rectangular
floors, the squareness of form harmonizes with the conditions and
surroundings of the work in use. The Persian designer, indeed, appears
to be so impressed with this feeling, that he uses a succession of
borders around the central field of his carpet or rug, still further
emphasizing the rectangularity; while he avoids the too rigid effect of
a series of straight lines which the crossing of the threads of the weft
at right angles to the warp might cause, by changing the widths of his
subsidiary borders and breaking them with a constant variety of small
patterns, and inserting narrow white lines between the black lines of
the border.

[Illustration (f127): Sketch to Illustrate Treatment of Borders in a
Persian Rug.]

                                             [Effect of Texture on Colour]

In tapestry the effect of the emphatic warp worked vertically in the
loom, but hung horizontally, has a very important influence upon the
effect. If we took a piece of paper coloured with a flat even tint, and
folded it in ridges, the quality of the tint would be at once changed,
and so in tapestry the passing of the wool of the wefts, which form the
pattern or picture, over the strong lines of the warp--which are broad
enough to take the outlines of the cartoon upon them--produces that soft
and varied play of colour--really colour in light and shade--which, over
and above the actual dyes and artistic selection of tints, gives the
peculiar charm and effect in tapestry.

This sheen and variety are more or less evident in all textiles, and a
good textile pattern only adds to the variety and richness of the
surface. The different thicknesses or planes of surface and the
difference of their texture caused by the different wefts being brought
to the surface of the cloth or silk (from the simplest contrast of
line presented by the simplest arrangements of warp and weft, to the
complexities of many-coloured silk stuffs and brocade) alone give a
value to the surface pattern.

In cut velvet the same principle of contrast of surface is emphasized
still further, the rich deep nap of the less raised parts contrasting
pleasantly with the mat effect of the ground.

In designs for such material one should aim at boldly blocked-out
patterns in silhouette--bold leaf and fruit forms say--designed on the
principle of the stencil.


With prints the range is of course freer, the material itself suggesting
something lighter and more temporary. It seems highly probable that
printed cotton was originally a substitute for embroidered linen or more
sumptuous materials. There are certainly instances of very similar
patterns in Indian and Persian work in silk embroidery, and also in
printed cotton. In some cases the print is partly embroidered, which
seems to mark a transitional stage, and recalls the lingering use of
illumination in the early days of the printing press, in another
department of art.

Anything that will repeat as a pattern in what can be produced by line,
dot, and tints of colour, and engraved upon wood-blocks or copper
rollers, can be printed of course; and, as is generally the case with an
art which has no very obvious technical limitations, it is liable to be
caught by the imitative spirit, and cheap and rapid production and
demand for novelties (so-called) generally end in loss of taste and
deterioration of quality, especially in design. From the artistic point
of view we can only correct this by bearing in mind similar
considerations to those which hold good as general principles and guides
in designing for textiles generally, having regard to the object,
purpose, and position--to the ultimate use of the material, and
differentiating our designs, as in the case of other textile design

Thus in the matter of plan and direction of line and character of form
we shall at once find natural distinctions and divisions, as our design
is for hanging, or spreading horizontally, or wearing; and these
different functions will also determine scale and choice and treatment
of form and colour.

There is no doubt that with patterns printed more range may be allowed
than with patterns to be woven, where line and form are both controlled
by the necessities of being reproduced by so many points to the inch. At
the same time the object of all design and pattern work being the
greatest beauty compatible with the material and conditions, one should
seek, not such effects as merely test the capacity or ingenuity of the
machine, but rather such as appear to be most decoratively appropriate
and effective.

There appears to be no _mechanical_ reason why cotton should not be
printed all over with landscapes and graphic sketches, and people clothe
themselves with them as with Christmas numbers, or turn their couches,
chairs, and curtains into scrap albums, but there is every reason _on
the score of taste_ why these things should not be done.

[Illustration (f129): (1) Contrasting Surfaces of Warp and Weft in
Woven Silk Hanging; (2) Stencil Principle.]

With any textile, as I have said, we are as designers dealing with
surface. It is surface ornament that is wanted also in printed cotton.
Now good line and form and pure tints have the best effect, because they
do not break the surface into holes, and give a ragged or tumbled
appearance, which accidental bunches of darkly-shaded flowers in high
relief undoubtedly do. If small rich detail and variety are wanted, we
should seek it in the inventive spirit of the Persian and Indian, and
break our solid colours with mordants or arabesques in colour of
delicate subsidiary pattern instead of using coarse planes of light and
shadow, or showing up ragged and unrelated forms upon violent grounds.

[Illustration (f130): Indian Printed Cotton Cover: South Kensington

The true idea of a print pattern is of something gay and fanciful:
bright and fresh in colour, and clear in line and form: a certain
quaintness is allowable, and in purely floral designs there is room for
a considerable degree of what might be called naturalism, so far as good
line-drawing and understanding of flower form goes, emphasis of colour
being sought by means of _planes of colour_, rather than by planes of

I had intended to touch upon other provinces of design, but I have taken
up so much space with those I have been discussing already that I can
only now briefly allude to these.


Of wall-paper, which may be regarded in the light of more or less of a
substitute for mural painting, and also textile wall-hangings, much the
same general principles and many of the same remarks apply as have been
already used in regard to mural decoration. The designer has much
freedom as to motive, and his ingenuity is only bounded by or
concentrated in a square of twenty-one inches. If he has succeeded in
making an agreeable pattern which will repeat not too obviously over an
indefinite space, to form a not obtrusive background, and which can be
printed and sold to the ordinary citizen, he is supposed to have
satisfied the conditions.

But he may be induced to go further and attempt the design of a complete
decoration as far as dado, field, frieze, and ceiling go; and this would
involve all the thought necessary to the mural painter, narrowed down to
the exigencies of mechanical repeat.

Allied to the wall is the window, and in glazing and the art of the
glass-painter we have another very distinct and beautiful sphere of line
design. In plain leading the same law of covering vertical surface holds
good as to selection of plan and system of line: almost any simple
geometric net is appropriate, if not too complex or small in form to
hold glass or to permit lead to follow its lines. Leaded panels of
roundels (or "bull's eyes") of plain glass have a good effect in
casements where a sparkle of light rather than outward view is sought

                                                           [Stained Glass]

When we come to designing for stained glass we should still bear in mind
the fundamental net of lead lines which forms the basis of our pattern,
or glass picture, as it were: and the designer's object should be to
make it good as an arrangement of line independently of the colour,
while practical to the glazier.

[Illustration (f131): (1) Stained Glass Treatment: Inclosure of Form and
Colour by Lead Lines; (2) Sections.]

Although lead is very pliable, too much must not be expected of it in
the way of small depressions and angles: the boundary lines of the
figures, which should be the boldest of all, should be kept as simple as
possible, not only on this account, but because complex outlines cannot
well be cut in glass. A head, for instance, is inclosed in sweeping
line, and the profile defined within the lead line by means of painting.
A hand would be defined on the same principle. Each different colour
demands a different inclosure of lead, although in the choice of glass
much variation of tint can be obtained, as in the case of pot metal
running from thin to thick glass, which intensifies the colour, and many
kinds of what is called flashed. Yet to the designer, from the point of
view of line, glass design is a kind of translucent mosaic, in which the
primal technical necessity of the leading which holds the glory of the
coloured light together, really enhances its splendour, and in affording
opportunities for decoration and expressive linear composition imparts
to the whole work its particular character and beauty.

This after all is the principle to cling to in all designing, to adapt
our designs to the particular distinctive character and beauty of the
material for which they are destined, to endeavour to think them out in
those materials, and not only on paper. Whatever the work may
be--carving, inlays, modelling, mosaic, textiles--through the whole
range of surface decoration, we should think out our designs, not only
in relation to the limitations of their material, but also in their
relation to each other, to their effect in actual use, and even to their
possible use in association together, which, of course, is of paramount
importance in designing a complete room or any comprehensive piece of

And when we leave plane surfaces and seek to invent appropriate, that is
to say, _expressive_ ornament allied to concave and convex surfaces, to
the varied forms of pottery for instance, metal-work, and glass vessels,
furniture, and accessories of all kinds, we shall find the same laws and
principles hold good which should guide us in all design--to adapt
design to the characteristics and conditions of the material, to its
structural capacity, its use and purpose, as well as to use or invention
in line, both as a controlling plan or base of ornament, as well as a
means of the association and expression of form.

                                CHAPTER X

    Of the Expression and Relief of Line and Form by _Colour_--Effect
    of same Colour upon different Grounds--Radiation of Colour--White
    Outline to clear Colours--Quality of Tints relieved upon other
    Tints--Complementaries--Harmony--The Colour Sense--Colour
    Proportions--Importance of Pure Tints--Tones and Planes--The Tone
    of Time--Pattern and Picture--A Pattern not necessarily a Picture,
    but a Picture in principle a Pattern--Chiaroscuro--Examples of
    Pattern-work and Picture-work--Picture-patterns and Pattern-pictures.

Perhaps the most striking means of the expression of relief of line and
form, certainly the most attractive, is by colour. By colour we obtain
the most complete and beautiful means of expression in art.

                                       [Relief of Line and Form by Colour]

Our earliest ideas of form are probably derived through the different
colours of objects around us, by which they are thrown into relief upon
the background, or against other objects; and, as I mentioned in the
first chapter, we reach outline by observing the edges of different
masses relieved as dark or light upon light or dark grounds, so now, in
my last, we come again to the consideration of the definition of line
and form by colour, and their relief and expression upon different
planes or fields of colour.

There is first the colour of the object itself--the local colour--and
then the colour of the ground upon which it is relieved, both of which
in their action and reaction upon each other will greatly affect the
value of the local colour and the degree of relief of the form upon it.

One of the best and simplest ways to ascertain the real value of a
colour and its effect upon different grounds or fields is to take a
flower--say a red poppy, and place it against a white paper ground,
blocking in the local colour as relieved upon white, as near as may be
to its full strength, with a brush, and defining the form as we go
along. Then try the same flower upon grounds of different tints--green,
blue, yellow--and it will be at once perceived what a different value
and expression the same form in the same colour has upon different
tinted grounds. A scarlet poppy would appear clearest and darkest upon
white; it would show a tendency upon a blue ground to blend or blur at
its edges, and also on yellow and green to a less extent.

[Illustration (f132): Sketch to Show Effect of the Same Colour and Form
upon Different Coloured Grounds.]

It is this tendency to lose the edges of forms owing to the radiation of
colours, and to mingle with the colour of the background, which makes a
strong outline so constantly a necessity in decorative work. One may use
a black on a white, a brown, or a gold outline (as in cloisonné), the
nature of the outline being generally determined by the nature of the
work. In stained glass the outline must be black, and this black is of
the greatest value in enhancing by opposition the brilliance of the
colours of the glass it incloses, stopping out the light around it as it
does in solid lead when placed in the window.

[Illustration (f133): (1) Principle of the Effect of the Blending or
Blurring of Colours at Their Edges; (2) Use of Black and White Outline
to Clear the Edges of Coloured Forms upon Different Coloured Grounds.]

                                                 [Clearing Coloured Forms]

A white outline produced by a resist or a mordant in a printed
textile, where the colours used are full and rich, often has a good
effect, lightening the effect while giving point and definition to
certain leading forms. Instances of the use of white outlines may be
found in Eastern carpets, where the main colours, being dark blue and
yellows on rich red, are relieved in parts by a dull white outline. Also
in Persian carpets of the sixteenth or seventeenth century, the
scrollwork in red is often relieved by an ivory white outline on blue.

It is always a good practice in blocking in flowers, either from nature
or as parts of a design, to leave a white outline at the junctions--that
is to say, where one petal overlaps another, or where there is a joint
in the stem, or a fold in the leaf--and to show the ribbings, markings,
and divisions of flower and leaf.

By judiciously changing the quality of our tints it is possible to make
different colours in a pattern tell clearly. To relieve red upon blue,
for instance, one would use an orange red upon greenish blue, or scarlet
upon a gray blue--the general principle being apparently a kind of
compensating balance between colours, so that in taking from one you
give to another.

A full red and blue used together, as we have seen, would show a
tendency to purple, unless separated by outlines; so that if the blue
was full and rich, the red would have to approach brown or russet; or if
the red was a full one--a crimson red--the blue would have to approach


This may be because of the necessary complements in colours, which we
see in nature, and which prepossess the eye, and make it demand these
modifications to satisfy the sense of harmony.

When daylight struggles with candle- or lamp-light, one may notice that
upon the white cloth of a dinner-table the light is blue and the shadows
yellow or orange--the orange deepening as with the fading daylight the
blue grows deeper, until the colour of the light and the shadow change
places. The same principle may be noticed in firelight, but the redder
the flame the greener will be the shadows.

Harmony in colour may be said to consist--apart from the general
acknowledgment of the law of complementaries, in giving quality to the
raw pigments by gradation, by a certain admixture or infusion of other

To begin with the negatives--white and black--white may be creamy or
silvery; black may be of a greenish or a bluish or brownish tone; then
the primaries--red, blue, yellow, or red, green, violet--red may range
from crimson to orange and russet; yellow may approach green or gold;
green may be first cousin to blue; blue may be turquoise on the one
hand, and touch purple upon the other; and so on through infinite
variations of half tints and tones.

No doubt it is an easier matter to harmonize half tints than full bright
colours, which may account for the prevalence of the former in
decorative work. Nature's pattern-book, too, is full of half tones and
mixed tints.

                                                        [The Colour Sense]

We may not all see colour precisely in the same way, and the same colour
may appear to be of a different tint to different eyes; and it seems
certain that climate and surroundings affect the colour sense: light
and colour will stimulate the delight in colour; while, where grayness
and dullness characterize the surroundings of life, the colour sense
will grow weak, or, if it is manifested at all, it will show a tendency
to grayness and heaviness of tint.

The art of the different peoples of the world illustrates this, and, as
we may see by turning from east to west, or from north to south, or even
from winter to summer, in the main the love of colour follows the sun,
like the rainbow.

We can all do something to cultivate our sense of colour, however, and
there is no better way than studying the harmonies and varieties of
nature. Even the town-dweller is not altogether deprived of the sight of
the sky, which constantly unfolds the most beautiful compositions both
of form and colour.

As to the choice of colours in decorative design, so far as that is not
narrowed by the particular conditions of the work, we must be guided by
much the same considerations as would serve us in designing generally,
and must, of course, think of appropriateness to position and purpose.
Much depends, too, upon proportions of colour, and a beautiful and
harmonious effect may be produced in a room by keeping the colour in a
particular key, or even delicately varying the designs and tints of one
or two colours. The same might be said in arranging a scheme of
colouring for any particular piece of design--say, a painted panel or a
textile pattern; although such things must ultimately be governed by
their relation to other parts in any general scheme--circumstances
necessitate their being often designed apart. Still, if the colour of a
pattern has been carefully thought out, or rather harmoniously felt, as
a real organic thing, it is sure to fit into its place when its time

In arranging our design of colour we can have no better guide, as to
proportions and quality, than nature, and should do well, as a matter of
practice, to take a flower, or the plumage of a bird, or the colours of
a landscape, and adapt them to some particular pattern or scheme of
decoration, following the relative degrees of tint and their quantities
as nearly as possible. To do this successfully requires some invention
and taste; but successful, or unsuccessful, one could hardly fail to
learn something positive and valuable about colour, if the attempt was
conscientiously made; and fresher motives and sweeter colour would be
more likely to result from such study.

                                                [Importance of Pure Tints]

I think it is a very important thing in all decorative work to keep
one's colours pure in quality, and to avoid muddy or heavy tints. Brown
is an especially difficult colour to use, because of its generally heavy
effect as a pigment, and the difficulty of harmonizing it with other
colours except as an outline; and even here it makes all the difference
whether it is a cool or a hot shade. A hot brown is most destructive of
harmony in colours. It is safe, as a rule, to make it lean to green, or
bronze, or gold.

As a general rule it is well to work either in a range of cool tints--a
cool key of colour, or the reverse--a warm and rich one. Few cool
harmonies can be better than ultramarine and turquoise on greenish
white, of which the Persians and Indians are so fond in tile-work. They
are delightful to the eye, while peculiarly adapted to the work, owing
their quality to the oxide of copper, which the firing brings out so

Blues and greens and grays, relieved with white and yellow and orange:
or, reds and yellows, relieved with white and opposed by blacks,
generally answer: or a range of reds together, or range of blues, or of
yellows, with black and white for contrast and accent. Blue and white,
too, can be modified in quality; black may be greenish in tone, or
brownish, bluish, or purplish according to the harmony aimed at. White
may be pure or ivory-toned, cream-coloured or influenced by other
colours, and should vary in degree according to the strength of the
harmony. This brings us to the question of tone.

                                                        [Tones and Planes]

Now the ornamentist, the designer of patterns, relies for his effect
upon the use of certain planes and oppositions of tints to relieve and
express his design, to emphasize its main motive, to bring out or to
subdue its lines and forms. He knows that cool flat tints--blues,
greens, grays--will make forms and surfaces retire, and he makes use of
them for flat and reposeful effects, such as wall and ceiling surfaces,
adopting the natural principle of colour in landscape and sky.

He uses richer and more varied colour in textile hangings and carpets,
furniture, and accessories--reds, yellows, greens, crimson, russets,
orange, gold--which answer to the brighter flowers and parterres of our
gardens, as things to be near the eye and touch, and to occur as lesser
quantities in a scheme of interior colour design.

In the colour design of patterns, harmonious and rich effects can be
produced by the use of pure colour alone, no doubt, if carefully
proportioned, and separated by outline; though harmony is more difficult
to attain in pure colours used in their full strength; and for their due
effect, and to avoid harshness, such a treatment really requires
out-door light or special conditions of lighting, or the strong light of
eastern or southern countries, to soften the effect.

And since we have to adapt our designs to their probable surroundings,
we usually consciously select certain tones or shades of a colour,
rather than use it absolutely pure or in its full strength. The
beautiful tone which time gives to all colour-work is difficult to
rival, but no conscious imitation of it is tolerable.

But so long as our aim is strictly to make a colour scheme of any kind
in relation to itself, or in harmony with its conditions, we are on a
safe and sound path. It is this relativity which is the important thing
in all decorative art, and which, more distinctly than any other
quality, distinguishes it from pictorial art; although pictorial art is
under the necessity of the same law in regard to itself; and in its
highest forms, as in mural work, is certainly subject to relativity in
its widest sense.

                                                     [Pattern and Picture]

At first sight it might appear as if there were an essential fundamental
natural difference between a pattern and a picture, but when we come to
consider it, it appears to be rather a distinction than a difference.

A pattern may be an arrangement of lines, forms, and a harmony of planes
and tones of colour.

But these words would describe in general terms a picture also.

Certain recurrences of line and form; certain re-echoing notes of the
same, or allied colour, are necessary to both pattern and picture. The
abstract ingredients appear to be the same in both cases.

A picture indeed may be considered as a pattern of another sort, and the
real difference is that whereas a pattern is not necessarily a picture,
a picture is bound to be a pattern--a pattern having its quantities, its
balance of masses, its connecting lines, its various planes, its key of
colour, its play of contrasts, its harmony of tones.

Technically, a picture may be considered as an _informal_ pattern,
mainly of tone and values; while a pattern may be considered as a
_formal_ pattern, mainly of planes of colour.

The ancient art of the East was all frankly pattern-work, whatever the
subject pictured. Egyptian, Persian, Indian, Chinese, Moorish and
Arabian art, in all their varieties, show the dominating sense of
pattern, and the invention of the instinctive decorators in the use of

The Japanese, also, are instinctive decorators, though in a less formal
and more impressionistic way, and with much more naturalistic feeling.
Their pictures printed from colour blocks, as well as their "kakimonos,"
painted on silk, are frankly pattern-pictures, the pattern motive being
quite as strong or stronger than the graphic or representative motive.

Mediæval and early Renaissance painting in Europe was frankly more or
less formal and of the nature of ornament, and even in its freest and
fullest development, in the works of the great masters of the sixteenth
century of Venice and Florence, a certain decorative or architectural
feeling was never forgotten.

Painting was still in close association with architecture, and was the
chief adornment of churches and palaces; thus it preserved a peculiar
distinction and dignity of style. The Dutch school did more perhaps to
break these old decorative and architectural traditions than any other,
with their domestic and purely naturalistic motives, their pursuit of
realism, atmospheric effect, and chiaroscuro--that fascinating goal of


Yet there were some of the seventeenth-century masters, and of the best,
such as De Hooghe and Ver Meer of Delft, who showed themselves very much
alive to decorative effect, which their power of chiaroscuro--the power
of painting things in their proper atmosphere, as lost in transparent
depths of shadow, or found in luminous mystery--only seemed to enhance.

As a wonderful instance of ornamental and dignified design carried into
every detail with most careful draughtsmanship, and yet beautiful in
chiaroscuro and grave colour, there is no finer example than J. Van
Eyck's portrait-picture of "Jan Arnolfini and his Wife" in our National
Gallery. Such pictures as these would tell as rich and precious gems
upon the wall, and would form the centres to which the surrounding
colour patterns and decoration would lead up, as in the picture the
little mirror reflecting the figures shines upon the wall, a picture
within a picture.

[Illustration (f134): J. van Eyck: "Portrait of Jan Arnolfini and His
Wife." (National Gallery.)]

It is instructive from any point of view to study the quantities and
relations of colour, and their tones and values, in such works.

                                                       [Ver Meer of Delft]

Take Ver Meer's "Lady at a Spinet" in our National Gallery.

[Illustration (f135): Ver Meer of Delft: "Lady at a Spinet." (National

We have a plain white wall, exquisite in tone, upon which the crisp gold
of the small picture inclosing a brownish landscape with a blue and
white sky, and the broad black frame of the picture of Cupid tell
strongly, yet fall into plane behind the figure in white satin--quite a
different quality of white, and warmer and brighter than the wall. The
bodice is a steely blue silk, which is repeated in the velvet seat of
the chair; while the blue and white landscape upon the open lid of the
spinet repeats the blue and white landscape on the wall, and the blue
and white motive is subtly re-echoed in a subdued key in the little
tiles lining the base of the wall. The floor is a chequer of black and
white (mottled) marble, which gives a fine relief to the dress and
repeats the emphatic black of the picture frame; the stand of the spinet
is also black striated marble. Quiet daylight falls through the greenish
white of the leaded panes. The pink-brown woodwork of the spinet and
chair prevent the colour scheme from being cold. The flesh is very pale
and ivory-like in tone, but the dress is enlivened by little crisp
scarlet and gold touches in the narrow laces which tie the sleeves.

The little picture is a gem of painting and truth of tone, and at the
same time might well suggest a charming scheme of colour to an

                                                                [Van Eyck]

Examine the Van Eyck in the same way, and we shall find a very rich but
quiet scheme of colour in a lower key, highly decorative, yet presented
with extraordinary realistic force, united with extreme refinement and
exquisite chiaroscuro, and truth of tone and value, as a
portrait-picture, and piece of interior lighting.

It is like taking an actual peep into the inner life of a Flemish
burgher of the fifteenth century.

One seems to breathe the still air of the quiet room, the gray daylight
falling through the leaded casements, one of which stands open, and
shows a narrow strip of luminous sky and suggestion of a garden with
scarlet blossoms in green leaves.

The man is clad in a long mantle of claret-brown velvet edged with fur,
over black tunic and hose. He wears a quaint black hat upon his head,
which almost foreshadows the tall hat of the modern citizen. The pale
strange face looks paler and stranger beneath it, but is in character
with the long thin hands. The figure gives one the impression of legal
precision and dryness, and a touch of clerical formality. The wife is of
a buxom and characteristic Flemish type, in a grass-green robe edged
with white fur, over peacock blue; a crisp silvery white head-dress; a
dark red leather belt with silver stitching. Her figure is relieved upon
the subdued red of the bed hangings, continued in the cover of the
settle and the red clogs. The wall of the room, much lost in transparent
shade, is of a greenish gray tone, and in the centre, between the
figures, a circular convex mirror sparkles on the wall reflecting the
backs of the figures. Thin lines delicately repeat the red in the mirror
frame, which has a black and red inner moulding. A string of amber beads
hangs on the wall, and repeats the shimmer of the bright brass
candelabra which hangs aloft, and which is drawn carefully enough for a
craftsman to reproduce.


Both designer and painter may find abundant suggestion in this picture,
which, with Ver Meer's "Lady at the Spinet," I should describe as
_pattern-pictures_--that is to say, while they are thoroughly painter's
pictures, and give all the peculiar qualities of oil-painting in the
rendering of tone and values, they yet show in their colour scheme the
decorative quality, and might be translated into patterns of the same
proportions and keys of colours.

As examples of what might be termed picture-patterns we might recur to
the wall paintings, as I have said, of ancient Egypt and early art
generally, for their simplest forms; but to take a much later instance,
and from the art of Florence in the fifteenth century, look at
Botticelli's charming little picture of "The Nativity," in the National
Gallery. It has all the intentional, or perhaps instinctive, ornamental
aim of Italian art, and its colour scheme shows a most dainty and
delicate invention in the strictest relation to the subject and
sentiment, and is arranged with the utmost subtlety and the nicest art.


The ring of angels above, for instance, is partly relieved upon a gilded
ground--to represent the dome of heaven. They bear olive branches, and
the colour of their robes alternates in the following order: rose, olive
(shot with gold), and white.

The _rose-coloured_ angels have _olive and white wings_; the _white
angels, rose and olive wings_; and _the olive angels, white and rose

This part of the picture by itself forms a most beautiful pattern
motive, while it expresses the idea of peace and goodwill.

Then on the brown and gold thatch of the stable occur three more angels
in white, rose, and green, respectively. Against a pale sky rise rich
olive-green trees, forming the background.

[Illustration (f136): Botticelli: "The Nativity" (National Gallery).]

The Virgin strikes the brightest ray of colour in red under-robe and
sky-blue mantle. There is a gray white ass and a pale brown cow behind

St. Joseph is in steel gray with a golden orange mantle over.

The brightest white occurs in the drapery upon which the infant Christ

An angel with a group of men appears, kneeling on the left relieved
against white rocks; their colours are--the angel's wings--peacock blue
and green, and a pale rose robe. The next figure is in scarlet; the next
yellow; and the third man wears pale rose over rich grass-green.

Of the shepherds on the right the first one is in russet and white, the
next steely gray, and the angel is in white with rose and pale green

The ground is generally warm white and brown, with dark olive-coloured
grass and foliage, so that the pattern of the picture is mainly a ground
of olive, gold, and white, relieved by spots of rose, white, blue,
yellow, and rose-red and scarlet--the colour in the groups of angels
embracing men in front being the deepest in tone.

The first angel in this group (on the left) wears green shot with gold,
with shot green and gold wings, the human being in dark olive and rich
crimson red.

Next is a white angel with pale rose wings; the man in gray with a red
mantle over.

Last is an angel in rose, with rose and red wings, the man being in
scarlet with gray mantle over. All the men hold olive branches, and the
group emphatically illustrates the idea of "on earth peace and goodwill
towards men," thus ending on the keynote both of colour and idea given
in the ring of angels above.

Thus it is not only a lovely picture, but an exquisite pattern.


Another instance of a picture-pattern extremely strong and brilliant in
its realization of the full force and value of bright colour opposed by
the strongest black and white, may be found in Holbein's splendid
"Ambassadors," also in our National Collection.

[Illustration (f137): Holbein: "The Ambassadors" (National Gallery).]


The circular picture of the Madonna and Child, with St. John and an
angel, by Botticelli, is also another beautiful instance of pictorial
pattern, and of design well adapted and adequately filling its space,
while full of delicate draughtsmanship, poetic sentiment, and extremely
ornate in its colour.

[Illustration (f138): Botticelli: "Madonna and Child" (National

                                                          [Carlo Crivelli]

Still more strictly ornamental in character and aim is Carlo Crivelli's
"Annunciation." Amazingly rich in invention, and beautifully designed
detail, and magnificently decorative in its colour scheme of brick reds
and whites, and pale pinks and steel grays, and yellows, varied with
scarlet and black, green, blue and gold, in the costumes and draperies,
sparkling with jewels, and brightened with rays and patterns of gold.

[Illustration (f139): Carlo Crivelli: "The Annunciation" (National


Hardly less ornamental in its more conscious grace and Renaissance
feeling is Perugino's triptych of the Virgin adoring, with St. Michael
on one wing and St. Raphael and Tobias on the other. It is a splendid
deep-toned harmony of blues, and warm flesh tones and golden hair,
varied by opals, rose red, bronze, green, white, and purple and orange.

[Illustration (f140): Perugino: "The Virgin in Adoration, with St.
Michael and St. Raphael and Tobias" (National Gallery).]


Titian's "Bacchus and Ariadne" is, perhaps, more what I have described
as a pattern-picture, and is of a much later type. The full flush of
colour and pagan joy of the Renaissance is here paramount, expressed
with the masterly freedom of drawing and magnificent colour sense of the
great Venetian master. Yet, looking through the life, the movement, the
swing and vitality of the figures, and the power and poetry by which the
story is conveyed, we shall find a fine ornate design, sustaining an
extremely rich and sumptuous pattern of colour. We have a spread of
deep-toned blue sky barred with silvery white and gray clouds, great
masses of brown and green foliage swaying against it, above a band of
deep blue sea, and a field of rich golden brown earth. Warm flesh tones,
deep and pale, break upon this with a gorgeous pattern of flying rose,
blue, scarlet, orange, and white draperies, varied with the spotted
coats of the leopards, the black of the dog, and the copper vessel and
warm white of tumbled drapery.

[Illustration (f141): Titian: "Bacchus and Ariadne" (National Gallery).]

Keats might have had this picture in his mind when he wrote the song in

    "And as I sat, over the light blue hills
    There came a noise of revellers: the rills
    Into the wide stream came of purple hue.
                  'Twas Bacchus and his crew!

    "The earnest trumpet speaks, and silver thrills
    From kissing cymbals made a merry din--
                  'Twas Bacchus and his kin!

    "Like to a moving vintage down they came,
    Crowned with green leaves, and faces all on flame;
    All madly dancing through the pleasant valley,
                  To scare thee, Melancholy!"

The "Sacred and Profane Love" of the same painter, in the Borghese
Gallery at Rome, is an even more splendid example of colour and tone,
and is probably the finest of all Titian's works.

                                                           [Paul Veronese]

In Paul Veronese we find a cooler key of colour generally, with a
fondness for compositions of figures with classical architecture, the
rich patterned robes and varied heads contrasting pleasantly with the
severe verticals and smooth surfaces of the marble columns--a sumptuous
and dignified kind of picture-pattern, and fully adapted to the
decoration of Venetian churches and palaces of the Renaissance.

                                                          [F. Madox Brown]

Madox Brown's "Christ washing St. Peter's Feet," now in the Tate
Gallery, is a modern picture-pattern, and an extremely fine one.

These are but a few instances out of many, and the subject of colour and
pattern, like the expression of line and form, of which it is a part, is
so large and its sides so multitudinous that to deal with the subject
fully and illustrate it adequately would need, not ten chapters, but
ten hundred, and could only be compassed by the history of art itself.

[Illustration (f142): Madox Brown: "Christ Washing St. Peter's Feet"
(Tate Gallery).]


If anything I have said on the subject, or have been able to show by way
of illustration, has served in any way to clear away obscurities, or to
lighten the labours of students, or to suggest fresh ideas to the minds
of any of my readers in the theory, history, or practice of art, I shall
feel that my work has not been in vain, and, at all events, I can only
say that I have endeavoured to give here the results of my own thoughts
and experience in art.

Some may look upon art as a means of livelihood only, a handmaid of
commerce, or as a branch of knowledge, to be acquired only so far as to
enable one to impart it to others; others may regard it as a polite
amusement; others, again, as an absorbing pursuit and passion, demanding
the closest devotion: but from whatever point of view we may regard it,
do not let us forget that the pursuit of beauty in art offers the best
of educations for the faculties, that its interest continually
increases, and its pleasures and successes are the most refined and


Adaptability in design, 124-126.

Animal forms, use of in design, 106;
  governed by inclosing boundaries, 104-106, 110-112.

Architectural mouldings, relief in, 190.

Architecture, spaces for sculpture in, 113-116.

Ardebil, holy carpet of the mosque of, f126.

Athens, the Tower of the Winds, 115-116.

Bari, 10;
  the "Hundred Birds" of, f044.

Birds, Japanese drawing of, 68, f044;
  decorative treatment of, f115.

Blake's Book of Job, "The Morning Stars," 19, f014, 152.

Border motives, recurrence in, f031, f032, f062.

Book decoration, 58, 59, 62;
  example of page treatment, f041.

Botticelli, frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, 226;
  rendering of the "Primavera" in tapestry, 240;
  his "Nativity," 272-275;
  "Madonna and Child," 275-276.

Boundaries, definition of, 2, 3;
  use of in designing sprays, 38, f027;
  in designing animal forms, f063a;
  influence of, 108;
  relation of design to, f064;
  decorative spacing of figures in geometric, f063b, 152-156.

Brush-work, 65-68.

Canterbury, St. Margaret Street, f086.

Ceiling decoration, 136.

Charcoal drawing, 68, 70.

Chartres, carving on the Cathedral, 197, f108, f109.

Chiaroscuro, 267-269.

Chinese porcelain, 101.

Colour, effect of texture on, 244;
  in stained glass, 252;
  expression of relief in line and form by, 256, 258;
  radiation of, 258;
  complements in, 260;
  harmony in, 261;
  colour sense, 261, 262;
  colour proportions, 262;
  importance of pure colour, 263.

Composition, formal, 152-156;
  informal, 157-164.

Constantine, Arch of, sketch of, f069.

Contrast in design, 101;
  use of, in pattern design, 166, _et seq._;
  principles of, in black and white, f111a.

Corinthian order, Roman treatment of, 192, f105.

Counterbalance, 43, 44, 95, f057, f058, 130.

Counterchange, in heraldry, 171-174.

Crivelli, "The Annunciation," 276-278.

Cube, the, 73;
  use of in architecture, f045b, 77, f048a;
  in nature, 76.

Dado, use of the, 234.

De Hooghe, Peter, 267.

Desiderio di Settignano, relief work of, 202;
  "Madonna and Child," at South Kensington, by, 202.

Design, linear basis of, 35;
  technical influence on, 58, 59, 62;
  beauty in, 62, 63;
  influence of material on, 64;
  quantities in, 96-101;
  contrast in, 101;
  living tradition in, 126;
  adaptability in, 124-126;
  extension in, 126-131;
  geometric structural plans in, 130;
  essentials of, 138-139.

De Wint, brush-work of, 68.

Diaper, use of in Middle Ages, 171, 174-175.

Donatello, relief work of, 202.

Drapery, treatment of by the old masters, f099-186.

Drawing in line, methods of, 6, 7;
  calligraphic method, 8;
  tentative method, 9;
  Japanese method, 10;
  oval and rectangular methods, f008, 12.

Dürer, Albert, his "Geometrica," 5;
  roofs in his engravings, 148;
  "The Prodigal Son," f083;
  "St. Anthony," f084;
  principle in the treatment of drapery, f099, f100.

Egyptian sculpture, 192, 194-196.

Emotion, linear expression of, 18-21.

Emphasis, 54;
  value of, 56;
  effects of different emphasis, f038, f039, f040;
  in relief of form, 180.

Equivalents in form, value of, 95, f057.

Extension in design, 126-131.

Figure composition, 160;
  expression of repose and action in, f090.

Figure design, relief in, 204-207;
  graphic and decorative treatment of, f114.

Figure designs, controlled by geometric boundaries, 152-156.

Flaxman's Homer, designs from, f015.

  lines of characterization in design of, 12, 13;
  forms controlled by inclosing boundaries, 110-112.

Foliage, principles of structure in, 143-146.

Form, its relation to line, 27;
  importance of knowledge of, 31;
  choice of, 73, 79;
  elementary forms and their relation to forms in nature and art, 73-77;
  grouping of, 83-87;
  analogies of, 89-91;
  typical forms of ornament, 92-95;
  equivalents in, 95, f057;
  variation of allied forms, 103;
  governed by shape of inclosing boundary, f063b, 106, f066;
  relief of, 165, _et seq._;
  expression of, by light and shade, 205, f112.

Frieze, origin of the, 113, 133;
  and field, 133-135;
  use of the, 236;
  treatment of, 240.

Fruit forms, treatment of, f054, 89.

Gems, engraved, 200.

Geometric forms, elementary, 73;
  structural plans in surface design, 128-133.

Ghirlandajo, 226.

Giotto, "Chastity," f119.

Gozzoli, Benozzo, 226.

Graphic aim, the, in drawing, 29-31, 205, 208-211.

Grouping of forms, 83-87.

Holbein, "The Ambassadors," f137.

Human figure, use of the,
  in design, 104-107;
  decorative spacing of
  within geometric boundaries, 105-106, 107;
  governed by inclosing boundaries, 110, f066;
  principles of line in, f081a.

Indian ornament, typical, 212, 216;
  printed cotton designs, 246, f130.

Inlay work, choice of forms for, 81-83.

Japanese method of drawing with the brush, 10, 68;
  diagonal pattern, f053;
  colour prints, 266.

Keene, Charles, 190.

Landscape, expression of storm and calm in, 158, f089.

Lead pencil, 70.

Letters, formation of, 4;
  Dürer's method, f005a.

Line, methods of drawing in, 6-12;
  quality of, 12-14;
  the language of, 23;
  comparison of style in, 24;
  scale of degrees and qualities of, 24, 25;
  its relation to form, 27;
  question and answer in, 35, f025;
  recurring, f031, f032;
  radiating principle of, 46-50;
  range and use of, 47-49;
  choice of, 51;
  degree and emphasis of, 54;
  influence of technical conditions on, 58-62;
  controlling influence of, as a boundary of design, 106, 108-113;
  value of recurring, 119-124;
  combinations of, 139;
  principles of structural and ornamental line, 140-145;
  selection of, f117a, f117b.

Linear expression, of movement, 15, 16, 17;
  of textures and surfaces, 18, 19;
  of emotion, 19, 20, f015;
  scale of, 21;
  power of, 158, 160;
  of fur and feathers, 208, f113.

Linear motives and pattern bases, simple, 109-111.

Lippi, Filippino, study of drapery by, f101.

Lorenzo di Credi, 226.

Lysicrates, monument of, 133.

Madox Brown, Ford, mural painting at Manchester, 226, 227;
  "Christ washing Peter's feet," 280, f142.

Mantling, treatment of, 170-173.

Medals, 200, f110.

Memory, importance of, in design, 39.

Michael Angelo, ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, 225.

Modelling, principle of relief in, 192.

Montague, mantling from Garter plate of, f094b.

Morris, William, tapestry of, 236, 240.

Movement, linear expression of, 15-17;
  lines of, in a procession, f091a;
  in a dancing figure, f117a;
  in water, f118b.

Mural decoration, 224, 225;
  diagram of systems of line governing, f121;
  scale in, 230;
  choice of line and form in, 236.

Nauplia, Gulf of, coast and mountain lines, f004, f118a.

Nerva, Forum of, 192, f105.

Nuremberg, ceiling in the Castle of, 136, 137.

Olive branch, study of from nature, f020;
  decorative treatment of, f021.

Ornament, typical forms of, 92-94.

Ornamental purpose, the, in drawing, 29, 31-33, 210, _et seq._

Ornamental units, 94;
  use of intervals in repeating, f065.

Outline, origin and function of, 1.

Parthenon, the frieze of the, 46;
  sketch of, f067.

Pattern and picture, difference between, 265;
  pattern-pictures, 272.

Pen, the, compared with brush and pencil, 71.

Pencil drawing, 70, 71.

Persian carpets, principle of design in, 242;
  treatment of borders in, f127;
  white outline in, 260.

Persian ornament, typical, 212, f116.

Persian rugs, value of different quantities in, 98-101.

Perugino, National Gallery triptych, f140.

Photograph, influence of the, 55, 56;
  principle of the, 187, 190.

Picture writing, 27, f019.

Pinturicchio, frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, 226;
  mural painting at Siena, 226, f120;
  frescoes in the Appartimenti Borgia, 238, f125.

Pisano, Vittore, medals of, 198, f110.

Poppy, horned study of, f022;
  adaptation of for needlework, f023;
  sketch of on different coloured grounds, f132, 258.

Prints, principles of design for, 246-251.

Procession, lines of movement in a, 160, 162-163.

Pyramid, the, 73;
  use of in architecture, f045b, f048a.

Radiating principle of line, the, 46-50.

Raphael, study of drapery by, f102.

Ravenna, S. Vitale, sketch of apse, f070.

Recurring line and form, f031, f032;
  value of in architecture, 119, 124.

Relief, methods of expressing, 165;
  use of contrast, 166;
  decorative relief, 171;
  on diapered ground, 174-175;
  by simple linear contrasts, 174, 176-178;
  by linear shading, 176, 178;
  by diagonal shading, 176, 178-180;
  value of emphasis in, 180;
  by light and shade alone, 187-190;
  principle of in architectural mouldings, 190;
  modelled, 192;
  in sculpture, 192-199, f109;
  Florentine fifteenth-century work, 202;
  natural principle of, 204, f111b;
  by colour, 256, 258.

Repeating patterns, 36, f026, f077b, f078;
  method of testing, 38, f028.

Rhythm of design, the, 32.

Roofs, German, 146-148.

Rothenburg, roof-lines in, f085.

St. David's Cathedral, carvings in, 122-124;
  Gothic tile pattern in, f074, f076.

Scale, importance of in mural decoration, 230, 232.

Sculpture, relief in, 192;
  Egyptian, 192, 194;
  Grecian, 194, f107, 197;
  Gothics, 197;
  on mediæval tombs, 198.

Selection, the test of artistic treatment, 214.

Shields, F. J., mural decoration, 228.

Silhouette, 2, f010a.

Skirting, the, 234.

Spaces, decorative, in design, 113;
  apparent depth or width increased by use of vertical or horizontal
      lines, 232, f122.

Spacing, mural, 230, f121, f123.

Sphere, the, 73;
  use of in architecture, f045b, f048a;
  in nature, 76.

Stained glass, principles of design for, 252, 255.

Surfaces, linear expression of, 18.

Tapestry, 237;
  Burgundian, 237, f124;
  effect of texture on colour in, 244, f128.

Technical influence, the, 58-62.

Textile designing, 62;
  examples of, f041b;
  value of different qualities in, 97-101;
  principles of, 241, 242;
  colour in, 244.

Textures, linear expression of, 18.

Thebes, sculptured relief at, f106.

Titian, "Bacchus and Ariadne," 278-280;
  "Sacred and Profane Love," 280.

Tivoli, Temple of the Sibyls at, 133.

Trees, effect of wind upon, f011;
  general principles of line and form in foliage, etc., 143-145.

Typical treatment, 31;
  ornament, 92-95.

Valence, Aymer de, tomb of, f094a.

Van Eyck, "Jan Arnolfini and his Wife," 267, f134, 270, 271.

Variation of allied forms, 103.

Variety in design, 40.

Ver Meer, "Lady at Spinet," f135, 270, 272.

Veronese, Paul, 280.

Visch, Martin de, brass of, f094b, f095.

Walberswick Church, f072.

Walker, Frederick, 190.

Wall, decorative spacing of the, 234, f123.

Wall-paper, principles of design for, 36, f026, 246;
  relation between frieze and field in, 133, 134.

Water, lines of movement in, f118b.

Watercourse, lines left by a, f091b.

Wave lines, f011, f012.

Westminster, vaulting of chapter house, f035.

Winchelsea, tomb of Gervaise-Alard, f071.


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