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Title: Frank Reynolds, R.I.
Author: Johnson, Alfred Edwin, 1879-
Language: English
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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.

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In presenting under the title of "Brush, Pen, and Pencil" the series
of books of which the present volume forms part, the publishers
feel that they are meeting a demand which has long existed but
has hitherto not been supplied. It is an unfortunate circumstance
of the conditions which affect the modern artist who chooses black
and white for his principal medium, that as a general rule his
work--or, at all events, the reproduction of it--is ephemeral only.
In respect of much that appears in the illustrated Press this is
small matter for regret; but there is good reason to believe that
opportunities of obtaining in permanent form some record of the
work of the leading men amongst those artists who work for the
Press would be welcomed. It is to afford such opportunities that
the present series is issued; and it is hoped that in the volumes
composing it the public will have pleasure in finding representative
examples of the work with brush, pen, and pencil of the men whose
skill and fancy have from time to time delighted them.

For permission to reproduce a very large number of the drawings by
Mr. Frank Reynolds which appear in the present volume the publishers
wish to acknowledge the courtesy of the proprietors of the _Sketch_,
in the pages of which they first appeared. Their thanks are equally
due to Messrs. Bradbury, Agnew & Co. Ltd. for kind permission to
reproduce three drawings from the pages of _Punch_.






_Also Nineteen smaller illustrations mostly reproduced from

[Illustration: STUDY IN PENCIL]


It has been said of Tolstoy, anatomising the grim skeleton of human
nature, that his writings are more like life than life itself. Of
Frank Reynolds, with gently satirical pen and pencil depicting
the superficial humours of modern life, it might be said that his
drawings, too, are more humanly natural than real flesh and blood.
It is the peculiar faculty of the true observer that his eye pierces
straight to the heart of what he sees, and his mind, disregarding
mere detail, thereby receives and retains a clear perception of
the essential, which those of less clear and direct vision fail
to grasp more than momentarily, though they hail it with instant
recognition when in its naked simplicity it is set before them.
The process is unconscious, or at least but semi-conscious; for
your professed observer has never that keen insight which, being
native, is not to be acquired by even the most assiduous practice,
and alone permits of truthful analysis.


In the making of the genuine humorist the faculty of observation
is the first necessity. Consider the great pictorial humorists,
whether dead or living, whose names are familiar in the mouth as
household words. That they gained acknowledgment by masterly handling
of the medium in which they chose to work is not to be denied.
It is by the peculiar distinction of his technique, indeed, that
the work of each, in a general way, is called to mind. But this
fame was not achieved solely upon purely artistic merits. Charles
Keene, George du Maurier, Phil May, Raven Hill, Bernard Partridge--it
is rather for the happy fidelity of their transcripts from life
than for the artistic sureness of their hands that they are and
will be remembered.

It is the possession of just that subtle power of quiet but
comprehensive observation which has obtained for Frank Reynolds
the unique position which he occupies amongst the humorous artists
of to-day.

[Illustration: LITTLE WILLIE: You'll catch it, Gerald, when mother
sees you!

GERALD: Why? Is my collar dirty?

_From "Punch."_]

For unique his position is. Other men are as funny as he, perhaps
funnier. For when a determined man sets out with a fixed and unshakeable
resolve to tickle your fancy, there is no limit to the means he
may adopt to catch you unawares, and it shall go hard with him
but he extorts from you a laugh, however tardy. Frank Reynolds
makes no such desperate efforts. One might say, indeed, that he
makes no effort at all. His simple method is to set down--with
the most refined and delicate art--just one of those little scenes
or incidents which everyone may every day everywhere witness.


Spectators of such a scene in real life, it is possible--probable,
in fact--that we were in no way edified or amused. Not the veriest
ghost of a smile, it is likely, flickered across our faces. But
reproduced by the subtle humour of the artist, the inherent comedy
of the situation stands revealed, and we chuckle. And our enjoyment
is the greater for the skill with which the means are concealed
by which this magical transformation is effected. We feel that we
have discovered the comedy ourselves, not that it has been shown
to us. The characters are so perfectly natural, so precisely as we
know them and have seen them day after day. The secret lies in the
artist's power of restraint. He exaggerates, he caricatures,--he
must do so to bring his point home to our dull wits. But he does
it with such nicety that the exaggeration and the caricature are
unnoticed. Indeed, the terms are misleading. It is better to say
that he _emphasises_.

Frank Reynolds reminds me, if he will forgive my saying so, of a
certain profane 'bus-driver whom I have the privilege to number
amongst my acquaintance. With this close student of human nature
I have had the good fortune to enjoy frequent conversations, and
many are the gestures which I recall of the whip-hand towards the
pavement, accompanied by the remark (in effect), "Lumme, what funny
things a bloke _do_ see!" I confess freely that often I should
entirely miss, but for the observant jerk of the whip, the said
"funny thing"; and it is just that service which the friendly busman
renders to me, as it appears to my mind, that Frank Reynolds performs
for the community at large. It is precisely those commonplace "funny
things," whether they be persons, scenes, incidents, conversations,
or casual remarks, that happen under our very noses, which he excels
in depicting; and it is precisely the commonplace familiarity of
them that invests them with their peculiar flavour and charm.

[Illustration: THE INTRODUCTION.
_Time Sketch: London Sketch Club._]

Of the fine qualities of Frank Reynolds' technique the reader can
judge for himself from the varied specimens of the artist's work
which are reproduced in the present volume. His pencil drawings
represent, perhaps, his more familiar style, one reason of the
association of his name with this medium in the public mind being
the comparative rarity of its use for the purposes of reproduction.
Certainly it will be conceded that pencil, soft and amenable, with
its opportunities for delicate manipulation, is admirably adapted to
the interpretation of those refined shades of meaning and expression
which constitute the characteristic charm of Reynolds' drawings,
and of his masterly handling of it there can be no two opinions.


His early drawings for publication were in line, and it was not
until his work in the illustrated press had appeared for some time
that he began to substitute pencil for pen-and-ink. His first
experiments in pencil were made at the Friday evening meetings of
the London Sketch Club, and it was at the suggestion of a fellow
member of that cheery coterie, his friend John Hassall, that he
adopted the softer medium for the purposes of reproduction.

The excellence of his pencil drawings notwithstanding, it is in
pen-and-ink that Frank Reynolds appears to me to be at his best.
There is a quality about his work in this medium which gives it
a peculiar distinction. Always instinct with the most subtle and
delicate feeling, there are occasions when his expressive line
does more than satisfy. It arrests: revealing in its simple
transcription of pose or expression a significance which had previously
escaped our shallow observation, but of which the truth is forced
upon us. By comparison, one feels that, despite the fine finish
of his pencil work, in the latter medium he loses, to a certain
extent, the opportunities for that incisive sureness--so suited
to his own unerring vision--which pure line affords him. Consider
the drawing (on page 32) of the girl singing in a Paris _café_.
There is no dependence on aught extraneous for the achievement of
the effect sought. Yet here, if ever, a human soul is laid bare
in all its naked tragedy.

_From "Paris and some Parisians"_]

For sheer power in the art of drawing, Frank Reynolds has few equals
and no betters. As a draughtsman pure and simple, he seems to me
well-nigh perfect, whether he has pen, pencil, or stump of charcoal
in his hand. It is the great merit of his work, as it appears to
me, that it depends for the achievement of its intention solely
on its own intrinsic qualities. It has no tricks, no mannerisms,
no "fakements" to distract the attention and conceal weaknesses.
It is straightforward, direct in its appeal, self-reliant in its


To quote the words of a critic of discernment, as he passed from
drawing to drawing, "Frank Reynolds is right, right--right every
time." This is praise to which one can hardly add.

[Illustration: THE DARE-DEVILS.
_From "Social Pests."_]


Frank Reynolds is yet another in the long list of artists who have
arrived at their true vocation by devious routes. There are certain
tendencies of mind which, when a man has them, refuse to be suppressed.
The journalistic instinct is one of them. Do what you will with the
man in whom it is planted, he can never keep his fingers from the
pen. Make him a doctor and you will find him scribbling columns
for the press on hygiene in the house and the benefits of breathing
through the nose. Send him into the army and he will fill his leisure
by writing tales of tiger-shoots and essays on the art of pig-sticking.
So with the artist. The man born with the gift to draw finds as
irresistible a fascination in pencil or brush as the man with the
power of narrative discovers in ink and paper. Whether he serves
before the mast as an A.B., or cattle-ranches out west, sooner or
later he is certain to drift into his proper sphere of activity.
It may take long to get there, but eventually he is bound to arrive.

In the case of Frank Reynolds the period of bondage was comparatively
brief. Entering at first upon a business career, he had originally
no prospect, nor intention, of developing his artistic impulses.
He had scarcely, indeed, a suspicion of his own powers--certainly
no proper knowledge of their latent possibilities. But commerce
had little interest for him, and circumstances which offered an
opportunity of escape combining with a happy chance which suggested
a higher artistic (and monetary) value for that faculty for drawing
which previously he had regarded in the light of a mere hobby,
caused him to throw up his earlier plans and devote himself entirely
to black-and-white illustration.


There had been preparation for this, however. The son of an artist,
Frank Reynolds inherited his native talent, and this was developed
in no small measure during boyhood under his father's guidance. It
was the chief delight of Reynolds junior to "mess about" (as he
himself succinctly puts it) with the palette and tools of Reynolds
senior, and the licence thus permitted enabled him to discover for
himself much of the rudiments of the craft of the draughtsman and
painter. More was learned from long and absorbed contemplation of
his father at work.

[Illustration: "CHACUN" WITH HIS "CHACUNE".
_From "Paris and some Parisians"_]

If early inclinations were of more lasting duration than is their
wont, it is likely that Frank Reynolds would now be known to fame
as a painter of martial types and gory battlefields. With him the
fascination which soldiers and all things military have for the
boyish mind took the form of an intense eagerness to reproduce
in colour and line the gay pageant of the march. The skirl of the
fife and the tattoo of the drum inspired him with a desire, not to
shoulder a gun, but to seize a pencil. There was a shop in Piccadilly
where water-colour sketches of military types might frequently be
seen displayed to view, and to Reynolds junior a tramp thither of
several miles from the far west of London was as nothing, could he
but have the ecstatic joy of gazing, with nose flattened against
the window-pane, upon these transcendent works of art, for an hour
or more on end.


This early training, to be regarded as the sure foundation upon
which the artist's later education was to rest, owed not a little,
perhaps, of its effectiveness to its casual and desultory nature.
The natural bent was allowed to reveal itself: development was
gradual, and (as it were) automatic. Individuality was neither
crushed nor cramped. On the contrary, it was given full play, and
that the work of Frank Reynolds is invested with so definite a
quality of personality is due in no small degree to the special
circumstances of his youthful training.

Heatherley's, in Newman Street, London, was his only school. Here,
for some time after his final abandonment of commerce for art as the
serious business of his life, Reynolds was a close and persistent
student. That conscientious care which presents itself to those who
are cognisant of his method of work (and, indeed, to any intelligent
critic of his finished drawings) as one of his most salient
characteristics was a feature of his days of apprenticeship at
Heatherley's. Delight at emancipation from uncongenial occupation
was balanced by a sober ambition and a steady purpose. He lived
laborious days, laying to heart the lessons of his craft, but he
laboured always _con amore_.

[Illustration: BETHNAL GREEN.
_From "Sunday Clothes"_]

In his student days at Heatherley's Frank Reynolds received much
valuable help from Professor John Crompton. On the vital importance
of drawing, the latter was especially insistent: this was the dominant
note of his teaching, markedly made manifest in the work of his
pupil. In the matter of draughtsmanship, few men have so sure a
hand, an instinct so unerring.


Leaving Heatherley's, Frank Reynolds set out, armed with a sharp
pencil, and a yet sharper sense of humour, to make a living out of
black-and-white illustration. His work quickly obtained recognition,
and his drawings were soon appearing with regularity in the illustrated
press. It would have been strange if _Pick-Me-Up_, then in its
sunniest and most audacious days, had not opened its arms to so
keen an observer of life's little comedies, and Frank Reynolds
speedily became one of that clever band which, including at different
times such artists in jest as Raven Hill, S. H. Sime, Dudley Hardy,
J. W. T. Manuel, Eckhardt, and others, succeeded in making, for a
brief but brilliant period, the satirical little sheet in the blue
wrapper the most talked of periodical, perhaps, of its day. One
recalls with relish many of the quaint conceits that were illustrated
in its pages by Reynolds' mirth-provoking line, and thinks, with
regrets for opportunities lost, how admirable a successor he would
have been to Raven Hill and "the man Sime" as collaborator with Arnold
Goldsworthy in those shrewdly flippant theatrical critiques which the
latter contributed over the familiar signature of "Jingle."

[Illustration: THE REAL ARTIST.
_From "Paris and Some Parisians"_]

It is by his work for the _Sketch_, however, that Frank Reynolds is
best known to the public. Credit is due to that enterprising journal
not only for the discrimination which has caused prominence to be
given to his drawings in its pages, but for the nice appreciation
of the artist's peculiar vein of humour which has given him a free
hand to produce those exquisitely subtle studies of character which
are his especial province. As examples of what a humorous drawing
should be they are well-nigh perfect. To Reynolds it is not enough
merely to depict a laughable situation or superficially comic types.
The humour of his drawings is inherent, not extraneous; his pictorial
jests are self-contained, so to speak, and the printed legend beneath
them is incidental only. Frank Reynolds produces a comedy where
other men succeed only in perpetrating a farce.

[Illustration: "KOSHY"]



[Illustration: THE SUBURBANITE.
A Sunday Morning Study.
_From "Social Pests"_]

[Illustration: A GOOD STUDY.
_From "Paris and Some Parisians"_]


How does one portray a type? What are the rules that govern the
selection of those separate distinctive features which are to form,
when blended together, one harmoniously characteristic whole? Frank
Reynolds, surely, of all people should be able to answer. But if
the question be asked him, he will reply that he does not know.
The process is unconscious, or almost so. The portrait "comes"
of its own accord. Reflection shows that this must be so. If the
artist were to try deliberately to copy this or that feature from
concrete personalities, the result would fail to carry conviction.
The portrait of a type must be the presentment of an abstract
personality--a print, as it were, from a composite negative comprising
the likenesses of many individuals, so welded together as to reproduce
only that which is common to all: a collective portrait which is
like all but resembles none.

[Illustration: There's no 'olding 'im now, sir, since 'e's gone
into knickers--e's' that pomptious!
_From "Punch"_]

It is related of Charles Dickens that the creation of many of his
famous characters was inspired by a chance remark overheard in the
street. A single telling sentence, uttering some quaint sentiment,
perhaps in quaint idiom, would set up a train of ideas ultimately
resulting, after much meditative elaboration, in a Mrs. Gamp or a
Dick Swiveller. The process is not dissimilar, one imagines, from
that by which the artist evolves a character sketch: with this
difference, that whereas a solitary trait, accidentally revealed,
was to Dickens sufficient foundation upon which to construct his
fanciful portrait, such studies of types as Frank Reynolds excels
in must be the outcome, not of one "thing seen," but of reiterated
observation of the same thing in identical or closely similar guise.
The results in either case vary as the method employed. Mrs. Gamp,
the outcome of a single observation, is a type certainly, but
exaggerated and "founded on fact" rather than true to life. "The
Suburbanite" (see p. 24), though an equally imaginary portrait, is
the real thing--the absolute personification of a type or class.


In the case of Reynolds, his studies of types are the result of
an exceptional power of observation coupled with a very retentive
memory. His keen eye notes--often unconsciously, as he admits--the
small eccentricities by which character is revealed; his sense of
humour emphasises them, and his memory retains them. As a result,
when he essays to portray a type, there rises before his mental
vision, not the figure of this individual or that, but a hazy
recollection of all its representatives that he has ever come into
contact with. The misty impression materialises as he works, and
there grows under his hand a portrait which draws from us an instant
smile of recognition, broadening as we perceive the veiled humour
and satire that lurk beneath the skilful emphasis which has been
laid upon the subject's salient characteristics.


But though his character studies are so largely the result of memory,
it must not be supposed that his drawings are hastily conceived or
carried out. As a discerning critic can guess Frank Reynolds is
slow and careful in his method, and though the central idea of a
drawing is frequently the inspiration of the moment, its elaboration
is a matter which occupies time, and the picture passes through
many stages before attaining in the artist's mind completion. To
lay readers it may be of interest to be initiated into the mystery
of the gradual development from germ to finished drawing. For their
benefit is reproduced (p. 24) the initial rough sketch made for
the portrait of "The Suburbanite," to which allusion has been made
above. It will be seen that all the essentials are there in a raw
state, and a comparison of this rough sketch with the finished
reproduction will give some hint of the patient labour and careful
thought which has gone to the making of the latter.


To mix as an observer in all ranks of society--especially the lower
and more interesting ones--has always been to Frank Reynolds a
matter of reflective amusement. The comedy of life affords him
never-failing entertainment, for the world can never be dull to
the man with the saving grace of humour and a quizzical interest
in his fellow men. All is fish that comes to his net, for whether
he touches off the foibles of Belgravia or records the broader
humours of Bethnal Green he is equally happy. In the well-remembered
series of "Dinners with Shakespeare," for instance, he illustrated
with genial humour in half a dozen cartoons as many mannerisms
of the dinner-table. The drawing which is reproduced opposite to
page 56 portrays types that are familiar to all who know the small
restaurants of Soho. The historian of the future, I sometimes think,
who may wish to describe society in the early part of the twentieth
century, will be fortunate if he contrives to illustrate his volume
with a collection of contemporary drawings by Frank Reynolds. They
will speak more eloquently than any narrative which he may compile
from the most diligent searching of written records.

_From "Paris and Some Parisians"]

[Illustration: OUR CLUB.
IMPATIENT MEMBER.--Aren't there any waiters in the Club?
WAITER (_politely_). Yessir. How many would you like?]


Of Reynolds' exquisite refinement in the art of character drawing,
his pictures of life in Paris afford excellent examples. Impressions
of Paris through English eyes are familiar enough; but too often
they are distortions. The artist is too concerned with the obtaining
of an "effect" to be troubled by a strict adherence to truth. No
such charge can be levelled against "Pictures of Paris and Some
Parisians," as the series of drawings which Frank Reynolds contributed
to the _Sketch_ in 1904 was entitled. He viewed Paris through eyes
which magnified, perhaps, but never distorted; and his impressions,
as set down on paper, carry that instant conviction, even to those
who have never crossed the Channel, which is the hallmark of truth.


In some cases these Paris drawings, many of which are reproduced
in the present volume, are literal portraits from life. But for
the most part they are the result of that close and absorbent
observation which has been mentioned as characteristic of the artist's
method. The "Pictures of Paris" were no hurried impressions received
during a flying visit, but the outcome of a long stay in the French
capital, which gave opportunities for a close study of manners,
and a sympathetic insight into men. Accompanied by two brother
artists, Reynolds, commissioned by his editor to depict Paris, betook
himself thither, and established himself for a considerable period
in a studio, whence he could watch and record. Under the guidance
of Mr. John N. Raphael, well known amongst Paris correspondents,
who contributed the clever literary sketches which the drawings by
Reynolds nominally illustrated, explorations were made not only to
those familiar haunts of which the names are known to the veriest
tripper, but into the heart of that Paris which is _terra incognita_
to the casual stranger.

[Illustration: FRIVOLITY.
_Time Sketch: London Sketch Club._]

Thus we have in these drawings a true Paris and the true Parisian--not
the traditional caricature which, though founded possibly on fundamental
facts, has been so elaborated as to bear no more resemblance to the
real thing than the libellous figure with lantern jaws, protruding
front teeth, and side whiskers, generally beloved of the French
artist, bears to the typical Englishman. Take, for example, the
drawing of French workpeople at dinner (page 8), made from a sketch
in a Belleville _café_. There is no exaggeration here, but a literal
transcript from life, which reveals, as it were, in one flash, a
whole epitome of town life in working France.


Consider again his drawings of Parisian types. No portrait could
more nicely hit off the characteristic slouch of the _piou-piou_
(as Tommy Atkins is called in France), nor catch with more delicate
charm the personality of the French grisette of a certain type, than
the pencil drawing "Vive l'Armée" (page 49). Not less clever are the
pen-and-ink sketches of familiar types which surround the larger
figures on this last-named page--like them, the result of humorous
observation of many individuals. Reynolds tells quaint stories of
his adventures with the sketch-book in the pages of which are to
be found the hurried notes--often but a few strokes and scratches
intended to serve as a mnemonic--upon which his finished drawings
and sketches were based. Frequently he would stalk an imposing
Sergent de Ville, or Cuirassier with resplendent helmet and flowing
horse-hair plume, for miles along the boulevards, making furtive
notes, when opportunities presented themselves and conditions were
favourable, of the details of epaulettes, buttons, cuffs, and all
the other paraphernalia. In the same way his many sketches of the
Paris _cocher_ necessitated frequent drives in an open carriage,
during which careful studies could be made of the ample back of the
typical French cabman, and of the flowing folds of his usually
voluminous neck.

_Sketched in a Paris Café_]

Allusion has already been made to the progressive method by which
Frank Reynolds evolves a finished drawing, step by step, from an
initial idea roughly jotted down with a few strokes of the pencil.
His draughtsmanship depends, as must of course all draughtsmanship,
very largely upon memory. But it is his practice, whenever possible,
to obtain notes on the spot for later use. This was especially the
case with his work in Paris, where a pocket sketch-book was his
inseparable companion. A few pages of the latter are reproduced
here, illustrating the artist's quick perception and the instant
sureness with which, notwithstanding the leisurely pace of his
work under normal conditions, he conveys the spirit of his subject
by means of a few lines. An excellent example of this faculty is
the sketch of the fat priest (page 53) and his hirsute companion,
admirable in the spontaneity of expression with which the fleeting
impression of a moment has been set down on paper. Equally vivid
is the impression conveyed by the hurried sketch of an old woman
(page 22) made at the stage door of a theatre. The boulevards of
Paris are excellent places from which to study the comedy of life:
and as an example of the peculiar flavour of Frank Reynolds' humour,
it would be hardly possible to better the irresistible sketch from
life, furtively made whilst sitting amongst the audience at a _café
chantant_, which, with a nice sense of the absurd, is labelled in
the sketch-book "Having the Time of her Life."


Montmartre, as might be expected, yielded excellent "copy," to employ
a journalistic phrase. In the _cafés_ and _cabarets artistiques_
were made some of the portraits from life already referred to.
But though portraits of actual individuals, the models from which
they were made are in every case so characteristic, so closely in
keeping with their surroundings, that they serve nevertheless as
types, and the drawings in consequence make as direct an appeal
to the stranger as to one who might happen to be familiar with
the originals of them. In the famous Cabaret des Quat'-z-Arts was
drawn the exquisite pen-and-ink portrait on page 32, previously
alluded to, of "Georgette de Bertigny": under which name, for the
purposes of the sketch, the identity of a figure at one time very
familiar to _habitués_ of the Quat'-z-Arts is concealed. As comment
upon the depth of feeling which the drawing reveals, one may read
the pen picture which accompanied it:

Then Georgette de Bertigny steps out through the haze, and stands,
a tragic little figure, on the platform by the piano. Her hair and
eyes are ebon black; her face, thin lipped and pale, is like a
mask of ivory. There is no life whatever in it. She stands there
like a tragedy in miniature, her hands behind her back, unseeing,
motionless. Then, to a low, monotonously modulated melody, she
sings a song of utter misery and passion, and, as she sings, her
eyes and face light up. The mask of ivory gleams as though there
were living light behind it, and the sweet, low voice stirs us
as but few singers can. The music ceases. And the light behind
the ivory goes out again as Georgette bows her thanks for our

[Illustration: LE 'IGH KICK.
At the Moulin Rouge.
_From "Paris and Some Parisians"_]

It is trite to remark that comedy is akin to tragedy, and it is in
the natural order of things that an artist of so keen a perception
of the comedy of life should be able to strike with such truth and
precision the note of pathos or of tragedy.

_From "Paris and Some Parisians"_]

The "Lapin Agile," a strange little _café_ in that "other Montmartre"
which the tourist knoweth not, yielded abundance of material to
Frank Reynolds' pencil. Needless to say, the curious may search all
Paris and find no such sign as that of "The Sprightly Rabbit," but
it is not impossible that some may recognise, under his disguise,
"Felix," the ruffianly but accomplished host, who was the model
for the sketch upon page 43, one of the happiest examples in the
present volume of the artist's skill in portraiture, as well as of
his rare technique in pen-and-ink. Equally happy is the sketch which
depicts "'Chacun' with his 'Chacune'" at the Moulin de la Galette
(page 13), in which the pose of the figures and the expression upon
their faces exhibit, if one may put it so, the very perfection of
naturalness. For a study of expression, again, it would be difficult,
or indeed impossible, to better the further of the two figures
in the drawing of "Le 'Igh Kick," made one night at the Moulin
Rouge. As to pose, could there be anything more exactly right than
the attitude of the gentleman "with bright-blue goggle eyes, and a
dress-shirt front in accordion pleats," who, on the occasion when
his portrait was made, had been to the races and backed a winner,
and was delivering "a long and extremely incoherent speech."

[Illustration: FELIX OF THE "LAPIN AGILE".
_From "Paris and Some Parisians"]



Looking through these inimitable sketches of Paris and Parisians,
one indulges a fond hope that some day Frank Reynolds will produce
a companion set of drawings illustrative of London life. It is
answered, perhaps, that Paris affords a unique opportunity such as
the artist would hardly find at home; but the supposition is due,
of course, only to the familiarity of our immediate surroundings
and the difficulty which invariably arises, in consequence, of
focussing them to their true proportions. Needless to say, Frank
Reynolds has already worked the rich vein of Cockney life to a
considerable extent, but his essays in this direction only increase
the desire to see an exhaustive pictorial commentary from his pencil
and pen upon the men and manners of our own city. Such quaint humour
as is contained in his study of "Sunday Clothes at Bethnal Green"
(page 17), suggests what possibilities the subject presents.

Incidentally, it may be remarked, _apropos_ of this drawing, that
the London coster (whom he knows and loves) has provided some of
his most admirable studies from life. To that class belongs the
sympathetic study which faces page 1 in the present volume. The broad
humours of Whitechapel could scarcely fail to appeal irresistibly
to an artist of Reynolds' peculiar temperament, and few men have
depicted them with such relish or--thanks to his rare gift of
restraint--with such fidelity and truth.

To a certain extent, Frank Reynolds has already recorded contemporary
manners in England, and especially in London, in his well-known
series of "Social Pests," though it would perhaps be more correct
to say that he has pilloried therein the more extravagant of our
social freaks. Probably the delighted recognition with which these
ruthless analyses of character were hailed was due to the satisfaction
which attends the exhibition of a proper object of satire meeting
with its just deserts.

[Illustration: THE WARRENER.
_Exhibited at the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours,_ 1907.]

No ridicule could be more serene, nor yet more biting, than that
with which the artist touches off the desperate efforts to attract
attention of the rowdy group of callow youths whom he names, with
a flash of inspiration, "The Dare-Devils" (page 10). Of "The
Suburbanite," to the writer's mind perhaps the most subtly accurate
character-study of all, the artist speaks in terms of apology.
It is hardly fair, he contends, to include in a gallery of pests
the bulwark of the nation!

A particular aspect of London life which provides a rich fund of
material for humorous treatment was dealt with by Frank Reynolds
in his series of drawings entitled "The 'Halls' from the Stalls."
As every frequenter of the variety theatre is aware, the programme
at such places of entertainment is arranged on certain well-defined
lines. The music-hall performer may be divided into certain very
distinct classes, each with its orthodox methods and mannerisms;
and it was on the little peculiarities of these different branches
of the profession that the artist seized with characteristic glee.


How little his efforts, unfortunately, were taken in the spirit in
which they were meant, may be gleaned from the annoyance expressed
by one gentleman who considered himself, quite erroneously, to have
been singled out for individual ridicule. A certain drawing in
the series depicts "The Equilibrist"--an individual with an anxious
eye, who is poised upon a slack wire above the head of an admiring
assistant, balancing sundry cigar-boxes and wine-glasses on one toe,
while supporting on his head a lighted lamp, and discoursing sweet
music from a mandoline. The publication of this skit drew from a
wrathful professional an indignant letter, in which he declared that
insomuch as he was the one and only exponent of the equilibristic
art who could balance a lighted lamp upon his head, the picture
which illustrated this piece of "business" _must_ be intended as a
portrait of himself, though he considered it very badly done, and
a libellous production. From one point of view, it was surprising
that the impression of the "Lion Comique," as seen by Frank Reynolds,
elicited no similar response from the gentlemen of the boards, for
indisputably the picture was a portrait, and a perfect one, of each
individually and of all combined. On second thoughts, however, and
upon consideration of the drawing in question (which many readers
will remember), it is, perhaps, not so very surprising that no
claim to identity with it was forthcoming!

Other drawings in the same series, depicting other examples of
the strange freaks of humanity by whom the British public delights
to be entertained, afford good examples of the innate humour of
Frank Reynolds' art. There is often little that is actually comic
in the situations depicted, yet each is instinct with humour. It
is the triumph of Reynolds' comic art that he can snare, on the
wing as it were, humour that is too elusive and nimble for one
of slower perception and heavier hand.

[Illustration: VIVE L'ARMÉE
_From "Paris and Some Parisians"_]

"Art and the Man" was a series of drawings in the vein of farce
rather than of comedy. The intention was to depict various types
of artists rather as fancy might paint them than as they really
are. The "Marine Artist," for example, with his canvas slung from
davits and the entire furniture of his studio of extremely nautical
design, was a purely fanciful conception. The "Pot-Boiler," spending
his days in painting one solitary subject over and over again _ad
infinitum_, comes nearer to life, though his portrait again is
an exaggerated fancy rather than a study from life. One feels,
nevertheless, that if there be indeed such an individual as the
pot-boiler in existence, this, and no other, must be his outward

The drawings entitled "Dinners with Shakespeare," to which allusion
has already been made, gave scope for a very varied range of character
studies. Meal-time is a happy moment at which to catch human nature
unawares, and the artist made the most of his opportunities. They
add to the debt which the historians of contemporary manners will
owe to Reynolds in the future, for as a sidelight on social habits
of the present day these pictures of the dinner-table will be
instructive. The very triteness of their theme gives them their

[Illustration: "GAZED ON HAROLD"
_From "Paris and Some Parisians"_]


Of late years Reynolds' pen-and-ink drawings have been a familiar
feature of the pages of _Punch_. His gentle satires therein have
been at the expense of all classes of the community. But his most
successful and best remembered jokes have perhaps been those which
depicted the unconscious humours of Cockney low life. His illustration
of "Precedence at Battersea," in which one small gutter-snipe struggles
with another for a cricket bat, indignantly declaring that "The
Treasurer goes in before the bloomin' Seketery," is by way of becoming
a classic. Equally clever is the study of a small boy, (reproduced on
page 27) whose "pomptiousness" on attaining the dignity of knickers
forms the subject of admiring comment from his mother to a friendly
curate: the mother herself being a wonderful study of low life.
In "Going It" (page 59) the artist harks back to the theme of
"freak-study," if such a term is permissible, the expressions on
the faces of the two figures exhibiting well his acute powers of


As an illustrator of stories of a certain type, Frank Reynolds is
without an equal. On a tale of mere incident his talent is wasted:
but into the spirit of a writer who takes human nature for his text,
the artist enters with the keenest sympathy. One is tempted to think
that the author who is so fortunate as to have Frank Reynolds for a
collaborator, must on occasion be startled at the clear vision
with which the artist materialises the private conceptions of his
mind. It would hardly be possible to find a more sympathetic series
of illustrations than those which Frank Reynolds drew for Keble
Howard's idyll of Suburbia, entitled "The Smiths of Surbiton."
The author constructed out of the petty doings and humdrum habits
of suburban life a charming little story of simple people, and
with equal cleverness the artist built up, out of these slight
materials, a series of exquisitely natural pictures, which revealed
the almost incredible fact that semi-detached villadom is not all

Illustrators of Charles Dickens are legion, but when one thinks of
the opportunities for character-study, without that exaggeration
into which previous illustrators have been too prone to indulge,
which the works of the great novelist afford, one is inclined to think
that until we see that wonderful gallery of fanciful personalities
which began with Mr. Pickwick and his companions portrayed by the
pencil of Frank Reynolds, we shall have to wait still for the perfect
edition of Dickens. One niche in that gallery has already been
filled, and a study of the water-colour drawing of "Tony Weller
at the Belle Sauvage," which is reproduced in the present volume,
only increases our desire, like the immortal Oliver, to ask for

[Illustration: "THE DES(S)ERTS OF BOHEMIA".
_From "Dinners with Shakespeare"_]

Frank Reynolds as a colourist is less known to the general public
than Frank Reynolds the black-and-white artist. It is only of recent
years, indeed, that he has turned his attention to painting. But his
work, as seen at the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours
(of which body he was elected a member in 1903) and elsewhere,
proves that his skill with the brush is no less than with pen or
pencil. The present volume includes, besides the drawing of Tony
Weller just referred to, his picture of "The Warrener," another
fine character-study, exhibited at the Royal Institute in 1907.
"The Introduction," an example of a "time sketch" done at the London
Sketch Club, illustrates the quick readiness with which the artist
nimbly catches the spirit of his subject, and the subtle touch
which invests his drawing with the evasive quality of atmosphere.
Another Sketch Club study is that of the curate at the play, which
bears the title "Frivolity." As a study in expression it is amazingly
clever: and it must be a painful and melancholy respect for the cloth
which can suppress the smile which it summons. Even an Archbishop
will scarce forbear to snigger!


It is not uncommon to hear modern black-and-white art in this country
decried by some persons--mostly of that shallow critical class
which can praise nothing in the present, and has encomiums only
for that which is past. But while English art can point to such
work in black-and-white as Frank Reynolds (to say nothing of others,
with whom this volume is not concerned) produces, he must have
dull senses who deplores the present and must hark back to the
days, let us say, of Charles Keene to find satisfaction for his
artistic cravings.

[Illustration: GOING IT!
SHE: After this, what do you say to a jaunt on one of the new tubes?]

If it be a merit to add to the gaiety of nations, then Frank Reynolds,
on that count alone, deserves of his fellow men more than a passing
approbation. He is something more than a mere jester, however: his
humour but flavours, as it were, a serious study of human nature.
Ignoring, for a moment, the skill and charm of his technique, one
feels it to be an accident only that his vehicle of expression
is pictorial and not literary. He occupies amongst artists the
place which the novelist holds amongst men of letters. When to
the recognition of this distinction is added a consideration of
his artistic ability, _per se_, his title to the appreciation of
men of taste and sensibility must be conceded.

Frank Reynolds is fortunately a young man. Long may we continue
to suffer the good-natured pricks with which his gentle shafts of
satire, piercing the cracks in our self-complacent armour, stimulate
us; long may we continue, secure in our own self-esteem, rapturously
to gloat over the spectacle of our dear friends and neighbours
held up, by his whimsical humour, to keen but harmless ridicule.


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