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Title: The Bases of Design
Author: Crane, Walter
Language: English
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THE BASES OF DESIGN



THE BASES OF DESIGN

BY WALTER CRANE

[Illustration]

LONDON

GEORGE BELL AND SONS

1902


  First Edition, Medium 8vo, 1898.
  Second Edition, Crown 8vo, 1902.

  CHISWICK PRESS: CHARLES WHITTINGHAM AND CO.
  TOOKS COURT, CHANCERY LANE, LONDON.

    TO CHARLES ROWLEY, J.P. CHAIRMAN OF THE MANCHESTER MUNICIPAL
    SCHOOL OF ART, TO WHOSE ENERGY, SYMPATHY, AND ENTHUSIASM THE
    SCHOOL, IN ITS NEWER DEVELOPMENT, OWES SO MUCH, AND TO MY
    FORMER COLLEAGUES OF THE TEACHING STAFF, AS WELL AS TO ALL
    STUDENTS, I DEDICATE THIS BOOK.



PREFACE


THE substance of the following chapters originally formed a series
of lectures addressed to the students of the Manchester Municipal
School of Art during my tenure of the directorship of Design at that
institution.

The field covered is an extensive one, and I am conscious that many
branches of my subject are only touched, whilst others are treated in a
very elementary manner. Every chapter, indeed, might be expanded into
a volume, under such far-reaching headings, to give to each section
anything like adequate treatment.

My main object, however, has been to trace the vital veins and nerves
of relationship in the arts of design, which, like the sap from the
central stem, springing from connected and collective roots, out of a
common ground, sustain and unite in one organic whole the living tree.

In an age when, owing to the action of certain economic causes--the
chiefest being commercial competition--the tendency is to specialize
each branch of design, which thus becomes isolated from the rest,
I feel it is most important to keep in mind the real fundamental
connection and essential unity of art: and though we may, as students
and artists, in practice be intent upon gathering the fruit from
the particular branch we desire to make our own, we should never be
insensible to its relation to other branches, its dependence upon the
main stem and the source of its life at the root.

Otherwise we are, I think, in danger of becoming mechanical in our
work, or too narrowly technical, while, as a collective result of
such narrowness of view, the art of the age, to which each individual
contributes, shows a want of both imaginative harmony and technical
relation with itself, when unity of effect and purpose is particularly
essential, as in the design and decoration of both public and private
buildings, not to speak of the larger significance of art as the most
permanent record of the life and ideals of a people.

My illustrations are drawn from many sources, and consist of a large
proportion of those originally used for the lectures, only that instead
of the rough charcoal sketches done at the time, careful pen drawings
have been made of many of the subjects in addition to the photographs
and other authorities.

It may be noted that I have freely used both line and tone blocks
in the text and throughout the book, although I advocate the use of
line drawings only with type in books wherein completeness of organic
ornamental character is the object. Such a book as this, however,
being rather in the nature of a tool or auxiliary to a designer's
workshop, can hardly be regarded from that point of view. The scheme
of the work, which necessitates the gathering together of so many and
varied illustrations as diverse in scale, subject, and treatment as
the historic periods which they represent, would itself preclude a
consistent decorative treatment, and it has been found necessary to
reproduce many of the illustrations from their original form in large
scale drawings on brown paper touched with white, as well as from
photographs which necessarily print as tone-blocks.

I have to thank Mr. Gleeson White for his valuable help in many ways,
as well as in obtaining permission from various owners of copyright
to use photographs and other illustrations, and also the publishers,
who have allowed me the use of blocks in some instances--Mr. George
Allen for a page from "The Faerie Queene"; Messrs. Bradbury, Agnew and
Co. for the use of the "Punch" drawings; and Messrs. J. S. Virtue and
Co. for the use of photographs of carpet weaving and glass blowing,
which were specially taken for "The Art Journal." My thanks are also
due to Mr. Metford Warner (Messrs. Jeffrey and Co.) for the use of
his photo-lithographs of my wall-paper designs issued by his firm; to
Mr. R. Phené Spiers for the use of his sketch of the iron balustrade
from Rothenburg; to Mr. T. J. Cobden-Sanderson for photographs of two
of his recent bookbindings; to the executors of the late Rev. W. H.
Creeny for permission to reproduce two of the illustrations from his
"Monumental Brasses on the Continent of Europe" (now published by Mr.
B. T. Batsford); also to Mr. Harold Rathbone, who kindly allows me to
reproduce the cartoons by Ford Madox Brown in his possession; to Mr. J.
Sylvester Sparrow for the practical notes on painting glass; and to Mr.
Emery Walker for help in several ways in the preparation of the book.

  WALTER CRANE.

  KENSINGTON,
  _November, 1897_.



AUTHOR'S NOTE ON THE PRESENT EDITION


THIS reprint of "The Bases of Design" gives me an opportunity to
correct a few errors which had inadvertently crept in on its first
appearance, and also to add a word here and there.

I venture to hope that the book may prove more useful and accessible to
students in its present form.

  WALTER CRANE.

  KENSINGTON,
  _November, 1901_.



CONTENTS


  CHAP.                                                        PAGE

     I OF THE ARCHITECTURAL BASIS                                 1

    II OF THE UTILITY BASIS AND INFLUENCE                        48

   III OF THE INFLUENCE OF MATERIAL AND METHOD                   91

    IV OF THE INFLUENCE OF CONDITIONS IN DESIGN                 123

     V OF THE CLIMATIC INFLUENCE IN DESIGN--CHIEFLY IN REGARD
         TO COLOUR AND PATTERN                                  160

    VI OF THE RACIAL INFLUENCE IN DESIGN                        191

   VII OF THE SYMBOLIC INFLUENCE, OR EMBLEMATIC ELEMENT
         IN DESIGN                                              222

  VIII OF THE GRAPHIC INFLUENCE, OR NATURALISM IN DESIGN        259

    IX OF THE INDIVIDUAL INFLUENCE IN DESIGN                    302

     X OF THE COLLECTIVE INFLUENCE IN DESIGN                    350



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                               PAGE
  Three typical Constructive Forms in Architecture--Lintel,
    Round Arch, Pointed Arch.                                     5

  Gate of Mycenæ.                                                 6

  Imitation of Wooden Construction in Stone Tomb in Lycia.        7

  Ornamental lines in the Frieze of the Parthenon                 8

  Metope of the Parthenon, showing relation and proportions
    of the masses in relief to the ground.                        9

  The Parthenon.                                                 11

  The Parthenon--Eastern Pediment, sketches showing relation
    of lines of sculpture to angle of Pediment.                  12

  The Parthenon--Elevation showing portion of Pediment,
    Frieze and Columns.                                          13

  Architectural influence in design of small accessories
    (Greek).                                                     15

  Section of the Colosseum.                                      17

  Hanging the Festal Garland--Visit of Bacchus to Icarius.       18

  Arch of Constantine.                                           19

  Mosaic, St. Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna.                     21

  Part of Interior of Dome of St. Mark's, Venice.                23

  Mosaic of the Empress Theodora, St. Vitale, Ravenna.           24

  Anselm's Tower, Canterbury.                                    27

  Transitional Arcade, South Transept, Canterbury.               29

  Typical Forms of Arches.                                       30

  Typical Forms of Gothic Geometric Foliation.                   30

  Westminster Abbey, the Nave, looking east.                     31

  Wells Cathedral, West Front.                                   33

  Westminster Abbey, Fan Tracery in Henry VII.'s Chapel.         35

  The Five Sisters of York.                                      37

  Details of Tomb, Winchelsea Church (1303).                     38

  Fourteenth Century Canopied Tomb, Winchelsea Church.           39

  Wrought-iron Railing, Wells Cathedral.                         40

  Canopied Seat and Sideboard, French Fifteenth Century.         41

  Carved Bench-ends, Dennington Church, Suffolk.                 42

  Brocade Hanging, from the Annunciation, by Memling.            43

  St. David's Cathedral.                                         44

  Structural lines of different periods in harmonious
    combination, Canterbury Cathedral.                           45

  Matting.                                                       49

  Primitive Rush Mat.                                            50

  Assyrian Border.                                               50

  Assyrian enamelled Tile.                                       51

  Greek Anthemion Ornament.                                      52

  Wattled Fence.                                                 52

  Ancient Volute Ornament.                                       53

  Types of Decoration derived from Thonging.                     54

  Frieze of the Temple of the Sybil at Tivoli.                   55

  Yoke of Oxen, Carrara.                                         55

  Barge-board, Ightham Mote House.                               57

  Types of Gables.                                               57

  Hazelford Hall, Derbyshire.                                    59

  The Principle of the Dripstone.                                60

  Towers of San Gimignano.                                       61

  Tower of the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence.                        63

  Tower with corner Turret, Axmouth Church, Devon.               64

  Cut Brick Chimneys, Leigh's Priory, Essex.                     65

  Brick Chimney, Framlingham Castle.                             66

  Cast-iron Fire-dog, St. Nicholas's Hospital, Canterbury.       67

  Cast-iron Grate Back, Bruges.                                  68

  Fireplace with wrought-iron Crane, Church Farm, Hempstead,
    Essex.                                                       69

  Candlesticks.                                                  71

  Brass Chandelier, German Seventeenth Century.                  74

  Details of above.                                              75

  Lamps, Candlestick, and Snuffers.                              77

  Drinking Vessels, etc.                                         81

  German Beer Mugs.                                              82

  Italian Flasks and Bottle.                                     83

  Pitcher from Rothenburg.                                       87

  Plate and Dish Decoration.                                     87

  Typical Border Systems.                                        89

  Persistent Pattern Plans, Rectangular Basis.                   89

  Corbel, Fourteenth Century, Dennington Church, Suffolk.        92

  Misereres, St. David's Cathedral.                          93, 94

  Scandinavian Clay Vessel.                                      95

  Modern Egyptian Clay Vessel.                                   97

  Bronze Statue of Louis XV. by Bouchardon, showing
    internal Iron-work and Core.                                 99

  The same, showing distribution of Ducts and Vents.            101

  Wrought-iron Gates, St. Lawrence, Nuremberg.                  103

  Wrought-iron Fender, Tongs, Fire-dog and Shovel, Bruges.      103

  Wrought-iron Altar Screen, St. Thomas's, Salisbury.           104

  Wrought-iron Balustrade, Rothenburg, from a sketch by
    R. Phené Spiers.                                            105

  Lady at a Hand Loom, from Erasmus's "Praise of Folly"
    (1676).                                                     107

  Diagrams showing the principle of the Loom.                   107

  Persian Carpet, South Kensington Museum.                      109

  Embroidery.                                                   114

  Facsimile of a page from the "Buch von den Sieben
    Todsünden" (Augsburg, 1474).                                117

  Hans Baldung Grün, facsimile of a page from "Hortulus
    Animæ" (Strassburg, 1511).                                  118

  William Blake, "A Cradle Song".                               120

  Ceiling Papers. Designed by Walter Crane.           124, 125, 126

  Repeating Pattern Wall-paper. Designed by Walter Crane.       127

  Pattern Plans and Motives controlled by conditions of
    Position and Purpose.                                       129

  Floor Motive. Sketch design for inlaid wood,
    by Walter Crane.                                            130

  Drop Repeat Wall-papers. Designed by Walter Crane.       132, 134

  Page Plans, showing various arrangements of Text and
    Decorations.                                                137

  Page from "The Glittering Plain" (Kelmscott Press).           139

  Page from Spenser's "Faerie Queene" (Walter Crane).           140

  Thirteenth Century Glass from the Sainte Chapelle, Paris
    (South Kensington Museum).                        142, 143, 145

  Sixteenth Century Glass from Winchester College Chapel
    (South Kensington Museum).                                  147

  Thirteenth Century Glass Grisaille, Salisbury Cathedral.      151

  Cartoons for Glass, showing lead design, by Ford Madox
    Brown.                                                 152, 153

  Modern Glass, designed and executed by J. S. Sparrow.         157

  Porch of Cathedral of S. Jacopo, Pistoia.                     165

  Primitive Egyptian House, after Viollet le Duc.               168

  Column from Temple of Luxor.                                  169

  Persian Capital, influenced by Primitive Timber
    Construction.                                               170

  Lotus Capital, Philæ.                                         171

  Frieze in coloured and glazed Bricks, Palace of Susa
    (from the Reproduction in the South Kensington
    Museum), drawn by W. Cleobury.                              173

  Holy Carpet of the Mosque at Ardebil (South Kensington
    Museum).                                                    177

  Arab Casement from Cairo (South Kensington Museum),
    drawn by W. Cleobury.                                       181

  Carved stone lattice Window from the Mosque of the
    Palace of Ahmedabad.                                        183

  Portion of the Alhambra, drawn by Gustave Doré.               187

  Old House in Turnov, dated 1816.                              188

  Street in Eger.                                               189

  Egyptian Hieroglyphics, Tomb of Beni Hasan (XIXth
    Dynasty).                                                   195

  Altar with Offerings, Egyptian Mural Painting, Thebes.        196

  Egyptian Wall-painting (British Museum).                      197

  Assyrian Tree of Life.                                        198

  Assyrian Bas-reliefs (British Museum).              199, 200, 201

  Assur Beni Pal, Assyrian Lions from the British Museum.       203

  Lion modelled by Alfred Stevens and cast in iron.             205

  Greek Stele or Head-stone.                                    206

  Indian Flame Halo or Nimbus.                                  207

  Persian Pomegranate forms, from a goat-hair Carpet
    (South Kensington Museum).                                  208

  Celtic design, from a Cross at Campbeltown, Argyllshire.      209

  Typical ornamental Forms in Persian, Indian, and Chinese
    designs.                                                    211

  Arabian Fourteenth Century carved and inlaid Pulpit,
    Cairo (South Kensington Museum), drawn by W.
    Cleobury.                                              213, 215

  Panel in carved and inlaid Wood, from the Mosque of
    Tooloon in Cairo, Fourteenth or Fifteenth Century
    Saracenic.                                                  217

  The _Fylfot_ or _Sauvastika_, and its
    incorporation in ornament.                                  224

  Primitive Symbols, Sun, Fire, Water.                          224

  Polynesian Carved Ornament, from Hervey Island Paddle.        225

  Polynesian Ornament--Evolution of the Zigzag.                 227

  Hindu Symbol of the Universe.                                 229

  Examples of Egyptian Symbolism.                               231

  Il Nilo (Vatican, Rome).                                      235

  Venus and Paris--the Apples of the Hesperides (from a
    relief at Wilton House).                                    237

  Christian Emblem:  Stags Drinking (Mausoleo di Galla
    Placidia, Ravenna).                                         240

  Christian Emblem:  Peacocks and Vine (Sarcophagus,
    St. Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna).                         241

  Fra Angelico, Angel (Uffizi, Florence).                  242, 243

  Orcagna, Fiends from "The Triumph of Death," Fresco
    (Campo Santo, Pisa).                                        245

  Combat of King with Griffin (Ancient Persian Sculpture,
    Persepolis).                                                247

  Typical Forms of Shields and of Heraldic Treatment.           249

  Sicilian Silk Tissue, Twelfth century (South Kensington
    Museum).                                                    251

  Alciati's Emblems, designed by Solomon Bernard, _Ex
    Bello Pax_, Fortune, Ambition, Avarice.      253, 254, 255, 256

  Prehistoric Graphic Art of the Cave Men.                 260, 261

  Egyptian Treatment of Birds (from painted Mummy
    Cases, British Museum).                                     264

  A Fowler, Wall-painting, XIXth Dynasty (British Museum).      265

  Japanese Graphic Art (from "The Hundred Birds of
    Bari").                                                266, 267

  Egyptian Scribe, Portrait Statuette, Vth or VIth Dynasty
    (Louvre).                                                   269

  Sculptured Frieze discovered in the Forum, 1872.              271

  Auxerre Cathedral, Thirteenth Century Sculpture.              272

  Amiens Cathedral, Fourteenth Century Sculpture.               273

  Statue of St. Martha (St. Urbain, Troyes).                    275

  Memling, "Deliverance of St. Peter" (Grimani Breviary).       276

  Memling, "David placing the Ark in the Tabernacle"
    (Grimani Breviary).                                         277

  Albert Dürer, "The Apocalypse".                               279

  Albert Dürer, Portrait of Erasmus (1526).                     280

  Albert Dürer, "The Cannon" (1513).                            281

  Albert Dürer, The taking down from the Cross ("Little
    Passion").                                                  283

  Hans Burgmair, Group of Knights from "The Triumphs
    of Maximilian".                                             284

  Horned Poppy, from Fuchsius' "De Historia Stirpium"
    (1542).                                                     287

  Japanese Plant Drawing.                                  288, 289

  Brass of Joris de Munter and Wife (Bruges, 1439).             291

  Brass of King Eric Menved and Queen Ingeborg of Denmark
    (Ringstead, 1319).                                          293

  Charles Keene, Drawing from "Punch".                          295

  Linley Sambourne, Drawing from "Punch".                       297

  Phil May, Drawing from "Punch".                               299

  Simone Memmi, Fresco containing portrait of Cimabue
    and Contemporaries (S. M. Novella, Florence).               307

  Giotto, Portrait of Dante (Pretorian Palace, Florence).       309

  Giotto, Frescoes (Arena Chapel, Padua).                  310, 311

  Giotto, Frescoes (Assisi).                               312, 313

  Niccolo Pisano, Pulpit (Baptistery, Pisa).                    315

  Orcagna, "Triumph of Death," Fresco (Campo Santo, Pisa).      317

  Benozzo Gozzoli, Frescoes (Riccardi Chapel,
    Florence).                                   318, 319, 320, 321

  Botticelli, Detail from "The Adoration of the Magi"
    (Uffizi, Florence).                                         323

  Botticelli, "La Prima Vera" (Academy, Florence).              325

  Mantegna, Bronze Monument (S. Andrea, Mantua).                327

  Mantegna, "The Triumph of Julius Cæsar," from Andrea
    Andreani's woodcut.                                         331

  Leonardo da Vinci, "The Last Supper" (Milan).                 335

  Leonardo da Vinci, Study for the Head of Christ.              337

  Bust of Michael Angelo (S. Croce, Florence).                  339

  Michael Angelo, Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel ("The
    Creation of Man").                                          341

  Michael Angelo, Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.                343

  Michael Angelo, The Delphic Sibyl (Sistine Chapel).           345

  Michael Angelo, Tomb of Giuliano de Medici (Florence).        346

  Michael Angelo, Tomb of Lorenzo de Medici (Florence).         347

  Natural variation in Repetition of Ornamental
    Forms--Primary School Children drawing on the
    blackboard, Philadelphia.                              356, 357

  Axminster Carpet Weaving.                                     361

  Tapestry Carpet Weaving.                                      362

  Interior of the Atelier of Etienne Delaune, Paris, 1576.      364

  Glass Blowing.                                                366

  Interior of a Printing Office, Sixteenth Century, from Jost
    Amman.                                                      367

  Gold-Tooled Bindings, by T. J. Cobden-Sanderson.         370, 371



OF THE BASES OF DESIGN



CHAPTER I.--OF THE ARCHITECTURAL BASIS


WHEN we approach the study of Design, from whatever point of view,
and whatsoever our ultimate aim and purpose, we can hardly fail to be
impressed with the vast variety and endless complexity of the forms
which the term (Design) covers, understanding it in its widest and
fullest sense.

From the simplest linear pattern, or bone scratchings of primitive
man, to the most splendid achievements in mural decoration of the
Italian Renascence--or, shall we say, from the grass mat of the first
plaiter to the finest Persian carpet: or from Stonehenge to Salisbury
Cathedral--the range is enormous, and were we to attempt to trace,
step by step, the true relation between the diverse and multitudinous
characteristics which such contrasts suggest, we should be tracing the
course of the development of human thought and history themselves.

When we stand amazed in this labyrinth--this enchanted and beautiful
wood of human invention which the history of art displays, we might be
content to gaze at the loveliness of particular forms there, and simply
enjoy, like children, the beauty of the trees and flowers; gathering
here and there at random, and casting them aside again when we were
tired, without a thought as to their true significance.

If, however, we desire to find some clue to the labyrinth--something
which will explain it in part, at least, something which will give us
a key to the relation of these manifold forms, and enable us to place
them in harmonious order and coherence, we shall presently ask:

(1) How and whence they derived their leading characteristics?

(2) Upon what basis have they been built up? and

(3) What have been the chief influences which have determined, and
still determine, their varieties?

Let us try to address ourselves to these questions, since, I believe,
even if we only end as we begin, by inquiry, that, in the course of
that inquiry, by study, by comparison, and careful observation, we
shall be able greatly to clear our path, and find much to help us as
individual students and practical workers in art.

(1) The first arts are, of course, those of pure utility, which spring
from the primal physical necessities of man: which are concerned in
the maintenance of life itself--the art or craft of the hunter and the
fisherman, the tiller of the soil, the hewer of wood and the drawer
of water: but seeing that next to securing sufficiency of food, the
efforts of man are directed towards providing himself with shelter,
both of roof and raiment, and since most of the arts of the creative
sort must be practised under shelter of some kind, and that all of
them contribute in some way towards the building or adornment of
such shelter, I think we shall find the true basis and controlling
influences, which have been paramount in the development of decorative
design, _in the form and character of the dwellings of man_ and their
accessories; from the temples he has raised to enshrine his highest
ideals--these temples themselves being but larger and more monumental
dwellings--to the tomb, his last dwelling-place. We shall find, in
short, the original and controlling bases of design in architecture,
the queen and mother of all the arts.

In asserting this one does not lose sight of the view that _all art is,
primarily, the projection or precipitation in material form of man's
emotional and intellectual nature_; but, being projected and taking
definite shape, it becomes subject to certain controlling forces of
nature, of material, of condition, which re-act upon the mind; and it
is with these controlling forces and conditions, and the distinctions
which arise out of them, that we are now concerned.

Such distinctions as exist, for instance, in the feeling, the plan and
construction of those patterns intended to be laid upon the floors (as
in carpets or tiles), and such as are intended to cover ceilings and
walls (as in plaster-work, textile hangings or wall papers), obviously
arise from the relative positions of floor, walls, and ceilings, and
the differences between horizontal and vertical positions; and these
conditions are necessarily part and parcel of the constructional
conditions of the dwelling itself.

The first shelter may be said to have been the shelter of nature
without art--the TREE and the CAVE, the first homes of man; although
he was probably not by any means the first animal to hide among the
woods and the rocks, since he had many and formidable foes to dispute
with or disturb him in possession. It is noticeable that such art as
is associated with this strange and remote chapter of man's existence
on the earth--the art-instinct which impelled the primitive hunter
to incise the bone and stone implements he used with the images of
the animals he hunted--is purely graphic, and does not show any
feeling of that adaptive ornamental quality characteristic of what
we call decorative design, which would seem to belong to a more
highly organized condition of society. "Among the primitive Greeks,"
remarks Messrs. Guhl and Köner in their Life of the Greeks and Romans,
"fountains and trees, caves and mountains, were considered as seats
of the gods, and revered accordingly, even without being changed into
divine habitations by the art of man." But, as proving literally that
art springs out of nature, the cave itself led to a development of
architecture, as in some early Greek tombs where the cave, or cleft
in the rocks, is utilized and added to by masonry; or where the rock
itself was carved and hollowed, as in the rock-cut temples of Egypt and
India. To which some trace the origin of columnar architecture.

The TENT of the Asiatic wandering tribes, and the wattled and wooden
HUT of the western and northern, come next in the order of human
dwellings, and not only may we trace certain types of pattern design
to both sources, but it would seem as if both the tent and the hut, and
perhaps the wagon of the Aryans, had had their influence upon the more
substantial stone structures which succeeded them. When tribes became
communities, townships were founded, and more fixed and settled habits
of life prevailed.

  [Illustration: DIAGRAM TO SHOW THE THREE TYPICAL FORMS OF
  ARCHITECTURE:
  I         II            III
  LINTEL.   ROUND ARCH.   POINTED ARCH.]

Now we may broadly group the principal types of architectural form and
construction in three principal divisions, following Professor Ruskin,
namely:

1. The architecture of the Lintel (or column and pediment).

2. The architecture of the Round Arch (or vault and dome).

3. The architecture of the Pointed Arch[1] (or vault, gable, and
buttress).

[1] Although such a classification may not be quite satisfactory from
the point of view of the constructive and historical architect, it
sufficiently serves the present purpose as regards the influence of
these main types in determining the form and character and controlling
spaces and lines of the decoration, both surface and sculptural design,
which accompanies them in ancient, classical, and mediæval work which
it is my object to trace.

Of the first we may find the simplest type in Stonehenge; we may find
it in equally massive, and almost as primitive form at Mycenæ, in
the famous Gate of the Lions, remarkable as being the earliest known
example of Greek sculpture: we may find it more developed in the Greek
temples of ancient Egypt, at Karnac, Thebes and Philæ, and we may see
it in its purest form in the Parthenon at Athens.

[Illustration: GATE OF MYCENÆ.]

The derivation and development of the Greek Doric temple from its
prototype of wooden construction has frequently been demonstrated,
and the tombs in Lycia furnish striking illustrations of this
close imitation and perpetuation in stone of a system and details
belonging to wood; and it is instructive to compare its features with
corresponding parts in the Parthenon, and to observe how closely they
agree. It is a curious instance of that love for and clinging to
ancient and traditional forms, that with the art and all the resources
of Athenian civilization, the form and construction of its temples
remained much the same, and may be considered as only glorified
enlargements in marble of their wooden predecessors, retaining all the
characteristic details of those primitive structures.

[Illustration: IMITATION OF WOODEN CONSTRUCTION IN STONE TOMB IN LYKIA,

[From GUHL & KONER].]

By these means, however, qualities of grandeur, joined with extreme
simplicity, subtle proportions, and sparing, severe, but delicately
chiselled ornament were gained; which, when heightened with colour
in the broad and strong sunshine of Greece, seemed all sufficient,
especially so when they formed the framework, or setting, of the most
beautiful and noble sculpture the world has ever seen, as in the
Parthenon.

To this sculpture, indeed, all the lines and proportions of the
building seem to lead the eye, while it remains, whether in pediment,
metope, or frieze, an essential part of the architectural effect, and
is strictly slab sculpture, or what may be considered as architectural
ornament, for, as I have elsewhere said, we may fairly consider
figure-sculpture to have been the ornament of the Greeks: just as
one might say that picture writing and hieroglyphic were the mural
decorations of the Egyptians.

[Illustration: ORNAMENTAL LINES IN THE FRIEZE OF THE PARTHENON.

WAVE MOVEMENT & SPIRAL CURVES IN THE FRIEZE.]

These sculptures were evidently designed under the influence of the
strongest architectural and decorative feeling, and were constructed
upon a basis of ornamental lines. There is a certain rhythm and
recurrence of mass, and line, and form in them throughout, and they
have all been carefully considered in relation to the places they
occupy.

[Illustration: METOPE OF THE PARTHENON, SHOWING RELATION & PROPORTIONS
OF THE MASSES IN RELIEF TO THE GROUND.]

It is to be noted, too, that the sculptures are placed in the
_interstices of the construction_; that is to say, not on the actual
bearing parts. On this point it is interesting to compare with the
earlier forms of pure stone construction at Mycenæ. The lions over the
Mycenæ Gate are carved upon a slab of stone placed in the triangular
hollow left above the lintel to prevent it breaking under the great
pressure of the heavy stones used. The triangular hollow may be
seen _without_ the slab in the doorway of Clytemnestra's house at
Mycenæ. Here we have an early instance of the interstice left by the
necessities of the construction being utilized as a decorative feature,
significant in its design, showing the protecting image of the Castle
of Mycenæ, much in the same way as we see the family arms sculptured
over the gateways of our English mediæval castles.

Returning to the Parthenon, we see that the same principle is
observable in the pediment and metope sculptures, the frieze of the
cella being really a mural decoration consisting of facing slabs of
marble. The building would doubtless stand without any of them, as a
timber-framed house would stand without its boarding, or filling of
brick or plaster; but it would be like a skeleton, or a head without
its eyes--much, indeed, as time, bombardment, ravage, and the British
Museum have left it now.

Before we leave the Parthenon, let me call attention to one
prevailing principle, characteristic of its design in every part; for
though following throughout the principles or traditions of wooden
construction, no doubt its proportions and lines were consciously and
carefully considered by the architect with a view to æsthetic effect.
It is _the principle of recurring or re-echoing lines_, a leading
principle, indeed, throughout the whole province of Design, and one
on the importance and value of which it is impossible to lay too much
stress.

[Illustration: THE PARTHENON [After MENGE].]

[Illustration: PARTHENON EASTERN PEDIMENT--SKETCH TO SHOW RELATION OF
LINES OF SCULPTURE TO ANGLE OF PEDIMENT.]

[Illustration: PARTHENON EASTERN PEDIMENT--SKETCH TO SHOW RELATION OF
LINES OF SCULPTURE TO ANGLE OF PEDIMENT.]

To begin with the pediment. The main outline is delicately emphasized
by the mouldings of the edge, which also serve as a dripstone--the
practical origin, probably, of all mouldings. The groups of sculptured
figures within the recess (which further serve to express the pitch
of the roof) re-echo, informally, in the lines controlling their
composition, as well as in the lines of limbs and draperies,
variations of the angle of the pediment. Thus, the groups of figures,
full of action and variety as they are, are united and harmonized with
the whole building; while, to avoid undue appearance of heaviness on
the crest of the pediment and on the angles were placed anthemion
bronze ornaments.

[Illustration: PARTHENON ELEVATION SHOWING PORTION OF PEDIMENT, FRIEZE
AND COLUMNS.]

The cornice, again, is emphasized by mouldings marking the important
horizontal lines of the building, re-echoed by the lines of the frieze,
and counteracted and braced by the emphatic vertical lines of the
triglyphs, and enriched by the little dentils below.

Then we come to the cap of the Doric column. It is simplicity itself.
A thin square block of marble forms the abacus. The capital is a
flattened circular cushion of marble, rounded at the sides in a
diminishing curve to the head of the column, which terminates in
a horizontal reeding. The column itself is delicately channelled
with a series of lines which follow its outline, and give vertical
expression to the idea of the support of the horizontal mass above, the
column gradually diminishing from base to cap, entasized or slightly
swelled in the middle to avoid the visual effect of running out of
the perpendicular. The Doric columns spring boldly from the steps
without base mouldings, the steps repeating the horizontal lines of the
building again, and giving it height and dignity. The other variants of
the Greek style will illustrate much the same principles in different
degrees, and we may trace the value of proportions, and recurring
lines, and different degrees of enrichment through the other four
orders.

As designers, then, we can at least learn some very important lessons
from lintel architecture generally, and from the Parthenon in
particular, and chiefest amongst these are:

[Illustration: MARBLE CHAIRS, THEATRE OF DIONYSUS, ATHENS.]

1. The value of simplicity of line.

2. The value of recurring and re-echoing lines.

3. The value of ornamental design and treatment of figures in low or
high relief as parts of architectural expression.

[Illustration: GREEK CHAIR.]

[Illustration: GREEK TABLE WITH VOTIVE OFFERINGS.]

[Illustration: END OF GREEK COUCH.]

[Illustration: GREEK LOW-BACKED THRONE.]

4. The value of largeness of style in the design and treatment of the
groups and figures themselves, both as sculpture pure and simple and as
architectural ornament.

When we come to examine the accessories of Greek life, furniture,
pottery, dress, we find them all characterized by the same qualities in
design as we have just been noting in the architecture; the fundamental
architectural feeling seems to pervade them. A simplicity of line,
balance, and reserve of ornament distinguishes alike their seats and
chairs and tables, caskets, vases and vessels, and the expressive lines
of their dresses and draperies falling into the lines of the figure
give life and variety, while they contrast with the severity of the
architectural lines and planes.

Now, so far we have been considering the architecture of the lintel,
and its bearing upon design, and the qualities and principles we may
learn from it generally.

With the use of the round arch--invented, it is said, by the Greeks,
but always associated with the Romans, who used it--quite different
effects come in, with different motives and ideas in design. The
Roman architecture, the round arch, fulfils the functions of both
construction and ornament, on the same principle of recurrence, or
repetition, we have noticed before; as, for instance, in the Colosseum,
where the tiers of round arches which support the outer wall of the
building serve both the constructive and decorative functions. With
the use of the arch the arcade becomes a constructive feature of
great decorative value, and takes the place in Roman and Romanesque
buildings, with a lighter and more varied effect, of the columned
Greek cella. Sunshine, no doubt, had much to do with its use, since a
covered arcaded loggia, or porch in front of a building, so frequent
in Italy, gave both shelter and coolness. The use of the arch led to
vaulting, and to the use of arch mouldings, enrichments, and to the
covering the vaults with mosaic and painting, and the vaulting led to
the dome, which, again, offered a splendid field for the mosaicist and
the painter.

[Illustration: CONSTRUCTIVE & DECORATIVE USE OF ROUND ARCH & PILASTER
FLAVIAN AMPHITHEATRE (COLOSSEUM) ROME.

  (FERGUSON).]

The Romans borrowed all their architectural details from the Greeks,
and varied and enriched them, adding many more members to the cornice
mouldings, and carving stone garlands upon their friezes, to take the
place of the primitive festal ones of leaves which were hung there,
as in the relief of the visit of Bacchus to Icarius, a Romano-Greek
sculpture in the British Museum.

[Illustration: HANGING THE FESTAL GARLAND,

FROM A GRÆCO ROMAN RELIEF IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM.]

They (the Romans) fully realized the ornamental value of colonnades
and porticoes, and they used the column, varying the orders, and
translating them into pilasters freely as decorations on the façades
and walls of their buildings, slicing up the peristyles of temples,
as it were, for the sake of their ornamental effect, cutting down the
columns into pilasters, and placing them, with intervening friezes, one
on the top of the other, masking the construction of the real building,
a favourite device with the Renascence architects.

[Illustration: USE OF DECORATIVE SCULPTURE IN ROMAN ARCHITECTURE: THE
ARCH OF CONSTANTINE.]

Roman architecture may be considered really as a transitional style.
While its true constructive characteristic is the round arch, every
detail of the Greek or Lintel architecture is used both without and
with the arch, and in the latter case the column frequently becomes a
wall decoration in the shape of a pilaster, as well as the cornice, and
is no longer made use of, as in true lintel construction, to support
the weight of the roof. In their viaducts and bridges and baths they
were great builders with the arch, but, like some modern engineers,
when they wanted to beautify they borrowed architectural ornament from
the Greeks.

Nothing very fresh was gained for design in these adaptations except
a certain heavy richness of detail in the sculptured cornices and
friezes, and coffered ceilings. The use of the flat pilaster, however,
led to the panelled pilaster with its elegant arabesque, which was
afterwards revived and developed with such extraordinary grace and
variety by the artists of the Renascence and carried from Italy
westward.

With the round arch, too, several important decorative spaces were
given to the designer, the spandrel, the panel, the medallion, all
of which, with the frieze, may be seen utilized for the decorative
sculpture on the arch of Constantine. The decorative use of
inscriptions is also a feature in Roman architecture, and the dignity
of the form of their capital letters was well adapted to ornamental
effect in square masses upon their triumphal arches and along the
entablature of their temples.

The Romans, too, brought the domed roof and the mosaic floor into use,
and were great in the use of coloured marbles; also stucco and plaster
work in interiors, the free and beautiful plaster work found in the
tombs on the Latin Way being well known; so that on the whole we owe
to them the illustration of the effective use of many beautiful arts,
which the Italians have inherited to this day, though it must be said
often with more skill than taste.

One might say, generally and ultimately, Roman art exemplified that
love of show, and the external signs of power, pomp, splendour, and
luxury which became dear as well as fatal to them, as they appear to
do to every conquering people, until they are finally enervated and
overcome as if by the Nemesis of their own supremacy.

[Illustration: MOSAIC, ST. APOLLINARE IN CLASSE, RAVENNA.]

The art of Greece, one may say, on the other hand, at her zenith
represented that love of beauty as distinct from ornament, and
clearness and severity of thought which will always cling to the
country from whence the modern world derives the germ of nearly all its
ideas.

But when the seat of the empire was transferred to Constantinople, and
Roman art, influenced by Asiatic feeling, and stimulated and elevated
by the new faith of Christianity, became transfigured into the solemn
splendour of Byzantine art, the architecture of the round arch and the
dome and cupola rose to its fullest beauty, and such buildings as St.
Sophia at Constantinople, and St. Mark's at Venice, with the churches
of Ravenna, mark another great and noble epoch in the arts of design.

Byzantine design, whether in building, in carving, in mosaic, or
goldsmiths' work, impresses one with a certain restraint in the midst
of its splendour; a certain controlling dignity and reserve appears to
be exercised even in the use of the most beautiful materials, as well
as in design and the treatment of form.

The mosaics of the Ravenna churches alone are sufficient to exemplify
this. The artists seemed fully to realize that the curved surfaces of
the dome, the half dome of the apse, or the long flat frieze above
the arch columns of the nave of the basilicas, like St. Apollinare
in Classe, afforded splendid fields for a splendid material, the
cross light from the deep-set windows enriching the effect, and that
everything might well be secondary to it. The same principle or feeling
is seen in St. Mark's where the architecture is quite simple, the
arches and vaulting without mouldings, nothing to interfere with the
quiet splendour of the gold or blue fields of mosaic varied with simple
typical figures, bold in silhouette, placed frankly upon them, emblems,
boldly curving scroll-work, and inscriptions. The execution, too, is as
direct and simple as the design. Such design and decoration as this
becomes an essential and integral part of the architectural structure
and effect.

[Illustration: SKETCH OF PART OF INTERIOR OF DOME, S. MARK'S, VENICE.]

[Illustration: MOSAIC OF THE EMPRESS THEODORA, T. VITALE, RAVENNA,
SIXTH CENTURY.]

Note the way in which the tesseræ are laid (in the head of the Empress
Theodora from St. Vitale at Ravenna, for instance). The cube is used as
much as possible, but the cubes vary much in size, and are set often
with very open joints, the cement lines of the bedding showing quite
clearly, and the surface of the work uneven, the tesseræ being worked,
of course, from the front and _in situ_, presenting a varied surface of
different facets which, catching the light at different angles, give
an extraordinary sparkle and richness to the effect as a whole. In the
head of Theodora the effect is enhanced by the discs of mother-of-pearl
used for the head-dress.

In the laying of the tesseræ, too, note that the system is followed of
defining the outlines with rows of cubes, and building up the masses
(as in the nimbus) with concentric rows, as a rule, making the lines of
the filling tesseræ follow as far as possible the line of the boundary
tesseræ. This, of course, would naturally result as the simplest and
most convenient, as well as most expressive, method of laying tesseræ,
in defining form by means of small cubes, and is one of the conditions
of the work, and when, as in these mosaics, so far from being refined
away, or concealed, or any attempt being made (as in later times) to
imitate painting, these conditions are boldly and frankly acknowledged,
we see how its peculiar beauty, character, and the quality of its
ornamental effect depends upon these very conditions.

This principle will be found to hold good and true throughout all
art. Directly, from a false idea of refinement, or with the object
of displaying mechanical skill, the craftsman is induced to try to
conceal the fundamental conditions of his craft, and to make it ape the
qualities of some totally different sort of work, he ceases to be an
artist, at all events. The true artist in any material is he who in
acknowledging its conditions and limitations finds in them sources and
opportunities of new beauty, and in being faithful to those conditions
makes them subserve his invention.

After the decorative splendour of the Byzantine architecture, the
Norman work left in our own land seems comparatively simple and plain
as time has left it, but its remains show its Roman descent in the
doorway and porch of many a quiet village church, as well as on a
greater scale in so many of our cathedrals, which often illustrate, in
a remarkable way, the transition or growth of one style out of another,
the new evolved from the old.

At Canterbury, for instance, one reads the signs which mark the
transformation of the Norman building into the Gothic. The first church
founded by St. Augustine was Saxon. This was enlarged by Otho (938)
as a basilica. This again was ruined by the Danes (1013). The Norman
part of the present building was constructed by Bishop Lanfranc (1070),
on to which was grafted, as it were, the thirteenth, fourteenth, and
fifteenth century Gothic which distinguish it.

There is a tower on the south side of the transept known as Anselm's
Tower (from Bishop Anselm, one of the Norman builders), and on the
lower part runs an arcading of interlacing round arches, the tower
itself being richly arcaded in several stories in round arches. But
this lower band shows the period of transition, from the use of the
round arch, to the pointed--the pointed lancet arches being formed by
the interlacing of the round, so that we have here the actual birth of
_the pointed arch_ (at least, as a decorative feature), which leads us
to our next typical division and characteristic epoch of architectural
style.

[Illustration: ANSELM'S TOWER, CANTERBURY.]

We need not go out of our own country to find abundant illustrations
of typical forms of pointed architecture. Almost any village church
will give us the main features--the characteristic plan of nave
and chancel, curiously following the plan of the ancient Roman
basilica--the public hall and law court in one, and perpetuating for
us the type of ancient dwelling or hall which may be said to have
prevailed from the time of Homer to the end of the Middle Ages, varying
chiefly in external features and architectural detail.

The severe lancet arch is characteristic of the first phase of the
Gothic, which gradually grew out of the severer Norman. The _gable_
took a higher pitch, and to support the weight and thrust of _towers_
and _spires_, _buttresses_ were used, and these became, also, a
striking and characteristic feature of the pointed arch, which
completed in the thirteenth century the period of its first development.

Lancet arch, high-pitched gable, buttress (plain and pinnacled), spired
and pinnacled tower--these are the leading constructive exterior
characteristics, the carved work, somewhat restrained, and chiefly
manifested in peculiar foliation of the capitals and corbels, and in
the hollows of arch mouldings in rows of sharp cut dog teeth.

In the interior clustered shafts took the place of the solid
round Norman piers, rising, as we see in our cathedral naves, to
support lofty vaulted roofs, the ribs moulded and covered at their
intersections by carved bosses.

Again we may note the principle of recurring lines which repeat
and emphasize the form of the arched openings and the structural
lines of the vaulting in the mouldings. This recurrence gives that
effect of extraordinary grace and lightness combined with structural
strength which is so striking a characteristic of thirteenth century
Gothic work, and of which there is no finer example than the nave of
Westminster Abbey.

[Illustration: TRANSITIONAL ARCADE, SOUTH TRANSEPT, CANTERBURY.]

[Illustration: TYPICAL FORMS OF ARCHES:

  SEMICIRCULAR.
  TRANSITION.
  POINTED (EQUILATERAL).
  POINTED (LANCET).
  CUSPED.
  OGEE.

TYPICAL FORMS OF GOTHIC GEOMETRIC FOLIATION.

  [Ruskin].]

[Illustration: WESTMINSTER ABBEY: THE NAVE, LOOKING EAST.]

We noted that the Greeks used the interstices of their construction
for their chief decoration, their figure sculpture, and to some extent
the same plan is followed in Gothic architecture, where we find the
tympanums of doors, the spandrels of arcades (as in the Chapter House
at Salisbury or the angel choir at Lincoln), and canopied niches (as
at Wells), used for figure sculpture; but, at the same time, the
_structural features themselves are emphasized_ by ornament to a far
greater extent, as in caps, arch mouldings, the junctions of the
vaulting, and the like; and increasingly so in the succeeding Decorated
and Perpendicular periods, until we get vaulted roofs of fan tracery
like those of King's College Chapel at Cambridge, or Henry VII.'s
Chapel at Westminster.

But if we may say that the chief decorative glory of Greek architecture
was its figure sculpture, as mosaic was of the Byzantine churches, so
we may say that the traceried window, filled with stained and leaded
glass, became the chief decorative glory of Gothic architecture.

Unhappily great quantities of glass have disappeared from our
cathedrals and churches, from one cause or another, but from the relics
that remain we may form some idea of the splendour and quality of the
old glass.

The famous windows of the south transept at York Minster, called "The
Five Sisters," are good examples of the severer earlier style of
pattern and colour, consisting of fine scroll-work and geometric forms,
in which hatched grisaille patterns are heightened by bright points and
lines of colour.

[Illustration: WEST FRONT OF WELLS CATHEDRAL.]

Thirteenth century glass, where figures are used, is characterized by
the smallness of their scale in proportion to the window, and traces
of Byzantine tradition in their drawing, intricate design, and deep
and vivid colouring, the work being composed of small pieces of glass
leaded together; the effect of the jewel-like depth and quality of
the colour--deep crimsons, blues, and greens being much used--being
increased by the close network of leading.

As windows, in the course of the evolution of the Gothic style, were
made broader, or rather, the window opening proper from wall to wall
being greatly increased in width and height, they were supported and
divided into panels or lights by elaborate stone tracery, a tracery
which becomes almost as distinct a province of design as the design
of the glass itself--distinct from, yet in close relationship to the
architecture of the building. The comparative slight divisions of the
tracery, however, gave more scope to the stained glass designer, who
shows very emphatic architectural influence in the elaborate canopies
which surmount the figures occupying the separate lights of the windows
from the thirteenth to the end of the fifteenth centuries, as well as
in the general vertical arrangement of the lines of their composition.
He gradually increased the scale of his figures and gave more breadth
to his design, and brought it more into relation with the art of the
painter and the sculptor, at the same time acknowledging with them, in
the disposition of his figures in the space, and the disposition of the
draperies and accessories, that architectural influence under which the
artist and craftsman of the Middle Ages worked with extraordinary
freedom and fertility of invention, and yet in perfect harmony[2]--a
sign of that fraternal co-operation and the effect of the formation of
men into brotherhoods and guilds, which, coming in with the adoption
of Christianity and the organization of the Church, remained through
all the turbulence and strife of the time the great social force of the
Middle Ages.

[2] As I recur to the subject of glass design in Chapter IV.
illustrations are given there.

[Illustration: WESTMINSTER ABBEY, FAN TRACERY IN HENRY VII.'S CHAPEL,
FIFTEENTH CENTURY.]

It seems to me if we wish to realize the ideal of a great and
harmonious art, which shall be capable of expressing the best that
is in us: if we desire again to raise great architectural monuments,
religious, municipal, or commemorative, we shall have to learn the
great lesson of unity through fraternal co-operation and sympathy,
the particular work of each, however individual and free in artistic
expression, falling naturally into its due place in a harmonious
scheme. Let us cultivate our technical skill and knowledge to the
utmost, but let us not neglect our imagination, sense of beauty, and
sympathy, or else we shall have nothing to express.

Through the thirteenth century onwards to the fifteenth Gothic
architecture continued to develop, to pass through new phases, to take
new forms, a living and growing style moving with the wants and ideals
of men.

After the Early English comes the Decorated period, in which the
mouldings and foliation become fuller, broader, and more ornate. To
contrast decorated foliation and ornament with the earlier work, is
like comparing the opening flower with the bud. The ogee arch was
invented, the crockets of the pinnacles and canopies grew and increased
and became finer in form, the finials larger and more varied. The
carved canopies and tabernacle work grew richer and more intricate.
The foliage followed nature more closely. The figure subjects of the
carver were more freely treated, and dealt oftener with common life,
with phantasy, or humour. The effigies of knight and lady, or priest,
became more and more like portraits in stone or alabaster, the details
of their dresses more rich, delicate, and beautiful. The maker of
brasses showed a freer and more masterly hand, and greater sense of
ornamental effect in the spacing and treatment of his figures. The
work of the miniaturist and the scribe grew more and more delicate
and exquisite in form, colour, and invention. The stained glass
worker increased the scale of his figures, and varied the quality and
treatment of his colours. The glazier invented new lead patterns;
the wood carver revelled in stall work, screens, and misereres. The
recessed and canopied tomb enriched the chantries of churches and
cathedrals.

[Illustration: THE FIVE SISTERS OF YORK, THIRTEENTH CENTURY.]

[Illustration: DETAILS OF TOMB WINCHELSEA CH. 1303.

Finial.

Pinnacle.

Crocket.

Termination of Cusp.]

[Illustration: FOURTEENTH CENTURY CANOPIED TOMB, WINCHELSEA CHURCH.]

[Illustration: Wells Cathedral Architectural feeling & detail in iron
work.

Wrought-Iron Railing.

Tomb of Bishop Thomas De Bekynton 1464-5.]

Beauty and invention of extraordinary fertility and richness
characterized every form of art and handicraft associated with Gothic
architecture. We can trace in each variety the architectural influence
in every department of work. In some instances reproduction of actual
architectural details and characteristics, as, for instance, when the
wrought-iron railing of a bishop's tomb (at Wells Cathedral, 1464-5)
reproduced the battlement, buttress and pinnacle as motives, giving
them, however, a free and fanciful rendering suited to the material.

[Illustration: DRESSOIR OR SIDE BOARD 15th CENT. FRENCH

(from L. Roger Milès).]

[Illustration: CANOPIED SEAT FRENCH 15th CENT.]

Abundant instances may be found of the fanciful treatment of
architectural forms in furniture, textiles, in painting and carving,
and metal work--the canopies over the heads of figures in stained
glass, and inclosing figures upon brasses, are instances--shrines and
caskets in the form of arcaded, and buttressed and pinnacled buildings,
seats and chairs with canopied or arched backs, carved bench ends with
"poppy head" finials and arched and foliated panels, censers in the
form of shrines. The large gold brocaded stuffs used as hangings or
coverings, and represented in miniatures and pictures of the period.
Very beautiful specimens are to be seen in the pictures of Van Eyck and
Memling for instance.

[Illustration: CARVED BENCH-ENDS, DENNINGTON CHURCH, SUFFOLK.]

In all these things we find a re-echo, as it were, of the prevailing
foliated forms of Gothic architecture, repeated through endless
variations, the controlling and harmonizing element throughout the
design work of the Gothic periods, the form by which all seem to be
harmonized and related, as the branches are related to the main stem,
and as the plan of the tree may be found in the veining of the leaf.

The fourteenth century saw the development of a new phase of Gothic
called Perpendicular. It is found united with the Early English and
Decorated, as well as Norman, in nearly all our cathedrals.

[Illustration: BROCADE HANGING, FROM THE ANNUNCIATION, BY MEMLING.]

At St. David's, for instance, there is a remarkable instance of a late
Perpendicular timber roof, richly moulded and carved, with pendants,
covering a Norman nave of 1180. Yet the effect is fine, and one feels
glad that the restoring architect could find no authority for a Norman
stone vaulting, otherwise we might have lost the rich timber roof
for a modern idea of a supposititious Norman vault. The sketch (from
the south side of the choir at Canterbury, p. 45), too, shows how
harmoniously structural lines of different periods compose.

The chief characteristics of the late period of Gothic (Perpendicular)
are a lower pitched arch, an elongated shaft, many clustered; caps and
bases angular; ribs of vaulting richly moulded, or the vault covered
with fan-like foliation in late examples, as in Henry VII.'s Chapel.
Pinnacles begin to take the cupular form, details become smaller,
windows grow larger and are transversely divided by transoms or
horizontal bars of stone, connecting and solidifying the many vertical
mullions.

[Illustration: ST. DAVID'S CATHEDRAL.]

A certain refinement of detail and line with a feeling for emphatic
horizontals and verticals comes in; and this feeling may be the
indication of a reaction, as if the constructive and imaginative
faculties of man were beginning to prepare for the next great change
that was soon to sweep over the art of Europe.

[Illustration: STRUCTURAL LINES OF DIFFERENT PERIODS IN HARMONIOUS
COMBINATION, CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL.]

It might be said that gradually from that time architecture, as the
supreme organic and controlling influence in the arts of design,
gave up her prerogative of leadership, and since has rather been
on the whole displaced in artistic interest by the other arts; or
rather, with the change of the principle of organic growth out of use
and constructive necessity in architecture for those of classical
authority, archæology, or learned eclecticism, the different arts,
more especially painting, began an independent existence, and, with
the other arts of design, may be said to have been more individualized
and less and less related both to them and to architecture ever since,
reaching the extremest points of divergence perhaps in our own days.

It seems to me that, on the whole, there can be little doubt that
architecture and the arts of design generally have suffered in
consequence; and to bring them back to healthy and harmonious activity
we must try to re-unite them all again upon the old basis.

I will terminate here my short sketch of architectural style and its
influence, not attempting now to follow it in its later changes and
adaptations to the increased complexities of human existence. My
purpose has been rather to dwell upon the organic and typical forms of
architecture, in my endeavour to trace the relationship between it and
the art of design generally.

That relationship appears to me to consist chiefly in _the control of
constructive line and form_, which all design, surface or otherwise,
in association with any form of architecture is bound of necessity to
acknowledge as a fundamental condition of fitness and harmony. Those
essential properties of the expression of line, as they now seem, which
give meaning and purpose to all design, appear to be derived straight
from constructive necessities and the inseparable association of ideas
with which they are connected; as, for instance, the idea of secure
rest and repose conveyed by horizontal lines, or the sense of support
and rigidity suggested by vertical ones may be directly traced to
association with the fundamental principles of architectural structure,
to the lintel and its support, to the laying of stone upon stone, and
with this clue we might trace the expression of line through its many
variations.



CHAPTER II.--OF THE UTILITY BASIS AND INFLUENCE


NEXT to the architectural basis influence in design, and, indeed,
hardly separable from it, being another side of the constructive,
adaptive art, we may fitly take the Utility Basis and influence.

This may be considered in two ways:

    (1) In its effect upon pattern design and architectural
    ornament through primitive structural necessities.

    (2) In its effect upon structural form and ornamental treatment
    arising out of, or suggested by, functional use.

(1) It is a curious thing that we should find the primitive ornamental
motives bound up with the primitive structures and fabrics of pure
utility and necessity, but such would appear to be the case.

The plaiting of rushes to make a mat was probably one of the earliest
industrial occupations, and the chequer one of the most primitive
and universal of patterns. If we look at the surface effect of the
necessity of the construction, the crossing of one equal set of fibres
by another set at right angles, with the interlacement, a series of
squares are produced, which alternate in tint if the colour of one set
is darker than the sets which cross it (see illustration). Emphasize
this contrast and we get our chequer, or chessboard pattern, which,
either as a pattern complete in itself, as in plaids and tartans, or
as a plan, or effect motive in designing is, as I have said, perhaps
the most universal and imperishable of all patterns, being found in
association with the design of all periods, and still surviving in
constant use among designers.

[Illustration: MATTING.]

Let us follow the primitive rush mat a little further, however. As it
lay on the primitive tent or hut floor its edges would take the sort
of form shown on the following page. In ancient Assyrian, Egyptian,
Persian, and Greek architecture we constantly find carved patterns used
as borderings and figures, of the type given in the Assyrian example.
Now, comparing this with the primitive matting, the suggestion is very
strong of the probability of derivation of motive of patterns of this
type from the same constructive source originally. In some instances,
as on the enamelled tile from Assyria, the border reverses itself,
but with the Greeks it finally took the upright direction, as in the
Anthemion or honeysuckle border forms; but, however afterwards varied
and enriched by floral form, its structural origin in plaited work is
always to be traced, and it seems to gain from it a certain strength
and adaptability.

[Illustration: PRIMITIVE RUSH MAT AND ASSYRIAN BORDER.

ASSYRIAN INCISED BORDER.]

Another type of ornament may be traced to the constructive necessities
of wattle and wicker work, so much used by primitive man in the
structure of his dwellings, and in primitive objects of use and service.

[Illustration: ASSYRIAN ENAMELLED TILE.]

The various forms of volute, or spiral, and guilloche ornament, so much
used by the ancients--Assyrian, Egyptian, and Greek--may be compared,
in their structure and arrangement of line, with the form taken by the
withy, or cord twisted around the upright canes or staves of a wattled
fence, as seen in horizontal section. The primitive wattled structure
gives the plans of these patterns. It certainly appears to account for
their origin in a remarkably complete way.

[Illustration: GREEK ANTHEMION ORNAMENT.]

[Illustration: WATTLED FENCE.]

It is possible that another source which may have contributed to the
evolution of the Greek spiral or volute was metal in the form of the
thin beaten plates with which the primitive Greeks covered parts
of their interior walls; but these were later times, and it is also
possible that the primitive metal worker took his motive from the
wattling too.

[Illustration: ANCIENT VOLUTE ORNAMENT.

PATTERNS FROM BRONZE SHIELDS CYPRUS.

GREEK VOLUTE OR MEANDER PATTERN.]

[Illustration: TYPES OF DECORATION DERIVED FROM THONGING.

STONE AXE OF MONTEZUMA II.

BRONZE VESSEL, LAKE OF BOURGET.

EBONY COMB, ASSYRIA.

SCULPTURED STONE CORNICE EGYPT.

NORMAN CAP, PETERBOROUGH CATHEDRAL.

BACK OF BRONZE KNIFE ESTAVAYER.]

Before metal was used, or nails or joinery were known, the method of
fastening two things together, such as the blade of a stone axe or
hammer and its handle, was by thonging or tying them firmly together by
strips of leather or thongs, and to this source again we might trace
other types of pattern motives of very wide prevalence. In the first
instances the thonging was imitated in metal-work when no longer used
in the construction by way of ornament, as in various bronze implements
existing; but later, starting from the tying and thonging motive, we
get all sorts of variations, as in the zigzag of Norman arch mouldings,
and in the earlier Celtic knotted work, which seemed partly a re-echo
of some types of Eastern and classic ornament, unless we regard it as
independently derived, like them, from primitive structure. It seems
to make itself felt again in a new variety in the strap-work of our
Elizabethan period, in which the ornament apparently was a new blend
of Gothic with classical details, with an infusion of oriental or
Moorish feeling, filtered through Italy and Spain.

[Illustration: FRIEZE (TEMPLE OF THE SIBYL TIVOLI).]

[Illustration: YOKE OF OXEN, CARRARA.]

As an instance of architectural ornament, the motive of which seems
taken from a piece of common every-day usage, we may note the frieze
of the Roman circular Temple of the Sibyl at Tivoli, which is composed
of the heads of oxen, alternating with, and connected by, the curves
of pendent floral garlands. To this day in Italy almost anywhere one
may see this motive suggested by the appearance of the country ox wagon
as it approaches along the road--the front view of the two oxen heads,
with the level yoke across their necks, and the pendent connecting
ropes hanging between.

It is probable, however, that whatever its origin, its suggestion was
sacrificial, since the ox decked with garlands constantly figures
in classical sculpture led before the altar to be slain, and this
circumstance may equally have given rise to the sculptor's motive,
just as we saw that the custom of decking the cornice of the Greek
house with garlands suggested its perpetuation in stone carving by the
classical architects.

It will be noted that those primitive sources to which we may trace
motives in ornamental design, however, afterwards developed on purely
ornamental lines, and because of their ornamental value, all of them
have their beginnings in actual use and service, in physical and
constructive necessity, and that they are closely associated with the
form and character of the dwellings and temples of man.

(2) Turning now to the second division of our subject to consider "the
effects upon form and treatment of surface arising out of, or suggested
by, functional use," we shall still have to keep close to the dwelling,
and constantly to remember the ever present architectural influence
with the consideration of which we set out.

[Illustration: BARGE-BOARD, IGHTHAM MOTE HOUSE.]

[Illustration: TYPE OF GABLES:

NORTHERN.

SOUTHERN.]

The angle of the pitch of the roof in buildings, for instance, which
is so marked a characteristic in the different types of architecture,
was originally determined by the necessities of climate. One might say
broadly that the acute, high-pitched Gothic roof means snow or bad
weather, while the low-pitched classic roof means sunshine for the
most part; or we might say that the one typified winter and the other
summer. A house must still be built mainly for one or the other, though
by ingenuity and careful consideration of the points of the compass
in choosing the site and planning, in the rare instances where free
choice is still possible, something may be, and _has_ been attempted,
to fit all seasons; and it is this careful consideration of such points
in our ancient buildings--say the old English manor houses, built to
dwell in and to last--which gives that sense of homelike comfort and
pleasure to the eye, perhaps, quite as much as the interest of their
ornamental detail. A sunny garden terrace or arcaded front to the south
to catch the winter sun--cool and shady rooms to the north for the
summer--a sheltered porch to protect the guest against the weather.
Such contrivances as these show that thought has been spent and care
taken in the planning and building; that the builder or designer has
been influenced by considerations of true utility--not in the bald
and more modern sense of mere money or time saving appliance, but the
truer economy of making a house _livable_. Here is a sketch of one of
those old stone halls or manor houses of Derbyshire of the seventeenth
century (Hazelford Hall), charmingly placed upon a hillside, so as to
fit into or become part of the landscape, while it is really planned to
live comfortably in, with due regard to the variation of the seasons
and the winds. The living rooms face south and west.

Houses nowadays seem more built to sell than to live in (at least
permanently), since I notice that often even when people build a
house for themselves they constantly want to let it to somebody
else. I should think that the gipsy van would suit modern habits
exceedingly well. It would be more picturesque than "a brick box with
a slate lid," to which most of us are committed, and probably much
less expensive in the long run. The only thing required to make it
practicable on any scale is a trifling alteration in the land laws.

The origin of mouldings in architecture, as their use in the capacity
of dripstones declares, was to serve a purely useful purpose--the
alternating concavity and convexity of the members which generally
characterize them affording escapement for the rain water, and keeping
it away from the windows and doors.

[Illustration: HAZELFORD HALL, DERBYSHIRE.]

To give a simple illustration of the principle. If the sill of a
window, for instance, be left rectangular and perfectly level, the
water would be likely to run inward through the window, or perhaps into
the wall, but if sloped on the upper surface and hollowed beneath,
the water would tend to drop from the under outer edge clear of both
window and wall.

[Illustration: SECTION TO SHOW ACTION OF RAIN ON WINDOW SILLS: (1)PLAIN
& MOULDED(2).

SECTION.

SQUARE-HEADED DRIPSTONE.]

This necessity led to motives in design and ornamental effect, and
mouldings became valuable parts of æsthetic expression in architecture,
affording means of emphasis, of giving the effect of receding planes,
and of using the important principle of recurring lines to which I
called attention in the first chapter.

The barge-board, too, so picturesque a feature in old timbered houses,
had the same useful purpose to subserve in keeping the weather from
injuring roof and wall.

Staircases with the necessary handrail, again, have led to beautiful
form in design, not only in the planning of the staircase itself, which
is so important a feature in every house, but in the interesting and
varied design in the balusters supporting the handrail, and in newel
heads, etc.

[Illustration: THE TOWERS OF SAN GIMIGNANO.]

Towers and church steeples, which form such important and picturesque
features in architectural (and, one might add, landscape) design, owed
their existence, in the first place, to the necessities of watch,
guard, and defence, and probably also means of communication by signals.

To the mediæval city, which, as it is now being realized, was a highly
organized arrangement for mutual aid and defence, towers were of great
importance both for watch and defence. They served as strong buttresses
and vantage posts placed at intervals along the inclosing city wall,
and flanking the gateways. The boldness and grace of design in some
mediæval towers is very notable. Those of Siena, for instance, and
that town of towers, San Gimignano, of which I give a rough sketch to
show the effect from a distance of the clustering towers, like a crown
upon the hill top; above all, perhaps, is the famous tower of the
Signoria or Palazzo Vecchio, the old city hall of Florence (thirteenth
century). The Belfry of Bruges (thirteenth century), too, is another
fine instance of boldness and grace of design. It had formerly a
spire, which is shown in a sixteenth century picture, the background
of a portrait by Pourbus, a Flemish painter, but the spire was twice
destroyed by fire, and was not renewed a third time. But even as it
stands the belfry is very striking, and, while it commands a vast
prospect of the country round, it is also conspicuous all over the
town, and a landmark to the flat country round about.

The towers of our own ancient village churches are generally
battlemented, and the square ones often have a corner turret to give
a more commanding view; and this again gives variety, and is a very
picturesque feature. The battlements themselves (though intended for
use in defence) are extremely ornamental features, and give relief and
lightness to the parapet. In later Gothic times they were frequently
fancifully pieced and filled with ornament, as on Magdalen Tower at
Oxford. Their decorative value was perceived by the wood carver of the
Gothic times, and they are constantly introduced in tabernacle work,
screens, and furniture, where their use is purely decorative.

[Illustration: TOWER OF PALAZZO VECCHIO, FLORENCE.]

Chimneys, again, afford an instance of a purely useful and serviceable
object lending itself to ornamental treatment and becoming important as
parts of the design of a building.

The first chimney in England is said to be the one existing in the
Norman house at Christchurch, Hampshire. The common practice was to
have the fireplace in the centre of the hall and let the smoke escape
by a louvre in the roof, as may still be seen in the hall at Penshurst
Place in Kent (fourteenth century); but in later times, especially
in the Tudor period, the chimneys of brick are often found full of
invention and variety in design, and extremely rich in effect. I give
sketches of some characteristic examples at Framlingham Castle and
Leigh's Priory.

[Illustration: TOWER WITH CORNER TURRET, AXMOUTH CHURCH, DEVON.]

The fine old brick chimney stacks one finds among the old farmsteads of
Essex it is supposed were built first and then the half-timbered house
built around the brick stack.

[Illustration: CUT BRICK CHIMNEYS, LEIGH'S PRIORY, ESSEX.]

[Illustration: BRICK CHIMNEY, FRAMLINGHAM CASTLE.]

Other useful things connected with the fireside and the chimney
corner, which are remarkable for their adaptability in ornamental
design, are the iron fire-dogs used to support the burning logs. We
find them in great variety of shape and treatment, while their main or
necessary lines remain the same. It is the standard or upright front
part which affords a field for the inventive craftsman and designer.
The fire-irons, too, are again purely useful in their object, but have
become highly graceful and elegant in some of their forms.

The iron grate back (notably those of old Sussex), placed at the back
of the fire against the chimney to protect the brick-work and radiate
the heat, had again a purely useful function, but it has been the
object of a great deal of fine and rich decorative design, chiefly of
a heraldic or emblematic character, and many old examples exist. Cast
iron has in modern times acquired a bad name (artistically speaking),
but this is owing to its misapplication, as in railings or grills,
where it endeavours to usurp the place of wrought iron. In a flat
panel or plain surface, such as a grate back affords, however, cast
iron has a singularly good effect, and renders bold designs well.
There are some fine heraldic grate backs in cast iron to be seen at
Cheetham's Hospital, perhaps the most interesting building in the City
of Manchester.

[Illustration: CAST-IRON FIRE-DOG, ST. NICHOLAS HOSPITAL, CANTERBURY.]

I give a sketch of a quaint cast-iron chimney back of Gothic design
from Bruges. At the Museum at the old Rath Haus there is a very
good collection of examples. Somehow, with the modern, or rather
mid-Victorian iron register fireplace all beauty and interest of design
is lost. Though it should be remembered that a really fine artist and
designer like Alfred Stevens spent his talent upon such things.

The conception of the thing, however, seems joyless and ugly, and in
most surviving examples the ornament in endeavouring to be elegant
becomes frittered and mean; and as to sheet-iron stoves they seem
to be under a ban of hideousness, which seems sad when one recalls
the charming and cheerful earthenware stoves of Germany of Gothic and
Renascence times, full of colour and invention. The revived use of
tiled chimney, and recessed and basket grates, has done much to restore
cheerfulness to our hearths.

[Illustration: CAST-IRON GRATE BACK.]

Before we leave the chimney corner I might mention another bit of
metal, important before the days of kitchen ranges as the chief cooking
apparatus, I mean the iron crane that is sometimes found still
suspended in the wide chimneys of old farmhouses, made of wrought iron,
twisted and curled, and with bright bosses of steel upon it, and great
in hooks and hinges. Here is a sketch of a typical example in an Essex
farmhouse.

[Illustration: FIREPLACE WITH WROUGHT IRON CRANE, CHURCH FARM,
HEMPSTEAD, ESSEX.]

Considerations of use, again, very evidently control design in lamps
and candlesticks. A lamp necessitates: (1) _a reservoir for the oil_,
and (2) _a neck and mouth_ to hold the wick, and (3) _a firm and steady
stand_. All these requisites are combined, with addition of handle, in
the oldest and simplest form of lamp--the portable antique lamp to be
carried in the hand. The reservoir is there, though small, and needing
re-filling from a larger vessel (as was the case in the parable of the
ten virgins).

These lamps were often placed upon the top of slender fluted tripod
stands, to give light in the house, or hung in clusters by chains
from a branched stand like a tree. A combination of many of the
characteristics of the antique lamp is found in the comparatively
modern brass Roman lamp (now called antique, but till within a few
years, and I believe still, commonly used by the people): we have the
small reservoir, with four necks for the wicks, closely resembling in
form the antique hand lamps. This is pierced by the shaft of the stand,
which finishes in a ring handle at the top and terminates in a broad
moulded stand, so that the lamp can be used for carrying or standing
with equal facility. The little implements for trimming, snuffing,
and extinguishing are suspended by small chains from the neck of the
standard and add to the ornamental effect. Each part is made separately
and screws together.

With the modern powerful lamps of mineral oil and circular wicks, much
larger reservoirs are required, and modern lamps have tended to take
the urn shape owing to this necessity, and they lose in beauty of line
generally as they gain in body (much like people). A satisfactory type
has been introduced by Mr. W. A. S. Benson, of copper, with a copper
fan-like shade, which is generally a difficulty with a modern lamp; and
the glasses also, while necessary, complicate the design and cannot be
said to add to the beauty, as a rule. (See Illustration, p. 77.)

However, a lamp design can never get away from the primitive triple
conditions of lamp structure with which we saw in its earliest form
_reservoir_, _neck for the wick_, and _stand_--possibly handle--but
within these demands of utility there is scope for very great
variations, and unlimited taste and invention.

[Illustration: CANDLESTICKS.]

The candlestick, with which the hand lamp has something in common,
is, however, quite distinct in character, seeing that it is formed to
hold the combustible part in a solid, instead of a liquid form. Its
requirements, therefore, are a firm stand (like the lamp), a reasonable
height, on which to raise the light, another to hold the candle, and
something to catch the melting grease.

These conditions are satisfied in the form of the antique brass
candlestick, but still better in the older Gothic form, or the church
candlestick, which has a spike on which to hold the candle, instead
of a hollow. A candlestick, therefore, should be true to its name
and remain a stick, or moulded tubular column, though capable of
development into the candelabrum, throwing out branches for extra
lights from the central stem; a suggestive form, if sufficiently
restrained, designed with taste.

The ancient hanging brass candelabra of the sixteenth, seventeenth,
and eighteenth centuries, or earlier, are very good in form as well
as practical. There is a fine Gothic one in Van Eyck's picture in the
National Gallery, "Jan Arnolfini and his Wife."

I have a good example of the later type--a German one. The stem
is surrounded by the double eagle, and there are several tiers of
mouldings, the larger ones being flat, and cut into notches at the edge
to serve as sockets to receive the corresponding part of the branch,
which fits on to them and supports the candles. These are arranged
in two tiers of six lights each, and between each light occurs a
little ornamental branch or finial, the whole being detachable from the
hanging stem terminating in a brass sphere which keeps it straight and
steady. It is a fine example of good, simple, and practicable design,
which should always unite necessity and utility with beauty.

[Illustration: CHANDELIER OF BRASS, GERMAN 17th CENTURY.]

[Illustration: DETAILS OF CHANDELIER:

PLAN OF LIGHTS.

METHOD OF FIXING BRANCH.

CANDLE SOCKET.

SECTION OF STEM,

BRANCHES & ORNAMENTS.]

For carrying about, a candlestick needs the addition of a broad
dish-like stand and handle, while the stick itself is kept low; hardly
so attractive a form as the stationary columnar table candlestick, and
yet having decided character and purpose of its own.

Those old-fashioned and most picturesque companions of candlesticks,
the snuffers, are often very beautiful in design, and it seems to me
that, however "improved," the wicks of modern candles still require
some attention from them.

The necessity of protecting light affords in lanterns opportunities for
the inventive adaptability of the designer in glass and metal.

I met with a very pretty and original motive in a German museum (at
Lindau) which was hexagonal in form, pieces of glass fitted together
by leads forming a globe-like body to hold the light, and terminating
above in a neck, from which it hung to a bracket by a ring. It was
furnished with a tripod stand in iron, so that it could be taken down
and made to stand if needed.

There is plenty of room for invention in lanterns, and it seems a
pity that our street lamp, which is practically a standard lantern,
should remain so extremely prosaic, when it is a design so constantly
repeated. It is not so much the plainness, since one needs no
extraneous ornament if the purpose is well served by a structure
of good lines. The necessity of cleaning the glass is probably a
hindrance to much variety of form in the present state of things, and
then, too, the electric light is coming into general use, bringing
with it an entirely fresh set of conditions, so that before we get our
ideal gas-lamp the necessity for it will probably have disappeared
altogether, so to speak.

[Illustration: LAMPS, CANDLESTICK, AND SNUFFERS.

MODERN (BENSON) LAMP.

GERMAN LANTERN (LINDAU).

ROMAN LAMP.

ANTIQUE CANDELABRUM & LAMP (HERCULANEUM).

PRIMITIVE BRASS LAMP (HOLLAND).

BRASS SNUFFERS (VENICE).

BRASS CANDLESTICK (BRUGES).]

The idea of suspension and absence of rigidity or weight associated
with electric lighting ought, one would think, to be suggestive
to designers, but we don't seem yet to have quite shaken off the
conditions of gas tubing on the one hand, or to have got much beyond
the somewhat well-worn idea of bell-flowers bursting into incandescence
on the other. One almost prefers the naked simplicity of the little
pear-shaped glasses, with their incandescent twist of thread suspended
at the end of the covered wires, to the flamboyant excesses in brass
and copper electric fitting sometimes seen.

One might go on through the whole range of objects of domestic use,
and multiply instances of beauty and designing invention applied to
the humblest utensil, implement, or accessory, and suggested by the
characteristic features stamped upon its form by the necessities and
demands of daily use, which must never be lost sight of by the artist.
Not a single thing that we touch or use but has had an enormous amount
of human thought and ingenuity brought to bear upon it, which has
determined its form as we see it, and which is constantly modifying
form and material and character.

The present modifying influences, the direction in which human
ingenuity mostly seems to work is in the time-saving, cost-saving,
labour-saving direction, or would-be so, and under this influence
designs of articles or objects of pure utility have a tendency to
become very prosaic--or, perhaps, vulgarly assertive. It is the
commercial instinct, no doubt, which is satisfied if a knife _is_ a
knife and will cut, or at any rate will sell, and puts no romance
into either blade or handle. The old curved blades have disappeared,
and only the silver knife receives any ornament, and that generally
of a very uninteresting type. This prosaic tendency represents the
mechanical side of the utility influence, which only reaches beauty, if
beauty of line merely, by necessity of use; though under what I should
term _the short-cut inspiration_ beauty is generally entirely out of
the question. This is to be deplored, since the simplest thing of use
may be just as well made pleasing and good in form and line, though
that may be the only kind of beauty possible to it.

When we come to pottery the utility and adaptation to service influence
is very obvious. Look at the form of a water-vessel, a pitcher we will
say, as a typical form. It must have a large hollow body to hold as
much water as can be conveniently carried by a single person, but not
more than its handle or handles will lift. It must have a neck for
pouring out. A rounded form is found to be more convenient for carrying
than a square, and is easier to balance in the hand or on the head.
The soft clay, too, readily takes the circular form on the wheel when
the pitcher is formed under the hands of the potter; and the rounded
form may be diminished towards the base, which saves weight, and at
the same time gives opportunity for grace of line. Its form at once
expresses its purpose of carrying and pouring. A nobler form is seen
in the Greek hydria--a large three-handed water-vessel, adapted for
carrying and pouring. It was carried on the head or the shoulders, the
two side horizontal handles enabled it to be lifted up and down, while
its vertical handle served the function of pouring.

We may note the similarity in contour and proportion of the Greek
amphora or wine-vessel, to the lines of a woman's figure. It is,
perhaps, the most graceful of the antique forms of vessels, and it
seems dimly reflected even in the purely prosaic form of the modern
bottle.

We might trace through all the various forms of vessels the clue of
utility, and note how it determines their typical form as they are
adapted, like the hydria or pitcher, for carrying and _pouring_: the
amphora or ancient wine-bottle for keeping wine cool in the earth in
portable quantities: the bucket type for _dipping_ and carrying: the
funnel type for _filling_.

The copper water-vessel of the Roman people seems to combine the
functions of bucket and pitcher in a highly picturesque way, and its
form enables a quantity to be carried on the head.

The _drinking_ vessel again shows quite a different type of form, and
in all its varieties declares its function--the cup, the glass, the
tumbler, the mug, and the tankard.

In the bottle we approach again the type of the pitcher, the holding
and pouring functions being again emphatic, throughout all its many
shapes. The illustration shows a selection of the typical forms I have
mentioned.

[Illustration: DRINKING VESSELS, ETC.

COMPARISON OF THE LINES OF A FEMALE FIGURE & THOSE OF AN AMPHORA.

CYLIX.

ANCIENT GREEK DRINKING VESSEL.

HYDRIA ANCIENT GREEK WATER VESSEL.

MODE OF CARRYING THE HYDRIA PARTHENON FRIEZE.

AMPHORA APPROACHING PITCHER FORM.

PITCHER.

ENGLISH BROWN JUG.

GERMAN BEER MUGS.

GLASS PITCHER.

BOTTLES.

DRINKING GLASSES.

ROMANO BRITISH THUMBER.

DISTILLERS COPPER FILLER.

CAN.

ROMAN PEASANT WOMAN WITH COPPER WATER VESSEL.

BUCKET.

BASIN.

WATERING CAN.]

The subject of the typical forms of vessels is very clearly
illustrated in Meyer's "Handbook of Ornament," to which I may refer the
student who wishes to pursue the subject further.

[Illustration: GERMAN BEER MUGS.]

On the subject of bottles, however, I will just refer to a curious
correspondence in design motive in two different materials.

[Illustration: ITALIAN FLASKS & BOTTLE.]

The ordinary Italian oil or wine flask is one of the most charming
of modern useful vessels. It is simply a piece of blown glass of the
form first assumed by the molten glass when blown at the end of the
glass-worker's tube. To make this primitive but elegant bottle
portable and enable it to stand, it is bound around by a twist of
rushes, or cane leaves twisted into a circular stand, and braced by
vertical broader bands of the untwisted leaf at intervals, and a loop
of the twist is twined around the neck, and left free to hang up or
carry the vessel in. The whole is both highly practical and picturesque.

This is a type of Venetian glass bottle or decanter highly ornamented,
in which the fundamental motive or idea of the protecting binding
of rushes seems to be followed in glass. The melon-like divisions
are defined by strings of raised glass laid on the surface, while
the panels between are engraved in arabesques of leaves and birds,
and the whole forms a very pretty piece of ornate glass design. (See
illustration, p. 83.)

Here we have another instance of decorative motive derived from useful
function, and of the adaptation in one material of a suggestion derived
from another, though applied to the same type of form.

I have not mentioned the plate or dish type of vessel, which has on
the whole, perhaps, received the most attention from the decorator
of surfaces, perhaps on account of the more pictorial conditions its
functional form presents.

There is a circular flat or concave surface in the centre of the dish,
plate, or plaque to hold the food; and there is a circular space or rim
for the hand, a border which will serve both as a frame to the central
subject, and also to emphasize the edge. The Greek cylix, though really
a shallow drinking cup, presents similar conditions to the designer,
though more of the shallow boat or saucer type, and in the filling of
these spaces the Greek vase-painter, as far as regards composition of
line, dramatic action of figure, simplicity, and the necessary flatness
and reserve, sets us the best models in this kind of design.

The Italian Renascence majolica and lustre ware give more sumptuous
effect and more pictorial treatment, but are not nearly so safe a guide
in taste as the Greek.

In pure ornament we cannot do better than study oriental models for the
treatment of border and centre, and in the blue and white ware of China
and Persia we shall find as satisfactory examples of decorative fitness
as need be. The Chinese influence is freely and often very happily
rendered in the blue and white ware of Delft, and in some of the works
of the old English potteries, as Worcester and Derby for instance.

In textile design the functions of border, of field or filling,
of wearing apparel, or furniture hangings and materials and
their necessary adaptation to vertical or horizontal positions,
differentiates the various types and classes of design in woven or
printed stuffs. Here use again influences and decides decorative motive.

We recognize at once the essential differences of expression in
different pattern plans and systems of line in horizontal extension,
which mark them off as suitable for borders demanding linear, or
meandering, or running patterns to fulfil their function of defining
the edge, as in a garment or hanging, or in pottery, or forming a
setting for the centre, as in a carpet.

[Illustration: PITCHER FROM ROTHENBURG. (SEE CHAP. III)

THE HANDLE OF THE PLATE.]

[Illustration: PLATE & DISH DECORATION.

DELFT DISH.

CHINESE PLATE PATTERNS.]

For these reasons, bearing in mind the constructive suggestion of their
origin, the typical examples given of border systems have held their
own from the earliest times as fundamentally adaptable to horizontal
extension, while they also adapt themselves to endless variation in
design and treatment.

Just as, for the same reasons, the systems of pattern adapted for
indefinite extension over a surface (both vertically and horizontally),
and represented by the plans I have termed persistent, have held, and
still hold, their place in the world of design. These latter, too, it
will be noticed, are all constructed upon, or controlled by, the same
basis--the rectangular diaper.

There seems something fixed and fundamental about these linear
constructive bases of pattern design from the point of view of what
might be termed decorative or linear logic, and apart from their origin
in actual constructive necessity before spoken of, and, as far as
soundness of principle can guide us in designing, we cannot go wrong in
obeying them, however various the superstructure of floral fancy we may
build upon them. The acknowledgment of the principle alone, of course,
will not make us successful designers, any more than the skeleton makes
a living figure. We cannot do without thought, fancy, and vivifying
imagination, guided by the sense of beauty, as well as of use, to
produce design worth having in any direction.

To trace out this clue of utility fully and adequately through all the
varieties of the vast province of artistic design would need, not a
single chapter, but a large and amply illustrated volume. I have only
attempted to call your attention to certain typical forms and instances
where the bearings of the necessities of use and service have decided
those forms, and must always influence the decorative designer, who
should never forget them for a moment.

[Illustration: I. TYPICAL BORDER SYSTEMS.]

[Illustration: 2. PERSISTENT PATTERN PLANS, RECTANGULAR BASIS.]

Nothing has degraded the form of common things so much as a mistaken
love of ornament. The production of things of beauty for ordinary use
has declined with the gradual separation of artist and craftsman.
Decoration, or ornament, we have been too much accustomed to consider
as accidental and unrelated addition to an object, not as _an essential
expression and organic part of it_; not as a _beauty which may satisfy
us in simple line, form, or proportion, combined with fitness to
purpose, even without any surface ornament at all_. The more we are
able to keep before our minds the place and purpose of any design we
have to make, the more we realize the conditions of use and service of
which it must be a part, as well as the capacities of the material of
which it is to be made; and the more we understand its constructive
necessities, the more successful our design is likely to be, and the
nearer we shall approach to bridging the unfortunate gulf which too
often exists between the designer and the craftsman.



CHAPTER III.--OF THE INFLUENCE OF MATERIAL AND METHOD


WE have seen (1) that architectural considerations lie at the basis of
design and control its general character, its scale, and relationships;
and (2) that utility determines and specializes its particular forms
and functions; now, as our third proposition, we may say that, in
addition to these in limitation of material and methods of workmanship,
we shall find the influences which determine primarily the purely
artistic question of _treatment_ in design, and which differentiate its
classes and varieties.

If we look at a piece of stone-carving and compare it with a piece of
wood-carving, for instance,--or, still better, take mallet and chisel
in hand and experiment upon a piece of stone or marble, and try to
evolve or to express a form by these means, and with a chisel, or
knife, work upon wood--we shall soon find that the differences of the
quality of the two substances upon which we work--the differences of
density, toughness, resistance to the tool--at once demand different
methods of handling each. Short, quick following strokes in the
case of chiselling stone, and a longer, steady sort of pushing or
driving movement, the chisel being held in both hands, in the case
of wood-carving. From such necessary and fundamental differences the
artist would soon develop a distinct style in the treatment of each
kind of work. He would not attempt to make the stone look like wood,
or persuade the wood to look like stone; but he would rather rejoice
in their fundamental differences of quality, and make his work in
each emphasize their essential and distinctive characteristics. These
different characteristics are shown in the design and treatment of the
carved stone corbel given, as compared with the misereres in wood; the
stone-work being also controlled by the necessity of the jointing in
the masonry.

[Illustration: CORBEL, 14th Cent, DENNINGTON CHURCH, SUFFOLK.]

[Illustration: WOOD CARVING. MISERERE, ST. DAVID'S CATHEDRAL.]

In handling soft materials, like modelling clay, for instance, we
encounter quite a different set of conditions. There is much less
restriction of material and method, although the plasticity of the clay
brings its own difficulties of manipulation with it. Modelling, indeed,
it is soon perceived, is the reverse of carving, since in carving form
is produced by cutting away, in modelling form is produced by building
up (or adding to); surface being gained in the first case by delicate
chiselling of sharp tools upon a close-grained, tough material, and in
modelling by a delicate pressure of the fingers, or tools, upon a soft
and sensitive clay.

Clay modelling, again, not being a final form, but rather a
preparatory stage in design, bears to bronze, or plaster, much the
same relationship as a design or drawing on paper for reproduction by
a particular process bears to its finished form in the material for
which it is intended. Clay has, it is true, after firing, a permanent
form in terra-cotta, which of course thoroughly illustrates the freedom
and naturalism of treatment of which it is capable; on the one hand
associating itself with domestic use and adornment, kindred with the
work of the painter, and on the other uniting itself with architecture,
and being adaptable to all kinds of enrichment upon brick buildings.

[Illustration: WOOD CARVING. MISERERE, ST. DAVID'S CATHEDRAL.]

[Illustration: SCANDINAVIAN CLAY VESSEL.]

The adaptability and plasticity of clay, again, is shown in what might
be called its fundamental capacity as thrown upon the potter's wheel.
Here, under the steady revolution of the horizontal circular disk, or
wheel, controlled and held in its place by the left hand of the potter,
while he manipulates and varies the form with the right, we see how
readily the clay obeys the law of the circular pressure and movement,
and how, in obedience to it, every variety of form which the history
of pottery displays becomes possible to it in the hands of a skilful
and tasteful craftsman. Manual skill of a very accomplished kind is
demanded in throwing, as anyone may see for himself by trying to form
a vessel upon the wheel, simple as the operation looks, controlled
by a purely mechanical movement. Then, in addition to dexterity in
manipulating the clay and skill in forming the vessel truly, and of
an even thickness, there is room for any amount of artistic judgment
and taste in deciding the final form, or section, which the vessel
shall take; and again, in the design and use of such ornament as shall
express its form and office, or give it an additional decorative
surface beauty.

With the use of ornament, indented while our clay is soft, or with
raised moulding and edges, or low relief work, we are still carrying
out the fundamental suggestiveness of the material and what may be
called its natural method; and we find that ornamentation upon pottery
in its earliest development took the form of indented zigzag borders
and patterns, and to this day in some kinds of German pottery, and that
known as Grès de Flandres, we find the patterns indented in outline and
filled afterwards with the blue colour and glazed; the modern Egyptian
red clay pots are ornamented with indented, cut, and raised patterns;
while in the homely brown jug of our English potteries, we see the
application of the principle of relief work in the quaint figures
stamped upon the surface, pleasing enough, though without any reference
to classic dignity or proportion.

There is a good instance of the pleasant use of stamping the pattern
upon a clay vessel in this German pitcher from Rothenburg (see p. 87),
bought from the workshop of the potter himself, who made the pots of
the local clay, fired them, and glazed them himself, and finally was
his own salesman--an instructive combination of functions not often
found in our own country.

[Illustration: MODERN EGYPTIAN POTTERY.]

With wax, modelling can be carried to a greater degree of fineness and
sharpness of detail, especially upon a small scale. It is a material,
therefore, which lends itself to modelling for bronze and other fine
metal castings, to metals and coinage, as well as to small figures,
lamps, various vessels and ornaments; and also to large scale, highly
finished statues, especially when intended to be cast by the _cera
perduta_ or lost wax method, by which the molten metal from the furnace
is made to flow into the mould, to take the place of the wax of the
model, the wax of course melting and flowing out through the vents
contrived for the purpose.

The figure is modelled in the usual way in clay first. Then a plaster
piece-mould is taken, and into the inside of this, when taken off, the
wax is pressed, so as to line it completely. A framework or skeleton
of iron bars having been constructed to support the weight, the hollow
mould inside the wax lining or skin, which represents the thickness of
the bronze statue, is then filled up with a core composed of brick-dust
and plaster, mixed in a paste and poured in. The ducts to enable the
molten bronze to flow properly into the mould are then arranged, with
vents for the escape of the melted wax and air. The plaster piece-mould
is then carefully taken off, and the statue is disclosed in wax. This
wax surface can then be finally finished by the modeller before the
whole statue is covered in with another mould made of a fine paste of
bone ash and Tripoli powder and other ingredients. It is then bedded in
earth or sand, and the bronze, being mixed and melted in the furnace
is run out into the ducts of the mould; when cool the mould is broken
off, and, the bronze taking the place of the wax which is melted and
escapes, the statue is complete.

[Illustration: BRONZE STATUE OF LOUIS XV. BY BOUCHARDON, SHOWING
INTERNAL IRON-WORK AND CORE.[3]]

[3] From Mr. George Simond's article on "Casting in Bronze." "English
Illustrated Magazine," 1885.

Thus a complete and perfect casting is obtained of the work, it being
only necessary to stop the places where the ducts and vents were
fixed, which by ingenuity could be arranged to occur in the less
important parts. _Cera perduta_, as its name indicates, is an old
Italian method, and was used by Benvenuto Cellini. It has been revived
by Mr. George Simonds, who has given an account of it, and by our
younger school of sculptors, Messrs. Alfred Gilbert, Onslow Ford, Harry
Bates, and others, in place of the method of casting without the use of
the wax, which entailed a great deal of surface work and chasing upon
the hard bronze, so that the delicate modelled surface--the touch of
the artist, in short--was lost, but it is just this which is preserved
by the lost wax process, so that it is a method which favours artistic
modelling, since it perpetuates it in bronze with greater precision
than by the ordinary method, and does not require after touching in the
hard.

In iron-work we have another strictly conditioned kind, in which
design owes its character and peculiar beauty to the necessities and
limitations of the material and mode of working. I am speaking of
wrought iron, and of the forms in which it is usually found--in grills
of all kinds, in gates, and railings. Now we may consider that the
designer in iron has a material to deal with which is capable, under
heat and the hammer, of obeying much invention and lines of grace
and fancy. We start with a bar of iron; we plan our main framework;
we may use rigid verticals and horizontals in forming our grill. A
simple square trellis is the fundamental grill, but we seek more play
and fancy. Our iron bar is capable of being twisted at its ends into
spiral curves under heat, with the pincers (or even without, if thin).
It is also capable of being beaten out with the hammer into flattened
leaf forms, which again, by heating, can be worked and elaborated,
and parts joined by welding in great variety of form. But we may
consider primarily that the designer in iron starts with the bar, the
spiral curve, and the flat leaf, or even only the first two. These
are his units out of which he constructs his pattern; his pencils
are the hammer and pincers, his easel is the vice, his medium is the
forge. His business is to make a harmony in iron, and these are his
notes, his treble and bass. His success will depend, firstly, upon the
effectiveness with which he contrives to meet the fundamental purpose
of the grill or gate, that it shall be a sensible and practical grill
or gate to begin with; secondly, his lines and curves, however simple,
must be harmoniously arranged, so that the eye is satisfied at the
same time as the constructive sense; and thirdly, any invention or
play of fancy which he can super-add without injuring the first two
considerations will be so much to the good, and to his credit, and the
common pleasure.

[Illustration: BRONZE STATUE OF LOUIS XV. BY BOUCHARDON, SHOWING
DISTRIBUTION OF DUCTS AND VENTS.[4]]

[4] From Mr. George Simond's article on "Casting in Bronze." "English
Illustrated Magazine," 1885.

It is well, however, to test our powers by simple problems at first.
If we cannot combine a great variety of attractive forms harmoniously,
and fit them to useful purpose, let us try what we can do with few
and simple forms. If we fail at constructing gates of Paradise let us
see if we cannot make a good railing. If we cannot invent a romantic
knocker, let us try our hands at an effective scraper. It is much
better to do a simple thing well, than a complex or ambitious thing
badly; and there is far more need in the world for well-designed and
beautiful common things than for elaborate exceptional things.

[Illustration: WROUGHT-IRON GATES, ST. LAWRENCE, NUREMBERG.

THE IRON WORKERS UNITS.

WROUGHT IRON WORK PORCH GATES CATHEDRAL OF S. LAWRENCE NUREMBERG.]

[Illustration: WROUGHT-IRON FENDER, TONGS, FIRE-DOG AND SHOVEL, BRUGES.

FENDER WITH TONGS BRUGES.

FIRE DOG.]

[Illustration: WROUGHT-IRON ALTAR SCREEN, ST. THOMAS'S, SALISBURY.

PART OF ALTAR SCREEN IN WROUGHT IRON, CH. OF S THOMAS, SALISBURY.]

A study of iron-work should be useful to all students in design, as
showing what ornamental effects can be gained by economy of means,
the effectiveness of simply repeating well-chosen curves, spirals, and
lines; as well as the amount of fantasy and feeling which an inventive
designer and craftsman can put into such work in its more complex and
elaborate forms, and, above all, how perfectly it may be made to unite
serviceableness and beauty; while, perhaps more conspicuously than most
kinds of artistic work, it illustrates the essential unity of material
and method with their results in design.

[Illustration: WROUGHT-IRON BALUSTRADE, ROTHENBURG, from a sketch by R.
PHENÉ SPIERS.]

The illustrations given exemplify different varieties of treatment, and
also show how design in iron-work, in addition to the influence of the
material, is controlled by the spirit and period of the architecture of
which it becomes part.

We see this in comparing the free Gothic and rather fantastic forms
of the gates of the south porch of S. Laurence at Nuremberg with the
symmetric and formal screen from S. Thomas's, Salisbury (seventeenth
or eighteenth century), or both with the flowing Renascence scroll
balustrade from Rothenburg.

A most important branch of design is that of textiles, whether we
regard it in its close association with daily life and the wants of
humanity, with domestic comfort, personal adornment, or ecclesiastical
splendour. It is, perhaps, the most intimate of the arts of design,
and here again we shall find the control of material and method always
asserting themselves.

Textile designing may be broadly divided into two main kinds: (1)
that which is an incorporated part of the textile itself, as in woven
patterns, carpets, and tapestry; and (2) that which is designed as
a surface decoration to be printed or worked on the textile, as in
cotton, cloth, cretonne, silk, velvet, and embroidery.

Into the many technicalities and complexities of the modern power-loom
it is not now necessary to enter; but the main essential conditions it
is always necessary for the textile designer to have in mind are that
his design has to be produced by the crossing of threads in the loom,
by warp and weft, as the sets of threads are called--the warp being
the vertical threads, forming the web and foundation of the fabric;
the woof or weft being the horizontal thread woven through it at right
angles.

[Illustration: LADY AT A HAND LOOM, from Erasmus's "Praise of Folly"
(1676).

DIAGRAMS SHOWING THE PRINCIPLES OF THE LOOM.

RECTANGULAR BASIC CONDITIONS GOVERNING THE STRUCTURE OF ALL TEXTILE
PATTERN.

ELEMENTARY PRINCIPAL OF THE FORMATION OF PATTERN IN WEAVING.

THE REED OR COMB USED TO DRIVE HOME THE THREADS.

DIAGRAMS TO SHOW ACTION OF THE HEDDLES WHICH LIFT THE HORIZONTAL SETS
OF THREADS ALTERNATELY TO ALLOW THE SHUTTLE TO PASS TO & FRO WITH THE
WEFT.]

In the simple low warp hand-loom, the warp being in two sets, the
alternate threads are lifted by the heddles alternately. These
heddles are connected with treadles worked by the feet of the weaver,
who, with his hand, passes his shuttle with the woof backwards and
forwards through the interstices thus left, and weaves the plain cloth.
To make patterns, various wefts in different colours are added. This is
the fundamental simple principle of weaving, which in a still simpler
form may be seen in the making of tapestry and carpets in the high
warp loom, where the threads of the warp are stretched vertically upon
rollers in a framework, at which the worker sits and works in by his
hands the different colours of the pattern horizontally, twisting and
knotting the threads in through the warps on which the pattern has been
marked, and pressing it together by a sort of comb to make it firm and
solid; as the fabric is completed it is rolled up upon the roller.

Penelope is seen working at such a loom in a Greek vase painting. The
simple hand-loom, as it was in the seventeenth century, is seen in the
figure taken from Erasmus's "Praise of Folly."

What chiefly concerns the designer in woven textiles, therefore,
is that he must be prepared for the necessity that his design must
adapt itself to working out upon a square trellis of horizontal and
vertical lines, which will represent his outlines, or the edges of
his masses, in stepped outlines and edges, where the design crosses
the warp diagonally at any angle, and in straight lines where it runs
with the warp; since it may be said that pattern on woven cloth is
produced by leaving out, or stopping out, certain threads in the wefts,
disclosing one set in one place and another in another; such threads
corresponding with the holes cut in the cards placed in the loom to
regulate the pattern, which are prepared from the design, after it has
been worked out on squared paper to calculated intervals and numbers of
threads or points to each line and mass of the pattern.

[Illustration: PERSIAN CARPET, SOUTH KENSINGTON MUSEUM.]

Now, so far from wishing to conceal the characteristic flatness and
squareness of outline and mass, which the nature of the conditions of
weaving normally produce, the artist values these characteristics as
essential to the work, and would make his design adaptable to them.

The most beautiful and decorative effects are produced in woven
textiles by the contrast, harmony, and blending of coloured threads,
wool, or silk, and the relief of one flat colour upon another, or one
flat tint upon another shade of the same tint, so that anything like
attempts at naturalistic drawing, and the representation of planes of
light and shade and relief can only be clumsy, owing to the nature of
the conditions, besides being mistaken, from the point of view of good
pattern-work.

There are no better masters in the selection and treatment of natural
forms in textile design than the Persians, who, in their magnificent
carpets, show both the extreme of graceful conventional pattern, and
also a happy mean in the treatment of flowers, trees, and animals,
exhibiting in their drawing and colour definite characterization rather
than naturalism; translating nature, as it were, and allying it with
invention in a distinct region of their own. To do this is really what
all designers should aim at, in whatsoever material they may work.

When we come to the second division of textile design, that in which
pattern is applied to the surface of the cloth after it has been
woven, by means of printing, the designer is chiefly controlled by
considerations of scale and beauty of effect, as he has to adapt his
design to various purposes, such as hangings and furniture coverings,
or small dress patterns, kerchiefs, and so forth. Beyond the necessary
limit of size of repeat and its satisfactory construction, he is freer
than in designing for woven textiles; and, in fact, has about as much
range as any other surface designer in colours.

It is considered a practical and economic advantage that a design
should adapt itself to printing in many different schemes of colour,
and be capable of treatment on a light or dark ground. In larger scale
patterns, such as furniture cretonnes, patterns or parts of patterns
are produced by a mordant or resist; that is to say, the light parts
are printed in a mordant or chemical preparation which takes out
the dye, and so discloses in those parts the natural colour of the
cotton cloth. Similar effects can be produced by the reverse method of
printing the cloth first with a resist and dyeing or printing the whole
afterwards.

The methods and machinery of printing cotton have been carried to great
perfection, and the necessary limitations as to what effects can or
cannot be obtained are very few, what is done being largely regulated
by considerations of cost. These apparent advantages, however, from the
artistic point of view, expose us to new dangers. We may easily lose
sight of the end in the very perfection of the means; the very facility
of those means may lead the designer to forget that, after all, he
is designing for a textile--something which will be hung in folds,
variously draped, or worn. The desire to show the capacity of the
method of printing a pattern in colours may not always be on all fours
with the wish for tasteful design and reposeful effect. The fierce
competition of trade, and the violent demands of the salesman, do not
harmonize with the judgment of the artist. If you were in a company
where all were talking at once at the top of their voices you would
have to shout very loudly if you wanted to be heard, but no one would
contend that these were the best conditions for the human voice. It is,
however, a tolerably just simile of the present conditions of trade
and their effect upon design. So long as things are made primarily to
_sell_, rather than to last and live with, there will always be this
difficulty and disparity between art and commerce; but a school of art
can only concern itself with what are the best methods, and endeavour
always to set up the best types of design, the best standards of taste.

If we want to represent flowers, for instance, in their natural
superficial aspects of light and shade and relief, the natural form
for such renderings is the still life study; the natural means, the
canvas, palette, and brushes, or Whatman and water-colour; the natural
equipment, power of graphic drawing and knowledge of pictorial effect.
But, whatever value, pictorial interest, and charm such studies may
have, as such, with the charm of treatment, with the freedom of
handling open to the pictorial artist, and with the direct personal
touch, the value, pictorial interest, and charm and beauty would be
entirely lost if they were done by the yard, and spread over acres of
cotton. The particular conditions which give value to the individual
pictorial study become utterly lost when the attempt is made to
produce a pattern on the same principles. It is neither good pattern
nor good painting; and the very best machine-painting can only give a
more or less coarse rendering of hand-painting, and it is therefore
a mistaken application of it to try. It requires no special artistic
feeling or training to recognize a bunch of roses or poppies thrown
in exaggerated relief on a flat surface; but it does require both to
appreciate a design made of the same flowers, composed and coloured
harmoniously in an ingenious repeat, and drawn firmly and delicately
with an understanding of the character and construction of the plants,
yet treated with fancy and invention, and, at the same time, meeting
perfectly the nature of the material and the method of manufacture.
These qualities I should enumerate as the real necessities in designing
for printed fabrics, whether it is cotton cloth printed from the
pattern engraved on copper rollers, or furniture cretonne printed from
flat blocks. In either case, in providing the design, firmness and
sharpness of line would be good, and precision of touch in laying in
the colour.

The embroiderer, again, is comparatively free as to range of choice
in treatment of surface design, which will be necessarily governed
by purpose, position, and nature of material and method employed.
The bold design and large scale detail which would be suitable for
bed hangings and curtains in crewel work, such as we find in the
Queen Anne period, would be obviously out of place in small panels of
delicate fine silk-work. A greater approach to the colours and surfaces
of nature, too, in silk-work may be attempted, as in the plumage of
birds and the petals of flowers, as we see in Chinese and Japanese silk
embroideries, though the decorative principle of shading one colour
with other tints of the same should be followed when shading is used,
keeping the colour pure and brilliant, and never using black or brown
for shadows on colours.


[Illustration: EMBROIDERY.

NATURAL DIRECTION OF STITCHES IN WORKING LEAVES, STEMS, FLOWERS, &
FRUIT.

SILK EMBROIDERY HEIGHTENED WITH SILVER THREAD ITALIAN 16TH CENTURY.

JAPANESE KIMONO PRINTED PATTERN HEIGHTENED WITH GOLD & SILK EMBROIDERY
IN PARTS.

PERSIAN EMBROIDERY SILK ON LINEN BOKHARA.]

A certain natural convention, we might say, belongs to the conditions
of material and method in embroidery, and is inseparable from the art
of the expression of form by stitches. Following the same principle of
such acknowledgment of necessary limitations which we find hold good in
other decorative arts, the essential stitch method of the embroiderer
should be rather emphasized than concealed, although it does not follow
that in preparing designs to be embroidered the stitches need be all
represented, so long as the design is clear and plain, and the outlines
distinct; while in the choice of the direction of the stitches, as well
as in their form and character, must be found the particular means of
expressing varieties of surface and characteristics of form. In making
leaves, for instance, one would naturally make the stitches radiate
from the centre towards the point, while the character of tree stems
is well expressed by carrying the stitches crossways over others laid
vertically first, as, in addition to the suggestion of lines of bark,
the double row of stitches has the effect of suggesting the projection
of a rounded stem. For filling in large masses, or for meandering
types of patterns and scroll-work, or bold outline, chain-stitch is
very useful, and has a compact, solid effect. It is much used in
Indian embroideries. The introduction of gold thread, so much found
in all oriental embroidery, enriches and heightens the effects of the
colours very much, and on the unbleached linens and muslins, where the
pattern is quite light, it has a charming effect. The Japanese make
very effective use of gold thread embroidery, in some cases carrying
the whole of the work out in gold upon a dark ground, or using it as a
partial enrichment on printed textiles such as _kimonos_ or robes; in
other kinds, notably in dark, rich, full-coloured embroidered hangings,
by introducing disks of gold thread, formed by stitching the thread
down upon the ground in closely twisted spiral forms, which catch the
light very effectively when hung upon the wall.

There is, indeed, in the embroiderer's art immense range of both
treatment and subject. It may be light and delicate, and restricted to
one or two colours, or vie in fulness, richness, and depth of colour
and splendour of effect with tapestry itself. It may adorn a child's
quilt, or decorate an altar; it may touch the hem of a garment, or
inform the cover of a book; nothing seems to be above or below it;
and throughout its manifold adaptations it offers an attractive field
to the designer and the worker who is not afraid of patient but not
unrewarding labour.

As further exemplifying the influence of material and method, I
may just touch upon another art, in our days the most popular and
far-reaching, perhaps, of all--the art of design in black and white for
the book and the newspaper.

[Illustration: BUCH VON DEN SIEBEN TODSÜNDEN (AUGSBURG, 1474).]

[Illustration: HANS BALDUNG GRÜN, "HORTULUS ANIMAE" (STRASSBURG, 1511).]

Now, the early woodcut as we find it in the printed books of the
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries owed its forms and qualities to
the necessities of surface printing with types in a hand-press. The
vigorous, bold drawing with the pen on the wood-block was cut by the
engraver with a knife and on the _plank_, not as now, upon the cross
section of the box tree: softer wood, too, was at first probably used.
The engraver's knife left the artist's line firmer, perhaps, than it
was drawn, and the design in vigorous open line was exactly adapted to
print under the same pressure as the type had to undergo. The two were
in true mechanical relation, and also in true artistic relation. The
decorative effect of the early printers' pages is remarkably fine, and
is obtained by very simple means.

With the decline of the severe and vigorous drawing of the great
designers of the late Gothic and early Renascence period, and probably
also with the invention of copper-plate engraving and printing,
and the more rapid production of books, the art of the book printer
declined, and the art of the book decorator with it; and although
the woodcut still held its place, and was largely used for the next
two centuries, and, indeed, down to our own time, in book ornaments,
initial letters, and illustrations, it had fallen into inferior hands.

At the end of last century a sort of revival took place under Thomas
Bewick and his school, which led, not to a revival of the firm and open
linear drawing of the designers of the early printers, but rather to a
search after extra fineness and qualities of tone and colour, hitherto
associated with steel or copper-plate. This tendency or aim of the
engravers, however, only served to put the woodcut out of relation with
the type, and the type itself grew uglier, and was hardly considered
as part of the artistic character of the book. William Blake seems
to have been the only artist who made any attempt to consider the
necessary relation of illustration and type, but he did it by means of
copper-plate, and writing his own lettering.

It is only recently that a serious effort has been made to re-establish
the old relationship between design and text in surface printing and as
applied to books. Our newspapers and illustrated journals still print
heavy black blocks, reproduced from wash drawings, along with thin
pale type; and the tendency of the recent new photographic processes
of reproducing the designs of artists has rather been to dislocate the
decorative feeling and the relationship of type and picture aforesaid,
by imposing no restrictions of material or method in preparing
drawings for the press. We have now, however, a school of printers and
designers in black and white who do consider decorative effect in
printing and in the design of the printed page.

[Illustration: A CRADLE SONG

    Sweet dreams form a shade,
    O'er my lovely infants head.
    Sweet dreams of pleasant streams,
    By happy silent moony beams.

    Sweet sleep with soft down.
    Weave thy brows an infant crown.
    Sweet sleep Angel mild,
    Hover o'er my happy child.

    Sweet smiles in the night,
    Hover over my delight.
    Sweet smiles Mothers smiles,
    All the livelong night beguiles.

    Sweet moans, dovelike sighs,
    Chase not slumber from thy eyes,
    Sweet moans, sweeter smiles,
    All the dovelike moans beguiles.

    Sleep sleep happy child,
    All creation slept and smil'd.
    Sleep sleep, happy sleep.
    While o'er thee thy mother weep.

    Sweet babe in thy face,
    Holy image I can trace.
    Sweet babe once like thee.
    Thy maker lay and wept for me.
                                 Wept

WILLIAM BLAKE.]

Mr. William Morris, by his personal experiment and practice of
printing, approaching it from the designer's point of view, has again
placed the printing of books in the position of an art. By practical
demonstration in the beautiful results of his work--in the beautiful
books he issued from the Kelmscott Press--he has shown us what very
fine decorative effects can be got by careful consideration of the form
of the letters, by the placing of the type upon the page, by the use
of good handmade paper, by the use of ornaments and initial letters
of rich and bold design, harmonizing with the strength and richness
of the type (which makes the ordinary types look pale and thin). His
work, too, is obviously influencing printers and publishers generally,
so that something like a renascence in printing and in design and
decoration in black and white has been going on during the last few
years.

Certainly a return to the practice of drawing in line is good, not
only as a test of design and draughtsmanship, and absolutely necessary
to all designers, but also as essential to designs or illustrations
intended to contribute to the decorative character of the printed page.

In the various instances, therefore, to which I have drawn attention,
we have seen that design in its many forms and applications must
be reconciled to certain limitations of material and method; but
that, so far from these limitations being a hindrance to harmonious
expression or to beauty of result, they themselves, by their very
nature, if properly understood and frankly acknowledged, lead to those
very results of beauty and harmonious expression which come of that
perfect unity of design, material, and method it is the object of all
decorative art to attain.



CHAPTER IV.--ON THE INFLUENCE OF CONDITIONS IN DESIGN


IN the previous three chapters we have been considering Design under
various conditions of use and material. The present may be considered
as a continuation of the same line of thought in somewhat different
directions.

We may consider conditions in the general sense as those general
æsthetic laws governing the place and purpose of designs, and their
position in relation to the eye and hand, such as height, plane of
extension, and scale; or in the more particular sense which includes
all these, as well as more strict technical conditions which, being
accepted by the artistic faculty, influence the form and character of
all design, the object being, of course, the attainment of the greatest
beauty consistent with such conditions.

All design is necessarily conditioned, from the purely graphic and
pictorial to the most abstract forms of decoration. We cannot set
pencil to paper even without committing ourselves to a kind of compact
with conditions. Here is a white expanse--a plain surface; here is
something to make black marks with.

The artistic realization of or presentment of our thought, or our
rendering of a piece of nature or of art will depend upon our
frank acceptance of the natural limits of the capacity of pencil
and paper--of plane, surface, line, and tint as conditions of
representation, and on our faithfulness to them, by means of which we
shall attain the most truth and beauty in drawing.

[Illustration: CEILING PAPER. DESIGNED BY WALTER CRANE.]

[Illustration: CEILING PAPER. DESIGNED BY WALTER CRANE.]

It is the recognition of this which gives distinction to all drawing,
according to the individuality, invention, and character of the artist.
We recognize his style and personality by his manner of dealing with
the conditions of the work, and nowhere does this come out more
emphatically than when those conditions are reduced to the simplest. So
that in a line drawing in pen or pencil, in the economy of the means,
and in the skill and mastery by which facts of nature, character,
life, action, or beauty of line and ornamental effect are rendered by
the simple use of outline, or tint, or solid black, we can recognise
the artist of power just as clearly as we recognize a friend's
handwriting.

[Illustration: CEILING PAPER. DESIGNED BY WALTER CRANE.]

The suavity and grace of Raphael, the energy of Michael Angelo, the
learning and finish of Leonardo, the sculptor-like definition of
Mantegna, the firmness and care of Dürer, the breadth and richness of
Holbein; all these qualities come out clearly enough in the studies
and drawings of these masters in pen, pencil, and chalk. For beauty of
style, treatment, and decorative feeling in pencil and chalk, perhaps
few come near the studies of our modern master, Burne-Jones.

[Illustration: REPEATING PATTERN WALL-PAPER. DESIGNED BY WALTER CRANE.]

In making studies, too, another condition comes in, important enough
in its effects--that of _time_. In general practice no means to ends
are more useful than rapid sketches and notes of passing actions and
transient effects. In order to seize the essential facts quickly great
economy of means is necessary, and practice and experience alone can
teach us facility in selecting the leading points and most expressive
lines. Given a limited time in which to note facts, the problem is how
to set down the most truth in the simplest and most forcible way.

The conditions which govern the making of a sketch or study upon paper
are sufficient as tests of artistic capacity, of draughtsmanship, of
taste, and the other fine qualities which go to the making of a work of
art, having what may be termed an independent or individual interest
and value; but in adapting any kind of design to a definite ornamental
purpose other conditions immediately come into play over and above
those belonging to the conditions of draughtsmanship alone, conditions
which at once influence the _style_ of draughtsmanship and determine
the treatment.

Again, everyone who attempts designs for different kinds of
decorative purpose, for different materials, for different planes
of extension, for different positions and uses, must perceive that
such considerations are important factors in determining the plan,
construction, and spirit of the design.

The ornamental conditions, for instance, which govern the design of
wall-papers and hangings, demand patterns which climb upwards and
spread laterally without any apparent effect or flaw in the repeat.
Frieze designs, again, demand horizontal extension and definite rhythm,
which latter is an important element in all border design.


[Illustration: PATTERN PLANS & MOTIVES CONTROLLED BY CONDITIONS OF
POSITION AND PURPOSE.]

[Illustration: PLAN OF AN ORDINARY WALL-PAPER PATTERN REPEAT.]

[Illustration: PLAN OF A DROP REPEAT.]

[Illustration: MURAL MOTIVE-FIELD & FRIEZE.]

[Illustration: TEXTILE MOTIVE--BROKEN BY FOLDS.]

[Illustration: CEILING MOTIVE.]

[Illustration: FLOOR MOTIVE WITH BORDER.]

[Illustration: FLOOR MOTIVE. SKETCH DESIGN FOR INLAID WOOD, SOUTH
LONDON FINE ART GALLERY. DESIGNED BY WALTER CRANE.]

Designs for extension upon floors and pavements, where the effect of
perspective distorts forms as they recede from the eye, require their
own special planning and treatment, square, circular, diamond, and
fish-scale plans being generally the safest, as bases, since they
preserve their form in perspective better than irregular non-geometric
or more complex plans.

Much the same kind of considerations control ceiling decoration, where,
in addition, suggestions may be taken from constructive conditions,
as, in flat ceilings, the design following parallel beams and joists
and their interstices; the panelled arrangement of a coffered ceiling;
or radiating spring of lines from constructive centres, as in vaulted
ceilings.

Where a pattern will be broken by deep folds, as in textiles, in
hangings, and curtains, the conditions favour the recurrence of bold
masses, richer points, and more strongly defined forms, at intervals,
than would be agreeable in a pattern for extension on a plane surface,
unless we except carpets, where boldness of form and richness of colour
are desirable.

Such conditions as these influence every department of decorative
design, and in proportion to the completeness with which they are
satisfied will depend the success of designs; and a design which may
have less actual beauty, perhaps, than another, but which completely
fulfils the conditions of its existence, is likely to have a longer
life.

[Illustration: DROP REPEAT WALL-PAPER. DESIGNED BY WALTER CRANE.]

The persistence of certain well-known types of pattern is probably
due to this--such as the continual reappearance of the Greek fret in
various forms as a border design in all sorts of work.

Questions of scale in design are less absolute, perhaps, since, though
one may say as a rule that large types of design and detail belong
to large rooms and large scale buildings, there may be interesting
exceptions, when large patterns might suit even in a small room, if a
particular artistic effect were sought.

The main condition in the matter of scale appears to be that we cannot
afford to ignore the average human standard. As we may say that
the human frame itself contains the elements and principles of all
ornamental design, so its proportions and scale control the proportions
and scale of all design. Objects intended for human use and service are
bound to be of certain fixed or average sizes--seats and couches about
eighteen inches from the ground, for instance; ordinary domestic doors
not much over six feet high, and three feet six inches or four feet
wide. The size of casements, again, is strictly related to the power of
the hand to open them; while the sizes of all movable objects of use
are in like manner strictly governed by the average size, height, and
strength of mankind.

Pursuing the influence of such conditions, we find that there are in
every direction natural limitations in every department of design: in
the first place of scale and position in relation to eye and hand, in
the second place of method and material.

Take the page of a printed book, for instance. The body of type
impressed upon the paper, gives the proportions and dimensions of the
page. The double page, when the book is opened to show the right and
left hand pages (or recto and verso, as they are termed), is the true
unit, not the single page.

[Illustration: DROP REPEAT WALL-PAPER. DESIGNED BY WALTER CRANE.]

The type should be placed so as to leave the narrowest margin at the
top and the inside, the broader on the outside, and the broadest of
all at the foot. And this for obvious reasons, since in holding a book
in our hand we naturally want the type brought well under the eye,
the pages being set as close together as the necessities of joining
down the middle will allow conveniently, so that the eye need not have
to jump across a large brook of margin in travelling from one to the
other, while the deep margin below enables the book to be held in the
hand well set up before the eye, without touching the type.

In taking up a book with the intention of decorating or illustrating
it, we must accept frankly these conditions, which indeed are, properly
considered, a substantial help to the artist, just as the necessities
of the ground plan give suggestions for the elevation in architectural
design. These conditions, we may take it, are the architectural
conditions of book-page construction.

The size, then, of our page-panel being fixed, as well as the page of
type necessary to the book (sizes of books are, of course, determined
by folding of the paper--folio, quarto, octavo, duodecimo, and so on),
we are free to deal with it decoratively in a variety of ways, subject
only to the acknowledgment of the essential condition that it _is_
a book-page, and not a random sheet of paper to make blots of ink
upon--or a stereoscope, or a card-basket, for instance, as some modern
treatments of illustration in books suggest.

We may use the whole page for the design, surrounding it with a line
or border. Or for the sake of richer and more ornate effect, while
confining our picture or illustration to the limits of the type-page,
we may use our margin for a decorative framework or border. As also
in using ornamental initial letters the side borders can be utilized
for ornaments branching up and down from the letter to emphasize the
chapter or paragraph, in the manner of mediæval illuminated MSS., and
in the way adopted by William Morris in his Kelmscott Press books.

Or, again, limiting our decoration to the actual type-page, we may
divide the page at the opening of a chapter by a frieze-shaped panel or
heading across the top, placing the initial letter below; or insert a
picture in the text, occupying a half-page or quarter-page; or at the
ending of a chapter design a tailpiece to fill the page where the type
ends, treating any space within the limits of the type-page, which the
type does not occupy, as a field for design, or placing one's pictures
and ornaments in the midst or in place of the type.

The title-page, again, is capable of an immense variety of treatment,
and great ornamental use can always be made of the lettering, whether
accompanied by design or not.

I think, too, that it is obvious that the conditions of surface
printing point to line-drawing as the most harmonious in effect
for book illustration and decoration, as well as most practical
mechanically, since type and blocks which decorate a page must be
subjected to the same pressure. The form of letters, too, in movable
type, being linear, whether Gothic or Roman letters, line-drawing is in
direct decorative relation with the type.

[Illustration: OPEN FOLIO BOOK TO SHOW PROPORTIONS OF TYPE PAGE &
MARGIN, KELMSCOTT PRESS, WILLIAM MORRIS.]

[Illustration: TITLE PAGE FAERIE QUEENE WALTER CRANE W.C.]

[Illustration: W.C. W.C.]

[Illustration: PAGE PLANS SHOWING VARIOUS ARRANGEMENTS OF TEXT &
DECORATION.]

In proportion to the solidity or heaviness of the letters, too, as a
general principle, stronger effects of black and white may be ventured
on, while if the type is light and elegant, finer and more open-like
work would be the most harmonious treatment. With the use of handmade
paper, again, upon which a printed book always looks best, openness
of line is a necessary condition in design work to be reproduced as
surface printing blocks with the type, since the quality of the paper
requires considerable pressure to bring up bright impressions, and
under such pressure (with the grain and rough surface of the paper,
which gives the richness to the lines and blocks of type or woodcut)
fine and broken lines would print up too strong, and not look well. Pen
or brush drawing, therefore, in firm and unbroken lines is the most
adapted to the conditions in this case because they work and look the
best, and lead to a distinct character and style.

Nothing looks worse, to my mind, than heavy toned and realistically
treated wash drawings used with a thin and light type, such as we
constantly see in newspapers and magazines.

The facility of the photographic processes for reproducing drawings
of all kinds (as well as the decline of printing as an art before
that, and the decline of good facsimile engraving), have no doubt
tended to destroy the sense of style and harmony in combining
text and illustration, since the two have come to be considered so
entirely apart; but of late years there have been many indications of a
return to sounder taste, which is sure to influence the printer's and
illustrator's art more and more widely.

[Illustration: Chapter II. Evil tidings come to hand at Cleveland

NOT long had he worked ere he heard the sound of horse-hoofs once more,
and he looked not up, but said to himself, "It is but the lads bringing
back the teams from the acres, and riding fast and driving hard for joy
of heart and in wantonness of youth" But the sound grew nearer and he
looked up and saw over the turf wall of the garth the

FROM "THE GLITTERING PLAIN," KELMSCOTT PRESS. DESIGNED BY WILLIAM
MORRIS AND WALTER CRANE.]

[Illustration:

      O SACRED hunger of ambitious mindes,
      And impotent desire of men to raine!
      Whom neither dread of God, that devils bindes,
      Nor lawes of men, that common-weales containe,
      Nor bands of nature, that wilde beastes restraine,
      Can keepe from outrage and from doing wrong,
      Where they may hope a kingdome to obtaine:
      No faithe so firme, no trust can be so strong,
    No love so lasting then, that may enduren long.

      Witness may Burbon be; whom all the bands
      Which may a Knight assure had surely bound,
      Untill the love of Lordship and of lands
      Made him become most faithless and unsound:
      And witness be Gerioneo found,
      Who for like cause faire Belgè did oppresse,
      And right and wrong most cruelly confound:
      And so be now Grantorto, who no lesse
    Then all the rest burst out to all outragiousnesse.


FROM SPENSER'S "FAERIE QUEENE." DESIGNED BY WALTER CRANE.]

From books let us turn for further illustration to another source of
illumination, namely, windows; where, in the design of leaded and
stained glass, we shall find examples of another strictly conditioned
and very beautiful province of design.

In the course of its historical development stained glass seems to show
much the same or corresponding general characteristics at different
periods as to style, as may be traced in other branches of art. The
windows of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were characterized by
geometric pattern, and made up of small pieces of glass, the figure
subjects small, set in geometric inclosures or quatrefoil panels and
showing Byzantine influence in their treatment.[5] It may be, too,
that the windows of the early Gothic period were influenced by the
rich mosaic work of the Byzantine artists, but in the fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries, as windows became larger and more important
features in architecture, and stone tracery enabled very large
openings to be filled with coloured and leaded glass, both the figures
and the pieces of glass became larger, the general design more
pictorial, till in the early sixteenth century we get perspectives and
heavily-shaded figures, and large masses of light and dark, until the
art perished in eighteenth century transparencies.

[5] I give some reproductions from photographs of the beautiful
fragments from the Sainte Chapelle, now in the South Kensington Museum,
as types of the earlier glass, and from Winchester College for the
later, and two cartoons of Ford Madox Brown's as examples of good
modern design, showing leading.

[Illustration: THIRTEENTH CENTURY GLASS FROM THE SAINTE CHAPELLE, PARIS
(SOUTH KENSINGTON MUSEUM).]

[Illustration: THIRTEENTH CENTURY GLASS FROM THE SAINTE CHAPELLE, PARIS
(SOUTH KENSINGTON MUSEUM).]

It perished because the essential fundamental conditions were ignored
or not made important decorative use of. Leading, instead of being
regarded as the backbone of the design, its fundamental anatomy, and
essential decorative as well as mechanical characteristic, was rather
looked upon as an awkward if necessary interruption in the picture, and
the glass-painter, in endeavouring to follow the painter on canvas in
his effects of relief and chiaroscuro, lost all the peculiar beauty and
character of his own art without gaining the distinction of the one he
would fain have rivalled.[6]

[6] Winston, in his well-known work on glass-painting, a very good and
particular account both of the characteristic historic periods and
the methods and materials of glass-painting, says: "In the eighteenth
century glass was painted with enamels, very much as canvas is with oil
colours, that is to say, in little patches, and the shadows were not
produced merely with enamel brown, but with deeper tints of various
local colours. In this way the shadows are almost imperceptibly blended
with the lights, scarcely any part of the glass being left perfectly
free of colour, or the marks of the brush."

It has only been by artists going back to the fundamental conditions,
and keeping faith with them, that a revival of glass-painting has taken
place in our time.

Now we might divide design in glass into two parts:

    1. Design in lead line.

    2. Design in coloured light.

[Illustration: THIRTEENTH CENTURY GLASS FROM THE SAINTE CHAPELLE, PARIS
(SOUTH KENSINGTON MUSEUM).]

Both demand the full light of the sky to do them justice, but
especially the colour work, and therefore can only effectively be used
for windows placed high, or above the level of the eye, in the wall
like church windows, for it is only the full strength of light which
brings out the full beauty and depth which the best work in glass
always possesses; and in some qualities of glass, indeed, only full
sunlight will discover their inner heart of jewel-like colour.

Very beautiful effects in window glazing are produced by patterns
formed of plain leads, and their value has of late been perceived by
architects, who largely use them in domestic work. Either seen from
within or without the effect is pleasant, and suggests a sense both
of comfort and romance which refuse to be associated with large blank
squares of plate glass and heavy sash windows, which require a Samson
or a Sandow to lift.

Inside, the effect of large panes of plate glass is cold. Outside, it
forms great holes in the architecture, but, with the use of leads, if
the opening is large, there need be scarcely any diminution of light
inside, while the network of lead forms a pleasant relief to the window
surface and unites it by pattern with the architecture of the building.

The pliant grooved strip of lead, then, is the glass designer's
outline. With it he weaves his plain pattern, which he can enrich with
spots of colour or by jewels of light in escutcheons and roundels; and
when he comes to planning an elaborate figure panel he is bound to
contrive a well-constructed basis of leading to hold his colour and
form together, and by means of its bold black bounding lines to define
the masses of his pattern, each different tint of glass being inclosed
by a lead line, and shading, faces, hands, and small details being
added with brush drawing in brown upon the coloured glass.

[Illustration: SIXTEENTH CENTURY GLASS. FROM WINCHESTER COLLEGE CHAPEL
(SOUTH KENSINGTON MUSEUM).]

Apart from good design, well-planned leading and colour scheme, nearly
everything depends upon the careful choice of tint in the glass itself,
and immense pains and trouble are well spent in this way, since beauty
of total effect, as well as particular harmonies, depend upon choice of
the degree, depth, and quality of the coloured glass.

Now glass for colour work, called antique, is made in small sheets
about 22 in. × 17 in. The sheets of one maker do not exceed 8 in. × 5
in. They may be classified as tints and whites. These form the palette
of the stained glass artist, and furnish him with an immense range of
tint and tone from which to select. But these, again, are divisible
into two sorts: (1) what is called _pot-metal_ self-colours, or sheets
that are of the same metal throughout; and (2) that known as _flashed_,
that is, when a thin skin of ruby, gold, pink, or blue is flashed upon
a sheet of blue, white, pink, or amber. This flash may be lightened or
removed at pleasure by fluoric acid.

The object of the maker of these small sheets of glass is to get as
much variety as possible, not only in _light and dark_, which in the
pot-metals is due to the varying thickness of the sheet, and in the
flashed colours to the varying thickness of the flash, but in some
cases a mixture of two or more colours in the same sheet, by which
it will be seen that no two sheets even out of the same pot of metal
are alike. It is the use of this variety and unexpectedness that are
amongst the charms of stained glass.

We speak of _stained glass_, but in reality there is _only one stain_,
properly speaking; other colours used on glass are enamels, the
real colour being incorporated in the glass when made (pot-metal or
flashed), and not painted on. This stain is a preparation of silver,
and is mixed with a vegetable colour, yellow lake, to weaken it. It
is principally used upon the whites to stain diapers, hair, etc., and
when fixed in the kiln the yellow lake is burnt away, leaving a slight
residue which is easily removed, and the silver is vitrified into the
glass, the depth of yellow being varied according to the strength of
the stain and the susceptibility of the glass.

In setting to work to design a stained glass window, it is usual first
to make a coloured design to scale--1½ inch to the foot is the best.

A window may be composed of one light or of many, each separate panel
inclosed by the masonry or mullions being termed _a light_. The
question of treatment of subject as a single design extending across
several lights, or as separate panels, must depend first upon the
particular subject, or subjects, to be treated, then the scale of the
window, and the general character of the architectural setting.

Supposing it is a subject like the Nativity, with the Adoration of the
Magi, it would lend itself to treatment as a single subject extending
across several lights, and to great richness and splendour of colour.
The colour design in such a case would be the most important, but, as I
have before said, it must be perfectly combined with, and built upon,
a well-designed network of lead lines, those lines forming themselves
essential elements in the design, defining the forms in bold outline,
and uniting and giving value to the masses of colour. For while we
may separate the problem into two parts, the design of lead lines and
colour design, the window must be conceived as a whole, not merely as
composition in line to be tinted.

Having made our scale sketch, the next step is to work out the
full-sized cartoons, which, of course, demand more attention to drawing
and detail. Many artists make as many elaborate studies for figures,
drapery, and details as they would for a highly-wrought picture in oil,
or mural painting. As a matter of fact, however, though any amount of
good drawing and invention may be put into glass design, it should not
be forgotten that beauty of pattern and effect and symbolic suggestion
are the objects and not pictorial naturalism.

For main definition in the design the essential lead line is all
important. It would not do to sketch in a figure in a casual way, and
then surmount it with lead lines; it should be carefully considered as
a piece of bold and massive outline design.

In leading we may use a bolder line for bounding and defining the main
masses, and a thinner sort for subsidiary fittings; in this much will
depend upon the scale of the work. The lead, which has a double groove,
may be said to serve several functions. Its primary office is to hold
the pieces of glass together: it forms the linework of the design,
surrounding the figures and forms, separating them from each other
and the background, as well as defining the secondary forms, as of
drapery and other detail. Then, too, the lead joints ease the cutting
of awkward shapes in the glass, which however should be avoided in
planning the cartoon. Again, it may be used to obtain greater variety
into large masses, as a piece of drapery, for instance.

[Illustration: THIRTEENTH CENTURY GLASS GRISAILLE, SALISBURY CATHEDRAL.]

[Illustration: CARTOON FOR GLASS, SHOWING LEAD DESIGN, BY FORD MADOX
BROWN.]

[Illustration: CARTOON FOR GLASS, SHOWING LEAD DESIGN, BY FORD MADOX
BROWN.]

The cartoon being made, the next thing is to make the working drawing.
This is done by laying a semi-transparent piece of paper over the
cartoon, and tracing _merely_ the lead lines and thus obtaining the
skeleton of the window.

The glass is cut from this drawing, the cutter cutting the glass just
within the lines, thus allowing for the heart of lead. The same drawing
serves also for the leadworker to glaze the finished work upon.

The shapes of the whites and light colours are seen when the sheets are
laid on the drawing; but the shapes of the dark colours, through which
it is impossible to see the lead lines, must be obtained in another way.

The best way is to cut the shape in thin sheet glass, which is then
placed on the dark sheet of antique glass held up to the light, and
moved about until the most suitable part of the sheet is found. They
are then laid on the bench together, and the piece of sheet glass is
pounced with a small bag of fine whitening, which, when removed, leaves
its shape on the dark sheet to be followed by the cutter's diamond.

We now come to the all-important task of selecting the glass.

The ordinary trade way of doing this is to number the outline, which
indicates to the cutter certain racks correspondingly numbered
containing the different colours. But if it is to be really careful
artistic work the designer ought himself to select each piece for his
work.

The principle and idea of colour in glass design, dealing as the
artist does with pure translucent colour, is necessarily distinct
from those obtaining in other kinds of painting, such as mural, when
opaque colours and a variety of half-tones are used. The glass designer
does not attempt to shade his figures and draperies by the light and
dark parts of a sheet of coloured glass. He desires to express the
jewel-like quality--the quintessence of colour in every piece of
glass--by the force of contrast, not in the juxtaposition of dark and
light pieces of one colour merely, but by the bold arrangement of
various colours, having the effect of one, but with a richness and
sonorousness that the single tint does not possess.

For example, in a yellow drapery we should take a rich decided yellow
as keynote. Obviously if the adjoining pieces were of the same colour,
the effect would be flat and tame; but if we take a low toned yellow or
neutral colour, the keynote will be screwed up to concert pitch, as it
were, and if the neutral colour is followed by a reddish tone of yellow
and that by another variation of yellow, that again by a decided green,
and so on, we shall achieve that desideratum in stained glass--_variety
in unity_.

The general effect will be warmer or colder as reddish or greenish
tones predominate in the scheme. Care, of course, must be taken to
bring these contrasted--even discordant--component parts into a
harmonious whole: indeed every piece should be selected, not only to
agree with and help its neighbour, but with reference to the harmony
of the whole. Any undue abruptness of contrast may be brought into
sufficient relation by the after painting.

The white must be treated in the same way, a mixture of warm and cold
tints as a rule, the general effect of each mass being made warmer or
colder as found necessary. Great care must be taken with the masses of
white to prevent them looking like holes in the window: for instance,
a white coming next to a dark colour would have to be a tint (or very
low in tone, as we should say in painting) to hold its proper place.
Only by actual experience, however, can the artist learn how one colour
affects another, and how certain combinations will look in their place.

We have now reached the painting stage. All the glass has been cut and
laid out on the outline. It is now looked over to see if there are
any pieces that will not stand the fire--that is, that would change
colour or lose brilliance. The gold pinks, brown rubies, and some sorts
of pure ruby are liable to do this. Pieces of plain sheet glass may
therefore be cut to the same shape to paint on, to be afterwards glazed
behind the coloured pieces, so that the full brilliance is preserved.

The wings of the angel in the panel by Mr. J. S. Sparrow (to whom I am
indebted for this detailed account) have been treated in this way.

The outline was made in colours ground in turpentine, fattened and made
workable with japanner's gold-size, in order to stand the matte of
water-colour to be added afterwards.

[Illustration: MODERN GLASS, DESIGNED AND EXECUTED BY J. S. SPARROW.]

When the figure is drawn in this way all the pieces are stuck upon
an easel glass (a large stout piece of sheet) with a composition of
bees-wax and resin. As this is the first time all the pieces have been
seen together the panel is carefully looked over, as a whole, to see
that each piece is of a right colour and value. Some pieces may have to
be cut over again; others strengthened or modified _by the addition of
another piece of glass_. This last method is called plating, by which
rich and beautiful deep toned effects can be produced.

A strong flat matte of water-colour is now laid all over the figure.
This forms the half-tones, and the lights are taken out (when dry) with
hog-hair brushes, the colour being first loosened by modelling the
broad lights with the finger, which indeed is the best implement, and
as much of the modelling should be done by it as possible.

A quill may be used to take out sharp lights. The work should now be
ready for the kiln, but before firing it should be again stuck up, and
looked over, and any strengthening or definition added in shadows on
details by oil-colour with the addition of fat turpentine to keep it
open; the dry surface of the glass being first treated with a wash of
oil of tar to make the colour flow easily.

Then the diapers and hair are stained on the back of the glass, and it
is ready for the kiln.

After being leaded up, the leads soldered together at the junctions,
the panel is again placed on the easel, and further alterations or
improvements may be made, as the leaded panel looks very different
from the glass by itself. The panel is next cemented, the leads filled
up with putty or cement to make it firm and water-tight. The cement is
like a very thick paint, a mixture of white lead, whitening, red lead,
lamp-black, dryers and raw and boiled oil.

The window may require to be supported by horizontal iron bars, if it
extends over two feet. They are usually placed about fifteen inches
apart, as the leaded glass might bend under the pressure of wind
without extra support.

From this account we may realize what care and taste are necessary to
carry out really artistic work in stained glass. The whole subject
affords us a good illustration of one of the highest and most
beautiful of the arts of design, severely controlled by well-defined
conditions--conditions which, if followed faithfully, give it all its
peculiar character, strength, and beauty. The necessities of leading
and cutting the glass demand a certain severity and simplicity of
design--from which a new beauty is evolved, capable in its turn of
influencing other forms of art for good, as in easel painting--which
harmonizes with its symbolic and religious intention as well as with
the architectural and monumental character of its surroundings in its
noblest forms in public and college halls and churches; while its glow
and colour, suggestive symbolism, or heraldic adornment, may cheer and
vivify domestic interiors with a touch of poetry and romance.



CHAPTER V.--OF THE CLIMATIC INFLUENCE IN DESIGN--CHIEFLY IN REGARD TO
COLOUR AND PATTERN


WE have seen how largely Design in its manifold forms has been
influenced by various physical conditions and necessities, and in
pursuing the subject we can hardly fail to note that, outside those
more strictly defined technical conditions we have been considering,
there are certain broad controlling influences which have determined,
and still determine, essential differences of character as between the
products of one country and another; differences which, despite the
complex network of international commerce and exchange, tending ever
to obscure and confuse those native and natural differences by mixture
and fusion, still persist. Indeed, as Manchester manufacturers and
merchants well know, in the matter of pattern and colour they have to
be taken into serious account, since we have unfortunately taken upon
ourselves the responsibility of supplying Eastern markets, substituting
our own ideas of pattern and colour in fabrics for the original
native ones--or rather, sending back to the native Chinese and Indian
second-hand notions of their own colours and patterns.

Now to what principal cause may we trace these broad differences in the
choice and treatment of colour and design in different countries--those
variations which enable us to assign each to its native home, north,
south, east, or west, upon this parti-coloured globe of ours?

If we were to endeavour to mark upon a chart in some bright colour, say
red or yellow, all those countries where, given a certain organized
social life of civilization of some kind, bright sunshine was the rule,
and indicate proportionally its lesser degrees in others, we should
get a vivid notion of the general distribution of the colour sense: we
should naturally come to the conclusion that it is to the source of
all our life, light, and heat--to the sun--that we must also trace our
colour sense, which is a part of the sense of sight itself. It is to
the influence of sunlight, direct or indirect, and to its prevalence in
a greater or lesser degree in different countries, then, that we may
attribute the differences of taste and feeling for colour and pattern
which mark the different quarters of the inhabited earth.

We know how we are affected by the absence or presence of sunlight in
our own country, and by a heavy or light atmosphere, and are sensitive
to the changes of the weather, which no doubt have their influence upon
our work, and we know how different colours look in different degrees
and qualities of light.

We have only to follow the pattern book of Nature herself, indeed,
and see how distinctly she paints upon the globe the different
zones of climate in different coloured flowers, birds, and animals
corresponding with those differences; or follow her system of
coloration in the ordinary procession of the seasons, without going out
of our own country.

With the return of the sun and lengthening days and the new awakening
of life in the spring, a delicate bloom overspreads the landscape, the
dark wintry woodlands burst into blossoms and clouds of foliage, taking
every tint, from the palest green to delicate amber and red; while the
meadows show the rich moist green of new springing grass, embroidered
with flowers, yellow, white, and blue; and the blue sky seems to repeat
itself in the copses where the hyacinths grow. Gradually, as spring
turns to summer, the colours deepen, the greens of trees and grass grow
fuller, the flowers grow brighter and more varied in hue, crimsons
and reds and purples are seen, and gardens become feasts of colour;
and as the cornfields ripen scarlet poppies mingle with the gold, and
the leaves of the trees, having reached their darkest tint, as autumn
nears, become tinged with yellow and brown, and, before they fall, turn
into wonderful harmonies of russet and gold, in part recalling, though
in lower tones, some of the colours of spring.

The ripe fruit in the orchards gives a deeper note of richer and
brighter colour, when the procession of flowers has reached the
threshold of winter, bare and cold, though not colourless--its colours
being more metallic--the silver of frost and mists, and the ruddy gold
of the winter sun gilding the black trees, whereon mosses and lichens
take the place of leaves and flowers, and sombre yews and hollies and
firs, instead of the bright greens of spring, until the whole is veiled
in ice and snow.

This drama of expressive colour is enacted before our eyes every
year--those of us, at least, who are fortunate enough to live in the
country, and are observers; and even to town dwellers the tale of
colour to a certain extent is told by the importation of flowers, or
even by the textiles in drapers' windows, or costumes in the street,
as humanity responds to the approach of the sun by wearing lighter and
fairer colours in the spring and summer, and getting darker and more
sombre again in the autumn and winter.

We have only to glance at the various manifestations of our home arts
to note these changes with the characteristic colours of our varied
landscape reflected, not only in the works of our painters, but in
the half-tones of our textiles and wall-papers, and throughout our
decorative design, which for form, too, owes so much to the flora of
our native land.

It does not seem to follow that with the greatest amount of sunlight
we get the _most_ colour; on the contrary, the zenith of light is the
absorption of colour, just as darkness represents its extinction.
Light and darkness are the black and white on the palette of nature,
necessary to give value to her colours.

The sense of colour, too, is no doubt greatly affected by other
climatic influences, such as humidity, haziness, clearness, heat and
cold, as well as their accompaniments in varieties of scenery and
locality, such as plains or mountains, woodland, sea-board, lake,
river, agricultural land, or wild nature.

We associate brilliant colours and bold designs with eastern and
southern countries, but, apart from the greater stimulus of light which
might encourage the use of vivid colour, there is, I think, another
reason which accounts for the bolder and franker use of colour and
ornament in the south and east. Broad and full sunlight has a curiously
flattening effect upon colour and pattern, and therefore colours and
patterns which under a gray sky would look staring, or very strong
and striking, under the full sunlight fall into plane, and become
subordinated to the dominant pitch of light.

We may take as an instance the porch of the Cathedral at Pistoia. The
bold black and white bands of marble which face the front of this
building--as of so many mediæval Lombardic Italian cathedrals, as at
Florence, Genoa, and Siena (an idea borrowed from the Saracens)--look
striking enough under a gray sky, but when the sunlight falls upon
the building and raises the whole pitch of light the whole mass with
its projections falls into planes of broad light and shade. The black
bands become gray and flat in the light, and all fall into their places
in the architectural scheme, and therefore, though borrowed from the
east, are quite appropriate in a climate like Italy, which can count
on persistent sunshine for the most part, summer and winter. Inside
the porch, in the spandril and vault, is faced with Della Robbia ware,
in blue, white, and yellow, and a very beautiful piece of decoration
it is. This, again, however, in a dull atmosphere might look cold and
strange, but illuminated by the rich reflected light cast up from
the sunlit pavement it takes all sorts of accidental lights and falls
into its place admirably. Otherwise the porch is interesting from the
curious blend of Byzantine, Saracenic, and classical motives and
influences in decoration.

[Illustration: PORCH of CATHEDRAL OF S. JACOPO PISTOIA]

Seen in the cold and dull light of an English museum, away from their
proper architectural surroundings, panels of Della Robbia ware are apt
to look somewhat strong, bold, or rank in colour, which only shows
they were designed in a sunny bright climate, and to be seen in a full
external or warm reflected light as a rule. The very qualities that
make the ware trying in one place make it right in another.

The various historic types of design in architecture and decoration
are, in fact, mostly the result of the blending or uniting of elements
derived from different sources. While we may in the leading types
prevalent in different countries detect the fundamental prevailing
influence of life, custom and habit, the result of climatic and racial
conditions; we may also see, owing to social and political changes and
the results of conquest or of commercial relations, other elements
coming in various details of construction, form, and colour.

Our present purpose, however, is rather to seek the fundamental
characteristic types and predilections traceable to the fundamental
or natural conditions of locality and climate, as far as they can be
followed in historic decoration.

It seems to have been in the power of certain ancient peoples to
impress and to preserve the character of their life and the conditions
of their habitat very strongly upon their art, so that, though their
political power has long ago been swept away, their records remain
practically imperishable in their monuments of art.

Of such the ancient Egyptians must always be typical.

If we look at the structure of the primitive Egyptian dwelling we shall
find that it illustrates those influences of climate and locality in a
very emphatic way.

In the first place, as we know, Egypt depends upon her great river, the
Nile, which may be said to have made her existence possible, since its
waters fertilize the whole country. It is interesting, then, to note
that the primitive Egyptian dwelling was essentially suggestive of the
riverside and of a country of sunshine. Its materials were those of
the waterside, consisting of clay and canes and lotus reeds; the canes
being used for the framing and support of the clay walls, which are
built in layers between them.

The plans and diagrams of construction (from Viollet le Duc) will
give a clear idea of the form and character of the primitive Egyptian
dwelling. In the course of an interesting account of its construction
he says: that it is a dwelling for a country where _brilliant sunshine
is the rule_ is shown by the smallness of the windows, which are
furnished with lattices. The walls were frequently plastered with clay,
covered with a composition made of the same clay and fine sand or white
stone dust, and this furnished a ground for the painters who decorated
the reeds and plastered walls with brilliant colours; the walls and
ceilings of the interior were also decorated in the same way; rush mats
furnished the floor and covered the lower part of the walls. Sometimes,
also, we find a portico supported on bundles of reeds, the covering
of which is made of wood and byblos, with a terrace of clay before the
door, affording shade and coolness in front of the dwelling. Like most
dwellings in eastern countries, there is a flat roof or terrace on the
top of the house, approached by steps; and here awnings are spread
on poles to give shade, when they can be used for sitting upon or for
sleeping or enjoying the cool of the day.

[Illustration: Primitive Egyptian House, after Viollet le Duc]

[Illustration: COLUMN FROM TEMPLE OF LUXOR.]

When the Egyptians learned the art of building and carving in stone
from the rock dwellers above the Delta, and built their great temples,
they still perpetuated in stone, in the reeded and filleted columns
with lotus capitals, the ornamental traditions of the reed-built
primitive dwelling, and the painter still adorned them in bright
primitive colours; so that we are perpetually reminded of the great
riverside, from which sprung the flower of that ancient art and
civilization. Another effect of climate upon art may be noted in the
representation of figures. The Egyptian climate being extremely warm
but equable, most out-door occupations precluded the wearing of much
apparel, so that the figure nude and lightly clad plays an important
part in Egyptian design, as in Greek.

At a time like the present, when the world of design suffers rather
from what might be called too generous or too mixed a diet; when the
tendency is to over-elaborate, to combine too many elements; to be lost
either in an overdone flamboyance of curvature, or in a straining after
a forced and inappropriate naturalism, a study of Egyptian art may
be recommended as a wholesome corrective. The simplicity, severity,
and restraint, abstract and yet vivid characterization of form, frank
and primitive coloration, purposeful intention, and mural motives
and methods are full of suggestiveness and value to the student and
decorative designer.

[Illustration: DESIGN OF PERSIAN CAPITAL INFLUENCED BY PRIMITIVE TIMBER
CONSTRUCTION]

[Illustration: LOTUS CAPITAL, PHILÆ.]

Another instance of the influence of primitive timber construction
over stone may be seen in comparing the ancient Persian column with
its timber prototype still in use. Persia, indeed, is another eastern
country which has preserved almost unbroken traditions in design
from a very remote past, and may be said to be the source of the
most beautiful types of ornamental art the world has ever seen, and
especially in three leading forms--coloured and glazed tiles and
bricks, pottery, and textiles. To judge from the wonderful decoration
of glazed bricks discovered a few years ago at Susa, forming part
of the ancient forum and palace of Darius, destroyed in the reign
of Xerxes, B.C. 485-465, excavated by M. and Mme. Dieulafoy,[7] the
artistic skill of the Persians in this kind of work, and their sense of
its value, and the treatment of colour and ornament, dates back to a
very early period.

[7] See "Acropole de Suse," Hachette et Cie., 79, Boulevard St.
Germaine, Paris.

In the famous frieze of archers, which formed part of the wall
decoration of this palace, the figures are frankly repeated in design
though alternating in the patterns and colours of their dress, boldly
relieved upon a field of turquoise blue, formed by the glazed bricks
by which the frieze is constructed. The figures and ornament must
have been moulded or stamped in relief upon the clay while soft, and
cut up into bricks, and afterwards fired and glazed in the method of
Robbia ware; the whole scheme is severely simple but very effective in
its proper position upon the walls of one of the large courts of the
palace, mostly in reflected light under projecting porticoes, and would
be very impressive and at the same time truly mural and reposeful in
feeling and colour.

Such a scheme of frank colour and fine detail could hardly have been
conceived except in a country of brilliant light. Some doubt exists as
to the exact position of the frieze upon the wall. Figures of similar
scale in Assyrian work and also at Persepolis were placed not far, if
at all, above the eye level.

Upon the dress of one set of the archers is figured, it is supposed,
the fortress of Susa itself, which was built upon a mount.

There is much interesting ornamental detail in the dresses, which
afford excellent authorities for the costume of Persian warriors of
that period. We see also the palm-leaf border, a primitive form, type
and forerunner of a whole tribe of border design. The rosette is said
to resemble "the full-blown Star of Bethlehem, conspicuous among all
other flowers, among the herbage clothing the stretches of Susiana and
the tablelands of Iran (Persia) after the first rains in early spring."
(Perrot and Chipiez, p. 137.)

We may note, too, what seems obviously the prototype of the Moorish
battlement, defined in blue bricks above the figures, suggesting they
are guarding the citadel.

[Illustration: FRIEZE IN COLOURED AND GLAZED BRICKS, PALACE OF SUSA.
FROM THE REPRODUCTION AT SOUTH KENSINGTON.]

The Moorish or Arabian form constantly occurs as an ornamental cresting
in carved woodwork, and also appears to have suggested an ornamental
form largely used with variations in eastern carpets, notably those of
Turkistan.

The treatment of the design has the severity and simplicity of early
Asiatic monumental art, and is allied in treatment to the Assyrian
relief work, but is more subtle and refined, and shows a finer
decorative and colour sense.

In the treatment of blue the Persians always seem to have been
particularly successful, and their later tile work in the Mohammedan
period is well known, and continues down to our own time.

The love of blue and its use in tile work and pottery seems to have
been general all over the east; it may be because of the adaptability
of the metallic oxide colour to firing, but also it may be due to the
pleasant relief and sense of coolness such decoration would afford to
the eye in courts and interiors screened from the sun.

The old Nankin blue, so famous in Chinese porcelain, in the so-called
hawthorn pattern, was described by one of the emperors as the blue of
the sky showing through the white clouds after the south rain.

In carpets Persia about our sixteenth century reached a pitch of
perfection in design, colouring, and material which, it would seem, has
never been reached before or since. In these works we, of course, pass
to a very different and much later period of Persian history, after
the Arabian invasion in the seventh century, and the conversion of its
people to the Mohammedan religion, under which Persian art developed in
such delicate, rich, and beautiful forms.

There are very magnificent specimens of the finest types of Persian
carpets now in the national collection at South Kensington, the Persian
collection having been recently rearranged in the new galleries in
Imperial Institute Road to very great advantage as regards lighting and
opportunities of study.

The famous Holy Carpet of the mosque at Ardebil is perhaps the finest
example, though there are others more inventive in pattern, if not
more delicate in design or harmonious in colour. A curious feature in
the pattern of this carpet is a hanging lamp, such a lamp as is used
for lighting mosques, with a painted glass body, probably suspended
by chains from the roof. The lamp is repeated at the end of the main
ornament of the field of the carpet, facing opposite ways.

The inscription worked in Arabic characters into the carpet at one end
is given in translation thus: "I have no refuge in the world other than
thy threshold. My head has no protection other than this porchway,
the work of the slave of this holy place, Maksond of Kashan in the
year 946" (corresponding to our A.D. 1540). We thus see that it is a
carpet destined for an entrance, or _porchway_, of a mosque, and the
woven images of the lamps probably indicated the real lamps suspended
overhead to light the entrance to the mosque. So that, though they
seem strange objects in the pattern of a carpet, they have a certain
appropriateness and significance in this particular one. Fire, too, was
a sacred emblem of the ancient Persians.

Persia might be said to be a country of gardens, of deserts, and of
abundant sunshine. It is for the most part a high table-land, and is
described as a climate of extremes. "Nowhere in the habitable world
is there so sharp a contrast between the heat of noon and the cold of
night, between the brown bare rock and the verdant meadow, between
the gorgeous hues of natural plains and the absolute bareness of arid
wastes." (Perrot and Chipiez.)

Such a description is very suggestive. We seem to see natural reasons
for the interest and beauty of Persian art in the varied physical
conditions of their country and climate.

The love of the sheltered, walled-in, and natural garden is very
evident in their literature; and the influence of their flora upon
their design of all kinds is evident enough.

The idea of the eastern paradise is a garden. We have it in the Bible
in the Garden of Eden--an inclosed pleasance or park full of choice
trees and rare flowers, animals of the chase, and birds. This idea
recurs constantly in Persian design. The very scheme of the typical
carpet seems derived from it--a rich vari-coloured field hedged about
with its borders. The field is frequently obviously intended for a
field of flowers, and sometimes suggests a wood or an orchard of fruit
trees. The idea of the green oasis to the traveller in the desert;
the grateful relief of the colour and shade of green trees and fresh
flowers; the sound of waters; the delight of the horseman and the
hunter; the dark forest full of dangerous animals--are not these things
irresistibly suggested in Persian design?

[Illustration: HOLY CARPET OF THE MOSQUE AT ARDEBIL (SOUTH KENSINGTON
MUSEUM).]

The same sensitiveness to natural beauty and the influence of climate
is shown in their poets. The astronomer-poet of Persia, Omar Khayyám,
sings of the awakening spring. It is a period, too, associated with the
termination of a religious fast, Ramazan, which is analogous to our
Lent, perhaps.

Omar invites his reader to come forth, like a true poet, seeking
inspiration in the wilderness.

    "With me along the strip of herbage strown,
    That just divides the desert from the sown,
      Where name of slave and sultan is forgot,
    And peace to Mahmud on his golden throne."

Spring in Persia must be a much more sudden burst of life and
efflorescence than we can realize from our own timid and coy climate.
Even in Italy the spring generally comes all at once with a burst of
bloom and a profusion of blossoms and flowers, and in its strength the
sun straightway leads on into summer before one is aware. This gives
one an idea what it must be in a country like Persia--the country of
the rose and the nightingale as well as of the vine, of which Omar the
poet is eloquent.

Then, too, it is an agricultural country. "He who guides a plough does
a pious deed" is one of the precepts of the early Parsee religion,
which also, as its main conception, presents the constant strife of
good against evil, light against darkness, personified by the contest
of Ormuzd and Ahriman.

The sturdy and honest peasant was the backbone of the country in
ancient times, and furnished those sturdy warriors who built the power
of the ancient kings. And in the political changes or conquests to
which Persia has been subject in the course of her history, her people
would always appear to have had a recuperative power, or a power of
absorbing their conquerors, or perhaps a certain tenacity of purpose,
or a conservation of the vital part in old beliefs and traditions which
have been favourable to art.

How far that art was original, in the time of Persia's ancient
greatness as a conquering power, in the time of Darius, when the palace
at Susa was built--how far it was influenced from other sources, or
contributed to by artists of other nations, must always be more or
less a matter of conjecture; but in the Susa work we are reminded of
Assyrian decoration, and even of Greek and Egyptian influence.

The Persian art, however, which has had the most influence upon the
neighbouring Asiatic countries, and upon Europe, has been produced
since the Arabian conquest in the seventh century, and the conversion
of the country to the Mohammedan faith. Even then, however, although
in Mohammedan art the representation of animals is forbidden, the
Persians were neutral and independent; in Persian design animals have
been freely introduced, and with charming decorative effect. It is
supposed, indeed, that Persian art is really the source of invention
of many forms commonly called Arabian and Indian, and these forms have
travelled both east and west, and have been modified in the countries
of their adoption. The Persians seem to have been in Asia much what the
Greeks were in Europe--both great adaptors and great originators in
design.

One might trace elements and influences and types of form and treatment
from other countries and races in Persian art, but one traces Persian
influence to a far greater extent in the art of other countries.

In India, which was also invaded by Islam, and was colonized
by Persians, the Arabic type of art also became naturalized in
architecture and decoration. Here again we have a country of the sun.
Here again we find tile decoration in great beauty, and the use of
bright colours and intricate design. Intricacy both of colour and
pattern is perhaps the chief characteristic of Indian design.

One feature in Indian, as in Arabic dwellings, may be noticed as
a direct result of the persistent sunshine turned to decorative
account--one common to eastern countries--the pierced screen or lattice
window, which tempers the fierce light of the sun and breaks it into
small stars of light.

The rich carved timber overhanging windows, with its lattice screen
so characteristic of old Cairo and Arabian life, is repeated with
variations in India, and not only in wood but in stone and faïence.
We find small ogee-pointed windows with perforated lattices cut in
sandstone of intricate design and delightful ornamental effect. There
are some in the India Museum from Agra. But the loveliest of all are
those in the mosque of the Palace at Ahmedabad, consisting of most
delicate and intricate designs of trees cut in stone, which fill the
arched openings. One of these windows is here illustrated. There is
nothing more delicate or beautiful in the whole range of architectural
ornament.

[Illustration: ARAB CASEMENT FROM CAIRO (SOUTH KENSINGTON MUSEUM. DRAWN
BY W. CLEOBURY).]

In the tomb of Yusuf Shah Cadez, at Multan, occur large perforated
screens in tile work. This tomb, an excellent reproduction of which
is to be seen in the India Museum, is a fine example of Mohammedan
tile work and decoration in two blues--turquoise and ultramarine--on
a warm white ground. In the luminous atmosphere of India, beneath the
deep blue vault of the sky, such colour on such surface must be very
beautiful.

Perhaps the love of intricate ornament in Indian carved and pierced
work in the doors, window casements, and lattices may be due in part to
the certainty of obtaining a bright, crisp, rich, sparkling effect in
the broad and strong sunlight, where every touch would tell, and the
fret or lattice work over a pierced opening would have all the richness
and delicacy of lace.

Then in the solemn and dimly-lighted splendour of the interior of the
mosques, the Mohammedan, alike in Arabia, Turkey, Persia, or India,
found a grateful contrast and relief to the eye, while his religious
imagination and emotion were stimulated. Much the same feeling
intensified which comes over one who passes from the brilliant Venetian
sunlight on the piazza, the glittering quays and dancing light and
colour of Venice, into the subdued, cool, and golden shade of St.
Mark's.

[Illustration: INDIA. CARVED STONE LATTICE WINDOW FROM THE MOSQUE OF
THE PALACE OF AHMEDABAD.]

This wonderful contrast of bright and dark, of glitter and solemnity,
the splendour of sunlight and the solemnity of shade, can only be
fully appreciated in southern or eastern countries. The pitch of light
being higher the shade seems deeper, and yet it is a shade full of
colour always. When the sun sinks, in the short afterglow everything
seems fused in an atmosphere of luminous colour and half-tone, which
transfigures and glorifies everything. We get an approach to it on
the finest summer evenings in England, but with a different and
generally less romantic background. It would appear, though, that
climates which are characterized by constant sunlight and heat favour
rather traditional than individual forms of art. The sun, the giver
of life and light, becomes overpowering, always present, and in its
searching beams leaves no hiding-place for the romantic imagination,
except in temples and mosques at sunrise or sunset, or under the
moon. We may have an equable and warm climate like Egypt, where all
is sharply defined in the light of a clear and serene atmosphere,
with a regulated, ordered life, as in her ancient days, under a long
succession of dynasties, and we see the outcome in art--measured,
calculated according to strict method and authority and convention,
with but little room for individual feeling.

In Persia we find a climate of sharp contrasts, hot sun by day and
sharp cold at night, verdure and desert, bare rock and flowery meadow
side by side, and we get a wonderfully varied art, rich in colour and
fantasy.

In India the invention, though kindred, perhaps even largely
borrowed, seems tamer, the intricacy more calculated, the richness
more mechanical; and we find this with a dependent people in a land of
fiercer and more permanent sunshine, pursuing mostly an agricultural
life, like the ancient Egyptians, under conditions practically
unchanged for centuries.

In Greece, which fused and absorbed Asiatic elements in her art, we
see another country of the sun, yet subject to winds and variations
and marked transition of the seasons--a mountainous, rocky country,
beautiful in form and embracing the sea. In art she has given us the
perfection of figure sculpture.

In Italy, with hardly less sun, yet by no means beyond the reach of
wintry cold, severe winds, great rains and sometimes snow, yet with a
burning summer for the most part, which has decidedly fixed the types
in her architecture, we find a union of many elements, a halfway house
between east and west, where Asiatic feeling unites with Greek and
Roman, Saracen and Norman, Gothic with Renascence, in an unexampled
wealth and profusion of inventive design in architecture, sculpture,
painting, and all the family of artistic handicrafts, which makes her a
happy hunting ground for the artist, an inexhaustible treasure-house of
beauty and suggestion.

We might follow the chariot of the sun, from the land of its rising,
Japan, a climate more near to our own, and note her wonderful display
of manipulation and imitative skill, in all ways of handicrafts
dominating by a certain grotesqueness as well as naturalistic
impressionism; or, passing to her great foe China, see something of
the same tendencies and stages in the rising of her art, breaking off,
as it were, at a stage of restrained conventionalism--or westward,
along the southern shores of the blue Mediterranean, following in the
footsteps of the Moors, and note the wonderfully ornate but somewhat
heartless splendour of their art in Spain: the gilded magnificence
of the Alhambra, with its glittering pendentive ceilings, borrowed,
as some think, in the first place from Persia, and the wonderful
jewel-like sparkle and intricate fancy of its ornament with its
ever-recurring star-forms and scimitar-like scrolls.

And then turning northwards into France, with one hand touching the
sunny south and the other dipped in the gray English Channel, we should
find some of the same elements, but very differently mixed, with a
very distinct character of art. Cold in colour, correct in form,
brilliant in workmanship, quick-witted, dramatic; ever experimenting
and inquiring, and desiring, like the ancient Greeks, some new thing.

Pursuing our journey northwards, we might pause in Flanders and Holland
and mark how closely associated with local conditions of life and
climate are their forms of art, more especially as illustrated in the
art of their past days--the pictures of rich Flemish burgher life of
the Middle Ages, the knights and ladies with a certain sternness and
stiffness of demeanour, as of an energetic and yet patient people
accustomed to contend with difficulties, proud, yet devotional, and
fond of comfort, kneeling, well-clad in velvets and rich furs against a
northern climate.

[Illustration: SPAIN. PORTION OF THE ALHAMBRA. DRAWN BY GUSTAVE DORÉ.]

Germany would tell a similar tale in her arts, though with a more
dominant military and religious note, more fantasy and more melancholy,
and with a wild grotesque element corresponding with her more varied
conditions of climate and scenery. The latter quality is still more
marked among the old towns of Bohemia. The two sketches here give some
of the architectural characteristics of both town and country dwellings.

[Illustration: OLD HOUSE IN TURNOV, BOHEMIA, DATED 1816.]

[Illustration: STREET IN EGER, BOHEMIA.]

After such a journey we should doubtless be glad to get home again to
our own varying and changeable climate, and when seated comfortably
at the fireside think how much the characteristics of our native art
may also owe to the influence of the constant and varied procession of
sunshine and cloud, storm and calm, heat and cold, fickle spring, short
summer, long uncertain winter, our mist and rain (which gives us our
green woodlands and meadows), to our wild and dangerous coasts. Or we
may well think whether these influences are not traceable in our art:
love of domesticity and indoor comfort, characterized by warm and
blended though subdued colour, small patterns, trimness and neatness;
love of animals and flowers, of natural scenery and the sea. May it not
be said these are characteristics which our pictorial art certainly
displays? While our architecture (in spite of foreign importations)
is obliged to consider the necessities of a varying climate, so that
our houses are built as a rule more to live in than to look at; and
the colours of our interiors, while they often re-echo the greens,
browns, and russets of our landscape--as our patterns and fabrics
recall the flower gardens and meadows--are chosen perhaps more to live
with quietly than to excite controversy, or compel a reference to the
grammar of ornament.



CHAPTER VI.--OF THE RACIAL INFLUENCE IN DESIGN


THOSE personal predilections and idiosyncrasies which we each possess,
those differences of temper and qualities of perception which affect
our sense of colour and form, which account for those variations of
treatment in the rendering, in design or drawing, of the same objects
by different persons--what are these and whence do they come? They
belong to the very constitution of our minds and bodies; they are
beyond our own control, and beyond almost our own consciousness,
oftentimes. They belong to our progenitors and ancestors perhaps as
much as to ourselves, and are lost in the broken records of past family
histories; we can only say that certain forms and colours appear so and
so to our eyes, that we delight in some more than others--because we
are made that way. Such indications of character and preferences are
generally traceable, where clues and records exist, to _the race_, or
mixture of races from which we have sprung. We attribute, for instance,
certain imaginative faculties to our Celtic origin; certain calculating
and analytical capacities to Teutonic sources; while as a mixed race we
call ourselves Anglo-Saxon, and as such are supposed to be especially
distinguished by practicality, the racial type gradually, in the
process of time, being formed by the collective action of such small
individual characteristics--somewhat as great geological deposits, such
as our chalk hills, have been formed by the gradual accumulation and
aggregation of the minute shells of minuter marine creatures.

These typical racial characteristics in art--these preferences in
colour, form, pattern, treatment, sentiment, and idea, have left their
marks upon the history of art, which indeed becomes, finally, the
_only_ history of races--the only record left of peoples to tell us of
their intimate life, their hopes and fears, their struggles and their
aspirations, so that a scrap of wall-painting, a fragment of an incised
slab, a piece of broken pottery, a weapon of bronze, or a jewel, become
in course of time full of significance--eloquent books of the life of
peoples and powers long ago covered by the drifting sands of time.

The desire to record and to perpetuate seems to have stimulated the
primitive artistic instinct in all races; and, indeed, it may still be
said to be a living factor and motive in art production.

Each race seeks an image of itself (as every individual desires a
portrait), and strives to put in imperishable form the character
of its own life, and the ideas or ideals dearest to it. Thus, the
prehistoric hunter left images of the animals he hunted, and his
hunting reminiscences, scratched upon bones and smooth slates and
stones; much as the Assyrian kings, in a more elaborate way, having the
resources of a powerful civilization at command, loved to have recorded
on sculptured slabs, lining their palaces, their prowess in arms and
the chase; more especially as hunters and slayers of lions, though in
their case the lion hunting was done in a more luxurious modern way,
the animals being driven into special inclosures, and let loose on
purpose to be slain by the king and his men--a system of a piece with
the generally tyrannical and cruel methods of despotic persons. Still,
no doubt, there was considerably more risk and danger involved than in
a modern battue in a pheasant cover--barring the chance of being shot
by your neighbour's gun.

Certainly the general tenor of the story told in ancient Asiatic art is
that of the conqueror's triumphs, of the strong overcoming the weak,
the glorification of kings and warriors in battle, of beleaguered
cities, and the carrying away of captives and spoils. No doubt, if this
conquering spirit had been absent, if each branch of the great human
family had remained within its primitive borders, their art would have
presented sharper and more distinct contrasts, while remaining simple
in character. It is the restless, exploring, conquering, acquisitive
spirit which mixes and blends elements originally distinct--well, it
may be it also acts as the stormy wind that scatters the winged seeds
of design and, bearing them to new soils, produces new varieties.

It is difficult, of course, to disentangle the strictly racial
characteristics in art entirely from those other strong influences
which, in fact, may be said to have helped in their formation--the
influence of climate, habit, and local materials, which we have
previously touched upon. Yet the purely human element appears to
come in, and the final form which art takes among a people must bear
the stamp of individual choice as well as of collective sentiment and
climatic influence.

In primitive communities, however, the individual is less apparent
than the collective racial influence. The forms of art are typical and
symbolical rather than imitative or graphic. The great Asiatic races of
antiquity, to judge from the remains of their monuments, the palaces
of their kings, and their temples and tombs, adopted certain typical
methods of representation which, in the case of the ancient Egyptians,
became, in association with a strictly ordered and carefully organized
social existence under an elaborate religious system and ritual, actual
forms of language and record in the hieroglyphic. These consisted of
certain abstract representations of familiar forms and figures inclosed
in a kind of cartouche, incised upon stone walls, or stamped upon
plaster and filled with colour.

The lotus flower served as a symbol of the annual overflow of the Nile
(at the summer solstice) so important to the Egyptians; the ram and the
sun symbolized Amru-Ra, the king of all gods; other animals, with and
without wings, the cat, the dog, the sparrow-hawk for the soul, the
beetle (_scarabæus_) for creative energy, generation and perpetuation
of life, the snake for continuity of time, etc.; and even differently
arranged lines, the zigzag for water, the circle, square, waved line,
spiral, labyrinth, etc., betokened the divine and secretly-working
powers of nature.

[Illustration: EGYPTIAN HIEROGLYPHICS. TOMB OF BENI HASAN. NINETEENTH
DYNASTY.]

Such forms inclosed in cartouches massed together, sometimes in
horizontal lines, sometimes in vertical, formed a striking wall
decoration in themselves. A wonderful pitch of abstract yet exact
characterization of natural form was reached by very simple means in
this picture-writing. The birds especially are remarkable for their
truth. Every object had to be clearly defined so as to be recognized at
once and easily deciphered. The profile view of an object is always the
most characteristic and typical, and lends itself best to a system of
representation where all objects are on the same plane. So the glyphic
artist kept strictly to profile.

Love of typical form, definite outline and mass, flat and vivid
coloration--these are always characteristic of ancient Egyptian art,
even when, as during the eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties, a freer
style and greater naturalism is apparent in their portrait sculpture
and wall-paintings.

[Illustration: ALTAR WITH OFFERINGS. EGYPTIAN MURAL PAINTING, THEBES.]

The love of clearness of statement and their conception of art, as in
the nature of a decorative record, seems to be emphatically expressed
in their ways of representation. For instance, in painting an altar
piled with offerings they give the altar front in elevation, but the
offerings, in order that each and all should be seen drawn in profile,
are arranged in ground plan. Thus we may say that their statements were
pictures, their pictures were statements.

[Illustration: EGYPTIAN WALL-PAINTING (BRITISH MUSEUM).]

[Illustration: ASSYRIAN TREE OF LIFE.]

[Illustration: ASSYRIAN BAS-RELIEF. PAVEMENT SLAB (BRITISH MUSEUM).]

There is a wall-painting in the British Museum showing a fish pond or
tank in a garden, surrounded by trees. The inclosed water is rendered
by a flat tint of pale blue, with horizontal zigzag lines in a second
tint across it. Lotus flowers and buds spring vertically from it, and
on its surface ducks and fish are painted in profile. The trees are
painted on the upper side and ends with their stems springing from the
edge of the pond; but the row of trees on the near side grows with the
tops towards the water; while the row at each end sprouts outward. The
whole forms a very pretty piece of ornament, and would embroider well
for a table-cloth centre, or lend itself to a treatment for a mosaic
floor. Note the way in which the trees alternate (apple trees and date
palms), and the grouping of the ducks and the fish alternating with the
lotus flower. It is freely painted with direct brush touches on the
white plaster.

[Illustration: ASSYRIAN TREATMENT OF NATURAL FORM SLAB 76 BRIT. MUS.]

In the ornamental treatment of tree forms all the eastern races seem
to have excelled. Trees have always been associated with religious
belief, and have had mystical and symbolical significance--as the tree
of the garden of Genesis, the tree of life, and the fatal tree of the
knowledge of good and evil. Trees, too, were man's first shelter and
dwelling; no wonder a race descended from arboreal ancestors should
revere them and hold them sacred.

[Illustration: VINE & FIG TREES FROM ASSYRIAN SLABS BRITISH MUSEUM N.25.]

It is interesting to compare this Egyptian rendering of the date palm
tree with an Assyrian rendering of the same tree, though the latter is
sculptured; or, again, with the Græco-Roman version at the house of
Icarius. The typical and sacred tree with the Assyrians, however, was
the tree of life, which became with them a formal piece of ornament.
In it we seem to see, too, the original form of a type of ornament
constantly recurring in the art of all the Asiatic races, and which was
apparently carried by them, or from them, into Europe; reappearing in
Persian, Greek, Roman, and Renascence work in all manner of variations,
remaining a typical horizontal border motive to our own day.

The lotus appears in sculptured Assyrian pavements on the outer border,
the open flowers alternating with the buds, as in Egyptian work. Then
we have another typical and constantly recurring border motive in the
rosette, which has a rich and sumptuous effect, closely filled in this
way. Then comes in the palmette, or tree of life, while the centre
filling, a network formed of a six-petalled flower form, again recalls
the suggested textile origin of the ornamental motive of the whole, to
which I have before alluded.

Other interesting and characteristic renderings of flowers and trees
may be found in bas-relief upon the Assyrian alabaster slabs used as
wall decorations, such as those showing the vine, the fig, the lily,
and the daisy here given, the sculpture of which, in general, is
remarkable not only for the combination of great power of expression
and energy of action with a very dominant formalizing and ornamental
and typical treatment of form, but also for great delicacy of
chiselling; in one slab there is a small figure of a king in his
chariot, inclosed within larger work, as finely cut almost as a gem or
seal. Note, as illustrating the ornamental treatment of animal forms,
so characteristic of these Assyrian or Semitic sculptures, the way the
lions are carved, the masses of the hair of the manes carefully marked
and ornamentally designed, the muscular lines of the face emphasized
in the same ornamental manner. The result is a typical lion, stately,
monumental, sculptural, and decorative, yet in no way wanting in energy
of action, character, and vigour.

[Illustration: ASSUR BENI PAL. ASSYRIAN LION FROM BRITISH MUSEUM.]

[Illustration: ASSUR BENI PAL. ASSYRIAN LION FROM BRITISH MUSEUM.]

Nothing could be more different in spirit and style from the ordinary
modern European sculptor's treatment. The Assyrian grasped the
essential leonine character, but expressed it in typical and ornamental
terms. The modern English, French, German, or Italian generally seeks
a naturalism which struggles to escape from the conditions of the
material; he seeks accidents rather than essentials, and, in his horror
of formalism, tries to treat the masses of hair and mane as if he
wielded the painter's brush rather than the sculptor's chisel--though
it is generally modelled in clay first before it is carved. The result
is loss of dignity, typical character, and monumental feeling. Alfred
Stevens saw the importance of a certain formalism, and his little lion
on the uprights of the outer railing of the British Museum remains
unequalled, so far as I know, in modern work.[8]

[8] For some unexplained reason these lions have been removed and the
London people deprived of perhaps their finest bit of monumental work.

The Hellenic race, the Greeks, whose art has had, and still possesses,
such an influence over that of the modern world, while in their archaic
period differing little in method of treatment and in use of ornament
from the Asiatic races, the Assyrian and Egyptian and Persian, the
elements of each of which they seemed to fuse and adapt, gradually
developed a freer style, and, while never losing their monumental sense
in sculpture, carried the human figure in sculpture to the greatest
pitch of perfection. Their invention in purely ornamental forms was not
conspicuous, nor was it needed, since they treated the human figure
as their chief element in decoration. Their leading ornamental types
may be traced to Asiatic prototypes--the palmette and the rosette, for
instance. The scroll, perhaps, they may particularly claim to have
developed, and the anthemion, from their primitive types.

This latter type of ornament, so generally used by the Greeks as a
crest or crown upon their upright obelisk-like tombstones or steles, or
to crest the angles of the pediments of their temples, is suggestive
in its general form of a flame, or pair of wings.

[Illustration: LION, FORMERLY CRESTING THE OUTER RAILING OF THE BRITISH
MUSEUM. MODELLED BY ALFRED STEVENS, AND CAST IN IRON.]

[Illustration: GREEK STELE OR HEAD-STONE.]

[Illustration: INDIAN (BRAHMAN)

FLAME HALO IN BRONZE SURROUNDING IMAGE OF THE GOD SIVA DESTROYING THE
DEMON TRIPURASURA.

(ZINC) FLAME HALO ENCLOSING IMAGE OF SURYA THE SUN GOD.]

It is noteworthy that a similar form occurs, treated in detail in a
variety of ways, as a glory or halo placed behind Buddhist images made
in ancient India, Japan, and Burmah, often in carved wood and gilt
metal or bronze, pierced and ornamented in a variety of ways--sometimes
suggesting leafy trees, but generally radiating in their principal
lines from a centre, like the anthemion. The flame was a sacred symbol
with many ancient peoples, and it remains with us as the fitting emblem
of inspiration.

[Illustration: PERSIAN POMEGRANATE FORMS (FROM A GOAT-HAIR CARPET,
SOUTH KENSINGTON MUSEUM).]

[Illustration: CELTIC ORNAMENT FROM A CROSS AT CAMPBELTOWN,
ARGYLLSHIRE.]

The gilded, almond-shaped glory inclosing the figure of the Virgin
and of Christ in Gothic painting and sculpture seems to be another
form of the same emblem, and a similar form is common in all Persian
and Eastern ornament design. It generally appears as a kind of fruit
or many-petaled flower, or flower and fruit combined. I am inclined
to think that it may have originally had a religious significance
associated with fire or life,[9] while its beauty of contour and
adaptability in decoration of all kinds were sufficient to perpetuate
it even if the original meaning were lost. If the Persians invented it,
it might have had some reference to their own primitive fire-worship,
while with the Arabs, and wherever the faith of Mohammed spread, it
would still be significant of the prophetic fire, and it is certainly
universally found in the ornament of Mohammedan countries. We might
trace it back to its primitive form in the Assyrian tree of life, and
this on the face of it seems its most likely source; and we find it in
Persian work definitely taking the pomegranate form within the rayed
leaves. The rayed flower or leaf form curiously reappears in a late
Celtic cross in Argyllshire, in association with the characteristic
knotted work, a kind of tree form, and filling of pattern carved in the
stone and culminating in the cross.

[9] Prof. Fischbach, indeed, traces the relationship of a whole series
of patterns to the influence of fire worship and its symbolism.

Whatever race may really claim its invention or first effective use,
it appeals now universally to the ornamental sense, and has become the
common property of designers, who do not usually disturb themselves
with the question whether they have stolen a fruit from the tree of
life, or sacred fire from an unknown hearth, so long as they can fill a
space effectively or make an attractive and adaptable design.

Another form, now no less universal, is probably Persian in origin,
although it has found a settled home in India--I mean what is known as
the Indian palmette, so familiar to designers for Manchester calico
prints.

I am told by Mr. Purdon Clarke that this palm shape denotes benison
or blessing, or a message of goodwill of some kind. This answers to
the symbolical meaning of the palm in the Bible, as carried by benign
and holy persons and angels. Here would be a symbolical reason for
its longevity in ornament, as it would naturally commend itself to an
eastern race in a sun-burnt land, to whom the suggestion of shady palms
would always be grateful. But here, again, the beauty of its contour
appeals to the ornamentist on independent grounds. He values it for its
graceful mass in a pattern, for its bold and sweeping curves, for its
value as an inclosing form for small floral fittings.

To the Persian and Hindu designers, with their exquisite and subtle
sense of ornament, with their passion for elaborate intricacy,
such a form as this is utilized to its utmost capacity, both in
counter-balancing and superimposed masses upon flowery fields, and as
inclosures for smaller fields of pattern; while the abundant flora of
their spring-time blossoms in a new and translated existence in their
richly patterned printed and woven textiles, and in the carved ornament
of their buildings.

[Illustration: TYPICAL ORNAMENTAL FORMS IN PERSIAN, INDIAN, AND CHINESE
DESIGNS.]

The influence in Arabic ornament of the Mohammedan faith, too, in
forbidding the representation of living forms, turned the ingenuity and
invention of the Arabic and Eastern designer in a purely ornamental
direction, and as a result we get extremely elaborate patterns, either
purely geometric, or filling the interstices of a geometric framework
in inlays and carved and pierced work. These patterns from the pulpit
of a mosque at Cairo, now in the South Kensington Museum, work of the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, show how fine and delicate Arabic
ornament became. We may note the star-shape formed by the intersection
of the lines. The star is an emblem of the Deity (Allah).

The plateaus and slopes of the Himalayas, which are the northern
mountainous boundary of India, were supposed to be the cradle of that
great wandering, colonizing, adaptive, speculative, and organizing
race, the Aryans, from which we Western people, according to one
theory, have sprung, dispersing over the world, and settling in
different countries and climates. The race has greatly differentiated
in speech, customs, and forms of art; and yet through them all it is
rather differences in similarities, or similarities in differences,
that we trace.

Latin, Teutonic, Celtic, suggest great divergences both in spirit
and form, yet perhaps the correspondences are more frequent than the
divergences. When we see how greatly members of the same family
differ from one another in tastes and habits, can we wonder that
members of the _greater_ human family should be so different in tastes
and habits, under different skies and conditions of life?

[Illustration: ARABIAN FOURTEENTH CENTURY CARVED AND INLAID PULPIT,
CAIRO (SOUTH KENSINGTON MUSEUM. DRAWN BY W. CLEOBURY).]

When we turn further east the difference seems greater, the gaps
larger. The Mongolian race seems further apart and suggests a remoter
antiquity. Their geographical remoteness and their persistent adhesion
to their ancient customs seem to have fixed more or less of a gulf
between them and the western peoples, and there is a corresponding
contrast in the forms of their art. It is familiar, and yet remains
strange; it has been constantly imported amongst us, and has more than
once influenced European fashions in decorative design, as in the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries through the Dutch, and in the last
century in England in Chippendale furniture and porcelain, while China
has given its name to the finer ware of the modern potter, of which
it taught him the secret. To this day the willow pattern in blue upon
plates and dishes, with its Chinese legend, scenery, and personages,
remains a popular pattern, wonderfully little changed by its English
translator. All the typical characteristics are found in its details,
the typical Chinese house raised upon its first story of stone--with
its bamboo trellises and quaintly curved tiled roof. The Chinese
dragon remains a distinct breed, influencing here and there the form
of the mythical beasts in design of other races, such as the Persian
and Indian, but remaining as characteristically Chinese itself as the
Pagoda.

[Illustration: ARABIAN FOURTEENTH CENTURY CARVED AND INLAID PULPIT,
CAIRO (SOUTH KENSINGTON MUSEUM. DRAWN BY W. CLEOBURY).]

The love of trellis-like backgrounds and diagonal diapers for floral
designs is a very marked feature with the Chinese designer, and it
suggests the native fantastic and ingenious bamboo constructions used
in the framing and panelling of their dwellings and temples, dominated
by that distinct love of quaintness and queerness which seems a part of
the artistic sense in the yellow race, and is as marked as their love
of bright colour and emphatic pattern.

Their formidable neighbours, relations, and rivals, the Japanese,
exhibit in the art up to a certain stage much the same qualities and
influences, their art indicating a gradual transformation in style from
the primitive mythical and religious and symbolical towards the more
domestic, familiar, and naturalistic. But before coming into contact
with European forms of art they began to develop a naturalistic feeling
in their art which in the present century has become the dominant
note, and, joined with a certain inventive quaintness and ornamental
reserve, has had so tremendous an influence upon the art of Europe,
more especially modern French art.

Only about forty or fifty years ago Japan was practically in a
mediæval condition, its arts and handicrafts in a most fertile and
flourishing condition of living traditions; but that very quickness
and alertness, that receptivity and artistic impressionableness
which has enabled them to produce such a mass of wonderful work in
so many branches of cunning craftsmanship, have exposed them to the
modern European influences, which, however they may have, in the
process of rapid assimilation, contributed to their material power
as a nation in the modern capitalistic and industrial sense, have
had most disastrous commercializing and deteriorating effects upon
Japanese art and handicraft, leading to hasty work and cheap and gaudy
production--merely to catch the demand.

[Illustration: PANEL IN CARVED AND INLAID WOOD FROM THE MOSQUE OF
TOOLOON IN CAIRO. FOURTEENTH OR FIFTEENTH CENTURY SARACENIC.]

Artistic and racial traditions, however, die hard. Even in Western
Europe, in constant intercourse and intercommunication as we now
are, and while international influence tends to soften and blend
racial differences, and social relations to mix them, elements which
differentiate the Teuton from the Latin, the Celt from the Saxon, still
survive. In the process of the adoption of even the same ideas each
race, each nation, gives a different interpretation to them, just as
different individuals will give a different interpretation in drawing
from the same model. The character is not changed by the new dress, and
the dress becomes influenced by the wearer. Thus, in adopting ideas and
forms of art, a new direction or character is developed owing to the
racial instincts of the people adopting them.

German Renascence work, for instance, may be full of details, the
forms of which come from Italy or Greece, but the combination and
treatment, the application of them, become characteristically
German--characteristically full of detail, and fantastic, with a
tendency to be overloaded and restless, like their Gothic work. Such
variations of the same type among different peoples may be likened to
the variations of language in the same country, where the same language
is spoken, but with a different accent.

It is this difference of _accent_ now, under our complex modern life,
which makes the chief difference in forms of art, and which betrays
racial influence. The actual systems of building pattern, of pattern
forms, methods of drawing and modelling figures, and the various
handicrafts have all been discovered long ago, but it is in their
recombination and adaptation--our interpretation and use of them, and
in the power of variation and expression, that modern invention and
predilection tell.

It would be interesting to endeavour to symbolize the fundamental
racial characteristics and preferences by certain typical forms and
colours in procession.

The races inhabiting the warm countries, southern and eastern, would
be distinguished by emphatic contrasting colours and patterns. Just
as the tiger owes his barred coat to his habit of hiding in coverts
and jungles, where the bright sunlight falls through the tall grasses
and palms in stripes; so where the contrast of light and shade is so
sharp as in Africa, there appears to be a deeply-rooted preference for
barred colours and striped patterns among the dark race, which they
have carried with them to America, and which curiously reappears as a
necessary part of the equipment of the sham Ethiopian serenader in our
streets.

The black and white or red and white barred courses characteristic of
Arabian and Moorish architecture have been alluded to before, and,
though they have been used in other countries, they always suggest the
country which seems to have given them birth.

Supposing, then, we wanted to express in a typical symbolical way the
racial preferences and characteristics in ornamental art, a black and
white barred shield and a palm might be appropriate pattern emblems
for the African or the Moor; while the Egyptian would naturally bear a
lotus and a scarabæus, with a winged globe for a standard; the Assyrian
a tree of life; the Persian would bear the flame-shaped flower, and
the device of Ormuzd and Ahrimanes contending for the mastery; the
Indian would carry the palmette and a peacock, and would share with the
Arab the geometric star-form and richly floriated robes; the Chinese
would show the dragon blazon, and carry the peony; the Japanese the
red disk of the rising sun, and a bough of plum blossom; the Turanian
the crescent and the star; the Greek the anthemion, and the figure
of Pallas Athene; the Roman an eagle standard, and an image of Mars;
the Scandinavian a raven, and a runic knot. These might represent the
ancient world of art. The modern and western races it would be more
difficult to symbolize in so primitive and typical a manner, since all
of them have borrowed so largely from the ancient sources, and are
themselves composed of such mixed and complex elements.

Italian art could only be represented by a fusion of most of
the foregoing elements and types, and would require a crowd of
distinguished retainers in architecture, sculpture, painting, and all
the arts of design; but perhaps she might bear a typical classical
scroll for a standard, as the typical designer of that form of ornament
in so many varieties, from Roman times downwards, that Italy may be
said to have made the scroll form essentially her own.

Germany might follow, great in bold and brave heraldry, or with a
Gothic accent in richly-scrolled mantling, and a redundant display of
Renascence ornament.

France, as a more volatile Pallas Athene, might, perhaps, bear the
wavering lamp of executive and imitative skill, and dramatic instinct
in design.

Spain would look coquettishly under a fan, wrapped in faded embroidery,
bearing the Alhambra, like a pendent jewel: while for England, what
artistic emblems are left? Well, we have been described as inveterate
colonists, even in art. We can only make up in a fancy costume of
historic patchwork, beginning with fragments of Roman mosaic pavement,
by way of sandals, Saxon and Norman hose, Gothic surcoat and body
armour, a classical cloak, and a Victorian Queen Anne gable by way of
headgear, and perhaps a banner of eclectic wall-paper or printed cotton.

For all that, and perhaps because of it in some measure--did we take
art seriously as a nation, and make it really a natural and essential
part of our life, as it is its final expression; should we determine
to set our house in order, and make England again "merrie," strong in
her own borders, self-supporting, and self-reliant, not suffering the
natural beauty of our land or our historic monuments to be ruthlessly
defaced, in the supposed interests of trade; putting our trust in the
capacity of the people, rather than in the multiplication of machines;
uniting hand and brain in our work, thinking more of the ends of life
and less of the means, when the means of an ample, simple life shall be
within the reach of every citizen, then, well--_then_ we might fairly
expect to win the palm of life, as of art, without despoiling the
African.



CHAPTER VII.--OF THE SYMBOLIC INFLUENCE, OR EMBLEMATIC ELEMENT IN DESIGN


THE desire to express and to communicate ideas seems to have impelled
man from the earliest, and lies at the root of all art.

While much early ornament, as we have seen, is traceable to a
constructive origin, another kind, or another branch of the tree
of design is traceable to a symbolic origin, and springs from the
endeavour to express thought--to find a succinct language in which to
express some sense of the great powers of nature, and their influence
upon the daily life of man--to embody even in a pictorial emblem,
symbol, or allegory his primitive conceptions of the order of the
universe itself.

The mystery and wonders of nature absorbed the thoughts and touched the
imagination of early as of later man, and primitive symbolic forms, or
signs, constantly bear upon such ideas.

There is a symbolic sign (known to archæologists as the _fylfot_ or
_sauvastika_) of very simple form, which is found very widely scattered
among the relics of many different races and early peoples. "It is
found," says Dr. March (of the Lancashire and Cheshire Archæological
Society, who has written very suggestively and learnedly on the
subject), "on archaic Greek pottery, on the stamped clay of Swiss lake
dwellings, adorning Latin inscriptions on Roman altars"; is common in
India and Asia; is met with in Scandinavia, Iceland, Shetland, and
Scotland; in Celtic Ireland, in Saxon England, as well as in Germany.
The sign was adopted by Christians, is found in the catacombs of Rome,
in the cathedrals of Winchester and Exeter, on a shield in the Bayeux
tapestry, and on English mediæval brasses. It also occurs on a bell at
Hathersage Church in Derbyshire, dated 1617.

This sign appears to have originally signified the supreme god of the
Aryans, and became the emblem of the divinity from whom emanates the
one movement of the universe; later, it may have merely indicated the
axial rotation of the heavens round the Pole Star, and still later it
was used simply as a benedictory sign or mark of good luck. When the
feet were turned to the left the nocturnal movement of the stars was
suggested, and when the feet turned to the right the diurnal movement
of the sun was supposed to be indicated. The sign is frequently
placed in a circle. A very few of its stages will suffice to show
its transformation into ornament. We may thus see how a sign purely
symbolical, used as we should use writing, becomes in course of time a
decorative unit, and is incorporated into ornament. A kindred form is
composed of three crescents, which has its heraldic descendant in the
three armoured legs of the bearings of the Isle of Man. Here we seem to
see the idea of rotation very emphatically conveyed.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

The primitive symbols for fire and water found (as on the Danish
_bracteate_) in association with the _fylfot_ sign shown above, form
linear patterns in themselves, and frequently recur in constructive and
surface ornament; the former suggesting the method of setting the Roman
bricks, called "herring bone," which constantly occurs in modern work
in brick paving and wood parquet, forming one of the simplest and most
satisfactory plans for floors and pavings in such materials.

[Illustration]

[Illustration: POLYNESIAN ORNAMENT FROM HERVEY ISLAND PADDLE.]

The zigzag, as an ornament incised on clay vessels painted in patterns,
or carved in masonry, has been a very favourite form from the ancient
Egyptian decorators (to whom it possessed its original significance
as water) onwards, becoming in later times more particularly
characteristic of Scandinavian ornament and Romanesque architecture.
The zigzag, however, appears to have an independent source and meaning
in the evolution of Polynesian ornament. In the so-called "Paddles,"
decorated with carved patterns which are now considered to be really
tables of descent, we may see rows of human figures arranged formally,
the legs and arms bent. The angles thus formed, in the course of
repetition and abbreviation, become simple lines of zigzag pattern.

The circle, a universal and important element in ornamental design of
all times and kinds, appears early as a symbol for the sun. We might
trace it from its primitive cross and disk and rayed ornament common
to all primitive art to the splendid Greek conception of Phœbus Apollo
in his chariot drawn by fiery horses, which figures so constantly
in Greek design, the circular flaming disk being represented in the
wheel, though in an early relief discovered by Dr. Schliemann the head
of Apollo is surrounded by rays, which gives the type generally used
by Gothic and modern designers in symbolic representations of the
sun--simply a face in the circle surrounded by rays.

Another means of symbolical expression by the use of the circle is to
be found in a type of Scandinavian ornament composed of three circles,
one within the other, which with the rayed sun frequently occurs
either singly, as in the form of a metal shield boss or a fibula, or as
the unit of a repeating textile pattern, or as a border. An Anglo-Saxon
lady in a Benedictional executed for St. Ethelwold at Winchester in
the tenth century (963-984) wears a dress so decorated. The original
symbolic meaning of this ornament is supposed to bear upon the
Norsemen's conception of the universe, the inner circle, representing
the _midgard_, or the earth; the second, the _osgard_, or _asgard_, the
abode of the gods; and the _utgard_, the world beyond, inhabited by
giants and spirits of evil. Beyond the outer circle is a circle of dots
signifying stars. (See fig. on p. 224.)

[Illustration]

[Illustration: POLYNESIAN ORNAMENT. EVOLUTION OF THE ZIGZAG.]

The old Norse sagas and the songs of Edda give the whole Norse scheme
of the universe. "Igdrasil, the great ash tree of the universe of
time and of life. The boughs stretched out into heaven, its highest
point, and overshadowed Walhalla, the hall of the heroes. Its
three roots reached down to dark Hel, to Jötunheim, the land of the
Hrimthurses, and to Midgard, the dwelling-place of the children of
men. The world-tree was ever green, for the fateful Norns sprinkled it
daily with the water of life from the fountain of Urd, which flowed
in Midgard. But the goat Heidrun, from whom was obtained the mead
that nourished the heroes, and the stag Eikthyrnir browsed upon the
leaf-buds, and upon the bark of the tree, while the roots down below
are gnawed by the dragon Nidhögg and innumerable worms: still the ash
could not wither until the last battle should be fought, where life,
time and the world were all to pass away. So the eagle sang its song of
creation and destruction on the highest branch of the tree."[10]

[10] "Asgard and the Gods."--DR. WAGNER.

It is interesting to compare such a conception with the ancient Hindu
idea of the world, which indeed may have been its original form as the
earlier Aryan conception. There is no tree, but the great snake of
time compasses all; the serpent with its tail in its mouth, an emblem
of continuous time which still survives. Upon this rests the tortoise,
which seems to correspond with the Norsemen's dragon, though here it
may serve as the solid basis of the world. The world appears as a sort
of dome in three tiers, reminding us of the Norsemen's three circles.
This is supported upon the backs of three elephants, which seem here to
fill the position of the Norns or the Fates.

The ash tree Igdrasil, the sustainer of the Norse universe, reminds
one of the eastern tree of life--the tree of life of the garden of
Eden, and the fountain of the rivers of the Asiatic paradise which,
with the figures of Adam and Eve, the typical father and mother of the
whole human race, have so constantly figured in art of all kinds, both
eastern and western, and continue to stand in the midst of the garden
in endless designs and pictures, surrounded by the birds and beasts, as
the type and emblem of the origin of the world in the Christian cosmos.

[Illustration: HINDU SYMBOL OF THE UNIVERSE.]

The ancient Egyptians, whose art was almost entirely in the nature
of a symbolic language, when they wished to express the divine
creative power which sustains the universe, designed a winged globe
encircled or upborne by two serpents--here we get, perhaps, the snake
of time again. Sometimes the scarabæus, or sacred beetle, emblem of
transformation and immortality, is represented covering an egg and
supporting the sun, and they are the wings of the scarabæus which are
given to the globe. This emblem is frequently carved over the gateways
to their temples.

Then the Egyptians had an elaborate symbolism connected with death and
the passage of the soul. The coffins and mummy cases are painted all
over with symbolic devices, figures, birds, and animals having a sacred
significance.

The soul is commonly represented as being borne in a boat, or barge,
with curved stem and stern, terminating in lotus flowers. (The lotus
symbolized new birth and resurrection.) The food for the journey is
shown in the urns placed underneath the couch. Two mourners or watchers
accompany it.

There is a copy of a large painting from Thebes in the British Museum
showing the judgment of the soul; the Devourer, a monster part
crocodile part hippopotamus, standing ready to devour the soul if the
verdict is unfavourable. Further on the accepted soul appears before
Osiris.

The goddess Nut (the heavens) is frequently painted upon the sarcophagi
and mummy cases in the form of a seated or kneeling figure of a woman
with very large wings outspread and curving upwards; she holds in her
hands the feather--the symbol of power or domination. (We still speak
of the feather in the cap.) She bears the disk of the sun upon her
head. To the Egyptians, indeed, we owe the very embodiment of the
mystery of existence itself--the sphinx who continues to propound her
riddle afresh to every age.

[Illustration: EXAMPLES OF EGYPTIAN SYMBOLISM.]

Greek mythology again, as exemplified in Greek art, expresses itself
symbolically, and shows a gradual development from the primitive,
ruder, and often savage personification of the powers of nature, more
allied to the conceptions of the Northmen, to the idealized, refined,
poetic and beautiful personifications of their later vase painting
and Phidian sculpture. The symbolic intention and the personifying
method was carried on and embodied in free and natural forms, though
always governed by the ornamental feeling and necessities of harmonious
relation to architectural and decorative conditions.

The first observers of the heavens, the primitive herdsman, hunter, the
fisherman and the shepherd, have left their symbolic heraldry in the
very stars above our heads; and Charles's or ceorls' wain and the signs
of the zodiac still remind us of the primitive life of a pastoral and
agricultural people.

The pediments of the Parthenon, for instance, are great pieces of
symbolical art, and at the same time most beautiful as figure design
and sculpture. It is distressing to think that so late as 1687 the
Parthenon was practically complete as far as its sculpture and
architecture. It was first used as a Greek Christian Church during the
Middle Ages, and then, falling into the hands of the Turks, became a
mosque; when the Venetians bombarded Athens in 1687 a shell dropped
into the Parthenon, where the Turks had stored their powder, and blew
out the whole centre of the building. Even in the broken and imperfect
state in which we are now only able to see them, from the more or less
complete figures and groups which compose its parts, we can gather an
idea of the harmony and unity of the whole, and the complete union
of the symbolism with the artistic treatment. The whole conception
strongly appealed to the sentiment of the Athenian citizen, since the
two pediments represented the contest of Athene and Poseidon for the
patronage of Athens, arts and laws, or the rule of the sea. We all
know that the arts and laws won, and that Athens is immortal by reason
of her art and poetry and philosophy, not by her command of the sea.
We modern English, perhaps, might do well to apply the lesson, and
consider that after all it is not in mere appropriation of riches,
extension of empire, material prosperity, or in our volume of trade,
that the true greatness of a country consists, but in the capacity and
heroism of her people.

In the eastern pediment the centre group expressed the birth of Athene
herself, or rather her first appearance amongst the Olympians--the
divine virgin deity and protectress of the city which bore her name,
and whose colossal statue in ivory and gold stood on the Acropolis in
front of the Parthenon. The other deities are grouped around, and on
one side we have the Parcæ, the three fates controlling the life of
man (which the Northmen embodied in the Norns); then, reclining at
one side where the pediment narrows, the figure of the great Athenian
hero, Theseus; and in the extreme angle the sun-god, Helios, with
outstretched arms is seen guiding his horses, which emerge from the
sea--being balanced at the corresponding angle by Selene, the moon,
descending with her horses into the sea. Thus, we have a series of
ideas expressed symbolically in heroic figures of deep import to the
Athenians, and having also in the suggestion of the fateful control of
human life, and the continuous order of nature in the rising sun and
setting moon, a wide and lasting significance apart from the beautiful
form and consummate art by which they are embodied.

The Parthenon stands high upon a rocky eminence, and from its western
door you can see the blue Ægean Sea, the island of Salamis, and the
harbour of Athens, the Piræus. Accordingly the sea-god Poseidon is
sculptured upon the western pediment, with Cecrops, the first king and
founder of Athens, with the queen. Another conspicuous figure there is
the reclining figure of Ilissus, who represents the stream that flows
around the western side of the Acropolis. The Greeks, and the Romans
who borrowed from them, always symbolized a stream or a fountain by
a reclining figure, half turned upon its side, and very frequently
leaning upon an urn placed horizontally, from the mouth of which flows
the wavy lines of water.

There is in the Vatican a Roman representation of the River Nile as a
colossal reclining figure with long flowing hair and beard, like Zeus
or Poseidon, holding a paddle. His tributaries being represented by a
number of small Cupid-like boys, who clamber and play about him, or
nestle at his side. The land of Egypt is typified by the sphinx upon
which the figure leans.

[Illustration: _Alinari Photo._]

IL NILO (VATICAN, ROME).]

Father Thames has often figured in "Punch" depicted by John Tenniel
as an old man with long hair and beard, not unlike his prototype, but
somewhat degraded and worse for wear.

The Greek gods, too, and their Roman representatives were each
distinguished by their proper and appropriate emblems, as well as by
marked differences of character and physical type.

Chronos, or Time, afterwards Saturn, is always known by his scythe;
Zeus or Jupiter, the Thunderer, by his thunderbolt; Poseidon or Neptune
by his trident; Helios by his horses, and Apollo by his bow; Aphrodite
or Venus by the golden apple won by the most beautiful; Pallas Athene,
or the Roman Minerva, as goddess of the arts, by her serpent, her
lamp, and her owl of wisdom; Artemis or Diana by the crescent moon;
Hermes or Mercury by his _caduceus_--the serpent-twined staff, which
has in modern times become an emblem of commerce--since Mercury was
the messenger, the fetcher and carrier of the ancients, quick-witted
and keen, and, according to some legends, not over scrupulous. His rod
and serpents have reference to the story of his parting two snakes
in combat, in which might be read a modern meaning of the individual
gaining fortune through commercial competition, though that is not its
usual signification. I only offer it as an example of reading a new
meaning into an ancient symbol. Then, of course, Heracles or Hercules
bears the apples of the Hesperides, or the Nemean lion's skin and his
club. In the Hesperides story of the dragon-guarded tree of golden
apples, and its three guardian sisters, we seem to have another form
of the tree of life and the fates. An interesting Greek relievo in
marble, enriched with mosaic in parts, at Wilton House, shows the
Hesperidean tree with the apples, and twined with the guardian serpent,
with Paris seated and Aphrodite approaching as if asking for the
apple--the prize of the most fair.

[Illustration: VENUS AND PARIS. THE APPLES OF THE HESPERIDES. FROM A
RELIEF AT WILTON HOUSE.]

In the ancient Greek story of Pandora and her box--so suggestive a
subject to artists, and fruitful in art--we have the classical version
of the fall of man and origin of evil.

In the no less picturesque and poetical story of Persephone (or
Proserpina), the daughter of Ceres, carried away by Pluto, the king
of the underworld, darkness, and death, we have a beautiful allegory
of the spring and the winter, since Persephone was allowed to return
every year to the earth for a season, after she had eaten of the fatal
pomegranate tree which grew in Pluto's garden.

One might multiply instances of the symbolic character of classical
story and its symbolic embodiment in Greek and Roman art, but we must
pass on to touch upon other sources and aspects of symbolism and emblem
in art.

We know that many of our old fairy tales have a symbolical origin
in ancient mythology, and have taken new and varied forms and local
colours as they have travelled from their southern and eastern homes,
and become naturalized in the art and literatures of different
countries.

In such tales as "Jack and the Beanstalk" and "The Sleeping Beauty
in the Wood," the climbing hero ascending the heavens to destroy the
giant of darkness, in the first, the hero penetrating the darkness and
awakening his destined bride from her enchanted sleep, in the second,
for instance, the old solar mythology has been traced, and if we could
trace the old folk tales back to their sources we might find them all
related to primitive mythology or hero and ancestor worship. Thus do
the spirits of the remote past sit at our firesides still, and kindle
the imagination of our little folks: and in the rich tapestry of story
and picture which each age weaves around it, elements from many
different sources are continually and almost inextricably interwoven,
as if the warp of human wonder and imagination was crossed with many
coloured threads of mythological lore, history and allegory, symbolism
and romance.

The early Christians, no less than the pagans, felt the necessity for
symbols of their faith; and while at first borrowing considerably, and
incorporating in their art forms belonging to the other faith they were
supplanting, gradually, with the rise of power and influence, emblems
more peculiarly belonging to an expression of the Christian ideal were
adopted, or underwent considerable transformation. The design met
with in the mosaics of the sixth century at Ravenna, the mausoleum of
Galla Placidia, of the two stags drinking from a fountain, embodying
the Psalmist's verse beginning, "As the hart panteth for the water
brooks," although from the imagery of the older Scriptures, became an
emblem of Christianity. The peacock appears, too, in Byzantine art,
carved upon stone sarcophagi as an emblem of immortal life, either from
the many eyes its feathers always open, or more probably because the
eye feathers are shed and renew themselves every year. The vine, too,
appears constantly as a Christian emblem, although with the Greeks it
was sacred to Dionysos, and represented to them the divine, life-giving
earth-spirit continually renewing itself, and bringing joy to men.

Although the symbolic use no less than the decorative beauty of winged
figures had long ago been recognized, as Asiatic, Egyptian, and
Greek art show, yet the Christian angel, both in its refined,
half-classical form, as developed by the early Italian painters and
sculptors from the thirteenth century onwards, and in northern Gothic
work, became a distinct and beautiful type in art. In the work of Fra
Angelico and Benozzo Gozzoli the angel figures are especially lovely.

[Illustration: _Alinari Photo._]

CHRISTIAN EMBLEM. STAGS DRINKING (MAUSOLEO DI GALLA PLACIDIA, RAVENNA).]

[Illustration: _Alinari Photo._]

CHRISTIAN EMBLEM. PEACOCKS AND VINE. SARCOPHAGUS (ST. APOLLINARE IN
CLASSE, RAVENNA).]

[Illustration: _Brogi Photo._]

FRA ANGELICO. ANGEL (UFFIZI, FLORENCE).]

[Illustration: _Brogi Photo._]

FRA ANGELICO. ANGEL (UFFIZI, FLORENCE).]

No less distinct in its grotesqueness was the mediæval devil, although
its origin was very probably the satyr of ancient classical art. The
Roman satyr, with goat-legs and hoofs, bearded head, horns, and tail,
furnishes, in fact, a very close prototype; and, being banned long ago
as pagan when Christianity was in hand-to-hand conflict with paganism,
would be sufficient to associate such a form with evil. There are some
fiends represented in Orcagna's fresco, "The Triumph of Death," which
are quite satyr-like, despite talons and bats' wings. Although with the
Greeks the great god Pan is a mild and gentle deity enough, and though
of the earth earthy, in a sense, yet as symbolical of spontaneous
nature, and simple animal existence, piping on his reeds by the
riverside, he always remains a favourite with the poet and the artist.
Signorelli, for instance, in a beautiful picture (which our National
Gallery somehow missed the opportunity of acquiring), gives a fine
presentment of him.

It is interesting to compare the mediæval embodiments of evil with the
ancient Persian symbolical representation of a combat of a king with a
griffin, which may represent the conflict of Ormuzd and Ahrimanes as
the typical principles or embodied powers of good and of evil.

[Illustration: _Alinari Photo._]

ORCAGNA. FIENDS FROM "THE TRIUMPH OF DEATH" (FRESCO. CAMPO SANTO,
PISA).]

The creature (representing evil) is winged, and has birds' claws for
its hind feet (like Orcagna's fiends), and lions' paws for its fore
feet, the body of an ox or horse, the beak of an eagle or griffin,
in some instances, in others it appears with a bull's head, and is
certainly suggestive of power and terror.

The favourite Greek conception of the centaur, too, is an expressive
symbolic embodiment of animal force, and the mythical sculptural combat
in the metopes of the Parthenon is again suggestive of the conflict
between the higher and the lower elements of human nature.

Returning again to Christian art, we find the image of the lamb,
with the banner of the cross, was the badge of the Templar; and we
find abundant symbolism in the various emblems and attributes of the
apostles, saints, and martyrs, distinguished by the various emblems of
their evangel, conversion, or martyrdom. The mystic symbols of the four
evangelists are well known to every ecclesiastical designer--the angel
of St. Matthew, the lion of St. Mark, the bull of St. Luke, the eagle
of St. John.

The winged lion of St. Mark has become the distinguishing badge of the
city of Venice, since the evangelist was supposed to be buried in the
great church dedicated to his name. Its image in bronze upon the column
in the Piazza impresses itself upon the eye and imagination of every
visitor, while upon the companion columns we see the patron saint of
the ancient republic--St. Isidore, with the crocodile. Placed there in
1329, the statue recalls the early days of Venice, and suggests its
connection with the East.

[Illustration: COMBAT OF KING WITH GRIFFIN ANCIENT PERSIAN SCULPTURE
PERSEPOLIS.

From Perrot & Chipiez Hist of Ancient Art in Persia after Flandrin &
Coste.]

Now national heraldry is often derived from the bearings of families or
chiefs. Of such is our royal standard with its Plantagenet leopards and
red lion of the Scottish kings. Though in the Irish harp we seem to get
a purely national emblem, strictly speaking it is the heraldic bearing
of one of the four provinces--Leinster.

These heraldic bearings and badges had their origin in very remote
times, and take us back to earliest forms of human society, to the
gens, and the tribe, who named themselves after some animal or plant,
and adopted it as the distinguishing mark and ensign of the family to
which they belonged, or to such primitive times as we read of in Mr.
William Morris's "Roots of the Mountains" and "House of the Wolfings,"
where he speaks of "The House of the Steer" and "The House of the
Raven." The distinguishing badges would be carved or painted over the
porch, and borne upon the shield of the chief and the banner in battle.

In feudal times the practice was continued until family heraldry, owing
to intermarriage, became very complicated, and family shields much
quartered.

Distinctness and definite characterization of form were highly
necessary, since in battle it was important to distinguish your enemies
from your friends, and the banner of the chieftain, the knight, or
king, would be the rallying point for their followers and retainers.

Heraldry became regulated by strict rules, and is now called a science,
though its vitality and meaning have departed, except in an antiquarian
and archæological sense. It has, however, a certain decorative value
to the designer, as illustrating the principle of counterchange of
colours, and from the heraldry of the mediæval period much may be
learned in point of decorative treatment.

[Illustration: TYPICAL FORMS OF SHIELDS:

Norman Shield. From a MS. of the 12th Century in the National
Library, Paris.

Ancient Roman Shield (Scutum) Trajan's Column.

Ancient Greek Shield, Cylix Pinacotheca. Munich.

Gothic. Shield of John de Heere, 1332, from a brass at Brussels.

Shield of Edward the Black Prince, 1376.

Duke of Saxony, 1500.

SIDONIA of Saxony, 1510.

BRASS, De Rivis, 1567, Brussels.

Renascence Shield, with helmet & mantling Painted glass. Lichfield
Cathedral.]

The shield itself varies considerably in form. There is the round
shield of the ancients used both by Greeks and Norsemen. This with
the Greeks had pieces cut out at the sides sometimes. There was also
a moon-shaped shield, similar in form to the shield used by our old
invaders the Danes. Then we get the parallelogram, kite-shaped and
oval shields of the Romans; the kite-shaped shield of the Normans; the
lancet pointed shield, cut square at the top, of the first crusades.
The Gothic shield becomes more variously hollowed and shaped with the
development of plate armour, and in the fifteenth century frequently
has a space cut out on the outer edge to allow of the tilting lance
of the knight passing through without interfering with the guard. In
Renascence times there was a revival of classical and fanciful forms in
shields, and a return to its original form in the escutcheon, the term
being derived from the Latin (_cutis_) word for skin or hide, which
covered the ancient shields: but with the use of fire-arms shields
declined, until the small steel buckler for the short-sword became its
last working representative.

The character and the art of heraldic devices varies very much
according to these changes in methods of warfare, and was also affected
by the state of the arts generally.

We have only to compare the bold and frank heraldry of the thirteenth
and fourteenth centuries with the coach-painter's heraldry of the
present to realize the great change in feeling. Compare a Plantagenet
lion with a Victorian one, a mediæval griffin with a nineteenth century
specimen.

[Illustration: SICILIAN SILK TISSUE. TWELFTH CENTURY (SOUTH KENSINGTON
MUSEUM).]

The Gothic heraldic designer felt he must be simple and bold for the
sake both of distinctness and ornamental effect. He emphasized certain
features of his animals: he insisted very much, for instance, upon the
claws of the lion, its mane and tail, its open mouth and tongue; in
short, he felt it was his first business to make a bold and striking
pattern, and whatever the forms of his heraldry, they were controlled
by this feeling.

Heraldic devices formed a large part of the ornamental design of the
Middle Ages in all kinds of materials. They were abundantly used in
dress patterns and in hangings and textiles of all kinds. In the
beautiful Sicilian silk stuffs, for instance, a leading feature of the
repeat often consists of an emblematic or heraldic device of animals or
birds, which give character and agreeable massiveness to the pattern.

Mediæval brasses afford many beautiful examples of heraldic treatment.
Indeed, for ornamental feeling, expressed by very simple means and
under very limited conditions, those of the thirteenth, fourteenth,
and fifteenth centuries afford beautiful instances, which may be most
profitably studied by designers of all kinds. Mr. Creeny's book on
the Continental brasses may be recommended as containing many very
beautiful examples from his own rubbings, notably from Belgium. Two
specimens are given in Chapter VIII.

[Illustration: EX BELLO PAX.

(From Alciati's "Emblems," 1522.)]

But the love of symbol and emblem did not expire with the vigour of
heraldic design. Indeed, a certain impetus was given to it by the
invention of printing, which, diverting it into another channel, seemed
to give it fresh life in association with literature. The sixteenth
century was remarkable for its love of allegory and emblem, which was
no doubt stimulated by the opening up of the stores of classical lore
at the Renascence, and by the general stir and activity of thought of
a time of transition, when new and old ideas were in conflict or in
process of fusion. Life was full of variety, contrast, hope, fear,
strife, love, art, romance and poetry, learning and the beginnings of
scientific discovery. Out of the seethings of such elements, joined
with the relics of mediæval _naïveté_ and quaintness, came into
existence the emblem book, which offered compact pictorial epigrams,
by means of the woodcut and the printing press, to fit every phase of
human life, thought, and vicissitude.

Holbein's "Dance of Death" was really a book of emblems, and the
subject was a favourite one with the German sixteenth century
designers. Very ancient ideas reappeared in these books, unearthed
by scholars, from all sorts of sources, from the ancient Egyptians
onwards. Such designs as those of the pelican feeding its young
from its own breast, and the stork carrying its parent on its back,
constantly reappear; and also the bees making their hive in a helmet,
with the motto _Ex bello pax_, which reminds one of Samson's riddle of
sweetness and strength.

[Illustration: FORTUNE, (From Alciati's "Emblems," 1522.)]

The device of the crab, too, with a butterfly between its claws, and
the motto _Festina lente_--hasten slowly--is a favourite. The phœnix,
also, borrowed from ancient Egypt, but nowadays generally associated
with life insurance. Fortune, with the sail of a ship standing on a
globe, and sometimes a wheel, floating in a tempestuous sea, to express
her fickleness and uncertainty, often appears. The fate of Ambition,
in the fable of Phaeton falling from Apollo's car; the snake in the
grass--_Latet anguis in herba_; labour in vain, a man pouring water
into a sieve, the sieve held by blindfold Love, also figures; the ass
loaded with dainties and rich food, but stooping to eat the thistle
by the wayside, appears as a symbol of Avarice. Æsop's fables were
utilized, and classical mythology, in fact all was fish to the moral
net of the emblem designer, and the multiplication of such collections
in printed books is evidence of the moralizing, philosophizing tendency
of the times, and the love of personifying and imaging ideas.

[Illustration: AMBITION, (From Alciati's "Emblems," 1522.)]

[Illustration: AVARICE, (From Alciati's "Emblems," 1522.)]

Elaborate designs, such as one of Romeyn de Hooghe (1670)--following
the tablet of Cebes, B.C. 390, or the Latin version of
1507--allegorizing human life as a whole, from birth to death, under
the device of a labyrinth or maze, with figures wandering about in
its walks, under different influences, down to simple devices like
the moth and the candle, are comprehended in these emblem books; but
it is only reducing to small compass and to compact, portable, and
popular form the same spirit of quaint invention which covered the
walls and ceilings of great houses and public halls and tapestries
with personifications, like the splendid series of the "Triumphs" of
Petrarch, Love, Time, Death, and Chastity in our National Museum at
South Kensington, as well as endless embodiments of the seasons, the
senses, the virtues, and the vices. Emblematic art, however, like
heraldry, became overlaid with pedantry, and its artistic interest died
when its form became prescribed, and precedent and rule took the place
of original invention.

The chief scope for symbol and emblem in our time lies in the province
of decorative design, which in its highest forms may be regarded as
the metre or poetry of art. The designer, like the poet, rejoices in
certain limitations, which, while they fix and control his form and
treatment, leave him extraordinary freedom in dealing suggestively with
themes difficult or impossible to be approached in purely naturalistic
form.

It is true we find emblematic art in very stiff and degraded forms, and
applied to quite humdrum purposes. It is largely used in commerce, for
instance, and one may find classical fable and symbolism reduced to a
trade mark or a poster. Still trade marks, after all, fill the place,
in our modern commercial war, of the old knightly heraldry--shorn
of its splendour and romance, certainly--and given trade marks and
posters they might as well be designed, and would serve their purpose
more effectively if they were treated more according to the principles
of mediæval heraldry, since they would gain at once character,
distinctness, and decorative effect.

Allegorical art has, too, a modern popular form in the region of
political satire and caricature, often potent to stir or to concentrate
political feeling. This is almost a distinct province, to which many
able and vigorous artists devote their lives and show their invention
in the effective way in which the political situation is put into some
piece of familiar symbolism which all can recognize and remember.

In the region of poetic design symbolism must always hold its place.
When the artist desires to soar a little above the passing moment to
suggest the past, to peer into the future; when he looks at human life
as a complete whole, and the life of the race as an unbroken chain;
when he would deal with thoughts of mans origin and destiny, of the
powers and passions that sway him, of love, of hope and fear, of the
mystery of life and nature, the drama of the seasons, he must use
figurative language, and seek the beautiful and permanent images of
emblematic design.



CHAPTER VIII.--OF THE GRAPHIC INFLUENCE, OR NATURALISM IN DESIGN


"THE graphic influence!" my readers may exclaim, "what existence has
design apart from this, since the depicting power with whatever pencil,
brush, modelling tool, chisel, pen is by its very nature bound up with
it?"

That is quite true, yet for all that there is discernible a very
distinct line of cleavage in art, a distinction of spirit and aim which
seems to have divided or characterized artists and epochs from the very
earliest.

I have often alluded to the drawings of the prehistoric cave men.
These graphic outlines of animals, although generally incised upon
the handles of weapons, always appear to me to indicate the purely
naturalistic aim as distinct from the ornamental sense, as if the first
object of the primitive artist had been to get as exact a profile as
possible of the animals he knew; just as a modern artist, with superior
facilities of pencil and paper, might make sketches at the Zoological
Gardens without any idea of making them parts of a decorative design.
The main difference seems to be that in purely graphic or naturalistic
drawing individual characteristics or _differences_ are sought
for, while in ornamental or decorative drawing typical forms or
_correspondences_ are sought for.

[Illustration: PREHISTORIC GRAPHIC ART OF THE CAVE MEN.]

[Illustration: PREHISTORIC GRAPHIC ART OF THE CAVE MEN.]

In the course of the development of historic art in different countries
and among different peoples, under different social and political
systems, we may yet discern a kind of strife for ascendency between
these two principles, which still divide the world of art; and though
in the most perfect art the two are found reconciled and harmonized,
as being really two sides of the same question, the general feeling
for art seems to swing from one side to the other, like the tides in
ebb and flow. At one time human feeling in art seeks to perpetuate
types, symbols, and emblems of the wonder of life and the mysteries of
the universe, as in the art of ancient Egypt. At another its interest
is absorbed in the representation of individual characteristics and
varieties, striving to follow nature through her endless subtleties and
transformations, as in our own day; when the different aims inspiring
our artists might be set down as--

    (1) The desire to realize, or to represent things as they _are_.

    (2) The desire to realize, or to represent things as they
    _appear_ to be.

Under whatever differences of method or material, I believe it will be
found that this real difference of mental attitude behind them accounts
for the varieties we see, that is to say, in any genuine and thoughtful
work.

Every sincere artist naturally desires to _realize_ his conception to
the best of his ability, in the most harmonious and forceful way; but
in the course of the development of a work of art of any kind there are
problems to be solved at every turn.

Is it a piece of repeating surface ornament we are designing? We feel
we must subordinate parts to the whole, we must see that our leading
structural lines are harmonious, we cannot emphasize a bit of detail
without reference to the total effect. We may find the design wants
simplifying, and have to strike out even some element of beauty. Such
sacrifices are frequently necessary. Our love of naturalism may induce
us to work up our details, our leaves and flowers, to vie with natural
appearance in full light and relief, until we find we are losing the
repose and sense of quiet planes essential to pattern work, and getting
beyond the capacities of our material, so that we may realize that even
skill and graphic power may be inartistic if wrongly applied or wasted
in inappropriate places.

Is it a landscape we desire to transcribe or express upon paper or
canvas? Sun and shadow flit across it, changing every moment dark to
light and light to dark, so that the general emphasis and expression
of the scene constantly vary, like the expression of a human face, as
we watch it. Which shall we choose? Which seems the most expressive,
the most beautiful? Again, shall we content ourselves with a general
superficial impression, leaving details vague? Shall we aim at truth
of tone, or truth of local colour? Shall we dwell on the lines of
the composition? Shall we spend all our care upon getting the planes
right, or rely for our main interest upon light and shade and delicate
definition of detail?

All these different problems belong to graphic representation of
nature, to graphic methods of drawing and design, and the work of
different artists is distinguished usually by the way in which they
seem to feel--the particular aspect or truth on which they mostly dwell
in their work.

Even the most abstract symbolic or ornamental drawing in pure outline
must have some graphic quality, though intentionally limited to the
expression of few facts.

The method by which an ancient Egyptian painter or hieroglyphic carver
blocked out a vulture or a hawk, relying either solely on truth of
mass or silhouette, or on outline and emphatic marking of the masses of
the plumage, or the salient characteristics, such as claws and beak,
although extremely abstract, was full of natural truth and fact as far
as it went, and left no doubt as to the birds depicted.

[Illustration: Egyptian Treatment of Birds (from painted
Mummy Cases, British Museum)]

Something of the same kind of quality is found in Japanese drawings
of birds, with less severity and monumental feeling. The graphic or
naturalistic feeling is strongest and the individual accidents are
dwelt upon. In modern European natural history drawings of birds and
animals, we often lose this bold graphic sense of character in the
general aspect, while small superficial details of plumage and textures
are carefully attended to. There is often less life though actually
more likeness. The general tendency in the development of the art of
a people seems to have been from the formal, monumental, and symbolic
type of representation and design in strict relation to architectural
structure and decoration, towards freer naturalism, individual
portraiture, and a looser graphic style.

[Illustration: A FOWLER. WALL PAINTING. NINETEENTH DYNASTY
(BRITISH MUSEUM).]

We may trace this tendency even in the strictly monumental and
stereotyped art of ancient Egypt, which notably in the portrait
sculpture even of the ancient empire is remarkable for extraordinary
realism; and in the wall paintings of the later period of the Theban
empire (as in the tomb of Beni Hasan), which show considerable freedom
and vitality.

[Illustration: JAPANESE GRAPHIC ART. FROM "THE HUNDRED BIRDS OF BARI."]

[Illustration: JAPANESE GRAPHIC ART. FROM "THE HUNDRED BIRDS OF BARI."]

A most notable example of realism is the famous "Scribe" in the Louvre,
a coloured statuette, believed to date from the fifth or sixth dynasty,
of extraordinary vitality. The eyes consist of an iris of rock crystal,
surmounting a metal pupil, and set in an eyeball of opaque white quartz.

Greek sculpture, again, shows a gradual development from the archaic
period, in which it resembles early Asiatic art, up to the refinement,
freedom, and beauty of design of the Phidian period, when the balance
between naturalistic feeling and monumental feeling appears to have
been perfect. Then later, as the result of a desire for more obvious
naturalism and dramatic expression, we get quite a different feeling
in the sculptures of the frieze of the great altar at Pergamos,
which represents the strife of the gods and the Titans--a tremendous
subject, worked out with extraordinary power, skill, and learning in
alto relievo; but despite the energy and dramatic movement, after the
delicacy and reposeful beauty of the Parthenon sculptures, we feel that
these qualities have been gained at a considerable cost and loss; but
it is interesting as representing the more realistic and dramatic side
of Greek art.[11]

[11] The original slabs are in the Berlin Museum, but casts of some may
be seen at South Kensington.

[Illustration: EGYPTIAN SCRIBE. PORTRAIT STATUETTE. FIFTH OF SIXTH
DYNASTY (LOUVRE).]

But the grace and charm of Greek art never seemed really to die out.
All the best Roman art was inspired by it, if not actually carried
out by Greek artists; and, owing to Greek colonies, Greek traditions
had long been naturalized in Italy, where they found a congenial
soil. Fine portrait sculpture was done in the imperial period--as the
Augustus and the head of Julius Cæsar and many other well-known busts
testify. Also the truth and beauty of some of their animal sculpture
we may see in the fine style of the frieze of sacrificial animals
discovered in 1872 in the Forum. We seem to see the Greek spirit in the
decorative splendour of the Byzantine period, and again, in Italian
dress, inspiring the painters and sculptors of the early Renascence,
in the work of Giotto, Ghiberti, and Donatello for instance. With
the development of Gothic architecture in the thirteenth century
a new and distinct feeling for naturalism arose, which influenced
through architecture all the arts of design. In fact, all through the
Gothic period design seems to have had more the character of a vital
organic growth, controlled by a certain tradition and the influence
of architectural style, yet within these limits and those of the
material of its expression developing an extraordinary freedom both
of invention and graphic power, which culminated at the end of the
fifteenth century, or was perhaps absorbed by the classicism of the
Renascence. Thirteenth century Gothic sculpture at its best, as we find
it in France, has almost the simplicity, grace, and natural feeling
of Greek work. This may be seen in the figures from the west front of
Auxerre Cathedral, and also in the porch of Amiens; and in the portrait
effigies of this period and onwards through the three centuries in
those of our own cathedrals and churches we find abundant evidence of
graphic power in careful and characteristic portraiture, united with
beauty of design in detail and decorative effect.

[Illustration: SCULPTURED FRIEZE DISCOVERED IN THE FORUM, 1872.]

[Illustration: SCULPTURE FROM AUXERRE CATHEDRAL. THIRTEENTH CENTURY.]

[Illustration: SCULPTURE FROM AMIENS CATHEDRAL. FOURTEENTH CENTURY.]

What we should call realism comes out wonderfully in the treatment of
the statue of St. Martha at St. Urbain, Troyes, a work of the fifteenth
century.

Gothic art, too, was a familiar art, intimate and sympathetic with
human life in all its varieties.

In the beautiful illuminated Psalters, Missals, Books of Hours, and
chronicles of the Middle Ages, the life of those days is presented in
bright and vivid colours. We see the labourers at work in the fields,
ploughing, sowing, reaping, threshing, treading the wine-press. We see
the huntsman, the fisherman, and the shepherd; the scribe at his work,
the saint at his prayers, the knight at arms. The splendour and pomp
of jousts and tournaments, with all their bright colour and quaint
heraldry; we see the king in his ermine, and the beggar in his rags,
the monk in his cell, the gallant with his lute--delicate miniatures
often set in burnished gold, and adorned with open fret-work or borders
of flowers and leaves.

These borders in course of time from a purely fanciful ornamental
character become real leaves, flowers or fruit, as in the Grimani
Breviary, attributed to Memling, the famous Flemish painter, where the
borders are in some pages naturalistic paintings of leaves and berries,
birds and butterflies, on gold grounds with cast shadows. Here we get
the naturalistic feeling dominating again and the pictorial skill of
the miniaturist triumphing, but the effect is still rich and ornamental.

When the printing press in the middle of the fifteenth century began
to rival the scribe with his manuscript, it offered in the woodcut a
new method to the artist, which led to a new development of graphic
power and design by means of line and black and white, though at first
intended merely as a method of furnishing the illuminator with
outlined designs as book illustrations and ornaments to be filled in
with colour and gold.

[Illustration: ST. MARTHA (ST. URBAIN, TROYES).]

[Illustration: MEMLING. "DELIVERANCE OF ST. PETER" (GRIMANI BREVIARY).]

[Illustration: MEMLING. "DAVID PLACING THE ARK IN THE TABERNACLE"

(GRIMANI BREVIARY).]

The black and white effect, however, grew to be liked for its own sake:
not only was it found to afford a considerable range of decorative
effect by different treatment of line and solid black, but the
graphic designer found in the rich vigorous woodcut line a suggestive
and emphatic means of expression. The best artists of the time gave
themselves to the work, and notably in Germany, the home of the
invention of printing itself. Cologne, Mainz, Augsburg, Ulm, Nuremberg
were all famous centres of activity in the printer's art, as well as
Venice and Florence, Basle and Paris.

Up to the end of the fifteenth century the Gothic and ornamental
feeling is still dominant in the treatment of the design of woodcuts in
books, and most instructive and suggestive they are in simplicity of
method and line, and directness of expression.

Characteristic German work of Gothic feeling and considerable graphic
force is seen in the woodcuts of the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493)
designed by Michael Wolgemuth, the master of Albert Dürer. In these
vigorous cuts we may plainly see the tradition of that Gothic feeling
and style of graphic design afterwards developed in the work of the
great German designer.

The splendid woodcuts of Dürer's "Apocalypse," and of the "Little
Passion," and the design called "The Cannon" (1518), give us further
insight into his method of drawing and his graphic power; and one can
hardly go to stronger or better examples for the study of expression
by means of bold line work, a command of which is most valuable to
designers in all materials, though, of course, especially so to those
who desire to make black and white drawing their principal pursuit. For
Dürer's finer line treatment on copper there is no better example
than the portrait of Erasmus.

[Illustration: ALBERT DÜRER. "THE APOCALYPSE."]

[Illustration: ALBERT DÜRER. PORTRAIT OF ERASMUS, 1526.]

[Illustration: ALBERT DÜRER. "THE CANNON," 1513.]

The style of drawing shown in these woodcuts was no doubt to a great
extent determined by the nature of the method of cutting the block.
The drawing on the smooth plank--not on the cross section of the tree,
as in modern wood-engraving--was actually cut with a knife, not a
graver. Each line had to be excavated, as it were, from the surface,
the ground or white part sunk each side, so as to make it take the ink
and print the impression of its surface sharply upon the paper in the
press. These conditions would necessarily lead to a certain economy of
line both as to quantity and direction, and would favour the use of
bold outline and lines expressive of relief surfaces or shadow arranged
in a comparatively simple way, and often running into solid black,
as in small folds of drapery and details. The drawing was probably
done with a reed or quill pen, which latter still remains perhaps the
best tool for emphatic, graphic drawing on the scale of book designs,
since it offers the maximum possibility of effect with the minimum of
simplicity and economy of means. Its only rival (though it may also be
regarded as a useful auxiliary to the pen) is the narrow flexible brush
point, and this has the advantage of spreading more easily into solid
blacks, though more likely to lead one into looseness of style owing to
its very facility.

Fine and firm graphic draughtsmanship and rich design, with a fine
sense of the decorative value of armorial bearings and processional
grouping, may be seen in the famous series of woodcuts called "The
Triumphs of Maximilian," in which Albert Dürer and Hans Burgmair
co-operated. That is to say each did a large proportion of the designs.
It was a very vast work for wood-engraving. The scheme was in two
parts, one consisting of a design of a triumphal arch, in general idea
in emulation of the old Roman imperial triumphal arches. This part of
the work consisted of ninety-two blocks which, when put together, form
one woodcut 10½ feet high by 9 feet wide. This part was all designed
and drawn upon the blocks by Albert Dürer, and engraved by Hieronymus
Andreæ.

[Illustration: ALBERT DÜRER. "LITTLE PASSION." THE TAKING DOWN FROM THE
CROSS.]

[Illustration: HANS BURGMAIR. GROUP OF KNIGHTS FROM "THE TRIUMPHS OF
MAXIMILIAN."]

The second part consisted of the triumphal procession and the triumphal
car of Maximilian and his Queens, designed by Dürer, as well as other
allegorical and heraldic cars and warlike machines, and cars with
officers of the court, groups of knights in armour, men-at-arms of all
kinds, country people, and even groups of African savages. Sixty-six of
the designs of the procession are due to Hans Burgmair.

It is noteworthy that the general scheme for this triumph was first
painted on large sheets of parchment, which still exist in the Imperial
Library at Vienna; and the woodcuts followed this more or less in
design, Dürer's drawings being a freer rendering, while Burgmair's
are supposed to keep more closely to the painted scheme of the
miniaturists, though it is quite possible they may both have furnished
sketches for the miniaturists' version also. This great undertaking,
however, was never finished, and its progress came to an end with the
death of the emperor in January, 1519. The work was supposed to have
been commenced in 1512.

For more purely ornamental effect in black and white the rich, bold,
yet sensitive outline of the Venetian and Florentine woodcuts should be
studied, and their use of solid black.

The amount of graphic expression and even of statement of natural fact
which can be put into pure outline alone is, of course, enormous.

The value of the graphic illustrative capacity of the woodcut was
soon discovered and utilized by the writers of natural histories and
compilers of Herbals of the early days of printing onwards.

There is a beautiful Herbal written by Dr. Fuschius (whose name we
seem to have perpetuated in the Fuchsia). It was printed at Basle in
1542, and the drawings are fine examples of what outline can do, and
remarkable for a combination of beautiful style united with natural
truth and decorative feeling. One of the horned poppy is here given.
The book is also interesting in the portraits of the draughtsmen and
wood-engraver, or _formschneider_, given at the end.

The woodcuts of the plants given in the Herbal of Matthiolus, where
more lines of surface and shadow are introduced, are vigorous and
good, full of style and character, and expressive of the salient facts
of growth. The same may be said of those in our own Gerard's Herbal,
though the impressions are not generally so bright or good; but then
it was produced during the decline of the printer's art, in the later
years of the sixteenth century.

Though used for purely illustrative purposes, much as the cuts put into
modern dictionaries to make certain facts clear to the mind, these
woodcuts have always, over and above fidelity to the main facts of
growth and character, a sense of design. They are not merely drawings
of plants, but they are well put together as panels or spaces of
design, and effectively though unobtrusively ornament the page.

For expressive and sensitive line and touch in the rendering of
flowers, the Japanese artists are remarkable, and their books, printed
from wood-blocks cut on the plank in the old European way, are full
of spirit and suggestiveness. Drawn on the wood with a pointed
brush, which is occasionally spread to yield solid black, or turned
sideways, or dragged, to vary the quality of the line, they show that
extreme ease and facility in the expression of form by simple means
which only long practice, direct work, and intimate knowledge and close
observation of nature could produce. The added flat and delicate tints
of colour enhance the effect and give them a decorative beauty entirely
their own, though planned in the spaces they occupy in a totally
different spirit from the old Herbal woodcuts we have been considering.
They belong in the main rather to the second point of view or artistic
impulse in art, which I characterized at the beginning as the desire
to represent without prepossession the appearances of things; which
delights in accidents, in unexpectedness, and sometimes, it must be
confessed, in downright ugliness and awkwardness, it seems to me--what
in short is sometimes called "impressionism," which has been largely
influenced by Japanese art.

[Illustration: HORNED POPPY. FROM FUCHSIUS' "DE HISTORIA STIRPIUM,"
1542.]

[Illustration: JAPANESE PLANT DRAWING. WOODCUT PRINTED IN COLOUR.]

[Illustration: JAPANESE PLANT DRAWING. WOODCUT FROM A BOTANICAL WORK.]

Mediæval brasses are often very fine in the quality and use of outline,
and show a wonderful amount of exact characterization in portraiture,
as well as beauty of ornamental effect in the use of plain surfaces
relieved upon rich pattern work, and good disposition of draperies.
Those of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, more especially the
Belgian examples, are very useful to study for these things, as well
as for the fine taste, the simplicity, and the broad artistic feeling
shown under the strict limitation of the material, while they are
remarkable for extraordinary delineation of character by very simple
means--the lines and sunk parts being incised in the smooth brass
plate and filled in with black encaustic substance, while the colours
of the heraldry are frequently enamelled. Note the beautiful lines
of the drapery in the example given from Bruges, and the fine relief
of the figures upon the rich diapered ground. In England the figures
and borders were cut out in the brass and inserted in the stone slab,
which formed the background; but the Flemish brasses show a different
treatment, the figures being relieved upon a rich diapered ground, also
incised upon the brass, which takes the form of a complete panel or
plate covering the stone slab.

[Illustration: BRASS OF JORIS DE MUNTER AND WIFE (BRUGES, 1439). FROM
CREENY'S "MONUMENTAL BRASSES."]

One may trace in the later brasses the efforts of the designer to
gain more relief and graphic emphasis in his figures by introducing
lines of shading and cross lines and greater complexity generally, as
well as a tendency to escape the limits of the panel, no doubt under
the influence of the rising power of pictorial art, which from the
Renascence onwards seems to have dominated by its influence all the
other arts. But in the case of brasses the beauty of design, the charm
and simplicity of the earlier treatment, as well as the rich decorative
effect, disappear with the attempt to render complexities of effect and
qualities of drawing for which the material and purpose were unsuited.

The same change of feeling left its mark upon the sculptor's work in
sepulchral monuments and effigies, which, in the Gothic period up to
the end of the fifteenth century, are frequently refined and beautiful
pieces of delicate portraiture, wrought with extreme care and
elaboration, with a strong yet restrained sense of the ornamental value
of the detail; but which, under the pictorial influence and the search
for more obvious and superficial naturalism, became more or less forced
in effect and vulgarized in sentiment as well as execution, and finally
lost in classical artificiality and theatric pomp.

[Illustration: KING ERIC MENVED AND QUEEN INGEBORG OF DENMARK
(RINGSTEAD, 1319). FROM CREENY'S "MONUMENTAL BRASSES."]

In simple draughtsmanship and purely graphic design, too, it is
noticeable that, with the introduction of the copper-plate and the
attempt to get in book illustrations something like pictorial values
and chiaroscuro, how, by degrees, vigour of design and feeling for good
line work was lost.

The revival of the woodcut even under Bewick did little to help line
design--its former close companion. Bewick and his school developed
the woodcut from the pictorial point of view, and with the object of
demonstrating the capacity of the wood for rendering certain fine
textures and tones as against steel and copper. Their great principle
was the use of white line, not unheard of even in the early printing
days, as a frontispiece to a German book ("Pomerium de Tempore,"
Augsburg, 1502) of the early sixteenth century testifies.

Bewick's birds, which are remarkable for the delicate, truthful way in
which the plumage is rendered, are as much the work of a naturalist as
of an artist, and they show but little design or feeling apart from
this.

Although William Blake and Edward Calvert made notable use of the
woodcut, it was not really until about the middle of the century that
any serious attempt was made in the direction of the revival of line
and pen drawing for the sake of its expressive vigour, ornamental
possibilities, and autographic value. Probably it really began with
German artists like Schnorr (who did a series of Bible pictures more or
less after the manner of Holbein), Alfred Rethel, and Moritz Schwind.
Rethel's two large woodcuts, "Death the Friend" and "Death the Enemy,"
are tolerably well known and show strong draughtsmanship and tragic
force, recalling in their intensity and vigour the work of Dürer and
the old German masters.

[Illustration: CHARLES KEENE. REDUCED FROM A HALF-PAGE DESIGN IN
"PUNCH."]

In England the revival of line design arose out of the Pre-Raphaelite
movement (a movement certainly influenced by the study of early Italian
as well as German and Flemish art), and was illustrated by the work of
some of the leaders of that movement themselves.

The drawings (engraved on wood by the brothers Dalziel) by D. G.
Rossetti, Holman Hunt, and Millais, which illustrate the edition of
Tennyson's poems published in 1857, show perhaps the first definite
experiments in this direction.

The pages of the journal "Once a Week," started in 1859, were the means
of the introduction of new and powerful designers in line, such as
Frederick Sandys, Charles Keene, E. J. Poynter, and Frederick Walker.

The first three showed unmistakable evidence of a study of the manner
of German Renascence woodcuts, but it was allied to the matter of
modern thought and naturalism. With a freer graphic naturalism of a
different order, Walker united a certain grace and sentiment derived
from classic sculpture, curiously mixed with a Dutch-like domestic
feeling. In his black and white drawing he shows, too, I think, to some
degree the influences of the photograph, which since those days has
had so obvious an effect upon art and artists.

[Illustration: LINLEY SAMBOURNE. REDUCED FROM A FULL-PAGE DESIGN IN
"PUNCH."]


"Once a Week," which introduced these with other artists to the public,
was started by the proprietors of "Punch," which had long maintained
and still maintains an effective and legitimate field for graphic
drawing in line rendered by the facsimile wood-block. The work of
John Leech and Richard Doyle is well known, the former, with a light
and somewhat loose touch registering the fashions and foibles of
English life from week to week, with extraordinary spirit, humour, and
character, often conveyed by very slight means.

Sir John Tenniel, with his more serious and heavier style, continued
until recently to give his familiar allegories of the political
situation; this style again has, I think, been influenced by German
work.

Then Charles Keene brought in a kind of impressionistic naturalism,
expressed by a method of his own, having a look of great freshness and
directness, like crisp sketches from nature.

Du Maurier developed a different style, less vigorous but more graceful
in drawing, and with certain leanings at one time to the romantic
Pre-Raphaelitism he used his pencil occasionally to caricature.

In Mr. Linley Sambourne we see a designer and draughtsman of
considerable power. His pen-line is vigorous and his drawing solid and
graphic, with considerable feeling for style, but showing, I think, the
influence of the photograph in the rendering of light and shade.

In quality of line there is a certain kinship with the work of Mr.
Phil May, a later addition to the staff, though his treatment is very
different. He represents, indeed, rather the modern impressionist
feeling in line drawing influenced by the Japanese; his outlines are
often extraordinarily graphic, and convey a great amount of character
with very slight variation, and very little detail; but there is rather
a noticeable tendency towards awkward composition and ugly or repulsive
types.

[Illustration: PHIL MAY. FROM "PUNCH."]

As a work giving some of the more serious and carefully studied designs
in line and black and white of modern artists, engraved on wood, might
be mentioned the Bible projected by the brothers Dalziel, a portion
only of which was completed, consisting of a series of fine drawings by
Holman Hunt, Madox Brown, E. J. Poynter, Frederic Leighton, and others.
They are more perhaps in the nature of isolated pictures than book
illustrations, but they are full of good and careful work.

The earlier etchings of Mr. Whistler are full of delicate drawing
of the picturesque detail of old waterside houses, as in the famous
"Wapping," which even survived translation into a process block in the
"Daily Chronicle."

We have now a vast public apparently interested in, and accustomed
to, graphic representation in black and white, through the continual
multiplication of cheap illustrated newspapers, magazines, and
books, and the continual invention and adaptation to the press of
cheap photographic and automatic means of reproduction, which have
almost entirely displaced the woodcut as a popular medium for the
interpretation of graphic art.

In these cheap forms of pictorial art the photograph continues to gain
ascendency not only as a medium for reproduction, but as a substitute
for original artistic invention and design. Now while in the former
province it is of enormous practical value, in the latter, I think,
it bids fair to be extremely seductive and injurious to the growth of
healthy artistic taste and capacity.

Modern painting and draughtsmanship have for a long time shown the
influence of the photograph (which for certain illusory qualities of
lighting and relief cannot be approached), and so, no doubt, artists
themselves have prepared the way for its popularity, and perhaps even
usurpation of the dominion of popular art.

So far, however, as photographic effect is preferred, and the
mechanical tone-block is preferred to the pen-drawing and woodcut, it
means the loss of character, of the personal element, of distinctive
artistic style. It means, in short, the substitution of scientific
invention and mechanical method for artistic imagination, observation,
and variety--surely this would be a most unfortunate exchange.



CHAPTER IX.--OF THE INDIVIDUAL INFLUENCE IN DESIGN


WE commonly speak of ancient _art_, but of modern _artists_. Straws
indicate which way the wind blows, and superficial habits may indicate
changes of thought and feeling which lie far deeper. Interest has now
become centred in the development of individual varieties rather than
typical forms, whereas, as we have seen, it is the latter character
that distinguishes the art of the ancients. In the great monumental
works of the Asiatic nations of antiquity names of individual artists
are lost, and in the art of Egypt and Assyria and Persia they are of
little consequence, since certain prevailing types and methods were
adhered to; and most of their work, as in their mural sculptures,
while distinct in racial character, might almost have been executed
by the same hand--Egyptian, Assyrian, or Persian, as the case may be.
Tennyson's lines regarding nature might be here applied to art;

    "So careful of the type she seems,
    So careless of the single life."

With the intellectual activity of Greece and the development of her
power as a state, the archaic and purely typical period in her arts,
while possessing wonderful harmony and unity, led to individual
development of artists, and, assisted no doubt by the increase of
writing and record, famous names are handed down: such as Ictinus,
the architect of the Parthenon, and Phidias, its sculptor, whose name
characterizes the finest period of Greek art.

The ancient myth of Dædalus seems to show that art was always a power
among the ancient Greeks, and Dædalus, who seems to occupy an analogous
position in southern mythology to that of Wayland Smith in the north,
may have represented, or his name and fame covered, whole generations
of artists and cunning craftsmen; following the tendency, still
noticeable, by which great reputations absorb smaller ones, and in the
course of time have attributed to them works not really belonging to
them at all. The name becomes a convenient symbol for a whole period,
school, or group of workmen.

One can understand in primitive times how important the
artist-craftsmen must have been: the fashioner of weapons, the one
learned in the mysteries of smelting metal, of working iron, bronze,
brass and copper, gold and silver, and having the power of making
things of beauty out of these, which became the revered or coveted
treasures of temples and kings' houses.

The old stories of the early Greek painters Apelles and Protogenes
show, too, at once the tendency towards myth-making, and the old love
of talk about art, as well as the old and dearly-clung-to popular
theory that the beauty of painting is measured by its illusive power;
so that the realistic grapes of Apelles, which only deceived the
birds, were supposed to be outdone by the naturalistic curtain of
Protogenes, which took in the critics. This tradition seems still
to linger in the minds of our scene-painters when they present us
with those wonderful (and sometimes fearful) drop curtains of satin,
festooned with tassels and cords of undreamed-of sumptuousness and
mysterious mechanism.

The names and works of Praxiteles and of Myron are well known to
students of antique sculpture, and these are but stars of greater
magnitude among a host of others less distinguished, or less
centralized in universal fame. Yet we only know the Venus of Melos from
the island where she was discovered.

We know that the Greek vase painters frequently signed their
designs, and this has considerably helped the historic criticism and
classification of that interesting and beautiful province of Greek
design, such as has been so ably done in the works of Miss Jane E.
Harrison.

In the Byzantine and early mediæval period we again see a great
development of typical symbolical and profoundly impressive art in
architecture and decoration, but again names and individual artists are
largely lost. We do not know, for instance, who were the designers of
the splendid mosaics at Ravenna.

With the dawn of painting in Italy, however, in the thirteenth century
arose a personal and individualized type of art in which names became
of immense interest. This was no doubt fostered by the rivalry of the
cities, each independent, under its own government; each municipality
proud and anxious to vie in the splendour and beauty of art with its
neighbouring municipality. This led to a wholesome emulation among
artists and very fine results, since there were abundant opportunities
in the great public monuments, council chambers, and churches for the
highest exercise of the architect, the painter, and craftsman's art.

The ancient system of the master craftsman working with his pupils in
his shop or studio prevailed. A man might learn the craft of painting
from the beginning, the grinding of colours, the laying of grounds,
the mixing of tints, drawing out cartoons, enlarging designs for
wall-painting, the painting of ornamental framework, and decorative
detail, and gesso work enrichment, and gilding, miniature painting
and the decoration of books, altar-pieces, signs and shrines; perhaps
embroidery and textile patterns, banners, the furniture of shows and
pageants--all these might be carried on, perhaps under one master. The
term painter was not then specialized to mean either house-painter or
easel-picture painter. An apprentice might thoroughly and practically
learn his trade in the ordinary sense of the word, but it would depend
upon his personal capacity and quality whether he would become a
master, whether his name would be inscribed on the scroll of fame to be
a landmark for future historians of art.

The romantic tales and episodes in the lives of painters which have
come down to us are always interesting, and in Italy, being the centre
of artistic life from the fourteenth to the end of the sixteenth
centuries, we find abundant lore of this sort.

That picturesque legend of Cimabue of Florence, first told by Lorenzo
Ghiberti (who was born in 1378), for instance, finding the youthful
Giotto as a shepherd boy, while riding in the valley of Vespignano,
about fourteen miles from Florence, sketching the image of one of his
flock upon a smooth fragment of slate with a pointed stone, and taking
him to Florence as his pupil.

Cimabue is commonly supposed to have been the first to show a new
departure in the direction of greater freedom and naturalness of
treatment, the first whose work shows much individuality, and emerges
from the somewhat set and prescribed traditions of the Byzantine school
which characterizes the earliest Italian painting of the Christian
period really influenced by the Greek church mosaic design, which may
be considered almost as the swathing clothes of mediæval painting in
Italy.

His altar-piece for the church of Sta. Maria Novella was carried
in procession through Florence to the church--a subject which has
furnished a theme for Lord Leighton's well-known and fine decorative
early work, too seldom seen.

Cimabue's portrait in the white embroidered costume with a hood,
appears in a group with Giotto and other famous contemporaries,
including Petrarch and Laura, in a fresco by Simone Memmi, a
contemporary painter, on the wall of the chapel of the Cappella degli
Spagnoli at Sta. Maria Novella.

But Giotto marks the real point of departure. Coming straight from
outdoor life, from the simple country pursuits of a shepherd boy,
it was significant that he should be the first to introduce a new
spirit into art. Natural simplicity and directness, power of dramatic
narrative painting, dignity and simplicity of style, and decorative
beauty--these were some of the qualities with which Giotto enriched the
field of early Italian art.

[Illustration: _Alinari Photo._]

SIMONE MEMMI. FRESCO CONTAINING PORTRAITS OF CIMABUE, GIOTTO, AND
CONTEMPORARIES. (FLORENCE. CLOISTERS OF S. M. NOVELLA.)]

He became the friend of Dante, who pays him a tribute in the well-known
lines in his poem "Il Purgatorio,"

        "---- Cimabue thought
    To lord it over painting's field; and now
    The cry is Giotto, and his name's eclips'd."

    CARY'S _Dante_.

And Giotto has left us an interesting portrait of the poet, on the wall
of the Podesta, or council chamber of Florence, his first recorded
work. Giotto was, in fact, a fellow pupil with Dante under the same
master, Brunetto Latini, since Cimabue gave him all the cultivation
of his time in books as well as art. The fame of Giotto as a painter
spread all over Italy, and his services were required by the Church,
and by rich and great persons.

There is a well-known story, which throws light upon his skill and
certainty of hand, that once, when an emissary from Pope Boniface VIII.
came to him for a specimen of his handiwork to show to his master,
Giotto took a piece of paper and drew a circle in one stroke, without
compasses.

The pope's emissary was disappointed at not getting a prettier picture,
but it proved convincing, and the legend passed into a proverb
which runs: Rounder than the O of Giotto--"Più tondo che l' O di
Giotto."

[Illustration: _Alinari Photo._]

GIOTTO. PORTRAIT OF DANTE. (FLORENCE, PRETORIAN PALACE.)]

[Illustration: _C. Naya Photo._]

GIOTTO. FRESCO (ARENA CHAPEL, PADUA).]

[Illustration: _C. Naya Photo._]

GIOTTO. FRESCO (ARENA CHAPEL, PADUA).]

[Illustration: _Alinari Photo._]

GIOTTO. "CHASTITY" (ASSISI).]

[Illustration: _Alinari Photo._]

GIOTTO. "OBEDIENCE" (ASSISI).]

The frescoes of the Arena Chapel at Padua, representing the history
of Christ and the Virgin in fifty square compartments, remain among
Giotto's most famous works. The frescoes of the vaulted roof of the
lower church at Assisi are also very fine.

"Here," says Mrs. Jameson, in "Early Italian Painters," "over the
tomb of S. Francis, the painter represented the three vows of the
order--Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience: and in the fourth compartment,
the saint enthroned and glorified amidst the host of Heaven.

"The invention of the allegories under which Giotto has represented the
vows of the saint--his marriage with Poverty--Chastity seated in her
rocky fortress--and Obedience with the curb and yoke--is ascribed by
tradition to Dante."

He was architect and sculptor as well as painter, and the design of the
beautiful Campanile of the Duomo at Florence is due to him.

Cimabue and Giotto's contemporary, the sculptor Niccolo Pisano, was
another distinguished artist of the early Italian revival. He is said
to have been inspired by the study of antique sculpture. A certain
sarcophagus (Phædra and Hippolytus) by its life and movement is
supposed to have suggested the character which he sought in his work.
The dramatic vitality which he infused into his figures was certainly
extraordinary, as his famous pulpit at Pisa demonstrates. There was
some danger of losing monumental dignity and repose, but it meant
a return to nature and life after a long period of restraint and
convention which had become dead.

[Illustration: _Alinari Photo._]

NICCOLO PISANO. PULPIT (PISA BAPTISTERY).]

The revival, therefore, was both salutary and necessary, though it is
not unnatural that painters should have profited most by its effects,
and that painting should have become the leading and popular art,
because most immediate and familiar in its appeal and the width of its
sympathy and range.

For vivid dramatic intensity of conception and earnestness of purpose
the work of Orcagna stands out among the early painters of Florence.
Andrea Orcagna was the son of a goldsmith of Florence. The goldsmiths
of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries were in general excellent
designers, and not unfrequently became painters, as in the instances
of Francia, Ghirlandajo, Verrocchio, Andrea del Sarto. It was in his
father's workshop that Andrea Orcagna first learned his art. He was
born before 1310, and he painted at the Campo Santo in 1332. His famous
work was the fresco still to be seen on the wall of the Campo Santo at
Pisa--"The Triumph of Death." It presents us with certain contrasts of
life and death, of pleasure and pain, of pomp and pride and poverty,
the severe life of the holy man, the gay life of the pleasure seeker.
There is a striking group of huntsmen reining in their horses at the
sight of certain grim coffins containing great and pompous personages
in various stages of decay. Grotesque fiends, too, are seen hustling
wicked ones into a fiery pit. Thus does the early painter enforce the
old moral. Thus does he paint the sharp contrasts of life and death,
the short life and the merry one; the careless worldling and the rich
and powerful finally levelled by death; while the higher spiritual
life and the virtues of self-denial and sacrifice are suggested by the
pious and primitive life of the monks.

[Illustration: _Alinari Photo._]

ORCAGNA. "TRIUMPH OF DEATH." FRESCO (CAMPO SANTO, PISA).]

[Illustration: _Alinari Photo._]

BENOZZO GOZZOLI. DETAIL FROM FRESCO (RICCARDI CHAPEL, FLORENCE).]

[Illustration: _Alinari Photo._]

BENOZZO GOZZOLI. "JOURNEY OF THE MAGI." FRESCO (RICCARDI CHAPEL,
FLORENCE).]

Such subjects were favourites all through the Middle Ages, and it may
be remembered that Petrarch about this time wrote his "Triumphs,"
one of which is named "The Triumph of Death."

[Illustration: _Brogi Photo._]

BENOZZO GOZZOLI. DETAIL OF FRESCO (RICCARDI CHAPEL, FLORENCE).]

[Illustration: _Brogi Photo._]

BENOZZO GOZZOLI. DETAIL OF FRESCO (RICCARDI CHAPEL, FLORENCE).]

A gentler spirit is seen in the art of Benozzo Gozzoli (born _circa_
1424), a pupil of Fra Angelico, full of a love for nature, of trees and
flowers and animals, and of decorative beauty, a delight in beautiful
walled cities, in ornate dresses, in fair fresh faces of youths and
maidens. It is the joy of life without the shadow of death, as of the
visions of a serene spirit that joins the hands of the old pagan life
and the new Christian ideals and reconciles them in a world of beauty.

In the frescoes of the Riccardi Chapel at Florence, Benozzo pictures,
with loving faithfulness, the Medici princes riding out to the hunt in
splendid equipment, in a high upland and wooded country such as one
may find around Florence. The subject was "The Adoration of the Magi,"
represented upon the side walls, "The Nativity" being painted over the
altar. The procession of the kings with gifts is seen winding over the
hills of the rich and varied landscape, interspersed with groups like
the princes, in which Lorenzo the Magnificent appears, and portraits of
the painter, his friends, and contemporaries.

The fresh youthful faces are full of the zest and pleasure of life.
The horses curvet and prance in their proud trappings, and the hounds
pursue the flying deer, as if for pleasant pastime.

He gives us those charming groups of kneeling angels also in the same
chapel. Or he tells the story of the building of the tower of Babel, or
of Noah, at Pisa, or of St. Augustine, at San Gimignano, with the same
serenity and delight in subsidiary incident and ornament.

[Illustration: _Brogi Photo._]

SANDRO BOTTICELLI. DETAIL FROM "THE ADORATION OF THE MAGI" (FLORENCE,
UFFIZI GALLERY).]

Another very distinct individuality in painting, reflecting the spirit
of his time halfway between mediæval feeling and the revived paganism
and humanism of the classical Renascence, was Botticelli. He was a
pupil of the painter-monk Fra Filippo Lippi, and worked at Florence
about the middle of the fifteenth century. He was one of the painters
summoned to Rome in 1471 by Pope Sixtus IV. to paint the walls of the
Sistine Chapel. He is spoken of as "our friend Botticelli" in Leonardo
da Vinci's treatise on painting; but until comparatively recently, as
compared with more often sounded names in the trumpet of fame, the
beauty of his work has been singularly neglected.

That now generally admired and most poetic and beautiful work, "An
Allegory of Spring," in the Accademia at Florence, was, about five
and twenty years ago, hung in an obscure position; but of late, and
probably largely owing to English taste and criticism, it is now
brought prominently forward and is constantly copied. The lady who
is supposed to witness the masque stands in the centre in a grove of
orange trees, the ground covered with flowers, among which is seen the
_fleur-de-luce_ of Florence; Zephyrus is clasping the earth, and from
her mouth fall flowers; next to her Flora, or Spring, with a beautiful
robe embroidered with flowers, bears roses in her lap and scatters
them. Then there is a group of the "Three Graces" dancing, while
Hermes, as the herald of Spring, leads the procession. The picture is
supposed to have formed one of a set of four. The second panel called
"Summer," and showing Venus rising in her shell from the sea, with a
draped figure about to throw a robe over her as she reaches the grassy
shore, is in the Uffizi Gallery. There is also a remarkable allegory,
"Calumny," in the same gallery, while our own National Gallery contains
a characteristic Madonna and Child with angels. Botticelli's Madonnas
are always distinguished by a peculiar expression of wistful pathos and
a feeling unlike those of any other painter. There is also a charming
small Nativity with a ring of angels, besides the very splendid vision
of heaven. Botticelli also made illustrations to Dante.

[Illustration: _Alinari Photo._]

BOTTICELLI. "LA PRIMA VERA." AN ALLEGORY OF SPRING (FLORENCE ACADEMY).]

A severer and more distinctly classically inspired genius, yet with
a certain northern hardness, we find in Mantegna, who was born near
Padua, in 1431. He came, it is said, of very poor and obscure parents,
and, like his great predecessor Giotto, Mantegna was employed in
keeping sheep. Little is known of his early life, but he is found
later as one of the pupils of Francesco Squarcione, a painter of
Padua, but more famous for his teaching, his school being at that time
the most renowned in all Italy, his pupils numbering one hundred and
thirty-seven. He was a great student of the antique, and travelled over
Italy and Greece in search of remains of ancient art, obtaining casts
or copies of such sculptures he could not purchase or remove, so that
Mantegna had no doubt exceptional facilities for the study of classical
sculpture, which had so marked an influence upon his design.

[Illustration: _C. Naya Photo._]

MANTEGNA. FROM THE BRONZE MONUMENT IN THE CHURCH OF S. ANDREA AT
MANTUA.]

He seems, too, to have been an indefatigable worker, and drew
with great diligence from the statues, busts, bas-reliefs, and
architectural ornaments he found in the school of Squarcione. "At
the age of seventeen Andrea painted his first great picture for
the church of Santa Sofia in Padua (now lost), and at the age of
nineteen assisted in painting the chapel of St. Christopher in the
Eremitani--representing on the vault the four evangelists." He is
said to have given to these sacred personages the air and attitude of
Greek or Roman philosophers, the type in fact confirmed by Raphael and
afterwards generally adopted by Renascence artists.

A curious change or blending of other elements and a different feeling
in Mantegna's work, softening the somewhat cold and rigid classicism,
seems to have been brought about by his association with the Venetian
painter Jacopo Bellini, the father of the two greater Bellinis
(Giovanni and Gentile), whose daughter Nicolosia he married about this
time (1450). This marriage with the daughter of Squarcione's rival,
as Bellini was considered, and Mantegna's friendship with him, seems
to have offended Squarcione and caused an estrangement, and even the
active enmity of his first master, and eventually led to his quitting
Padua. He painted some frescoes at Verona, and was invited to Mantua by
Ludovico Gonzaga, and finally he entered the service of that prince.
He was invited to Rome by Pope Innocent VIII. to paint a chapel in the
Belvedere of the Vatican, which was actually destroyed in the last
century by Pius VI. to make room for his new museum. This was after
the ruthless way of the popes, prodigal of painted walls, as when the
beautiful early Renascence frescoes of Melozzo da Forli were removed to
make room for Raphael's and Giulio Romano's frescoes in the Stanzi.

There is a story of the discretion of Mantegna, which, with a natural
courtesy, seems to have distinguished him personally. While working
for Pope Innocent VIII. it happened that the payments for the work
were not made with desirable regularity; the pope, visiting the artist
at his work one day, asked him the meaning of a certain female figure
which he had introduced. Andrea replied that he was trying to represent
_Ingratitude_. The pope, understanding him at once, replied: "If you
would place _Ingratitude_ in fitting company, you should place Patience
at her side." Andrea took the hint and said no more. It is satisfactory
to know that in the end the pope not only paid up, but was "munificent"
besides.

Finally, Mantegna returned to Mantua, where he built himself a
magnificent house painted inside and out by his own hand, and in which
he lived in great esteem and honour until his death in 1506. He was
buried in the church of his patron St. Andrew, where his monument in
bronze and several of his pictures are still to be seen.

The famous frieze of "The Triumph of Julius Cæsar"--which is now in
Hampton Court Palace, having been bought by King Charles I. from the
Duke of Mantua--was first designed by Mantegna for the hall of the
palace of San Sebastiano at Mantua, and commenced in 1488, before he
went to Rome, he finishing it after his return in 1492. There are
nine panels or compartments in this frieze: "They are painted in
distemper on twilled linen, which has been stretched on frames, and
originally placed against the wall with arabesque pilasters dividing
the compartments."

Mr. Alfred Marks issued a set of photographs some years ago, but
they are not very clear, There is a good set of Italian woodcuts in
chiaroscuro of the designs, by Andrea Andreani, done while the frieze
was in the palace at Mantua, which have been engraved in various ways
at different times with very various results.

The whole design is extremely rich and sumptuous, and full of the
extraordinary designing power and command of inventive detail so
characteristic of Mantegna.

"In the first compartment we have the opening of the procession:
trumpets, incense burning, standards borne aloft by the victorious
soldiers.

"In the second, the statues of the gods carried off from the temples
of the enemy; battering rams, implements of war, heaps of glittering
armour carried on men's shoulders, or borne aloft in chariots.

"In the third compartment, more splendid trophies of a similar kind;
huge vases filled with gold coin, tripods, etc.

"In the fourth, more such trophies, with the oxen crowned with garlands
for the sacrifice.

"In the fifth are four elephants adorned with rich garlands of fruits
and flowers, bearing on their backs magnificent candelabra, and
attended by beautiful youths.

"In the sixth are figures bearing vases, and others displaying the arms
of the vanquished.

"The seventh shows us the unhappy captives, who, according to the
barbarous Roman custom, were exhibited on these occasions to the
scoffing and exulting populace. There is here a group of female
captives of all ages, among them a dejected bride-like figure, a woman
carrying her infant children, and a mother her little boy, who lifts up
his foot as if he had hurt it.

"In the eighth we have a group of singers and musicians.

[Illustration: ANDREA MANTEGNA. PART OF "THE TRIUMPH OF JULIUS CÆSAR"
(FROM THE WOODCUT BY ANDREA ANDREANI).]

"In the ninth, and last, appears the Conqueror, Julius Cæsar, in a
sumptuous chariot richly adorned with sculptures; he is surrounded
by a crowd of figures, and among them is seen a youth bearing aloft
a standard on which is inscribed the boastful words: 'Veni, vidi,
vici'--'I came, I saw, I conquered.'"[12]

[12] "Early Italian Painters."--MRS. JAMESON.

The care and science of the draughtsmanship is as noticeable as
the richness of the design. The perspective being carefully given
as of figures actually seen above the eye-line, and with all the
sumptuousness and the mixed elements of the design there is a certain
restraint and monumental severity which preserves its dignity.

Rubens, when at Mantua in 1606, was struck by the splendour of the
work, and gave a Rubensesque rendering of one of the compartments,
which is in the National Gallery; but it loses the peculiar dignity,
serenity, and decorative character of Mantegna's work in the somewhat
florid and bumptious style of the late Flemish master; but there is no
doubt that Rubens entertained a real admiration for the work, and was
instrumental in getting Charles I. to purchase it.

Among Mantegna's chief works may be named "La Madonna della Vittoria,"
now in the Louvre, painted as an altar-piece for the church built
by the Marquis of Mantua, to commemorate his victory on the retreat
of Charles VIII. from Italy; the Crucifixion, also in the Louvre,
containing the artist's own portrait in the half-length figure of the
soldier seen in front; the fine allegory of the Vices flying before
Wisdom, Chastity, and Philosophy; and the beautiful Parnassus, which
were painted for Isabella d'Este, and filled panels in a room in her
palace at Mantua, as has recently been discovered. Mr. Armstrong has
had a fine large scale model of one side of this room set up in the
South Kensington Museum, to show the effect of the decorations complete
of Mantegna's allegories (represented by copies). One must not forget
either the wonderful Circumcision, at Florence, or, in our own National
Gallery, the Virgin and Child enthroned.

Besides his paintings there exists a multitude of drawings, designs,
and plates of his own engraving (an art which he took up when he
was sixty years old). These include the fifth, sixth, and seventh
compartments of his own "Triumph of Julius Cæsar."

Perhaps the greatest individual mind of the Italian Renascence was
Leonardo da Vinci, who was so distinguished in so many different
departments of thought and art; and while he summed up and passed
beyond the philosophical and scientific knowledge of his age, and
experimented in nearly all directions, and was at once architect,
chemist, engineer, musician, poet, his fame still rests upon his
achievements in painting, which are distinguished by a peculiar
refinement, extreme finish, and intellectual and poetic quality. He was
born at Vinci, from which he takes his name, near Florence--that Athens
of the Middle Ages--in the lower Val d'Arno, on the borders of the
territory of Pistoia. His father was an advocate, not rich, but able
to give his son the advantage of the best instructors in the science
and art of that period. He studied under Andrea Verrocchio (famous for
his superb bronze equestrian statue of the Coleoni at Venice), himself
uniting the arts of sculptor, chaser in metal, and painter. There is a
story that Leonardo as a youth was set to paint an angel in a picture
of Verrocchio, and so outdid his master that the latter never touched
painting again.

A weird fantastic vein which appears in Leonardo's work, especially
in his love for inventing grotesques, comes out in the tale of the
fig tree. A peasant on his father's estate cut down an old fig tree
and brought a section of the trunk to have something painted upon it
for his cottage. Leonardo determined to do something terrible and
striking--a beautiful horror which should rival the mythical Medusa's
head (which he afterwards painted), and, aided by his natural history
studies and the reptiles he collected, he produced a sort of monster
or chimera which frightened his father into fits and was therefore
considered too good for the peasant's cottage, and afterwards sold for
much. The peasant was persuaded to give up his fig tree and put off
with a wooden shield painted with a device of a hart transfixed with an
arrow.

In a letter to the Duke of Milan, who had invited him to his court,
he thus recites his qualifications as an artist: "I understand the
different modes of sculpture in marble, bronze, and terra-cotta. In
painting, also, I may esteem myself equal to anyone, let him be who he
may."

Of his paintings the widest-known, through engravings, is "The Last
Supper," which was painted on the wall of the refectory of the
Dominican Convent of the Madonna delle Grazie at Milan, occupying two
years, from 1496 to 1498--but the fresco has suffered by time and
restoration, and but little of it is now left. There is a fine study
of the head of Christ.

[Illustration: _Brogi Photo._]

LEONARDO DA VINCI. FRESCO OF "THE LAST SUPPER."]

The picture of the Virgin of the Rocks and the portrait, Madonna Lisa
del Gioconde, in the Louvre, show the quality of his painting--the
characteristic subtlety of expression, mysteriousness, and very
elaborate finish.

After his return to Florence began his rivalry with another gigantic
artistic personality of that time of wonders--Michael Angelo, who was
then, in the early years of the sixteenth century, about twenty-two
years younger. The strong but jealous individuality of both, in spite
of admiration for each other's genius, unfortunately stood in the way
of friendship and co-operation. They remained rivals and competitors.
They contended for the painting of the great Council Hall in the
Palazzo Vecchio at Florence, and both prepared cartoons. Leonardo
chose for his subject the defeat of the Milanese by the Florentine
army in 1440; Michael Angelo a party of Florentine soldiers surprised
while bathing in the Arno. Leonardo's design was chosen, but he spent
so much time in experimenting and in preparing the wall to receive
oil-painting, which he preferred to fresco, that, changes of government
happening, the scheme was finally abandoned, and both cartoons, though
shown for several years, were finally lost, only a copy of Michael
Angelo's remaining, and an engraving from it.

The experimental nature of Leonardo seems to have prevented his
completing many works, while he was full of projects of all kinds, too
many of which were never realized. The fine cartoon of the Virgin and
St. Anna was never painted. This cartoon, or a good copy, is now in the
possession of the Royal Academy.

[Illustration: _Alinari Photo._]

LEONARDO DA VINCI. STUDY FOR THE HEAD OF CHRIST.]

In 1514 Leonardo was, like so many great Italian artists, invited
to Rome by the pope (then Leo X.), but more in his character of
philosopher, mechanic, and alchemist than as a painter. There he met
Raphael, then at the height of his fame, engaged in painting the Stanzi
of the Vatican. But Leonardo was ill-pleased on the whole with his
Roman visit. The pope was said to have become dissatisfied with his
speculative and dilatory habits. His old rival, Michael Angelo, was
there, and finally he left and set out for Pavia, where Francis I. of
France then held his Court. By him Leonardo was received with honour
and favour, and went with him to France as principal Court painter,
only, however, as it proved, to die there on May 2nd, 1516.

In the work of Leonardo's great rival, Michael Angelo, the art of the
Italian Renascence may be said to have reached its culminating point,
and after him decline sets in. It is as if the wonderful structure
of inventive artistic genius had been piled by the life labours of
generations to an ambitious and dangerous height, and at last had given
way under the strain, or perhaps, like the sun-flower, the same force
which raises the splendid rayed head and enables it to outface the sun,
at last forces it earthwards again.

Michael Angelo Buonarotti was born at Settignano, near Florence, in the
year 1474. His ambition, personal pride, and masterfulness of temper
possibly may be traced to his progenitors--a once noble family. It was,
too, against the prejudice of his father that he finally decided his
career, becoming the apprentice of Ghirlandajo, It was in the days
when Lorenzo the Magnificent ruled over Florence, and the young Michael
Angelo became a student in the Academy, founded upon the strength of a
collection of antique marbles, busts, statues, fragments in the palace
and gardens of that prince. This alone would be sufficient to give a
strong classical bias to his style.

[Illustration: _Alinari Photo._]

BUST OF MICHAEL ANGELO BUONAROTTI (S. CROCE, FLORENCE).]

There is a story of Michael Angelo's first attempt in marble when he
was about fifteen--a copy of an antique mask of an old laughing faun:
he treated this with a spirit and vivacity of his own, and Lorenzo de
Medici was struck by its cleverness; but he said, "Thou shouldst have
remembered that old folks do not retain all their teeth: some of them
are always wanting." The young sculptor at once struck one or two out,
giving the mask a more grotesque expression.

On this evidence of cleverness Lorenzo took entire charge of Michael
Angelo. With the marks of princely favour, however, he was destined to
carry another mark, not so agreeable, ever after, owing to, as some
say, the jealousy of Torregiano, a fellow pupil, who in a quarrel
struck him, some accounts say with his fist, some with a mallet, and
so gave him the broken nose which is characteristic of the portraits
of Michael Angelo. Torregiano in consequence suffered banishment from
Florence. In his own account of the affray to Benvenuto Cellini he
declares the provocation came from Michael Angelo. The favour and
protection of Lorenzo did not last long, as in his eighteenth year
Michael Angelo lost his patron by death.

It was Lorenzo's son Piero who set him one wintry day to make a statue
out of the snow--rather a wasteful proceeding for a Michael Angelo,
though, as the late Mr. Walter Pater has said, there is a certain
reminiscence of the feeling of the snow statue in the suggestive and
half-finished figures of the tombs of the Medici.

[Illustration: _A. Braun & Co. Photo._]

MICHAEL ANGELO. "THE CREATION OF MAN" (CEILING, SISTINE CHAPEL).]

With the fall of the Medici family and their exile from Florence,
Michael Angelo, as one of their retainers, had to fly also, and took
refuge in Bologna, where he pursued his work as a sculptor. At the age
of twenty-two he produced the "Pietà" in marble, now in St. Peter's at
Rome.

In 1502 he was again recalled to Florence. In 1504 took place the
competition with Leonardo of the cartoons for the Palazzo Vecchio,
already spoken of.

In 1506 Michael Angelo was called to Rome by Pope Julius II. The pope
employed him to design the sumptuous sculptural monument destined for
his own tomb, for which the famous colossal Moses was executed, and the
slaves or prisoners, but these, like the tomb, never were finished.

But his great work in Rome, the great work of his life, was the
decoration of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the walls of which had
been painted by earlier artists of the Florentine school: Signorelli,
Cosimo Rosselli, Perugino, Ghirlandajo, Botticelli. The ceiling
remained unadorned, and now Michael Angelo was called upon to design
his great sacred epic of painting, having to deal with a space 150 feet
in length by 50 feet in breadth, upon the concave surface of a round
vault, without any architectural or structural enrichment or division
save the windows. The theme was the fall and redemption of mankind
according to the Bible history.

[Illustration: MICHAEL ANGELO. CEILING OF THE SISTINE CHAPEL.]

At first it appears that Michael Angelo, as it is said, doubtful of
his own skill in fresco, called in the aid of painters from Florence to
aid him in carrying out his design, but was so disappointed with their
work that he effaced it and dismissed them. He then shut himself up
and proceeded to devote himself to the gigantic work alone, preparing
the colours with his own hands, showing how thorough an individualist
he must have been, contrary to the practice of his own time, which
was to work with pupils and assistants. He began with the end towards
the door, and in two compartments first painted "The Deluge" and
"The Vineyard of Noah"; the figures are on a smaller scale, which
he afterwards abandoned for a larger, bolder treatment. He spent
twenty-two months in painting the ceiling, exclusive of the time spent
in preparing the cartoons. The work was uncovered to the public view on
All Saints' Day, 1512.

The sculpturesque and architectural feeling which, really stronger
in Michael Angelo's work than that of the painter, is very decidedly
manifested both in the general plan of the design and in individual
figures and details. In order to bring so great a scheme into
comprehensive form it was necessary to divide and subdivide the blank
ceiling with painted architectural mouldings and ribs into spaces
and panels. The titanic youthful figures placed between, upon the
ledges and brackets of the framework of the subjects, are very fine
and characteristic in style, and essentially sculptors' designs; each
would work out as a separate statue, though for all that each single
figure, as each figure of every group, bears a certain relation to
the rest and fills a harmonious and necessary place in the scheme. The
colour is subdued and quiet. It has a gray, cool effect in the chapel,
gray blues, pale greens and whites being much used in the draperies,
and the chief decorative effect being gained by the opposition of
brown flesh tones to the broad, light marble-like framework, or the
landscape and sky backgrounds of the subject panels. This great work
was completed by Michael Angelo in his thirty-ninth year.

[Illustration: _Alinari Photo._]

MICHAEL ANGELO. "THE DELPHIC SIBYL" (SISTINE CHAPEL).]

[Illustration: _Alinari Photo._]

MICHAEL ANGELO. TOMB OF GIULIANO DE MEDICI. FLORENCE.]

[Illustration: _Alinari Photo._]

MICHAEL ANGELO. TOMB OF LORENZO DE MEDICI. FLORENCE.]

Another great monumental work in which his architectural and
sculptural genius come out are the tombs of the Medici in the Church
of San Lorenzo. The seated figures of Lorenzo and Giuliano de Medici
are placed in the recesses of a Renascence arcade, in front of which
are marble sarcophagi, and upon the lids recline figures of Night and
Morning, and of Dawn and Twilight respectively. They are very bold
and powerful in design, and extremely characteristic in style and
treatment, having a certain titanic energy and tragic unrest, as well
as pensive mystery, about them, which belong to the strong personality
of their designer.

Poet, as well as painter, architect, and sculptor, we see him moving
amid the political troubles and vicissitudes of his time, a proud and
stormy spirit, a man of extraordinary energy, which impresses itself
upon all his works. The designer of St. Peter's, the painter of the
Sistine, and anon as engineer called to fortify Florence; austere and
abstemious of habit, proud and imperious, and yet tenderly solicitous
for his aged father, and devoted to his old servant Urbino, whom he
tenderly nursed in his last illness.

The great artist lived till eighty-nine, and died in Rome, the scene of
his monumental labours, on February 18th, 1564.

As showing the alertness and activity of his mind in old age, he is
said to have made a drawing of himself as an aged man in a go-cart,
with the motto, _Ancora impara_ (still learning), a true emblem for a
great man who, in spite of his knowledge, feels that in view of the
unknown he knows nothing.

These are a few, a very few, individualities out of the drama of
Italian art, briefly sketched, but distinct as they are, they are not
detached like isolated statues upon pedestals from the characteristics
of their age. They are great because they embody those characteristics;
they are like rich jewels strung upon a golden chain--the golden
chain of inventive tradition which unites them--which, while leaving
each artist free in his own sphere, brings his work into relation and
harmony with that of his contemporaries, his predecessors, and his
successors. Some may prefer to take the jewels separately and admire
them without reference to the chain; but, I think, to fully understand
and appreciate the genius of individual artists one must never leave
out of account their relation to their time, and its influences, the
relation of their particular art to the state of the arts generally;
for among these are the factors which have contributed to make them
what we find them in their works; just as the colour and relief of a
figure or a head depends largely upon its background.



CHAPTER X.--OF THE COLLECTIVE INFLUENCE


IN my last chapter I compared tradition in art to a golden chain, and
the striking individualities which arise from time to time as the
jewels upon such a chain. The history of art and the evolution of
design may be regarded either from the point of view of the jewels
or from the point of view of the ordinary links; and if we wish to
take a just and comprehensive view I think we must not only consider
the luminous points, but the system--the links--by which they are
connected and related. Looking out into the clear night we see a vast
mass of brilliant stars of all degrees of magnitude apparently flung
into space without order or relation, but the studies of astronomers
have revealed that they are the central suns of systems around which
revolve planets invisible to us; but these star-suns themselves become
lost, and merged in the countless myriads that form the silvery
cloud we call the milky way. So it is in the history of art and the
evolution of design. At first we are attracted by the brilliant
personalities, surrounded by satellites, that seem to sum up in their
work whole epochs, and remain typical and central points in the wide
spaces of time; but further research reveals their relation to other
personalities not so distinct, on whom the full light of popular favour
has not flashed, and presently we get beyond personalities altogether,
and in the work of remote antiquity see only the results of the labours
of generations, purely typical forms of art, the monumental record of
races, of nations, of dynasties, the work, not of individual men, but
of collective _man_.

Of such we may find examples in the art of ancient Egypt, of Assyria,
of Persia, and in the archaic and primitive art of all kinds, from the
fragments of pottery from the plain of Troy to the carved paddles of
the Polynesian islanders.

The art and craft of building--architecture, the fundamental art, can
only be traced back to its primitive forms in different countries
as practised among different races and peoples. The origin of its
distinctive styles, and its principal constructive features, were
determined long ago under the influence of climate and local materials,
by the collective thought and co-operative labour of mankind schooled
by necessity and experience.

Yes, it is a history of constant adaptation to conditions and united
labour and invention from our primitive ancestor, who improved upon
the natural shelter of the tree by interlacing its pendent branches
with other branches and stakes fixed in the ground; who burned the ends
of their timbers, so that as piles they could be driven more easily
into the mud to support the platforms of the wattled lake dwellings,
when there were no steel axes. From the early colonists of our race,
the Aryan wagoners, who perhaps took the idea of the primitive gable
and roof timbers from the tilt of the wagon, or the supports of the
tent-coverings; from the ingenuity of the Mongolian settlers by the
riverside, making the framing of their houses and supporting their
roofs by the bamboo, utilizing the hollow canes for the jointing and
bracketing of the supports, and terminating the ends ornamentally
by inserting grotesquely carved heads. The chain of invention is
unbroken up to modern scientific engineering and calculated principles
of building construction, which but sums up and systematizes the
collective experience of ages.

We see, too, the collective hand of tradition and the adherence to
accustomed forms in the adoption or imitation of features of timber
construction in stone construction and ornament by the ancients; as,
for instance, in the form of the Persian capital from Persepolis, and
in the dentil ornament of classical architecture mentioned in the
preceding chapters.

Out of necessity springs construction; out of construction springs
ornament. We cannot find the individual in either, both being the
result of slow and gradual evolution, requiring long periods of
time and continuity of custom, life, and habit, and the continuous
associated labour of communities, wherein the individual is of less
importance than the maintenance of the social organism. At first the
preservation of the gens, the tribe, the protection and service of the
village community, the handing on of tradition and folk-lore, until,
with conquest and extension and consolidation into a nation, settled
industries, and religious faith and ritual, the desire arises to clothe
the mythical and spiritual ideas of a people in permanent monumental
form and colour.

A cathedral represents the collective art, work, and thought of
centuries. The names of its builders, its masons, its carvers, its
glaziers, are lost; the heads and hands that carried out the work,
whose invention and feeling, whose very life have been wrought into
the stone and the wood and the glass, have left no other record. An
abbot's or a bishop's name may be given as having planned or raised
the money for this choir or that porch at different times, but the
artists and craftsmen who did the work generally remain unknown. They
worked in their craft in harmony with the workers in kindred crafts,
and as brother members of their guild, and instead of building up
merely personal reputations really evolved collectively the distinctive
architectural style and decorative types of their age.

This is one reason why a Gothic cathedral is so impressive. We see the
growth of an organic style, starting, perhaps, with the round arch
and massive Norman pier, and passing through the transition to the
lancet arch of the early pointed to the moulded arch and the clustered
shaft and foliated capital, with the ribbed, vaulted roof covering
the long nave with a network of recurring constructive lines, and
meeting overhead in carved bosses, or spreading into Tudor fans. Or we
may mark the gradual evolution of the window from the round headed,
deep-set loop-hole of the Byzantine and Norman period into the long
lancet-pointed panel of geometric glass; and see then how by degrees
the light, first divided into two by a shaft, suggested the clustering
of many lights together, as in great western or eastern windows,
dividing them by mullions breaking into geometric tracery in the
pointed heads; and thus raising a beautiful pierced screen of stone to
hold the coloured glass and reveal its splendour against the full light
of the sky.

Can we name the inventors of these changes, the evolvers of these
beauties of our constructive art? Do we not feel that by their very
nature they could not have been claimed by any individual mind alone
or have reached perfection in a single lifetime? They are the natural
result of a free and vital condition in art, moved by the unity of
faith and feeling, wherein men work together as brothers in unity, each
free in his own sphere, but never isolated, and never losing his sense
of relation to the rest.

Thus we get the harmonious effect of a great orchestra, where, though
every variety of instrument may be played, all are subordinated, or
co-ordinated, to the musical scheme, and produce that impression of
power and sweetness by cadences that may be now soft as the whispers of
the summer winds over a field of wheat, and anon sweep like a tempest
with the fury of thundering waves upon the utmost shores of sound.

The emotions produced by such forms of collective art lift the mind
out of the personal region altogether; they are akin, indeed, to the
feelings awakened in the presence of wild nature. We seem to hear the
voice of Time himself out of the caverns of the past, the song of
life, like that of a child in the sunlight, and the half-articulate,
pathetic murmur of the voices of birds and beasts; the hush of the wood
at noon-tide, the transfiguration of the afterglow, and the mystery of
night.

In the primitive ornament of all peoples we find the same or similar
typical forms constantly recurring, the germs of pattern design
afterwards developed, complicated, and refined upon: the chequer,
the zigzag, the fret, the circle, the spiral volute, the twisting
scroll--can we ascribe their invention to any individual mind or hand?
Can the mechanician tell us who were the inventors of the wheel, the
lever, the mode of producing fire, the canoe, the paddle, the spade,
the plough, the vessel of clay, the axe, the hammer, the needle, or
even spinning and weaving? Yet they are inventions of incalculable
importance to human life, which without them could not maintain itself,
much less build upon them, as it were, the vast and complex structure
of modern invention, of science, and of art.

A form in ornament once found, however, is repeated. The eye grows
accustomed to it, takes delight in it, and expects its recurrence.
It becomes established by use and wont, and is often associated
with fundamental ideas of life and the universe itself. Thus we get
traditional ornament, handed on from generation to generation, its
origin and meaning perhaps lost--like the pictorial significance of the
individual letters of our alphabet, which everybody uses, but which
require a special kind of study and research to explain their real
meaning and original forms.

Side by side with this liking for the accustomed, this demand for the
expected, appears to have grown up another feeling, a love of change
and variety equally natural and human.

[Illustration: NATURAL VARIATION IN REPETITION OF ORNAMENTAL FORMS.
PRIMARY SCHOOL CHILDREN DRAWING ON THE BLACKBOARD, PHILADELPHIA.]

[Illustration: NATURAL VARIATION IN REPETITION OF ORNAMENTAL FORMS.
PRIMARY SCHOOL CHILDREN DRAWING ON THE BLACKBOARD, PHILADELPHIA.]

In ornament variation may at first be unconscious, and might have
arisen from the natural tendency of the hand to vary a form in
repeating it (as our own experience will tell us), while it requires
an effort to reproduce its exact counterpart. This tendency to vary the
same form, in repeating it, by different individuals is illustrated
by the little American children cultivating their facility of hand by
drawing on the blackboard. This natural variation, having a rich and
pleasant effect, is encouraged until conscious and studied invention
and ingenuity of individual artists in the varying of designs take its
place.

Tradition in design may no doubt be largely attributed to the influence
of the workshop, or what we should now call technical necessities,
the use of certain tools and materials giving a certain character of
their own in the rendering of form, as one may see even in the case of
such a matter as quality of outline (important enough in all design)
if we compare the differences between a form drawn with the pencil,
the pen, with the brush, or with charcoal. A certain typical treatment
becomes naturally evolved in the course of practice which seems proper
to each method, while the treatment is sure to be slightly varied in
the hands of every individual. Of course a strong artistic personality
may greatly modify tradition in any art, though such an one is seldom
entirely free from its influence; and the greatest artists in past
times have generally built upon it, and have become what they are
rather because of an existing vital tradition admitting of individual
variation.

This was largely the case, I think, with the great masters of
the Italian Renascence, some of whom I spoke of in the previous
chapter. The general standard of excellence was maintained by their
contemporaries. A great individual artist arises and only by degrees
distinguishes himself by his personal choice and treatment, his
variation of practice or method, grafting on to the stem perhaps
some new rare flower. He raises the standard higher, he imports new
elements, he influences tradition, and the lamp is handed on.

Giotto's art would not have been what it was but for the Byzantine
influence under which he was trained. Without losing certain fine
qualities of the dignity and serenity of the earlier art, he infused
fresh life and prepared the way for the greater freedom and naturalism
of his successors. The various schools of painting are closely linked,
and if the links were complete we should perhaps be more struck with
the resemblances, the similarities, than the differences.

The great structure of style is raised stone by stone: the labour of
generations of artists gradually advances the standard of excellence.
Now and then a greater mind appears, and by some new thought or method,
fresh sentiment or point of view, raises the standard higher, and so an
epoch is marked in art.

Great cleavages from time to time occur which disturb the orderly
progression and connection, like cataclysms in nature--earthquakes
and upheavals which break the continuity of the geologic beds and
throw them upon different levels; but the strong social and collective
tendency in man is always to repair and reform, to re-unite scattered
fragments and to form new traditions both in life and art.

In an age which has seen the development of an organized industrial
system of extraordinary and minute division of labour under the factory
system, and has now entered an epoch of further specialization of
labour with the invention and use of complicated machinery driven by
steam and electric power, in association with which labour becomes not
only specialized but almost automatic, we perhaps hardly need reminding
of the collective influence, since for the effective supply of the big
world-market _all_ products are the result of collective human labour.

Such an organization of machine production as every effective factory
displays, of collective labour, though not organized for the collective
benefit, but rather wastefully contending with other factories
for private profit-making in a fierce and unscrupulous warfare of
commercial competition--such organizations can hardly be favourable
to the production of fine and beautiful art. The art, the wonder, the
invention, if anywhere, must really be sought in the means rather
than the ends. The machines which produce our wares are marvels of
ingenuity, of mechanical adaptation, of economy of force, but the
finished product is often most depressing. One may see in print works,
for instance, those wonderful colour printing machines capable of
printing seven, and even twelve, colours from the rollers in succession
upon the cloth as it passes through, often turning out extremely tame
and commonplace patterns on cheap material, which look much more
interesting as engraved upon the polished copper roller than they ever
do on the cloth.

Well, it may be said, the remedy is with us--with the designers.
We have only to use our invention in producing good and attractive
designs, adapted to the process and material, and the factory and the
machine will do the rest.

[Illustration: AXMINSTER CARPET WEAVING.]

It is conceivable, certainly, that where the object is _solely_ to
produce something at once beautiful and serviceable, by a chain of
associated and intelligent labour, with the most ingenious machines at
the command of the designers, wonderful things might be done; but it
is a question whether, if a design be ever so good, we should not grow
tired of it if we saw it produced in enormous quantities. Yet _that_,
after all, is the object of our factories, of our improved machinery,
to produce in enormous quantities--not primarily to supply the world's
needs either, but in order to sell at a profit. Art, however, is only
concerned with quality--to make everything as good of its kind as
possible, to seek variety, beauty, appropriateness.

[Illustration: TAPESTRY CARPET WEAVING.]

We have yet to see whether industrial production, organized on the
modern system, is equal to the old handicraftsman with his simple
methods, as far as artistic results are concerned.

So far the Indian, with his hand-block printing his pattern on his
strip of muslin or cotton, or dipping his tied cloth into the dye,
produces more artistic results than all our wonderful machinery.
Mechanical perfection is one thing, and artistic feeling quite another,
and the more as an end a people seeks after the first the less it is
likely to care for or understand the other.

The chain of production, too, may be mechanically complete, as in our
best factories it may be said to be as far as organization goes, yet
we may be still far from the finer sympathetic chain of _artistic_
association by means of which the best work is produced. In this
we must include the stimulus of external beauty and harmonious
surroundings, as well as individual freedom.

Such a condition of things might have been found in any craft's-guild,
and seen in full working order in any workshop of the Middle Ages.

Such an interior as is pictured by Etienne Delaune, a celebrated
goldsmith of Paris, as late as the sixteenth century, of his own
atelier, engraved by himself, shows us a group of artist craftsmen
working together with all the tools and implements of their art around
them. Of the three seated at the bench one is engraving or chasing;
another at work upon a watch, drilling apparently; while the third
is doing some fine _repoussé_ work. The young man at the furnace is
probably enamelling, and a boy at the wheel appears to be wire-drawing.
A great variety of tools are placed in exemplary order upon the
walls--pincers, pliers, files, shears, hammers, punches, a small
anvil, crucibles, and a pair of bellows for the furnace.

[Illustration: INTERIOR OF THE ATELIER OF ETIENNE DELAUNE, PARIS, 1576.]

There are still some crafts which are worked in this simple artistic
co-operative way, and have undergone but little changes of method
since the Middle Ages. Indeed, one might say _all_ the finer artistic
handicrafts; and it is noteworthy that the tools used are of the same
type--the sculptor's mallet and chisel, the painter's palette and
brushes, for instance, have remained practically unchanged in form from
time immemorial.

Those who have seen glass blowing and the formation of glass vessels
must have been struck by the skill and celerity displayed by the
craftsmen at the furnace mouth, under very trying conditions, and also
by the necessity of effective help at certain movements, when the
molten glass is made to revolve upon the bar by one man, while the
shape is given to it by another. The master craftsman generally seems
to have two assistants, but the amount of co-operation necessary in
forming the vessels depends much upon their size, small pieces being
completed by one alone.

There are glass works still working, such as those at Whitefriars,
which have been there since the sixteenth century. The circle of
furnace mouths, the ruddy glow falling upon the faces and figures of
the workers, form a striking scene. By a skill of manipulation that
might well appear magical seen for the first time, the craftsmen
produce vessels of any variety of shape, constantly returning the work
as it progresses to the fire. Though the work seems to lend itself to
the varying invention of the designer, they can reproduce the section
sketched in chalk on a black panel at the side of the furnace in a
completed form to exact measurement.

[Illustration: GLASS BLOWING.]

The art of the printer of books, to which so much interest has of late
been drawn, and which has been revived as an art by Mr. William Morris
at his Kelmscott Press, affords another instance of the necessity of
intelligent and artistic co-operation.

[Illustration: INTERIOR OF A PRINTING OFFICE IN THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY
(FROM JOST AMMAN).]

To begin with, there is the paper; a good tough handmade paper, like
drawing paper, is wanted for rich and bright impressions of type or
woodcuts. This must be made from the best linen rags, and each sheet is
manipulated by the hands, by means of a wired frame of wood dipped into
the pulp and cunningly shaken so that it (the pulp) shall spread over
the wires evenly to form, when dry, the sheet of paper.

Then the type-founding must be looked after. Lettering of good form
must be designed, and so designed that each letter must be separate and
yet capable of forming words without undue gaps, and also legible pages
of agreeable type, good in the mass and good in the single letters
and words. The type-founder and designer must therefore be a man of
taste and cultivation, he must have a knowledge of alphabets, of early
printing and of historic MSS. and calligraphy, and he must be a capable
designer, able to appreciate the niceties of line, the value of a
curve, of balance and mass, proportion and appropriate scale.

Mr. Morris had several typical ancient types photographed upon a large
scale so as to more easily compare their design and structure, and
founded his own designs for his Kelmscott founts more or less upon
them, giving them, whether Roman or Gothic, a distinctive character
of their own. This is about as near as one can get in our conscious,
selective way to old methods, in which individuals from time to time
introduced small variations, while adhering to the general style
and form, so that the collective traditional influence and historic
continuity is preserved with the cumulative advantages of individual
invention.

Of the placing of the type-page upon the paper, regarding the double
page of the open book as the true unit, I have before spoken, and a
great deal of art comes into the setting of the type, so as to disperse
it without leaving "rivers" or gaps--much as a designer of a repeating
pattern would seek to avoid running into awkward accidental lines.
Constructive principle would here come in, and should be serviceable
to the printer in enabling him to preserve a pleasant and harmonious
ornamental effect in his page.

The designer of printers' ornaments and book illustrations, too, if he
wishes to make his work an essential and harmonious part of the book
is, while free in his own sphere, bound to remember the conditions
under which his work will be produced and seen; and, so far from
regarding these conditions as restraints, should rather regard them
as sources of suggestion in the treatment of his designs, making his
initial letters and decorative borders and headings natural links to
unite the formal ornamental element of the type-page with the informal
inclosed panel of figure design which, in its treatment of line or
black and white mass, may be but an extension of the same principles
found in any individual letter of the type-mass. The mechanical reason
for this is, of course, that it simplifies the process of printing,
type and woodcut being subject to the same pressure.

With good paper and ink, with good, well-cut type and woodcut ornaments
and illustrations, the success of the book now depends upon the actual
printer, as defective printing, poor impressions, the blocks not up
to full strength, the impressions blurred, would spoil the effect of
the best work. Bright, clean impressions are wanted, and much care and
skill are required to secure such, as well as time to allow the sheets
to dry well before being made up into book form.

[Illustration: GOLD-TOOLED BOOK COVER. DESIGNED BY T. J.
COBDEN-SANDERSON.]

Finally the binder takes up the tale of collective skill necessary to
the production of that one of the most beautiful of beautiful things--a
beautiful book.

[Illustration: GOLD-TOOLED BOOK COVER. DESIGNED BY T. J.
COBDEN-SANDERSON.]

Here, of course, an immense amount of art may be called in over and
above neat and careful craftsmanship in the preliminary but most
necessary stages of "forwarding," as Mr. Cobden-Sanderson has told
us. Beautiful binding, indeed, may display some of the most refined
qualities of decorative art in disposition of line and pattern, while
it affords in gold tooling another instance of strict limitation of
method lending itself to free invention and fancy.

The artist is under the necessity of building up his lines and
constructing his forms by the repetition of the impress of certain
tools, the most resourceful designer being shown by the decorative
use he is able to make of few and simple forms. An examination of the
designs by Mr. Cobden-Sanderson, given here, will show that they are
built up of very few units. A flower, a leaf, a stem, and straight
lines of borders with the lettering, which is also an important
ornamental unit. Everything depends upon the taste and skill with which
they are used.

From the single example of the chain of associated labour necessary
to the production of a book, we may see then how much depends upon
intelligent and harmonious co-operation in collective work. Where each
process is so important, where the skill and taste of each worker is so
necessary to the complete result, one can hardly say that one is more
important than another--certainly not less essential. We see, too, how
_inter_-dependent the work of each is. Each stone in the structure must
be well and truly laid, or sound progress and satisfactory completion
are impossible. Art in all its manifold developments always teaches us
this. Fault or failure at one stage may ruin the whole work.

Are the foundations less important than the wall; is the wall less
important than the window; is the roof less essential to the house than
the carving of its porch, or the painting of its interior?

If we realize the close and necessary links that unite all workers,
that are essential to the production of things useful or beautiful,
or both, should not we do well to strive to make the association
closer and more complete than it is, and thus hand on the lamp of good
tradition in design and workmanship, however far we must look forward
to the enlargement of our horizon and the harmonizing of human life,
and its freedom from the sinister powers and false ideals that now
oppress and deceive it? And if we accept the truth that art is unity,
and that what the unit is the mass may become, should we not strive,
each in his sphere, whatever our main work may be, to do it worthily
and well? remembering that it is better to do a small thing well than a
big thing badly, and that it is the spirit in which our work is done,
not the place it may accidentally occupy, or the class to which it may
belong, or the reward it may receive in the ordinary estimation, that
makes it great or little.



INDEX


  Ahmedabad, carved stone lattice window at, 182, 183.

  Alciati's "Emblems," 253-256.

  Alhambra, the, 186, 187.

  Amiens, sculpture at, 270, 273.

  Amman, Jost, 367.

  Amphora, Greek, 80, 81.

  Angels, Christian, 244.

  Andreæ, Hieronymus, 284.

  Andreani, Andrea, 330, 331.

  Anthemion ornament, Greek, 49, 52.

  Apelles, 303, 304.

  Arabian invasion of Persia, 175, 179;
    casement, 180;
    carved pulpit, 212, 213, 215.

  Arch, round, 5, 16;
    pointed, 5, 26.

  Arches, typical forms of, 30.

  Architecture, the original basis of design, 3;
    typical constructive forms in, 5;
    Greek, 6-16;
    Roman, 16-20;
    Byzantine, 20-25;
    Norman, 26-28;
    Gothic, 28-46;
    relationship between, and the art of design generally, 46, 47.

  Ardebil, Holy Carpet of the mosque at, 175-177.

  Assyrian border, 49, 50;
    enamelled tile, 49, 51;
    sculpture, 192, 203, 204;
    treatment of natural forms, 198-202.

  Auxerre, sculpture at, 270, 272.

  Axmouth Church, tower of, 64.


  Bacchus, visit of, to Icarius, 18, 201.

  Barge-board, use of the, 61.

  Bates, Harry, 100.

  Bellini, Jacopo, 328.

  Beni Hasan, tomb of, 195, 265.

  Benson, W. A. S., 70.

  Bewick, Thomas, revival of the woodcut under, 119, 294.

  Birds, Egyptian treatment of, 264;
    Japanese treatment of, 264, 266, 267;
    Bewick's treatment of, 294.

  Blake, William, 119, 120, 294.

  Bohemia, old towns of, 188, 189.

  Book-binding, 370-372.

  Books, decoration of, 117-121, 133-141.

  Botticelli, Sandro, 323-326.

  Bouchardon, statue of Louis XV. by, 99, 101.

  Brasses, heraldry in, 252;
    characteristics of design in, 290-293.

  Bronze casting, 98-101.

  Brown, Ford Madox, cartoons for glass by, 152, 153;
    drawings by, 300.

  Bruges, the Belfry of, 62;
    grate back from, 67, 68;
    iron-work at, 103;
    brass at, 291, 292.

  "Buch von den Sieben Todsünden," 117.

  Burgmair, Hans, 284.

  Burne-Jones, Sir Edward, studies by, 126.

  Byzantine art, 20-25, 141, 239.


  Cairo, casement from, 181;
    pulpit from, 212, 213, 215;
    carved and inlaid panel from, 217.

  Calvert, Edward, 294.

  Cambridge, King's College Chapel, 32.

  Candelabra, brass, 73-75.

  Candlesticks, 69, 71, 73, 76, 77.

  Canopied tombs, 38, 39;
    seat and sideboard, 41.

  Canterbury, Anselm's Tower, 26, 27;
    transitional arcade, 29;
    south side of choir, 43, 45;
    fire-dog from St. Nicholas's Hospital, 67.

  Cave men, art of the, 259, 260, 261.

  Ceiling decoration, 124, 125, 126, 131.

  Cellini, Benvenuto, 100.

  Celtic cross, 209.

  _Cera perduta_, 98, 99.

  Chequer pattern, the, 48, 49.

  Chimneys, importance of, in design, 63-65.

  Chinese porcelain, 86, 174, 214;
    embroidery, 115, 211;
    design, features of, 214, 216, 220.

  Christchurch, Norman house at, 63.

  Christian symbols, 239, 240, 241.

  Cimabue, 306.

  Circle, the, 226.

  Clarke, Purdon, 210.

  Clay, modelling in, 93-96.

  Cobden-Sanderson, T. J., 370-372.

  Colosseum, the, 16, 17.

  Constantine, arch of, 19.

  Copper-plate engraving, 119, 294.

  Cotton printing, 111.

  Crane, Walter, book decoration, 139, 140;
    wall-paper designs, 124-134;
    floor motive, 130.

  Crane, wrought iron, 69.

  Creeny's "Monumental Brasses," 252, 291, 293.


  Dalziel, the brothers, 298, 300.

  Dante, 308;
    portrait of, by Giotto, 309.

  Da Vinci, Leonardo, 333-338.

  De Hooghe, Romeyn, 256.

  Delaune, Etienne, 363.

  Delft ware, 86.

  Delia Robbia ware, 164.

  Dennington Church, carving in, 42, 92.

  Derby pottery, 86.

  Devils, mediæval, 244.

  Diaper, rectangular, 88;
    Chinese, 216.

  Dish decoration, 85-87.

  Doré, Gustave, 187.

  Doyle, Richard, 298.

  Drinking vessels, 79-85.

  Dripstone, principal of the, 59, 60.

  Du Maurier, George, 298.

  Dürer, Albert, 278-285.


  Eger, 189.

  Egyptian pottery, 96, 97;
    primitive dwellings, 167, 168;
    stone columns, 169, 170, 171;
    hieroglyphics, 194, 195;
    mural paintings, 196, 197;
    types of design, 219;
    symbolism, 229-232;
    treatment of birds, 264;
    realism in art, 265.

  Electric light fittings, 78.

  Emblem book, the, 253, 254.

  Embroidery, 113-116, 211.

  Erasmus's "Praise of Folly," 107, 108.

  Evangelists, symbols of the, 246.


  Fire-dogs, 66, 67, 103.

  Fire-irons, 66, 103.

  Florence, tower of the Palazzo Vecchio, 62, 63.

  Ford, Onslow, 100.

  Forum, frieze discovered in the, 270, 271.

  Fra Angelico, 242, 243, 244.

  Framlingham Castle, chimney at, 64, 66.

  Fuchsius, "De Historia Stirpium," 286, 287.

  _Fylfot_, the, 222, 224.


  Gerard's Herbal, 286.

  German chandelier, 73-75;
    lantern, 76, 77;
    beer mugs, 82;
    pitcher, 87, 96;
    early woodcuts, 117, 118, 278.

  Giotto, 270, 306-314, 359.

  Ghiberti, Lorenzo, 270, 306.

  Gilbert, Alfred, 100.

  Glass, stained, Gothic, 32, 141;
    designing for, 141-159.

  Glass bottles (Italian), 82, 83, 84.

  Glass-blowing, 365, 366.

  Gothic architecture, development of, 28-46.

  Gozzoli, Benozzo, 244, 318-322.

  Grate backs, cast-iron, 66-68.

  Greek sculpture and architecture, 6-15;
    furniture, etc., 15-16;
    water vessels, 80, 81;
    cylix, 85;
    ornament, 204;
    stele, 206;
    symbolism, 232;
    gods, 236;
    sculpture, 268;
    vases, 304.

  Grimani Breviary, the, 274, 276, 277.

  Grün, Hans Baldung, 118.


  Harrison, Miss Jane E., 304.

  Hathersage Church, 223.

  Hazelford Hall, 59.

  Hempstead, fireplace at, 69.

  Heraldry, national, 248;
    origin and development of, 248-252.

  Herbals, 285, 286.

  Hercules, 236.

  "Herring bone," 225.

  Hesperides, the, 236, 237.

  Hieroglyphic, Egyptian, 194, 195.

  Hindu symbol of the Universe, 228, 229.

  Holbein's "Dance of Death," 254.

  Hunt, Holman, 296, 300.


  Icarius, house of, 18, 201.

  Ictinus, 303.

  Igdrasil, 229.

  Ightham Mote House, barge-board at, 57.

  Impressionism, influenced by Japanese art, 290.

  Indian embroidery, 211;
    design, 180;
    carved stone windows, 182, 183;
    flame halo, 207;
    palmette, 210, 211.

  Iron-work, wrought, 100, 102-105.

  Isle of Man, arms of, 223.

  Italian flasks and bottle, 82, 83, 84;
    majolica and lustre ware, 86;
    art, 185;
    painters, 304-349.


  "Jack and the Beanstalk," 238.

  Japanese embroidery, 115, 116;
    art, 216;
    types of design, 220;
    treatment of birds, 264, 266, 267;
    plant drawing, 286, 288, 289.


  Keene, Charles, 295, 296, 298.

  Kelmscott Press, the, 121, 136, 139, 368.


  Lamb, symbolic use of the, 246.

  Lamps, design of, 69, 70, 77.

  Leech, John, 298.

  Leigh's Priory, chimneys at, 65.

  Leighton, Lord, 300, 306.

  Lintel, architecture of the, 5.

  Lion, Scottish, 248;
    in heraldry, 252.

  Lions (sculptured), Assyrian, 202, 203;
    modern, 203.

  Loom, the, 106-108.

  Lotus, Egyptian, 169, 197, 199, 230;
    Assyrian, 202.

  Louis XV., statue of, by Bouchardon, 99, 101.

  Luxor, column at, 169.

  Lycia, tombs in, 6, 7.


  Majolica ware, 86.

  Manchester, Cheetham's Hospital, 67.

  Mantegna, Andrea, 326-333.

  Manuscripts, illuminated, 274, 276, 277.

  Mat, the primitive, 48, 49, 50.

  Matthiolus, Herbal of, 286.

  May, Phil, 299, 300.

  Medici, Giuliano de, tomb of, 346, 348.

  Medici, Lorenzo de, 339, 340;
    tomb of, 347, 348.

  Memling, 42, 43, 274, 276, 277.

  Memmi, Simone, 306, 307.

  Michael Angelo, 336, 338-348.

  Millais, Sir J. E., 296.

  Modelling in clay, 93;
    in wax, 97.

  Morris, William, 121, 136, 248, 368.

  Mosaics at Ravenna, 21-25, 239-241.

  Mouldings in architecture, origin of, 59.

  Multan, tomb at, 182.

  Mycenæ, gate of the lions at, 6, 10.


  Nile, the (sculptured group), 234, 235.

  Norman architecture, 26, 27.

  Norse sagas, 227.

  Nuremberg, iron-work at, 103, 106.

  Nuremberg Chronicle, the, 278.


  Omar Khayyám, 178.

  "Once a Week," 298.

  Orcagna, Andrea, 244, 245, 316-319.

  Oxen, heads of, 55, 56.

  Oxford, Magdalen Tower, 62.


  Palmette, the, 210, 211.

  Pan, 244.

  Pandora, story of, 237.

  Paper making, 368.

  Paris, Sainte Chapelle, glass from, 141-143, 145.

  Parthenon, the, 7-14, 268;
    symbolism of the, 232-234, 246.

  Peacock, the, in Byzantine art, 239.

  Penshurst Place, 63.

  Pergamos, altar of, 268.

  Persephone, story of, 238.

  Persepolis, 172, 247.

  Persian pottery, 86;
    types of design, 171, 211, 219;
    glazed bricks, 171-173;
    carpets, 109, 110, 174, 175, 177;
    art, 176-180;
    embroidery, 114, 211;
    pomegranates, 208, 209;
    griffin, 244, 247.

  Petrarch, 319.

  Phidias, 303.

  Philæ, lotus capital at, 171.

  Photography, influence of, on design, 119, 138, 300, 301.

  Pisano, Niccolo, 314, 315.

  Pistoia, Cathedral at, 164, 165.

  Pitcher, design of a, 79.

  Plate decoration, 85, 87.

  Polynesian ornament, 225, 226.

  "Pomerium de Tempore" (Augsburg, 1502), 294.

  Potter's wheel, the, 94.

  Pottery, 79, 94-96.

  Pourbus, 62.

  Poynter, Sir E. J., 296, 300.

  Pre-Raphaelite movement, the, 296.

  Printing, the art of, 366-370.

  Printed fabrics, designing for, 111-113.

  Printed page, proportions of the, 135, 137;
    decoration of the, 135-141, 369.

  Protogenes, 303, 304.

  "Punch," 295-300.


  Raphael, 328, 338.

  Ravenna, mosaics at, 21-25, 239-241.

  Recurring lines, principle of, 12, 28.

  Rethel, Alfred, 296.

  Roman architecture, 16-21;
    water-vessel, 80;
    gods, 236.

  Roof, pitch of the, 56.

  Rossetti, D. G., 296.

  Rothenburg, pitcher from, 87, 96;
    iron balustrade from, 105, 106.

  Rubens, Peter Paul, 332.


  Salisbury, St. Thomas's, screen at, 104, 106.

  Salisbury Cathedral, Chapter House in, 32;
    glass grisaille in, 151.

  Sambourne, Linley, 297, 298.

  Sandys, Frederick, 296.

  San Gimignano, towers of, 61.

  _Sauvastika_, the, 222, 224.

  Scale in design, 133.

  Scandinavian clay vessel, 95;
    ornament, 226.

  Scarabæus, the, 230.

  Shields, typical forms of, 249, 250.

  Sicilian silk tissue, 251, 252.

  Signorelli, 244.

  Simonds, George, 100.

  Sistine Chapel, ceiling of the, 342, 343.

  "Sleeping Beauty," 238.

  Snake of time, the, 228, 230.

  Snuffers, 76, 77.

  Soul, Egyptian symbolism of the, 230.

  Sparrow, J. S., modern glass by, 156, 157.

  Sphinx, the, 232.

  Stags drinking, a Christian emblem, 239, 240.

  St. David's Cathedral, timber roof, 43, 44;
    misereres in, 93, 94.

  St. Ethelwold, Benedictional of, 227.

  Stevens, Alfred, 67, 204.

  St. Mark, winged lion of, 246.

  St. Martha, at Troyes, 273, 275.

  Stone-carving, 91-93.

  Stonehenge, 6.

  Sunlight, influence of, on art, 16, 161 _et seq._, 182, 184.

  Susa, glazed bricks at, 171-174.


  Tenniel, Sir John, 236, 298.

  Tennyson's poems (1857), 296.

  Textiles, designing for, 86, 106-113, 131.

  Thames, Father, 236.

  Thebes, mural painting from, 196.

  Theodora, the Empress (mosaic), 24.

  Thonging, decoration derived from, 54.

  Title-page, the, 136.

  Tivoli, Temple of the Sibyl at, 55.

  Torregiano, 340.

  Towers, origin and importance of, 61-64.

  Tradition in design, 349, 350.

  Tree of Life, Assyrian, 198, 200;
    Persian, 211;
    Norse, 227, 228.

  Trees, Egyptian and Assyrian treatment of, 200-202.

  "Triumph of Julius Cæsar, The," 329-332.

  "Triumphs of Maximilian, The," 282, 284, 285.

  Troyes, St. Urbain, sculpture at, 273, 275.

  Turnov, old houses at, 188.

  Type, arrangement of, 135;
    founding, 368.

  Van Eyck, 42, 73.

  Venice, St. Mark's, 22, 23;
    badge of the city, 246.

  Venus and Paris, relief, 237.

  Venus of Melos, the, 304.

  Vine, the, as a Christian emblem, 239.

  Volute ornament, origin of, 51;
    ancient specimens, 53.


  Walker, Frederick, 296, 297.

  Wall-paper designs, 124 _et seq._

  Water-vessels, 79-81.

  Wattled fence, 51, 52.

  Wax, modelling in, 97.

  Wells Cathedral, 32, 33, 40, 41.

  Westminster Abbey, nave of, 30, 31;
    Henry VII.'s Chapel, 32, 35, 43.

  Whistler, J. McNeill, 300.

  Wicker work, 51.

  Wilton House, relief from, 237.

  Winchelsea Church, tomb in, 38, 39.

  Winchester College Chapel, glass from, 147.

  Windows, traceried, 32, 34, 141;
    _and see_ Glass, stained.

  Winston, on glass painting, 144.

  Wolgemuth, Michael, 278.

  Wood-carving, 91-93.

  Woodcuts, early German, 117, 118, 278-285;
    Italian, 285;
    in Herbals, 285-288;
    Japanese, 286, 288-290;
    revival under Bewick, 119, 294.

  Worcester pottery, 86.


  York Minster, the "Five Sisters," 32, 37.


  Zigzag, the, 226, 227.

[Illustration]


Transcriber's Note:

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.

Page 1, "CHAPTER" inserted before "I.--" to conform with the rest of
the chapter headings.

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS entry: "Corbel, Seventeenth Century, Dennington
Church, Suffolk" changed to read "Corbel, Fourteenth Century,
Dennington Church, Suffolk."

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS entry: "Ceiling Motive, Wall-paper designed by
Walter Crane 124" removed, 124 added to LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS entry:
"Ceiling Papers. Designed by Walter Crane 125, 126."

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS entry: "Auxerre Cathedral, Fourteenth Century
Sculpture, 272" changed to read "Auxerre Cathedral, Thirteenth Century
Sculpture. 272".

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS entry: "Amiens Cathedral, Thirteenth Century
Sculpture, 273" changed to read "Amiens Cathedral, Fourteenth Century
Sculpture. 273".





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