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Title: Naturalistic Photography - For students of the art.
Author: Emerson, P. H. (Peter Henry)
Language: English
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                       NATURALISTIC PHOTOGRAPHY.


                        NATURALISTIC PHOTOGRAPHY


                          _STUDENTS OF THE ART_


                   P. H. EMERSON, B.A., M.B. (CANTAB.)


         “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
         Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”
                               KEATS, “_Ode on a Grecian Urn._”

                        SECOND EDITION, REVISED

                                NEW YORK
                              E. & F. SPON
                          12, CORTLANDT STREET

                           _Copyright, 1889._

                             P. H. EMERSON.

                             TO THE MEMORY


                              ADAM SALOMON

                       SCULPTOR AND PHOTOGRAPHER,

             _Chevalier de l’ordre de la légion d’honneur_,

                    =This work is Dedicated=

                             BY THE AUTHOR

                        AND WHO WAS BRAVE ENOUGH
                         AS WELL AS A SCULPTOR.

            _Bonne renommée vaut mieux que ceinture dorée._

                       PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION.


My first and pleasantest duty is to offer my heartiest thanks to the
numerous correspondents who have honoured me with sympathetic letters of
approval and with valuable criticisms. Judging from these kind letters,
which have poured upon me in grateful showers, my book has filled a want
in art literature. These letters, coming as they do from artists of all
kinds, art-masters and photographers, many of whom are perfect strangers
to me, have supplied me with suggestions and criticisms which I shall
make use of in a later edition, if the public so will that there be one,
and some of my correspondents I shall take the liberty of publicly

The call for this second edition has come so soon that I have only had
time to correct a few superficial errors, and as but few reviews have as
yet reached me, I cannot answer any criticisms upon my work. So far
there is nothing to answer.

I can only repeat that the student will do well to make artists his
final court of appeal, and he must then act as he thinks fit. I have no
burning desire to make converts, my sole object has been to tell the
student what I could—if he wished to know it. As to my views, I am
perfectly willing that no one shall accept them, and am content to let
posterity judge between me and my adverse critics.

In deference to the opinion of a highly valued friend—a well-known
artist—I have included in this edition (as an Appendix) my paper on
“Science and Art” read at the Camera Club Conference on March 26th,

                                                            P. H. E.

CHISWICK, _March, 1889_.



 PREFACE                                                            vii

 TABLE OF CONTENTS                                                   ix


 Daguerre at a _séance_ of the French Academy, Aug., 1839             1

 Retrospect of work done by Photography since 1839                    2

 Influence of Photography on the Glyptic and Pictorial Arts,          5
   and _vice versâ_

 Aim of this book                                                     8

 The Naturalistic School of Photography                               8

 A word to artists                                                    9

 The three branches of Photography—Artistic, Scientific, and

      A. Art Division                                                10

      B. Science Division                                            11

      C. Industrial Division                                         11

 “Professional and Amateur” photographers                            12

 A College of Photography                                            13

 The Future of Photography                                           13

                                BOOK I.

                       TERMINOLOGY AND ARGUMENT.

                               CHAPTER I.


 Preamble                                                            17

 Analysis                                                            17

 Art                                                                 17

 “Art-Science”                                                       18

 Artistic                                                            18

 Breadth                                                             18

 Colour                                                              18

 Creative Artist                                                     19

 Fine Art                                                            19

 High Art                                                            20

 Ideal                                                               20

 Imaginative                                                         22

 Impressionism                                                       22

 Interpreting Nature                                                 22

 Local Colour                                                        22

 Low Art                                                             22

 Naturalism                                                          22

 Original Work                                                       24

 Photographic                                                        24

 Quality                                                             24

 Realism                                                             24

 Relative Tone or Value                                              25

 Sentiment                                                           25

 Sentimentality                                                      25

 Soul                                                                25

 Technique                                                           26

 Tone                                                                26

 Transcript of Nature                                                26

                              CHAPTER II.


 An inquiry into the influence of the study of Nature on Art         28

 Egyptian Art                                                        30

 Monarchies of Western Asia                                          32

 Ancient Greek and Italian Art                                       33

 Early Christian Art                                                 44

 Mediæval Art                                                        47

 Eastern Art—Mohammedan                                              52

 Chinese and Japanese Art                                            54

 The Renascence                                                      59

 From the Renascence to Modern Times                                 67

      A. Spanish Art                                                 67

      B. German Art                                                  68

      C. Flemish Art                                                 69

      D. English Art                                                 69

      E. American Art                                                78

      F. Dutch Art                                                   80

      G. French Art                                                  84

      H. Sculpture                                                   92

 Retrospect                                                          94

                              CHAPTER III.


 Introduction and Argument                                           97

 Optic Nerves                                                        97

 Le Conte’s Classification of the subject                            98

 Physical characters of the eye as an optical instrument             98

 Direction of Light                                                 102

 Intensity of Light                                                 103

 Colour                                                             108

 Psychological data, and binocular vision                           111

 Perspective, depth, size, and solidity                             112

 Art principles deduced from the above data                         114

                                BOOK II.

                        TECHNIQUE AND PRACTICE.

                               CHAPTER I.

                         THE CAMERA AND TRIPOD.

 The Camera                                                         125

 Choice of a camera; tripod and bags                                125

 Manipulating the Camera                                            129

 Pin-hole Photography                                               131

 Accidents to the Camera                                            132

 Hand Cameras                                                       132

                              CHAPTER II.


 Optics                                                             134

 Dallmeyer’s long-focus rectilinear landscape lens                  135

 False drawing of photographic lenses                               136

 Hints on the correct use of the lens                               136

 Lenses for special purposes                                        137

 Diaphragms or “stops”                                              138

 Physical qualities of Lenses                                       138

 Hints on lenses                                                    140

                              CHAPTER III.

                        DARK ROOM AND APPARATUS.

 Dark Room                                                          141

 A developing rule                                                  141

 Ventilation of dark room                                           141

 Apparatus                                                          141

                              CHAPTER IV.

                         STUDIO AND FURNITURE.

 Studio                                                             144

 Studio Furniture                                                   145

 Studio effects. A rule for studio lighting                         147

                               CHAPTER V.


 How to focalize                                                    148

 The ground-glass picture                                           149

 Examples and Illustration in point                                 150

                              CHAPTER VI.


 Ways of Exposing                                                   154

 Rule for Exposing                                                  154

 Classification of Exposures                                        154

      A. Quick Exposures                                            155

      B. Time Exposures                                             155

 Exposure Shutters                                                  156

 Variation of exposure, and conditions causing them                 157

 On Exposure Tables                                                 160

                              CHAPTER VII.


 Study of Chemistry                                                 162

 On Plate making                                                    163

 Wet-plate process                                                  163

 Tonality and development                                           166

 On developing                                                      170

 On developers                                                      171

 Local development                                                  171

 On the study of tone                                               173

 Accidents and faults, and their remedies                           174

 Varnishing the negative                                            179

 Roller slides and paper negatives                                  180

 Orthochromatic photography                                         181

                             CHAPTER VIII.


 Definition of retouching                                           184

 On working up photographs                                          184

 On retouching                                                      186

 Adam Salomon and Rejlander on retouching                           187

                              CHAPTER IX.


 Various printing processes                                         191

 The Platinotype process                                            195

 Vignetting                                                         196

 Combination printing                                               197

 On cloud negatives and printing in of clouds                       198

                               CHAPTER X.


 On enlarging                                                       200

                              CHAPTER XI.


 Transparencies                                                     202

 Lantern Slides                                                     202

 Stereoscopic Slides                                                202

                              CHAPTER XII.

                      PHOTO-MECHANICAL PROCESSES.

 Photo-mechanical processes                                         204

      A. For diagrams and topographical work                        204

      B. For pictures                                               204

 Photo-etching                                                      207

 The Typographic Etching Co.                                        208

 Hints for those having plates reproduced by photo-etching          210

 W. L. Colls on “Methods of reproducing negatives from              212
   Nature for the copper-plate press”

                             CHAPTER XIII.

                         MOUNTING AND FRAMING.

 Mountants                                                          218

 Mounts                                                             219

 Frames                                                             219

 Albums                                                             220

                              CHAPTER XIV.


 On copyrighting                                                    221

 Method of copyright                                                221

 Law of copyright                                                   222

                              CHAPTER XV.

                       EXHIBITING AND EXHIBITION.

 Exhibitions                                                        225

 Medals                                                             226

 Judges                                                             227

                              CHAPTER XVI.


 Conclusion                                                         229

                               BOOK III.

                             PICTORIAL ART.

                               CHAPTER I.

                            EDUCATED SIGHT.

 Men born blind                                                     233

 Education of Sight                                                 234

                              CHAPTER II.


 On Composition                                                     237

 Burnet’s “Treatise on Painting”                                    238

                              CHAPTER III.

                       OUT-DOOR AND IN-DOOR WORK.

 Out-door portraiture                                               243

 Landscape                                                          245

 On picture-making                                                  250

 Figure and Landscape                                               251

 Studio-portraiture                                                 252

                              CHAPTER IV.

                             HINTS ON ART.

 Practical hints                                                    254

                               CHAPTER V.

                            DECORATIVE ART.

 Decorative art                                                     260

 Naturalism in decorative art                                       260

 Photography as applied to decorative art                           261

 Principles of decorative art                                       261

 Practice of decorative art                                         261


                      PHOTOGRAPHY—A PICTORIAL ART.

 On different art methods of expression                             269

 Answers to criticism on “Photography a pictorial Art”              278

 Artists on Photography                                             279

 Some masters of the minor arts                                     289

                              APPENDIX I.

                       ON PHOTOGRAPHIC LIBRARIES.

 Art books                                                          293

 Art-teaching                                                       293

 Books recommended                                                  293

 Photographic Libraries                                             294

                              APPENDIX II.

 “Science and Art,” a paper read at the Camera Club                 295
   Conference, held in the rooms of the Society of Arts in
   London on March 26th, 1889

 INDEX                                                              303

                       NATURALISTIC PHOTOGRAPHY.



[Sidenote: Daguerre and the French Academy.]

At a meeting of the French Academy of Sciences, held in Paris on the
19th day of August, 1839, Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre, in the presence
of the flower of Parisian art, literature and science, gave a
demonstration of his new discovery—the Daguerreotype. The success of the
_séance_ was complete, and the gathering of illustrious men was
intoxicated with enthusiasm in favour of the Daguerreotype. It is, then,
almost fifty years ago that the result of the work of the father of
photography, Joseph Nicéphore de Niepce, who had died six years
previously, and of the partner of his latter days—Daguerre—was given to
the French public, for though Arago declared that “France had adopted
the discovery and was proud to hand it as a present to the whole world,”
Daguerre, sharp business man that he was, took out a patent for his
process in England on the 15th of July, 1839.

It may be said, then, that for fifty years the influence of photography
has been working amongst the people for better for worse; but a short
half-century has photography had to develop, and we naturally feel a
little curious to know what it has been doing all that time. Has the art
been lying idle and stagnating, or has it been developing and extending
its roots into all the industrial, scientific and artistic fields of
enterprise? Let us see what this cool young goddess, born of art and
science, who generally comes to stay and finally to oust the old
goddesses from their temples, has been doing these fifty years.

[Sidenote: Retrospect of progress of photography in astronomy.]

In the fields of science she has been most busy. She has been giving us
photographs of the moon, the stars, and even of the _nebulæ_. She has
recorded eclipses and a transit of Venus for us. She has drawn too the
Sun’s corona, and registered those great volcanic explosions which
playfully take place there periodically. She has shown us that there are
stars which no telescope can find, and she has in another form
registered for us the composition of the sun and of many of the stars;
and now she is busy mapping out the heavens. Like an all-powerful
goddess, she plays with the planets and records on our plates, with
delicate taps, the stars. She runs through the vast space of the kosmos
doing our biddings with a precision and delicacy never equalled—in short
she is fast becoming the right hand of the astronomer.

[Sidenote: Microscopy.]

Not content with her vast triumphs in space over the infinitely great,
she dives down to the infinitely small, and stores up for us portraits
of the disease-bearing generation of _Schizomycetes_, the stiff-necked
_bacteria_, and the wriggling _vibrio_, the rolling _microccus_, and the
fungoid _actinomycosis_—with deadly tresses; these she pictures for us,
so that we may either keep them on small plates, or else she throws them
on large screens so that we are enabled to study their structure. On
these screens too we can gaze on the structure of the Proteus-like white
blood corpuscle, and we are able to study the very cells of our tongues,
our eyes, our bones, our teeth, our hairs, and to keep drawings of them
such as man never had before. So the kindly bright goddess stints us in
nothing, for wherever the microscope leads there will she be found at
our bidding. With the greatness of an all-seeing mind, it matters not to
her whether she draws the _protococcus_ or the blood-cells of an
elephant, whether she depicts the eroding cancer cell or the golden
scale on the butterfly’s wing—anything that we ask of her she does; if
we will but be patient.

[Sidenote: Chemistry.]

But the little goddess, the light-bearer, is not content with these
sciences but she must needs go and woo chemistry and register the belted
zones of the spectrum and tell us the mysterious secrets of the
composition of matter.

[Sidenote: Meteorology.]

Meteorology, too, has claimed her, and she draws for the meteorologist
the frowning _nimbus_ and the bright rolling _cumulus_. She scratches
quickly on his plate the lightning’s flash, and even measures the
risings and fallings of the mercuries in his long glass barometers and
thin-stemmed thermometers, so that the meteorologist can go and rest in
the sun; and good-naturedly, too, she hints to him that his registerings
are but fumblings after her precise and delicate work. [Sidenote:
Surveying.] This versatile little goddess, too, is playing with and
hinting to the surveyors how she will not be coy if they will but woo
her, for, says she, “have I not already shown you how to measure the
altitude of mountains, and how to project maps by my aid?”

[Sidenote: Geography.]

The geographer, too, is another lover well favoured by the dainty
goddess, he always takes her on his travels now-a-days, and brings us
back her inimitable drawings of skulls, savages, weapons, waterfalls,
geological strata, fossils, animals, birds, trees, landscapes, and men,
and we believe him when we know the light-bearer was with him, and soon
in all his geographies, in all his botanies, in all his zoologies, in
all his geologies, his entomologies, and all the rest of his valuable
“ologies,” we shall find the crisp and inimitable drawings of his dainty

[Sidenote: Engineering.]

The horny-handed engineer, too, is wooing her; he makes love to her away
down in dark caissons half-buried in river beds; whilst above-ground she
scatters his plans far and wide. He uses her to show how his works are
growing beneath the strong arms of his horny-handed gangs, and he even
uses her to determine the temperature of the depths of the sea, and the
direction of oceanic currents; yes, she does the work for him and he
loves her. [Sidenote: Medicine and Biology.] The earnest doctor and the
curious biologist are amongst her lowers, and the dainty one does not
disdain their work, for she knows it to be good; for though she is
fickle, she is kind at heart. For them she goes into the mysterious
globe of the eye; down into the hollow larynx; and into the internal
ear; and drags forth drawings. The tumour-deformed leg, the tossing
epileptic, the deformed leprous body, the ulcerous scalp, the unsightly
skin disease, the dead brain, the delicate dissection, the galloping
horse, the flying gull, and erring man does she with quick and dainty
strokes draw and give her lovers the physician and biologist.

[Sidenote: Military and naval services.]

Then like the Valkyria she too delights in dire war. For her heroes she
writes so finely that her letters are carried in a quill beneath a
pigeon’s wing into and out of beleaguered cities. She draws hasty notes
of the country for the leaders of an invading army; she preserves a
record of the killed and she gives truthful drawings of the fields of
battle and of the poor torn and jaded men after a battle; whilst in
times of peace she draws for the officer the effects of the explosion of
a shell, the path of a bullet through the air, or the water thrown on
high, like a geyser, by a hidden torpedo. [Sidenote: Forensic medicine.]
She is the warder’s friend too, for she draws the skulking thief, the
greedy forger, and the cruel murderer; she draws, too, the knife that
stabbed in the dark, and the dress all blood-besmirched; she detects the
forged bank note, and draws without quibble the position of the
overturned and splintered railway car; and she shows the scorched and
gutted ruins of the burnt house for the insurance agent. [Sidenote:
Libraries.] She has her fun, too, for she twits the librarians with the
ever increasing deluge of books, and hints laughingly they must one day
come to her, for she will show them how to keep a library in a
tea-caddy. [Sidenote: Industrial arts.] The haggling tradesman she does
not disdain, she will draw portraits of his fabrics to be circulated all
over the world, she will copy the bad paintings and drawings done for
him as advertisements by the pariahs of art. She reproduces trade-marks
and signatures, and oh, naughty goddess! she even, on the sly, copies on
old yellow paper old etchings and engravings so that the connoisseur
does not know the new from the old. She helps in all kinds of
advertising, reproducing the scenery by railways for the railway
companies, sketching topographically for tourists, drawing mothers and
fathers and children for the world, so that the loved ones can go across
the seas and leave themselves behind in form and feature. And so that
the dead may not be forgotten she soothes the living with their dear
faces done in her pretty way. Nay, she even goes so far as to allow her
works to be burnt on porcelain and sold in brooches, on plates and other

[Sidenote: Art.]

Nor do the children love you in vain, pretty goddess, for you give them
magic-lanterns, and invisible pictures of yourself; to be made visible
by a little secret you tell them. You give them magic cigar-holders and
stereoscopes, all this out of your bountiful lap do you scatter; but,
pretty dainty light-bearer, have you no love dearer to you than all
these, is there none amongst your wooers that you prefer? Yes, blush
not, oh, dainty one, it is the artist who sees in you a subtler, finer
aid than his sorry hand, so monkey-like in its fumblings. To him you
give your delicate drawings on zinc to illustrate his books, or on
copper to fill his portfolios, to him you give poems of the winds
whispering amongst the reed-beds, of the waves roaring in the grey
gloaming, of the laughing, bright-eyed mortal sisters of yours. To him,
your favoured one, your chief love, you give the subtlety of drawing of
the wind-shorn and leaf-bare oak, the spirit of the wild colts on the
flowery marsh, the ripple of the river and the glancing flight of the
sea-fowl. Together you and he spend days and nights, mid the streams and
the woods, culling the silvery flowers of nature. Oh! bright generous
little goddess, who has stolen the light from the sun for mortals, and
brought it to them not in a narthex reed as did Prometheus bring his
living spark, but in silvery drops to be moulded to your lover’s wish,
be he star-gazer, light-breaker, wonder-seeker, sea-fighter or
land-fighter, earth-roamer, seller-of-goods, judger-of-crimes,
lover-of-toys, builder-of-bridges, curer-of-ills, or lover of the woods
and streams.

The influence of photography on the sister arts of sculpture, painting,
engraving, etching and wood-cutting during these fifty years has been
tremendous, as have they influenced in turn photography. Sculpture has
been, perhaps, least influenced, although without photography thousands
of posthumous statues which now grace the streets and the squares of the
world could not have been modelled at all, or could only have been very
conventionally and unsatisfactorily modelled. As it is, they are often
excellent portraits. The effect of sculpture on photography has been to
induce experimentalists to attempt a production of models in clay by
means of an instrument called a pantograph. It is reported that these
methods succeeded, but we never saw any of the productions and have
little faith in the methods.

The influence of photography on painting, on the other hand, has been
nothing short of marvellous, as can be seen in the great general
improvement in the drawing of movement. It is a common practice for
painters to take photographs of their models and throw enlargements of
these on to a screen when the outlines are boldly sketched in. Again, it
is a practice for painters to study the delicate tonality of
photography, which is of course quite legitimate. Another influence of
photography on painting is that the painter often tries to emulate the
detail of the photograph. But this was more noticeable in the early days
of photography, and it had a bad effect on painting, for the painter did
not know enough of photography to know that what he was striving to
imitate was due to an ignorant use of the art. He thought, as many
people think now-a-days, that there is an absolute and unvarying quality
in all photographs. The effect on miniature painting was disastrous; it
has been all but killed by photography, and we think rightly. And it
must be remembered that photography killed it notwithstanding the fact
that many of the best miniature painters adopted the new art as soon as
they could. Newton was a photographer. Photography also killed the
itinerant portrait painter who used to stump the country and paint
hideous portraits for a few shillings, or a night’s lodging. Photography
too, has, unfortunately, been the cause of a vast production of weak and
feeble water-colours, oil-paintings and etchings. Second and third rate
practitioners of these arts have simply copied photographs and supplied
the colouring from their imagination, and thousands of feeble
productions has been the result; this is a dishonest use of photography,
but one by no means uncommon. We often have food for reflection on the
gullibility of man, when we see poor paintings and etchings exhibited at
“one man” exhibitions and elsewhere, which are nothing but ruined
photographs; the very drawing shows that, and the time in which such a
collection of paintings is painted also hints at the method. All the
drawing has been done by the photographic lens, and transferred to the
panel or canvas. These are the very men who decry photography. Such work
is only admissible if confessed, but of course such people as this keep
their method quite secret. The etchings done in this way are simply
impudent. The influence of painting on photography has been great and
good as a factor in the cultivation of the æsthetic faculty, but its
conventionality has often been harmful.

As we have said, by the aid of photography feeble painters and etchers
are able to produce fairly passable work, where otherwise their work
would have been disgraceful. Wood-cutters and line engravers too gain
much help from us, but they find photography a rival that will surely
kill them both. We have gone into this vexed question in detail in the
body of this work. One of the best and most noted wood engravers since
Bewick’s time has given it as his opinion that there is no need for wood
engraving now that the “processes” can so truly reproduce pictures, for,
as he says, no great original genius in wood-cutting will ever be kept
back by “process work,” and it is a good thing that all others should be

The chief thing which at present oppresses photography is “the trade.”
Print sellers have accumulated stocks of engravings and etchings and as
they may not come down in price, they therefore give photogravures and
photographs the cold shoulder. A print seller who would confine himself
to the sale and publication of photo-etchings and photographs is sorely

Such, briefly, are the effects of photography on her sister arts and of
them on her.

Incredible indeed seems the all-pervading power of this light-bearing
goddess. Next to printing, photography is the greatest weapon given to
mankind for his intellectual advancement. The mind is lost in wonderment
at the gigantic strides made by this art in its first fifty years of
development, and we feel sure if any one will take the trouble to
inquire briefly what photography has done and is doing in every
department of life he will be astonished by the results of his

[Sidenote: Branches of photography.]

From what has been said it is very evident that the practice of
photography must be very different in the different branches of human
knowledge to which it is applied.

[Sidenote: Aim of Naturalistic photography.]

The application of its practice and principles has been most ably
treated in some of these branches, especially the scientific branches,
but hitherto there has been no book which gives only just sufficient
science for art-students and at the same time treats of the art side.

We propose in this book to treat photography from the artistic
standpoint. We shall give enough science to lead to a comprehension of
the principles which we adduce for our arguments for naturalistic
photography, and we shall give such little instruction in art as is
possible by written matter, for art we hold is to be learned by practice
alone. That, then, is our aim, and no one knows better than ourselves
how far short of our ideal we have fallen, but we trust the task as
attempted may do a little good and lead some earnest wandering workers
into the right path. We know that we have not accomplished our task
without errors, all we plead is that we have endeavoured to reduce the
number to a minimum, and where we have failed we trust those who detect
our failures will kindly, not carpingly, communicate them to us, so that
if we ever reach a second edition we may therein be regenerated.

[Sidenote: Contents of book.]

The photographic student, whose aim is to make pictures, will find in
this book all directions, such as the choosing of apparatus, the science
which must be learned, the pictures and sculpture which must be studied,
the art canons which are to be avoided, the technique to be learned,
including all manipulations; the fundamental principles of art, and a
critical _résumé_ of conventional art canons, including much other

In addition to this the book is an argument for the Naturalistic school
of photography, of which we preached the first gospel in an address
delivered before the members of the Camera Club in London in March,


Footnote 1:

  Vide _Photographic News_ for March 19, 1886.


The necessity of this book may not be patent to artists who do not know
the photographic world, but if they will consider for a moment the
present position of a student of photography, whose aim is to produce
artistic work, they will see the necessity for some such work. The
position of the photographic world at present is this: nearly all the
text-books teach how to cultivate the scientific side of photography,
and they are so diffuse that we find photo-micrography, spectrum
analysis and art all mixed up together. And when we assure the artistic
reader that the few books and articles published with a view to teaching
art, contain _résumés_ of Burnet’s teachings, as set forth in his
well-known “Treatise on Painting;” that the widest read of these books
lays down laws for the sizes of pictures as advocated by that “eminent
painter Norman Macbeth;” cautions the student not to take pictures on
grey days; and contains various other erroneous ideas; we say when
artists know this, and in addition that there is no book in which “tone”
is properly defined, they will perhaps understand the necessity for some
such book as this one. Lastly, the artist must remember that
photographers are very loath to listen to any one but photographers on
any subject connected with their art.

To give the student a clear insight into the first principles of art is
of course, as we have said, the chief aim of the book, but besides that
it is an attempt to start a departure from the scientific side of
photography. This departure must be made, and the time is now ripe. It
should be clearly and definitely understood, that although a preliminary
scientific education is necessary for all photographers, after that
preliminary education the paths and aims of the scientist, industrial
photographer and artist, lie widely apart. This matter should be kept
constantly in view, and specialists in one branch should not meddle with
other branches. The art has so extended its fields for work that there
is scope, even in a sub-branch of the scientific division to occupy the
full energies and attention of the most able men. At exhibitions, too,
the three great divisions into which photography falls should be kept
rigidly separated. The writer sees in all these branches equal good and
equal use, but he sees also the necessity of keeping their aims and
methods separate. That this differentiation is now possible and
necessary is, from the evolutionary standpoint, the greatest sign of
development. The author feels convinced that if any student is going to
succeed in any one branch he must not scatter his energies, but devote
himself with singlemindedness to that particular branch. Directly the
aims and methods of the separate branches of the art are fully
recognized there will no longer be ignorance and misunderstandings of
first principles. We shall not hear a first-rate lantern slide described
as artistic, because it is untouched, and we shall not hear of a
“high-art” photographer criticizing photo-micrographs of _bacteria_,
matters that none but a medical microscopist can criticize. And above
all, we shall not have the hack-writer talking of our “art-science.”

We have drawn up a rough table of classification to illustrate our
meaning, but of course it must be remembered that this division is
arbitrary, but it would, we think, be a good working classification.

                        THE ART OF PHOTOGRAPHY.

                           _A.—Art Division._

[Sidenote: Art division.]

In this division the aim of the work is to give æsthetic pleasure
_alone_, and the artist’s only wish is to produce works of art. Such
work can be judged only by trained artists, and the aims and scope of
such work can be fully appreciated only by trained artists.
Photographers who qualify themselves by an art training, and their works
alone, belong to this class. They alone are artists. Included in this
class would be original artists, first-rate photo-etchers, and
typo-blockmakers, whose aim is to reproduce in facsimile all the
artistic quality of _original works of art_. Such photographers should
have an artistic training without fail, as all the best have had.

                         _B.—Science Division._

[Sidenote: Science Division.]

In this division the aim of the work is to investigate the phenomena of
nature, and by experiment to make new discoveries, and corroborate or
falsify old experiments. The workers in this great and valuable
department of photography may be divided into—

    _a._ Scientific experimentalists in all branches of science.
    _b._ Chemists and spectrum-analysts.
    _c._ Astronomers.
    _d._ Microscopists.
    _e._ Engineers.
    _f._ Military and naval photographers.
    _g._ Meteorologists.
    _h._ Biologists.
    _i._ Geographers.
    _j._ Geologists.
    _k._ Medical men.
    _l._ Physicists.
    _m._ Anthropologists.

These sub-divisions include all that vast host of _trained_ scientific
men who are photographers in connection with their work. Their aim is
the advancement of science.

                       _C.—Industrial Division._

[Sidenote: Industrial Division.]

This class includes that great majority of the photographic world—the
craftsmen. These men have learned the methods of their craft, and go on
from day to day meeting the industrial requirements of the age,
producing good useful work, and often filling their pockets at the same
time. Their aim is utilitarian, but in some branches they may at the
same time aim to give an æsthetic pleasure by their productions, but
this is always _subordinated to the utility_ of the work. When they aim
at giving this æsthetic pleasure as well, they become art-craftsmen.

Amongst these craftsmen are included photographers who will take any one
or anything if paid to do so, such forming what is known as
“professional photographers.”

All reproducers of pictures, patterns, &c., by photo-mechanical
processes, in which the aim is not solely æsthetic pleasure, as in
reproducing topographic views. All plate makers. Transparency, opal,
lantern-slide, and stereoscopic slide makers. All _facsimile_
photographers; photographers of pictures, statuary, &c. All makers of
invisible photographs, magic cigar photographs. All operators who work
under the guidance of artists or scientists for pay, they not having
artistic and scientific training themselves, as in the preparation of
lantern slides for a biologist. All enlargers, operators, spotters,
printers, retouchers, mounters, &c. Producers of porcelain pictures.
Producers of facsimile type blocks and copper plates, with no artistic
aim, _et id genus omne_. All photographs produced for amusement by the
untrained in art or science. All photographers who produce pattern
photographs, “bits” of scenery, and animals for draughtsmen to work

It will thus be clear to the student that all these photographers serve
useful purposes and each is invaluable in his way, but we repeat the aim
of the three groups of photographers is very different and quite
distinct, as distinct as in draughtmanship are the etchings of
Rembrandt, the scientific drawings of Huxley, and the pattern plates of
a store catalogue. All are useful in their place, and who shall dare to
say which is more useful than the other; but all are distinct, and can
in no way be compared with one another or classed together any more than
can the poems of Mr. Swinburne, the text of Professor Tyndall’s “Light,”
and the Blue-books. All can be good in their way, but the aims and
methods of the one must not be confounded with the aims and methods of
the other, and we fear that such is the case in the photographic world
at present.

[Sidenote: “Amateur” and “professional” photographers.]

There is one obstacle which we must clear from the student’s path in
this introduction, and that is the confusion of the terms “professional”
and “amateur,” as used in the photographic world; for in this world it
must be understood that these terms are used as in no other world.
Briefly, photographers mean by “professional” one who gains his living
by photography, and an “amateur” means one who does not practise
photography for his living. The folly of this is obvious, for by this
definition the greatest English scientific photographer, Captain Abney,
is an “amateur” and the sands photographer at Margate is a

This anomalous definition of the two classes has led journalists into
strange errors and mistakes. We remember one journal, which prides
itself upon its accuracy, breaking into satirical writing because the
judges at a certain photographic exhibition were to be “amateurs.” Of
course the journalist who wrote that article used “amateur” in the
ordinary English sense, and hence his amusement; but, as we have shown,
he made a great error in fact.

In reality professional photographers are those who have studied one
branch of photography thoroughly, and are masters of all its resources,
and no others. It is no question of £ s. d., this “professional” and
“amateur” question, but a question of knowledge and capacity. An amateur
is a dabbler without aim, without thorough knowledge, and often without
capacity, no matter how many of his productions he may sell. We think,
then, the words “professional” and “amateur” should be abolished from
the photographic world, until that day shall arise when there is a
central training and examining body, that shall have the power of making
real professional photographers, when all possessing a diploma would be
professionals and all others amateurs.

[Sidenote: A college of photography and diplomas.]

We fondly hope that a college of photography may one day be instituted,
where a good art and science training may be obtained, where regular
classes will be held by professors and regular terms kept, and where
some sort of distinguishing diploma as Member of the Royal Photographic
College will be given to all who pass certain examinations. The M.R.P.C.
would then have a status, and the profession which would then exist—but
only exists as a trade now—would be able to draw up salutary laws for
the government and good behaviour of its members, and the status of
photography would be everywhere raised. The diploma of F.R.P.C. (Fellow
of the Royal Photographic College) could be given to distinguish
photographers at home and abroad as an honorary title.

But if such an institution is to have weight it must procure a charter.
Money must be obtained to give honorariums to the lecturers, and the
lectureships must be held by the best men. To begin with, all
photographers in practice could be admitted upon passing a very simple
examination in the subjects of elementary education and photography. If
ever such a thing is brought about—and we trust it may be—we should find
many gentlemen of education would join the ranks, as indeed they are
doing now; and with the taste and education they brought to the work, we
should see them working quietly in studios like painters, and the
“show-case” and the vulgar mounts with medals and other decorations, and
the “shop-window,” and the “shop-feeling” would all disappear. We need
not despair if we will all do what is in us to kill “vulgarity,” for
painters were not so well off as most photographers are now but a very
few decades ago. What gives us hope for these golden days is the fact
that we number in our ranks in some branch or the other probably more
intellectual men than any other calling. We have an emperor, and quite a
profusion of royal-blooded wights and aristocrats, whilst every learned
profession gives us of its best. Law, medicine, art, science, all
contribute largely important members to swell our ranks.

Here, then, we must end our introductory remarks, and we wish the
student who comes to the study of photography with capacity and
earnestness all success.

                                                            P. H. E.

CHISWICK, _July, 1888_.

                                BOOK I.
                       TERMINOLOGY AND ARGUMENT.

“The dignity of the snow-capped mountain is lost in distinctness, but
the joy of the tourist is to recognize the traveller on the top. The
desire to see, for the sake of seeing, is, with the mass, alone the one
to be grasped, hence the delight in detail.”

                                                     J. M. WHISTLER.

                               CHAPTER I.

[Sidenote: Terminology.]

It were better at the outset to define our terms, for nothing leads more
certainly to confusion in studying a subject than a hazy conception of
the meanings of words and expressions. Perhaps in no branch of writing
have words so many meanings as in writings on Art, where every expositor
seems intent upon having his own word or expression. For this reason we
wish clearly to define the words and art expressions in use in this
book. Not, be it understood, that we claim in any way for any
definitions that they are the rigid and final definitions of the
expressions used, but we define what _we_ mean by certain words and
terms so that the reader may understand clearly the text in which such
words occur, our aim being to be clear and to avoid all empty

[Sidenote: Analysis.]

Seizing the impression of natural objects, and rendering this impression
in its essentials has been called analyzing nature; and the impression
so rendered is an analysis.

[Sidenote: Art.]

Art is the application of knowledge for certain ends. But art is raised
to _Fine Art_ when man so applies this knowledge that he affects the
emotions through the senses, and so produces æsthetic pleasure in us;
and the man so raising an art into a fine art is an _artist_. Therefore
the real test as to whether the result of any method of expression is a
fine art or not, depends upon how much of the intellectual element is
required in its production. Thus Photography may be, and is, in the
hands of an artist, a method of expression producing works of fine art,
because no such works can be produced in photography by a man who is not
an artist; whereas organ-grinding is a mode of expressing music, but the
result is not a fine art, because no intellect, and therefore no artist,
is required to produce the expression; a monkey might produce as good
music on a hand-organ as could a Beethoven.

[Sidenote: Art-science.]

A compound term applied by some writers to photography, and by others to
all crafts founded upon science. It is an absurd term, and its use
should be strongly discouraged. It is to be found in no good dictionary.
It is an unmeaning expression, because photography is an art founded
upon science, just as is etching, and to call photography an
“art-science” is to show imperfect knowledge of the English language,
and especially of the meaning of the two words of which the compound is
formed—art and science.

[Sidenote: Artistic.]

A word greatly misused by photographers. When applied to a person, it
means one _trained in art_, and when applied to a work, it means leaving
the impression of an artist’s handiwork; and this photographers should
not forget, neither should they forget that an artist has been _trained
in art_. This should especially be borne in mind by those who dub
themselves “artist-photographers,” whatever they may mean by that
compound. Photographers should wait for other people to call them
artists, and when artists call a photographer a brother artist, he will
probably deserve the title, and not before. In the same way they should
refrain from calling things artistic or inartistic, for it must be
remembered that to use these words aright implies that the speaker
possesses a knowledge of art.

[Sidenote: Breadth.]

Is a term used to describe simple arrangements of light and shade of
colour, which produce a sense of the largeness and space of nature. All
great work has breadth, all petty work is devoid of it; for petty minds
cannot see the breadth in nature, so they are naturally unable to get it
into their work.

[Sidenote: Colour.]

“This theory of what constitutes fine colour is one of the peculiar
traits of the old-time painters, and of the landscape critic who studies
nature in the National Gallery. If one may judge by their remarks or by
the examples they worship, a painting to be fine in colour must first of
all be brown, or at least yellow; the shadows must all be hot and
transparent; lakes and crimsons must be used freely, while a certain
amount of very deep blue should be introduced somewhere, that the rest
of the picture may appear the warmer by the contrast. Above all things
it must not be natural, or it ceases to be fine and sinks to the level
of the commonplace. In fact, these colourists appear to admire a picture
from just the same point of view they would an Indian carpet, a Persian
rug, old tapestry, or any other conventional design, and seem to judge
of it by similar standards; if one suggests that it has no resemblance
to what it claims to represent, they reply, ‘Ah, but it is a glorious
frame, full of colour!’ But colour in painting can only be really fine
so far as it is true to nature. A grey picture may be just as fine in
colour as the most gorgeous. Beauty in colour, as in form, depends on
its fitness and truth.”—_T. F. Goodall._

The vulgar view of fine colour is easily explained on evolutionary
grounds, it is but a harking back to the instincts of the frugivorous
apes—our ancestors.

[Sidenote: Creative artist.]

There is much misconception as to the use of the word “creator” in the
arts. Some think only those gentlemen who paint mythological pictures,
or story-telling pictures, are creators. Of course such distinction is
absurd; any artist is a creator when he produces a picture or writes a
poem; he creates the picture or speech by which he appeals to others. He
is the author, creator, or whatever you like to call him, he is
responsible for its existence.

[Sidenote: Fine art.]

Versifying, Prose-writing, Music, Sculpture, Painting, Photography,
Etching, Engraving, and Acting, are all arts, but none is in itself a
fine art, yet each and all can be raised to the dignity of a fine art
when an artist by any of these methods of expression so raises his art
by his intellect to be a fine art. For this reason every one who writes
verse and prose, who sculpts, paints, photographs, etches, engraves, is
not necessarily an artist at all, for he does not necessarily have the
intellect, or use it in practising his art. It has long been customary
to call all painters and sculptors artists, as it has long been
customary in Edinburgh to call all medical students doctors. But in both
cases the terms are equally loosely applied. Our definition, then, of an
artist is a person who whether by verse, prose, sculpture, painting,
photography, etching, engraving, or music, raises his art to a fine art
by his work, and the works of such artist alone are works of art.

[Sidenote: High art.]

In a word, high and low art are absurd terms, no art is high or low. Art
is either good or bad art, not high or low, except when skied or floored
at exhibitions. “High art” and “higher artistic sense” we shall not use
because they are meaningless terms, for if they are not meaningless then
every picture falls under one or other category, high or low; if so let
some one classify all pictures into these two divisions and he will find
himself famous—as the laughing-stock of the world.

[Sidenote: Ideal.]

A volume might be written on this word, but it would be a volume of
words with little meaning. As applied to art, the meaning of “ideal” has
generally been that of something existing in fancy or in imagination,
something visionary, an imaginary type of perfection. G. H. Lewes says,
“Nothing exists but what is perceived;” we would say, nothing exists
_for us_ but what is perceived, and this we would make a first principle
of all art. A work of pictorial art is no abstract thing, but a physical
fact, and must be judged by physical laws. If a man draws a monster
which does not exist, what is it? It is but a modified form of some
existing thing or combination of things, and is after all not half so
terrible as many realities. What is more terrible than some of the
snakes than the octopus, than the green slimy crabs of our own waters?
Certainly none of the dragons and monsters drawn from the imagination is
half so horrible. Did the great Greek artist, Æschylus, describe a
dragon as gnawing at the liver of Prometheus? No, he simply drew the
picture of a vulture as being sufficiently emblematic. But let us
assume, for the sake of argument, that the dragon is more dreadful than
any reality, even then the pictorial and glyptic artist cannot use it,
for as he has no model to work from, the technique will necessarily be
bad, there will be no subtleties of tone, of colour, of drawing, all
which make nature so wonderful and beautiful. The dragon will be a pure
caricature, that is all. Again, some people consider it wonderful that a
painter takes a myth and renders it on canvas, and he is called
“learned” and “scholarly” for this work. But what does he do? Let us say
he wishes to paint the Judgment of Paris. He, if he is a good painter,
will paint the background from physical matter, shaped as nearly like
the Greek as possible, and he will paint the Paris and the ladies from
living models. The work may be perfect technically, but where is the
Greek part of it; what, then, does the painter rely upon? Why, the
_Greek story_, for if not why does he not call it by a modern name? But
no, he relies upon the well-known story—the Judgment of Paris—_in fact
he is taking the greater part of the merit that belongs to another man_.
The story of the Judgment of Paris is not his, yet it is that which
draws the public; and these men are called original, and clever, and
learned. Jean François Millet, in one of his scenes of Peasant Life, has
more originality than all of these others put together. Many people, not
conversant with the methods of art, think artists draw and paint and
sculpt things “out of their heads.” Well, some do, but no good artist
ever did. We have in our possession a beautiful low relief in marble,
done from a well-known Italian model in London. The work is as good as
any work the Greeks did, the type is most admirable, and it was done by
one of the sternest naturalistic sculptors of to-day.

A highly educated friend, an old Oxford man, called on us not long ago,
and was greatly taken with the head; after looking at it a long while,
he turned to us and said, “An ideal head, of course!” So it is the cant
of “idealism” runs through the world. But we have heard some of the most
original and naturalistic artists use the word “ideal,” and on pressing
them, they admitted it was misleading to others for them to use the
word; but they meant by it simply intellectual, that is, the work of art
had been done with intelligence and knowledge, but every suggestion had
been taken from nature. The word ideal, to our mind, is so apt to
mislead that we shall not use it.

[Sidenote: Imaginative work.]

Ideal work (q.v.).

[Sidenote: Impressionism.]

To us Impressionism means the same thing as naturalism, but since the
word allows so much latitude to the artist, even to the verging on
absurdity, we prefer the term Naturalism, because in the latter the work
can always be referred to a standard—Nature. Whereas if impressionism is
used, the painter can always claim that he sees so much, and only so
much, of Nature; and each individual painter thus becomes a standard for
himself and others, and there is no natural standard for all. A genius
like Manet tried to work out new ways of looking at nature, and that was
legitimate, but when weak followers took up his “manner” and had not his
genius, the result was eccentricity. For these reasons, therefore, we
prefer and have used the term “naturalism” throughout this work. But, as
we have said, we regard the terms “impressionism” and “naturalism” as
fundamentally synonymous, although we think the work of many of the
so-called modern “impressionists” but a passing craze.

[Sidenote: Interpreting.]

The method of rendering a picture as it appears to the eye has been
called interpreting nature. Perhaps interpreting is as good an
expression as any, for the artist in his language (for art is only a
language) interprets or explains his view of nature by his picture.

[Sidenote: Local Colour.]

“The local or proper colour of an object (_Körper-farbe_) is that which
it shows in common white light, while the illumination colour
(_Licht-farbe_) is that which is produced by coloured light. Thus the
red of some sandstone rocks, seen by common white light, is their proper
local colour, that of a snow mountain in the rays of the setting sun is
an illumination colour.”—_E. Atkinson_, Ph.D., F.R.S.

[Sidenote: Low art.]

See high art.

[Sidenote: Naturalism.]

By this term we mean the true and natural expression of an impression of
nature by an art. Now it will immediately be said that all men see
nature differently. Granted. But the artist sees deeper, penetrates more
into the beauty and mystery of nature than the commonplace man. _The
beauty is there in nature._ It has been thus from the beginning, so the
artist’s work is no idealizing of nature; but through quicker sympathies
and training the good artist sees the deeper and more fundamental
beauties, and he seizes upon them, “tears them out,” as Durer says, and
renders them on his [Sidenote: Durer.] canvas, or on his photographic
plate, or on his written page. And therefore the work is the test of the
man—for by the work we see whether the man’s mind is commonplace or not.
It is for this reason, therefore, that artists are the best judges of
pictures, and even a trained second-rate painter will recognize a good
picture far quicker than a layman, though he may not be able to produce
such a one himself. Of course Naturalism premisses that all the
suggestions for the work are taken from and studied from nature. The
subject in nature must be the thing which strikes the man and moves him
to render it, not the plate he has to fill. Directly he begins thinking
how he can fill a certain canvas or plate, he is no longer naturalistic,
he may even then show he is a good draughtsman or a good colourist, but
he will not show that he is naturalistic. Naturalistic painters know
well enough that very often painting in a tree or some other subject
might improve the picture in the eyes of many, but they will not put it
in because they have _not the tree before them to study from_. Again, it
has been said that arranging a foreground and then painting it might
improve the picture, but the naturalistic painter says no, by so doing
“all the little subtleties are lost, which give quality to the picture!”
Nature, is so full of surprises that, all things considered, she is best
painted as she is. [Sidenote: Aristotle.] Aristotle of old called poetry
“an imitative art,” and we do not think any one has ever given a better
definition of poetry, though the word “imitative” must not in our
present state of knowledge be used rigidly. The poetry is all in nature,
all pathos and tragedy is in nature, and only wants finding and tearing
forth. But there’s the rub, the best work looks so easy to do _when it
is done_. [Sidenote: Burns.] Does not Burns' poem “To a mouse” look easy
to write? This, then, is what we understand by naturalism, that all
suggestions should come from nature, and all techniques should be
employed to give as true an _impression_ of nature as possible.

[Sidenote: Original.]

This is a mightily misused word. Only those artists can be called
original who have something _new to say_, no matter by what methods they
say it. A photograph may be far more original than a painting.

[Sidenote: Photographic.]

Some of the best writers and journalists of the day have adopted the use
of the word “photographic,” as applying to written descriptions of
scenes which are absolutely correct in detail and bald fact, though they
are lacking in sentiment and poetry. What a trap these writers have
fallen into will be seen in this work, for what they think so true is
often utterly false. And, on the other hand, photography is capable of
producing pictures full of sentiment and poetry. The word “photographic”
should not be applied to anything except photography. No written
descriptions can be “photographic.” The use of the word, when applied to
writing, leads to a confusion of different phenomena, and therefore to
deceptive inferences. This cannot be too strongly insisted upon, as some
cultured writers have been guilty of the wrong use of the word
“photographic,” and therefore of writing bad English.

[Sidenote: Quality.]

Quality is used when speaking of a picture or work which has in it
artistic properties of a special character, in a word, artistic
properties which are distinctive and characteristic of the fineness and
subtlety of nature.

[Sidenote: Realism.]

By Naturalism it will be seen that we mean a very different thing from
Realism. The realist makes no analysis, he is satisfied with the motes
and leaves out the sunbeam. He will, in so far as he is able, paint all
the veins of the leaves as they really are, and not as _they look_ as a
whole. For example, the realist, if painting a tree a hundred yards off,
would not strive to render the tree as it appears to him from where he
is sitting, but he would probably gather leaves of the tree and place
them before him, and paint them as they looked within twelve inches of
his eyes, and as the modern Pre-Raphaelites did, he might even imitate
the local colour of things themselves. [Sidenote: Pre-Raphaelites.]
Whereas the naturalistic painter would care for none of these things, he
would endeavour to render the impression of the tree as it _appeared_ to
him when standing a hundred yards off, the tree taken as a whole, and as
it looked, modified as it would be by various phenomena and accidental
circumstances. The naturalist’s work we should call true to nature. The
realist’s false to nature. The work of the realist would do well for a
botany but not for a picture, there is no scope for fine art in realism,
realism belongs to the province of science. This we shall still further
illustrate in the following pages.

[Sidenote: Relative tone and value.]

Relative tone or value is the difference in the amount of light received
on the different planes of objects when compared with one another.

[Sidenote: Sentiment.]

Artists speak of the “sentiment of nature” as a highly desirable quality
in a picture. This means that naturalism should have been the leading
idea which has governed the general conception and execution of the
work. Thus the sentiment of nature is a healthful and highly desirable
quality in a picture. Thus “true in sentiment” is a term of high praise.
“Sentiment” is really normal sympathetic “feeling.”

[Sidenote: Sentimentality.]

As opposed to sentiment, is a highly undesirable quality, and a quality
to be seen in all bad work. It is an _affectation_ of _sentiment_, and
relies by artificiality and mawkishness upon appealing to the morbid and
uncultured. It is the bane of English art. The one is normal, the other

[Sidenote: Soul.]

Soul = Vis medicatrix = Plastic force = Vital force = Vital principle =
O. The word is, however, used by some of the most advanced thinkers in
art, and when asked to explain it they say they mean by it “the
fundamental.” From what we can gather, the word “soul” is the formula by
which they express the sum total of qualities which make up the life of
the individual. Thus a man when he has got the “soul” into a statue, has
not only rendered the organic _structure_ of the model, but also all the
model’s subtleties of harmony, of movement and expression, and thought,
which are due to the _physical fact_ of his being a living organism.
This “life” is of course the fundamental thing, and first thing to
obtain in any work of art. In this way, then, we can understand the use
of the word “soul” as synonymous with the “life” of the model. The
“soul” or life is always found in nature, in the model, and the artist
seizes upon it first, and subdues all things to it. “Soul,” then, to us
is a term for the expression of the epitome of the characteristics of a
living thing. The Egyptians expressed the “soul” or life of a lion,
Landseer did not.

[Sidenote: Technique.]

By technique is meant, in photography, a knowledge of optics and
chemistry, and of the preparation and employment of the photographic
materials by the means of which pictures are secured. It does in no way
refer to the _manner_ of using these materials, that is the “practice.”

[Sidenote: Tone.]

To begin with, as this book is for photographers, we must tell them they
invariably use the word tone in a wrong sense. What photographers call
“tone” should properly be colour or tint, thus: a brown tint, a purple
tint, or colour.

The correct meaning of tone is the amount of light received upon the
different planes of an object.

[Sidenote: Transcript of nature.]

“‘A mere transcript of nature’ is one of the stock phrases of the art
critic, and of many artists of a certain school. The precise meaning
attached to it puzzles us; were it not always used as a term of
reproach, we should believe it the highest praise that could be bestowed
upon a picture. What adds to our perplexity is that the phrase is
generally applied by the critic to work which has nothing in common with
nature about it: and is used by artists who themselves have never in
their lives painted a picture with the simplest values correct, as
though transcribing nature to canvas were a stage in the painter’s
development through which they had passed, and which was now beneath
them. The critic must have but a very superficial acquaintance with
nature who applies this term, as is frequently done, to work in which
all the subtleties of nature are wanting. We have heard of pictures in
which no two tones have been in right relation to one another, in which
noisy detail has been mistaken for finish, and the mingling of decision
and indecision in fine opposition—the mysterious lost and found, the
chief charm of nature—has been utterly unfelt, described as ‘transcripts
of nature.’ Those artists who use the phrase, adopt it as a convenient
barricade behind which they may defend their own incompetence.”—_T. F.

[Sidenote: Da Vinci.]

All photographers would do well to lay these remarks to heart. Instead
of it being an easy thing to paint “a mere transcript of nature,” we
shall show it to be _utterly impossible_. No man can do this either by
painting or photography, he can only give a translation, or impression,
as Leonardo da Vinci said long ago; but he can give this impression
truly or falsely.

                              CHAPTER II.

[Sidenote: An inquiry into the influence of the study of nature on art.]

In this chapter we shall endeavour to trace the influence of the study
of nature on all the best art up to the present day. [Sidenote: Woltmann
and Woermann.] In order to do this it will be necessary to follow in
chronological order the development of art, and we propose taking as our
guide in this matter Messrs. Woltmann and Woermann, who seem the most
trustworthy and are the most recent of art historians. We feel, however,
that we must state our attitude towards them as historians of art. For
the main historical facts, we willingly accept as authorities these
writers, since they have studied the matter, but when these historians
try to trace the causes and effects of different phases of art on
contemporary life then we entirely part company from them, for there are
so many wheels within wheels in this complex comedy of life that we
cannot with patience listen to searchers of manuscripts and students of
autographs, who trace the fall of an empire to an oil painting, or the
decadence of painting to the cheapness of wheat: such dreams may still
serve, as they have always served, as a peg whereon to hang rhetorical
rhapsodies, but they can have no attraction for rational minds. What we
propose, then, is briefly to compile a short outline, consisting of the
salient facts in the history of art, in so far as they bear on our
subject, that is, how far the best artists have been naturalistic, and
how true in impression their interpretation of nature. When we agree
with any of the critical remarks of these gentlemen, we shall quote them
in full, acknowledging them in the usual way, but we reserve to
ourselves the right to differ entirely from them on artistic points. We
ourselves feel much diffidence in advancing any critical remarks of our
own upon these arts, for we are convinced, after a long and practical
study of the subject, that no one can criticize any branch of art _and
the criticism be authoritative_, unless he be a _practical master
artist_ in the branch of art which he is criticizing; but as our
opinions have been put to the touchstone of some first-rate practical
artists in other branches than our own, we offer them, standing always
ready to be corrected by any good practical artist on any point. As to
who are good artists is again another wide question. Certainly their
name is not legion.

[Sidenote: Criticism.]

Our object in traversing all this ground, then, is one of inquiry, to
really see how far “naturalism” is the only wear for all good art, and
we have done it in an impartial spirit, arriving at the conclusion that
in all the glyptic and pictorial arts the touchstone answers. How far
this is the case with the arts of Fiction, Poetry, &c., is a more
complex matter, and one we cannot now deal with, but we feel that in the
literary arts the matter is very different, for in these arts we are not
confined, as we are in the pictorial and glyptic arts, to physical facts
and their representation; for there is no such thing as abstract beauty
of form or colour. Art has served as a peg on which to hang all sorts of
fads—fine writing, very admirable in its place—morality, not to be
despised—classical knowledge and literature generally, both of the
highest æsthetic value, but in no way connected with the glyptic and
pictorial arts. Naturalistic art has been found and lost, and lost and
found time after time, and it is because the Dutch, French, English and
American artists of to-day are finding it again that we feel hopeful for
the art of the future.

[Sidenote: Our aim.]

Our object is, by these notes, to lead our readers to the works of art
themselves, hoping that by this means they will, to some extent, educate
themselves and finally form independent judgments on art matters. Much
of the lamentable ignorance existing on these subjects is due to the
acceptance of the dicta of writers on pictures, without the readers
seeing the pictures themselves. We earnestly beg, therefore, of any one
who may be sufficiently interested in the subject as to read this book,
that he will go and see the original pictures and sculptures cited; all
of which are within easy reach. It was our original intention to
introduce photographic reproductions of the best pieces of sculpture,
and the best pictures into this work, but we have decided against so
doing, fearing that the reader might be tempted to look at the
reproductions and neglect the originals, and a translation, however good
it may be, is but a small part of the truth. In thus expressing our
conclusions on naturalism in art, we do not set up as the preacher of
any new gospel. Such opinions as ours are as old as the art of ancient
Greece, nay older, for from the early days of Egypt downwards these
ideas have been held, we shall find, by great artists in all ages. It is
only in the application of these ideas to photography, and in attempting
to reduce them to scientific first principles that we presume to claim
any originality.

                             EGYPTIAN ART.

[Sidenote: Egyptian art.]

On examining specimens of Egyptian art, whether it be their paintings,
architecture, sculpture or book illustrations (the papyri), one is
struck by the wonderful simplicity, decision and force with which they
expressed themselves. The history of Egypt has been so little studied,
save by students of history, and the old popular stories concerning the
nations of the past are so inaccurate and misleading, that one is at
first surprised to find such power in the works of those whom we were
taught, not so long ago, to look upon as Philistines; so that we might
gaze on the Pyramids of Gizeh, the statues of Rameses, and the granite
lions, with the wonderment of incomprehension. But now, of course, every
one knows that the Egyptians were masters in certain directions, where
we are but in our infancy. Even in their _cavi relievi_ and wall
paintings, though these latter are but tinted outlines, they are not the
outlines of childish draughtsmen, weak and unmeaning, but they show the
force of a powerful skill that in one bold outline can give all the
essentials of a man, bird or beast, so that the picture looks living and
doing. All through their work there is a bigness of conception, a solid
grip of nature which makes their work surpass many of the elaborately
finished and richly detailed pictures of our modern art galleries.

[Sidenote: Works to be  studied.]

Let us call the reader’s attention to such examples as are easily to be
seen, namely, [Sidenote: The lions.]the granite lions, the _cavi
relievi_ and the papyri in the British Museum. The lions, which are
remarkable for strength of character and truthfulness of impression, may
be taken as representative of the greatest period of Egyptian art, a
period which ended about the time of Rameses II.; for after that time
the artist began to neglect the study of nature, and gradual decadence
set in.

[Sidenote: Landseer’s lions.]

We strongly advise all our readers to go to the British Museum and look
well at these lions. They are hewn from granite, or porphyry, the
hardest of stones, they have conventional moustaches, and are lying in
conventional positions, yet withal, there is a wonderful expression of
life and reserved strength about them which makes you respect them,
stone though they be; and they convey to you, as you look on their long
lithe flanks so broadly and simply treated, the truthful impression of
strong and merciless _animals_. Your thoughts involuntarily turn from
them to Landseer’s bronze lions guarding Trafalgar Square. In them you
remember all the tufts of hair correctly rendered, even to the wool in
the ears, the mane, the moustaches. Even the claws are there, and yet
you feel instinctively you would rather meet those[2] tame cats of
Trafalgar Square, with all their claws, than the Egyptian lions in the
British Museum. The reason of this is that the Egyptians knew how to
epitomize, so as to express the fundamental characteristics of the lion,
they cared not to say how many hairs went to make up the tufted tail,
nor yet how many claws each paw should have, but what they tried to do,
and succeeded in doing, was to convey a sense of his power and
animalism, or to convey, in short, an impression of _his nature_.


Footnote 2:

  Since this was written Mr. Frith has published that Landseer modelled
  these lions from a tame cat.


These lions were the outcome of the best period of Egyptian sculpture.
The Egyptian artists who carved those lions had been striving to
interpret Nature, and hence their great success; but as soon as their
successors began to neglect nature, and took to drawing up rules, they
went wrong, and produced caricatures. [Sidenote: Rameses II. and
decadence.] We read that after the time of Rameses II. “every figure is
now mathematically designed according to a prescribed canon of numerical
proportions between the parts.”

[Sidenote: Wilkinson’s “Ancient Egyptians.”]

All this we can trace for ourselves in the plates supplied with
Wilkinson’s learned work, entitled, “The Ancient Egyptians.” We see in
those plates that something has happened to the people and objects
represented, something that makes them no longer tell their own story,
they no longer look alive, but are meaningless; the reason of this
falling off was that the artist no longer used his eyes to any purpose,
but did what was then supposed to be the right thing to do, namely,
followed the laws laid down by some men of narrow intellect—laws called
as now the “canons of art.” The very life of the Egyptian artists of
that period was against good work, for they were incorporated into
guilds, and the laws of caste worked as harmfully as they now do in the
Orient. [Sidenote: Artists' status.] There is, then, distinct evidence
that on the one hand the Egyptian artists of the best period, when
untrammelled by conventionality, created works which, though lacking the
innumerable qualities of later Greek art, yet possessed, _so far as they
went_, the first essential of all art—truth of impression. Again, on the
other hand, directly anything like “rules of art” appeared, and the
study of nature was neglected, their art degenerated into meaningless
conventionality, and as this conventionality and neglect of nature were
never cast aside, the art of Egypt never developed beyond the work done
by the artists who carved the stone lions.

                      MONARCHIES OF WESTERN ASIA.

[Sidenote: Assyrian art.]

Assyrian art differed from that of Egypt in that the outline of the
figures was much stronger, and that they painted their bas-reliefs; but
the “imitation of nature was the watchword” in Assyria, as it was in

[Sidenote: Assyrian bas-reliefs.]

In studying the Assyrian bas-reliefs, those interested in the subject
should go to the Assyrian rooms in the basement of the British Museum,
and look at the reliefs of Bani-Pal—the famous lion-hunting scenes.
[Sidenote: The lion-hunt.] There is, of course, much conventionality in
the work, as there was in that of the Egyptians; but no observer can
fail to detect that the Assyrians were naturalistic to a degree that
strikes us as marvellous when we consider the subjects they were
treating. Note the lioness, wounded in the spine, dragging her
hindquarters painfully along. Does this not give a powerful impression
of the wounded animal? and does it not occur to you how wonderful was
the power of the man who in so little expressed and conveys to you so
much. Consider when those Assyrian sculptors lived. Look, too, at the
bas-reliefs numbered 47 and 49; and in 50 note the marvellous
truthfulness of impression of the horseman, who is riding at a gallop.
There is life and movement in the work, though there is much scope for
improvement in the truth of the movements. Look, too, at the laden mules
in bas-reliefs numbers 70 and 72. Such works as these were done by great
men in art, and though crudeness of methods prevented them from
rivalling some of the later work, their work is at least honest, and, as
far as it goes, naturalistic. The work does not say all that there is to
say about the subject; but it does say much of what is _most essential_,
and by doing that is artistically greater than work done by scores of
modern men. [Sidenote: Historical value of the bas-reliefs.]In addition
to their artistic value, how interesting are these works as records of
history. Indisputable, as written history can never be, they are to us a
valuable record of the life and times. They constitute historical art in
its only good sense.

                     ANCIENT GREEK AND ITALIAN ART.

[Sidenote: Ancient]

Greek and Italian art.

In discussing Greek _painting_ we shall rely entirely upon the erudite
historical work of Messrs. Woltmann and Woermann, giving a short
_résumé_ of their remarks on the subject. [Sidenote: No Greek paintings
extant.] This is absolutely necessary, as not one specimen of Greek
painting has come down to us.[3] But on the other, hand, in dealing with
Greek and Græco-Roman sculpture we shall base our remarks on the Greek
and Græco-Roman sculpture in the British Museum.


Footnote 3:

  Some paintings quite recently discovered in Egypt are apparently the
  work of Greek artists, and tend to confirm this written testimony.


[Sidenote: History  of Greek painting.]

Beginning then with Greek painting, let us see what the historians tell
us. They begin by saying, in painting “the Greeks effected nothing short
of a revolution ... by right of which they deserve the glory of having
first made painting a truthful mirror of realities.” This fact, that
their pictorial art reached such perfection, is not generally known, for
the reason that the assertion rests on written testimony,—but it is
reliable testimony. The historians “insist on the fact that no single
work of any one of the famous painters recognized in the history of
Greek art has survived to our time.” Let us then briefly trace the rise
of Greek painting till it culminated in Apelles. [Sidenote: Polygnotos.]
Polygnotos (B.C. 475-55) is the first name we hear of, and of his works
we are told, “they were just as far from being really complete pictorial
representations as the wall-pictures of the Assyrians and Egyptians
themselves,” although in some particulars there must have been a
distinct advancement on the work of the orientals. For example, we are
told Polygnotos painted the “fishes of Acheron shadowy grey, and the
pebbles of the river-bed so that they could be seen through the water.”
Polygnotos fell, however, into a pitfall which has entrapped many
painters since, he painted imaginative pictures. We are told he “was a
painter of heroes,” some of his school attempted portraiture, “but
painting though in this age was still a mere system of tinted outline
design.” [Sidenote: Agatharchos.] Then followed Agatharchos, “the leader
of a real revolution, a revolution by which art was enabled to achieve
great and decisive progress towards a system of representation
corresponding with the laws of optics and the full truth of nature.”
Agatharchos was a scene-painter, and was no doubt led by striving for
naturalism in his scenery to study naturalism in painting generally.
[Sidenote: Scene-painting.] As the historians remark, “In scene-painting
as thus practised, we find the origins not only of all representations
of determinate backgrounds, but also, and more especially, of landscape
painting. It is impossible to over-estimate the importance of the
invention of scene-painting as the most decisive turning-point in the
entire history of the art, and Agatharchos is named as the master who,
at the inspiration of Æschylus, first devoted himself to practising the
invention.” [Sidenote: Perspective.] This painter, it is said, also paid
great attention to perspective, and left a treatise which was afterwards
used in drawing up the laws of perspective. It is said his manner of
treatment was “comparatively broad and picturesque.” [Sidenote:
Apollodoros.] Next came Apollodoros, a figure-painter, who also combined
landscape and figure subjects, and of whom Pliny says “that he was the
first to give the appearance of reality to his pictures, the first to
bring the brush into just repute, [Sidenote: Easel-pictures.] and even
that before him no easel-picture (_tabula_) had existed by any master
fit to charm the eye of the spectator.” [Sidenote: Chiaro-oscuro.]
Apollodoros was the first to give his pictures a natural and definite
background in true perspective; he was the first, it is emphatically
stated, “who rightly managed chiaro-oscuro and the fusion of colours....
He will have also been the first to soften off the outlines of his
figures.... [Sidenote: Brunn.] For this reason we may, with Brunn, in a
certain sense call Apollodoros “the first true painter.” We are told,
however, that his “painting was, in comparison with his successors, hard
and imperfect,” and that the innovations made by him in the relation of
foreground and background cannot be compared to the improvements
effected by the brothers Van Eyck in modern times. [Sidenote: Zeuxis,
Parrhasios, and Timanthes.] We now read of Zeuxis, Parrhasios, and
Timanthes, who, we are told, “perfected a system of pictorial
representation, adequately rendering on the flat surface the relief and
variety of nature, in other particulars if not in colour.” The endeavour
of Zeuxis was “by the brilliant use of the brush to rival nature
herself,” and from anecdotes related of him and of Parrhasios, we gather
that they “laid the greatest stress on carrying out to the point of
actual illusion the deceptive likeness to nature.” Many of Zeuxis'
subjects were taken from everyday life—another step in the right
direction. [Sidenote: Eupompos.] We now come to the Dorian school, with
Eupompos as its founder; and here we find a determination to study
painting scientifically, and to conscientiously observe nature, for we
are told Eupompos expressed the opinion “that the artist who wished to
succeed must go first of all to nature as his teacher.” [Sidenote:
Pamphilos.] Pamphilos, a pupil of Eupompos, brought this school to
maturity, and insisted on the “necessity of scientific study for the
painter.” [Sidenote: Melanthios.] He was followed by Melanthios, who
pursued the same lines of scientific investigation; and was in his turn
succeeded by Pausias, of whom we hear, [Sidenote: Pausias.] “It is
quoted as a novel and striking effect, that in one of his pictures the
face of Methê (or personified Intoxication) was visible through the
transparent substance of the glass out of which she drank.” His work was
considered to have great technical excellence, his subjects were taken
from everyday life, and his pictures were all on a small scale. Pliny
says “his favourite themes were ‘boys,’ that is, no doubt, scenes of
child-life.... He developed, it seems, a more natural method of
representing the modelling of objects by the gradations of a single
colour.” We read, too, that his paintings drawn fresh from life “were
much appreciated by the Romans.” Such is the case with all good
naturalistic works, they always interest posterity, whereas the
so-called imaginative works only interest the age for which they are
painted. We should to-day prefer and treasure as beyond price one of
Pausias' studies of familiar Greek life, whereas the heroes of
Polygnotos would lack interest for us, and excite but little enthusiasm.
[Sidenote: The Theban-Attic school.] There was a third school of Greek
painting, that called the Theban-Attic, and of this we read that there
was “a great ease and versatility, and an invention more intent upon the
expression of human emotion,” but no painter of this school made any
very great advance. [Sidenote: Apelles.] At length we come to Apelles,
the most famous of all Greek painters. He, although already well known
and highly thought of, went to the Sikyonian school, to study under
Pamphilos, and we afterwards hear of him as court painter to Alexander
the Great. We are told that at court his “mission was to celebrate the
person and the deeds of the king, as well as those of his captains and
chief men.” This was at any rate legitimate historical painting.
Woltmann and Woermann say, “In faithful imitation of nature he was
second to none; he was first of all in refinement of light and shade,
and consequent fulness of relief and completeness of modelling.” And
again we read, “Astonishing technical perfection in the illusory
imitation of nature” distinguished Apelles. Thus we see that the great
aim of the greatest of Greek painters was to paint nature exactly as she
is, or as glib critics would say, to paint “mere transcripts of nature.”
[Sidenote: Protogenes.] Contemporary with Apelles was Protogenes, whose
aim was to reach the “highest degree of illusion in detail.” The cycle
of development seemed now to have reached its highest point, and as the
naturalistic teachings fell into the hands of inferior men, they were
abused, and Woltmann and Woermann tell us the imitative principle was
not kept subservient to artistic ends, and in the hands of Theon of
Samos the principle of illusion became an end in itself, and art
degenerated into _legerdemain_. This same tendency is now showing its
hydra head, and in London, Brussels, and other places are to be seen
inferior works hidden in dark rooms, or to be viewed through peep-holes.
[Sidenote: Theon.] We only want the trumpets of Theon or the music of
the opera bouffe to complete the degradation.Following Theon, and
probably disgusted with his phantasies, came painters of small
subjects;[Sidenote: The rhyparographi.] the rhyparographi of Pliny, or
the rag-and-tatter painters, “who painted barbers' shops, asses,
eatables, and such-like.” “We see, therefore, that about B.C. 300 ...
Greek painting had already extended its achievements to almost all
conceivable themes, with the single exception of landscape. Within the
space of a hundred and fifty years the art had passed through every
technical stage, from the tinted profile system of Polygnotos to the
properly pictorial system of natural scenes, enclosed in natural
backgrounds, and thence to the system of trick and artifice, which aimed
at the realism of actual illusion by means beyond the legitimate scope
of art.”

“The creative power of Greek painting was as good as exhausted by this
series of efforts. In the following centuries the art survived indeed as
a pleasant after-growth, in some of its old seats, but few artists stand
out with strong individuality from among their contemporaries. Only a
master here and there makes a name for himself. [Sidenote: Timomachos.]
The one of these whom we have here especially to notice is Timomachos,
of Byzantium, an exception of undeniable importance, since even at this
late period of Greek culture he won for himself a world-wide celebrity.”

Decadence, however, had already set in, and we find that Timomachos
neglected the study of familiar subjects, and returned to the so-called
imaginative style, producing such works as “Ajax and Medea,” and
“Iphigenia in Taurus.” [Sidenote: Greek landscape painting.] Curiously
enough, it was during this period that the only branch of painting not
yet tried by the Greeks, namely, landscape painting, was attempted.
Woltmann and Woermann suggest a reason for this new departure when they
say, “We can gather with certainty from poetry and literature that it
was in the age of the Diadochi (the kings who divided amongst them the
kingdom of Alexander) that the innate Greek instinct of
anthropomorphism, of personifying nature in human forms, from a
combination of causes was gradually modified in the direction of an
appreciation of natural scenes for their own sake, and as they really
are.” Landscape painting, however, did not reach any great perfection,
for we are told it “scarcely got beyond the superficial character of
decorative work.” [Sidenote: Decadence.] With this period ends the true
history of Greek painting, though it still lingers on, and becomes so
far merged into that of Roman art that between the two it is not
possible to draw a line of distinction. [Sidenote: Fabius and Ludius.]
Roman art had a character of its own, and even two painters, whose
names, Fabius and Ludius, and in the case of the latter whose works,
have been handed down to us; but the works of Ludius do not appear to
have been more than decorative work.

[Sidenote: Vases, mosaics, &c., &c.]

Besides the written testimony referred to, the state of art can be
gathered from the vases, bronzes, mosaics, paintings on stone, and mural
decorations which have come down to us. These were chiefly the work of
Greek journeymen, and though there is much that is excellent in these
productions, their period of decadence very soon set in. [Sidenote:
Antiques for tourists.] It is a gauge of the art knowledge of to-day to
watch the gullible English and Americans purchasing third-rate copies of
the works of Greek journeymen house-decorators, and taking them home and
hoarding them as works of art,—works which were only valuable in their
own time, in connection with the life and architecture then existing,
but which at the present day are interesting merely from an historical
point of view, for no really artistic mind can possibly find
satisfaction in such work for its own sake. Did these uncultured buyers
but reflect and study for a while the natural beauties around them, they
would soon see the error of their ways.

In their conclusion on Græco-Roman art Woltmann and Woermann say that
they “have no doubt that Greek painting had at last fully acquired the
power to produce adequate semblances of living fact and nature,” which
could not be said of any painting up to that time. Here then we have
traced a quick development of Greek painting, and an almost equally
quick decline, and all through we find the never-failing truth,—that so
long as nature was the standard, and all efforts were directed towards
interpreting her faithfully, so long did the national art grow and
improve till it culminated in the statues of Pheidias and the paintings
of Apelles; but that directly nature was neglected, as it was in the
time of Theon, art degenerated, till at last it fell, as we shall see,
into the meaningless work of the early Christian artists. [Sidenote: Art
criticism.]We find even thus early that the pedantic writer who knows
nothing of practical art had begun to fill the world with his mysterious
nonsense. [Sidenote: Rhetoricians.] Such were the rhetoricians of the
empire who describe works “purely anonymous, indeed in many cases it is
clear that the picture has been invented by the man of letters, as a peg
whereon to hang his eloquence.”

It cannot be too often repeated that technical criticism is not
authoritative unless made by masters of the several arts.

[Sidenote: Greek and Græco-Roman sculpture.]

Let us now proceed to the British Museum, and look at the best specimens
of Greek and Græco-Roman sculpture as exhibited there.

[Sidenote: The British Museum collection.]

Taking for examination the specimens nearest at hand; we refer to those
to be seen in the gallery leading out of the entrance-hall of the
British Museum. [Sidenote: Nero’s bust.] The busts which strike us most
forcibly are those of Nero, Trajan, Publius Hevius Pertinax, Cordianus
Africanus, Caracalla, Commodus, and Julius Cæsar. The bust of Nero (No.
11) strikes one by the simplicity and breadth of its treatment, combined
as these qualities are with the expression of great strength and energy.
The sculptor has evidently gone at his work with a thorough knowledge of
the technique, and hewn the statue straight from the marble, a custom,
by the way, followed by only one modern sculptor, namely, J. Havard
Thomas. Look at the broad treatment of the chin and neck of this bust of
Nero. Nowadays one rarely meets with even living awe-inspiring men, but
that marble carries with it such force, that, all cold and stony as it
is, it creates in you a feeling of respect and awe. It should be studied
from various distances and coigns of vantage, and if well studied it can
surely never be forgotten. It gives the head of a domineering, cruel,
sensual, yet strong man. [Sidenote: Trajan’s bust.] In the bust of
Trajan (No. 15), we have the same powerful technique employed this time
in rendering the animal strength of a powerful man. With his low
forehead, small head, and splendid neck, the embodiment of strength,
Trajan looks down on us somewhat scornfully. [Sidenote: Bust of Publius
Pertinax.] Then, too, No. 35, the bust of Publius Hevius Pertinax, is no
mask, but a face with a _brain behind it_. You feel this man might
speak, and if he did, what he had to say would be worth listening to.
Perhaps for grip of the impression of life this is the best of all these
busts. Compare it with the mask (it can be called nothing else) on the
shelf above it, and you will see the difference. [Sidenote: Busts of
Cordianus and Caracalla.] The portrait busts of Cordianus Africanus (No.
39) and Caracalla are also marvellous for life-like expression. Look
well at the cropped head and beard of Cordianus from a little distance,
and see how true and life-like the _impression_ is; then go up close and
see how the hair of the beard is rendered. It is done by chipping out
little wedges of the marble. Here is a very good example of the
distinction between what is called _realism_ and _naturalism_ or
_impressionism_, for the two last we hold to be synonymous, though for
lucidity we have defined them differently. If all the detail of that
beard had been rendered, every hair or curl correctly cut to represent a
hair or curl, and this is what the modern Italian sculptor would have
done, we should have had realism and bad work. This should be borne in
mind in portrait photography, that the essence, the true impression, is
what is required; the fundamental is all that counts; the rest is small,
niggling, contemptible.

[Sidenote: Bust of  Commodus.]

Let us turn to No. 33,—the sensual face of Commodus,—he re-lives in the
marble. [Sidenote: Bust of Homer.] Another very notable bust is that of
Homer (No. 117), in the corner of the gallery at right angles to that we
are leaving. Look how truly the impression is rendered of the withered
old literary man; how the story of his long life is stamped on his face,
the unmistakable look of the studious, contemplative man.

Pass we now to the next gallery, and stop at the wonderfully fine torso,
No. 172. [Sidenote: Torso, and boy and thorn.] Look well at this
beautiful work, so feelingly, sympathetically, and simply treated by the
sculptor. You can almost see the light glance as the muscles glide
beneath the skin. This is a marvellous natural work, as is also the boy
pulling out a thorn from his foot. [Sidenote: Young satyr.]The young
satyr (No. 184) is also a wonderfully fine piece of sculpture, and well
worth close study. The student will have ample opportunity for studying,
side by side, in this gallery, bad stone cutting and fine sculpture, for
many of the fine marbles have been barbarously restored. As an example,
we cite the lifeless, stony arms of No. 188, which compare with the rest
of the figure, look at the india-rubber finger of the right hand, and
you will understand what bad work is, if you did not know it already.
[Sidenote: Apotheosis of Homer.] Before leaving this gallery let the
reader look at No. 159, the Apotheosis of Homer. Now, as can be
imagined, this is the delight of the pedantic critic, and more ignorant
rhapsodies have been written on this work than perhaps on any other
piece of sculpture. Of course, as any candid and competent observer will
see, this is, as a work of art, very poor, and hardly worth talking
about, except as a warning. In passing into the gallery where are the
remains of the Parthenon frieze, notice an archaic nude torso which
stands on the left, and see how the artist was feeling his way to
nature. [Sidenote: Parthenon frieze.] All portions of the Parthenon
frieze should be most carefully studied. The animals in 60 and 61 are
fairly true, as in fact is the whole work. [Sidenote: Muybridge and his
cantering horse.] It was on seeing one of Muybridge’s photographs of a
man cantering on a bare-backed horse, that a sculptor remarked to us, “I
wonder if the Greeks knew of photography.” And yet critics and feeble
artists call this work ideal, and declare they discover imaginary
groupings according to geometrical laws, and heaven knows what; all of
which the best sculptors deny. [Sidenote: Horse of Selene.] The student
must now look at the “Horse of Selene,” one of the most marvellous
pieces of work ever done by man. It was a long time before we could see
the full beauty and truthfulness of impression of this great work, and
the reason was due to a simple physical fact. We stood too near to it.
To see it well you should stand about twenty or thirty feet off, and out
of the grey background you will see the marble horse tossing its living
head, and you will be spell-bound. Having observed the truthfulness of
impression, go to it close up, and note the wonderful truth with which
the bony structure of the skull is suggested beneath the skin. We can
say no more than that it is a true impression taken direct from nature,
for in no other way could it have been obtained. Nothing ideal about it
at all, simply naturalism.

Much nonsense has been written, too, about “idealism” in Greek coins.
[Sidenote: Greek coins.] To us they seem simply impressions taken from
busts or other works; but to make assurance doubly sure, we have taken
the opinion of two of the very best modern sculptors, who are, we
venture to prophesy, going to show us as good work as any done by the
Greeks, and in many ways even better work.[4] Well, their opinion as to
“idealism” in Greek sculpture is emphatically that it existed not. They
say that the Greeks were naturalistic, the study of nature was the
mainspring of their art, and the truthful expression of the poetry of
nature their sole end and aim. That they attained this end in many ways
we know, and in certain ways they will never be surpassed, but in other
directions their work will one day appear childish.


Footnote 4:

  All old work is to be surpassed, and that in the fundamental matter of
  movement. This advance is entirely due to Photography.


[Sidenote: Technical   criticism.]

We do not attempt to give a detailed technical criticism of sculpture as
executed by the Greeks, for, as we have said before, none but a
_first-rate sculptor_ can do that; and as there are not half a dozen
such in England, and as they have quite enough work to do at present, we
fear the public will have to wait some time for such criticism. In the
meantime those interested in the subject cannot do better than study the
works mentioned, and let them leave all others alone; let them spend
days in studying those pointed out, and they will soon find themselves
able to distinguish good work from bad. [Sidenote: Gibson gallery.]
Then, if they want a good shock, let them walk into the Gibson Gallery
at Burlington House, for there they will see _nothing_ but bad work.

There is one point to be borne in mind when we look at the surpassing
beauty of the Greek statues, and that is the natural beauty of the Greek
race, and the number of excellent models the Greek sculptors had before
them to choose from. [Sidenote: Taine.] Taine, in his charming but
atechnical volume on “La Philosophie de l’art Grec,” goes as thoroughly
into this question as a historian and philosopher can enter into the
life of the past, and into art questions, which in our opinion is to a
very limited extent. Nevertheless, his book is full of suggestions, and
if our sculptors do not to-day equal in beauty the antiques, the cause,
in our opinion, lies in the lack of perfect models, for the best
technical work of to-day we think is superior to that of the Greeks. We
have seen impressionistic renderings of nature by some modern sculptors
which we think more natural in _all points_ than anything of the kind to
be found in Greek sculpture.

[Sidenote: Modern French school.]

Like the Greeks have the leading men of the modern French school adhered
to nature,—a school in our mind more akin to the Greek school at its
best than any other, and for the simple reason that it is more loyal to
nature than any art has been since the time of Apelles. [Sidenote:
Horizon-line.] As an example of the kinship between the two schools we
quote Woltmann and Woermann, who tell us the Greeks “placed their
horizon abnormally high according to our ideas; and distributed the
various objects over an ample space in clear and equable light.” Now
modern painters have happily discarded all laws for the position of the
horizon-line, and common sense shows that the height of the horizon
naturally depends on how much foreground is included in the picture. The
angle included by the eye vertically as well as horizontally varies with
the distance of the object from us, and the only law therefore is to
include in the picture as much as is included by the eye; and this of
course varies with the position of the _motif_ or chief point of
interest. [Sidenote: Millet.] Millet has a good many high horizons, and
we feel they are normal not abnormal. On this point therefore we think
the Greeks were very advanced.

                          EARLY CHRISTIAN ART.

[Sidenote: Early Christian art.]

Leaving Greek art, we now come to the art of the early Christians.
Woltmann and Woermann tell us that “Early Christian art does not differ
in its beginnings from the art of antiquity.... The only perceptible
differences are those differences of subject which betoken the fact that
art has now to embody a changed order of religious ideas, and even from
this point of view the classical connection is but gradually, and at
first imperfectly, severed.... At the outset Christianity, as was
inevitable from its Jewish origin, had no need for art. In many quarters
the aversion to works of material imagery ...—the antagonism to the
idolatries of antiquity—remained long unabated. Yet when Christianity,
far outstepping the narrow circle of Judaism, had been taken up by
classically educated Greeks and Romans, the prejudice against works of
art could not continue to be general, nor could Christendom escape the
craving for art which is common to civilized mankind. The dislike of
images used as objects of worship did not include mere chamber
decorations, and while independent sculpture found no footing in the
Christian world, or at least was applied only to secular and not to
religious uses, painting, on the other hand, found encouragement for
purely decorative purposes, in the execution of which a
characteristically Christian element began to assert itself by degrees.”

[Sidenote: The catacombs.]

The pure Christian element began to assert itself silently in decorative
work in the catacombs, and “these cemeteries are the only places in
which we find remains of Christian paintings of earlier date than the
close of the fourth century.” These works, however, “constituted no more
than a kind of picture writing,” as any one who has seen them can
certify. But this symbolism got very mixed with pagan stories, and we
get Orpheus in a Phrygian cap, and Hermes carrying a ram, both
representing the Good Shepherd. At other times the artists seem to have
set themselves to represent a Christ constructed on their knowledge of
the attributes ascribed to him, and we get a beardless youth approaching
“closely to the kindred types of the classical gods and heroes.” “Mary
appears as a Roman matron, generally praying with uplifted hands.”
[Sidenote: St. Peter’s statue at Rome.]Peter and Paul “appear as ancient
philosophers,” and the well-known bronze statue of St. Peter, in the
cathedral dedicated to him at Rome, is no less than a _bonâ fide_
antique statue of a Roman consul. Here we have the same neglect of
nature, and the bad work always to be expected from this neglect and
from enslaved minds.

[Sidenote: Mosaics.]

The mosaics of Christian art were also handed down from classical
antiquity. Though rarely found in the catacombs, this art was being much
used above ground for architectural decoration. This art, as Woltmann
and Woermann rightly say, was “only a laborious industry, which by
fitting together minute coloured blocks produces a copy of a design,
which design the workers are bound by. They may proceed mechanically,
but not so flimsily and carelessly as the decorative painters.” From
about A.D. 450 we are told that church pictures become no longer only
decorative, but also instructive. Here then was a wrong use of pictorial
art—it is not meant to be symbolic and allegorical, or to teach, but to
interpret the poetry of nature.

A new conception of Christ it seems now appeared in the mosaics,—a
bearded type,—and this time we get the features of Zeus represented.
[Sidenote: The emperors' school.] By means of the mosaics a new impulse
was given to art, and in A.D. 375 a school was founded by the Emperors
Valentinian, Valens, and Gratian, of which we read, “The schools of art
now once more encourage the observance of traditions; strictness of
discipline and academical training were the objects kept in view; and
the student was taught to work, not independently by study from nature,
but according to the precedent of the best classical models.”

[Sidenote: Byzantine   art.]

At this time art, though lying under the influence of antique
traditions, held its own for a longer time in Byzantium, where the
decorative style of the early Christians lived on after the iconoclastic
schism in the eighth century, and where we read that this ornamental
style began to be commonly employed. [Sidenote: Justinian.]After the age
of Justinian (which itself has left no creation of art at Rome), many
poor and conventional works were executed at Ravenna. We read that for
“lack of inner life and significance, amends are attempted to be made by
material splendour, brilliancy of costume, and a gold groundwork, which
had now become the rule here as well as in Byzantium.” Thus we see the
artists became completely lost in confusion since they had left nature,
and they knew not what to do, but, like many weak painters of the
present day, tried to make their work attractive by meretricious
ornaments, and true art there was none. This is carried out to-day to
its fullest development by many men of medium talent, who make pictures
in far countries, or of popular resorts, or religious subjects, and
strive to appeal, and do appeal to an uneducated class, through the
_subject_ of their work, which in itself may be a work of the poorest

[Sidenote: Mosaics.]

We read that in the year 640, “the superficial and unequal character of
mosaic workmanship increased quickly.” [Sidenote: Miniatures.] The
miniatures of the early Christians, however, we are told, showed
considerable power, but the iconoclastic schism brought all this to an
end. [Sidenote: Mohammedans.] “The gibes of the Mohammedans” were the
cause of Leo the Third’s edict against image worship in A.D. 726. All
the pictures in the East were destroyed by armed bands, and the painters
thrown into prison, and so ended Byzantine art. This movement did not
affect Italian art.

                             MEDIÆVAL ART.

[Sidenote: Mediæval.]

We have followed Messrs. Woltmann and Woermann closely in their account
of the decadence of art from the greatest days of Greek sculpture and
painting to the end of the Christian period; but as our object is
avowedly only to deal with the best art—that which is good for all
time—and to see how far that is naturalistic or otherwise, we shall
speak but briefly of (the main points connected with) mediæval art,
which has but little interest for us until we come to Niccola Pisano,
and Giotto. [Sidenote: Miniaturists.] During the early years of what are
called the Middle Ages, miniaturists were evolving monstrosities from
their own inner consciousness, but with Charlemagne, who said,
[Sidenote: Charlemagne.] “We neither destroy pictures nor pray to them,”
the standard adopted was again classical antiquity. [Sidenote: Ivan the
Terrible.]So art continuously declined until it became a slave to the
Church, and the worst phase of this slavery was to be seen in the East,
under Ivan the Terrible, for we read that “artists were under the
strictest tutelage to the clergy, who chose the subjects to be painted,
prescribed the manner of the treatment, watched over the morality of the
painters, and had it in their power to give and refuse commissions.
Bishops alone could promote a pupil to be a master, and it was their
duty to see that the work was done according to ancient models.” Here
was indeed a pretty state of things, a painter to be watched by a
priest; to have his subjects selected for him! One cannot imagine
anything more certain to degrade art. Religion has ever been on the side
of mental retrogression, has ever been the first and most pertinacious
foe to intellectual progress, but perhaps to nothing has she been so
harmful as to art, unless it has been to science.

During the period of this slavery, the Church used art as a tool, as a
disseminator of her tenets, as a means of imparting religious knowledge.
Very clever of her, but very disastrous for poor art.

[Sidenote: Glass   paintings.]

How conventional art was during the Romanesque period can be seen in the
glass paintings that decorate many of the old churches, to admire which
crowds go to Italy and waste their short time in the unhealthy interiors
of churches, instead of spending it at Sorrento or Capri. These go back
to their own country, oppressed with dim recollections of blue and red
dresses, crude green landscapes, and with parrot-like talks of “subdued
lights,” “rich tones mellowed by time,” and such cant.

The Romanesque style of architecture was superseded in the fourteenth
century by the Gothic. [Sidenote: Gothic.] A transformation took place
in art and France now took the lead. The painters of this period
emancipated themselves from the direction of the priesthood—a great step
indeed. [Sidenote: The guilds.] The masters of this age were
specialists; the guilds now ruled supreme in art matters. We read that
“now popular sentiment began to acknowledge that the artist’s own mode
of conceiving a subject had a certain claim, side by side with tradition
and sacerdotal prescription.... They took their impressions direct from
nature,” but their insight into nature was scanty. As Messrs. Woltmann
and Woermann very truly remark, “If for the purpose of depicting human
beings, either separately or in determined groups and scenes, the artist
wishes to develop a language for the expression of emotion, there is
only one means open to him—a closer grasp and observation of nature. In
the age which we are now approaching, the painter’s knowledge of nature
remains but scanty. He does not succeed in fathoming and mastering her
aspects; but his eyes are open to them so far as is demanded by the
expressional phenomena which it is his great motive to represent; since
it is not yet for their own sakes, but only for the sake of giving
expression to a particular range of sentiments that he seeks to imitate
the realities of the world.”

There was a struggle at this period for the study of nature, and the
tyranny of the Church was being thrown off; there was then hope that art
would at last advance, and advance it did. What was wanting was a deeper
insight into nature, for nature is not a book to be read at a glance,
she requires constant study, and will not reveal all her beauties
without much wooing. [Sidenote: Thirteenth century sketch-book.] And
though we read of a sketch-book of this time, the thirteenth century, in
which appears a sketch of a lion, which “looks extremely heraldic,” and
to which the artist has appended the remark, “N.B.—Drawn from life,”
this in no way surprises us, for have we not been seriously told in this
nineteenth century by the painters of catchy, meretricious
water-colours, with reds, blues and greens such as would delight a
child, that they had painted them from nature; pictures in which no two
tones were correct, in which detail, called by the ignorant, finish, had
been painfully elaborated, whilst the broad facts of nature had been
ignored. Such work is generally painted from memory or photographs.
Happily work of this kind will never live, however much the gullible
public may buy it. Next we read that “the germs of realism already
existing in art by degrees unfold themselves further, and artists
venture upon a closer grip of nature.” [Sidenote: Niccola Pisano.] Here,
then, were the signs of coming success, and the great effect of these
gradual changes was first manifested in the work of Niccola Pisano, who
“made a sudden and powerful return to the example of the antique.” All
honour to this man, who was an epoch-maker, who based his conception
“upon a sudden and powerful return to the example of the antique, of the
Roman relief.” His work is by no means naturalistic or perfect, but it
was enough for one man to do such a herculean task as to ignore his own
times and rise superior to them. [Sidenote: Cimabue.] Painting, however,
took no such quick turn, but Cimabue was the first of those who were to
bring it into the right way. The principal works ascribed to him,
however, are not authenticated.

[Sidenote: Giotto.]

Another epoch-maker, Giotto, now appears. He seems to have been a
remarkable man in himself, which however hardly concerns us. The
historian of his works says, “The bodies still show a want of
independent study of nature; the proportions of the several members (as
we know by the handbook of Cemieno hereafter to be mentioned) were
regulated by a fixed system of measurement;” again, “The drawing is
still on the whole conventional, and the modelling not carried far.” His
trees and animals are like toys. Yet we read that “their naturalism is
the very point which the contemporaries of Giotto extol in his
creations,” but, as Woltmann and Woermann say, this must be accepted
according to the notion entertained of what nature was, and we are by
this means able to see how crude the notions of nature can become in
educated men when they neglect the study of it. But from all this
evidence we gather that Giotto’s intellect was great, and that his
strides towards the truthful suggesting of nature were enormous. His
attempts too at expression are wonderful for his age, see his
“Presentations,” the figures are almost _natural_ notwithstanding their
crude drawing; he got some of the charm and life of the children around
him. We read that in some of his pictures, he took his models direct
from nature, as also did Dante in his poetry, but like Dante he
attempted at times the doctrinal in his pictures, as in the “Marriage of
St. Francis and Poverty,” he tried in fact what many moderns are still
trying to do, and daily fail to do, namely, to teach by means of their
pictures—a fatal error. Doctrinal subjects are unsuitable for pictorial
art, and will never live. Who cares now for Giotto’s “Marriage of St.
Francis and Poverty”? but who would _not_ care for a landscape or figure
subject taken by Giotto from the life and landscape of his own times?—it
would be priceless. Owing to circumstances, we hear that he had to put
“much of his art at the service of the Franciscans,” and though not a
slave to them, yet we read this disgusted him with the monkish temper.
In 1337 Giotto died, but he had done much. Without Kepler there might
have been no Newton, so without Giotto there might have been no

[Sidenote: The guilds.]

Artists at this time belonged to one of the seven higher of the
twenty-one guilds into which Florentine craftsmen were divided, namely,
that of the surgeons and apothecaries (medici and speziali). Here art
and science were enrolled in the same guild, and so were connected, as
they always will be, for the study of nature is at the foundation of
both, the very first principle of both. Together they have been
enslaved, persecuted, and their progress hampered; together they have
endured; and now to-day together they stand out glorious in their
achievements, free to study, free to do. The one is lending a hand to
the other, and the other returns the help with graceful affection.
Superstition, priestcraft, tyranny, all their old persecutors are daily
losing power, and will finally perish, as do all falsehoods.

[Sidenote: Summary.]

We thus leave the art of the Middle Ages, as we left the catacombs, with
a wish never to see any more of it. One feels the deepest sympathy for
great intellects like Giotto, and his greatest followers, whose lots
were cast in times of darkness, and we cannot but respect such as
struggled with this darkness, and fought to gain the road to nature’s
fountains of truth and beauty. But at the same time, though we may in
these pictures see a graceful pose here, a good expression there, or a
beautiful and true bit of colour or quality elsewhere, yet we cannot get
away from the subject-matter of many of the pictures, which, allegorical
and doctrinal as they are, do not lie within the scope of art, and above
all one cannot in any way get rid of the false sentiment and
untruthfulness of the whole work. Such works will always be interesting
to the historian and to the philosopher, but beyond that, to us they are
valueless, and we would far rather possess a drawing by Millet than a
masterpiece by Giotto.

When abroad, and being actually persuaded of their great littleness, we
have been moved with pity for the victims we have met, victims of the
pedant and the guide-book, who are led by the nose, and stand gaping
before middle-age monstrosities, whilst some incompetent pretender pours
into their ears endless cant of grace, spirituality, lustrous colouring,
mellifluous line, idealism, _et id genus omne_, until, bewildered and
sick at heart, they return home to retail their lesson diluted, and to
swell the number of those who pay homage at the shrine of pedantry and
mysticism. Had these travellers spent their short and valuable time in
the fields of Italy, they would have “learnt more art,” whatever they
may mean by that term of theirs, than they ever did in the bourgeois
Campo Santo or dark interior of Santa Croce or Santa Maria Novella.
Alas! that the painters of the Middle Ages were unable to paint well.
Had they been able to paint, as can some of the moderns, and had they
painted truthfully the life and landscape around them, there is no
distance some of us would not go to see a gallery of their works: works
showing men and women as they were, and as they lived, and in their own
surroundings. There at once would have been the pictures, the history,
and the idyllic poetry of a bygone age; and what have we now in their
place? Diluted types of repulsive asceticism, sentimental types of
ignorance and credulity, pictures hideous and untrue and painful to gaze
upon, lies and libels on our beautiful world, and on our own race. And
whom have we to thank for this? Religion—the so-called encourager of
truth, charity, and all that is beautiful and good.

                              EASTERN ART.

Before beginning the renascence we must glance through Mohammedan,
Chinese, and Japanese art. [Sidenote: Mohammedan Art.] With Mohammedan
art we have little to do, as it was entirely decorative. It is seen at
its best in the Alhambra, and was not the outcome of any study of
nature. The Arabian mind seems to have been unable to rise beyond a
conventional geometrical picture-writing. Such minds are seen to-day in
all countries amongst the undeveloped. Quite recently we have seen some
of the best modern negro work from the West Coast of Africa; there too
was the love of geometrical ornamentation as strong as in the Arabian
art. [Sidenote: Art amongst the Philistines.] We repeat, this
artistically-speaking low standard of development is often seen among
the people of to-day, and though highly educated in all else, in art
they are uneducated, in short they are survivals; and the mischief is,
that they judge pictures by their survival decorative standard; they
look for bright colours placed in Persian-rug juxtaposition, and talk of
“glorious colouring.” It never seems to occur to them what art really
is, and what the artist has tried to express, and how well he has
expressed it; and they never refer their “glorious colouring” to the
infallible standard—nature; but seem to imagine there are abstract
standards of colour and form. [Sidenote: Water-colours.] “Glorious
colourings” are oftener than not meretricious lies dressed out in
gaudiest, vulgarest apparel, and when compared with nature these
“colourings” will be found veritable strumpets. Look carefully at many
of the much-vaunted water-colours, and then carefully study the same
scene in nature, and if many of those water-colours please you
afterwards—well, in matters artistic, you have the taste of a
frugivorous ape. But apply this test to the water-colours of Israels or
Mauve, and you will see they interpret nature. But they have painted
chiefly in oils, and wisely so, as there is more to be expressed by
oil-painting, and we know of few, if any, great men who confine
themselves to water-colour as a medium. But it serves the turn of a host
of men—painters, but not artists, who, with their pretty paints, make
pot-boilers, of which the form and idea are often stolen—stolen,
perhaps, from a photograph. Do such ever study nature? No. They sit at
home, and coin vulgar counterfeits with no more of nature in them than
the perpetrators have of honesty. It is time that it was clearly and
distinctly understood that the man who copies a photograph is as
despicable as the man who copies a painting, and it is very certain
neither will ever be respected by his contemporaries, or remembered by
his successors. Yet the “cheap” work of these men sells well, and the
gulled public talk glibly over them of “strength” and “tone” and
“colouring,” and what not. Nature is so subtle and astonishing in her
facts that but few even of those who do paint directly from her can come
anywhere near her, whereas, those who do not study her at all, who do
not paint _coram ipse_, fake and fake, and by faking they lie, and set
the example to others to lie, and, if not fought against, this sort of
thing would speedily take us back to the art of the Middle Ages, when we
should be under the tyranny of Crœsus, instead of Clericus.

[Sidenote: Picture-buyers.]

It is, then, the absolute duty of every picture-buyer, who has any
regard for truth, and any interest in the future of art, to learn to
study nature carefully, and to buy only that which is true and sincere,
and let the pink and white school of dishonesty die of inanition.

In short, it is high time that educated people ceased to judge painting
as they often do, by the standard of coloured rugs. This talk of
“colour” is one of the stumbling-blocks of the weak-kneed in art. Colour
is good so long as it is true, and no longer. A Persian rug, or Turkey
carpet, is not the standard of colour whereby to judge pictures, and
only those in the mental state of the frugivorous ape or the Arab
craftsmen can think so.

                       CHINESE AND JAPANESE ART.

[Sidenote: China and   Japan.]

In China and Japan things were very different. Following Mr. Anderson’s
invaluable work, the “Pictorial Arts of Japan,” we find that their
history of pictorial art begins about A.D. 457. [Sidenote: First
period.] Mr. Anderson thinks, however, that art was only actually
planted in Japan with the introduction of Buddhism in the sixth century.
[Sidenote: Buddhism.] Then it begins badly, for it was under the
influence of religion, and in fact we read that the earliest art
consisted of Buddhist images and mural decorations. This religious
influence, together with a servile imitation of the Chinese masters, so
enslaved art, that no development of importance took place till the end
of the ninth century.

[Sidenote: The “Ni Ō.”]

Looking at the plate of the “Ni Ō,”—a wooden statue—considered the
greatest work of the time, we can see the artist had really struggled to
interpret nature, and no doubt studies were made from the nude, for the
work on the anatomy could not otherwise have been so well expressed;
but, good as it is, it runs in the Michael Angelo spirit, is
exaggerated, and lacks entirely all the greatness of the Greek
sculpture. This work—the greatest of what Mr. Anderson has called the
first period—shows that there had been a struggle towards the expression
of nature.

[Sidenote: Second period.]

The second period, we learn, ends with the fourteenth century, and is
parallel, therefore, with the European mediæval period. On comparing
plates of the Japanese work with that of the same period in Europe, we
are forced to give the palm to the Japanese artists, they were, in fact,
vastly superior. In looking at the plate of “The Death of Kosé No
Hirotaka” we cannot but feel there was much more respect for nature in
Japan than there was in Europe at that time, notwithstanding the fact
that Buddhism bore the same relation to art in Japan as Christianity did
in Europe. [Sidenote: Nobuzané.] We read also that in the twelfth
century there was one, Nobuzané, who had a brilliant reputation for
“portraits and other studies from Nature.” The specimen of Nobuzané’s
work is admirable in expression, he has caught the living expression of
his model, but the rest is conventional. [Sidenote: Chinese renascence.]
We are told that the Chinese renascence began about 1275, and that the
painters of this movement were naturalistic, “Ink sketches of birds and
bamboos, portraits and landscapes were the subjects chosen,” and though
these were only a kind of picture-writing, yet the movement led the
artists more and more to study nature.

[Sidenote: Third period.]

Coming now to Mr. Anderson’s third period, from the end of the
fourteenth century to the last quarter of the eighteenth,[Sidenote:
Meichō.] we find that Meichō seems to have been to Japanese art what
Giotto was to European art, and at about the same period. We read
further on that in the early part of the fifteenth century the revived
Chinese movement referred to made its influence felt in Japan.
[Sidenote: Shiūbun.] An example given by Mr. Anderson of Shiūbun’s
idealized landscape painting, while far from satisfactory or even
pleasing, is, we venture to think, superior to the work of Giotto.
Therein is shown some power, and there is not the childishness which is
visible in Giotto’s work. [Sidenote: Soga Jasoku.] Much more
naturalistic, powerful, and pleasing are the works of Soga Jasoku,
fifteenth-century Chinese school. These landscapes show the artist had a
feeling for nature, and although he attempted in the upper plate (Plate
16) what we consider to be beyond the scope of art, yet in the lower the
master-hand shows itself. There is atmosphere in the picture. Close
observation of nature resulted in a grasp of subtlest movement and
expression. [Sidenote: Soga Chokuan.] Witness the “Falcon and Egret” by
Soga Chokuan (sixteenth century), where the power shown in depicting the
grasp of the falcon’s talon as it mercilessly crushes the helpless
egret, is very great. Then look at the paintings of birds in any of our
books, and see how wooden, how lifeless they are, compared with even the
sixteenth-century Japanese representations of bird life.

[Sidenote: Sesshiū.]

Sesshiū, we are told, was another great painter, and the founder of a
school (1420-1509). This great man, we are told, “did not follow in the
footsteps of the ancients, but developed a style peculiar to himself.
His power was greatest in landscape, after which he excelled most in
figures, then in flowers and birds,” and later on, we are told, in
animals. He preferred working in monochrome, and it is said asserted
“the scenery of nature was his final teacher.”

[Sidenote: Kano school.]

Then came the Kano School, all of whose artists evidently struggled for
Naturalism, and had great power of expression of movement but not of
form. The leader, we are told, was an eclectic, and painted Chinese
landscapes in Japan, so that he must have neglected nature, and his
works belong to the so-called imaginative or unnatural school. The best
men of this period were decidedly impressionists, and their chief aim
seems to have been to give the impression of the scene and neglect the
details, and it is perfectly marvellous how well they succeeded in
depicting movement by a very few lines. The “Rain Scene” by Kano Tanyu
is a fine example of this.

We read that the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were periods of
decadence; we conclude therefore that in Japan art reached its highest
state during the second period, under Shiūbun, Soga Jasoku, Sesshiū and
Tanyu, who were all students of nature, and several of whom would have
been called impressionists had they painted in these days.

[Sidenote: Matahei.]

We are told that Matahei tried to found a naturalistic school, whose
followers should go direct to nature for their subjects, but the
movement did not receive any hearty impulse. However it was taken up
afterwards by a series of book-illustrators. [Sidenote: Kôrin.] Next we
read of Kôrin whose “works demonstrate remarkable boldness of invention,
associated with great delicacy of colouring, and often ... masterly
drawing and composition.” It is quite marvellous to see the work of this
seventeenth-century artist.

Winding up his account of the third period, Mr. Anderson says, “But
three-quarters of the eighteenth century were allowed to pass without a
struggle on the part of the older schools to elevate the standard of
their art, and painting was beginning to languish into inanition when
the revolutionary doctrines of a naturalistic school and of a few
artisan book-illustrators brought new aims and new workers to inaugurate
the last and most characteristic period of Japanese art.”

[Sidenote: Fourth period.]

Mr. Anderson says, “The fourth and last era began about thirty years
before the close of the last century, with the rise of the [Sidenote:
Shijo school.]Shijo naturalistic school of painting in Kioto, and a
wider development of the artisan popular school in Yedo and Osaka, two
steps which conferred upon Japanese art the strongest of those national
characteristics that have now completed its separation from the parent
art of Amia.”

He goes on to say “that the study of nature was admitted to be the best
means of achieving the highest result in art by the older painters of
China and Japan, but they limited its interpretation.”

[Sidenote: Ōkio.]

We are told that Maruyama Ōkio was the first painter who seriously
endeavoured to establish naturalistic art (1733-1795). He preached
radical ideas in art at Kioto, the centre of Japanese conservatism, and
gathered a school around him. In summing up this school, Mr. Anderson
remarks, “The chief characteristics of the Shijo school are a graceful
flowing outline, freed from the arbitrary mannerisms of touch indulged
in by many of the older masters; comparative, sometimes almost absolute,
correctness in the interpretation of the forms of animal life; and
lastly, a light colouring, suggestive of the prevailing tones of the
objects depicted, and full of delicate harmonies and gradations.” Their
naturalistic principles do not, however, seem to have fully developed,
and their works show ignorance of the scientific facts of nature,
except, perhaps, in the painting of plants, birds, and animals. Yet the
work has a _verve_ which renders it very fascinating.

[Sidenote: Hokusai.]

One great man, Hokusai, appears as the last of the race purely Japanese
and uninfluenced by European ideas, as all the Japanese artists are now.

So we find that through various phases the Japanese developed to
impressionistic landscape-painting, and no doubt when they have got more
scientific knowledge, they will make for themselves, by their wonderful
originality and patience, a position in art which will surpass all their
past efforts.

[Sidenote: Japanese art at the British Museum.]

Since writing this section, a collection of Japanese and Chinese art has
been opened at the British Museum, which the student must by all means
study, for there he will see works of most of the masters cited in these
notes. [Sidenote: The Japanese Commission.] In connection with this
subject our readers may have seen the very interesting report on Art by
the Japanese Commission that visited the galleries and schools of
Europe; wherein the conclusion of the commission on the best European
art is very interesting,—Millet being the greatest painter to their
mind. They think, too, that Japan will soon be able to show the world
something better than anything yet accomplished, which we very much

[Sidenote: Japanese art.]

We feel, however, that wonderful as Japanese art has been, yet there is
a great gulf between it and the best Greek and modern art. To us
Japanese art is the product of a semi-civilized race, a race in which
there is strong sympathy with nature, but a very superficial
acquaintance with her marvellous workings. In short, we feel the
Japanese need a deeper and more scientific knowledge of nature, and that
their work falls far short of the best European work. At the present day
there is a craze for anything Japanese, but like all crazes it will end
in bringing ridicule upon Japanese work; for their work, though fine for
an uncivilized nation, is absurd in many points, and this stupid craze
by indiscriminate praise will only kill the qualities to be really

[Sidenote: Chinese art.]

The earliest authentic records of Chinese painting date about A.D. 251.
The earliest painters were painters of Buddhist pictures. [Sidenote:
Wu-Tao-Tsz’.] Mr. Anderson mentions as one of the best known of the
early masters, one Wu-Tao-Tsz’, whose animals were remarkable. He thinks
that the art of China of to-day is feeble compared with that which
flourished 1100 years ago. We are informed too that the “artistic
appreciation of natural scenery existed in China many centuries before
landscapes played a higher part in the European picture than that of an
accessory,” and judging from the specimens he gives in his book of the
work of the Sung Dynasty (960-1279 A.D.), the Chinese artists had a
great feeling for landscape. We are told that the painters of the
thirteenth century “studied nature from the aspect of the
impressionist,” and their subjects were all taken from nature, landscape
especially delighting them. In the fifteenth century we read “decadence
began by their neglect of nature and their cultivation of decorative
colouring, calligraphic dexterity, and a compensating disregard for
naturalistic canons.” We are told, and can readily believe it, that in
painting of bird life they were unequalled save by the Japanese, and
that down to 1279 the Chinese were at the head of the world in painting,
and their only rivals were their pupils, the Japanese. Korean art seems
also to have degenerated since the sixteenth century.

Thus we ever find the same old story. China, when she painted from
nature, was unequalled by any nation in the world; when she neglected
nature, as she does now, she fell to the lowest rank.

                            THE RENASCENCE.

[Sidenote: Renascence.]

This is a period of a return to the study of nature, of a carrying out
of the feelings which seemed to be developing even in Giotto’s time. No
longer now was the artist to be separated from nature by the
intervention of the Church, and though natural science was not advancing
as fast as art was, still a growing regard for nature was the order of
the day. [Sidenote: The Van Eycks.] This feeling first showed itself
strongly in the Netherlands, with the brothers Van Eyck. We are told
that the Van Eycks “mixed the colours with the medium on the palette and
worked them together on the picture itself, thus obtaining more
brilliant effects of light as well as more delicate gradations of tone,
with an infinitely nearer approach to the truth of nature.”

The Van Eycks regarded nature lovingly, and tried truthfully to
represent her, and though many of their works were of sacred subjects,
yet they were evidently studied from nature with loving
conscientiousness; and so successful were they that to this day the
picture by one of the brothers (a portrait of a merchant and his wife),
in the National Gallery, remains almost unsurpassed. [Sidenote: Portrait
of a merchant and his wife.] It is well worth a journey to the National
Gallery on purpose to see it, and we trust all those who do not already
know the picture will take the trouble to go and study it well. It is
wonderful in technical perfection, in sentiment, in truthfulness of
impression. Note the reflection of the orange in the mirror, with what
skill it is painted. In fact the whole is full of life and beauty,—the
beauty of naturalism. It is a master-piece good for all time, and yet it
is but the portrait of a merchant and his wife. No religious subject
here inspired John Van Eyck, but a mere merchant family, yet in many
ways the picture remains, and will remain, unsurpassed. Such powerful
minds as the brothers Van Eyck of course influenced all art, and they
had many followers; but it does not seem that these followers had the
insight into nature that characterized the Van Eycks, and the work falls
off after the death of the brothers, whose names represent, and ably
represent, all that was best of the fifteenth century.

[Sidenote: Quinten Massys.]

In the sixteenth century Quinten Massys was the greatest and most
naturalistic painter. He was said to be the “originator of a peculiar
class of _genre_ pictures, being in fact life-like studies from the
citizen life of Antwerp.” Here was an honourable departure from
conventionality. His followers, however, having no mind to see _how_ he
was so great, were led away from the study of nature, and where are they
now? Their names we all know, but who cares to see their works? Massys,
the greatest painter of this period in the Netherlands, was content to
take his subjects from the life of his own times, as all great men have
been, from the Egyptians downwards.

[Sidenote: Germany.]

Turning now to Germany, we shall see what the best men there thought of
naturalism. The movement towards the study of nature seems to have begun
in the methods of engraving as practised by the goldsmiths, who were
trained artists. The earliest plates we find are of subjects
illustrating the life of the times, a hopeful augury for Germany, which
was fulfilled by the work of the master, Albert Durer. [Sidenote: Albert
Durer.] We are told he had “unlimited reverence for nature, which made
him one of the most realistic painters that have ever existed.” What
strikes us most after an examination of his plates at the British
Museum, is the wonderful strength and direction with which the man tells
his tale. His engravings are, of course, without tone, and when he does
natural landscapes, as was often the case, this lack of tone is a
serious fault; but for draughtsmanship he is marvellous, and it is with
joy we learn that such a master said, “Art is hidden in nature, those
who care have only to tear it forth.” Every one interested in art, and
who is not already well acquainted with Durer’s work, should make a
point of going to the Print Room in the British Museum, and studying
carefully all examples of his work. They will, perhaps, at the same
time, notice what struck us, namely, that one of the best draughtsmen on
_Punch’s_ staff has evidently been a great admirer of Durer.

Woltmann and Woermann, speaking of Durer’s landscapes illustrative of
his travels south of the Alps, say that “he reveals himself as one of
the founders of the modern school of landscape painting.”

His “Mill” is remarkable. His etchings are mostly of familiar subjects
of every-day life. The great danger of a man like Durer is the bad
effect of his influence in later times, for inferior men imitate his
faults and not his merit, as is always the case with imitators, and they
forget that though Durer was a genius, yet did he live today he would
probably work very differently and interpret different subjects. An
artist’s time and environment must always be reckoned with.

[Sidenote: Evolution in art.]

There are so many people who cannot understand the principle of
development in art, and cannot distinguish, and appreciate, and value
artists according to their periods, and as steps in development, but are
now-a-days led by them, holding them up as models for modern painters,
whereas they are but the undeveloped efforts of earlier times. There are
numbers of young men who paint better than Durer ever did, but who lack
Durer’s genius; just as an undergraduate may know more science than
Galileo, or more mathematics than Newton, but yet be incomparably less
great than either Galileo or Newton. A work of art, however, is only
valuable for its intrinsic merits, and much as we feel the value of
Durer, Michael Angelo, Raphael, and others in their own time, for many
of their works as works of art, _quâ_ art, we care but little now, but
as historical documents they are priceless.

It may be asked how Durer, the Van Eycks, and others can be called
“naturalists,” when they painted so many religious pictures. Of course
the one explanation of this is that they painted conscientiously from
living models and natural landscapes, and not from what is called their
“imagination.” The influence of the times on these painters could not
but be tremendous, but if a man must perforce paint an “imaginative”
picture, its artistic value must always be in proportion to the truth of
the picture; and, therefore, what is good in the picture is the
naturalism of it. All the rest seems to our mind—for how could Durer or
any one else paint the Virgin Mary?—uninteresting. For Durer and the men
of his day there was, of course, every excuse, but to-day there is none;
and if painters will persist in painting—from their imagination—woolly
landscapes, peopled by impossible men, women, and animals, they will pay
the penalty of such vivid imagination—by quick and well-merited
consignment to oblivion. The public call such men learned. Learned,
forsooth! when Lemprière or the poets have supplied the idea. “There is
something great behind a picture,” is another favourite expression;
well, so there is behind many an impostor’s work, but _that greatness
belongs to another man_.

An artist looks at the art of the picture, a sentimentalist at the
subject alone; to him a badly-painted subject may bring tears to the
eyes, to an artist the same subject will probably bring a laugh. What is
the sense of copying our predecessors? And even as copyists, these
painters of “imaginative” works fall immeasurably below their models.
Botticelli towers yet like a giant over Blake and Rossetti, yet we know
he was very far from perfect.

[Sidenote: Hans Holbein.]

The next great German was Hans Holbein the younger. He had advantages
over Durer, for he was born when the feeling for nature was strong, and
thus started with a clear mind, and arrived at achievements never yet
surpassed. Hans Holbein stands out as a master for all time. His
portraits are wonderful. He, again, threw all his energy into the study
of nature, and his works are chiefly representative of the life of his
own times, portraits of merchants and fellow-citizens. There is the
full-length portrait of a gentleman in the National Gallery, whose name
has not come down to us; yet is the interest less great for that? The
dead Christ at Basle too is wonderful, as every one (with good
observation, be it always said) who has seen a naked dead body, will
affirm, but the anatomy of the skeleton in Holbein’s “Dance of Death”
would make a first year’s medical student laugh. It must have been drawn
from the imagination.

Much of Holbein’s best work was done in London, and is at present in
England, and we cannot leave this part of the subject without begging
our readers to take every opportunity of seeing the work of this
wonderful master, opportunities which, alas! will be rare enough, who
was a naturalistic painter of the first quality. [Sidenote: Swiss art.]
Turning to Switzerland, we find no name worth mentioning; and here we
would ask those who trace the effects of sublime mountain scenery on the
character of men, why there has been no Swiss art worth mentioning? Of
course the explanation is simple—because art has nothing whatever to do
with sublime scenery. The best art has always been done with the
simplest material.

In Spain and Portugal at this time was being felt the influence of the
naturalism of the Van Eycks. In France the Fontainebleau School was
struggling towards nature, but no genius arose. [Sidenote: Da Vinci.]
But in Italy there arose a giant, Leonardo Da Vinci. Never has there
been such an instance of the combination of scientific knowledge and
artistic capacity in one man. In the Louvre is his best work, the
portrait of Monna Lisa, a master-piece, but in our opinion a
master-piece eclipsed by other master-pieces. Of this great man we are
told that “he constantly had recourse to the direct lessons of nature,
saying that such teaching at second hand made the artist, not the child,
but the grandchild of nature!” Again we read that “Leonardo was wholly
in love with nature, and to know her through science and to mirror her
by art were the aims and end of his life.” [Sidenote: M. Angelo.]
Michael Angelo is the next great name we come to. Woltmann and Woermann
say that “the mightiest artist soul that has lived and worked throughout
Christian ages is Michael Angelo Buonarroti.” Now this is a literary
dogma to which we are totally opposed, and so we are to all the pedantic
criticism which follows, about “strong and lofty subjectivity,”
“purified ideal,” and what not. It is such writing as this that misleads
people. Let Michael Angelo be compared with the standard—nature—by any
student of nature, and Michael Angelo will fall immediately. Woltmann
and Woermann tell us, “he studied man alone, and for his own sake,” the
structure being to him everything. This is what we always felt to be the
_fault_ of Michael Angelo, _i.e._ that he was rather an anatomist, and
often a lover of pathological specimens, than an artist, although he was
a great sculptor. The action of the muscles in his figures may not go
beyond the verge of the possible when taken _separately_, and as one
would test them with an electric current, but we do insist that when
taken as a harmonious whole, the spasmodic action of some muscles as
expressed by him would have prevented the exaggerated actions of others
by antagonizing their effect. Michael Angelo’s work has always given us
the feeling that he had a model, on which, with an electric current, he
tested the action of each muscle separately, and then modelled each one
separately whilst the circuit was joined; in fact that his works are
amateur scientific studies and not works of art; and herein is his
weakness, he passes the bounds of nature. Woltmann and Woermann say
first of all he does go beyond the bounds of nature, and that therein
lies his greatness, and then they flatly contradict themselves, and say
an anatomist has informed them that he does not go beyond the bounds of
nature, and they quote this as a merit. Our opinion, also that of a
student of anatomy, is that he goes beyond the bounds of nature, and
exaggerates nature, and so spoils his work completely. He is far below
the Greeks. His influence, too, has been hurtful, for he has kept all
but very independent and powerful intellects within his traditions.

[Sidenote: Raphael and Correggio.]

Raphael[5] and Correggio we will quickly dismiss, though we are fully
aware of the £70,000 reputation of the one, and the literary reputation
of the other. Raphael does not appeal to us, with his sickly
sentimentality, his puerile composition, his poor technique, and his
lack of observation of nature. Many of the figures in his pictures,
standing some feet behind the foremost, are taller and larger than those
in front. We feel sure he had no independence of mind. He was a
religious youth, with no great power of thought, and time will give him
his true place. But as a taxpayer we must enter a mild protest against
the ineptitude of authorities who pay such heavy prices for pictures
such as the Raphael referred to. There was a small picture of a head—the
head of a doctor—by an unknown hand, hanging near the Raphael, which, as
a work of art, is infinitely its superior, but it was done by _an
unknown hand_. (These pictures have since been re-hung.) For that
£70,000 what a splendid collection of good work by men of the present
day could have been purchased, a collection every single picture of
which might easily be superior to all the Raphaels in the world as works
of art!


Footnote 5:

  M. Charcot has recently shown that Raphael’s demoniacs are all false
  and untrue.


[Sidenote: Del Sarto.]

To the same period belongs Andrea del Sarto, a naturalistic painter of
great power. He had more feeling for nature than most of the men of his
time, and his breadth of treatment and truthfulness of colouring are
admirable. Of course he painted religious pictures, but from the
naturalistic point of view they are wonderful. The student must study
the portrait in the National Gallery painted by him.

[Sidenote: Titian.]

The next and last great master of this period is Titian, another of the
few entitled to the name of genius. His portraits are his best works.
Michael Angelo is reputed to have said, “This man might have been as
eminent in design as he is true to nature and masterly in counterfeiting
the life, and then nothing could be desired better or more perfect.”
Titian’s works show that he had much more love for nature than Michael
Angelo ever showed, and we think it a pity for Michael Angelo’s sake
that he did not take a leaf from Titian’s book instead of criticizing
his power of design. His landscape backgrounds show a feeling for nature
far above anything painted up to that time. After his day art in Italy
fell into evil ways, and no Italian name stands out even to this day.
The study of nature was neglected, illogical traditions slipped in, and
though some writers on painting talk of “Naturalists,” in the period of
decadence, citing Caravaggio and others, we would fain know what they
mean by the term “Naturalists,” for the painters they cite were no
students of nature, as is shown by their works, which are more realistic
than naturalistic, they being as much students of nature as are the
“professional” photographers of to-day, whose ideas of nature are
sharpness and wealth of detail. [Sidenote: The camera obscura.]
Canaletto’s pictures look like bad photographs, and that he used a
camera obscura is well known, for Count Algarotti has told us as much.
He includes Ribera and other Tramontane masters in the list of those who
used the camera obscura. [Sidenote: Ribera.] Ribera however, is no small
painter, although he is not a great master. The passages in some of his
works are masterful, as in the dead Christ at the National Gallery.


[Sidenote: Preamble.]

We shall now glance over the works of the great artists throughout
Europe from the time of the Renascence period downwards, and see how and
what influence Naturalism had on them, and we shall inquire whether the
loving truthfulness to and study of nature and adhesion to the subjects
of every-day life was not the secret of the success of all who stand out
as pre-eminent during this period. The simplest method will be to take
separately the countries where art has flourished.

[Sidenote: Spain.]

Beginning with Spain, we find at the outset from history that there was
but little hope for art. Religion enchained art, and that terrible stain
on ignorant Spain, the Inquisition, gave rise to the office of
“Inspector of Sacred Pictures.” This office was no sinecure, for it
controlled all the artists' movements, even prescribing how much of the
virgin’s naked foot should be shown. Comments are needless, for how
could art flourish under such circumstances? One name, however, comes at
last to break through all rule, and in 1599, at Seville, was born
Velasquez. [Sidenote: Velasquez.] Velasquez, though moving from his
youth up in the most refined society of his native town, had the might
of genius to see that the falsely sentimental work of his predecessors
was not the true stuff, and he, like all great workers, made Nature his
watchword. He is reputed to have said he “would rather be the first of
vulgar painters than the second of refined ones,” and though he began by
painting still life straight from nature, he finally became in his
portraits one of the most refined, truthful, and greatest of painters
the world has ever seen. Though greatly influenced by the religious
tendencies of the time, we find him often painting the life around him,
and we have from his brush water-carriers, and even drunkards; but he
finally reached his greatest heights and the exercise of his full powers
in portraiture. All who have a chance, and all who have not should try
and create one, should go to the National Gallery and study the
remarkable portrait of Philip of Spain. Barely has portraiture attained
such a level as in this example, and what was the oath this painter
took? “Never to do anything without nature before him.” [Sidenote:
Murillo.] The next name, great in some ways, but not to be compared with
Velasquez, is Murillo; and when was he great? Was it in his sickly
sentimental religious pictures? No, certainly not. It was in such
pictures as the Spanish peasant boys, such as can be seen in the Dulwich
Gallery. [Sidenote: Dulwich Gallery.] This gallery is open to the
public, and quite easy of access, and should not be neglected.
[Sidenote: Fortuny.] The last Spanish name of note is that of Fortuny, a
Catalonian, who is often mistaken for a Frenchman, since he lived in
Paris some years ago. Fortuny is deserving of much praise as having been
the first to shake off the slavery of “geometrical perspective.” His
best pictures were homely and festal scenes, chiefly interiors, which he
painted as he saw them without any preconceived ideas of perspective.
For this new departure, and on account of his work, Fortuny deserves all
praise. Since his death, in 1874, no Spanish painter of note has come to
the fore, but art in that country languishes in prettiness, false
sentimentality, and works done for popularity; the _ephemeridæ_ of art.


Germany seems to have neglected the lessons taught her by Durer and
Holbein, and the mystics seize her and carry her away from nature, and,
therefore, from art. Since the days of Holbein no really great man has
arisen. [Sidenote: Kaulbach.] Kaulbach, who has been well described as
“all literature,” is praised by some, but he does not seem to have had
even poetic ideas. Nature to him was nothing, but the petty doings of
_erring_ man were everything. [Sidenote: Makart.] [Sidenote: Heffner.]
Makart was meretricious and small, and Heffner’s pictures are like bad
photographs in colour, just the class of photography we are now writing
against. Had he been a photographer, he would never have risen above the
topographical, as he has never risen [Sidenote: Munkacsy.] above the
topographical in painting. Greater is the Hungarian, Munkacsy; but is he
an immortal? We doubt it.

[Sidenote: Verestchagin.]

In Russia, Verestchagin is the only name that has made any stir, but he,
like Heffner, sees Nature topographically, and the only emotion caused
by his “show” was called up by the oriental rugs.

                              FLEMISH ART.

[Sidenote: Rubens and Van Dyck.]

Rubens and Van Dyck we mention only to show we have not overlooked them.
The work of both shows more regard for “getting on” and the “ancients”
than for nature: it is lacking in feeling and in truth. Van Dyck is
often wood itself. [Sidenote: Teniers and Van Ostade.] Teniers the
younger as an artist is a long way ahead of either of these men, and in
some ways he goes very far. Van Ostade is often good also. His portrait
of a man lighting his pipe, a small picture to be seen at the Dulwich
Gallery, is a masterpiece of painting, and as fine as anything of the
kind done up to this period. This little gem is the work of a lover of
nature and an artist. It is quite a small canvas, about 10 × 6, with no
“subject,” nothing but a man lighting his pipe; yet it is perfect, and
far surpasses all the sentimentalities of Raphael, or the _tours de
force_ of Rubens. The student must see this picture without fail.


[Sidenote: Hogarth.]

The English painters of note begin with Hogarth, though the bad work of
Lely and Kneller is cited as English, because executed in England, yet
neither of these two men was English, and no lover of art would be proud
of them if they were. Hogarth, then, was the father of English painting,
and he began on good healthy lines, for he was a naturalist to the
backbone, choosing his subjects from his own time; and though he
affected to point a moral in his pictures, still there is the grip of
reality and insight into essentials in his work which mark him as a
great painter. The reader will probably have seen his work at the
National Gallery; if not, he should do so at once.

[Sidenote: Wilson.]

We pass over Wilson, for in his work is not apparent any love of nature,
but only a feeling for classicism. [Sidenote: Reynolds.] The next name
is that of Joshua Reynolds. He was a mannerist, and, though successful
in his own time, is very mortal. [Sidenote: Gainsborough.] Close on his
knightly heels came one of the true immortals, Thomas Gainsborough, one
of the best portrait-painters the world has ever seen. His landscapes,
though better than any up to his time, are not good, and his reputation
rests chiefly on his power in portraiture, in which he was certainly a
master. Naturalism breathes from his canvas; he has seized the very
essence of his sitters' being, and portrayed them full of life and
beauty. See his portrait of Mrs. Tickell and Mrs. Sheridan in the
Dulwich Gallery; you will never forget the charm and the beauty of the
ladies, wherever you go afterwards. Mrs. Siddons, in the National
Gallery, too, is wonderful. Study well these two, and then go and gaze
on a portrait by Reynolds, and we doubt not you will have learnt
something of the gulf that separated the two painters. Gainsborough was,
to our mind, the first immortal in English art, and fit to rank with Van
Eyck, Holbein, Da Vinci, Titian, and Velasquez. [Sidenote: Kauffman and
Fuseli.] Leaving “the Kauffman” and Fuseli to those who can admire them,
we pass on to poor George Morland, a genius in his own branch of art.
[Sidenote: Morland.] This man studied and painted from life, and his
pictures bear testimony that he did so, and notwithstanding the
drawbacks caused by his unfortunate temperament, his name lives and
grows more respected every day, for his study was nature, and so his
work will always be interesting.

[Sidenote: Bewick.]

We now come to a great and deservedly well-known name—that of Thomas
Bewick, the engraver on wood. Here we have a man working in a humble
way, humble that is as compared with painting or sculpture, yet loving
and studying nature in every detail, and following her in all her
mystery and charm, only daring now and then to add some quiet fancy of
his own, and yet he lives and his name grows greater every day. A true
naturalist and a real artist was he, and his fame will be lasting. When
Wilson is archaic, Bewick will be held up for admiration, so powerful is
the effect of the honest study of nature in his work. His birds and
quadrupeds we all know; but if any reader should not know them, he
should at once get a copy and study the cuts in it. Mr. Quaritch has, we
believe, recently issued a reprint of the book.

[Sidenote: Wood-engraving.]

Wood-cutting has degenerated. Men of little training and no artistic
feeling took it up, and slowly but surely the art decayed until it
became purely mechanical, and so it has remained in England. Now it bids
fair to be superseded by photo-mechanical processes, as it will
undoubtedly be entirely superseded directly a really artistic process of
reproduction is discovered for printing with the type. In the United
States, however, wood-engraving took a fresh start, and brought
photography to its aid, and our opinion is that the effect obtained in
photographs printed on albumenized paper became the effect which the
wood-cutters aimed for, and the result is a print of wonderful detail
and beauty, but for our taste it is too polished and neat, the effect of
overlaying is far too visible, and, in short, it does not render nature
truly, and though far surpassing anything of the kind done in England,
it is, as a work of art, altogether eclipsed by Bewick’s work, the
reason being that Bewick only took wood-engraving as a medium for the
expression of the beauties of nature, every line in his blocks being
full of meaning. But the hydra head of commercialism showed itself, and
wood-engravers with little or no feeling for or knowledge of nature set
to work turning out blocks like machines. Photography will keep these
artisans from falling utterly away from nature, yet such work is harmful
and of no artistic good to us, though it may please the public. Had
there been no constant returns to nature (as there must always be in
some measure when a photograph is used) decay would be sharp and speedy,
but photography bolsters up the dying art. Lately several woodblocks
have been produced cut from photographs, wherein all the beauty of the
photographs has been utterly lost by the engraver, and the results are
bastard slips of trade; but we shall have more to say on this point
later on. One thing at any rate photography can claim: that is so long
as it can be practised, art can never slip back to the crude work done
in some eras of its decadence. Photography has helped many of these
feeble wood-cutters immensely, and the _épicier_-critic calls these
works “precious.” It is extraordinary how men will deceive themselves.

[Sidenote: Water-colours.]

Now we come to a branch of art which is essentially English, namely,
painting in water-colours. It is not meant by this that water-colour is
a new medium, or that the English water-colourists were the first to use
the medium, for the tempera paintings were but water-colours, and Albert
Durer and others used it considerably; but what is implied is that the
English were the first to adopt it largely and develop it, though it was
reserved for the modern Dutchmen and Frenchmen to show its full
capabilities. The painter in water-colour has not, of course, the same
control over his medium as he has in using oils, and the work when
finished even by the best artists, has an artificial look that belies
nature. But to see really true water-colours the reader must not look
for them in English galleries. No Englishman ever came so near to
nature—to the subtleties of nature—in water-colour as do the modern
Dutch and French painters. The reader would do well to go to Goupil’s
exhibitions of modern Dutch and French painters, which are held from
time to time, and keep a look-out for water-colours, and he should
carefully study them at the Paris _Salon_. Prophecy is always risky and
of little count, but we would like to venture a prophecy that
water-colours will never take a very prominent place in art, because no
great genius will ever be content with the medium. Of the bulk of
English water-colours of to-day there is not one word of praise to be
said, and the student in art matters will do well to avoid all
exhibitions of this work until he has carefully studied the best work in
art, and until he has a greater insight into nature; and then let him go
to the various water-colour exhibitions, and if he does not receive a
mental shock, we shall be greatly surprised. There is but little nature
in them, indeed but little anything except pounds, shillings, and pence.
The best of them are nauseous imitations of Turner, and the whole of
them show an entire ignorance of the simplest phenomena of nature, which
would be startling did we not remember that most of them are painted
from “notes” and “memory.” These remarks do not of course apply to such
work as is done by a few modern painters, such as Mr. Whistler, but
these paint in oils first and water-colour afterwards. [Sidenote:
Girtin.] The first man worth considering in this branch of art is
Girtin, who was naturalistic as far as he could be, and had he not died
at such an early age (under thirty) the probability is that Turner would
have been eclipsed by him. Of Turner we shall speak later on. [Sidenote:
D. Cox.] The name of David Cox rises above the men of his time; but,
after all, his is not the name of an immortal. He aimed well, however,
for he tried to paint the life and landscape of his time. [Sidenote: De
Wint.] Much has been written about De Wint; but if we go to the basement
of the National Gallery and study De Wint, and then go to Norfolk and
study the landscape there, we shall find Mr. De Wint is but a sorry
painter. One thing, however, may be said in his praise. He painted out
of doors—not in his studio—and was no doubt a lover of nature. His
peasants are not the fearful travesties of Hill, Barret, and Collins.
Lewis and Cotman and Vincent have, however, done some better things than
De Wint.

Returning to oil painting, we must pass over the long list of names,
including Presidents of the Royal Academy, whose names are now all but
if not quite forgotten, for their peasantry of the Opera Bouffe, their
landscapes after Claude, their works of the imagination can now interest
no one, and never did interest any but the painters themselves and an
uneducated public.

[Sidenote: Turner.]

Then we come to Turner, that competitor in painting. To use a
colloquialism—“There is a great man gone wrong.” Had he but lived
to-day, he might have been an immortal; but he does not live, and his
lease of fame is not for so long a time as is generally imagined. It has
had an artificial afflatus through the writings of a “splendidly false”
critic, and, curiously enough, the critic, like the artist, has had
insight enough to see the true purpose of art, namely, that the artist
should be true to nature, and should be an interpreter of the life and
landscape of his own time; and, curiously enough, the critic, like the
artist, does not know what nature is. The critic has taken Turner as
nature unalloyed, and hence the whole of that gigantic work of his is
built on sand. The critic never had much, if any, weight with the best
artists. Even Turner himself was amused with the reasonings of his
eulogistic logic! and gave it out as much as a man can give out about
his eulogist, that all the tall talk about his pictures was rubbish. But
Turner was sincere according to his lights. To say of his earlier
pictures that he painted in _rivalry_ or imitation, if you like, of
Wilson, Poussin, and Claude, is to say they are bad, as they undoubtedly
are. This spirit of rivalry never seems to have deserted Turner, for in
his will he left directions bequeathing one of his pictures to the
Academy, on condition it should be hung side by side with a Claude. The
spirit of this is, of course, patent. He thinks he has beaten Claude,
and that is enough. No great genius would have descended to that. Art
was to him an unending competition, and the result was that nature was
neglected; and though he revelled in the life and landscape of his own
times, yet the small spirit of competition was his ruin. Had he humbly,
like Constable, had faith in his tenets, and lovingly and modestly clung
to nature, his fame might have been immense and everlasting. His later
pictures are, of course, the eccentricities of senility, and the false
colourings seen by a diseased eye, as has been lately shown, and are as
unlike nature as one could expect such work to be. But let us take his
“Frosty Morning” at the National Gallery. Look well at it, and what do
you find? Falsity everywhere, and most of the essence and poetry of a
frosty morning completely missed. The truest picture by Turner that we
know is a little aquarelle at South Kensington—“A View on the Thames.”
Here, then, when we get Turner true to the truth which he felt in
himself, and not competing (that we know of), what do we find? We find
him immensely behind De Hooghe in a truthful and poetic expression of
nature, as is well possible for so great a man. The Liber Studiorum
should also be carefully studied, noting the falsities; trees drawn by
rule, figures not drawn at all, the total disregard of the phenomena of
nature, sometimes even the evidence of several suns in one picture.
There is no truth of tone; no atmosphere; the values are all wrong; all
the charm and subtlety of nature completely missed. [Sidenote: De Hooghe
and Clays.] Go to De Hooghe or Clays after this, and what a difference!
Here are no meretricious adornments, but more nature and less of erring,
feeble man and his mannerisms. Turner is not the man to study, and if
you cannot “understand him” well and good. Many artists cannot and do
not wish to, for there is nothing to understand, and many French
painters of great ability jeer at his very name. [Sidenote: Constable
and Crome.] With what relief we turn from Turner to Constable and Crome.
These two East Anglians are giants in the history of English painting.
All should study Constable’s works at the National Gallery and South
Kensington; and his life by Leslie is well worth reading, as showing how
much of a naturalist in theory he was. The best example of his work that
we know is a little river scene, with some willows, which we saw at
South Kensington Museum. His work is not, however, perfect. You feel
that there is no atmosphere in his pictures. This is due to their being
out of tone. He had not the knowledge of nature that characterized De
Hooghe, and was not always faithful to his creed: hence his failings.
For though we read in his life such passages as these:—“In such an age
as this, painting should be _understood_, not looked on with blind
wonder, nor considered only as poetic inspiration, but as a
pursuit—_legitimate_, _scientific_, and _mechanical_.”... “The old
rubbish of art, the musty, commonplace, wretched pictures which
gentlemen collect, hang up, and display to their friends, may be
compared to Shakspeare’s ‘Beggarly Account of Empty Boxes.’ Nature is
anything but this, either in poetry, painting, or in the fields.”...
“Observe that thy best director, thy perfect guide is nature. Copy from
her. In her paths is thy triumphal arch. She is above all other
teachers.”... “Is it not folly, said Mr. Northcote to me in the
Exhibition, as we were standing before ——’s picture, for a man to paint
what he can never see? Is it not sufficiently difficult to paint what he
does see? This delightful lesson leads me to ask, what is painting but
an imitative art—an art that is to _realize_, not to _feign_. Then some
dream that every man who will not submit to long toil in the imitation
of nature, flies up, becomes a phantom, and produces dreams of nonsense
and abortions. He thinks to save himself under a fine imagination, which
is generally, and almost always in young men, the scapegoat of folly and
idleness.”... “There has never been a lay painter, nor can there be. The
art requires a long apprenticeship, being _mechanical_, as well as
intellectual.”... “My pictures will never be popular,” he said, “for
they have no _handling_. But I see no _handling_ in nature.”... Blake
once, on looking through Constable’s sketch-books, said of a drawing of
fir-trees, “Why, this is not drawing, but _inspiration_!” and Constable
replied, “I never knew it before; I meant it for drawing.”... “If the
mannerists had never existed, painting would have been easily
understood.”... “I hope to show that ours is a regularly taught
profession; that it is _scientific_, as well as poetic; that imagination
alone never did, and never can, produce works that are to stand a
comparison with _realities_.”... “The deterioration of art has
everywhere proceeded from similar causes, the imitation of preceding
styles, with little reference to nature.”... “It appears to me that
pictures have been overvalued, held up by a blind admiration as ideal
things, and almost as standards by which nature is to be judged, rather
than the reverse.”... “The young painter, who, regardless of present
popularity, would leave a name behind him, must become the patient pupil
of Nature”—yet Constable was not always true to himself.

[Sidenote: Crome.]

Crome, who was, in our opinion, a better painter than Constable, was
like him a naturalist, and true to his faith. There is an amusing scene
in his life, which we will quote. “A brother of the art met Crome in a
remote spot of healthy verdure, with a troop of young persons. Not
knowing the particular object of the assembly, he ventured to address
the Norwich painter thus: ‘Why, I thought I had left you in the city
engaged in your school.’ ‘I am in my school,’ replied Crome, ‘and
teaching my scholars from the only true examples. Do you think,’
pointing to a lovely distance, ‘either you or I can do better than

Crome has expressed his view of art in the following remarks, which we
read in his life:—“The man who would place an animal where the animal
would not place itself, would do the same with a tree, a bank, a human
figure—with any object, in fact, that might occur in Nature; and
therefore such a man may be a good colourist or a good draughtsman, but
he is no artist.” At the National Gallery is to be seen a very good
specimen of his work, and one well worth studying. Vincent, another East
Anglian, did some wonderful work, quite equal to Van der Veldes'.

[Sidenote: Callcott, Nasmyth, Müller, and Maclise.]

We now pass over the names of Callcott, Nasmyth, Müller, and Maclise,
none masters, though they have been called “great colourists,” whatever
that may mean. A great colourist should be a true colourist, and Müller
is almost chromographic in originality in this respect.

[Sidenote: Creswell, Linnell, and Cooke.]

Creswell, Linnell, and Cooke, are names that stand out at this period,
and the greatest of them is Cooke; his painting of “Lobster Pots,” at
South Kensington, being wonderfully fresh and true; but none are poets;
they have but little insight into nature, though Linnell at times shows
the true feeling. A long list of well-known names follows, such as
Hilton, Haydon, Etty, and Eastlake, but none are masters, and we only
mention them to caution against them. [Sidenote: Wilkie, Stansfield,
Mulready, Leslie, Landseer, and Mason.] Of considerable power were
Wilkie, Stansfield, Mulready, Leslie, Landseer, and Mason, but none of
them was really good, although much has been written and said in praise
of their works. They are all false in sentiment, and all lack insight
into the poetry of nature. [Sidenote: Wilkie and Landseer.] In technique
Wilkie and Landseer are often strong, and they will always appeal to a
certain class of people. [Sidenote: Mason.] Mason’s work is a fine
example of the folly of introducing the so-called “imaginative” into
landscape. Take his “Harvest Moon,” when and where did ever men exist
with such limbs? the whole picture smacks of the model and of the “stage
idealism;” there is no nature there, but a laughable parody of it.
[Sidenote: F. Walker.] The next really great name in English art is that
of Frederick Walker, a naturalist, and above all an artist who had a
great grip of and insight into nature. But in his work the traditions of
the idyllic peasants of the golden age lingers, and we find his
ploughman merrily running along with a plough as though it were a toy
cart; and what a ploughman! he never saw a field in his life. This is a
grave fault, and takes away from the greatness of Walker, yet
notwithstanding this his name will always be a landmark in English art.
The reader will be able to study one of his works in the National
Gallery. The date of Walker’s death brings us down to the actual
present. Regarding living English painters we will remain discreetly
silent. It must be remembered that English art is young, beginning as it
practically does in the eighteenth century, for the miniature-painters
cannot count for much, and we must therefore not expect too much. Great
men, especially great artists, are rare as Koh-i-noors. England can
boast of a few, such as Gainsborough, and Constable and Crome.
[Sidenote: American Art.] Of American art there is but little to say.
[Sidenote: Whistler.] No name stands out worthy of record till J. M.
Whistler appears, and he, though an American by birth, can hardly be
called an American painter, for the life and landscape of his own
country he neglects, as also do[Sidenote: Sargent and Harrison.] Sargent
and Harrison, two strong painters, both French by education. Whistler’s
name rises far above any artist living in England, his portrait of his
mother and those of Carlyle and Sarasate are works good for all time and
worthy to be ranked with the best. Mr. Whistler’s influence, too, has
been great and good. As a pioneer he led the revolt against ignorant
criticism by his attack on Ruskin. Vide “Art and Art Criticism, Whistler
_v._ Ruskin.” His life in England has been a long battle for art, and
though many do not approve of all his methods, and still less of his
brilliant but illogical “Ten o'Clock,” his work and influence have been
for good. Another great step in advance, introduced by Mr. Whistler, has
been the reform in hanging pictures; though he has not been allowed to
carry out his plans thoroughly, yet he has managed his exhibitions much
more artistically than any others in the country. In landscape his
night-scene at Valparaiso is marvellous, and we doubt whether paint ever
more successfully expressed so difficult a subject. But even as Homer
nods, so does at times Mr. Whistler, and sometimes “impressions” in oil,
water-colour, and etching appear with his name, an honour of which they
are unworthy. Yet so long as art lives will Mr. Whistler live in his
Carlyle, his portrait of his mother, Lady Campbell, and some smaller
works. [Sidenote: Sargent.] Mr. Sargent’s Carnations and Lilies must be
fresh in our readers' minds. We will only say of it that we never saw
the actual physical facts of nature so truthfully and subtly rendered.
It is indeed a picture whose title to admiration will be lasting, and if
the reader has not already seen it or, having seen it, has listened to
ignorant critics, and passed it over as being “ugly,” let him go to
South Kensington and view it again, for the nation is its fortunate
possessor. Let him look well at it, and consider what it is. It
represents a garden at the time of day when the sunlight is fading but
has not quite gone—crepuscule in fact, and with the dying light of day
is represented the artificial light of Chinese lanterns. This is indeed
a masterpiece. [Sidenote: Harrison.] Mr. Harrison’s “In Arcady” is
wonderful in its effect of sunshine through trees, though the picture is
marred by the low type of the models introduced and by the painting of
the figures. Had it but been pure landscape it would have been a
wonderful piece of work. Never have we seen the effect of noontide heat
so well rendered. This, then, brings us to the end of American art, and
it is to be hoped that men strong as these will go back to their own
country and paint the life of their own land and time. [Sidenote: Hunt.]
William Hunt is a man much thought of in America, but we have never seen
any of his paintings, though his book shows him to be a naturalist to
the heart, and the reader will do well to read it.

Here, then, we must leave England and America, only remarking that
things look bad for the education of the American public when the best
Americans stay away, and when rich sausage-makers buy Herbert’s works
with which to educate themselves, and when catalogue compilers take over
boat-loads of English water-colours with which still further to lead
them wrong. America wants no such education as can be given by Herbert’s
senilities or English water-colours. She wants a band of earnest young
men, who, having learned their technique in the best schools in the
world, namely those of Paris, shall return to America and paint the
scenes of their own country, and therein only lies the hope for American

                               DUTCH ART.

[Sidenote: Rembrandt.]

The first mighty name of the modern period is that of Rembrandt Van Ryn.
Holland, by her bravery, had thrown off the Spanish yoke, and with it
the crushing yoke of Catholicism, and stood free to follow her own bent.
As a result of this freedom a body of Naturalists arose who did more for
modern art than any body of painters in the world. Rembrandt, though a
giant and fit for the company of the immortals, Van Eyck, Velasquez,
&c., was not perfect, for sometimes the power of tradition lurks in his
work, and he forces his portraits by warm colours in the background, an
artifice which was not at all necessary, and which Mr. Whistler has done
without. There are a number of his works in the National Gallery, and a
good one in the Dulwich Gallery, where is also a great Velasquez, so
that the reader should not fail to go there. Rembrandt was inspired by
the simple life around him, portraits and interiors satisfied him. It is
a significant fact that the greatest painters, Durer, Da Vinci,
Velasquez, and Rembrandt have been content to paint the life of their
own times and not to draw upon their imagination. The learned painter,
it cannot be too often repeated, is he who is learned in all the
resources of his art, and we question very much whether one great reason
why so few great painters have arisen is not that artists as a rule are
so poorly and narrowly educated. At any rate, the opposite holds good,
that the most highly and soundly educated artists, men who moved and
held their own in the best intellectual societies of their time, were
naturalists. But to return to Rembrandt. Perhaps his mastery, his grip
of nature, show forth as much in his etchings as in his paintings.
[Sidenote: Etchings.] He, like all great etchers, and there are few
enough, used etching only within its legitimate limits, that is, as a
method of expression by line, in a simple, direct and brief manner. An
etching by a master may be looked upon in the same light as an
epigram,[6] sonnet or ode by a poet. Many of Rembrandt’s etchings can be
seen in the British Museum, and should be thoroughly well studied; after
which study, pick up some of the unmeaning work of Seymour Haden or any
other modern etcher, except Mr. Whistler and Rajon,[7] and you will,
without doubt, distinguish the difference. Most modern works are good
examples of how _not_ to etch. Line after line is put in without any
meaning at all; there is no evidence of the study of nature in the work
and the subjects are trivial and commonplace. One of the greatest evils
commercialism has done to art is to ruin modern etching, by having
pictures of the old masters copied slavishly by the etcher, and
elaborated and worked up, so that one wearies of them. Such work can
scarcely be said to rise to the dignity of fine art at all, and
Rembrandt, we think, would rise in horror from his grave, if he could
see his paintings reproduced by etchers. _Any_ reproduction of a picture
is unsatisfactory and does not become fine art at all, but is only
useful to publish reflections of the mind whose work it is intended to
represent, and for our part we think a good photo-etching does this
better, because more faithfully, than any other process. It is difficult
to imagine the mind that can set itself to work for months, even years,
at an engraving or etching from another man’s work when the world is so
full of pathos and poetry, and subjects abound on all sides. No great
man was ever found in this category.


Footnote 6:

  Epigram here being used in the old Greek sense.

Footnote 7:

  Now dead.


Durer and Rembrandt etched, and Mr. Whistler etches from Nature direct,
not impertinently—there is no other word for it—tampering with other
men’s work. But the public will buy these reproductions, and an
artificial value is thus given to them, and the dealers will of course
encourage whatever pays. [Sidenote: Print-sellers.] One etching by
Rembrandt himself is worth all these reproductions of pictures by
engraving, etching, mezzo-tint, or photo-etching, because it is an
original work of art, the outcome of the loving study of nature. Not
long ago a letter appeared in one of the literary “weeklies,”
complaining of the stamping of photogravures by the Print-sellers'
Association. The obvious answer to this print-seller’s letter is, of
course, that with the works of living painters, the style of
reproduction rests with the painter, and if the artist is satisfied with
photo-etching, what has any one else to say—painters are the best judges
of these things. Very few painters we know would entrust the
reproduction of their pictures to etchers or engravers, or would
countenance the _publication of another man’s view of their work_. We
have seen photographs of Whistler’s Sarasate, but never engravings of
it. With bad paintings on the other hand, the engraving of them has
often made the painter’s name as well as the engraver’s. We could cite
an example of a living painter who owes his reputation chiefly to the
engravings of his works, and poor things they are even when embellished
by the process. At the time this discussion was raging amongst the
philistines, it was gravely asserted that “engravings always rose in
price,” and this was given as a reason for buying them. Have the
engravings of Mr. Landseer’s pictures risen in price! Ask the poor
subscribers to the first copies. Will the engravings of Doré’s works
rise in price? _Quien sabe?_ If the reader is under any such erroneous
idea, let him attend a few sales of engravings in London, and he will
see proofs of etchings and engravings knocked down for a few shillings.

[Sidenote: Van Ostade.]

Leaving with regret the great Rembrandt, we pass over several smaller
but often-quoted names, the most influential name we come to is Van
Ostade, another naturalist of great power, of whom we have already
spoken. [Sidenote: De Hooghe.] Next we come to De Hooghe. This is the
man who first really gripped thoroughly and expressed truly on canvas
the mystery and poetry of the open air. There are two specimens
(courtyards) of this wonderful painter’s work at the National Gallery.
They are an education in themselves, and are well worth long and careful
study for hours, indeed there are few pictures more worthy of study.
There they hang, fresh as nature and beautiful as paint can express,
good, valuable for all time—why? Because the painter has known how to
give the sentiment of _plein air_. There they hang true and lovely,
pictures of Dutch life in the seventeenth century. No history can come
up to them in historic value, none can be so true.

[Sidenote: Cuyp.]

Cuyp we will pass over with few words. A great second-rate man he
undoubtedly was, but his hot colouring smacks of the imagination rather
than of nature. Paul Potter and Ruysdael also are men with unduly great
reputations; they are both false in sentiment, and they handled nature
with impertinence. Any careful observer can see that Ruysdael played
with the lighting of landscapes as did Turner, and of course it is well
known that he was not particular as to painting his landscapes on the
spot. There is no nature in him, it is all Ruysdael, Ruysdael, Ruysdael,
eternally Ruysdael.

[Sidenote: Hobbema.]

Hobbema at times verged near the truth and greatness, as for instance in
the painting of a road with trees, in the National Gallery, which our
readers will do well to study; but he is insincere and untrue all
through and was not a naturalist. [Sidenote: Van der Velde.] In sea
painting, Van der Velde the younger is wonderful in his truth and love
of nature. Good specimens of his work can be seen in the National

[Sidenote: Israels.]

Coming down to our own times, the elder Israels stands out as a giant, a
distinguished master. We have only been able to see a few of his
pictures, but those show us the master. Hopeful, indeed, is the art of
Holland and Belgium with such men as Artz, Mauve,[8] Maas M. Maris,
Mesdag, Boosboom, and others. The reader will often have opportunities
of seeing works by these men at the French Gallery, the Hanover Gallery,
and Goupil’s, and he should take every opportunity of studying their
works most carefully.


Footnote 8:

  Now dead.



And now, lastly, we come to France—France where art has in modern times
reached its highest level. France has in modern times always been the
leader of civilization in Europe, and even now she is in the van of
modern progress, our intellectual mother. We may have a finer literature
to show, in Germany science may be more profound, but in all that is
greater than literature or science, that is in solving the problem of
being and throwing off the yoke of religious and political despotism,
France has become the leader. Practical, energetic, and thrifty, the
French with all their faults, still remain in many ways the first nation
of the world. France and the French have more of the Ancient Greek’s
_esprit_ than any other nation has or ever has had. In all the
humanizing influences that distinguish brute man from civilized man, the
French are to the fore, but in histrionic, glyptic and pictorial art,
she is unapproachable, and still reigns Queen of the Arts, in these

[Sidenote: Poussin and Le Brun.]

Passing over Nicolas Poussin, Le Brun and other lesser names, whose
works are not those of masters, [Sidenote: Claude Lorraine.] we arrive
at Claude Lorraine, who may claim to have an inkling of the truth and
whose work shows a distinct advance on Poussin, but who after all is no
master because not loyal to nature, and therefore his already doubtful
reputation will go on diminishing. [Sidenote: Watteau.] The first name
that really stands forth as great in French art is that of Watteau.
Watteau, however, cannot be ranked among the Immortals, for though his
technique was marvellous, and his power of drawing unsurpassed, he like
all his contemporaries, artists and otherwise, neglected nature, living
as they did in the artificial times of Louis XIV. There is a picture in
the National Gallery which well explains what we mean. Then name after
name is handed down to us, but in vain do we look for a master among
them. [Sidenote: Boucher and Greuze.] Boucher and Greuze still have
admirers, but they are not great painters, because they did not study
nature or at least did not succeed in painting her, as it is very easy
to see from their works. [Sidenote: Delacroix.] Delacroix strove to rise
from the artificial influence of the time, but he was not strong enough
to become a master. [Sidenote: Ingres.] It was reserved for Ingres to
make a real advance. He, though imbued to some extent with the old
spirit of classicism, was a deep lover of nature, and the story of the
struggle for the mastery between those two opposing tendencies is the
story of his art and life. Though he rises above all previous painters
of his country, he cannot be ranked with the masters. With Ary Scheffer
there was a retrogression which in its turn was counteracted by
Delaroche. [Sidenote: Delaroche.] It was Delaroche who afterwards said
an artist would one day have to use photography. Still, in vain do we
look for a genius, and until Constable’s pictures exhibited in 1824 in
Paris, aroused the French as to the real aims of art, no really great
master appears. But when practical France saw, she immediately took up
naturalism. [Sidenote: Descamps.] Then we have first Descamps, who took
up the newly revived ideas, but failed, and Rousseau made the real
departure—the poetry and mystery of nature roused in him an ardent
sympathy, and all honour to him for struggling on at Barbizon, in the
face of the neglect and contumacy of the _Salon_.[Sidenote: Rousseau.]
But Rousseau, hero though he was, never rose to be a mighty painter, and
his works fall far behind those of the best painters of to-day, but as a
pioneer his name will always be remembered, and though he failed, he at
least took Nature as his watchword. [Sidenote: Corot.] After Rousseau
came Corot, a master good for all time. His early works show signs of
the classical spirit, from which he had not yet shaken himself free,
thus we sometimes see in his early works, peasants strangely habited and
reminding one of the seventeenth century or ancient Greece, which is of
course ridiculous; but his later work is true and great. Full of breadth
and feeling for the subtleties and poetry of nature, he has never been
surpassed. Examples of his work in England can sometimes be seen in the
French Gallery, the Hanover Gallery and at Goupil’s, but it must be
remembered that great as Corot is, there is much of his work that is
bad. [Sidenote: Daubigny.] Another great painter is Daubigny, a
contemporary of Corot’s, and though not such a subtle observer as Corot,
still he is a painter whose work has had great influence and will live
though it has been surpassed by younger men. [Sidenote: Troyon.] Troyon
was another who like Corot loved and studied and painted from nature,
but he lacked the insight into nature that Corot had, and his work is
not as true as that of his contemporary.

[Sidenote: Millet.]

At length, however, we arrive at an Immortal name, that of Jean François
Millet. This great man must not be confounded with two Jean François
Millets who lived years before, and who were not artists at all though
painters. Everything about J. F. Millet the Great, is worthy of study.
Let the student seize every chance of studying his works, chances which
will, alas! be rare enough as many of his best pictures are in America
and most of the others in France. His pastels and water-colours are not
very good, but his etchings which (reproduced) can be seen in the
British Museum, are valuable for strength and power. Here is a
directness of expression never surpassed. Before leaving him we will
quote a few passages from his letters:—

[Sidenote: J. F. Millet.]

“I therefore concede that the beautiful is the suitable.... Understand
that I do not speak of absolute beauty, for I do not know what it is,
and it seems to me only a tremendous joke. I think people who think and
talk about it do so because they have no eyes for natural objects; they
are stultified by ‘finished art,’ and think nature not rich enough to
furnish all needs. Good people, they poetize instead of being poets.
Characterize! that is the object.

“When Poussin sent to M. de Chantelon his picture of the ‘Manna,’ he did
not say, ‘Look, what fine _pâte_! Isn’t it swell? Isn’t it tip-top?’ or
any of this kind of thing which so many painters seem to consider of
such value, though I cannot see why they should. He says: ‘If you
remember the first letter which I wrote to you about the movement of the
figures which I promised you to put in, and if you look at the whole
picture I think you will easily understand which are those who languish,
which are filled with admiration, those who pity, those who act from
charity, from great necessity, from desire, from the wish to satiate
themselves, and others—for the first seven figures on the left hand will
tell you all that is written above, and all the rest is of the same

“Very few painters are sufficiently careful as to the effect of a
picture seen at a distance great enough to see all at once, and as a
whole. Even if a picture comes together as it should, you hear people
say, ‘Yes, but when you come near it is not finished!’ Then of another,
which does not look like anything at the distance from which it should
be seen, ‘But look at it near by; see how it is finished!’ Nothing
counts except the fundamental. If a tailor tries on a coat, he stands
off at a distance enough to see the fit. If he likes the general look,
it is time enough then to examine the details; but if he should be
satisfied with making fine button-holes and other accessories, even if
they were _chefs-d'œuvre_, on a badly-cut coat, he will none the less
have made a bad job. Is not this true of a piece of architecture, or of
anything else? It is the manner of conception of a work which should
strike us first, and nothing ought to go outside of that. It is an
atmosphere beyond which nothing can exist. There should be a _milieu_ of
one kind or another, but that which is adopted should rule.

“As confirmation to the proposition that details are only the complement
of the fundamental construction, Poussin says, ‘Being fluted (pilasters)
and rich in themselves, we should be careful not to spoil their beauty
by the confusion of ornament, for such accessories and incidental
subordinate parts are not adapted to works whose principal features are
already beautiful, unless with great prudence and judgment, in order
that this may give grace and elegance, for ornaments were only invented
to modify a certain severity which constitutes pure architecture.’

“We should accustom ourselves to receive from nature all our
impressions, whatever they may be, and whatever temperament we may have.
We should be saturated and impregnated with her, and think what she
wishes to make us think. Truly, she is rich enough to supply us all. And
whence, should we draw, if not from the fountain-head? Why for ever
urge, as a supreme aim to be reached, that which the great minds have
already discovered in her, because they have ruined her with constancy
and labour, as Palissy says? But nevertheless, they have no right to
dictate for mankind one example for ever. By that means the productions
of one man would become the type and the aim of all the productions of
the future.

“Men of genius are gifted with a sort of divining-rod; some discover in
nature this, others that, according to their kind of scent. Their
productions assure you that he who finds is formed to find; but it is
funny to see how, when the treasure is unearthed, people come for ages
to scratch at that one hole. The point is to know where to find
truffles. A dog who has not scent will be but a poor hunter if he can
only run at sight of another who scents the game, and who, of course,
must always be the first. And if we only hunt through imitativeness, we
cannot run with much spirit, for it is impossible to be enthusiastic
about nothing. Finally, men of genius have the mission to show, out of
the riches of nature, only that which they are permitted to take away,
and to show them to those who would not have suspected their presence,
nor ever found them, as they have not the necessary faculties. They
serve as translators and interpreters to those who cannot understand her
language. They can say, like Palissy, ‘You see these things in my
cabinet.’ They, too, may say, ‘If you give yourself up to nature, as we
have done, she will let you take away of these treasures according to
your powers. You only need intelligence and good will.’

“It must be an enormous vanity or an enormous folly that makes certain
men believe that they can rectify the pretended lack of taste or the
errors of Nature. On what authority do they lean? With them who do not
love her, and who do not trust her, she does not let herself be
understood, and retires into her shell. She must be constrained and
reserved with them. And, of course, they say, ‘The grapes are green.
Since we cannot reach them, let us speak ill of them.’ We might here
apply the words of the prophet, ‘God resisteth the proud, and giveth
grace to the humble.’

“Nature gives herself to those who take the trouble to court her, but
she wishes to be loved exclusively. We love certain works only because
they proceed from her. Every other work is pedantic and empty.

“We can start from any point and arrive at the sublime, and all is
proper to be expressed, provided our aim is high enough. Then what you
love with the greatest passion and power becomes a beauty of your own,
which imposes itself upon others. Let each bring his own. An impression
demands expression, and especially requires that which is capable of
showing it most clearly and strongly. The whole arsenal of nature has
ever been at the command of strong men, and their genius has made them
take, not the things which are conventionally called the most beautiful,
but those which suited best their places. In its own time and place, has
not everything its part to play? Who shall dare to say that a potato is
inferior to a pomegranate?

“Decadence set in when people began to believe that art, which she
(Nature) had made, was the supreme end; when such and such an artist was
taken as a model and aim without remembering that he had his eyes fixed
on infinity.

“They still spoke of Nature, but meant thereby only the life-model which
they used, but from whom they got nothing but conventionalities. If, for
instance, they had to paint a figure out of doors, they still copied,
for the purpose, a model lighted by a studio light, without appearing to
dream that it had no relation to the luminous diffusion of light out of
doors—a proof that they were not moved by a very deep emotion, which
would have prevented artists from being satisfied with so little. For,
as the spiritual can only be expressed by the observation of objects in
their truest aspect, this physical untruth annihilated all others. There
is no isolated truth.

“The moment that a man could do something masterly in painting, it was
called good. If he had great anatomical knowledge, he made that
pre-eminent, and was greatly praised for it, without thinking that these
fine acquirements ought to serve, as indeed all others should, to
express the thoughts of the mind. Then, instead of thoughts, he would
have a programme. A subject would be sought which would give him a
chance to exhibit certain things which came easiest to his hand.
Finally, instead of making one’s knowledge the humble servant of one’s
thought, on the contrary, the thought was suffocated under the display
of a noisy cleverness. Each eyed his neighbour, and was full of
enthusiasm for a manner.”

[Sidenote: Bastien-Lepage.]

Bastien-Lepage we had judged from reproductions, but we find lately, on
seeing some of his work, that we had all along misjudged him, thinking
him a much greater painter than he really is. This study of
Bastien-Lepage has been a revelation to us of the quite misleading and
dangerous power of reproductions of a painter’s work in black and white.
All the black and white reproductions that we have seen of this
painter’s work give the impression of much greater work than the
originals really are, and we would caution all our readers against
judging of any painter’s or sculptor’s work by a reproduction by any
method, from etching to cheap wood-cutting, for they may be woefully
misled. We feel sure these reproductions—no matter of what kind—will
have a very harmful effect on art, and will give quite wrong opinions of
work; and they are, no matter of what kind, whether etching, engraving,
photo-etching, woodcut, or photograph, to be strongly condemned.
Bastien-Lepage is not even always strong in drawing, and his sentiment
is often false, untrue, and brutal, and not nearly so fine as Courbet’s
sentiment, yet Courbet’s preceded him; he was but a follower, where
Courbet was a leader.

[Sidenote: Breton and Lhermitte.]

Of the older living painters, Jules Breton and Lhermitte stand out as
strong men; but Breton has long ago been passed, and Lhermitte is not
the man he was, but some of Lhermitte’s work will live always. There is
a remarkably fine Lhermitte in the Luxembourg, which every one should
try and see. Both are naturalistic painters. Of other living painters
much might be written, for they, in our opinion, represent the acme of
painting and its highest development. We feel that we never saw painting
done to perfection until we saw the Paris _Salon_, and we strongly
recommend all readers of this book, after they have studied the pictures
and sculptures here referred to, and have some insight into nature, to
make without fail a yearly pilgrimage to the French _Salon_, where they
will see painting at its highest development, though of course there is
much bad work in the _Salon_, as at other exhibitions.

The marvellous pastel work, aquarelles, and charcoal drawings will all
show them how immeasurably behind France, England is in all the
pictorial arts. Englishmen do not know what drawing is—therein lies the
cause of their failure. This very year we went to the Academy the day
after seeing the Salon, and what a fall was there!

Of living French painters the work the student should carefully study is
that of Meissonier,[9] Cabanel, Carolus Duran, Pelouse, Protais,
Detaille, Perrandeau, Doucet, Petitjean, Busson, Landelle, Appian,
Cazin, Harpignies, La Touche, Lansyer, Le Roux, C.M.G., Abraham,
Anthonissen, Moreau de Tours, Nys, Nobillet, Marinier, Michel M. Japy,
Carne, Vallois, Jan-Monchablon, Joubert, Boucher, J. F., Cabrit, Durot,
Poithevin, Beauvais, Denant, Dufour, and many others whose names we
forget for the moment, but, be it said, all naturalistic painters to a
marvellous degree.


Footnote 9:

  Now dead.


This brings us to the end, so we will leave painting with France in the
van and Holland and Belgium closely following and America and England
floundering in the rear of these three, for we are no believers in the
tall talk of the greatness of the immediate future of English painting,
though there is good hope since an earnest and sincere band of young
artists has arisen in England whose watchword is “Naturalism.”


With sculpture the same old story greets us that we meet with in the
history of painting. After the masterpieces of Greece come the puerile
conventionalities of the Early Christians. [Sidenote: Niccola Pisano.]
But as we have hitherto done so shall we continue—that is, we shall
discuss the masters only, and the first we come to is Niccola Pisano.
Though his work shows that he was still imbued with the spirit of
classicism, yet he struggled to throw off the paralyzing conventionality
of servile imitation, and tried hard to get back to nature, and some of
his sculptures in Pisa are wonderful for expression. He was the pioneer
where followed the great Donatello. Pisano’s son worked in the same
direction as his father, and has left some wonderful architectural
monuments and sculptures, but his fame rests chiefly on his
architectural works, with which we are not here concerned. [Sidenote:
Andrea and Nino Pisano.] Andrea and Nino Pisano made great strides
towards truth and naturalness, and so paved the way for the great man to
come. [Sidenote: Ghiberti.] They were immediately followed by Ghiberti,
who spent many years of his life in working at the well-known mighty
doors of the baptistery at Pisa. These great gates, however, show no
subtlety of the sculptor’s art. Tonality there is none; the whole is
rather a kind of emblematic picture-writing than sculpture, but Ghiberti
says he spent his time in “studying nature and investigating her methods
of work,” so that even though he did not succeed, nature was his
watchword. [Sidenote: Donatello.] But all these sink into insignificance
before the mighty name of Donatello. Like all true and great artists,
Donatello appreciated the limits of his art, made naturalism his
watchword, and followed his principles with sincerity. Whilst we are now
writing, the wonderful low relief of St. Cecilia, which is on view at
Burlington House, is fresh in our mind. There is the work in dark
marble, looking as fresh, beautiful, lifelike, and artistic, as it did
the day it left the artist’s hand. What simplicity, what truth of
impression, and what subtle tonality is there seen! Those who remember
this masterpiece may have noticed the way in which the outline of the
neck is raised, and how untrue it looked close to; but at a distance the
impression was perfect, and the suggestion of shadow most beautifully
rendered. That the modelling of the mouth is feeble is obvious, but
where is perfection? Casts of this work can be had for a mere trifle
from Bruciani, Covent Garden, and we strongly recommend those who have
not seen the original to get one, for a suggestion of such work is
better than a gallery of trash. There is another fine specimen of
Donatello’s work in low relief at South Kensington, but in that there is
the mark of the allegorical, and it just misses the distinguished and
simple character of the St. Cecilia. We do not care for his Judith and
Holofernes, though it is one of the most noted of his works, and owes
its renown more to its historical association than to its artistic
qualities. Where Donatello relied on nature, however, his work is
unsurpassed for truth and subtlety. It was natural that such a great man
should have many followers, but, like most imitators of genius, they
copied his bad points and none of his good ones, for these they could
not attain to, not being geniuses themselves. [Sidenote: Vittore
Pisano.] The wonderful medals of Vittore Pisano or Pisanello must not be
forgotten, as they are well worthy of study. The student can get casts
of most of these for a trifling sum, and we strongly recommend him to
buy a few casts of Pisanello’s medals.

[Sidenote: Della Robbia.]

The work of the Della Robbia family is so well known that we must touch
upon it, although for most of it we care little or nothing, the medium,
a glazed terracotta, being unnatural. Lucca, the greatest of the family,
worked, however, at first in marble. Here and there in his work one
meets with a beautiful face, and often with fine expressions, but the
whole lacks simplicity and fineness. He was more a decorative artist
than a sculptor.

[Sidenote: M. Angelo.

Of Michael Angelo we have spoken. Benvenuto Cellini, a name well known,
was a master in gold-working, but hardly a sculptor. Many lesser names
follow, but no immortal is again seen in Italy; for though Canova made a
name of some sort, he was no master. After Michael Angelo came imitation
and decline. Neglect of nature, together with patronage, killed the
spark of art, and so thoroughly killed it that even writers on art who
had no art-training were listened to, as Winckelmann and Lessing,
[Sidenote: Thorwaldsen.] but their work only produced an artificial
afflatus, as Canova and Thorwaldsen proved, for both were small men,
false in sentiment, and with little or no insight into nature. We say
this advisedly, after seeing much of Canova’s work and nearly all that
of Thorwaldsen. There is no nature in their works, but in addition to a
classical sentiment a puerile realism which is still in vogue in Italy
to-day in such work as a Pears delights in, “You Dirty Boy” and other
trivialities. England, Spain, Holland, and America seem, up to the
present, not to have produced a single sculptor, but, in our humble
opinion, the young sculptors of England will lead the way in the
twentieth century, and the world may look for the advent of an immortal
master and for work which will surpass the Greeks. [Sidenote: Modern
French sculptors.] At present France leads the way, and has some strong
men in Jouffrey, Aubé, Falguière, Rodin; but there, too, the tendency
seems to be towards a fumbling realism and petty _motif_. There is much
talk of French sculpture being in advance of French painting. [Sidenote:
Future of English sculpture.] We do not believe it, and we feel that
England is at present the only country where there is any distinct and
original school of sculpture, with such modellers as Gilbert and Onslow
Ford, and with such a sculptor as Havard Thomas, to say nothing of
younger men, the outlook is very bright indeed.

[Sidenote: Final advice.]

And now we must end the chapter with the final advice to the student to
study deeply all good examples of the great artists whose work we have
noted, and to leave all others alone. By and by the student will find
that he is in a position to compare the good with the bad, then will it
be time enough for him to look at the second-rate work, much of which
contains fine passages here and there and special merits of its own; but
these cannot be appreciated until the student has considerable
knowledge, and that is only to be obtained by a serious study of nature
and of the work of the best masters here cited.

[Sidenote: Barometer of naturalism.]

Finally, we think we have shown that “Naturalism” has been the watchword
of all the best artists, and that, after all, there are but few artists
in any age. Many painters and modellers and sculptors there be, but
artists are few indeed. One point which has impressed us in the inquiry
into naturalistic art is the curious regularity with which so-called
“imaginative” painters have appeared and made reputations for themselves
in the after-glow, so to speak, of the setting sun of naturalism. It
would appear that painters who have lived in an age of strong men have
got fairly staggered by the good naturalistic work of their age, and
have instinctively felt that, being no match for the great masters on
their own lines, that their only way to fame and fortune is by
eccentricity, and in _assuming_ a superior tone of culture by the
production of allegorical or classical inanities. The uneducated of
their own generation, thoroughly tired of a naturalism whose aim they
have never understood, hail with delight any novelty or new departure,
and they praise puerility and falseness of colour as colour, false
drawing as idealizing, conventional composition as original, the
conventional and modern treatment of draperies beneath which no anatomy
is discernible as an idealized and poetic treatment of drapery, and
finally, in the subject of the picture they often mistake sentimentality
for sentiment and sentiment for poetry. Thus these weaker men rise to
fame, and many follow where they lead. But the generation which gave
them fame dies, and a new generation, which has forgotten the triumph of
the naturalistic masters of the past generation, wearies of them, and
naturalistic work is again appreciated. The story of art seems to us
like the mercury in a barometer, ever oscillating upwards and downwards,
ever up towards the acme of naturalism, and ever down towards the abyss
of conventionality and classicism. If we mentally map out the readings
of this barometer on a chart, we shall find naturalism triumphant as the
apex of each curve, whilst in the ascending curve will be found the
strugglers towards naturalism, and in the descending curve the fallers
away from naturalism. [Sidenote: The masters.] On the apices of these
curves will be found triumphant the masters, such as the sculptors of
the Egyptian lions, the sculptors of the Assyrian lion-hunts, Pheidias,
Van Eyck, Durer, Holbein, Da Vinci, Titian, Velasquez, Donatello,
Rembrandt, De Hooghe, Corot, Millet, Gainsborough, and Whistler.

                              CHAPTER III.

[Sidenote: Introduction.]

Having thus demonstrated that the best artists have always tried to
interpret nature, and express by their art an impression of nature as
nearly as possible similar to that made on the retina of the human eye,
it will be well to inquire on scientific grounds what the normal human
eye really does see.

[Sidenote: The argument.]

Our contention is that a picture should be a translation of a scene as
seen by the normal human eye. That the impression will vary with
individuals, there is no doubt, for the artist will see subtleties never
dreamed of by the commonplace or uneducated eye, and his aim will, of
course, be to portray those subtleties in his picture, and hence one
source of individuality in a work, another being in the way in which it
is done. Our task now shall be to examine into the physical,
physiological and psychological properties of sight, and to arrive at a
conclusion, in so far as science allows us, as to how the normal eye
does see things. The student will do well to read Chapter II. of Book
III. of Dr. Michael Foster’s “Text Book of Physiology,” as well as the
matter on the eye in Ganot’s Physics, before going any further in this
chapter, for we do not wish to go over ground which has been occupied
previously, our aim being to give a view from the artistic standpoint of
the physical, physiological, and psychological properties of eyesight.
We will, then, proceed to consider how well we see external nature, that
is, within what limits, for we never see her exactly as she is, as we
shall show.

[Sidenote: Optic nerves.]

To begin with, then, the retinal nerves are strictly reserved to respond
to the vibrations of ether—called light. If the student has ever had a
blow on his eye, he has probably _seen_ “stars,” because every stimulus
to this pair of nerves makes us see things, and not feel them. Now each
sense has certain limits between which it can detect subtle vibrations,
but beyond which all is blank. The more refined the organization of the
person, the greater will be the number of vibrations he can distinguish.
Thus 399,000,000,000 vibrations in a second produce in us the sensation
of light, above this the vibrations appear as spectral colours until the
number 831,000,000,000,000 is reached; to an increase in the number of
vibrations above that number the optic nerve does not respond. Now the
eye is an optical apparatus fixed between the brain and the ether, not
that we may perceive light, for we could do that without the eye, but
that we may distinguish objects. The glyptic and pictorial arts are
founded entirely on the sense of sight as music is founded on the sense
of hearing. In the pictorial arts, then, we must clearly distinguish
between the physical, physiological, and psychological properties of

[Sidenote: Le Conte’s division.]

Le Conte divides the scientific, i.e. physical and physiological data,
into: A. Light; B. Direction of Light; C. Intensity; D. Colour; and the
psychological data into Binocular vision, size, solidity, and depth.
Following up Le Conte’s scheme, let us begin, then, to discuss briefly
the scientific data, that is, considering the apparatus purely from the
standpoint of physics and physiology.

                               A. LIGHT.

[Sidenote: Light.]

I. Physical characters of the eye as an optical instrument.

If a ray of light passes through a small hole into a darkened room
(pin-hole camera), an image is formed of the object or objects without.
The condition of a good definition of the image is that “all the rays
from each point on the object must be carried to its own point on the
image.” If this hole be enlarged, this condition is impossible, and the
light spreads over certain areas called diffusion areas or diffusion
circles. In other words, widely divergent rays and contiguous rays
become mixed. To admit more light a lens is used in the eye, and by the
photographer, for although it is possible (by pin-hole camera) to take
pictures without a lens, the light so admitted is necessarily so limited
that the exposure needed is too long. The lens, however, helps us by
admitting more light, and at the same time giving better definition, but
it also introduces many disadvantages and sources of error. Now a
_theoretically_ perfect physical image has been described by physicists
as being both bright and sharp in definition, but the theoretically
perfect image does not exist; for, apart from other considerations, the
lens which we use to get microscopic sharpness, cuts off light, and the
sharper the image is rendered by stops, the less brightness do we get.
Thus we see the lens introduces scores of errors as well as desirable

In the human and photographic lenses the chief faults are:—

[Sidenote: Dispersion.]

Dispersion. All refraction or bending of light by a lens is accompanied
by dispersion. This error is corrected in opticians' lenses to a great
extent. In the human eye, however, this fault is in some degree present,
as can be proved by looking at a lighted street lamp through a violet
glass, when a red flame will be seen surrounded by a bluish-violet halo.
What, then, is the effect of dispersion on our theoretically perfect
image? It is slight blurring of the sharpness of outline, since the size
and position of the optical images thrown by the differently bent rays
is not the same.

[Sidenote: Spherical aberration.]

A lens having a spherical surface bends the rays so that they do not all
come to a focus at the same point. What is the effect of this on our
theoretically perfect image? Again it is slight blurring of the
sharpness of outline. It is said the spherical aberration in a perfectly
corrected optician’s lens _is less than that in the lens of the human
eye_. This must be remembered in connection with our later remarks. In
the lower animals, spherical aberration is nearly absent. Their vision
therefore is more periscopic, and therefore more like that of an
optician’s lens.

[Sidenote: Astigmatism.]

This defect can be avoided in the optician’s lens, but it exists in, and
is a serious fault of, the human eye.

Helmholtz considers the amount of spherical aberration unimportant as
compared with this defect. Astigmatism is the result of imperfect
symmetrical curvature of the cornea and of imperfect centering of the
cornea and lens. This defect is found in most human eyes.

Astigmatism prevents the eye seeing vertical and horizontal lines at the
same distance perfectly clearly at once. The defect in centering also
causes irregular radiation, so that, as Helmholtz says, “The images of
an illuminated point as the human eye brings them to focus, are
inaccurate.” What is the effect of those defects on the “perfect image”?
Dimness of outline and detail in the textures of objects seen.

[Sidenote: Turbidity.]

The optician’s lens is made of pure glass, the media of the human eye
are not clear, but slightly turbid, so that Helmholtz says, “The
obscurity of dark objects when seen near very bright ones depends
essentially on this defect. This defect is most apparent in the blue and
violet rays of the solar spectrum; for then comes in the phenomena of
fluorescence to increase it.” [Sidenote: Fluorescence.] By fluorescence
is meant the property which certain minutely divided substances possess
of becoming faintly luminous, so long as they receive violet and blue
light. The bottles filled with solution containing quinine, which look
blue in the chemists' windows, owe their colour to this fact, as also
does the blueness of “London” milk. These defects, combined with
entoptic impurities which are constantly floating about in the humours,
all help to detract from the brightness and sharpness of the “perfect

[Sidenote: Blind spot.]

This is a portion of the retinal field with no cones or rods, and
therefore insensitive to light. This causes a gap in the field of
vision. “This blind spot is so large that it might prevent our seeing
eleven full moons if placed side by side, or a man’s face at a distance
of only six or seven feet,” says Helmholtz. In addition to this, there
are lesser gaps in the retinal field, due to the cutting off of light by
the shadows thrown by the blood vessels. Any one who has examined the
retinal field with an ophthalmoscope knows what this means.

[Sidenote: Macula lutea.]

In addition to this the _macula lutea_ is less sensitive to weak light
than other parts of the retina. The effect of all these imperfections is
to blur and dull the perfect image. The serious defects due to the blind
spot are not noticed, according to Helmholtz, because “we are
continually moving the eye, and also that the imperfections _almost
always affect those parts of the field to which we are not at the moment
directing our attention_.” The italics are ours. Here, then, is another
great difference between the eye and the optician’s lens.

[Sidenote: Focussing.]

The focus of the eye in a passive state is adjusted to the most distant
objects. It focusses for nearer objects by contracting the ciliary
muscle which pulls tight the zonule of Zinn and so curves the
crystalline lens. It can focus thus up to within five inches of itself,
but the changes of focus are almost imperceptible to the eye beyond
twenty feet. Now a theoretically perfect eye might form perfect images
of objects at infinite distances when there were no intervening objects.
But as has already been shown, the eye is very imperfect, and its images
are not therefore perfect, and it could not form theoretically perfect
images, even if the atmosphere were pure ether and nothing else, for
there are other facts in nature which prevent this; thus we cannot see a
sharp image of the sun with the naked eye on account of its dazzling

[Sidenote: Fovea centralis.]

This central spot is a most important factor in the study of sight and
art. For though the field of vision of the two eyes is more than 180°
laterally, and 120° vertically, yet the field of distinct vision is but
a fraction of this field, as we can all prove for ourselves. Now the
field of distinct vision depends on the central spots for the reason
that the central spot differs anatomically from the rest of the retina
by the absence of certain layers which we need not specify here. The
absence of these layers exposes the retinal bacillary layer to the
direct action of light. Helmholtz says “all other parts of the retinal
image beyond that which falls on the central spot are imperfectly seen,”
so that the image which we receive by the eye is like a picture minutely
and elaborately finished in the centre, but only roughly sketched in at
the borders. But although at each instant we only see a very small part
of the field of vision accurately, “_we see this in combination with
what surrounds it, and enough of this outer and larger part of the
field, to notice any striking object, and particularly any change that
takes place in it_.” If the objects are small, they cannot be discerned
with the rest of the retina, thus, to see a lark in the sky, Helmholtz
says it must be focussed on the central spot. Finally he says,
[Sidenote: Direct and indirect vision.] “To _look_ at anything means to
place the eye in such a position that the image of the object falls on
the small region of perfectly clear vision. This we may call _direct_
vision, applying the term _indirect_ to that exercised with the lateral
parts of the retina, indeed with all except the central spot.” Again, he
says, “Whatever we want to see we look at and see it accurately; what we
do not look at, we do not as a rule care for at the moment, and so do
not notice how imperfectly we see it.” Now all this is most important in
connection with art, as we shall show later, we must beg the student
therefore to hold it fast.

It will be seen from all this that a perfect periscopic image is never
seen by the eye of man, though in some of the lower animals the matter
may be different.

                         B. DIRECTION OF LIGHT.

[Sidenote: Law of projection.]

Le Conte says, “The retinal image impresses the retina in a definite
way; this impression is then conveyed by the optic nerve to the brain,
and determines changes there, definite in proportion to the distinctness
of the retinal image, and then the brain or the mind refers or projects
this impression outward into space as an _external image, the sign and
facsimile of an object_ which produces it.” Not only does this hold good
of external images, but in certain diseases retinal impressions arising
from within are projected outwards, thus ghosts are _seen_.

[Sidenote: Corresponding points, &c.]

“From Müller’s law,” Le Conte further says, “it is evident that each
point—every rod or cone—in the retina has its invariable correspondent
in the visual field, and _vice versâ_.”

[Sidenote: Law of visible direction.]

Le Conte’s law of visible direction states that, “Where the rays from
any radiant strike the retina the impression is referred back along the
ray line (the central ray of the pencil) into space, and therefore to
its proper place.”

From these laws we understand why we see things in the relative
positions which they occupy in space.

All the previous remarks are applicable to monocular vision.

                             C. INTENSITY.

[Sidenote: Intensity.]

A quotation from Helmholtz will best illustrate this point. He says, “If
the artist is to imitate exactly the impression which the object
produces on our eye, he ought to be able to dispose of brightness and
darkness equal to that which nature offers. But of this there can be no
idea. Let me give a case in point. Let there be in a picture-gallery a
desert scene, in which a procession of Bedouins, shrouded in white, and
of dark negroes, marches under the burning sunshine; close to it a
bluish moonlight scene, where the moon is reflected in the water, and
groups of trees, and human forms, are seen to be faintly indicated in
the darkness. You know from experience that both pictures, if they are
well done, can produce with surprising vividness the representation of
their objects; and yet in both pictures the brightest parts are produced
with the same white lead, which is but slightly altered by admixtures;
while the darkest parts are produced with black. Both being hung on the
same wall, share the same light, and the brightest as well as the
darkest parts of the two scarcely differ as concerns the degree of their

How is it, however, with the actual degrees of brightness represented.
The relation between the lightness of the sun’s light, and that of the
moon, was measured by Wollaston, who compared their intensities with
that of the light of candles of the same material. He thus found that
the luminosity of the sun is 800,000 times that of the brightest light
of a full moon.

An opaque body, which is lighted from any source whatever, can, even in
the most favourable case, only emit as much light as falls upon it. Yet,
from Lambert’s observations, even the whitest bodies only reflect about
two-fifths of the incident light. The sun’s rays, which proceed parallel
from the sun, whose diameter is 85,000 miles, when they reach us, are
distributed uniformly over a sphere of 195 millions of miles in
diameter. Its density and illuminating power is here only
one-forty-thousandth of that with which it left the sun’s surface; and
Lambert’s number leads to the conclusion that even the brightest white
surface on which the sun’s rays fall vertically, has only the
one-hundred-thousandth part of the brightness of the sun’s disk. The
moon, however, is a grey body, whose mean brightness is only about
one-fifth that of the purest white.

And when the moon irradiates a body of the purest white on the earth,
its brightness is only the hundred-thousandth part of the brightness of
the moon itself; hence the sun’s disk is 80,000 million times brighter
than a white which is irradiated by the full moon.

Now, pictures which hang in a room are not lighted by the direct light
of the sun, but by that which is reflected from the sky and clouds. I do
not know of any direct measurements of the ordinary brightness of the
light in a picture-gallery; but estimates may be made from known data.
With strong upper light, and bright light from the clouds, the purest
white on a picture has probably 1-20th of the brightness of white
directly lighted by the sun; it will generally be only 1-40th, or even

Hence the painter of the desert, even if he gives up the representation
of the sun’s disk, which is always very imperfect, will have to
represent the glaringly lighted garments of his Bedouins with a white
which, in the most favourable case, shows only the 1-20th part of the
brightness which corresponds to actual fact. If he could bring it, with
its lighting unchanged, into the desert near the white there, it would
seem like a dark grey. I found, in fact, by an experiment, that
lamp-black, lighted by the sun, is not less than half as bright as
shaded white in the brighter part of a room.

On the picture of the moon the same white which has been used for
depicting the Bedouins' garments must be used for representing the
moon’s disk, and its reflection in the water; although the real moon has
only one-fifth of this brightness, and its reflection in water still
less. Hence white garments in moonlight, or marble surfaces, even when
the artist gives them a grey shade, will always be ten to twenty times
as bright in his picture as they are in reality.

On the other hand, the darkest black which the artist could apply would
be scarcely sufficient to represent the real illumination of a white
object on which the moon shone. For even the deadest black coatings of
lamp-black and black velvet, when powerfully lighted, appear grey, as we
often enough know to our cost, when we wish to shut off superfluous
light. I investigated a coating of lamp-black, and found its brightness
to be about one-hundredth that of white paper. The brightest colours of
a painter are only about one hundred times as bright as his darkest

The statements I have made may appear exaggerated. But they depend upon
measurements, and you can control them by well-known observations.
According to Wollaston, the light of the full moon is equal to that of a
candle burning at a distance of twelve feet. Now, assume that you
suddenly go from a room in daylight to a vault perfectly dark, with the
exception of the light of a single candle. You would at first think you
were in absolute darkness, and at most you would only recognize the
candle itself. In any case, you would not recognize the slightest trace
of any objects at a distance of thirteen feet from the candle. These,
however, are the objects whose illumination is the same as that which
the moonlight gives. You would only become accustomed to the darkness
after some time, and you would then find your way about without

If now, you return to the daylight, which before was perfectly
comfortable, it will appear so dazzling that you will, perhaps, have to
close your eyes, and only be able to gaze round with a painful glare.
You see thus that we are concerned here not with minute, but with
colossal, differences. How now is it possible that, under such
circumstances, we can imagine there is any similarity between the
picture and reality?

Our discussion of what we did not see at first, but could afterwards see
in the vault, points to the most important element in the solution; it
is the varying extent to which our senses are deadened by light; a
process to which we can attach the same name, fatigue, as that for the
corresponding one in the muscle. Any activity of our nervous system
diminishes its power for the time being. The muscle is tired by work,
the brain is tired by thinking, and by mental operations; the eye is
tired by light, and the more so the more powerful the light. Fatigue
makes it dull and insensitive to new impressions, so that it appreciates
strong ones only moderately, and weak ones not at all.

But now you see how different is the aim of the artist when these
circumstances are taken into account. The eye of the traveller in the
desert, who is looking at the caravan, has been dulled to the last
degree by the dazzling sunshine; while that of the wanderer by moonlight
has been raised to the extreme of sensitiveness. The condition of one
who is looking at a picture differs from both the above cases, by
possessing a certain mean degree of sensitiveness. Accordingly, the
painter must endeavour to produce by his colours, on the moderately
sensitive eye of the spectator, the same impression as that which the
desert, on the one hand, produces on the deadened, and the moonlight, on
the other hand, creates on the untired eye of its observer. Hence, along
with the actual luminous phenomena of the outer world, the different
physiological conditions of the eye play a most important part in the
work of the artist. What he has to give is not a mere transcript of the
object, but a translation of his impression into another scale of
sensitiveness, which belongs to a different degree of impressibility of
the observing eye, in which the organ speaks a very different dialect in
responding to the impressions of the outer world.

[Sidenote: Fechner’s law.]

In order to understand to what conclusions this leads, I must first
explain the law which Fechner discovered for the scale of sensitiveness
of the eye, which is a particular case of the more general
_psycho-physical law_ of the relations of the various sensuous
impressions to the irritations which produce them. This law may be
expressed as follows:—_Within very wide limits of brightness,
differences in the strength of light are equally distinct, or appear
equal in sensation, if they form an equal fraction of the total quantity
of light compared._

Thus, for instance, differences in intensity of one-hundredth of the
total amount can be recognized without great trouble, with very
different strengths of light, without exhibiting material differences in
the certainty and facility of the estimate, whether the brightest
daylight, or the light of a good candle be used.”

Herein, then, are contained the limits with which we can work, and the
physiological reasons why we can render a fairly true impression of a
scene in nature.

The only constant factor, then, is the _ratio of luminous
intensities_,—that is, the picture must be as true as possible in
relative tones or values. Obviously a picture of bright sunlight should
look brighter in a moderately lighted room than the surrounding room,
that is, its first impression on the observer should be as if he were
looking at a landscape beyond the walls, through the frame.

From these remarks it will be seen how utterly impossible it is to
render truly a bright sunlight scene, for if the values be true,
starting from the top of the scale, the highest light, when you get to
the middle tints, they are too black already, and the picture is out of
tone and false. Obviously the right way is to start from the lower end
of the scale, the _darks_, and get them as true as possible, and let the
lights take care of themselves; but more of this anon.

                               D. COLOUR.

[Sidenote: Colour.]

As photographers, the matter of colour exercises us but indirectly,
still the subject should be understood, on account of its bearing on
painting. “Colour perception” says Le Conte, “is a single perception,
and irresolvable with any other. It must, therefore, have its basis in
retinal structure.”

Helmholtz divides the vibrations of ether known as light into three
degrees. He says the longest and shortest rays do not essentially differ
in any other physical property, except that we distinguish them from the
intermediate waves.” Thus the ear can receive at once many waves of
sound or notes, and they remain distinct, but notes of colour do not
keep distinct in the same way, “so that the eye is capable of
recognizing few differences in quality of light,” says Helmholtz, and
can only perceive the elementary sensation of colour by artificial
preparation. He also says, the only bond between the objective and
subjective phenomena of colour may be stated as a law thus, “Similar
light produces under like conditions a like sensation of colour. Light,
which under like conditions, excites unlike sensations of colour is
dissimilar;” what we want in art, then, is the _appearance_ of the
phenomena. The illumination of the sun’s rays cannot be weakened without
at the same time weakening their heating and chemical action; this is a
point to be remembered in exposure.

Colour is, of course, excited by the length of the waves and their
frequency, red being the longest and slowest, and they diminish in
length and increase in frequency in the order of the spectrum through
orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, to the shortest waves, which
produce the effect of violet, the whole combined forming white. Now
Hering has shown that there are only four primary colour sensations,
though he at one time included black and white, thus making six. The
four are red, yellow, green, and blue, which are reduced by him to two
complementary colours, red and green, and yellow and blue. In our
present state of knowledge the Young-Helmholtz theory of three primary
colour sensations for red, green, and blue seems preferable as a working
hypothesis, though it seems incompatible with anatomical and
physiological facts.

[Sidenote: Difference of colour.]

All objective differences between colours, according to Helmholtz, may
be reduced to differences of tone, difference of fulness (saturation),
and difference of brightness. These are the three colour constants.

By tone, or hue, he means in fact difference of colour as in the
spectral colours. He here refers to the vibration on a tonic scale.
Fulness or purity is greatest in the pure tints of the spectrum, and
becomes less in proportion as they are mixed with white light. All
compound colours are less full than the simple hues of the spectrum.

Brightness or luminosity is strength of light, or amount of
illumination. It is measured by the total amount of light reflected to
the eye.

In nature black and white must be included among the primary colours
when _quality_ is spoken of, as light acts on black and white.

All differences of tone, therefore, are the result of combinations in
different proportions of the four primary colours.

Among the defects of the eye in seeing colour, Helmholtz says, “All are
red blind at the innermost portion of the field of vision, all red
colours appear darker when viewed indirectly.”

The furthest limit of visible field is a narrow zone, in which all
distribution of colour ceases, and there only remain differences of
brightness. Probably those nervous fibres which convey impressions of
green light are alone present in this part of the retina. The yellow
spot makes all blue light appear somewhat darker in the centre of the

All these inequalities are known and more or less rectified by constant
movement. As the eye becomes fatigued by bright light, so that it cannot
at first answer to delicate stimulus, so it can become partially
fatigued for certain colours.

Fatigue weakens the apparent illumination of the entire field of vision.

The colour of illumination of a picture, too, varies greatly by effect
of local colour.

What is constant in the colour of an object is not the brightness and
colour of the light which it reflects, _but the relation between the
intensity of the different-coloured constituents of this light, on the
one hand, and that of the corresponding constituents of the light which
illuminates it on the other_. For example, white paper in full moonlight
is darker than black satin in daylight, or a dark object with the sun
shining on it reflects light of exactly the same colour, and perhaps the
same brightness, as a white object in shadow. Grey in shadow looks like

Brightness of local colour diminishes with the illumination or as the
fatigue of the retina is increased. In sunshine, local colours of
moderate brightness approach the brightest, whereas in moonlight they
approach the darkest. Pictures to be seen in daylight do not admit of
difference of brightness between sun and moon. As colours increase in
brightness, red and yellow become apparently stronger than blue.
Painters make yellow tints predominate when representing landscape in
full sunshine, while moonlight scenes are blued. Helmholtz
says:—“Differences of colour which are actually before our eyes are more
easily apprehended than those which we only keep in memory, and contrast
between objects which are close to one another in the field of vision
are more easily recognized than when they are at a distance. All this
contributes to the effect. Indeed, there are a number of subordinate
circumstances affecting the result which it would be very interesting to
follow out in detail, for they throw great light upon the way in which
we judge of local colour; but we must not pursue the inquiry further
here. I will only remark that all these effects of contrast are not less
interesting for the scientific painter than for the physiologist, since
he must often exaggerate the natural phenomenon of contrast in order to
produce the impression of greater varieties of light and greater fulness
of colour than can be actually produced by artificial pigments.”

Again, when turbidity is composed of fine particles its appearance is
blue, as the mists seen in autumn hanging round coverts, but it is
whiter than the aërial blue because of the colour of the covert behind.
When this turbidity is absent the colours are brighter, hence the fierce
blue on bright sunshiny days with easterly winds. This matter of
turbidity must not be forgotten in portrait work; it is this which helps
to give relief, hence the absurdity of all photographers' devices, the
object of which is to minimize this turbidity. In addition to these is
the ever-changing effect of atmosphere on colour, that subtle medium
with which the enchantress Nature produces ever-changing effects, and
its chief effect on colour is to lower it in brightness. _Atmosphere
greys all things_, hence on a misty day all the colours are greyed—we
have, in fact, a “grey day.”

Another point which must not be forgotten is that with bright
illumination bright objects become more like the brightest, and with
feeble illumination dark objects become more like the darkest. This is a
very important matter, for it means that in bright sunshine the lightest
greys are lost in white, whilst in dull weather the darkest greys are
lost in black, hence the falsity of having deep blacks in
brightly-lighted landscapes, and as has been shown, these are untrue,
and the result of ignorance and of faulty manipulation. As Helmholtz has
it, “The difference of brightness and not absolute brightness; and that
the differences in them in this latter respect can be shown without
perceptible incongruity if only their graduations are imitated with


                            _Single Image._

[Sidenote: Binocular Vision.]

The remarks already made would apply equally well to man if he were a
one-eyed animal, but we find there are other considerations to take into
account since man is two-eyed. Now the phenomena of binocular vision
cannot be treated of with such accuracy as the physical and
physiological facts already discussed. In this subject we shall follow
Le Conte. It is obvious there is a common binocular field of view for
the two eyes. Now Dr. Le Conte shows us that we see all objects double,
except under certain conditions. When we look directly at anything, then
we see it clearly, but all things nearer to us than the object looked at
and beyond it, are seen double, or blurred and indistinct. This is the
case in life, as can be proved.

He goes on to tell us that we see things singly when the two images of
that thing are projected outward to the same spot in space, and are
therefore superimposed and coincide. Objects are seen single when their
retinal images fall on corresponding points—that is, objects lying in a
horizontal circle passing through the point of sight and the central
spots are seen single. Now “all objects at the same or nearly the same
distance, but a little to the right or left, or above or below, are also
either seen single, or else the doubling, if any, is usually
imperceptible.” This surface of single vision is called the _horopter_.

There are, then, two adjustments, the focal and the axial, the one an
adjustment for distant vision, the other for single vision, and
connected with these is the adjustment of the pupil, which contracts and
expands, not only to light, but also to distance and nearness of the
object. Therefore, three adjustments take place when we look at
anything. Connected with these laws are the laws of direction and
corresponding points. Thus we see our perfect image can only exist in
one place at once, that all between the eye and the object and beyond
the object is indistinct, and that the further off an object is the more
luminous does it appear. Two objects, too, may be seen as one.

                            F. PERSPECTIVE.

_Depth, Size, and Solidity._

[Sidenote: Perspective.]

The next question is, “To what is due the appearance of solidity and

Depth, or relative distance, is judged of by a combination of four kinds
of perspective.

1. _Focal or monocular perspective._—Objects at the point of sight are
sharp, but all objects beyond or within this distance are dim. Distance
is judged partly by the act of focussing the eye by acting, as we have
said, on the lens. As this power only acts within twenty feet, it is
evident that things can only be in focus in one plane.

2. _Mathematical Perspective._—Objects become smaller in appearance and
nearer together as they recede. This is another aid to the judging of
distance. The true rendering of this perspective in photography depends
on the correct use of the lens, as will be explained.

3. _Aërial Perspective_ is the perspective due to the scattering of
light by aërial turbidity, for the atmosphere always contains floating
particles of matter. As the objects recede this curtain of turbidity
becomes thicker and the distant objects grow dimmer and bluer. This is
another aid to the judging of distance, but any one not accustomed to
count on this effect may easily misjudge, as we have done before now to
our cost in Switzerland, where a peak miles away has, at times, seemed
to be in the next valley.

4. _Binocular Perspective_ is due to the convergence of the optic axes
and formation of a single image. Le Conte says, “The perspective of
depth or relative distance, whether in a single object or in a scene, is
the result of the successive combinations of the different parts of the
two dissimilar images of the object on the scene.” Binocular
perspective, too, gathers together the imperfect retinal impressions
when the eye sweeps over the field of view. This only acts within a few
hundred yards.

Thus, then, in taking a photograph we must remember that theoretically
speaking, up to twenty feet the picture can be made sharper all over
than beyond that distance; for the eye has all these perspectives acting
within that distance.

[Sidenote: Size.]

By size we estimate distance.

[Sidenote: Solidity.]

Solidity is judged by binocular vision and lighting.

When to all these difficulties are added those dependent on the
subtleties of light reflected into shadow, and the thousand-and-one
changes of colour due to the numerous shadows cast by objects in nature,
we get a complexity which forces upon us how impossible it is for man to
_copy_ nature. A “mere transcript of nature,” which is so glibly talked
of, is, humanly speaking, an impossibility. No man ever painted a “mere
transcript” of nature, or a truthful copy, any more than a man can make
plants or animals in a laboratory; but he can, by a picture, give a
truthful impression of nature.

On these data and within these limits, then, must we work, and here we
append a few general principles deduced from these data, which must
guide us in our work. We have followed them ourselves, and they form the
scientific part of our creed of “Naturalistic Photography.” We have said
little upon the drawing of photographic lenses, as that is discussed in
another chapter; but of course Naturalistic Photography claims as of
vital importance that lenses be used so as to give the drawing of
objects as they are seen by the eye—in other words, as they would be
drawn by a good draughtsman.


[Sidenote: Art Principles.]

We have shown why the human eye does not see nature exactly as she is,
but sees instead a number of signs which represent nature, signs which
the eye grows accustomed to, and which from habit we call nature
herself. We shall now discuss the relation of pictorial art to nature,
and shall show the fallacy of calling the most scientifically perfect
images obtained with photographic lenses artistically true. They are not
correct, as we have shown, and shall again show, but what is
artistically true is really what we have all along advocated; that is
that the photographer must so use his technique as to render a true
impression of the scene. The great heresy of ‘sharpness’ has lived so
long in photographic circles because firstly the art has been practised
by scientists, and secondly by unphilosophical scientists, for all
through the lens has been considered purely from the physical point of
view, the far more important physiological and psychological standpoints
being entirely ignored, so that but one-third of the truth has been
hitherto stated.

[Sidenote: What a picture is.]

To begin with, it must be remembered that a picture is a representation
on a plane surface of limited area of certain physical facts in the
world around us, for abstract ideas cannot be expressed by painting. In
all the works in the world the painter, if he has tried to express the
unseen or the supernatural, has expressed the unnatural. If he paints a
dragon, you find it is a distorted picture of some animal already
existing; if he paints a deity, it is but a kind of man after all. No
brain can conjure up and set down on paper a monster such as has never
existed, or in which there are no parts homologous with some parts of a
living or fossil creature. We defy any man to draw a devil, for example,
that is totally unlike anything in existence. All so-called imaginative
works fall then within the category of the real, for they are in certain
parts real because they are all based on realities, even though they may
be utterly false to the appearance of reality. By this we mean that an
ideal dragon may be based on existing animals; his form may be a mixture
of a Cobra, Saurian, and a reptile, as is often the case; so far it may
be real, but then the way in which it is painted may be utterly false,
for the natural effect of light and atmosphere on the dragon may and
probably will be ignored, for there is no such animal to study from. The
modern pre-Raphaelites are good examples of painters who painted in this
way; they painted details, they imitated the local colour and texture of
objects, but for all that their pictures are as false as false can be,
for they neglected those subtleties of light and colour and atmosphere
which pervade all nature, and which are as important as form. Children
and savages make this same error, they imitate the local colour, not the
true colour as modified by light, adjacent colour, and atmosphere. But
what the most advanced thinkers of art in all ages have sought for is
the rendering of the true impression of nature.

Proceed we now to discuss the component parts of this impression.

[Sidenote: Tone and Atmosphere.]

When we open our eyes in the morning the first thing we see is light,
the result of those all-pervading vibrations of ether. The effects of
light on all the objects of nature and on sight have been dealt with in
the beginning of this chapter, it only remains, therefore, to deduce our
limits from these facts. In the first place, from what has been said in
that section it is evident we cannot compete with painting, for we are
unable to pitch our pictures in so high a key as the painter does, and
how limited is his scale has been shown, but by the aid of pigments he
can go higher than we can. It has been shown, too, that it is impossible
to have the values correct _throughout_ a picture, for that would make
the picture too black and untrue in many parts. This fact shows how
wrong are those photographers who maintain that every photograph should
have a patch of pure white and a patch of pure black, and that all the
lighting should be nicely gradated between these two extremes. This idea
arose, no doubt, from comparing photography with other incomplete
methods of translation, such as line-engraving.

The real point is that the darks of the picture shall be in true
relation, and the high lights must take care of themselves. By this
means a truer tone is obtained throughout. Now to have these tones in
true relation it is of course implied that the local colours must be
truly rendered, yellow must not come out black, or blue as white,
therefore it is evident that colour-corrected plates are necessary. But
such plates are useless when the quantity of silver in the film is
little, for the subtleties of delicate tonality are lost, which are not
compensated for by gain in local colour, and this is a point the makers
of orthochromatic plates must take into consideration. It will be seen
now why photographs on uncorrected plates (even when the greatest care
and knowledge in using them is exercised) are not, as a rule, perfectly
successful, and why the ordinary silver printing-paper is undesirable,
for it exaggerates the darkness of the shadows, a fatal error. False
tonality destroys the sense of atmosphere, in fact, for the true
rendering of atmosphere, a photograph must be relatively true in tone;
in other words the relative tones, in shadow and half shadow, must be
true. If a picture is of a bright, sunlit subject, brilliancy is of
course a necessary quality, and by brilliancy is _not_ meant that
“sparkle” which so delights the craftsman. Of course the start of tone
is naturally made from less deep shadows, when the picture is brightly
lighted, for the black itself reflects light, and all the shadows are
filled with reflected light. It will be seen, therefore, that it is of
paramount importance that the shadows shall not be too black, that in
them shall be light as there always is in nature—more of course in
bright pictures, less in low-toned pictures—that therefore the rule of
“detail in the shadows” is in a way a good rough-and-ready photographic
rule. Yet photographers often stop down their lens and cut off the
light, at the same time sharpening the shadows and darkening them, and
throwing the picture out of tone. It cannot be too strongly insisted
upon that “strength” in a photograph is not to be judged by its
so-called “pluck” or “sparkle,” but by its subtlety of tone, its
truthful relative values in shadow and middle shadow, and its true
textures. Photographers have been advised by mistaken craftsmen to spot
out the “dotty high lights” of an ill-chosen or badly-rendered subject
to give it “breadth.” Such a proceeding of course only increases the
falsity of the picture, for the high lights, as we have shown, are never
high enough in any picture, and if a man is so unwise as to take a
picture with “spotty lights,” he is only increasing his display of
ignorance by lowering the high lights, which are already not high
enough. This does not of course apply to the case where a single spot of
objectionable white fixes the eye and destroys harmony, but to the
general habit of lowering the high lights in a “spotty” photograph.
Spotty pictures in art as well as in nature are abominations to a
trained eye, and it is for that very reason that such subjects are more
common among photographers who are untrained in art matters than in the
works of even third-rate painters. The effect of the brightest sunlight
in nature, for reasons explained, is to _lessen_ contrast, the effect of
a sharply-focussed, stopped-down photograph is to _increase_ contrast in
the subject and thus falsify the impression. As the tendency of
“atmosphere” is to grey all the colours in nature more or less, and of a
mist to render all things grey, it follows that “atmosphere” in all
cases helps to give breadth by lessening contrast, as it also helps to
determine the distance of objects. As shown in the previous chapter,
this aërial “turbidity,” by which is meant atmosphere, takes off from
the sharpness of outline and detail of the image, and the farther off
the object is, the thicker being the intervening layer of atmosphere,
the greater is the turbidity _cæteris paribus_, therefore from this fact
alone objects in different planes are not and should not be represented
equally sharp and well-defined. This is most important to seize—as the
prevalent idea among photographers seems to be that all the objects in
all the planes _should be sharp at once_, an idea which no artist could
or ever did entertain, and which nature at once proves to be untenable.
The atmosphere in the main rules the general appearance of things, for
if this turbidity be little, objects look close together, and under
certain other conditions are poor in quality.

[Sidenote: Drawing and Lighting.]

In addition to tone and atmosphere, the diminished drawing of objects as
they recede from us (mathematical perspective) helps to give an idea of
distance, but by choosing a suitable lens, which does our drawing
correctly, we need not regard this matter of drawing. A minor aid to
rendering depth is the illumination of the object, a lateral
illumination giving the greatest idea of relief, but the photographer
should be guided by no so-called “schemes of lighting,” because, for
more important reasons, it maybe advisable to choose a subject lighted
directly by the sun, or silhouetted against the sun. All depends on what
is desired to be expressed. For example, an artist may wish to express
the sentiment and poetry of a sunset behind a row of trees. Is he to
consider the minor matter that there will be little relief, and it is
not a good “scheme of lighting”? No, certainly not, otherwise he must
forgo the subject. Nature ignores all such laws. The only law is that
the lighting must give a relatively true translation of the subject
expressed, and that a landscape must not be lighted by two or more suns.
In portrait work, even, it must be remembered that the aërial lighting
must stand out against the background, for in all rooms there is a
certain amount of turbidity between us and distant objects.

[Sidenote: On the Impression.]

The reason we prefer pictures which are not too bright lies in the
fact that the eye cannot look long at very bright paintings without
tiring. As a physical fact, too, the most delicate modelling and
tonality is to be obtained in a medium light. From what has been
previously said, it will now be understood that a picture should not
be quite sharply focussed in any part, for then it becomes false; it
should be made just _as sharp as the eye sees it and no sharper_, for
it must be remembered the eye does not see things as sharply as the
photographic lens, for the eye has the faults due to dispersion,
spherical aberration, astigmatism, aërial turbidity, blind spot, and
beyond twenty feet it does not adjust perfectly for the different
planes. All these slight imperfections make the eye’s visions more
imperfect than that of the optician’s lens, even when objects in one
plane only are sharply focussed, therefore, except in very rare cases,
which will be touched upon elsewhere, the chief point of interest
should be slightly—very slightly—out of focus, while all things, out
of the plane of the principal object, it is perfectly obvious, from
what has been said, should also be slightly out of focus, not to the
extent of producing _destruction of structure_ or fuzziness, but
sufficiently to keep them back and in place. For, as we have been
told, “to look at anything means to place the eye in such a position
that the image of the object falls on the small region of perfectly
clear vision, ... and ... whatever we want to see, we look at, and see
it accurately; what we do not look at, we do not, as a rule, care for
at the moment, and so do not notice how imperfectly we see it.” Such
is the case, as has been shown, for when we fix our sight on the
principal object or _motif_ of a picture, binocular vision represents
clearly by direct vision only the parts of the picture delineated on
the points of sight. [Sidenote: Rule for focussing.] The rule in
focussing, therefore, should be, focus for the principal object of the
picture, but all else must not be sharp; and even that principal
object must not be as perfectly sharp as the optical lens will make
it. It will be said, but in nature the eye wanders up and down the
landscape, and so gathers up the impressions, and all the landscape in
turn appears sharp. But a picture is not “all the landscape,” it
should be seen at a certain distance—the focal length of the lens
used, as a rule, and the observer, to look at it thoughtfully, _if it
be a picture_, will settle on a principal object, and dwell upon it,
and when he tires of this, he will want to gather up _suggestions_ of
the rest of the picture. If it be a commonplace photograph taken with
a wide-angle lens, say, of a stretch of scenery of equal value, as are
most photographic landscapes, of course the eye will have nothing to
settle thoughtfully upon, and will wander about, and finally go away
dissatisfied. But such a photograph is no work of art, and not worthy
of discussion here. Hence it is obvious that panoramic effects are not
suitable for art, and the angle of view included in a picture should
never be large. [Sidenote: The Pseudo-Impressionists.] It might be
argued from this, that Pseudo-Impressionists who paint the horse’s
head and top of a hansom cab are correct, since the eye can only see
clearly a very small portion of the field of view at once. We assert,
no, for if we look in a casual way at a hansom cab in the streets, we
only see _directly_ the head of the horse and the top of the cab, yet,
indirectly, that is, in the retinal circle around the _fovea
centralis_ we have far more suggestion and feeling of horse’s legs
than the eccentricities of the Pseudo-Impressionist school give us,
for in that part of the retinal field indirect vision aids us. The
field of indirect vision must be _suggested_ in a picture, but
subordinated. But we shall go into this matter later on, here we only
wish to establish our principles on a scientific basis. Afterwards, in
treating of art questions, we shall simply give our advice, presuming
the student has already studied the scientific data on which that
advice is based. All good art has its scientific basis. [Sidenote: Sir
T. Lawrence.] Sir Thomas Lawrence said, “Painting is a science, and
should be pursued as an inquiry into the laws of nature. Why, then,
may not landscape painting be considered as a branch of natural
philosophy, of which pictures are but experiments?”

[Sidenote: Fuzziness.]

Some writers who have never taken the trouble to understand even these
points, have held that we admitted fuzziness in photography. Such
persons are labouring under a great misconception; we have nothing
whatever to do with any “fuzzy school.” Fuzziness, to us, means
_destruction of structure_. We do advocate broad suggestions of organic
structure, which is a very different thing from destruction, although,
there may at times be occasions in which patches of “fuzziness” will
help the picture, yet these are rare indeed, and it would be very
difficult for any one to show us many such patches in our published
plates. We have, then nothing to do with “fuzziness,” unless by the term
is meant that broad and ample generalization of detail, so necessary to
artistic work. We would remind these writers that it is always fairer to
read an author’s writings than to read the stupid constructions put upon
them by untrained persons.

                                BOOK II.
                        TECHNIQUE AND PRACTICE.

  “Artists are supposed to pass their lives in earnest endeavour to
  express through the medium of paint or pencil, thoughts, feelings, or
  impressions which they cannot help expressing, and which cannot
  possibly be expressed by any other means. They make use of material
  means in order to arrive at this end. They tell their story—the story
  of a day, an impression of a character, a recollection of a moment, or
  whatever, more or less clearly or well, as they are more or less
  capable of doing. They expose their work to the public, not for the
  sake of praise, but with a feeling and a hope that some human being
  may see in it the feeling that has passed through their own mind in
  their poor and necessarily crippled statement. The endeavour is honest
  and earnest, if almost always with a result weakened by
  over-conscientiousness or endeavour to be understood.... Your work is
  exhibited not with the intention of injuring any of the human race. It
  is a dumb, noiseless, silent story, told, as best it may be, by the
  author to those whom it may concern. And it does tell its story, not
  to _everybody_, but to _somebody_.”

                                                       WILLIAM HUNT.

                               CHAPTER I.
                         THE CAMERA AND TRIPOD.

[Sidenote: The camera.]

The camera as used to-day is a modified form of the Camera Obscura
adapted to the special end of taking photographs. It is essentially
nothing but a light-tight box, to one end of which a lens can be
adjusted, and to the other end of which the slide containing the
sensitive plate can be applied and exposed, so that it receives no
light, save that passing through the lens. [Sidenote: Choice of
camera.]There are many patterns and many minor differences in the
construction of these boxes, some few of real value, but the majority
the work of ingenious and speculating manufacturers, who hope by some
novelty to increase the sale of their new patents. In all apparatus the
student should choose the simplest and strongest, for in artistic work
lightness _per se_ is no object, nay, it may be harmful, as leading to
over-production. In fact nothing should stand in the way of getting the
best results, and though many of the cameras on the market are light and
fitted with numerous devices which are said to simplify operations and
help the worker, yet such is not really the case, and these
thousand-and-one aids to work are apt to become deranged, and finally to
embarrass the worker at some critical moment.

In choosing a camera, then, for landscape work, choose a square one,
with a reversing frame, a double swing-back, and good leather bellows.
Let the flange of the lens be fitted to a square front which can be
easily removed and replaced, and let there be a rising front. It is
advisable to have the camera brass-bound for the sake of its
preservation, and if for use in tropical climates the bellows should be
made of Russian leather, as the oil of birch with which the leather is
cured is most distasteful to insects. [Sidenote: Special considerations
in choosing a camera.] In ordering a camera there are a few points which
experience has led us to consider essential to comfort. [Sidenote:
Base-board.] One is that the part of the base-board of the camera which
rests on the tripod head should be strengthened or made of much stouter
material than is usually used. [Sidenote: Thumb-screw.] Another is that
the thumb-screw should be of much larger diameter than is usually the
case, and this should be borne in mind, even in the making of the
smaller cameras, for on a windy day when the camera has a heavy lens on
one end and a loaded double dark slide on the other, the vibration is
often ruinous to the picture during exposure, while sudden gusts of wind
may even crack the wood round the screw hole. It seems to us a
thumb-screw at least half an inch in diameter should be used, unless the
camera be made to fit into the tripod head, a method often adopted of
recent years, and of course the best way of all. On more than one
occasion we have nearly lost the camera altogether in the water when
trying to screw it to the tripod when working from a boat on a tideway,
but by having a part of the base-board made to fit into a wooden tripod
head, this at times most difficult operation is rendered easy and

The camera should always extend and close by means of a tail-screw,
those opening by means of a rack and pinion are much more liable to get
out of order. Of course this remark is not applicable to the
smallest-sized cameras. [Sidenote: Spirit levels.] Two small
spirit-levels sunk into the tail-piece of the camera are invaluable; one
will do if made of the right shape. [Sidenote: Size of camera.] In
ordering a camera the two vital points to be considered are the size
including the length of the bellows. The size of plate you intend
working with determines the size of the camera. We have worked with all
sized cameras, from quarter-plate up to one taking twenty-four by
twenty-two inch plates, and it is only after long experience and much
consideration that we venture to offer an opinion on the size to be
chosen. For ordinary work, then, we recommend the half-plate size as the
minimum, and the ten by eight inch size as the maximum. Perhaps a
whole-plate camera (8½ × 6½ inches) is on the whole as useful as any.
The strength required to do a day’s work with a twelve by ten inch
camera is beyond any but a strong man. It is assumed, of course, that
the pictures of the sizes cited are for albums, portfolios, or book
illustrations. It must be remembered, however, that the size of a
picture has nothing to do with its artistic value, an artistic
quarter-plate picture is worth a hundred commonplace pictures forty by
thirty inches in size. For producing large pictures for the wall,
however, we consider the camera should be between fifteen by twelve
inches and twenty-four by twenty-two inches; we cannot imagine anything
larger than twenty-four by twenty-two inches for out-door work, and our
memory goes back to a marsh road in Norfolk where we and two peasants
had all we could do to carry a twenty-four by twenty-two inch camera
when set up, from one marsh to another.

[Sidenote: Square cameras.]

The student will of course remember that his camera must be square in
order to have a reversing frame fitted, but that makes no difference to
the dark slides. [Sidenote: Length.] Having then fixed on the size of
his camera, a question requiring the greatest thought, he must next tell
the maker the length of bellows he requires, which is usually measured
from front to back when the camera is racked out to its full length. As
we recommend the use of long-focus lenses only, as will be seen in the
chapter on lenses, and as no definite law can be laid down for this
length, it is advisable to order a camera four or five inches longer
than the focal length of the lens which is advertised to cover the next
larger-sized plate to that which your dark slide holds.

[Sidenote: Size of plate.]

And now for a caution against a fallacy still current in photographic
circles, which is that one size of plate is more suitable for pictorial
purposes than another. Let no such nonsense influence you, the size of
the plate has nothing whatever to do with success or beauty. Every
composition will demand its own particular size and shape, and though
you work with a ten by eight inch camera or any other size, you will
find you will often take a nine by four inch or a ten by three inch
plate or a dozen other sizes and cut off all the rest. All fanciful
rules for fixing on the size of a plate for pictorial reasons cannot be
too strongly condemned. Such things must be left to the individuality of
each artist, and every picture-gallery in Europe gives the lie to all
rules for a choice of size. The artist, must of course, suit his canvas
or plate to his subject, not his subject to his canvas or plate.

[Sidenote: Studio cameras.]

For studio, or indoor work, the camera may of course be heavier for
obvious reasons, and a different form of support is necessary, the one
usually adopted being very convenient for lowering or raising the lens
so that the best point of sight is obtained according to the position of
the model. It seems to us, however, that these studio cameras and stands
are made a great deal too heavy and cumbersome. [Sidenote: Hood.] For
this kind of work a very necessary part of the apparatus is a hood of
some dark material fixed on to the front of the camera and extending
above and beyond the lens, in order to obviate the effect of the
numerous reflections always present in a glass studio. Out of doors this
is only necessary when the sun is shining into the lens; otherwise it is
never needed, for we have tried it, and have proved that its use has in
no way improved either the truth or the artistic quality of the
negative. In cases where the sun shines into the lens a hat, a piece of
cardboard, a folded newspaper, or anything of the kind, will answer the
purpose equally well.

[Sidenote: Tripod head.]

The tripod head should be preferably of tough wood covered with felt. A
metal tripod head is apt to endanger the woodwork of the camera, even
when covered with leather. [Sidenote: Tripods.] The legs should be
simple and firm, the best we know of being made of two pieces of ash or
oak hinged at the bottom, the points shod with iron, and the legs being
stiffened, when in position by a bar of iron which is secured by a
hinge. Every one should have two pairs of legs at least; one pair, so
that when the camera is set up the lens may be on a level with the eye
of a man of average height, and one pair shorter, so that the lens is
only three feet from the ground. [Sidenote: Supplementary poles.] In
addition to these we always have handy three tough poles eight feet long
and about the diameter of a broomstick; these are shod with iron heels,
and have notches cut at the unshod ends. These are most useful to lash
to the long legs when using them in water-ways. [Sidenote:
Double-backs.] It is as well to have six double-backs, for by filling
them all at one operation the student empties a box of plates, and so
avoids a chance of mixing exposed and unexposed plates. [Sidenote:
Bags.] The most convenient method of carrying the plates in all cases up
to and including the ten by eight size, is to have a bag made which will
take the camera, three double-backs and the focussing cloth, and a
separate bag for the other three double-backs which can be left or taken
out at pleasure.

[Sidenote: Clamp.]

A very useful piece of apparatus is a clamp which can be screwed on
anywhere, but especially to a boat’s gunwale, the taffrail of a steamer,
a fence, and numerous other places whence good pictures can often be
secured. Such a clamp can be purchased at most of the dealers' shops.

[Sidenote: Setting up the camera.]

Having decided on these matters, we will suppose the novice is now
provided with camera and tripod. Now for a few details about starting.
In setting up the camera on its tripod, one leg should be placed either
between the photographer’s legs or exactly opposite to him, he will then
find he can command the camera easily and alter its position with a
touch. If, on the contrary, the legs are put up by chance, he will soon
find his lens playing all sorts of gymnastic tricks, one moment looking
up as if threatening the stars, the next studying with the deepest
interest the ground at its foot.

[Sidenote: Rising front.]

The manipulation of the rising front is a power needing considerable
study, for, by moving it, you can regulate the amount of foreground you
wish to include in your picture. The limit of rise of the front is
determined by the manufacturer, and the limit beyond which the student
must not go is determined by the covering power of the lens he is using,
for he will remember that every lens only covers a certain circle, the
area of the circle depending on the construction of the lens. The usual
method of describing the covering power of a lens is to give the
measurements of the greatest parallelogram that can be inscribed in this
circle. It will be easily seen that if the lens we use only just covers
the plate, that when the front is raised, the lower corners will have no
image exposed on them, and the higher the lens is carried, the more of
the lower part of the picture will be cut off. As the image is upside
down, the blank corners will appear in the sky of the negative. It is
then obvious that if the covering capacity of the lens is greater than
needed for the plate used, the rising front may be used to a much
greater extent than if you only use a lens advertised to cover the plate
you are exposing. It must always be remembered that if the optical axis
of the lens be raised above the centre of the plate the illumination may
be unequal.

[Sidenote: Swing-backs.]

The effect of the horizontal and vertical swing-back is identical, as is
obvious if the camera be placed on its side, for the horizontal swing
becomes vertical, and _vice versâ_. If the camera be set up plumb, the
effect of using the vertical swing-back to its extreme limits (which are
determined by the mechanical construction of the camera) is to lengthen
objects in the direction of their obliquity and to sharpen them. What
does this mean from an art point of view? It means that as a rule it
throws the whole picture out of drawing, the relative positions of the
planes are altered, the relative definition in the planes is altered and
therefore the relative values, and therefore as a rule the picture, is
artistically injured. This rule-of-thumb use of the swing-back arose, no
doubt, from the practice of those craftsmen, untrained in art, whose aim
was the production of “sharp” pictures. The only legitimate extensive
use of the swing-back is when the camera is tilted before an
architectural subject, when it is quite correct to have the ground-glass
plumb, although for our part we deem the tilting of the camera to be
undesirable. The swing-backs can, however, be used, with the greatest
caution, in artistic work, and their value can scarcely be overrated,
but it requires great knowledge to use them appropriately. The subtle
changes in the drawing and composition of a picture which can be
obtained by an intelligent use of the two swing-backs, make them, to
those who know how to use them, most valuable tools. But if the beginner
will take our advice, he will keep his ground-glass plumb, and his
horizontal swing-back square, and never venture to alter either until he
has thoroughly mastered his _technique_, and has some insight into the
principles of art. The use of these swing-backs seems so easy, as of
course it is, when “sharpness” is all the desideratum and embodiment of
the operator’s knowledge of art, but in reality none but artists know
their real value. By their means, the _impression_ of the whole scene
can often be more truly rendered, and things can be subdued and kept
back in the most wonderful manner; and since we wish to get a true
_impression_ of the scene we are interested in, not a realistic wealth
of detail, it can be easily understood how invaluable are the
swing-backs when used cautiously. [Sidenote: On impression and fact.]
Muybridge’s galloping horses are in all of their movements true, but
many of these are never seen by the eye, so quick are they. On the other
hand, the student, if he goes to the British Museum, can see in the
Parthenon Frieze that the sculptors in some cases carved the legs of the
farthest off of three horses in higher relief than those of the nearer
horses, but if he goes off a few paces and _views the carving in its
entirety_, he will see the true impression is gained; the nearest legs
look the farthest off, and so the work is true in impression, though not
true in absolute fact. And though the use of the swing-back makes the
drawing a little false, yet if the lens we shall describe hereafter be
used, the falsity is so very slight as to be hardly noticeable, while it
is _far more correct than any human hand guided alone by a human eye_
can render it. With art as with science, nothing is absolutely correct,
the personal equation and errors of experiment must be allowed for, but
the results are true enough for working purposes.

[Sidenote: Pin-hole photography.]

By perforating a thin metal plate with a minute hole, large enough only
to admit a pin’s point, and fitting it to the front of the camera in
place of the lens, an image will be thrown on the focussing screen, as
the piece of ground glass at the opposite end of the camera is called.
If the image be received on to a sensitized plate, it will be impressed
on the plate, and can be developed in the ordinary way. Were it not for
the great length of time required for exposure, it would be a great
question whether any lens at all need be used in photography, but since
the exposures required to produce pictures without lenses vary roughly
from one to thirty minutes, this method cannot be seriously considered
here, for, as we shall show, within certain limits, the quicker the
exposure the better; nevertheless, the drawing of pictures taken in such
way would obviously be correct. In cases where the length of exposure is
immaterial, this method would be a worthy field for experiment.

[Sidenote: Accidents to the camera.]

The student must be careful to see that the inside of the camera is a
dead black, and that it keeps so. At times the camera may leak or get
out of register, that is, the plate does not exactly take the place of
the ground glass, in which case he should at once send it to the maker.
[Sidenote: Test for register.] Should the student wish at any time to
test the register of his camera, he has only to pin up a printed card
and focus it as sharply as possible, using a magnifying glass, if one is
at hand. Then load the dark-slide with a plate of ground-glass, and
after sliding it into position, open the slide (if a double-back) when
the image will be seen on the ground-glass plate, and its sharpness can
be noted. If perfectly sharp, the camera is in register.

[Sidenote: Hand cameras.]

A good form of small camera to be carried in the hand is a great
desideratum for artistic studies. Exquisite studies of figures, birds,
and all sorts of animal life could be made with such a contrivance,
studies admirably suitable for tail-pieces or illustrations to go in
with the text. That there are dozens of patterns of hand cameras
commonly called “detective cameras,” we are well aware, and we have
tried some of the best, but we have found none satisfactory for artistic
purposes, and can therefore recommend none. We may here remark that the
name “detective camera” is, in our opinion, undesirable, photographers
ought not to have it even suggested to them that they are doing mean,
spying work with their cameras, whereas the term “hand camera” meets
every requirement. Of course the smaller cameras advertised to be worn
on the person are nothing but toys. The camera we should like to see
introduced would be a very light collapsible camera, which could be
easily carried in the pocket when not in use. It should be able to take
pictures not larger than four and a half by three and a half inches, and
should be fitted with the Eastman spools, so that any number of
exposures could be made. The lens should be Dallmeyer’s long focus
rectilinear landscape lens, fitted with a good shutter. There should be
a light view meter attached to the top. There is no necessity for a
ground-glass screen, for on the tail-board could be registered various
distances, at which the film is in focus; and since for artistic
purposes most of the studies would be of objects near at hand, this
arrangement would be effectual.

[Sidenote: View finder.]

Many hand cameras are fitted with a camera obscura. The handiest view
finder for quick exposure work is to fit a double convex lens of the
same focal length as the working lens to the front of the camera, and
turn up the focussing screen at right angles to the plane of the top of
the camera, when it may be secured by a small brass catch fitted for the
purpose. When the focussing cloth is thrown over the lens and screen a
temporary double camera is made, and the moving objects can be watched
on the ground glass. With experience it is possible to judge by simply
looking over the top of the camera.

                              CHAPTER II.

[Sidenote: Optics.]

We do not intend to incorporate in this chapter elementary optics, as
the subject is well known to most educated men, but in case any reader
should know nothing of light and optics, we recommend him to get
[Sidenote: Ganot’s Physics.]Ganot’s Physics, and thoroughly master at
least the paragraphs of Book VII., on “Light,” that we enumerate
below.[10] This may seem a little formidable, but our reader will find
that with a very simple knowledge of mathematics he can easily
understand all the sections marked, and it is our opinion that light and
chemistry should be studied directly from systematic text-books that
treat of those subjects. In the Appendix we shall refer to some
additional books which we consider advisable for the student to read,
but for the present we strongly recommend him to thoroughly master the
parts of Ganot that we have cited, and to avoid all other desultory
reading until he has done so.


Footnote 10:

  Namely, paragraphs 499, 500, 501, 502, 503, 504, 506, 508—the Laws of
  the Intensity of Light, 509—Photometers, Rumford’s and Bunsen’s, 510,
  511—first proof only, 512, 513, 514, 518, 519, 524, 525, 528, 533,
  536, 537, 538, 539, 540, 542, 543, 544, 551, 552, 554, 555, 556, 558,
  564, 565, 566, 567, 568, 569, 570, 571, 572, 573, 574, 575, 576, 579,
  580, 581, 582, 583, 584, 602, 604, 612, 615, 616, 617, 618, 619, 620,
  621, 625, 626, 627, 628, 629, 631, 632, 634, 635, 636, 637, 639, 640,
  641, 645, 646, 650, 652, 655, 656, 659, 661, and 664.


Far too much time has been given, and far too much importance has been
hitherto attached, to the subject of optics in connection with
photography. Much time and expense would have been saved had the
pioneers of photography had good art educations as well as the
elementary knowledge of optics and chemistry which many of them
possessed, for without art training the practice of photography came to
be looked upon purely as a science, and the ideal work of the
photographer was to produce an unnatural, inartistic and often
unscientific, picture. It is, indeed, a satire on photography, and a
blot which can never be entirely removed, that at the very time the
so-called scientific photographers were worrying opticians to death, and
vying with each other in producing the greatest untruths, they were all
the while shouting in the market-place that their object was to produce
truthful works. At length, when the most doubly patented distorting
lenses were made to meet their demands, they, with imperturbable
self-confidence, presented a sharp, untrue photograph, insisting upon
its truth. “A truer picture,” said they, “than drawing;” “truer than the
eye sees,” some said. In short their picture was absolutely perfect.
When a lens giving a brilliant picture, with all the detail and shadows
sharp, and the planes all equally sharp, was at last produced, the
scientists were _in excelsis_. But, alas! they proved themselves as
unscientific as they were inartistic! Had they but taken up their
simplest form of lens and used it as a magnifying-glass, they would have
seen immediately that all was not right, and instead of clamouring for
the artistic falsities of “depth of focus,” “wide-angle views,”
“sparkle,” and the other hydra-heads of vulgarity, they might have set
to and made the lens which was required. It was but a simple thing that
was required.

[Sidenote: Dallmeyer’s long-focus landscape lens.]

The question then arises—What is the best lens for artistic purposes?
That lens is _Dallmeyer’s new long-focus rectilinear landscape lens_.
This summer (1888) we used one of these lenses and were delighted with

[Sidenote: Why this lens is the best.]

Why is this the best lens for our purpose? is the question that
naturally arises. It is the best because being what is called a
long-focus lens, it cannot be so ignorantly employed as can lenses of
shorter focus, there is no appreciable marginal distortion, and with
open aperture the outlines of the image are softly and roundly rendered,
and in addition the relative values seem to us to be more truly rendered
by it.

[Sidenote: Best focal length to use.]

This lens then being, as we think, the best for artistic work, the next
question that arises is what focal length of lens must we use to get the
best results. The student will be told _ad nauseam_ that if he places
his eye at the distance of the focal length of the lens from the
photograph he is inspecting, all will be well. Such, however, is _not
always the case_. He may prove it for himself by taking a lens of short
focus and photographing any suitable object placed too near to him, and
he may then place his eye at the distance of the focal length, and if he
be an artist, he will immediately detect that the drawing is false, and
the distance is dwarfed and pushed together as compared with foreground
objects, whilst in a true drawing the proportions must be true between
the foreground objects and distant objects. This misuse of the lens is
what leads to the production of so many photographs false in drawing,
and it is evident that since many of these falsely drawn photographs
have been and are a basis for many scientific purposes, the deductions
based upon them will have to be reconsidered.

[Sidenote: Experiment for
           finding a
           rule for
           the use of

The next question is, what proportion, as a rule, should the focal
length of the lens bear to the base of the picture to give approximately
true perspective delineation? This proportion should be as two to one,
that is, the focal length of the lens should be as a rough working rule
twice as long as the base of the picture. We arrived at the result by
making a series of drawings on the ground glass of the camera, and
comparing them with a perspective drawing made upon a glass plate.
Opticians have arrived at the same conclusion, for we find this is the
rough rule stated by Mr. Dallmeyer in his “Choice Lenses.”

[Sidenote: Comments.]

The falsity of the statement that photographs are always true—a
statement that has been in vogue from the earliest photographic days—is
then apparent. [Sidenote: False drawing producing false tonality.]It
will now be obvious why some lenses make ponds of puddles, and otherwise
falsify the landscape. This fact would have long ago been noticed had
artists always seen the landscape from which the photograph had been
taken. Another thing which a wide-angle lens, if wrongly used, does, is,
in the case of a picture with clouds, to draw down and crowd together
the clouds, and define them more sharply than the eye sees them, so that
when the negative is printed they appear too strong in value, and the
whole picture is thrown out of tone, and is therefore false and
inartistic, even if the lens be correctly used; this fault is generally
present in pictures taken with these lenses.

[Sidenote: Lenses recommended.]

It will be seen from our remarks, therefore, that the only lens we
recommend for artistic work is Dallmeyer’s new rectilinear landscape
lens. At least two of these should be obtained of different focal
lengths, one of which is advertised to cover a plate a size larger than
that used by the photographer, and the second to cover the same sized
plate that he uses. In addition a rapid rectilinear lens as advertised
to cover a plate of the same size as his camera, will be found very
useful for quicker work. [Sidenote: Lenses for special purposes.] For
special purposes, for example in photographing beetles, or fish, or
flowers for scientific manuals, the finest lenses procurable must be
used, and sharpness, brilliancy, &c., are vital qualities in such cases,
for the work desired is diagrammatic and not artistic, but in these
cases also the greatest care must be taken to use the lenses properly,
so that the drawing is correctly rendered. Ignorant critics and
enthusiastic partisans alike have claimed for photography, as its chief
merit, “truthfulness.” As has been shown, a photograph may be very false

[Sidenote: Composite photography.]

Another chimera is that of “composite photography,” to which we shall
again refer. When Mr. Galton tells us he uses an ordinary portrait lens
for his work, and gives no other details, that is quite sufficient, in
our opinion, to seriously impair the value of his “composites,” even
were there no other considerations.

[Sidenote: Portraits taken with rapid rectilinear lens.]

The only really artistic series of photographic portraits we have ever
seen, namely, those by Mrs. Cameron, were taken with the next best lens
to that advocated, namely, a rapid rectilinear lens, but even they would
have been improved by the use of the new lens. We have besides seen here
and there really artistic portraits by others (but these were the result
of chance, as no second picture was ever produced by the same worker),
and they were taken by a rapid rectilinear lens. Mrs. Cameron, though
not an artist, had knowledge enough to see that the portrait lenses of
the day were undesirable for her work. And here it may be remarked that
a great ignorance of optics is as harmful as wasting too much time upon
its study. One industrial portrait photographer, who has very
occasionally succeeded in producing an artistic picture, prides himself,
we are told, on not knowing what lens he uses. Such a man can never be
an artist, for he cannot know whether his work be true or false. To
appreciate falseness in drawing requires considerable training. An
average judge of photography might discover gross distortion of limbs,
due to violent perspective; but how many would notice the false drawing
in a face which is taken with a portrait lens?

[Sidenote: Diaphragms.]

Supplied with his lenses, the student will find “stops,” or diaphragms.
The name, “stop,” suggests its use. By making the light pass through a
contracted hole, the weak marginal rays are cut off, and the image is
therefore made sharper all over, spherical aberration is reduced, and
the depth of focus is increased. But though diaphragms are used to
correct an error, yet the ignorant use of them is as great a source of
error. One of the causes of sharply defined and false heavy shadows in
the much-vaunted “sharp photographs” is due to focussing sharply, and
“stopping down,” that is, to using a small diaphragm. This is the
invariable practice of most photographers.

[Sidenote: Modified diaphragms.]

Some ingenious workers have suggested modifications in the construction
of diaphragms, with a view to improving the picture; one of these being
a paper diaphragm, made translucent with castor oil; but we have not
found any advantage in these novelties. It is, however, a legitimate
field for experiment, and translucent diaphragms might be tried in
indoor work and bright out-door effects.

[Sidenote: Intensity of lens.]

The student will often see in photographic papers that a lens works at
F/8, or F/32, or some other number. This simply expresses the ratio
between the working aperture and the equivalent focus of the lens, and
is obtained by dividing the equivalent focus by the working aperture.
F/8 then means the aperture is one-eighth of the focal length of the
lens referred to. The rapidity of lenses are compared in this way by
squaring the denominators of the fractions thus obtained; when the
results will give the ratios of rapidity. [Sidenote: “Depth of
focus.”]By “depth of focus” is roughly meant the sharp rendering of the
different planes of a landscape, or any object with more than one plane
in one plane. Needless to say, this quality, greatly sought for in
lenses by photographers, is a thing to be carefully avoided in artistic
work, as we shall show later on.

[Sidenote: Flare spot.]

By a flare spot is meant a circular spot on the focussing screen, which
receives more light than the surrounding field; it is said to be caused
by the diaphragms being wrongly placed. The same effect is produced when
the sun shines into the lens, the light being then reflected from the
brass tubing of the lens, and it is for that reason that the lens must
be carefully shaded during exposure, when the sun is directly in front
of the camera.

[Sidenote: Angle of view.]

The angle of view included by a lens is an important consideration, and
we shall refer to this later on; here we shall only show how this angle
may be determined when the student wishes to do so. The angle depends on
two factors, the length of the base line of the picture, and the focal
length of the lens. This is practically determined by ruling a
horizontal line the actual length of the base line of the picture, and
drawing from the centre of this line a perpendicular equal in length to
the focal length of the lens. Completing the triangle, we have in the
angle contained by the two sides of the triangle the required angle,
which can be measured by an angle measurer. Experience shows that if the
base of the picture is greater than or equal to the focal length of the
lens, the angle included will vary between 53° and 90°; but if the base
is less than the focal length, these angles will vary between 44° and
19°, or less. It will be seen, therefore, that the long-focus lenses
give more suitable angles of view for pictorial purposes.

[Sidenote: Hints on lenses.]

Delicate optical instruments, like lenses, must, it is needless to say,
be carefully protected.

A good lens should be free from scratches, striations, dull patches, due
to imperfect polishing, and veins; but air bubbles do not affect its
value, for it must be remembered that the shape of the hole through
which the light passes does not affect the image, save only by cutting
off some of the light. Thus, if a wafer be stuck to the centre of the
lens, the image will be found unimpaired. Dust and dirt, however, though
they do not seriously impair the definition of the image, yet cut off
much light, as will occur to any one when he thinks of the difference
between the light of a room, when the windows are dirty, and when they
are perfectly clean. Lenses should not be left in bright sunlight, for
this causes a change that slows them, the dark also injures them in
certain cases, for, as all microscopists know well, darkness causes a
change in Canada balsam, with which lenses are cemented together.

Mr. Dallmeyer insists that lenses should be kept dry and free from
sudden changes of temperature, otherwise they may tarnish or sweat, as
it is called. Any one who has been troubled with this sweating will
never forget it. Our experience is that the best way to keep lenses is
in small leather, velvet-lined cases. We generally keep with them a
piece of soft chamois leather, or an old silk handkerchief. No compound
of any kind should be used to clean lenses, if anything appears to be
going wrong with them, they should at once be sent to the maker.

[Sidenote: View-meter.]

A valuable little tool is a view-meter. The handiest and compactest we
have seen is that supplied in telescopic form.

                              CHAPTER III.
                        DARK ROOM AND APPARATUS.

[Sidenote: Dark room.]

There is no need to despair if there is no dark room, no place to build
one, no means to pay for one. Some of our most successful plates were
developed in a scullery, and others in the bedroom of a house-boat.
[Sidenote: Developing rule.] In fact, the sooner the student learns to
develop anywhere, the better, for no one, studying to do artistic work,
should leave his plates till his return home (if he is away on a
journey); they _should without fail be developed the same day on which
they are exposed_.

[Sidenote: Dark room.]

Only for portraiture is a dark room very necessary, and you cannot do
better than build one as suggested by Captain Abney, in his “Treatise on
Photography,” modifying it to suit your taste and means. One thing,
however, you should be careful about, and that is the ventilation, and
money should not be spared on that department. [Sidenote: Ventilation.]
The dark room can be scientifically ventilated by any good sanitary
engineer. We have already, elsewhere, gone into the subject of
ventilation of dark rooms, warning photographers of the pernicious
effects of defective ventilation.[11] [Sidenote: Apparatus.] The best
sinks are made of earthenware, as supplied by Doulton. The lamp should
be large, and give a good light. [Sidenote: Ruby glass.] Ruby glass is,
to some, injurious to the eyesight, and has been known to produce nausea
and vomiting, in which cases cathedral green and yellow glass should be
used. [Sidenote: Dishes.] The photographer will require at least eight
dishes, and at the very start he should make it a rule never to use a
dish save for one purpose. We consider the best dishes for all purposes
are made of ebonite. They should be bought in a nest, the smallest size
taking the largest plate used by the operator, and the other seven
increasing in size, so that one fits into the other. This makes them
more convenient for carriage. The dishes should be marked by painting on
their bottoms. One will be wanted for developing, one for the alum bath,
one for the changing bath, one for the hyposulphite bath, one for the
acid bath in developing platinotype prints, one for the water bath in
the same process, one for an intensifying bath, leaving one over for odd


Footnote 11:

  “Ventilation of the Dark Room” and “Ammonia Poisoning” in the “Year
  Book of Photography and Photographic News Almanac” for 1885-87, and on
  “Pharyngitis and Photography” in the “Year Book of British Journal of
  Photography” for 1887.


When it is remembered that hyposulphite of soda is so “searching” that
it has been known to penetrate through the ordinary so-called
“porcelain” dishes and crystallize on the outside, one may judge how
important it is to keep a separate dish for each operation.

[Sidenote: Light cover.]

A light wooden board with a handle is most convenient for putting over
the developing dish, in the earlier stages of developing, especially
when using ortho-chromatic plates, but the student must be careful to
keep it on a shelf by itself.[Sidenote: Sable brush.] Another requisite
is a broad brush of fine sable hair, say three inches broad, this had
better be kept perfectly dry and clean in a box of its own.

[Sidenote: Chemical solutions.]

The chemical solutions should be kept in bottles with glass stoppers,
each bottle should have an enamelled label,[Sidenote: Plate washer.] so
that it can be readily seen in the dark room, and cannot be destroyed by
acids. A zinc washing trough which holds two dozen plates must be
procured. [Sidenote: Drainage rack. Travelling lamp.] A simple wooden
drainage rack is also necessary. We have tried several travelling lamps,
and have so far found no satisfactory one. There are several in the
market, and the photographer must choose his own. [Sidenote: Measures.]
Two measuring-glasses at least must be procured, and it is a good plan
to use Hicks' opaque glass measures, as they can be so easily read in
the dark room. It is as well to have one minim glass to hold sixty
minims, and a large measure to take the full quantity of developer
required for one plate. [Sidenote: Scales.] A pair of ordinary scales
with weights (apothecaries'), costing a few shillings, will complete the
list of apparatus required.[Sidenote: Printing frames.] A few simple
printing frames will be wanted, one of which should be a size larger
than the plate used. [Sidenote: Slabs of glass.]A square slab of glass,
the size of the plate, and another a few inches larger each way, will be
found the best for trimming prints upon. A razor or very sharp knife
will be found the best tool for this purpose.

Our student should get all these things of good quality, and set his
face against the syrens who whisper in his ear that he ought to get
this, and ought to have that; he does not want anything more than we
have told him, a greater number of things will only embarrass him. We
are perfectly well aware that the most elaborate fittings have been put
up by “amateurs” and “professionals,” and we are equally aware that
these have as yet not led to the production of a single picture.

                              CHAPTER IV.
                              THE STUDIO.

[Sidenote: Studio.]

For portraiture a studio is a necessity for obtaining the best results.
We shall very briefly discuss the question of studios, for we hold that,
provided a studio be large enough and light enough, there is not much
else to consider. We have been in several studios, and worked for a
considerable time in them, one of which we, having hired, had all to
ourselves, so that our remarks are based on the experience of studios
photographic, as well as on those of painters and sculptors.

[Sidenote: Top and side light.]

The best light is undoubtedly a top light and a side light, the side
light reaching to within a few feet of the ground. It is a common
fallacy among some portrait photographers that the side light should
reach to the ground, so that the boots may be lighted. Such an idea
evidently arises from a misconception of the thing required; the boots
are to be subdued as much as possible, it is the model’s portrait we
want, not that of his boots. The studio in this country should, if
possible, face north, or north-east, the roof sloping at an inclination
of half a right angle. There should be no tall buildings standing near
it, as exterior shadows and reflections interfere with the purity of

[Sidenote: Building a studio.]

We do not intend to give specifications for the building of a studio,
for this has been already admirably done, and we advise any one
proposing to build to consult Dr. E. L. Wilson’s “Photographics,” page
163 et seq. [Sidenote: Dr. Wilson’s specification.] In our opinion this
description leaves nothing to be desired; this proviso only being made,
that the studio be made long enough to use a long-focus lens, that shall
give us correct drawing. We have not tried Dallmeyer’s new lenses in a
studio, but if quick enough they should be used in preference to all
others. Even if these lenses be not quick enough for studio work, no
doubt one will soon be made that will be quick enough. [Sidenote:
Glazing.] The glazing should not extend from one end of the studio to
the other; an unglazed space should be left at each end. By curtains the
length of glazing can always be shortened. [Sidenote: Walls.] A grey
distemper is perhaps the most suitable colour for the walls.

[Sidenote: Home portraiture.]

Successful portraits can be taken in ordinary sitting-rooms, but we do
not think the best results can be obtained in this way.

Regarding business arrangements and conveniences, we have nothing to do
with them.


[Sidenote: Furniture.]

The old, and even modern, portrait painters are answerable for many of
the faults to this day committed by photographers, because they take
portrait painters as models. Lawrence was especially guilty in the use
of conventional backgrounds and accessories. Of photographic furniture,
as generally understood, there should be _none_. The studio should be
furnished simply, and with taste, as an ordinary sitting-room. There
should be no shams of any kind, and the furniture should be chosen with
a regard to unobtrusiveness and grace, rather than to massive beauty.
All heavy curtains, draperies, hot-house plants, and such incongruous
lumber, should be avoided. It should be remembered that what is wanted
is a portrait—the face, or figure, or both—and all accessories should be
subdued. It is very little use to lay down rules for these things, all
must depend on the individual taste of the photographer.

[Sidenote: _Objets d'Art_, so called.]

But, above all, avoid shams and cheap ornamental objects, such as cheap
bronzes, china pots, and Birmingham _bric-à-brac_. The chairs should be
upholstered with some good plain coloured cloth, with no pattern, and
the floor carpeted with matting, or a simply coloured carpet without
pattern. Let simplicity and harmony predominate. The room in fact should
be a harmony in some cool colour, and the furniture should not be _felt_
when in the room. Our advice is, buy your furniture anywhere, save at a
photographic furniture dealer’s.

[Sidenote: Head-rests.]

Head-rests must be entirely tabooed. We have taken many portraits, some
with very long exposures, and no head-rest was necessary. In nine cases
out of ten it simply ruins the portrait from an artistic point of view.

[Sidenote: Reflectors.]

Reflectors, on light stands, should be ready for use; but it is
obviously erroneous to use large and unwieldy reflectors. The reflector
is really only necessary for the head and shoulders; for our object is
to subdue all other parts as much as possible.

[Sidenote: Backgrounds.]

All artificial backgrounds should be banished, together with such stupid
lumber as banisters, pedestals, and stiles: they are all inartistic in
the extreme. It is a false idea to represent people in positions they
are never found in—such as a girl in evening dress against a seascape,
and all the other hideous conventionalities of the craftsman’s
imagination. The background—which is a matter of vital importance—should
be arranged to suit the sitter, that is, a harmony of colour should be
aimed at. Light fabrics without patterns, or pieces of tapestry, will
serve every purpose, and give most artistic results. The portraitist
should keep a selection of pieces of fabric of light hues, and a light
skeleton screen can be kept ready, to which to tack them as required,
suiting the colour to the dress of the sitter. Gradated backgrounds are
a mistake, the tonality is much better shown by having a background of
one tint, and so arranging the light that the modelling and tonality
shall be subtle and true.

Breadth and simplicity are the foundation of all good work. The
background should never be placed close behind the sitter, as is
customary; but its distance from the sitter should be studied with the
lighting. As a rule, it is better to place the background three or four
feet from the back of the sitter. What is required, is that the head
shall melt softly into the background, and yet retain its modelling.

[Sidenote: The camera.]

The camera should work with a shutter—the Cadett pneumatic shutter for
portraiture being as good as any we know—and the pneumatic apparatus
should have a very long india-rubber tube attached, for reasons to be
explained later on.

[Sidenote: Artificial light portraits.]

Means may be arranged for taking pictures by artificial light, if
necessary, though personally we do not care for them. The tonality,
though true to the light, has a false, artificial appearance by day.
There are many methods of making artificially lighted pictures; the
best, in our opinion, are those taken by the electric light. Others are
done by gas, and by magnesium flashes; a method quite recently revived
as something new, whereas it is very old. The best of those we have seen
were done by the American “blitz-pulver;” but the results appeared to us
somewhat artificial. We think artists will always avoid these artificial

[Sidenote: Studio effects.]

You must remember that in a studio you are taking a person _in a room_,
and that is the impression you must try to get in your picture.
[Sidenote: A lighting rule.] _It is a false idea and an inartistic one
to endeavour to represent outdoor effects in a studio._ Studio lighting
and outdoor lighting are radically different, and in a studio you have
only to try and give an _indoor effect_. This has been the principle of
all great artists. None but an amateur could fail to notice the falsity
of lighting as seen in outdoor subjects taken in the studio. [Sidenote:
Studio lighting.] On the other hand, in a studio you may get any effect
of lighting you can for indoor subjects, for all such effects are to be
seen in a room by a careful observer. [Sidenote: Adam Salomon.] Adam
Salomon took many of his portraits in front of a red-glass window. This
is quite legitimate, as is also the arrangement of fabrics for the
background, and the dictating what coloured dress the sitter shall wear.
Let our student work in harmonies of colour as much as possible, and let
him never take outdoor effects in a studio. Make the room as much like a
comfortable sitting-room as possible, and hide all the tools of the

                               CHAPTER V.

[Sidenote: Focussing.]

Having now seen the principles by which we must be governed, and the
apparatus required, we will briefly apply them.

[Sidenote: How to focalize.]

By focussing we understand, bringing the ground-glass into the plane
which coincides with the sharpest projection of the image; the position
of this plane varying of course according to the focal length of the
lens and the distance of the object from the lens. Presuming, then, that
the camera is in register, and set squarely before the object to be
photographed, as can be determined by the spirit-levels, let the student
proceed to focus his picture as sharply as he can _without any stop_. He
must be careful that the swing-backs are parallel to the front planes of
the camera.

[Sidenote: Mental attitude infocussing.]

Now the great habit to cultivate is to think in values and masses, that
is, you must, in your mind, by constant practice, analyze nature into
masses and values, and if you constantly practise this at the beginning,
you will find that it becomes a habit, and automatically, as you look at
a scene or a person, you will see on the ground-glass of your mind the
object translated into black and white masses, and you will notice their
relative values. This habit is absolutely necessary for artistic work,
for it is by this analysis that you will learn to know what is suitable
for pictorial art, and what is not; for if the masses and values in a
picture are not correctly expressed, nothing will ever put the picture
right. Our own experience has been that where this analysis has left an
impression of a few strong masses, the picture has always been stronger
when finished than otherwise. Now our student, having sharply focussed
his picture with open aperture, must take his head from beneath the
focussing cloth, and look steadily at his picture; fixing his eye on the
principal object in the picture, he should go through this mental
analysis, and at the same time note carefully how much detail he can
see, both in the field of direct and indirect vision; and his sole
object should be to render truly the impression thus obtained.
[Sidenote: How to “stop down.”] He should then look on the focussing
screen, and putting in his largest diaphragm, and using his swing-backs,
and altering the focussing as may be necessary, see how truly he can get
this impression, always remembering that the larger the diaphragm he
uses the better. For this reason he should always begin with an open
aperture, and work down to the smaller-sized diaphragm as needed. By
working in this way, he will soon see what marvellous power and command
he has over his translation, all by the judicious use of his focussing
screen, swing-backs, and diaphragm combined. In focussing he must
remember one thing,—never to focus so that it can be detected in the
picture where the sharper focussing ends, and the less sharp focussing
begins—as can be brought about by diaphragms. The sharpness should be
gradated gently. [Sidenote: Ground-glass picture false.] He must also
remember that the ground-glass picture is false and deceptive in its
brightness, due to obvious physical facts. This is a point of great
importance, which must not be forgotten when we are developing.
[Sidenote: Camera obscura.] The ground-glass picture, though greatly
admired by the Tramontane masters, and approved by Canaletto and Ribera,
as Count Algarotti assures us in one of his raptures on the camera
obscura, is not so natural and beautiful as it may appear from the toy
point of view,—it is not what the artist wants, any more than he wants
the pictures of an ordinary camera obscura, for if these pictures were
satisfying in an artistic sense, every one could, by erecting a camera
obscura, have the satisfaction of his desire, and there would soon be an
end to the pictorial arts, photography included; for no one who loved
this picture so dearly would want a camera to take photographs with, but
only one to look through. The deceptive luminosity of the ground-glass
picture must not be allowed to influence our normal mental analysis of
the natural scene. [Sidenote: Rule for focussing.] As we said before,
therefore, the principal object in the picture must be fairly sharp,
_just as sharp as the eye sees it, and no sharper_; but everything else,
and all other planes of the picture, must be subdued, so that the
resulting print shall give an impression to the eye as nearly identical
as possible to the impression given by the natural scene. But, at the
same time, it must be distinctly understood that so called “fuzziness”
must not be carried to the length of _destroying the structure_ of any
object, otherwise it becomes noticeable, and by attracting the eye
detracts from the general harmony, and is then just as harmful as
excessive sharpness would be. Experience has shown, that it is always
necessary to throw the principal object slightly (often only just
perceptibly) out of focus, to obtain a natural appearance, except when
there is much moisture in the air, as on a heavy mist-laden grey day,
when we have found that the principal object (out of doors) may be
focussed _quite sharply_, and yet appear natural, for the mist
scattering the light softens the contours of all objects. Nothing in
nature has a hard outline, but everything is seen against something
else, and its outlines fade gently into that something else, often so
subtilely that you cannot quite distinguish where one ends and the other
begins. In this mingled decision and indecision, this lost and found,
lies all the charm and mystery of nature. This is what the artist seeks,
and what the photographer, as a rule, strenuously avoids.

[Sidenote: Example.]

As this loss of outline increases with the greyness produced by
atmosphere, it follows that it is greater on grey days and in the
distance; and less on bright, sunshiny days. For this reason, therefore,
the student must be very careful on bright days about his focussing, for
on such days there is often no mist to assist him, but still he must
keep the _planes separate_, or he has no picture. Let us imagine an
example: A decaying wooden landing-stage stands beneath some weeping
willows at the edge of a lake. From the landing-stage a path leads
through a garden to a thatched cottage one hundred yards distant; behind
the cottage is an avenue of tall poplars. On the landing-stage stands a
beautiful sun-bronzed village girl in a plain print dress: she is
leaning against the willow and is looking dreamily at the water. We row
by on the lake, and are struck by the picture, but above all by the
dazzling native beauty of the peasant girl: our eyes are fixed on the
ruddy face and we can look at nothing else. If we are cool enough to
analyze the picture, what is it we see directly and sharply? The girl’s
beautiful head, and nothing else. We are conscious of the willow-tree,
conscious of the light dress and the decaying timbers of the
landing-stage, conscious of the cottage, away in the middle distance,
and conscious of the poplars telling blue and misty over the cottage
roof; conscious, too, are we of the water lapping round the
landing-stage;—we feel all these, but we see clearly and definitely only
the charming face. Thus it is always in nature, and thus it should be in
a picture. Let us, however, still keep to our scene, and imagine now
that the whole shifts, as does scenery on a stage; gradually the girl’s
dress and the bark and leaves of the willow grow sharp, the cottage
moves up and is quite sharp, so that the girl’s form looks cut out upon
it, the poplars in the distance are sharp, and the water closes up and
the ripples on its surface and the lilies are all sharp. And where is
the picture? Gone! The girl is there, but she is a mere patch in all the
sharp detail. Our eyes keep roving from the bark to the willow leaves
and on from the cottage thatch to the ripple on the water, _there is no
rest_, all the picture has been jammed into one plane, and all the
interest equally divided. Now this is exactly what happens when a deep
focussing lens and small diaphragms are used, the operator (for no
artist would do this) tries to make everything sharp from corner to
corner. Let the student choose a subject such as we have suggested, and
put what we have imagined into practice, and he will see the result. Yet
this “sharp” ideal is the childish view taken of nature by the
uneducated in art matters, and they call their productions true,
whereas, they are just about as artistically false as can be. For this
reason, too, it must be remembered that the foreground is not always to
be rendered sharply. If our principal object is in the middle distance,
let us say, for example, some cottages on the border of a lake; our
foreground, consisting we will suppose of aquatic plants, must be kept
down, and purposely made unimportant. This is done chiefly by the
focussing and stopping.

[Sidenote: Mrs. Cameron’s portraits.]

Among the few satisfactory portraits we have seen are, as we have
already said, those by the late Mrs. Cameron. In all of these, that
fatal sharpness has been avoided; her focussing was carefully attended
to. [Sidenote: Newton.] The well-known miniature painter, Sir W. J.
Newton, one of the first vice-presidents of the Photographic Society of
Great Britain, distinctly advised that all portraits should be thrown a
“little out of focus.” The falsity of focussing a head sharply is shown
by the fact that by doing so freckles and pimples, which are not noticed
by the eye, stand out most obtrusively, indeed a case is on record,
where an eruption of small-pox was detected in its earliest stage by the
lens, while nothing at all could be detected by the eye, though this was
but partly due to the lens. This false focussing has brought in its
train another huge falsity—retouching—of which we shall speak more fully

[Sidenote: Scientific diagrams.]

Sharp focussing, too, by making objects tell too strongly, throws them
out of tone, and so ruins the picture. When sharpness is obtained by
stopping down, the diaphragm cuts off light, injures normal brilliancy,
exaggerates shadows, and so throws the picture out of tone. Of course,
if the object in view is to produce a diagram for scientific purposes,
such, for instance, as photographs of flowers for a work on botany, or
of fish for a work on ichthyology, or of butterflies for a work on
entomology, the most brilliant illumination possible should be aimed at,
and the focussing should be microscopically sharp, for such works are
required to show the _structure_ as well as the form. But, above all,
the drawing should be correct, and this is obtainable only by the
correct use of lenses, which, as we have pointed out, has not always
been the case. If, on the other hand, the operator wishes to produce
_pictures_ of flowers, butterflies, fruit, fish, &c., the same rules
hold good as for any other _picture_. [Sidenote: Fantin’s flowers.] As
an example of the treatment of flowers, the student will do well to
study Mr. Fantin’s paintings of flowers. We have never yet seen flowers,
fruit, or still life artistically rendered by photography, though we
have seen some diagrams to all appearances perfect, but in which the
drawing must have been a little false. We have seen it stated by
craftsmen who have produced diagrams of microscopic and other objects,
that they were untouched (and rightly so), and that, _therefore_, these
diagrams were artistic and true to nature. Of course, from what has been
already said, it is obvious they were not necessarily true to nature
(though, perhaps, none the less useful for that), and the statement that
they were “artistic” arises of course from a total misconception as to
what that word means.

Here, then, we must quit this subject, and we hope that we have
impressed upon the student the fundamental necessity for exercising much
thought and judgment and care in focussing, stopping down, and using the
swing-backs, for these three all work together, and are quite as
important as the questions of exposure and development.

Of course there is no absolute state of “sharpest focus,” but when we
use the word “sharp” we mean the sharpest focus obtainable by any
existing photographic lens when used in the ordinary way.

                              CHAPTER VI.

[Sidenote: Ways of exposing.]

A plate can be exposed in three ways, that is, by removing the cap and
replacing it, when the exposure is made; by folding the camera cloth and
placing it over the lens (the cap having been removed), before the
shutter of the dark-side is drawn, and then quickly withdrawing and
replacing the cloth and sliding back the shutter; and thirdly by using a
mechanical aid, called a shutter.

The first method needs no comment save that the cap should be withdrawn
in an upward direction. The second method has been of invaluable service
to us, and is much practised by Scotch photographers. By this means very
rapid exposures can be made, and yet detail obtained in dark foreground
masses. [Sidenote: “Instantaneous shutters.”] The third method is so
well known that hundreds of mechanical contrivances, called
“instantaneous shutters,” have been invented. [Sidenote: Quick
exposures.] We have always done all the work we could by quick
exposures, and here we may at once say that for artistic purposes “quick
exposures” are absolutely necessary where possible. [Sidenote:
“Instantaneous.”] We do not say “instantaneous exposures,” because it is
high time that this unmeaning word should be relegated to the limbo of
photographic archaics. Is it not obviously illogical to call exposures
of 1/200 of a second, and of one second, both instantaneous?—yet such at
present is the custom. “Instantaneous” means nothing at all, for a
quicker exposure can be obtained by the second method we have described
than with some shutters. [Sidenote: Classification of exposures.] It is
in fact difficult to classify exposures, for obviously the
classification must be based, _cæteris paribus_, on the time the plate
is exposed, and this, especially in quick exposures, is not to be
measured save by special apparatus, which of course is of no rough
working use. We offer as a suggestion the following rough working
classification for describing exposures. We would define as

                            QUICK EXPOSURES,

[Sidenote: Quick exposures.]

Uncapping and capping lens _as quickly as possible_. Snatching
velvet-cloth away and replacing it _as quickly as possible_. All shutter
exposures which _cannot be timed_ by the ordinary second-hand of a
watch; a note being added in the case of shutter exposures, giving make
of shutter, and stating whether it was set to quickest, medium, or slow

                            TIME EXPOSURES.

[Sidenote: Time exposures.]

All other exposures might be called _time exposures_, it being
understood by this term, _that the exposures were long enough to be
counted by the second-hand of an ordinary watch_. A note could always be
added giving the number of seconds the plate was exposed.

We are perfectly aware this method would give only approximately rough
statements of the times of exposure, but that is all that is wanted for
ordinary work, for after all, except in delicate scientific experiments,
the times given to exposure must always vary greatly, for exposure, as
we shall show, can never be reduced to a science. On the other hand, in
cases of delicate scientific work, it may be required to measure exactly
the length of the exposure, and this is easily done with the proper
apparatus, as applied by Mr. Muybridge and others. Our nomenclature is
intended for the use of ordinary operators, so that they may describe
more accurately than they now do the exposure given to a particular
plate; and it is at any rate more accurate than any nomenclature now in
use, for, as we have shown, by the camera cloth method a quicker
exposure can be made than with many shutters working slowly. The
fundamental distinction, it seems to us, for everyday work is, whether
the time of exposure is measurable by the seconds-hand of an ordinary
watch or not, and that is the point on which our nomenclature is based.
Hence, when we use the term “quick exposures” in this work, we mean it
as already defined. [Sidenote: Name of shutters.] The shutters
themselves should, we think, be called “quick exposure shutters,” or
simply “exposure shutters,” instead of instantaneous shutters. We will
say but few words on “shutters,” as these mechanical aids to exposure
are called.

[Sidenote: Exposure shutters.]

Theoretically, the best shutter is that which allows the lens to work at
full aperture for the longest time, and which causes no vibration or
alteration of the position of the apparatus during exposure. The
mechanism should be simple and strong, and the whole small in bulk. Mr.
T. R. Dallmeyer’s new central shutter, in our opinion, best fulfils
these requirements. Another important matter is the correct position of
the shutter, and this, theoretically again, is behind the lens,
providing the aperture be large enough to prevent any of the rays of
light admitted by the lens being cut off. But in practice, a shutter
working in the diaphragm slot of the lens answers best, and the very
worst way of all is to work the shutter on the hood of the lens.

[Sidenote: Quick exposures.]

All portraits should be taken by shutter, and by quick exposure, if
possible; in fact, we feel sure a _first principle of all artistic work
in photography is quick exposure_. There is nothing to be said for time
exposures, although we are fully aware how much has been written on
their advantages, and the beneficial effects on the resulting negatives.
We, however, have never seen these wonderful gains, and for quality we
have seen very rapidly exposed plates result in negatives which will
hold their own in quality against any, whilst in every other respect,
there is everything to lose in “slow” or time exposures. There are
cases, of course, when time exposures are admissible, and even
necessary, as in certain grey-day landscapes, but when dealing with
figures or portraits in good light, let the exposure be as quick as
possible, ere the freshness and naturalness of the model be lost.

[Sidenote: Variation of exposure.]

From what has already been said, the student can understand that the
exposure will vary with the attendant circumstances. When he considers
that there are several factors to be considered in determining the
length of exposure, such as the lens used, the diaphragm, the hour of
day, the season of the year, the constantly varying conditions of light,
the subject and the plate used,—he will see how hopeless it is to lay
down any rule for the time of exposure, but it will be as well to
consider the effects of these factors, and thus briefly to indicate to
the student what he must especially study.

[Sidenote: The lens and diaphragm.]

We have already shown how the rapidity of different lenses may be
compared. This factor, then, can be determined, but after all it is of
little practical value. It is no doubt necessary when a new lens is
used, and every photographer may, when using a lens for the first time,
have to work out its ratio intensity, but as most workers know their
lenses, this factor is hardly worth considering, for by practice the
operator easily determines their intensities.

[Sidenote: Meteorological conditions.]

These are by far the most important factors with which we have to deal
in exposure, and as they are as variable and uncertain as nature
herself, so must exposures vary and be uncertain until meteorology shall
be perfected. Even the perfect actinometer which we are promised will
not settle the matter, for there are so many subtle conditions to
consider besides the mere chemical power of light. For instance, for
artistic reasons of light and shade, it may be absolutely necessary to
work against the readings of the theoretical perfect actinometer. That a
perfect actinometer may be of use in scientific photography we do not
doubt, but that is a matter which concerns only scientific specialists.

[Sidenote: Bouquet.]

A few examples showing the protean aspects of nature, and the
difficulties of dealing with it, will illustrate our meaning. Bouquet
has calculated that the sun at an altitude of 50° above the horizon is
1200 times brighter than at sunrise. If we, then, apply the ordinary
chemical law, that the chemical action is proportionate to the
illumination, noon would be the time to give the least exposure; but
such is not our experience, for the period of greatest intensity is
often an hour or so before or after noon, because the angle of
reflection is more favourable to us in England. Again, another factor to
be considered is the presence of clouds; white clouds needing less
exposure, as they reflect light to a powerful extent. Again, in sunrise
and sunset light we have to consider refraction, the warm colours
predominating. Another point to consider is our altitude, for there is
less atmosphere in high altitudes; therefore, as any Alpine traveller
knows, the sun acts more powerfully on the peaks than in the valleys.
Dr. Vogel tells us that the light of the blue sky is chemically active
and powerfully so. It will be seen, then, from previous remarks, why
winter light is so feeble. Bunsen has worked out the chemical power of
light, and expressed it in degrees thus:—

                12     1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8
              (noon).  p.m.  p.m.  p.m.  p.m.  p.m.  p.m.  p.m.  p.m.
      June  1    38°   38°   38°   37°   35°   30°   24°   14°    6°
      Dec. 21    20°   18°   15°    9°    0°    0°

Thus at noon on June 21st the light is nearly twice as powerful as on
December 21st, and when we couple with this fact the moisture generally
found in the atmosphere at mid-winter, we see how deceiving are
appearances. Again, it is acknowledged by many that the light in autumn
is one and a half times as great as it is in spring; but we cannot act
on this knowledge alone for outdoor work, for the conditions of
vegetation are quite different, for, as Tyndall has shown, “in delicate
spring foliage the blue of the solar light is for the most part
absorbed, and a light mainly yellowish-green, but containing a
considerable quantity of red, escapes from the leaf to the eye: ... as
the year advances the crimson gradually hardens to a coppery red.”

Another complication is the east wind. It certainly sweeps away the
moisture from the air and dries everything up, giving all things a black
hue and bringing them up closer to view, at the same time dwarfing
distant objects; and while an east wind does all this by taking away
moisture from the atmosphere, the actinic value of light is at the same
time lowered. On the other hand, after rain, the light acts quickly,
probably owing to the numerous reflections from moist leaves, and from
the fact that they do not absorb so much light under these conditions.
That the warm colours require a longer exposure than others is too well
known to need dwelling on. The presence of water in the foreground, on
the other hand, necessitates a shorter exposure: even the amount of sky
included in the picture will affect the length of exposure. The existing
temperature, too, strongly affects the negative.

[Sidenote: No rule for exposure.]

It is perhaps necessary here to state that there is no set key or scheme
of lighting to work by. Some untrained persons have preached that no
photograph should be taken when there is no sun, or that sunlight is the
best time for taking a photograph: such statements are as absurd as
childish, one might as well ordain that all music should be played in
one key. As beautiful pictures are to be obtained on the grey dull days
of November as in sunny June. We remember once reading a statement that
all paintings were of sunshine subjects. We quite forget by whom this
extraordinary statement was made, but at any rate the writer must have
been very ignorant of his subject; he could never have heard of half the
great pictures of the world; but surely the name of Rembrandt might have
occurred to him. A photograph must be true in sentiment, and true to the
impression of the time of day, just as a picture must be. There are some
subjects which in sunshine look beautiful, and which on grey days are
worthless, and _vice versâ_. Therefore, here again there is no rule,
each subject must be judged by itself.

[Sidenote: Sensitometer.]

The rapidity of plates can be measured by an instrument called a
sensitometer. That one in general use is made by Warnerke. But this
sensitometer, like many so-called scientific things in photography,
seems to us very unscientific, for the light cannot be uniform; for, as
is well known, the light given from phosphorescent paint varies in
intensity with the temperature. Since writing this, we have been
informed that this has been proved to be the case by Dr. Vogel, who, in
addition, brings against this sensitometer serious errors of experiment,
due to yellow glass being employed. Dr. Nicol, too, has stated that the
screens sent out vary in density.

[Sidenote: On exposure tables.]

We have seen how the rapidity of a lens is determined; beyond, then, the
comparing the relative rapidities of lenses, all tables of exposures are
fallacious and unscientific. Can absurdity go any further than some of
the data of some of these so-called scientific tables: “Panoramic View,”
“Living objects out of doors,” &c.? Briefly, what is the difference of
exposure required on a living ass and on a dead donkey, both out of
doors? But seriously, let the student be not led away by such chimeras,
for there can be no tables of exposures until the science of meteorology
is as fixed a science as mathematics; and any attempt to work by
exposure tables will end in dismal failure. If our word is not
sufficient to convince any reader, let him note what two eminent
scientists think of these tables. Dr. Vogel says, in one of his works,
“There is no rule which determines the length of time a photograph has
to be exposed to the light;” and Captain Abney has told us he considers
such tables absurd and unscientific. It is with his sanction that we
quote him on the subject. Exposure must be judged by circumstances: no
artificial aids will help. Fortunately for us, plates allow of
considerable latitude of exposure.

But as in all good things, simplicity goes hand in hand with perfection.
We have advocated quick exposures as absolutely essential to artistic
work, and it follows, therefore, that in making quick exposures there is
less liability of going wrong; so the two work hand in hand. He who
exposes slowly misses the very essence of nature, and it is this very
power of exposing so quickly that gives us a great advantage over all
other arts. The painter has to resort to all sorts of devices to secure
an effect, which perhaps only lasts for half an hour in the day. Not so
with photographers, if we see and desire to perpetuate an effect, it is
ours in the twinkling of an eye, and thus in a really first-rate
photography there will always be a freshness and naturalism never
attainable in any other art. And here we would state definitely that the
impression of these quick exposures should be as seen by the eye, for
nothing is more inartistic than some positions of a galloping horse,
such as are never seen by the eye but yet exist in reality, and have
been recorded by Mr. Muybridge. Here, then, comes in the artist, he
knows what to record and what to pass over, while the craftsman, full of
_himself_ and _his_ dexterity, tries to take a train going at sixty
miles an hour, and lo! it is standing still, or he expends his energy in
taking a yacht bowling along abeam because that result is more difficult
to obtain than to take it going away from him, and he calls it natural
and therefore artistic. Of course such performances are born of
ignorance and vanity. Hundreds of such things have been done in the
past, hundreds will be done in the future, and they will sell, but only
to be finally destroyed. No photographer has yet done a series of marine
_pictures_; here and there one sea-picture has been done which has
oftener been the result of chance than of art. As for the ordinary
photographs of yachts, they are mere statements of facts that merit no
artistic consideration.

Here, then, we must leave the question of exposure. It is, perhaps, the
most important and the most difficult of all photographic acts. In the
studio the matter is simpler than out of doors, because the light is not
so much affected by reflections and various meteorological conditions;
in landscape work, on the other hand, exposure becomes a most difficult
problem, yet long experience can bring an intelligent man to give
comparatively correct exposures, so that the resulting picture may be
developed to obtain the exact impression that he requires, still, even
after years of experience, he will at times find himself baffled and
humiliated by failure.

It is in exposures that intuition acts as it does in all intellectual
matters, and he who can seize on the right exposure at once by instinct
is the photographer born, and unless, after some practice, the student
can do this, there is little hope that his work will ever rise above

                              CHAPTER VII.

[Sidenote: Study of chemistry.]

Before entering on the subject of development, it is necessary to tell
the student that if he does not already understand the principles of
chemistry, he should lose no time in doing so, and as aids to such
understanding he cannot do better than get Roscoe’s “Lessons in
Elementary Chemistry,”[12] and Abney’s “Photography with Emulsions,” and
master the chapters mentioned in the footnote, ignoring the rest for the
time. Also let him buy Bloxham’s “Laboratory Teaching.” For a few
shillings he can purchase apparatus enough to do qualitative analysis.
This he will be able to do by following Mr. Bloxham’s directions,
omitting, perhaps, testing with the blow-pipe. If he has the time and
means, he will do well to do some quantitative analysis, working, say
with water, since it is of such immense importance to the photographer.
He will find a knowledge of chemistry as interesting as useful, and the
power of observation and accuracy acquired by the study will be
invaluable in subsequent stages of his work. We refer the student to
works on chemistry by specialists, because we think it is a mistake to
swell the bulk of our book by an exposition of chemical principles. We
caution the student, however, who intends to take up photography as an
art, to have nothing to do with plate-making. [Sidenote: Plate-making.]
That manufacture can only be done satisfactorily by experts constantly
employed at it, and it is as reasonable to expect a painter to prepare
his own colours, and make his own canvas, as to insist upon a
photographer making his own plates. Some people have tried to propagate
the false idea that a picture taken on a plate of the exhibitor’s own
making has a special kind of merit, but obviously this is only true when
the object is an “Emulsion process competition.” In judging of the
merits of a picture, no facts should be taken into consideration, save
the art expressed by the picture. [Sidenote: Plates.] Still the student
should know the methods by which his plates are prepared, and that his
chemistry will teach him, and when he has found plates which suit him,
let him keep to them. We have worked with fourteen different kinds of
plates, and have found most of them good, though each requires different
treatment. One piece of advice is, however, necessary, always buy your
plates direct from the makers, unless you can rely upon your dealer.
Some plates are, of course, much quicker than others, and this point the
beginner must carefully bear in mind, making his exposures accordingly.
[Sidenote: Vigilance committees.] He must not forget, however, that
there are brands of plates which are “starved” of silver; these he
should avoid, and it would be well if a vigilance committee were
appointed in every society to test batches of plates occasionally, and
report on them in the photographic journals, thus showing up the
fraudulent manufacturers. Assuming, then, that the student has carefully
studied the chemistry of development and has fixed on a satisfactory
brand of plates, we will proceed to give him a few practical hints, but
before we do so we must get rid of an obstacle in his path, and that is
the wet-plate process.


Footnote 12:

      Roscoe’s Chemistry:—

      Lessons 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17,
        18, and potassium, sodium, and ammonium in lessons 19, 22, 23;
        chromium and uranium in lesson 25; mercury, silver, and platinum
        in lessons 26, 27, and 28.

      “Photography with Emulsions:”— Caps. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 22,
        24, and 31.


[Sidenote: Wet-plate process.]

If the student were to ask ten middle-aged photographers whether they
prefer a wet plate or a dry plate negative, nine out of ten would, without
doubt answer, “Oh, a wet-plate negative.” If the student is curious and
asks, why? he will get a vague answer, in which the words “bloom” and
“beauty” play conspicuous parts, the adjectives reminding him of an
advertisement for patent balms for the skin. The fact is, not knowing the
first principles of art, photographers have raised for themselves false
gods, and they are still worshipping them. Let us at once and most
emphatically state that wet plate negatives do not give so true an
impression of nature as a gelatino-bromide plate, nor are the results so
artistic. We have seen much of the best of Mrs. Cameron’s work, and she
obtained from collodion and silver some of the best results ever obtained
from wet plates, for she had artistic insight, yet even in her work the
tonality is not so true, and the “quality” and freshness is not so fine as
can be obtained from gelatino-bromide negatives. The work by this process
is hard, and incapable of expressing texture correctly, while the general
impression is more or less artificial. This is fortunate for us, for the
slowness of the wet-plate process would seriously handicap it, even if the
artistic result were better than that of dry plates. The inadequacy of
collodion plates is emphasized when we look at the work of the craftsmen
who used them, and whose ideal was sharpness and “bloom.” Such work will
be found most unnatural and inartistic. Surely many of the false ideas
current amongst photographers arose from the evolution of the art.
Daguerreotypes, the first photographs, were shiny, and most of the
subsequent processes followed in their wake, until one clear-sighted
photographer, Blanquart-Evrard, tried to combat the evil tendencies.
Considering, then, the poor artistic quality of collodion plates and their
slowness in exposure, there is absolutely nothing to be said in their
favour for art work. It is decided, then, that our student will work with
gelatino-bromide plates.

[Sidenote: Hints to be remembered in developing.]

We venture to state briefly certain hints founded on the chemistry and
practice of development, which the student must have at his fingers' ends,
for let him remember that _the vital question of tone depends on
development_. That exceedingly nice question of getting the tones in
approximately true relation, which gives all artists so much work, gives
him who uses photography as his medium no less thought, and it is on
account of the _plasticity of the process of development_ that we can at
once take our stand and repudiate the ignorant assertion that photography
is a mechanical process. Of course there are fifty other reasons why it is
not merely a mechanical process, to mention one more of which will be
enough, i.e. the variety of exposures ranging between the 1/2000 of a
second (as with Muybridge’s work), and a couple of hours as in taking an
interior. Developing is really what modelling is to the sculptor, and as
art guides the modeller’s hand, so it must the photographer’s who wishes
to obtain _pictures_, and the art value of the work of both men will be
proportionate to the art knowledge and insight of the workers. Now you can
understand how absolutely necessary to pictorial photography is a
knowledge of art. Where photographers are devoid of all art knowledge,
their aim is to get “pluck,” “nice gradation,” “vim,” “snap,” “sparkle,”
“brilliancy,” to use only a few of their strange and cheap terms, and,
according to them all these loosely named qualities must be present
equally in a sunny picture and in a grey day picture, if ever they dare to
expose a plate on a grey day. It is all such talk that has brought
photography down to be called a merely mechanical process, which of course
it becomes in the hands of those who can and do give “pluck” and “sparkle”
to every negative, regardless of effect. It never occurs to these that
each picture is a problem in itself, and needs different management from
beginning to end. They aim for their “sparkle” from the moment of exposure
to the end of development, and obtain all the other qualities described so
eloquently by their cheap adjectives, by their _unvarying_ development.

Now let the student, keeping all this in mind, carefully commit to memory
these hints, for they are of vital importance.

[Sidenote: Hints.]

Placing the plate in water before using the developer is equivalent to
weakening the developer.

By first immersing the plate in the pyrogallic acid solution with no
restrainer or alkali, the subsequent development is slowed, and greater
contrast obtained. When pyrogallic acid is added in excess, too great
density and fog result. By adding pyrogallic acid, greater density and
contrast are obtained.

If the high lights are getting too dense, before the detail in the shadows
is well out, take the plate out of the developer and let the details
develop up with the amount of solution contained in the film, and then
replace it in the developer for density, if necessary.

Develop plates coated with quick emulsions to a greater density than

Where there is much black and white in the picture, as in photographing
sculpture against black velvet, weaken the pyrogallic acid. The alkali
brings up the detail, and in properly exposed pictures increases density.
In excess it causes fog. The rate at which the picture is to be developed
can be governed by the restrainer, which also checks detail and increases
density. For long exposures the restrainer should be freely used, whilst
for quick-exposure work its use should be very limited.

Too much hyposulphite in the developer tends to solarization. Although its
value in the alkaline developer has been denied, we are of opinion that in
certain cases it is invaluable; it accelerates development in dark
shadows, rendering the reflected light in the shadows as nothing else can.
Captain Abney recommends its use in the ferrous oxalate developer only,
but we are well assured of its value in conjunction with the alkaline
developer in all cases of very rapid exposure.

The action of the developer is of course increased by the alkali, and
slowed by the oxidizing agent, but the tonality is affected unless it be
well governed by the restrainer.

If a picture flashes out quickly, add the restrainer and plenty of water.
If it comes up very slowly, mix a new developer containing half as much
restrainer as the normal and twice as much alkali.

The quicker the action of the developer the less marked the relative
tones; this is most important to remember; the pyrogallic acid should
never be extremely strong, never perhaps so strong as recommended in the
standard formulæ. [Sidenote: Method.] We must remember, then, that we have
our three necessary factors for development, the oxidizer, the alkali, and
the restrainer, all of which we can modify at will. On our minds, too, we
have, or should have, a vivid impression of the picture translated into
black and white; we remember what we wish to emphasize, and what to
subdue, so that the resulting picture shall be true in tone and
impression. We proceed then to mix our developer accordingly, remembering
first that the temperature of the developing-room makes a difference, and
remembering that the photographic image exists on the film to a degree
proportionate to the actinic value of the light which fell upon it.
Therefore, if it is a brightly-lighted landscape in sunshine, taken with a
full exposure, we must get a picture in a high key, but be it remembered
in such a picture the light greys will be lost in the whites, as has been
already shown; on the other hand, if it is a very low-toned effect, the
dull greys will be lost in the blacks. [Sidenote: Slow development.] We
must never forget to develop _all plates slowly_, let this be our
ever-present rule, for by developing slowly, the student has far more
command over his work, and that is what every artist seeks. No haphazard
work, but complete control, so that we can mould the picture according to
our will. And here we must again remind the student that he can never get
scientifically correct gradations from high light to deep shadow,
therefore he must be prepared to get only the true impression, and as a
fundamental law, let him remember to _watch over the truth of the lowest

[Sidenote: Meteorological conditions to be adhered to in developing.]

It must not be forgotten that Nature is ever varying, and that the
chemicals will act differently under different conditions of temperature,
mixture, electrical conditions, &c., &c., and the worker must learn to
modify them accordingly; thus weaker solutions should be used in summer
and on mist effects. In fact, the more one sees into photography, the more
difficult does the matter become, for every picture is, from start to
finish, a new problem. Artistic work is not nearly so amenable to rules as
is laboratory work, where the conditions are generally more constant and
better determined. Even the state of the weather at the time of exposure
has great influence. The careful observer will soon see, in going over a
collection of first-rate negatives, developed by the same hand and
developer, that they all differ in quality, each one has physical
characteristics of its own, which are the combined resultant of these
protean conditions of Nature, and that such is the case is yet another
proof of the individuality of a photograph _per se_, apart from any other

[Sidenote: Plates to be developed on day of exposure.]

Another very important point is the fact that the light does not act on
the film proportionately to the length of exposure; the greatest action
occurs at the earliest part of the exposure, as can be proved, in a rough
way, by exposing a plate on different subjects for the same length of
time. This fact alone at once and obviously creates a fatal objection to
composite photography. It is a fact which must be constantly remembered in
relation to tonality. It has been stated that an under-exposed plate can
be improved by being kept (undeveloped) for several months, the idea being
that the action having once begun will continue, but this is not our
experience with gelatine plates, though we have observed something of the
kind in working with carbon tissues. Instead of keeping his exposed
plates, our advice to the student is _develop your negatives as soon as
possible after exposure, never later than the day on which they are
taken_, and for these reasons. First, and chiefly, because you should
develop your negative whilst yet the mental impression of what you are
trying for is fresh. You have, we will hope, analyzed your subject and
thought it all out in black and white masses, and by developing while that
analysis is still vivid to you, you stand a very much greater chance of
getting a true thing. Secondly, of course, you are on the spot to take
another negative if the first prove a failure. For complete success, this
is the only way, and even if it entail carrying about a cumbersome dark
tent, the practice will in the end bring its own reward, and it must be
insisted upon as the best method of working. The astounding habit which
some industrial photographers indulge in, of sending their operators all
over the country, while they themselves stay at home to develop the work
of those and other operators, accounts in a great measure for the numerous
parodies of Nature which deck the shop-windows. This is truly mechanical
work, and we are prepared to say that no one, save by mere chance, can
produce perfect artistic work, _who does not develop his own plates on the
spot_. [Sidenote: On over-production.] Then, again, the student of
photography who wishes to produce artistic work must not hurry or
over-produce. One _picture_ produced in a month would be well worth the
time and trouble spent on it. We once asked an eminent landscape painter
how many plates he would be content to produce in a year if he were a
photographer. His answer was, “Twenty first-rate things would be good,”
and _that meant working all the year round_. We recommend that saying as
one worthy to be remembered. The poet Gray purchased immortality by one
short poem; many historians and novelists, now forgotten, have written as
many volumes as there were verses in that one poem of Gray’s, yet few
would prefer the oblivion of the prolific ones to the name that Gray has

[Sidenote: Ferrous oxalate developer.]

But we must go back to developing, and we come now to the question of,
“What developer to use?” In our opinion the ferrous oxalate developer is
unsuited to artistic work. At one time we used it for negatives and
positives. For negatives we do not think it gives the quality which can be
obtained with the alkaline developer nor does it allow of the same
control, which is, of course, a very grave fault. For positives, on the
other hand, where the conditions are better known, and where absolute
purity of film is required, it is very useful, but as we are not concerned
with positives here, we will not go further into the matter.

[Sidenote: Chemicals.]

We must impress upon the student the necessity of always using fresh and
pure chemicals, and to secure such, it is wise to procure them from a good

Re-sublimated pyrogallic acid should always be used, and re-crystallized
_sulphite_ of soda, and, above all, be sure the water is pure. For all
operations where chemical action results, none but pure non-aerated water
should be used, preferably, boiled, distilled water, for the air and other
impurities in ordinary water may be most harmful, as any one who has
studied the analysis of water and air knows well.

Let the developers (the stock solutions) be mixed with boiling or
distilled water, for this will aid in preserving them. The alum and
hyposulphite solutions should be mixed with cold boiled distilled water,
the alum bath being a saturated solution.

[Sidenote: Standard developer.]

Perhaps the simplest advice we can give as to the particular developer to
be used is to take as the normal developer one mixed according to the
formula sent out with the plates which the student has chosen to work
with, but the student must not use it in the exact proportions given by
the maker. Let the student mix up the stock solutions as told, varying the
constituents as the case in hand demands. If he has carefully and
thoroughly read his chemistry, and if he remembers the hints we have given
him, he will have no difficulty in following out the directions.

He should, as a rule, never use more than two-thirds of the amount of
pyrogallic acid recommended; let him be very careful how he uses the
restrainer, and let him add the ammonia _only in small quantities_, unless
the exposure has been very rapid. As a rule let him work with _weak
developers_. We could easily give a dozen or even fifty formulæ for
developers, but the student would be no wiser if we did, only more
confused. Every photographer fancies his own particular formula, but we
have no belief in any special favourites; we have worked with many, and
find the results depend altogether on the quantities used and the manner
of developing rather than on the constituents. Take, then, the formula
recommended by your plate-maker, but use it, as we have said, with
judgment. Begin with a sufficiency of pyrogallic acid (according to the
subject), use little restrainer, except in over-exposure, and add the
ammonia slowly, adding a few drops from time to time as required. In
short, make it your rule to _use weak developers, and develop slowly_. If
you think you are likely to have under-exposed, add ten to twenty drops of
a one per cent. solution of hyposulphite of soda, using no restrainer.
Some unscientific persons imagine that development can be reduced to a
science, and that absolute quantities of each solution must be used. One
might as well expect a physician always to prescribe the same doses. Each
picture requires a developer of its own; that should never be forgotten.
We have tried hydrokinone instead of pyrogallic acid; a given quantity of
hydrokinone does the work of double that quantity of pyrogallic acid, but
it has no advantages, so far as we can see, except for the development of
under-exposed plates. For very rapid work we recommend the
carbonate-of-potash developer, as green fog does not result. [Sidenote:
Eder’s potash developer.]The formula we use is Dr. Eder’s:—

           A. ℞ Pure dry mono-carbonate of potash   90  parts
              Water                                200    ”
           B. Pyrogallic acid                       12    ”
              Sulphite of soda                      25    ”
              Citric acid                            1½   ”
              Water                                100    ”

Before using, mix forty to sixty drops of A with three ounces of water,
and the same quantity of B. We generally use more water than that
recommended in the formula.

Now it will be remembered that in bright sunny effects brilliancy, and
therefore density, is needed; the gamut of light and shade is not so
extended as in some subjects, for the shadows are bright with reflected
light, but the whole must be brilliant and in a high key. In our opinion
Dr. Eder’s potash developer gives this better than any other. For snow
scenes, on the other hand, where there are often very black heavy shadows,
we recommend, as we have done before, the developer given by the maker of
the plates, used in a weak solution.

[Sidenote: Local development.]

No photographer need hope to obtain perfect results and exactly what he
wishes, without resorting to local treatment; and here once more the
knowledge of the artist steps in and places him at an advantage over the
craftsman, but no one without sound art-knowledge should attempt this
local development. On the other hand, with a thorough knowledge of the
tonality of his subject, the artist can, by local development, so modify
his work that he will be able to obtain wonderfully true results. Let us
imagine such a subject as a dark tree in the foreground of a landscape
with a bright delicate distance. No manner of development will bring these
into true relation unless local treatment is resorted to. Unfortunately,
directions cannot be given for this work, for each subject will of course
require special treatment; the rationale of the practice, however, is
founded on the general chemical principles of photography. For use in
local development, then, it is always wise to keep a series of small
paint-brushes at hand. All three developers may thus be used locally with
great effect. During local development, the plate should constantly be
re-plunged into the developer, so that the local development may not show.
We strongly recommend the student _always to develop by artificial light_,
for by this method he will have a more regular standard to judge of the
quality of his negative than if he trusts to the varying strength of

The best way of judging of the tonality of a negative is to hold it up
from time to time before the light of the developing-room; correct
judgment on this matter can, however, only be obtained by long experience.
The student will be told in the printed directions—supplied with many
plates—that if the image does not come up in 10 or 15 seconds, the plate
has been under-exposed. This is not our experience, and, as a rule, the
image takes longer to show than the time named. We prefer to judge by the
way the image comes up. If the highest lights come up very sharply defined
and turgid, then the plate is under-exposed, but if they come up
delicately, and detail begins to appear gradually over the various parts
of the plate, all is well. But all this will only become familiar by
experience. By constant habit the student will mentally run over the facts
of the problem before him, as does a physician, and proportionately to his
skill will he apply the right remedy at the right time.

[Sidenote: After treatment of plate.]

After development the plate should be well washed, and then placed in an
alum bath. Alum acts as a scavenger, and clears up all the remains of the
developer. Next the plate should again _be well washed_, and put in the
hyposulphite bath. This bath should be constantly renewed, for as soon as
it becomes well discoloured it is inadvisable to continue its use. It
should not be made stronger than 1 to 5, 1 to 10 being the best
proportion. Taking the plate from the fixing bath, you should wash it very
thoroughly, and re-plunge it into a fresh alum bath, leaving it for a few
minutes, then again wash it, and put it into a plate-washer, the water of
which should be frequently changed. It can then be placed in a drying
rack, and left to dry gradually in a dry room, where no dust is raised.

[Sidenote: Duplicate plates.]

It is, in our opinion, always well to expose two plates on each subject,
for the operator can thus, in a second plate, correct any error he may
detect in the first. This is our own invariable rule, and the practice,
apart from the better results obtained, has taught us better than any
other method could have done, how wonderfully the plate can be brought
under the operator’s will. It is hardly necessary to say the first plate
should be examined after development, by daylight, before proceeding to
develop the second. Once having seen a beautiful thing in nature, the
enthusiastic student will determine to get it _perfectly_, if it takes
fifty plates and as many days to do it in.

[Sidenote: Study of tone.]

We strongly advise those desirous of doing artistic work to begin by
studying tone, expose (always giving two exposures to each subject) on
selected subjects, especially fit for the study of tone; for example, a
figure in a white dress against a white background, another in a black
dress against a black background, and then a white dress against a black
background, and a black dress against a white background; some white
flowers against a sheet of white paper; yacht-sails against the sky; faces
against the sky; black velvet in bright sunshine, and on a grey day;
yellow flowers (with orthochromatic plates) on a white background. In
short, the student should think of all the possible harmonies and discords
that can be found indoors and out of doors, and he should, before taking a
plate, make a mental translation of the subject into black and white, and
put on paper roughly, with a piece of charcoal, what he expects to get, by
drawing rough masses in tone of the subject. He should at first think
nothing whatever of composition, or the more poetical qualities of a
picture; but simply study tone, and by this he will learn thoroughly
exposures and development. Let him eschew all requests to take portraits,
dogs, horses, parks, and what-nots; but let him always study tone. When he
has mastered tone, and with it exposure and development, he knows the most
difficult part of his technique and practice, let him then proceed to
picture-making. In this early stage let him take anything and everything
that is a study of tone, and let him take it anyhow, no posing, no
arrangement, and when he knows his _métier_ thoroughly let him destroy all
these early plates ruthlessly. We strongly advise him to give away no
prints of early work, or he will most surely rue the day when he did so.
In our opinion a year is not too much in which to work in this way, both
in doors and out of doors, in studios and out, with shutter and without,
before there is any attempt to take a portrait or picture of any kind.

[Sidenote: Accidents and faults.]

In working with gelatine plates various unavoidable accidents and faults
will crop up, some of which can, however, be remedied. Such cases we will
now go into.

[Sidenote: Under-exposure.]

Gives chalky whites and sooty blacks, _ergo_ no tonality, _ergo_
worthless. No remedy, destroy at once.

[Sidenote: Over-exposure.]

Gives thin negatives. What a thin negative is, is a matter of opinion, and
must be settled by a comparison of the print with the impression of nature
which it is wished to obtain. For many effects thin negatives are
invaluable, and the student must not take the ordinary photographer’s
opinion as to his negatives; but only that of an artist, for, as has been
shown, low-toned prints are unrecognized by the ordinary craftsman, his
aim and object is never to produce such things, these he designates by all
sorts of names, whereas they may be, by their tonality, infinitely truer
than his “sparkling” falsehoods. In short, it all depends on what the
student wishes to express. Some of the best work done has been produced
from negatives made purposely thin, which have at the same time been true
in tone, and full of breadth. [Sidenote: Intensification.] The density of
a negative can be increased by intensifying the negative; but it must not
be forgotten that intensification does not, in our opinion, correct the
_tonality_, this is a matter of great importance which has been
overlooked. From this it will be seen that a negative that requires
intensification is worthless for artistic purposes, and had better be
destroyed at once. But as intensification may be required for some
particular object, we must caution the student against the ordinary
perchloride of mercury and ammonia intensifier. In many cases it acts well
enough, in many others it acts unevenly and in patches, and in all cases
it is not permanent. The best intensifier we know of is Dr. Eder’s, whose
formula we give—

[Sidenote: Dr. Eder’s intensifier.]

             ℞ Uranium nitrate                      15  grs.
               Potassium ferricyanide               15  grs.
               Water                                 4     ℥

Wash the plate thoroughly after fixing, so that no hyposulphite remains,
and immerse in the intensifier. It works up the scale from the lower
tones, which is an advantage over any other. To remove all the
hyposulphite of soda it is well to treat the plate before using the
intensifier, as Captain Abney directs. A drachm of a 20-vol. solution of
peroxide of hydrogen should be mixed with 5 oz. of water, and the plate
soaked in it for half an hour, and then washed.

[Sidenote: Fog.]

The student will find that for certain effects he may intentionally
produce a slight fog over his plate, as has often been done with very good
results; but if his plates are unintentionally fogged, they are ruined.
Fog is due to light having had access to the plate, either during
manufacture, during exposure, or during development. By developing an
unexposed plate it can be proved whether it was fogged during the
manufacture, as in that case the plate turns black. If the fog is caused
by a leaky camera the edges of the plate, which are generally clear glass,
are not fogged, for they have been hidden behind the rebate of the dark
slide. Light coming through the dark slide shows itself in lines or
patches, and is not general. If all these sources have been eliminated,
the dark room must be suspected. This is tested by putting a plate in the
slide, drawing the shutter out half way, and exposing the plate for a few
minutes to the developing light. If the exposed half fogs, then the dark
room is to blame.

[Sidenote: Red fog.]

We have only met with this phenomenon once, and that was in developing a
uranium plate. [Sidenote: Green fog.] This is green by reflected light,
and red by transmitted light. It is generally deposited at the corners of
the plate and round the edge.

[Sidenote: Yellow and brown fogs.]

Are rarely met with, and are yellow and brown by _reflected_ light,
whereas stains are coloured only by transmitted light. The student can
easily distinguish between fogs and stains in this way. We have been very
successful experimentally with Captain Abney’s method of clearing off
green fog. He recommends the following solution to be used after fixing:—

              ℞ Ferric chloride                     50 grs.
                Potassium bromide                   30 grs.
                Water                               iv ℥

The plate should be well washed after this treatment, and developed up
with the ferrous oxalate developer.

But such plates are not always saved artistically by the method, for the
tonality may be thrown out, and the texture of substances is nearly always

[Sidenote: Frilling.]

Is due to the expansion of the gelatine, and will rarely occur if the
plate be put in the alum bath before fixing. The gelatine can be made to
contract by soaking in methylated spirits of wine.

[Sidenote: Blisters.]

Are of rare occurrence, and will dry out if the plate be carefully handled
and washed in alum, as directed. They may be treated locally with
methylated spirit, which causes the gelatine to contract.

[Sidenote: Dense negatives.]

The best reducer we know of is Dr. Eder’s. He recommends the use of—A.,
one part chloride of iron to eight parts of water. B., two parts neutral
oxalate of potash to eight parts of water. A well-known authority on
photographic matters, Dr. H. W. Vogel, says, “Both solutions keep a long
time without deteriorating. Immediately before using, equal parts of A.
and B. are mixed, forming a bright green solution, which keeps well for
several days in the dark, but decomposes in the light. Of this mixture a
little is added to a fresh and strong solution of ‘hypo.’ In difficult
cases 1 part ‘hypo’ and 1/4 to 1/2 of iron solution are employed. The
plate to be reduced is placed in this solution. The image weakens quickly
and uniformly. The plate is taken out and washed just before the desired
reduction is reached, because the action continues during the washing,
gradually diminishing under the stream from the tap. This reducer acts on
plates developed either with ‘pyro’ or ‘oxalate,’ and does not destroy the
details in the shadows like cyanide. There is also less tendency to frill
than with the cyanide bath.”

Reducers, like intensifiers, should not be resorted to, unless in case of
a very valuable negative, for it must never be forgotten that, though the
printing density is reduced, the tonality is not corrected.

[Sidenote: Yellow stains.]

Due to the developer, are easily removed by Edwards' clearing solution,
which we have found most effectual—

              ℞ Sulphate of iron                    ℥ iii.
                Alum                                ℥ i.
                Citric acid                         ℥ i.
                Water                               O i.

[Sidenote: Transparent spots.]

Are due to dust in camera or slide, or to using the “hypo” bath too long.
If the spots have sharply defined edges, they are due to air bubbles
forming at the beginning of development.

[Sidenote: Halation.]

This is a bug-bear we have had little experience of, though we have taken
many interiors. The only occasion on which we met with it was once when
the plate was overexposed on a stained glass window, containing much blue
in it. If a large stop be used, and the exposure kept as short as
possible, our experience is that no halation need occur. If, however, the
student fears it, and there is always a danger of it where any bright
lights act on the film, he should, with a squegee and some glycerine,
apply a piece of some dark tissue to the back of the plate; this is easily
stripped off before development.

[Sidenote: Defects due to damp.]

All plates should be kept in a dry place, and whilst travelling it is as
well to keep them in tinfoil. The effect of damp is to produce patches,
which either do not develop at all or develop unequally.

[Sidenote: Removal of varnish.]

This is easily done by putting the plate into hot methylated spirit, and
rubbing the varnish off with cotton wool.

[Sidenote: Sea air.]

It has been said that sea air affects gelatine plates, this has not been
our experience.

[Sidenote: Dirty backs.]

The backs of the negatives which are generally dirty, should be cleaned by
scraping, and then rubbing up with a rag moistened in hot water, or
preferably, methylated spirit. The negatives should be kept in a dry
place, in grooved cardboard boxes. Wooden boxes should not be used for
storing either plates or negatives.

[Sidenote: Marblings.]

Are due to a dirty fixing bath; or to an uneven action of the developer
arising from not rocking the plate, or to adding the alkali to the
developer in the dish and not thoroughly mixing them before putting in the
plate. The clearing solution removes some of these.

[Sidenote: Prolonged and patchy fixing.]

Due to the alum bath being used before “fixing” in plates from which the
developer has not been thoroughly washed. It can be remedied by washing
and swilling the plate in water just rendered alkaline by ammonia, and
then fixing as before. We once had a plate which took several hours to fix
even after this treatment.

[Sidenote: Limpet-shell markings.]

We have had these appear in a few negatives some months after development.
We know of no remedy for the defect; nor do we know the cause, but believe
it to be due to hyposulphite of soda left in the film.

[Sidenote: Deposit on film.]

This is sometimes met with after the imperfect washing out of hyposulphite
of soda; or sometimes whilst the negative is in the fixing bath, if it has
been in the alum bath previously, and not thoroughly washed. Sulphur is
deposited. The remedy is obvious.

[Sidenote: Metallic patches.]

Coloured metallic-looking patches appear at times near the edges of the
plate, which may, or may not, be accompanied with fog. We have often
observed these patches in plates which have been kept a long time. There
is no remedy if they are unaccompanied by fog, but if fog is present, the
ferric-chloride solution will generally remove them.

[Sidenote: Scratches.]

On the back of the negative show as dark lines in the film.

[Sidenote: Undeveloped islands.]

Rarely, we have met with small patches which seem to have refused to
develop; they are generally circular. Captain Abney says they are due to
the use of chrome alum in the emulsion. There does not appear to be any
remedy for this accident.

[Sidenote: Dull spots and pits.]

In one batch of plates we were greatly troubled by these faults, one of
the plates being covered with pits as thickly as if it had been peppered
with a pepper-box. Captain Abney says they are due to the use of gelatine
which contains grease. They ruined a whole series of fine negatives for us
once. These complete the enumeration of the accidents likely to occur
during development.

[Sidenote: Varnishing.]

We shall now presume that the student has thoroughly dried his negatives,
after having developed them. Before storing them, however, he must varnish
them, to protect them from scratches, and especially from damp, for
gelatine, being very hygroscopic, easily absorbs moisture. At times, when
warming an apparently perfectly dry negative over a flame, preparatory to
varnishing it, a slight steam can be seen to arise, due to the evaporation
of the moisture in the film. This moisture in the gelatine would of course
in time lead to decomposition, and ruin the image; for these reasons,
then, all negatives should be varnished. Before “varnishing” each negative
should be carefully brushed over with a camel’s-hair brush. [Sidenote: Dr.
Carey Lea’s Varnish.] Now it is obvious that many of the varnishes used
are more or less non-actinic, as Dr. Carey Lea has proved; he, therefore,
recommends the following:—

                   ℞   Bleached lac         ʒ x.
                       Picked sandarac      ʒ v.
                       Alcohol              ℥ xii.

Let the lac dissolve in the alcohol, then filter, first soaking the filter
paper with alcohol. Pour slowly, and if necessary at the end add 1 ℥ more
of alcohol to enable the rest to pass. Next add the sandarac to the
filtrate and refilter, using of course a fresh filter.

Warm the plate gently, and, holding it in the left-hand bottom corner
between the thumb and finger, pour a pool of varnish on to the plate that
will cover about one-third the area of the plate, then let it run to the
right-hand top corner, then to the left-hand top corner, then to the
thumb, and finally drain off at the right-hand bottom corner into a
filter. Then place it on a drainage rack, till just set, when rewarm by
the fire, otherwise it does not set hard and smooth.

[Sidenote: Roller slide.]

Since paper negatives and a roller slide were suggested by Fox Talbot, and
made fit for use by Blanquart-Evrard, several ingenious persons have been
trying to improve upon these early attempts. From time to time, during the
last fifty years, various workers have announced old ideas as new
discoveries, nor have these been confined to roller slides and paper
negatives, but extended to many other photographic processes. That no one
can claim any originality of discovery on this head since Talbot and
Evrard is obvious; only perfected methods can be claimed. There have been
many of these introduced, but none worth discussing until that offered by
the Messrs. Walker and Eastman. They have perfected Talbot’s and Evrard’s
work, and though they have numerous imitators, their work is _facile

[Sidenote: Paper negatives.]

Now the student will naturally expect us to give an opinion on these paper
negatives. For many photographic processes they are of course invaluable,
but for artistic work our opinion is that they are not equal to the
ordinary method. These remarks apply equally to the various flexible films
which have lately been introduced.

For hand cameras, we should think, film negatives would be very useful,
and for small studies such as they produce, would do well; but then such
are not pictures. A picture must be perfect in all points, and for this
reason the films will not as yet answer. They do show grain, say what
people will; we have examined dozens of the very best, and that is our
opinion. Besides this, they are liable to the defects common to paper,
such as transparent spots, and the defects common to films, such as
markings and stains, and in addition to all this there is the liability to
injury of the negative after development, in the subsequent processes of
oiling and stripping, if stripping films be used. The quality, too, of the
picture is not equal to that of an ordinary negative. Why it is so we
cannot explain. What the future of these processes may be we do not
pretend to say, but for the present we feel assured that the finest
quality of work is to be obtained on a glass support. For ordinary touring
purposes no doubt the roller-slide and flexible films have every
advantage, but with any but the art side of the question we have nothing
to do. In artistic work, all hap-hazard results or accidental effects must
be carefully eliminated. Lightness, printing from either side, and a good
retouching basis are no considerations for the artist, he wants none of
these things.

[Sidenote: Ortho-chromatic photography.]

There still remains, however, a very important point from the art point of
view, as regards tonality, for as the student who has read his chemistry
knows, the different parts of the spectrum act differently on the
different haloids. The effect of this has been to destroy true tonality,
thus a yellow flower comes out black if taken on ordinary plates. To
remedy this dyes have been used which absorb the weakly acting rays, and
thus has been made one of the greatest advances in photography, both
scientifically and artistically. This ortho-chromatic photography has
engaged the attention of experts, and Abney, Vogel, Eder, Ives, Bothamley,
and Edwards are hard at work upon it now, besides many amateur scientists.
We have been for some time experimenting in this direction for artistic
purposes, having begun with Tailfer’s plates before any others were
introduced into the English market. For the photographing of pictures
Messrs. Dixon and Grey conclusively proved the superiority of the process
by their exhibits at the Exhibition of the Photographic Society of Great
Britain, in 1886. But the matter is different when landscapes and
portraits from life have to be considered. It is with the wonderful
protean aspects of nature that we have to deal when working from nature,
and we feel the question is not one to be entirely settled in the
laboratory. Our method is always to work out of doors, noting, as far as
possible, the conditions and judging the results by the prints, and though
such experiments are far from conclusive, we can at present say that the
ortho-chromatic plates are nearly correct in the rendering of tonality,
but not perfect, the reds overrun the other colours, and are too strongly
rendered. In fact, the reds and greens are not perfectly rendered, and
even if the correct values of the spectrum are rendered in a laboratory,
this will not and does not give the relative tones of nature. This is the
point which must be remedied. Undoubtedly ortho-chromatic photography
alone will be used in the near future, but just at present it is not
cut-and-dried enough for all practical purposes. The student, however,
must use these plates. They are supplied by B. J. Edwards; and Dr. Vogel’s
eoside of silver plates can be bought of Gotz, 19, Buckingham Street,
Strand. So far the truest tonality that we have seen has been obtained on
Dr. Vogel’s plates, and in addition his landscape plates require no yellow
screen to be used with them, which is a tremendous advantage.

[Sidenote: Final.]

Thus it will be seen that in every operation the art-knowledge of the
operator will tell. For example, let us suppose a camera set up with the
lens fixed, before a beautiful landscape composed on the ground-glass
screen by an artist, then let us imagine that two photographers proceed to
take plates of the picture. After the very first operation of focussing,
stopping and adjusting the swing-backs; a mighty gulf will separate the
two pictures; the gulf widens as the exposure is made, and finally in the
developed plates they are no longer the same thing. One may be a sharp,
common-place fact, false in many parts, the other may be full of truth and
poetry. Let a print be taken from each plate and presented to an
artistically uneducated craftsman and to an artist, the craftsman will go
into raptures over the sharp craftsman picture, the artist will do the
same over the artistic picture, but the artist will not look for a moment
at the craftsman’s ideal, and this little matter any one can prove for
himself. Let the student, then, strive to earn the artist’s praise, and
let him ignore the craftsman’s, and value his opinion on these matters at
the same price he would value his opinions upon any other subject where
taste and refinement are called into question.

                             CHAPTER VIII.
                         RETOUCHING NEGATIVES.

[Sidenote: Definition of retouching.]

Retouching is the process by which a good, bad, or indifferent photograph
is converted into a bad drawing or painting.

[Sidenote: Working up in monochrome,  oils, &c.]

Theoretically, retouching may be considered admissible, that is if the
impression can be made more true by it. There are, perhaps, half a dozen
painters in the world who could do this, but no one else. Nature is far
too subtle to be meddled with in this manner. We have discussed the
question with many artists, and their verdict is the same as ours. It is
the common plea of photographers that photography exaggerates the shadows,
but we think it has been shown that if photography is properly practised,
no such exaggeration of shadows takes place, and if it did, retouching
would only add to the falsity in another way. This retouching and painting
over a photograph by incapable hands, by whom it is always done, is much
to be deprecated. The result is but a hybrid, and is intolerable to any
artist. One fatal fact in all painted photographs, and one which for ever
keeps them without the realm of art, is that the shadows, being
photographic, are black and not filled with reflected colour as in nature
and as in good oil painting. The same remark applies to
mechanically-coloured photographs. Such abominations, from an art point of
view may, however, be useful in the trades, for pattern plates and such
things. Consider for a moment the habit of working up in crayon,
monochrome, water-colour and oils. What does it mean? and how is it done?
In some establishments the practice is for a clerk to note down certain of
the sitter’s characteristics, such as “hair light, eyes blue, necktie
black;” these remarks are sent with a photograph, generally an
enlargement, to the _artist_! He, in a conventional and crude manner,
makes necessarily a travesty of the portrait, and for these abominations
the customer pays from 5_l._ to 20_l._ Consider the utter sham and
childishness of the whole proceeding, and remember that a portrait painter
of the greatest ability can only paint with the model _actually before
him_, yet these workers-up, who are not artists at all, can paint from
memoranda made by a clerk. It is astonishing to think there are people in
the world foolish enough to pay for such trash. Even the very best oil
painting done in such a way is but trash, and if the photographic base is
so destroyed or covered over that none of it shows, it must then be judged
on the grounds of monochrome drawing or painting as the case may be, and a
sad thing it is when judged on these grounds. [Sidenote: Posthumous
portraits and busts.] It may be said, “But painters paint posthumous
portraits.” Yes, they do, confiding public, but they paint them as
sculptors model posthumous busts, but they do not call them works of art.
We know several artists who are compelled by necessity and the vanity of
human nature to execute these posthumous portraits, and we know, too, how
they value such work. But it must not be forgotten what a gulf separates
able artists from the third-rate “workers-up” for photographers. Moreover,
true artists never attempt posthumous portraits on the top of a
photograph, but simply use the photograph as a guide for modelling, light
and shade, &c., a quite legitimate use, both for painter and sculptor.
[Sidenote: Phot. Soc. Great Britain.] The Photographic Society of Great
Britain is to be congratulated on the stand it has made in the matter by
not hanging any of these abominations on their walls, and it is to be
hoped they will stand firm and never admit coloured photographs of any
kind until the great problem of photography in natural colours be solved.

[Sidenote: “High Art” photographers.]

We have amongst photographers to-day persons who pride themselves on their
skill in taking out of a photograph double chins, wrinkles, freckles, and
all the character of a face, and who call themselves, we believe, “high
art photographers,” mere flatterers of mankind’s weaknesses are they, not
even honest craftsmen. And not only do they thus mutilate portraits, but
with their Chinese white and Indian ink will they, with all the confidence
of the uneducated, touch up a landscape or a face with no model before
them. Of tonality of course they never heard, and Nature they never knew.
It was once our lot to judge the pictures at a Cambridge photographic
exhibition, and we were not a little staggered by the audacity with which
one noted “London firm” had touched up and worked upon an opal enlargement
of Niagara Falls. The picture was very true and beautiful before those
vandals had got hold of it, but, great Cæsar! what a sight it was
afterwards, with its impasto of Chinese white, and its shiny gum polished,
India ink deepened shadows! In short, a more meretricious production it
has seldom been our lot to inspect, and this thing was exhibited by an
University undergraduate! If such is the taste of an educated man, what
can one expect from the rest of the world! Let, then, the student avoid
all these meretricious productions as he would all vulgarities, such as
eating his peas with his knife. No first-rate artist will allow his prints
to be retouched; he would never be able to bear the look of them
afterwards. That the idea of retouching springs from a wrong theory is
evident, the improper use of lenses gave false drawing, and people were in
artistically and sharply photographed, so that wrinkles, warts, freckles,
and even the pores of the skin showed, and then arose the demand for a
retoucher to correct all that, and one error led to another, although,
without doubt, the false work of a retoucher is much truer than the false
work of an uneducated operator. Certainly people do not see, at the
distance a photograph is taken from, the wrinkles, spots, and other small
blemishes, and they are too uneducated to see the falseness of tone which
retouching engenders. Of all the photographers who talk glibly of art, we
warrant scarcely one is able to distinguish between a bust carved by a
stone-mason, one carved by a mediocre sculptor, and one carved by a
master, in fact we have proved this, and yet they talk, talk, write, and
lecture on art; while to an artist the difference between each of those
three busts is as great as the difference between a mountain, a hillock,
and a marsh. The public see the warts and spots and call them false, the
greater falsity of tone and retouching they cannot distinguish. An etcher
once remarked to us, “How is it photographers seem to do everything to
make photographs anything but photographs?” And such is the case; the
matchless beauty of a pure and artistic photograph does not satisfy their
vulgar minds, and yet such is the only kind of photograph at which artists
will look.

[Sidenote: Artists on retouching.]

It is now fifty years since Daguerre publicly announced Niepce’s
discoveries, and on the scientific and industrial side, photography has
results to show nothing short of marvellous, but what has it to show on
the artistic side? Of the thousands who have practised photography since
1839, and who are now dead, how many names stand out as having done work
of any artistic value? Only three. One a master, who was at the same time
a sculptor, namely, Adam Salomon; one a trained painter, but without
first-rate artistic ability, Rejlander; and one, an amateur,—Mrs. Cameron.
Beside these three there is no name among the numerous dead photographers
worth a mention. And have matters improved? Well may it be asked by those
who have the good of photography at heart, whether it will always be thus.
We hope not; but if it is to be otherwise, some radical change must be
made, and the blind no longer lead the blind. We have said, then, that of
all the thousands of craftsmen who have practised photography and are
dead, three names only stand out as having produced works to which we can
apply the title artistic. Now let us see what those three have to say to
the matter of retouching.

[Sidenote: Adam Salomon.]

Mr. Adam Salomon, though he strengthened certain parts of his negatives by
artificial means, which in the hands of an accomplished artist like
himself, was admissible, condemned retouching altogether. He says,
“Eschewing retouching with brush or pencil on the film, risking the
further deterioration of the negative, I make light finish the task it
has, from want of time, or bad quality, insufficiently done, and in such a
manner that no hand can hope to rival its delicacy and precision, and this
is the only plan that a lover of his calling can justifiably pursue.” So
we see that a highly-trained sculptor, like Adam Salomon, _dared_ not
retouch, but only sunned down violent contrasts at first, and then printed
in all the picture, so that it could not be detected; yet Adam Salomon, in
our opinion, could have quite legitimately worked on his negatives, being
as he was a highly-trained artist.

[Sidenote: Rejlander.]

Rejlander, not being a painter of great ability, but having a painter’s
training, tried all methods until he arrived at the legitimate scope of
photography, then he came to the conclusion that retouching was
inadmissible, and it must be remembered that Rejlander was more capable of
retouching truthfully than any retoucher has been since, and yet he says,
“I think the practice of retouching the negative a sad thing for
photography. It is impossible, for even very capable artists, to rival or
improve the delicate, almost mysterious gradations of the photograph.
Magnify the photographic rendering of, say, the human eye, with a strong
lens, and it is found to be almost startling in its marvellous truth.
Magnify the retouched image, and it will look like coarse deformity. It
ceases to be true. I have sometimes seen a touched photograph which looked
very nice, but it possessed no interest for me; I knew it could not be
trusted. I have been charged with sophisticating photographs because I
combined and masked and sunned prints. But there is a great distinction
between suppressing and adding; I never added. I stopped-out portions of
the negatives which I did not require to form my picture; I sunned down
that which was obtrusive, and where one negative would not serve, I used
two or more, joining them with at much truth as I could. But I never
attempted to improve negatives. I never believed that I could draw better
or more truly than Nature. I consider a touched photograph spoiled for
every purpose.” This, then, was Rejlander’s verdict, and though from this
we gather he had not yet thrown off the fallacy of combination-printing,
yet he subsequently abjured that also. Even when he did use
combination-printing, he practised it in a manner never equalled by his
imitators, for like all imitators they have copied the bad qualities and
left all the genius behind.

[Sidenote: Mrs. J. Cameron.]

Mrs. Cameron, the last and least of the three, had knowledge and feeling
enough also to eschew retouching, none of her work is retouched, just as
she had knowledge enough to use a rapid rectilinear lens, although working
in the wet-collodion days, for she evidently saw what escaped so many
other workers, that the drawing was truer with that lens than with the
quicker portrait lenses.

When it comes, by the means of retouching, to straightening noses,
removing double chins, eliminating squints, fattening cheeks, and
smoothing skins, we descend to an abyss of charlatanism and jugglery,
which we will not stop to discuss. That such things pay and please vain
and stupid people, no one denies, but so do contortionists please a
certain public, so do jugglers and tight-rope dancers, and such like, but
all that is not art.

[Sidenote: Doctoring negatives.]

There are various practices of doctoring the negative by using paint and
other mediums on the backs, or by grinding the backs of the negatives.
These are, in our opinion, all unnecessary and harmful, the remarks on
retouching apply equally well here. Such artifices may easily deceive and
even please the uneducated, but the artist only sees them to despise and
condemn them. The technique of photography is perfect, no such botchy aids
are necessary, they take the place of the putty of the bad carpenter.

[Sidenote: Spotting.]

Of course, spotting does not come under the head of retouching. The
spotter does not attempt to modify structure or tone, but merely to render
an unavoidable and accidental “blemish” less patent. All spots should be
filled with red paint mixed with a little gum and water, but care must be
exercised in this operation, to put on only just enough paint to fill the

Our parting injunction, then, to the photographer who would be an artist,
is, avoid retouching in all its forms; it destroys texture and tone, and
therefore the truth of the picture.

                              CHAPTER IX.

[Sidenote: The process.]

Having his negative, the next thing our student will want to do is to
print from it; but before doing so, it will be necessary to decide upon
the process he will use.

This is a question of great moment, and one which will here be considered
on purely artistic grounds. [Sidenote: Silver prints.] When first we began
photography, we printed in all sorts of ways; but silver printing, on
account chiefly of its unpleasant glaze, was soon discarded. [Sidenote:
Platinotype.] Then we prepared some ordinary drawing paper, and printed on
that, till one day we saw an album of views printed in platinotype. Their
beauty acted like a charm, and straightway we took to platinotype. Still
we felt that for portraiture, a red colour gave a truer impression.
[Sidenote: Carbon.] So we tried carbon, and practised it when necessary.
Even now, when we look back on those days, we remember the intense
pleasure carbon printing gave us. [Sidenote: Platinotypes.] In the year
1882, when we first exhibited at Pall Mall, we sent four platinotype
prints, and two silver prints. At that exhibition there were only three
other exhibits in platinotype. Immediately after that exhibition we
determined to give up all methods of printing except platinotype, and we
have since steadily by example and precept advocated that process. When we
were brought into contact with artists, and learned something of art, we
knew the reason of what we had instinctively felt to be true. And now,
after much experience and careful examination, in many cases in company
with able artists, of all the printing papers and processes to-day
employed, we emphatically assert that the platinotype process is _facile
princeps_. We should maintain this, even if platinotypes were no more
permanent than silver prints, but here again, as in all good things,
simplicity of manipulation goes with excellency, for there is no doubt
that platinotypes are permanent, they will last in good condition as long
as the paper on which they are printed. This fact alone would finally
place the process at the head of the list. Since the introduction of the
platinotype process various papers have been introduced into the market,
with unglazed surfaces, for which the quality of permanency has been
claimed. Several of these are old methods re-dressed, as the
gelatino-bromide and chloride papers. But are these papers permanent? At
any rate they do not give any truer tonality than silver prints, and this
is a fatal drawback. We have examined hundreds of prints on
gelatino-bromide and chloride paper, and they all give false tonality as
compared with platinotype. [Sidenote: Fading of prints.] The
gelatino-bromide paper like all silver prints, whether matt or glazed, is
false in tonality, the blacks are too black, and the whole picture lowered
in tone. Then, again, as to the question of permanency, it is of course
incontestable that silver prints fade, and as regards the gelatino-bromide
paper, experiment has not proved it to be permanent. [Sidenote: Mr.
Spiller on gelatino-bromide prints.] This is what a chemist, Mr. A.
Spiller, says in the Year Book of Photography and Photographic News for
1888; writing on “Bromide _versus_ albumenized paper,” he says, “From the
above considerations it may fairly be conceded that _under the same
conditions_ a bromide print will most likely remain intact longer than an
albumenized paper print; but more than this, I am afraid, with the
evidence at present at hand, we are not in a position to state. In
offering this, it must be understood, that only under equally favourable
circumstances is the bromide process likely to yield results more
permanent than that on albumenized paper, for just as a gelatine plate or
silver print fades when the ‘hypo’ fixer has been imperfectly removed, so
again in the bromide process, if insufficient washing after fixing be
resorted to, the resulting photograph cannot be expected to last long.”

Such was the opinion of every photographer who had thought the matter out,
but we give Mr. Spiller’s opinion since it is that of a specialist in
chemistry. In conjunction with a noted landscape-painter we went carefully
into this question of the different printing processes, for a book we were
conjointly engaged upon was to be illustrated by photographs from our
negatives. We soon determined, on artistic grounds, that there was nothing
that could compete with platinotype. Before deciding, however, we wrote to
a leading producer of gelatino-bromide papers, asking him if he could
guarantee the permanency of prints on this paper. When the answer came it
was evasive and unaccompanied by any guarantee. These gelatino-bromide
papers are to be met with under different names, and though for certain
trade or industrial purposes they may be invaluable, for artistic purposes
they are inferior to platinotype. Carbon, though superior to silver
printing, is still inferior to platinotype, for even when the glaze is got
rid of, the method of the formation of the image, being sculpturesque,
gives a falsity of appearance and an unnatural running together (like
melted wax) of portions of the detail.

[Sidenote: Mr. Willis.]

There is, then, in our opinion, for the art student, but one process in
which to print, and that is the platinotype process discovered by Mr.
Willis. Every photographer who has the good and advancement of photography
at heart, should feel indebted to Mr. Willis for placing within his power
a process by which he is able to produce work comparable, on artistic
grounds, with any other black and white process. We have no hesitation in
saying that the discovery and subsequent practice of this process has had
an incalculable amount of influence in raising the standard of
photography. No artist could rest content to practise photography alone as
an art, so long as such inartistic printing methods as the pre-platinotype
processes were in vogue. If the photo-etching process and the platinotype
process were to become lost arts, we, for our part, should never take
another photograph.

But here it is necessary to warn the student against the remarks of the
platinotype company and many of their admirers, who maintain that for good
prints “plucky” negatives are necessary; and then follows the old story
about “fire,” “snap,” “sparkle,” and Co. As we have already despatched
that gang, we will spend no more time over their funeral. For low-toned
effects, and for grey-day landscapes, the platinotype process is
unequalled, but the “fire,” “snap,” “sparkle” company think such effects
bad, weak, muddy, and what not. Of course, the student will listen to
nothing of this, but try for himself, and when he wants advice, let him
ask it of good artists. We once showed a grey-day effect to a clerk at the
Platinotype Company’s Office, having previously had the opinion of some
first-rate painters upon it; the clerk looked at it critically and said,
“Yes, very nice; but look at this,” and he took us to a frame hanging in
the same room and pointed to a commonplace view, taken with a small stop
in bright sunlight—a view, we believe, of a church or something of that
kind; there was _his_ ideal of what a platinotype should be. The print in
question was about fit for a house-agent’s window. No! Platinotype
printers do not seem to know what a good thing they have. Their paper is
as suitable and as beautiful for soft grey-day effects as for brilliant
sunshiny effects, and it is to be hoped they will soon have their eyes
opened to this fact, and cease to encourage the false notion that good,
ergo plucky, sparkling, snappy negatives are those required for the use of
the paper. The process, however, is not perfect, the only perfect printing
process being photo-etching, as we shall show presently; but of all the
processes for printing from the negative it is the best; of all the
typographic processes it is the best; and it is better than many of the
copperplate processes.

[Sidenote: Cold process.]

Since writing this chapter, Mr. Willis has introduced a great improvement
in his process, by which the print can be developed with a cold solution;
but what is far more important, artistically speaking, the development can
be controlled, for the developer can be applied with a brush, so that
parts can be intensified or kept back at will, and “sinking-in” is
avoided. This is a great and distinct advance.

[Sidenote: Ferro-Prussiate printing process.]

The Ferro-Prussiate printing process, of course, does not concern us, blue
prints are only for plans, not for art.

[Sidenote: Hints for platinotype printing.]

Our printing process, then, is to be platinotype and platinotype only, and
as there is no use in swelling this work with facts already published, we
advise every student to get full directions from the Platinotype Company,
29, Southampton Row, High Holborn, London, and to study them carefully. It
is advisable to arrange the printing so that you are not compelled to keep
the paper any time; get it fresh when required, therefore, and only as
much as you require for immediate use. Before putting it in the box, drive
all the moisture out of the calcium-chloride by heating it on a shovel, or
old tray, over the fire, and dry the box thoroughly before the fire. Dry
also all the printing frames thoroughly before a fire, also the rubbers,
the use of which must not be neglected. Be sure you mix the baths and
developer with pure _boiled distilled water only_, or else you will be apt
to find a fine powder on the prints.

Be very careful not to place the prints in water between the washings.
Above all, never use your dishes for any other purpose. Some
photographers, living in the country, complain that they cannot get up
heat to boil a large enough quantity of developer for 12 × 10 prints.
[Sidenote: Lamps.] We found an excellent heating apparatus in the tin
spirit lamps with treble wicks, supplied by Allen of Marylebone Lane, with
his portable Turkish baths. With two of these lamps we had no difficulty
in heating a developer for 24 × 22 prints. The dish can be supported by
blocks of wood at the four corners, and raised to the height required by
other blocks, or a tripod. The prints when taken from the washing water
should be dried on a clean sheet, and are finally improved by pressing
with a warm iron. [Sidenote: Spotting.] For spotting, India ink is the
most suitable medium. This, it is said, is permanent, and any shade can be
got, but good India ink, like many other articles of trade, is a rare

[Sidenote: Texture of papers.]

There are different kinds of paper sold by the Platinotype Company for
printing, and the printer will of course choose the texture of paper that
suits his subject. Delicate landscapes and small portraits should be
printed on the smooth papers, while for strong effects, large figure
subjects, and large portraits full of character, the rough papers are more
suitable. [Sidenote: Colour.] The charcoal grey tint of ordinary
platinotypes is apt to become monotonous in book illustration, and it is
as well to vary it occasionally by using the sepia tints; these are quite
suitable for landscapes and certain figure subjects. Directions are given
by the company for producing this colour. A great desideratum is a red
colour for portraiture, and it is to be hoped that Mr. Willis will see his
way to producing a paper on which prints in what is called “Bartolozzi
red” can be obtained. Red, though it does not give such true tonality,
gives a truer impression of flesh and texture, just as sepia often gives a
truer impression of certain kinds of landscape. But of course these tints
must be used with judgment, and no one but a vandal would print a
landscape in red, or in cyanotype. Having now disposed of the question of
the printing process to be used, we must discuss some of the details
incidental to printing.

[Sidenote: Vignetting.]

Whoever introduced the practice of vignetting was no artist, and the
“dodge” was evolved from a misconception of the aims of art, or for
commercial purposes. Its origin is obvious, the idea was taken from one of
the incomplete methods of artistic expression, such as chalk drawing. In
such methods the artist has a perfect right to leave the background
untinted, or only to shade round the head so as to give it relief, but
with a perfect technique like photography, vignetting is useless, nay
inartistic and false, as it destroys all tonality. We get by this method a
softly delicately lighted head, against a sparkling background, the two
are incompatible, and not only that, but the photographer who vignettes is
deliberately throwing away a most effective aid to perfect impression,
namely, the relief effected by the reflected light from his background,
and when you add to this the conventional shape of the vignetted head and
shadows, the result is feeble in the extreme. Here, then, is another false
god which has for years held sway. We ask the student, did he ever see a
vignette painted by Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Holbein, Velasquez, Gainsborough,
or Frank Hals? Such men knew too well the value of a background to throw
it away; they could not have painted a vignetted head. Look at their chalk
drawings, and the case is very different; there they were dealing with an
incomplete method, and kept rigidly within their bounds. In our early
photographic days, we learned printing from an industrial photographer,
who did an extensive business in vignetted heads, and it was a source of
great amusement to us to watch the mechanical application of the vignettes
by the “head” printer. This is of course another source of the mechanical
appearance of ordinary photographs; for by vignetting fifty different
heads a certain uniformity must result, as in a regiment dressed in
uniform, with of course the fatal result, the loss of all individuality,
character, and of course art. The few photographic portraits that we have
seen worth studying were certainly not vignetted. Mrs. Cameron did not
vignette, she knew better. That people demand vignettes and pay for them
is nothing to us, let photographers sell them as they do scraps and
chromographs, and other fancy articles, if it please the childish and
vulgar, but let them not be called works of art, for on the contrary they
are certain indices of bad taste. Vignetting might be admissible in
certain decorative cases in book illustration, as when a landscape
decorates an initial letter, but in pictures for framing, never.

[Sidenote: Combination printing.]

The simplest application of this method is the printing of a cloud into a
landscape from a different negative. Though it is far preferable to obtain
the clouds on the same negative, and this is quite easy in ortho-chromatic
photography, it is, if you use great judgment, admissible to print in
clouds from a separate negative, but this requires an intimate knowledge
of out-door effects, and the clouds must be taken in a particular way.
Printing in clouds is admissible because, if well done, a truer impression
of the scene is rendered. [Sidenote: Cloud negatives.] But the ordinary
way of taking cloud negatives is much to be condemned. The practice is to
point the camera to the zenith if need be, to focus sharply, to to use the
smallest stop, develop and select for final use according to the lighting,
indeed, not always being very particular on that point. But, by elevating
the camera a point of sight is taken different from that employed in
taking the landscape; by focussing sharply, often using a lens drawing
falsely, the clouds are rendered false in tone and false in drawing. All
this an artist detects in a moment, a craftsman, never. The first
necessity, then, in taking cloud negatives is that the point of sight
shall be the same as that chosen for the landscapes; the second that the
clouds shall be so focussed and developed that their tonality shall remain
true; and the third and most important point, that the cloud form shall be
harmonious with the landscape. The very simplest truths of nature are
daily ignored by photographers in the works they exhibit. There are often
three, or even four suns in one landscape, or at least the evidence of
them; mighty _cumuli_ float over lakes where there is no ripple, and yet
there is no reflection; or, as we have seen, reflections of clouds have
been printed in where there are ripple marks; or heavy _nimbi_ lighted
from one direction are placed over _cirro-cumuli_ lighted from another
direction; or, again, a setting sun sinks to rest over wave-broken water
that reflects glints of light from exactly the opposite direction.

[Sidenote: How to take clouds.]

The best way, then, if a cloud negative is wanted, is _to take it at the
same time as the landscape and from the same point of view_, getting as
much as possible the same impression as seen in nature. The exposure must
of course be by a shutter set quickly. [Sidenote: To print in clouds.] We
think the best way of printing in clouds so obtained, is to take a piece
of damp tissue paper the size of the negative, gum it round the edges to
the back of the negative, then with some blacklead and a stump blacken the
sky out when the paper is dry, carefully following the contours of those
objects which stand in relief against the sky with a lead pencil. In this
way you can with marvellous accuracy stop out the sky, and the work being
on the back of the negative and in plumbago, the contours still show the
mingled decision and indecision of nature. The print is then taken, and
afterwards the cloud negative is arranged as desired, the sky-line being
covered with cotton-wool and the rest of the exposed landscape by a black
cloth. No special printing frames are required for this purpose, only one
a size or two larger than the negative you are printing from. Cloud
printing, as we have said, is the simplest form of combination printing,
and the only one admissible when we are considering artistic work.
[Sidenote: Combination printing.] Rejlander, however, in the early days of
photography, tried to make pictures by combination printing. This process
is really what many of us practised in the nursery; that is cutting out
figures and pasting them into white spaces left for that purpose in a
picture-book. With all the care in the world, the very best artist living
could not do this satisfactorily. Nature is so subtle that it is
impossible to do this sort of patchwork and represent her. Even if the
greater truths be registered, the lesser truths, still important, cannot
be obtained, and the softness of outline is entirely lost. The relation of
the figure to the landscape can never be truly represented in this manner,
for all subtle modelling of the contours of the figure are lost. Such
things are easy enough to do, and when we first began photography we did a
few, but soon gave it up, convinced of its futility. [Sidenote:
Rejlander.] Rejlander, though he tried it, soon saw the folly of such
play, and he is the only artist we know of who used it. Mrs. Cameron and
Adam Salomon never indulged in such things that we know of. Some writers
have honoured this method of printing by calling it the highest form of
photographic work. Heaven help them! The subject is hardly worth as many
words, for though such “work” may produce sensational effects in
photographic galleries, it is but the art of the opera bouffe.

[Sidenote: Masks.]

In printing, variously shaped masks are used. There is no objection to
them, but in our opinion they do not in any way improve the subject,
although they do not necessarily spoil it like vignetting.

Besides all these “dodges,” there are machines for producing imitation
enamel portraits in basso-relievo and cavi-relievo, but all such ideas are
false in theory, and the results inartistic hybrids unworthy of any
serious consideration.

[Sidenote: Final.]

Here, then, we come to an end of the subject of printing, and in our
opinion the student should consider himself fortunate indeed in having so
beautiful a method as the platinotype process with which to work.

                               CHAPTER X.

[Sidenote: Enlargements.]

The best enlargements made for the trade are made from very
sharply-focussed negatives. In fact, some of the best enlargers take up
the negative from which the enlargement is to be made, and examine it with
a small magnifying-glass, and if any of the outlines are woolly they will
not promise a good enlargement. This, then, shows that a small negative
must be taken very sharply if it is to produce a good enlargement; that
is, it must be taken purely from that point of view, all artistic
considerations being thrown aside. It is obvious, then, from what we have
already said, that this is undesirable, for every negative should be
suited to the subject.

[Sidenote: Increased falsity of drawing.]

Enlarging, too, of course increases all falseness in drawing; if the
drawing in the different planes is wrong in the small negative, it will be
still worse in the large negative or print.

[Sidenote: Enlarging hap-hazard.]

But, it will be argued, and justly, that sometimes an enlargement is more
artistic than the small picture from which it was produced. This is
sometimes, but rarely, the case; and when such is the case, it is the
_result of chance_. You would never be able to take a negative in a
particular way so that you know for certain it will be improved by
enlarging so many diameters, and therein lies the inherent defect which
unfits this process for artistic work.

[Sidenote: The method.]

The actual process of enlarging is very simple, either by artificial light
or daylight; but it is in our opinion a needless and undesirable

[Sidenote: An example.]

We have made many experiments in this direction, but we have never yet
been able to get an enlargement as fine in quality as the direct
photograph. All the little subtleties which give quality to the work are
either lost or are only obtained accidentally. Not long ago we saw a
beautiful portrait—an enlargement, the print from the small negative of
which was very poor, and no one was more surprised at the improvement in
the enlargement than the photographer himself, but he could never make
sure of doing the same thing again. Therefore eschew enlargements. A
picture of fine quality, quarter-plate size, is worth a dozen enlargements
24 × 22.

[Sidenote: Tonality.]

It is only in certain very limited effects that the tonality will be true
after enlargement, and that of course constitutes another fatal objection.

                              CHAPTER XI.

[Sidenote: Transparencies.]

For industrial and educational purposes transparencies of all kinds are
valuable, and we shall touch upon them elsewhere. [Sidenote: Lantern
slides.] With lantern slides our art-student has nothing to do. A lantern
picture is an optical illusion, and lantern slides are toys when they do
not serve lecture purposes. For lecture purposes they are of course
invaluable, but they have no place in art, neither have stereoscopic
slides. They all rank with the camera obscura, the diorama, and the

We say all this because a beginner must be cautioned against paying any
serious attention to these subjects if his aim be to become an artist. Art
is much too serious for her devotees to trifle with any other subject, and
besides the making of lantern and stereoscopic slides is apt to have a bad
effect on the beginner. His attention becomes centered on the production
of pretty things—a neat, small, superficial prettiness pervading most of
the work of good lantern-slide workers. Conventional compositions and
Birket-Foster prettiness are the lantern-slide maker’s beau-ideals. Of
course these qualities are very admirable for lantern slides, for without
them they would have but little attraction; but they are quite distinct
from, and very, very far removed from, having any connection with fine

[Sidenote: Stereoscopic slides.]

We know many artists who photograph and value photography _per se_, but we
have yet to meet that one who deigns to make lantern slides except for the
purpose of making enlargements from which to draw. It has been said that
the appearance of stereoscopic pictures is wonderfully true; this is not
the case. There is a lustre, false tonality, and apparent illusion, which
to an artist makes them anything but true. In short, until photographers
do away with much of the “play” of their art, and look at it seriously,
they cannot hope that highly-trained artists will join in with them.

[Sidenote: Lecture purposes.]

For scientific lectures of course lantern slides are invaluable, as we
have already said, and for this purpose they should be untouched; but we
cannot help smiling when we hear of producers of slides claiming for their
work the title of “artistic,” _because_ they are untouched and true.
Absolute truth is not necessarily art, as we have often pointed out, and
as Muybridge’s photographs prove.

Let our student, then, avoid these snares, unless he wishes to cultivate
what Professor Herkomer has aptly called “Handkerchief-box art.”

                              CHAPTER XII.
                      PHOTO-MECHANICAL PROCESSES.

[Sidenote: Photo-mechanical process.]

From our earliest photographic days we always felt that all “ordinary”
printing methods, however good in themselves, would finally have to give
way to photo-mechanical methods, as all processes are called by which the
negative is reproduced. All the photo-mechanical printing processes may be
divided into two great classes:—

[Sidenote: Classification.]

A. Processes in which the aim is to produce diagrams.

B. Processes in which the aim is to produce pictures.

For the first purpose any of the methods are useful: that is, typographic
processes, where the block is set up with the type in the printing-press;
the collotype process, where the prints are subsequently mounted on paper,
or interleaved in a book; and the photo-etching process, where the plates
are introduced between the leaves of a book.

[Sidenote: Diagrammatic plates.]

It is obvious that when the aim is diagrammatic, brilliancy, sharpness,
correct drawing, and the truthful rendering of texture are the requisites,
as in the reproductions of negatives from nature to illustrate scientific
works, books of travel, &c. In such cases these are the main points to be
considered; and when to these considerations is added the question of cost
of production, it is evident nearly all the processes worth mentioning
which are now in existence will serve one or other, or all such purposes.
But when the question comes to be considered from an artistic point of
view, the matter is totally different, for it is a _sine quâ non_ in this
case that all the artistic quality of the original photograph be
preserved. [Sidenote: Art blocks.] Cost must not be considered. From the
art point of view alone, then, we shall briefly discuss these processes.
[Sidenote: Platinotypes.] As we said in a former chapter, of ordinary
printing papers the platinotype is alone worth considering for this
purpose, but for book illustration a serious objection to its use is its
monotony. For, although there are two colours, the charcoal grey and the
sepia, the gamut of colour is very limited; a serious matter this, for our
experience leads us to believe that there is a particular colour and tint
especially suitable to each subject. Another objection to all ordinary
printing papers is the want of relief in the gelatine film of an ordinary
negative, a want which gives a certain flatness in the resulting print,
when compared with a print from a copperplate where the cavi-relievo is
deeper. Relief in the block undoubtedly has a great influence on all
results, and in all the photo-mechanical processes “_depth_” is an
essential, and the best processes are those in which the printing-plates
have the deepest surfaces. Another fact which renders platinotype less
valuable than photogravure is that there is always a certain amount of
“sinking in” of the image, as there is with a painting on canvas; but a
painting can be brought up by varnish, a platinotype cannot.[13]


Footnote 13:

This “sinking-in” is now scarcely appreciable with, the new cold-bath


Let us, then, examine the various processes, and see which will serve our

[Sidenote: Collotypes, Woodbury types, &c. not durable.]

For artistic reasons we are of the opinion that Collotypes, Woodburytypes,
and all such methods, are undesirable; and this we say deliberately, after
long study of the subject, for in supervising and choosing illustrations
for the books which we have illustrated we carefully examined specimens of
nearly all the photo-mechanical processes extant. We say this, although
one writer on the subject of photo-mechanical processes has given out the
opinion that the ideal process is one in which the resulting print should
be a facsimile of a “silver print;” but of course such a remark is
artistically wrong, and is in keeping with the rest of the compilation in
which the statement appears.

[Sidenote: Typographic processes.]

For the benefit of the student, then, we say there are but two processes
to be considered for artistic book illustration—a typographic block to be
printed with the text, and an intaglio copperplate. The typographic block
has the whites lowered like a woodblock; and as it is printed in the
ordinary way, with the type, there is no extra trouble or cost in the
printing. With a copperplate, on the other hand, the plate must be
carefully inked and wiped, and each print separately pulled by hand, the
difference in time taken by this process, and consequently the cost, is
therefore greatly increased.

After a careful examination of all the typographic processes we have no
hesitation in saying that there is _not one_ satisfactory in the market.
When the original picture is not travestied and cheapened by
mechanical-looking crenellations and stipplings, it is marred by obvious
hand-work and by falsity of tonal translation. Any photo-mechanical
process, to be perfect, must, as we have all along maintained, require no
retouching of any kind. All the typographic blocks, too, are too shallow;
hence in the rough working and pressure of the printing-press all tonal
subtleties are lost in smudges, as the block becomes clogged with ink.
Many of these blocks serve remarkably well for rough diagrammatic
purposes, but for artistic purposes there is not one we can recommend when
the object is to reproduce pictures taken from nature. For facsimile work
they serve the purpose. [Sidenote: A great desideratum.] A first-rate
photo-mechanical block to print with the text in the ordinary
printing-press, which is entirely the result of a chemical process, is a
great desideratum, and it is a problem which experimenters in this
direction will do well to study. Not only is it that there is no
typographic block adequate, but in addition, when the present process is
employed for diagrammatic purposes, or to satisfy the pictorial standards
of the untrained in art, they are terribly marred by crude retouchings and
daubings with Chinese white, until such travesties of nature appear that
are only to be equalled by some of the “finishing artists” of the
photographic studio. Yet, bad as these block processes are, they are
infinitely better than the second-rate woodcuts made from photographs. Day
after day, books appear illustrated with woodcuts done from photographs,
in which the woodcutter has effectually ruined all the beauty of the
photograph. If the student, then, should ever be in the position of having
to choose between the facsimile woodcuts of English woodcutters find
photo-mechanical block-work, let him choose the latter as the lesser evil;
it is better than any except the American school of facsimile woodcutters.
And here it may be well to note a dishonest practice which is daily
becoming more common with writers of books of travel who buy photographs
abroad, and unscrupulously have their books illustrated with them. We know
of certain such illustrations which are advertised as being prints from
woodblocks done from _sketches by the author_. Quite recently a book of
travel appeared illustrated with third-rate woodcuts purporting to be done
from sketches by the author, which were really done from photographs
purchased in the shops abroad. We know of one case where this was done in
England, the photographs pirated being English photographs. Should such a
thing ever happen to the student, he must, as a duty to the photographic
world, prosecute without compunction, and exact the utmost penalty of the
law. Such dishonesty is one of the most despicable forms of thieving.

[Sidenote: Photo-etching.]

But to return to our subject. As we have said, we felt from the first that
photo-etching was the ultimate goal to be reached; that was the final end
and method of expression in monochrome photography. We argued the matter
out with many painters, and they agreed with us, as did they agree that
the process of reproduction must be the _result of chemical changes
only_—that no retouching was admissible, or a hybrid would be the result,
and a hybrid is detestable to all artists, although we have recently seen
writers untrained in art matters advocating a photo-etched plate as a
basis for etching or mezzotinting. Having decided, then, on these points,
we determined to try the photo-etching processes of the various firms. On
inquiring from the best English and French firms, we found that but very
few, in most cases no landscapes from nature had been reproduced in this
way, although a few portraits had been done. We carefully examined the
specimens (nearly all specimens of facsimile work) of thirteen different
firms; in fact, all the firms practising photo-etching that we could hear
of. From this examination it was evident that however good many of the
processes were for facsimile work, but few were adaptable to our needs.
Having at last settled on the four apparently most suitable processes, we
began our studies. Negatives were sent to each of these firms, of whom
only one had ever attempted reproducing a landscape direct from a negative
from nature. The proofs came, and were in every case most unsatisfactory;
they had all been barbarously retouched, all the tonality _had been_
falsified, faces against the sky were made lighter than the sky, faces
were roughly outlined with an etching-needle, high lights were scraped
away needlessly, and shadows barbarously deepened with the roulette. Our
battles then began, and we demanded plates free from retouching; the
voluminous correspondence we had on the subject would afford amusement.
Various firms protested—it couldn’t be done; it was absurd; was art the
result of a chemical process? and Heaven knows what! However, we persisted
with inflexibility, and though we had to accept in some cases the least
visibly retouched plates, we finally gained the day all round, in so far
that all the firms supplied us with plates with no visible retouching.
Thus was instituted a new departure, negatives from nature were
reproduced, through our battlings, with no visible retouching; and
although a few diagrammatic negatives had been reproduced here and there
before us, we were the first to start the serious reproduction of
negatives from landscapes and figure subjects which could be regarded as
pictures _per se_, and not merely as topographical views.

[Sidenote: Typographic Etching Company’s process.]

But now the coast is clear, and the student can get his negatives done
without visible retouching by asking for it. From an examination of these
results it was soon evident that one firm, the Typographic Etching
Company, produced plates immeasurably superior to those of any other firm,
and in addition, they would guarantee their production _without

For reproducing negatives taken from nature, then, this process is
_perfect_, and we cannot see how any photo-engraving process will ever
surpass it. [Sidenote: Messrs. Dawson and Colls.] Mr. Dawson and Mr. Colls
are trained artists, and perhaps therein lies the secret of their success.
It is perhaps invidious to select one firm for special mention, but as the
results of Mr. Colls and the Typographic Etching Company are in every way
so superior when artistically considered, we feel it our duty to record
the fact here for the benefit of the student. Quite recently there has
been much discussion on the vital question of “Photogravures _v._
Engravings,” and some of the English firms have publicly announced that it
is necessary to finish their work by hand, while others privately
maintained the same fact. Mr. Colls, late of the Typographic Etching
Company, on the other hand, maintains that a plate, perfect in quality,
can be produced without the aid of a touch by hand. Further on will be
found a communication on the process by the etcher, Mr. Colls, who therein
states that he can and does produce his work without any retouching.

The Dawson process renders the light in the shadows better than any of the
other processes, this being effected by the method of working, and, as a
whole, the “quality” of the work is unapproachable, it beats mezzotint out
of the field in its subtlety and delicacy.

[Sidenote: English _v._ French photogravure.]

And here we would caution the gentlemen of the press who have lately
written so freely and so mistakenly on the subject of photogravure, that
the best photogravures are _not_ produced in France, but in England.
Englishmen do not seem to know when they possess a “good thing.”

We venture to say, without any diffidence, that for the reproduction of
negatives from nature, Dawson’s process is _facile princeps_, and to
assert that for the reproduction of pictures, some of the English
processes are equal to, if not superior to, the continental processes.
This is also the opinion of several artists who have seen specimens of the
work done in both countries. The process, as worked in America, does not
give results equal to those obtained in England. For diagrammatic
purposes, we consider nearly all of the English processes possess
qualities of equal value.

Another new departure for which we had some battling was a _minor_ point,
but an _important_ one. It was on the question of lettering. It had been
the practice of many of the firms to engrave in plain lettering beneath
the picture, the name of the firm, and the words “negative by ——,” and
often in addition the word “copyright.” This engraving, as it was usually
done, gave a “cheap” look to the picture. We felt that the picture was
injured by this procedure, so we insisted that our name should be cut in
the picture, in a quiet manner, as an etcher would sign his name, and that
no ordinary engraving should appear on the plate. In case, then, our
student should at any time have any of his works reproduced, we will give
him a few hints, for though the publisher does the business part, the
artist always has the passing of the plates.

[Sidenote: Hints for those having plates reproduced by photo-etching.]

When sending his plates, then, to be bitten, he should send a well-printed
platinotype print with them, a print having just the effect he wishes for
in the copper-plate. If clouds are to be introduced, the cloud negative
should be sent as well. He will in due time receive a proof, which he must
go carefully over, making any notes on the margin as to re-biting, &c. If
it be retouched or utterly bad, it must be rejected. Of course, it is here
evident that his art knowledge will come in, for if ignorant of art, how
can he make remarks to the “biters” who are often artists? He must
continue asking for proofs until he receives a satisfactory one, for no
plate can be forced upon him if he can prove it to be wrong. If he have
real grounds for objection, he will find the English firms most generous,
for they take a pride in their work. They have, in some cases, made as
many as three plates from a subject for us, with no extra charge, and this
we could never get a French firm to do. When he approves of the plate, he
signs the proof to that effect. Then comes the great question of “colour,”
that is the coloured ink to be used; for one of the great advantages in
photo-etching lies in the number of colours and shades of colours which
can be used. Here, again, his artistic knowledge comes in, and he will
find the effects produced by different colours are marvellous. Having,
then, suggested his colour and tint, he will receive proofs printed in
them, and he finally decides upon the tint suitable for each plate, and
these are kept as standards on a file. The matter of printing papers, too,
offers great variety and scope for artistic selection; but here the
student will find he has not a free hand, the publisher often limiting his
choice in that on financial grounds. The student must see, however, that
if India paper be used, an unsuitable tint be not selected. For example,
India paper may be yellow or white, obviously then, if the plate is to be
printed in bartolozzi red, white India must be used, and not the ordinary
yellow-tinted India. The student must be careful when sending his
platinotype print, to cut it exactly to the limits he wants the picture on
copper. Copper-plates can be produced in this way from prints in cases
where the negative has been broken. If the sky is not an important part of
the picture, it is better to have it a flat grey tint, or delicately
gradated. The student, of course, remembering certain physical truths, as,
for example, that still water is, as a rule, lower in tone than the sky
which it reflects, &c. The best test of relative value of sky and water is
to turn the _picture upside down_. All these subtleties must be carefully
considered, for a sky lower in tone than the still water reflecting it,
would, with rare exceptions, be a fatal artistic error, and enough to
condemn the plate. The details which thus go to make or mar a picture are

[Sidenote: W. L. Colls on photo-etching.]

This, then, is our experience of the photo-mechanical processes, and, as
we make it a rule never to write on anything we have not full _practical_
knowledge of, we have asked our friend, Mr. Colls, to write us some
particulars of these processes. We have done this because there are
certain misleading books in the market on the subject, written by men
without such special knowledge as can only be obtained by a man who has
worked at the process for years and at nothing else, and who is, in
addition, an artist. Mr. Colls is both a specialist and an artist in this
work. In our opinion the future artists who practise photography will also
photo-etch their own plates, which is greatly to be desired, but since
these processes are at present kept very secret, this knowledge cannot now
be acquired. Nevertheless, we feel that the day is not far distant when
every artist who expresses himself by photography will also bite his own
plates and make his own blocks, and the prints will be published by
print-dealers as etchings are now. This, in our opinion, is the only
method which can give full artistic satisfaction. A final important
consideration is the number of good prints which can be pulled from each
plate. Dawson’s plates, being bitten deeper, will obviously stand more
wear and tear than the others, and will produce a greater number of good
impressions. Mr. Colls thinks that at least 3000 good impressions can be
pulled from each plate, if the steel-facing will last. We append Mr.
Colls' remarks:—

                         THE COPPER-PLATE PRESS.

[Sidenote: Preamble.]

“In giving a description of the various methods that are employed for
reproducing photographs from nature for the copper-plate press, it is
obvious that only those which are purely ‘automatic’ need be mentioned, as
it is impossible to give a true rendering of those beautiful forms and
delicate gradations of tone, which we see in nature, by any but automatic
means. For so ever-varying and sudden are her changes, that it is by
photography alone we are able to secure these effects, and having obtained
them, we require a process which will give us _our_ impressions, and one
which will harmonize with printed matter when required for book

“This we have in the Intaglio plate, which gives the most perfect
tonality, and possesses all the richness and quality of a mezzotint plate,
with the same degree of permanency.

[Sidenote: Grown and bitten plates.]

“For convenience of description the different methods of producing
Intaglio plates may be classed under two heads—‘Grown’ and ‘Bitten.’ I
will first mention the ‘grown,’ and will endeavour to point out the
characteristics of the different processes, so that a comparison may be
made between them, with the object of determining the one best suited for
the purpose. In all the growing methods the basis of the process consists
in obtaining a gelatinous mould of the subject; the most usual and simple
way being to develop a carbon print from a reversed negative on a polished
copper-plate which has been previously silvered, to prevent the copper
which is afterwards deposited upon it adhering; and to produce the grain
which is necessary to hold the printing ink. The mould when wet is dusted
over with powdered glass, sand, or the like, previously treated with wax
or stearine, to assist its removal.

“When the mould is quite dry the gritty particles are removed by gentle
rubbing, leaving the gelatine in a grained state. Plumbago is then rubbed
well over the picture to render the mould conductive, and it is placed in
the electrotyping battery and a stout cast taken. There is some little
uncertainty attending the entire removal of the gritty particles, and
great danger that in making the mould sufficiently conductive in the heavy
portions, the fine work is destroyed by getting blocked with the plumbago.
The former objection has been overcome by substituting powdered resins,
which can be readily dissolved away without injury to the mould, and the
latter by the introduction of a tissue containing granular plumbago, which
while producing the necessary grain for holding ink, is one of the best
conductors of electricity, so that no after-treatment is required.

“Similar to this is a process by which the grain is obtained by the action
of light on a chemical substance, which crystallizes under the action of
light, the crystals becoming larger the longer they are acted on by it. A
deposit of copper is then made on the crystalline surface and a plate

“By these methods very satisfactory results may be obtained for certain
classes of work where the range of tone is not great, they are more
particularly suited for reproducing the works of early engravers, old
cuts, etchings, pencil and crayon drawings, and similar work upon rough or
grained surfaces. In fact, when printed upon old paper, as is sometimes
done in particular cases, so closely do they resemble the originals, that
the most expert judge would have great difficulty in detecting the
reproduction from the original; but for reproducing nature work, where the
scale ranges from the highest lights to the deepest shadows, these methods
are not suitable without much hand-work, which is ruinous to the faithful
rendering of the subject, and the introduction of the roulette which is
used to give the necessary depth does not improve the appearance, as the
depth obtained by it is heavy, and lacking that transparency which is so
desirable in all classes of work from nature. The great drawback to these
methods is that the grain produced is upon the surface of the plate,
standing up in innumerable little prickles, and the only way of working up
a plate is with the roulette and scraper (the nature of the grain being
unsuited for re-biting). These, added to the soft nature of grown copper,
as compared to rolled or hammered copper, which is used in the biting
methods, necessitates the greatest care in printing, and usually require
very strong and sometimes forcing inks to give the necessary strength, and
although a plate be steel-faced it will not hold out for a large number of

“There are other ways of producing a grain upon a gelatinous mould by
re-sensitizing and, when dry, dusting over the picture brocade powder,
either coarse or fine, as the subject may require; the mould being
previously treated with vaseline, or a similar substance, to allow of the
powder adhering, and exposing to daylight for a short time. The powder is
then removed, and it is ready for the battery, after being blackleaded. As
all the growing methods resemble each other so closely, I will not mention
any others, but will proceed with a short description of the biting

[Sidenote: Biting process.]

“A polished copper-plate, preferably a hammered one, is thoroughly
cleaned, to remove all traces of grease, and is dusted over with powdered
asphalt or resin, and the plate heated until the powder becomes partially
melted. A carbon print from a reversed transparency is next developed upon
the grained plate and allowed to dry. The unprotected margin is then
painted round with asphalt, or other resist-varnish, and a wall of
bordering wax placed round the work. It is then ready for biting, which is
done with perchloride of iron, the bare portions being first attacked;
water is then added, and the biting proceeds to the next tone, and so on,
adding water when required, until the solution has penetrated the thickest
portions of the film. The greatest care must be exercised during this
operation, and a careful watch kept lest the action remain too long on any
part. The biting should proceed in a gradual manner, so that the values
are not exaggerated. The plate is then rinsed in water, the bordering wax
removed, and the pigment cleaned off with a little potash ley.

“The biting of a plate resembles very closely the development of a
dry-plate positive, as the action may be seen throughout the operation as
each successive tone is reached. There are many variations to the above
method, and each worker has his particular way of producing the grain,
making the mould, biting, &c., but they are all based on the one just
described. As the introduction of the biting methods as commercially
worked is of more recent date than the grown, less is known of it, and
those who work it most successfully keep it secret, and were it known
there is little likelihood of its being satisfactorily worked by any but
those experienced in copper-plate work, as long and careful study is
necessary to master those minute details which are so important to ensure
good results. For so delicate are the operations, that the changes of
weather, temperature, &c., play an important part, and must be attended

“One of the great advantages a bitten plate has over a grown is that the
scale is greater than by any other method, and the nature of the grain
admirably lends itself to re-biting should any parts require deepening.
That is, re-entering the original work by covering the grained surface
with a protective coating, which resists the action of the acid
etching-fluid, and deepening those parts that may require it, stopping out
with resist-varnish any portion where deepening is not wanted. This at
once does away with the roulette, and the plate still maintains its
original character. Re-biting is seldom required on a plate from nature,
_for with care a plate can be made which needs no after-work whatever, and
when bevelled and steel-faced is ready for the press, notwithstanding the
assertion that has been made to the contrary, which recognizes the process
only as a basis for skilled after-work_. It is needless to say that in all
mechanical processes the very best negative is required to work from, for
although a great deal may be done in the biting to counteract any defects
in the negative, yet, if the negative is wanting in any particular, the
after-result is sure to suffer. And here I wish to say that by the ‘very
best negative’ I do not mean the ordinary photographer’s beau-ideal, but a
negative which gives a true impression of the object photographed, and is
full of the ‘quality’ and subtlety of nature.

“The grain obtained on a plate which is bitten, differs materially from
one that is grown, inasmuch as in the former it is below the surface, and
in the latter upon it, as previously described; consequently its wearing
capabilities are far greater.

[Sidenote: Another biting method.]

“Another biting method which possesses the merit of ingenuity rather than
utility, is of converting an ordinary bromide of silver positive into
chloride of silver, by the action of perchloride of iron and chromic acid.
The film when damp is brought into close contact with the face of a
polished copper-plate. Chloride of silver now rests upon the copper-plate,
more of it in the vigorous or dark portions, and less of it in the
lighter, and by a galvano-chemical process the chloride of silver
decomposes, forming metallic silver and soluble chloride of copper, and
producing depths corresponding to the amount of chloride of silver
present. The energy of the action may be increased by moistening the film
with a weak solution of chloride of zinc, and a battery current seems
necessary to produce good results. As can be seen, the process is a very
delicate one, admitting of little if any latitude in working, and, unlike
the first-mentioned biting process, will not permit of any work being put
on the positive as is usually done in the first method for certain work
where the darks are very hard and pronounced, and a great saving of
after-labour avoided.

“It is advisable to say that the work done on the positive and plate to
which I refer is done in connection with facsimile work, and not with
‘nature work,’ for in the reproduction of engravings the deep blacks of
the engravings have to be reproduced, and since in nature there is no
black of this kind we do not have to accentuate parts of the plates to
produce it.”

                             CHAPTER XIII.
                         MOUNTING AND FRAMING.

[Sidenote: Mounting and framing.]

Having our print, the next question is how shall it be mounted and framed.
There can, of course, be no laws for this, but we feel justified in making
a few remarks on this head.

[Sidenote: Mountants.]

The best mountant we know of is a weak solution of fine French glue. It
acts better than any other mountant we have used, and we have tried
several of the formulæ made with starch, arrowroot, and other compounds.
Fine French glue holds firmly and there is no cockling after mounting.
After mounting the prints are improved by being passed through a press,
but this is by no means necessary. We shall now make a few remarks upon
framing. [Sidenote: Framing.] In the first place it is our opinion that
all cut mounts are inartistic. Mr. Whistler, not long since, made some
remarks on this head, which are well worthy of attention. His objections
to cut mounts were that the different tints of the picture, the gold
border, and the cut mount, weakened the edges of the picture and detracted
from its directness and strength, and this is no doubt true. For this
reason we do not think platinotypes look well mounted on India paper, the
edges are decidedly weakened, and as for mounting silver prints on India
the result is most inharmonious. In our opinion then the print should be
mounted upon white paper, preferably Whatman’s rough drawing-paper, and
for all pictures less than whole plate size, we should recommend a margin
from three to four inches. A suitable moulding for these would be a
bevelled moulding enamelled white. [Sidenote: Moulding.] In all cases
where the mount shows, it must be remembered that the colour should
harmonize with the print. [Sidenote: Mounts.] We saw some prints of
Whistler’s “Sarasate” mounted on plain black cabinet mounts, and they
looked charming. As in that case, the picture came out nearly all black,
the whole made a harmony in black. When the prints are mounted on cards as
in the case of cartes and cabinets, there should be absolutely nothing on
the face of the card. The hideousness of the photographer’s name in
shining golden letters is far too common. Nothing could look better for
these small pictures than plain black mounts, with no word or letter or
coloured line or any other embellishment. If the photographer is such a
tradesman at heart that he must air his medals, let him put all that part
of him on the back of the card. The method of stamping each photograph
with the photographer’s name is not less to be deprecated. For the
industrial photographer some simple but artistic lettering should be
chosen, and it should be printed small in one corner in Indian ink, which
harmonizes with the grey of platinotypes. Any good die-cutter could supply
an artistic stamp, and the charge, even if a little greater than usual,
could not be very great. Or the photographer might cut out his name
artistically in the gelatine film, but we recommend the former plan. The
mounts for cartes and cabinets should have a margin of at least half an
inch all round, as this adds considerably to the effect.

[Sidenote: Platinotypes.]

For platinotypes ranging from whole plate size up to 15 by 12, we prefer
to frame them up closely, showing no mount. The frame we like best for
large black and white work is a pattern we took from a painting by De
Hooghe. These frames are made of mahogany, 2½ inches wide, and bevelled
inwards, and have a rather broad slip of English gilt between the frame
and the picture. [Sidenote: Frames.] The mahogany is stained black and
polished. Pictures of 15 by 12 and upwards, should also be framed close
up, and for the larger sizes we prefer gilt frames and simple mouldings
with but little carving. Cambridge frames are simple, but do not look
distinguished. Each picture should have a separate frame, and we trust
that exhibition committees will one day see their way to enforcing this
rule, which, besides ensuring a better effect, would prevent much bad work
being hung. Sometimes six prints are hung for the sake of one or two,
because they are all in one frame. We could scarcely believe, had we not
seen it, the fact that some exhibitors have chronicled on a part of their
frame the medals taken elsewhere by the picture. Such a proceeding,
besides being vain and ill-bred, is apt to influence credulous judges. One
would think it quite needless to say that this form of advertisement is
not ornamental, nor does it enhance the virtue, qualities, or beauty of
the picture. All artificial methods of mounting and framing are to be
avoided. One of these is mounting on glass. [Sidenote: Albums.] All albums
used for mounting prints should have plain pages, tinted in harmony with
the charcoal grey of the platinotype. All the vulgar decorations of ships,
flowers, &c., which disfigure the photographic albums of to-day should be
rigidly excluded. The bad taste of the manufacturers of these things is
only another proof of the bluntness of the æsthetic feelings of producers
and buyers alike.

                              CHAPTER XIV.

[Sidenote: Copyright.]

The hazy notions existing among many photographers as to how to secure the
copyright of their photographs, and other details, has led us to make a
few remarks on the subject. In the first place the student is cautioned to
secure the copyright of every photograph worth keeping, for we presume he
will only keep pictures. This should be done at once; it is our practice
to send the first rough print at once to the copyright office.

[Sidenote: Method of copyright.]

The photographer must write to the Registrar, Stationers' Hall, Doctors'
Commons, E.C., for forms for copyrighting photographs. These cost one
penny each, and a money order must be enclosed for the amount, stamps not
being accepted. He will then receive the form as given on the next page.

[Sidenote: On agreements.]

The student must carefully note the footnote on the schedule, and be most
particular in all cases when he sells his copyright in any plates to have
a written agreement drawn up and signed _before_ he fills in the copyright
schedules. After this proceeding he can fill up the schedule as directed,
and it is, of course, only on these occasions that he will be required to
fill in columns two and three of the schedule.

The student should carefully study the matter of copyrighting, for he will
find both publishers and photographers are, as a rule, ill-informed on
those parts of the copyright law to which we now refer.

                                (COPY OF)
    _Memorandum for Registration under Copyright (Works of Art) Act._


I, _John Silver_, of _0, Regent’s Street, London_, do hereby certify, That
I am entitled to the Copyright in the undermentioned Work; and _I_ hereby
require a Memorandum of such Copyright [_or_, the Assignment of such
Copyright] to be entered in the Register of Proprietors of Copyright in
Paintings, Drawings, and Photographs, kept at Stationers' Hall, according
to the particulars underwritten.

            (_Every particular given must be clearly written._)
   Description of  │  Date of   │  Names of  │Name and Place│Name and Place
       Work.       │Agreement or│ Parties to │ of Abode of  │ of Abode of
                   │Assignment. │Agreement or│Proprietor of │  Author of
                   │            │Assignment. │  Copyright.  │    Work.
    _Photograph_   │            │            │_John Silver,_│_John Silver,_
     _entitled_    │            │            │ _0, Regent_  │ _0, Regent_
    _“Spring.”_    │            │            │  _Street,_   │  _Street,_
                   │            │            │  _London._   │  _London._
    Dated this _28th_ day of _June_, 1888.   │   (Signed) _John Silver_.

N.B.—_Office Hours from Ten to Four; Saturdays, Ten to Two._

N.B.—In all cases where a Painting, Drawing, or Negative of a Photograph
    is transferred for the first time by the owner to any other person,
    the Copyright will cease to exist, unless _at or before the time of
    such transfer_ an Agreement in writing be signed by the transferee
    reserving the Copyright to the owner, or by the owner transferring
    the Copyright to the transferee, as may be the intention of the
    parties; and the date of such Agreement and names of parties must be
    inserted above, or registration will be no protection.

He fills in then all but columns 2 and 3, as in the dummy, and returns the
form with a shilling, a copy of the photograph to be registered, and one
penny for postage, when he will receive a receipt. Each photograph must be
separately copyrighted. This 1_s._ 1_d._ protects the photograph for 42
years, or for the author’s lifetime and seven years after death. The
author (being a British subject, or resident within the dominions of the
Crown) is entitled to the copyright of every photograph made in the
British dominions or elsewhere. We shall extract a few pertinent remarks
from an excellent article on copyright, which appeared in the “Year’s Art
of 1887:”—

The “author” of a photograph seems to be the person who actually groups
the sitters, and “is the effective cause of the picture.” An agreement is
made with operators to obviate this reading of the law. “A photograph
taken from an engraving is ‘an original photograph’ within the section.”
Thus a photographer cannot copy the photograph of an engraving in which
there exists copyright.

[Sidenote: The nature of the right.]

The copyright given by the act is “the sole and exclusive right of
copying, engraving, reproducing, and multiplying the photograph and the
negative thereof, by any means or of any size. The fact that there is
copyright in a representation of a scene or object does not prevent other
people making an independent representation of such scene or object, but a
photograph of groups so arranged as to exactly resemble a picture would be
an infringement of the copyright of the picture, for if in the result that
which is copied be an imitation of the picture, then it is immaterial
whether it be arrived at directly or by intermediate steps.” Photographers
should pay great heed to this clause. For if a photograph or photogravure
be so arranged or grouped as to resemble another already copyrighted, the
law has been infringed. This is a most wholesome fact, for the veriest
fool can go and arrange a picture after an artist has once shown him how
to do it, for as in all art the originality is to select a beautiful scene
in nature, there lies the difficulty.

[Sidenote: Registration.]

The photograph is not protected until it has been registered, and if the
picture is pirated _before_ registration there is no remedy except in
special cases.

Photographers should then register the first print they take from their
negatives. Making lantern-slides from copyrighted photographs or
photo-etchings is of course an infringement of the law, and should be
severely dealt with.

[Sidenote: Replicas.]

“If a picture or photograph is painted or taken on commission as the
copyright (unless reserved) is in the hands of the purchaser, the painter
or photographer may not paint or produce a replica.”

[Sidenote: Remedies for infringement.]

Penalties. “For each offence the offender forfeits to the proprietor of
the copyright, for the time being, a sum not exceeding 10_l._ When several
copies are sold together, the sale of each copy constitutes a separate
offence.” It will be seen that a photographer could be ruined if a sale of
say 1000 copies could be proved, and serve him right too.

[Sidenote: Forfeiture.]

All pirated repetitions, copies and imitations, and all negatives of
photographs made for the purpose of obtaining such copies, are to be
forfeited to the proprietor of the copyright.

[Sidenote: Damages.]

“The proprietor may also bring an action for damages against persons
making or importing for sale unlawful copies, although the importation is
without guilty knowledge.”

[Sidenote: Spurious pictures.]

Issuing spurious pictures.—If a photograph be falsely signed, it is an
infringement, as it is to make any alteration in the work and then publish
it as original.

It is commonly believed that, unless the word copyright be on the
photograph, it is not secured. This is an error—as long as the photograph
is copyrighted that is all that is required.

[Sidenote: Pecuniary penalties.]

“Pecuniary penalties can be recovered by bringing an action against the
offending party, or by summary proceedings before any two justices having
jurisdiction where the offender resides.”

[Sidenote: Final advice.]

In ending this subject, we would impress upon the photographer that it is
his solemn duty to exact the utmost rigour of the law, should he ever have
his work pirated.

                              CHAPTER XV.

[Sidenote: Exhibitions.]

Exhibiting a work of art is publishing it, and the student will, when he
obtains suitable works, very naturally begin to think about exhibiting
them. The subject of photographic exhibitions is one upon which we have
written many times in the photographic press. Photographic exhibitions are
in a most unsatisfactory condition all over the world.

At present, a society, or a corporation, or a private firm, for ends of
their own, advertise an exhibition, often on purely financial grounds;
they hope it will pay them, sometimes it does pay and sometimes it does
not. The method of organizing these exhibitions is to get a list of
patrons, generally a few of the “classes,” a few photographers who are
known, but whose fame more often than not is based on nothing solid, and
is ephemeral, and finally perhaps the names of a few artists may be used
to conjure with. Numbers of medals are advertised and all works have to be
sent _carriage paid_. The judges are then chosen, and in nearly all cases
they are utterly incompetent. _No one can judge a work of art unless he be
an artist._ The combined assurance and ignorance of those who accept what
should be considered a serious office, is laughable and lamentable. Is our
exhibiting student then going to submit his work to men untrained in art?
If he does, he will find it either unhung, skied, or passed over in the
awards, to make room for the pretty nothings and false renderings of the
craftsmen’s ideal. The whole judging business is such a blatant farce that
the method of awards at photographic exhibitions is a stock joke among
artists. We have repeatedly been to exhibitions with artists, and on
nearly every occasion their opinion was that many of the most worthy
pictures were passed over. Such a state of things is appalling, and when
with that is coupled the notorious unfairness with which certain
exhibitions are directed, as recent disclosures have proved, it is indeed
lamentable. The tendency of all exhibitions as at present conducted is to
_degrade_ photography as an art; that is our deliberate opinion, after
having for several years watched the system of making awards and having
served on several juries of awards. A fatal error very common among
photographers is to suppose that, because a man is an eminent scientist or
a great authority on lenses, he is therefore a fit and proper person to
judge _pictures_. The truth is he is one of the most unfit, for he is
prejudiced, and his scientific knowledge has a bad influence on his

[Sidenote: Abolition of medals.]

In our opinion all medals should be done away with, all distinctions
between “amateur” and “professional” removed; all pictures should be hung
on the line, the hanging committee should be selected from those
photographers who have proved themselves _by their works_ to know most
about art; and all pictures should be exhibited in separate frames. If
medals must be awarded in order to attract exhibitors, let the awards be
made by artists of recognized position only. You have only to look at the
medals awarded, to know what to expect; there is, with one or two
exceptions, not the feeblest suggestion of art in them, they belong to the
class of medals awarded to patent ice-cream machines, best refined
arrow-root and dog-biscuits. [Sidenote: Medals as works of art.] If medals
are awarded, each one should be a work of art, the original having been
modelled by a good sculptor. The student, as a rule then, should pay no
regard whatever to the awards made at exhibitions by photographers, the
only real test of value is when the awards are made by trained artists,
but it is rarely that even one artist serves on a jury of awards.

If our student must exhibit, we advise him to mark his work “Not for
Competition.” [Sidenote: Gambling for medals.] Gambling for medals has
lately assumed alarming proportions, as the recent comments in the
_Photographic News_ prove. It is enough to disgust all artists, who will
of course keep aloof from photographic circles, as they already do, as
long as things continue as they are. [Sidenote: Queer judges.] Can the
folly of human nature go further than when we hear of Mr. Guncotton, noted
for his studies in collodion, or Mr. Chromatic, noted for his patent lens,
or Mr. Gelatine noted for his emulsion process, assembling in solemn
conclave to award medals for pictures, to judge which, needs years of
careful and special study and wide artistic experience. The student,
curious on these matters, has only to note how different are the awards
when artists give the prizes. Many of our best workers, we know, will not
exhibit, so long as the craftsman’s ideal is set up as the standard, and
the judges are not artists. [Sidenote: Early days of the Photographic
Society.] In the early days of photography, when Sir Charles Eastlake,
formerly president of the Royal Academy, was also president of the Royal
Photographic Society, and when Sir W. J. Newton, the eminent miniature
painter was one of the vice-presidents, there seemed some chance for
photography, and all might have gone well, had not these artists, as we
are informed, been harried and worried by the ignorant wranglings of their
brother “photographic artist” (?) judges. Those who were thus responsible
for the resignation of those artists, deserve to be pilloried to the end
of time in photographic literature, and such, we are sure, is the feeling
of all who earnestly wish for the good and advancement of photography.

[Sidenote: J. Constable.]

This is a painful subject, but we conceive it to be our solemn duty to
warn the student who is anxious to follow photography as an art, against
all these traps. Let him set out with the determination to work for the
approval of artists, and let him despise the approval or disapproval of
all ignorant of art. As John Constable said long ago, “the self-taught
artist has a very ignorant master!”

[Sidenote: Reforms in exhibitions.]

We hope the reforms regarding exhibitions which we have for years
advocated, and more fully set forth in a photographic journal, in an
article entitled “An Ideal Exhibition,” may some day be adopted, but we
cannot be very sanguine. However, until some such reforms are adopted,
photography must struggle on in darkness, and the blind will continue to
lead the blind; and all we can do is to caution others, and ourselves
avoid the guidance of the blind, unless we too wish to be led into the

                              CHAPTER XVI.

[Sidenote: Advice.]

We have then finished Book II., and we presume that the student has now
mastered his technique and practice, but the end is not yet. The student
may thoroughly understand the scientific side of photography, he may have
mastered completely the use of his tools and he may be able to produce
impressions on his plates such as he desires, but the end is not yet, for
now he has to learn the practice and principles of art, he has to prove
whether he can be an artist, for such is only given to a few. All can
learn to draw, to paint, to photograph, to etch, but they may remain
draughtsmen, painters, photographers, etchers all their lives, and never
become artists. The history of art shows indeed how few become artists at
all, and as for those who become great artists, they are as scarce as
great poets. The student then must study art in some form or other, as
well as his own technique and practice, which he could learn alone if he
followed our instructions. Art, however, cannot so be learned, and the
student should, if possible, attend some art classes. There are numerous
art schools throughout the kingdom, and our student cannot do better than
enter one of them and go through a course of drawing. Though no very
profound knowledge is to be obtained at such schools, what is taught is
better than nothing at all, and after all the student cannot expect to get
the best advice on the matter, that is given to but the very few and

In the next book we shall give what advice we can, but at the same time
our student must study practically some branch of art; unless, indeed, he
wishes to become one of the mighty band of art-ignorant craftsmen, or
unless he is so fortunate as to be cast amongst highly talented artists,
to whom he can easily apply for advice. For having learned his technique
and practice he has but learned how to speak, he can only show his calibre
by what he has to say and how he says it, just as all the world can write
yet only the highly trained can write artistically.

In a very few months the student will see, if he is fitted by nature to
become an artist, and if he is not our advice is give it up, or take up
one of the scientific special branches, and if he is incapable of doing
good work there, he must content himself to play at photography, as too
many photographers do now, but in our opinion the art is not worth playing
at, there are so many more satisfying games when play is the end and aim.

                               BOOK III.
                             PICTORIAL ART.

  “He does not sufficiently understand that things are of value only
  according to their fundamental qualities, and he still believes that
  the care with which a thing is done, even if it is aimless, ought to
  be taken into account. In fact it would be a good thing to make him
  understand that things exist only to the extent of the stuff they

                                                 J. FRANÇOIS-MILLET.

                               CHAPTER I.
                            EDUCATED SIGHT.

[Sidenote: Born blind.]

We are all born mentally blind, but almost immediately we detect light, as
can some of the lowest animals, then we _learn_ to distinguish the colours
and forms of objects as we grow older, and there the majority of us stop,
and yet we all think we can see equally well. That we cannot is a truism,
for after being able to distinguish colours and forms, but very few
persons go on to educate their sight more perfectly. [Sidenote: Trades.]
Some of us may learn to distinguish certain kinds of material, the
different aspects of these materials under different conditions, and so
they learn trades and are excellent judges of tea, coffee, hosiery and
paper. [Sidenote: Science.] Still higher come the scientific men who pay
more attention to the education of the sight. They learn to distinguish
the microscopic beings, the life-histories of the lower forms of animal
life, the histology of flowers, the structure of the trees, the aspects of
the skies, the physical and chemical phenomena of the elements, the
movements of the planets, so that in all their walks nature is full of
interest to them; they find wisdom in a pond, they revel in a marsh, or
they travel to a far country for the sake of rare birds' eggs, or spend
days and nights in their laboratories to solve new chemical problems, or
organize expeditions to study unusual phenomena of the heavenly bodies;
they see and love all these things. The man uneducated in science finds no
interest in a drop of muddy water, he finds nothing wonderful in the
vegetation of the country side, he passes unheeded the rarest birds, and
the rainbow, and storm cloud, and the blazing comet, all alike to him have
no interest, he is blind to them; or if he sees them at all, it is as
through a glass, darkly.

[Sidenote: Art.]

All this the world allows, and allows that no one save those who by hard
work have trained themselves can see these things. But mark the stupidity
of mankind, he allows he is blind to the pleasures of science and will
remain so, unless he studies the subject, but when it comes to art
matters, like a weathercock, he shifts round and thinks he can understand
all that without any training at all, yet he is born as blind and
incapable of understanding art as he is of understanding science until he
has trained himself to understand.

[Sidenote: The artist.]

The artist, like the scientific man, begins by studying closely his
subject—nature as a whole—he studies her in all her aspects, he seeks for
harmonies and arrangements in colour and form, for beautiful lines of
composition, and only after long and close observation do the scales drop
from his eyes and he sees a beautiful pose, even in a child digging up
potatoes, or a man throwing a hammer or running a race, or he sees subtle
beauties of colour in a reed-bed, or poetry and pathos in an old peasant
stooping under a load of sticks, and this is far more difficult to see
than it is to learn to see the scientific truths, and that is why there
are so few real artists and poets and so many more scientific men. Art,
alas, cannot be learned like science, hard work will not necessarily make
an artist. [Sidenote: Photographers art-blind.] Most photographers are
art-blind, but they are like the colour-blind old lady who did not know
it, and of course the only hope for them is to be convinced of their
blindness, then perhaps they may do something towards getting rid of the

[Sidenote: Necessary to cultivate artistic faculty.]

The student should now clearly understand why it is so necessary that this
faculty of artistic sight should be cultivated and trained, for since it
is our fundamental principle that all suggestions for pictures should come
from nature, we must first see the picture in nature and be struck by its
beauty so that we cannot rest until we have secured it on our plate; we
must therefore learn to see it in nature. If we see a beautiful pose, or a
beautiful effect in nature, we should at least make a note of it if we
cannot secure it. A slight sketch made at the time will do. Therefore,
amateur reader, if you have not trained yourself by study to see these
things in nature, blame no one but yourself, but remember you are blind,
blind, blind; but there is a remedy, and no surgical operation is required

[Sidenote: Necessity of study.]

Study! You must ever be on the look-out for beauties, that is the
necessary mental attitude, otherwise they will never be seen. You must
look for a thing if you wish to find it, and it is only by showing us your
finds that you will prove you have artistic insight, we shall not believe
a word you say about art until we see it in your work. If you do not
study, or if you are incapable, you will remain blind in spite of your
looking, and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you show to
the world commonplaces which you think are gems, for the world will soon
tell you they are commonplace. We once knew a person who was colour-blind,
who resented the suggestion as a personal insult, until one evening her
eyesight was tested, when her colour-blindness was proved.

Let the student then be assured that he is blind, he cannot _see_ art and
nature until he has studied them long and closely. He may be arrogant
enough to think he knows all about her without study. If that is so, as he
grows older let him refer back to his earlier works, and if he has
progressed meanwhile, let him recall how perfect he thought those early
works at the time he did them, and then let him lash himself for his
folly. A really good work will always bear looking back at, and will hold
its own however old the artist gets. [Sidenote: No royal road.] There is
no royal road to this appreciation of the beauties of art and nature, none
but incessant and loving study, and though the cockney, or sage of the
university, who dwells in towns and learns his art and his nature in the
National Gallery and British Museum, may lecture on nature and art, let
the student avoid him and his example. Lectures on art at any time are but
Dead Sea fruit.

The student then must educate his eyesight in order to see the beauties of
nature and art, and to do this he must study hard, for the true artist
wishes to see these beauties and to record them, that is all, nothing
more. The seers who see deeply, they are the poets! In science the
original discoverers are the seers, and since but few can aspire to become
seers, nevertheless let the rest be content to go on studying, for all of
us can see these things with an educated and intelligent eye, and seeing,
understand, and that reward is worth the pains.

                              CHAPTER II.

[Sidenote: Composition.]

No chapter of this book has given us so much thought as this chapter on

[Sidenote: Laws of composition.]

We could easily, as most writers have done, have given a digest of Mr.
Burnet’s laws of composition, but we have no faith in any “laws of
composition.” A law, to be logical, must hold good in all cases; now the
so-called “laws of composition,” are often broken deliberately by great
artists, and yet the result is perfect. This is easily explained, for
these so-called laws are mere arbitrary rules, deduced by one man from the
works of many artists and writers; and they are no more laws in the true
sense than are the laws of Phrenology or Astrology.

[Sidenote: Our problem.]

The great question then, which presented itself to us, was this: Will the
study of these so-called rules do good or harm to the student? Will a
knowledge of them lead him to the production of conventional work, or will
it in any way help him in his future work? We had many earnest discussions
on this point with artists, and they seemed equally uncertain in the
matter, though one condemned all such laws as absurd and unnecessary.
[Sidenote: “Treatise on Painting.”] We most certainly feel inclined to
agree with that one dissentient, but in trying to place ourselves in the
position of the photographic student, with absolutely no knowledge of art,
we have come to the conclusion that, perhaps, the student had better study
Mr. Burnet’s “Treatise on Painting.” A cheap edition of this book is
published by Dr. E. Wilson, of 835, Broadway, New York, and every student
should get a copy of it. It can be thoroughly mastered in a week or two,
so that not much time will be lost. The numerous plates will at any rate
be of some use to the student.

[Sidenote: Our ideas on composition.]

Now, from these remarks, it must not be assumed that we are no believer in
“composition.” Composition is really selection, and is one of the most—if
not the most—vital matters in all art, certainly the most vital in the art
of photography. But the writer maintains there are no laws for selection.
Each picture requires a special composition, and every artist treats each
picture originally; his method of treatment, however, often becomes a
“law” for lesser lights.

It has been assumed by opponents to “Naturalism” that naturalistic artists
ignore composition, and portray nature “anyhow,” just as she happens to
present herself to them. Nothing could be further from the truth. None is
more careful in selection and arrangement than the naturalistic painter,
at the same time none is less conventional. Nature is not always suitable
for pictorial purposes, though she is often enough suitable, and it is
when she is propitious that the artist depicts her; hence the great
principle of naturalism, that all suggestions should come from nature. The
object of art training is to show these propitious moods, and to enable
the painter to portray them. We prefer, then, the word “selection” to
composition. The matter really stands thus, a good naturalistic artist
selects a composition in nature which he sees to be very fine.

By composition, as used in this paragraph, is meant the harmonious and
fitting combination of the various component parts of the picture which
shall best express the picture.

Our best method will be to follow Mr. Burnet’s division of his subject,
and offer a running commentary on the essentials of his work from a
photographer’s standpoint, giving our ideas on the subject when they
differ from those of the author of “A Treatise on Painting.”

              “A TREATISE ON PAINTING,” by J. BURNET, F.R.S.

              _Education of the Eye.—Measurement and Form._

[Sidenote: Burnet’s “Painting.”]

Omitting to comment on Mr. Burnet’s remarks, we put the matter thus, that
it is highly desirable for all photographers to learn drawing, and to
learn it intelligently. Nothing could be more lamentable than the way in
which drawing is taught in our schools, it is worse than useless. The
student should go to some good art school for a few months, and learn
drawing, for in that way are learned the analysis and construction of
objects, and, above all, the eye is trained to careful observation, which
will be invaluable in the study of tone and selection.


[Sidenote: Perspective.]

This section the student should read over carefully, understanding
thoroughly the “point of sight” and the causes of violent perspective. For
in photography, though his lens may be true in drawing, he can as easily
obtain violent perspective as the draughtsman, by placing the lens too
close to his model. Fore-shortening, too, should be thoroughly understood.
Aërial perspective has been simply treated by us in this work, and the
various remarks of Burnet on this subject must be taken _cum grano salis_.


[Sidenote: Chiaro-oscuro.]

This term means light and shade. Now the term “chiaro-oscuro” is very
misleading, for it is used by different artists to mean different things.
The whole of photography depends on the proper management of light and
shade, for our drawing is done for us; but we prefer to use the more
modern term, “tone,” to express what we mean by light and shade; that term
we have already fully explained. Chiaro-oscuro, as we understand it, is
the _arbitrary_ placing of masses of light against masses of shade to
produce certain desired effects; it is, therefore, conventional, and akin
to the _law_ which required all trees to be painted fiddle-brown. It is
needless to say the only way such a conventional chiaro-oscuro can be
obtained in photography is by arranging the objects in nature, or by
retouching, and both are against our principles. The student, then, must,
as we have said, master “tone,” that is his chiaro-oscuro, his light and
shade, and he must always remember to look for “breadth” in his treatment.
[Sidenote: Breadth.] Breadth is found in all good work, and it depends in
photography not entirely upon light and shade, but upon the focussing and
developing as well, as we have already indicated. Why are spotty-lighted,
sharply-focussed, brightly-developed negatives so “noisy” and garish and
inartistic? It is that they lack “breadth.” It must not be thought from
this that no sunny pictures have breadth; on the contrary, if the masses
are large, and the planes well rendered, and the tonality true, there can
be as much breadth in a sunny picture as in a grey-day effect. It has been
said that “breadth” is a device of the painters, but this is mere
nonsense. Let the student look well at a simple stretch of grass-land
bordering a still lake, on a damp, misty evening, and then he will see
breadth. Let him focus that scene as sharply as he likes, including a
portion of sky as well, and develop and print from it, and he will find
breadth, and he will probably have a clear understanding as to the meaning
of the word.

Mr. Burnet divides chiaro-oscuro into five parts, viz. light, half-light,
middle tint, half-dark, dark. This arbitrary division is hypercritical.
For working purposes, light, half-tone or middle tint, and dark, are quite
sufficient; other subdivisions are far too subtle and numerous to be
considered theoretically, and, practically, truth of tone is only to be
learned by long experience and study, and we believe all the directions
given by Mr. Burnet for producing relief, harmony, and breadth, to be
artificial and useless. An examination of the plates shows clearly how
futile are his deductions, and how untrue in light and shade, viz. tone,
they all are.


[Sidenote: Composition.]

Mr. Burnet opens with the statement that “geometric forms in composition
are found to give order and regularity to an assemblage of figures.” This
is the first principle on which is built his structure of geometrical
composition. We will omit the dicta of literary men on pictorial art which
Mr. Burnet is so fond of quoting, but which we consider too worthless to
do more with than mention. Let us then apply ourselves to the study of his

His first remarks are upon angular composition, and as he finds that these
lead him into conventional methods, he goes on to say that this
conventionality can be rectified by balance. Even if we would follow this
form of composition our means are limited, for, unlike the painter, we
cannot alter and re-arrange. However, we have no wish to make “angular
compositions,” and consider them false in theory. Painters, on the other
hand, must settle these matters for themselves; we know how many settle
them, that is by ignoring all such teachings as nonsense. Next we come to
the “circular composition,” which, we are told, is “applicable to the
highest walks of art,” wherever they may be. Soon after this we come upon
the truest remark in the book. “Artists generally prefer the opinions of
untutored children to the remarks of the most learned philosophers,” and
we fear most modern artists prefer the teachings of nature to those of
that philosopher John Burnet, F.R.S. Finally, Mr. Burnet winds up with the
words, “I must also caution the young artist against supposing that these
modes of arrangements are given for his imitation. I merely wish him to be
acquainted with the advantages any particular composition possesses, that
in adopting any invention of his own, he may engraft upon it these or
similar advantages.”

Now this reads very oddly after talking of _rules_ of composition, for
what is the good of a rule if it is not to be followed? and it reads very
illogically when compared with the quotation from Reynolds (Brougham?),
which goes to back up the excuse for advocating rules as Burnet gives
them,—viz. “to those who imagine that such _rules_ tend to fetter genius,

In short, the whole work is illogical, unscientific, and inartistic, and
has not a leg to stand on. It is very specious to say that all
compositions are made according to geometrical forms, for nothing can be
easier than to take arbitrary points in a picture and draw geometrical
figures joining them. The pyramid is a favourite geometrical form of
composition. Now take any picture, and take any three points you like, and
join them, and you have a pyramid, so does every composition contain a
pyramid, as does a donkey’s ear. But enough of this. The student is
distinctly warned against paying any serious attention to these rules; it
is, however, as we have said, well that he should know of them, and we
suspect he will learn something of design from merely looking carefully at
the plates. Of tone he will learn nothing.

With Mr. Burnet’s remarks upon colour we are in no way concerned.

But the student will say, how, then, can composition be learned? Our
answer to this is that composition, that is selection, cannot be learned
save by experience and practical work—there is no royal road to it, no
shilling guide. This subtle and vital power must be acquired if we are to
do any good work, for we are dumb until we do acquire it. We can no more
express ourselves in art without having mastered composition, than a child
can express himself in prose until he has learnt the art of writing. It is
for this reason that we must learn art practically, for no written “rules
or laws” can be given. Each picture is a problem in itself, and the
art-master can help the student to solve the problems as they arise, in
that way only can composition be learned. The proof of this is that young
painters who have been through the schools are very weak in composition,
it is only by continual failures that they acquire the necessary
knowledge. Let the student trace the development of any painter’s work,
and he will find that his early works are always poor in composition and
feeble in _motif_.

                              CHAPTER III.
                       OUT-DOOR AND IN-DOOR WORK.

It is presumed the student has thoroughly mastered and applied all that
has preceded this chapter, especially the matter of tone, otherwise it is
no use attempting to make pictures, which means attempting composition.

Presuming then the student is master of the subject as already treated, we
will now proceed to offer some suggestions on picture-making, but be it
distinctly understood they are only suggestions.

We shall divide the subject into two sections, beginning with out-door

                         OUT-DOOR PORTRAITURE.

[Sidenote: Out-door portraiture.]

Very fine portraits and groups can be taken out of doors. In taking such
pictures, it is admissible to dictate the dress of the model, and to
arrange tea-parties, sporting, athletic, and other groups. But if the
student intends to make them artistic, he must be very particular with his
_types_, and see above all things that the sentiment is true. For example,
it is a fine parody on nature to photograph a gaunt and self-conscious
girl in æsthetic clothing, for dress it cannot be called, with a
tennis-bat in her hand. For a tennis picture, fine girls, physically
well-formed, should be chosen.

[Sidenote: Background.]

Next the student should choose a simple background, which with the dress
and flesh tints form a harmony or fine study in tone. The model’s dress
should be very simple and well-fitting, such dresses as were worn by
Botticelli’s women (dresses quite unlike the modern æsthetic gowns), being
very artistic for women, while flannel shirts or simple white trousers
will look well on the men. All monstrosities and exaggerations of fashion
should be avoided, such as flowers, chatelaines, wasp-waists, high heels,
and dress improvers. [Sidenote: Materials for dresses.] The best material
for dresses for pictures is a coarse, limp, self-coloured muslin
(butter-cloth is excellent for the purpose). [Sidenote: Jewellery.] All
jewellery should be eschewed, the only decoration of this kind that
photographs simply and well is perhaps a string of pearls, which looks

The work must be true in sentiment, and the student must choose an
appropriate treatment of the subject. The portrait being out of doors, we
must be made _to feel_ that fact; thus, a girl resting from tennis, a girl
in a riding-habit, or better still on horseback, would be very
appropriate. The background must be carefully selected to be in keeping
with the figure, and to help to tell the story fully and emphatically, and
yet it must be kept subdued.

[Sidenote: Groups.]

Groups are very difficult to treat artistically, and our never-failing
rule is to limit as much as possible the number of people in the group.
[Sidenote: Treatment of model.] Having now chosen his model and arranged
other matters, the student must remember to let his model stand or sit, as
he or she likes, and all suggestions for the pose should come from the
model; this is a fundamental principle of naturalism. A great friend of
ours, a well-known sculptor, assures us he would not dare to pose a model
according to any preconceived idea, but he watches the model pose in
different ways, and when he sees a striking and beautiful attitude be
seizes on that and makes a rapid sketch of it. That is the only true way
for the photographer to work, he must have the camera ready, focussed and
arranged, and when he sees his model in an _unconscious_ and beautiful
pose, he must snap his shutter. It is thus very evident how important is
art-knowledge and insight for all good photographic work, and it is thus
evident how a man who is sympathetic and of a refined temperament will
show his individuality in his work.

[Sidenote: Commercial Groups.]

With commercial groups of bands, football teams, &c., the student has
nothing to do, and let him never be induced to photograph anything which
he does not think will make a picture. He must have patience also, when
waiting for nature’s suggestions; we have waited a whole morning, rubber
ball in hand, for a suitable grouping of colts, but we finally got one of
the best things we ever produced. If our photographer be a smoker, let him
light his pipe and take it easy, talking meanwhile to the model; at length
his chance will come, but it may only come once, and then he must not
hesitate or the picture may be lost in a moment. It is preferable that all
out-door portraits should be taken on a grey day, or in the shade if the
sun be shining.

There is a wide field open to wealthy photographers for producing really
good pictures of their friends at country houses. But the student must
remember that to produce a perfect picture takes a long time and can only
be achieved by long and patient practice, coupled with artistic ability.
The hurried representations of shooting, boating, and family groups, which
are so often produced by industrial photographers, are artistically
beneath contempt. They are mere statements of facts, and as much akin to
art as the directions in a cookery-book are akin to literature.
Photography up to a certain point, and in a haphazard way, is so easily
learned now-a-days that there is absolutely no merit in producing such
work. Such photographs are only the confessions of untrained and
commonplace minds.


[Sidenote: Landscape.]

The student who would become a landscape photographer must go to the
country and live there for long periods; for in no other way can he get
any insight into the mystery of nature. All nature near towns is tinged
with artificiality, it may not be very patent but the close observer
detects it. Among fisher-folk this may be seen in the sealskin cap, in the
rustic it shows itself in the hard billycock hat, in landscape pure it may
be seen in some artificial forms of the river-banks, or in artificial
undergrowths; the mark of the beast, the stamp of vulgarity, that
hydra-headed monster which always appears whereever a few men are gathered
together, is sure to be found somewhere. For this reason then the would-be
landscape-photographer should pack up his things and go to some locality
with which he is in sympathy, just as a painter does. [Sidenote:
“Outings.”] Here let him be cautioned against taking part in any of those
“outings,” organized by well-meaning but mistaken people. It is laughable
indeed to read of the doings of these gatherings; of their appointment of
a leader (often blind); of the driving in breaks, always a strong feature
of these meetings; of the eatings, an even stronger feature; and finally
of the bag, 32 “Ilford’s,” 42 “Wrattens',” 52 “Paget’s,” &c.

Apply the same sort of thing to painting, and would it not indeed be
ridiculous? Would it not lower painting in the eyes of the world if say
thirty academicians with a leader for the day, assembled at Victoria
Station with pastels and boards, or with paint-tubes and small canvasses,
and went by train to some village and there proceeded to pastel or paint
what the leader suggested; then would follow the dinner (the best part, no
doubt), and next day how edified would be the world to read in the daily
papers of the most successful outing, the result of which was the covering
of 32 “Rowney,” 29 “Windsor and Newton,” and 40 “Newman” canvasses! All
these “playings” bring photography down to the level of cycling and
canoeing, and yet many photographers wonder that artists will have no
official connection with photography. We know well that it is for these
and similar reasons that serious artists will not allow their names to be
officially connected with photography, and we here earnestly appeal to all
who really have the advancement of photography at heart to do all in their
power to bring such trivial “play” to an end. [Sidenote: Choice of
district.] Having then decided to go to the country, let the student think
well with which kind of landscape he is most in sympathy, but let him
always remember this fact that all landscape is not suitable for pictorial
purposes; he must therefore learn to distinguish between the suitable and
the unsuitable. Landscapes there are full of charm, pleasant places for a
picnic or encampment, but when you come to put them into a picture, they
become tame and commonplace.

Again let the student avoid imitation. If he knows that an artist has been
successful in one place, do not let him, like a feeble imitator, be led
thither also, for the chances are, if his predecessor were a strong man,
that he will produce commonplaces where the other produced masterpieces,
and thereby confess his inferiority. It is far better to be original in a
smaller way than another, than to be even a first-rate imitator of
another, however great.

[Sidenote: Photographic haunts.]

For this reason the present method adopted by inartistic writers of
publishing “Photographic Haunts” is strongly to be deprecated, such guides
can but lead to conventional and imitative, therefore contemptible work.
The fact of the matter is nature is full of pictures, and they are to be
found in what appears to the uninitiated the most unlikely places. Let the
honest student then choose some district with which he is in sympathy, and
let him go there quietly and spend a few months, or even weeks if he
cannot spare months, and let him day and night study the effects of
nature, and try at any rate to produce _one picture_ of his own, one
picture which shall show an honest attempt to probe the mysteries of
nature and art, one picture which shall show the author has something to
say, and knows how to say it, as perhaps no other living person could say
it; that is something to have accomplished. Remember that your photograph
is as true an index of your mind, as if you had written out a confession
of faith on paper.

We will now offer a few remarks on the component parts of a picture.

                              THE “LINES.”

[Sidenote: “Lines.”]

As we have said there can be no rules for the arrangement of lines, yet
they are all-important and essential to the expression of harmony and
directness. The student must cultivate the habit of quickly analyzing the
lines of a picture, and coming to a decision whether they are harmonious
and pictorially suitable. For example, he must not have the lines of
different objects cutting each other and forming unpleasant angles, for if
he does this the eye of the observer will never get away from the
geometrical figure, however good the other part of the picture may be. He
should look for repeated line, and his lines should run into the picture,
thus all uncomfortableness is avoided. [Sidenote: Balance.] There is no
necessity for balance or the equal arrangement of masses on either side of
the picture, for this, though it may produce pretty pictures, will never
produce strong ones. Every line must help to tell the story and strengthen
the picture, otherwise it weakens it.

                          AËRIAL PERSPECTIVE.

[Sidenote: Aërial perspective.]

It is of vital importance that this be well rendered, the method for
obtaining it having already been shown.

The student must remember that he must give the true value to the separate
planes of the picture, or it is worthless for reasons already stated. The
state of the weather, has, as we have indicated, a wonderful modifying
effect on this perspective, and must be carefully studied.


[Sidenote: Tone.]

Of vital importance is the relatively true rendering of tone as already
indicated. This is such a subtle subject that no directions can be given
for it, and the student can only master the subject by a long and ardent
study of nature. He can test his knowledge by his power of criticizing
pictures away from nature, for their truth or falsity of tone. The key in
which the picture is pitched should always be in keeping with the subject


[Sidenote: Composition.]

The objects must be arranged so that the thing expressed is told clearly
and directly, in short, the student should try to express his subject as
it has never been expressed before. All things not connected with the
subject should be removed, and all but the chief thing to be expressed
should be carefully subdued. The interest must not be divided, but all
must go to help the expression of the _motif_ of the picture. Thus a white
patch the size of a threepenny piece may ruin a twelve by ten inch plate,
as many a hat, a basket, as many a small article has done; just as a false
foot may ruin an otherwise fine stanza. Be most careful how you introduce
a detail, it may either make or mar your picture.

The sentiment and detail must always be appropriate or the result is a
travesty. Thus haymakers do not wear new-fashioned buttoned boots, nor do
rustics wear sun-bonnets and aprons all clean and fashionably cut. But
this is only a superficial matter, the artist must carry appropriateness
much deeper than in mere costume; for example, a flock of sheep on a
pasture may be made quite false in sentiment, if they are driven in a way
that suggests a march to the slaughter-house, and they very easily huddle
together in a manner that suggests that final procession. The student will
now see how subtle all these matters are, and how little yet how much
divides the masterpiece from mediocrity. Some photographers think
naturalism consists only in taking things as they are, and they will
exclaim, if you criticize their work, “Oh! it was just like that any way.”
True, oh ingenuous one, but it was just some other way as well, and
perhaps that other way might have given a work of art, whereas this way
has given a bald and uninteresting fact. Selection or composition is a
most subtle matter, and one very difficult to learn, but let the student
persevere, and if he has the ability he will find that the scales will
fall from his eyes as he goes on.


[Sidenote: Impression.]

The impression must be true throughout, and if all the preceding
components are true the impression will be true.

Our student may now have carried out all these things and yet there may be
no picture, his mind may be commonplace. He may have wasted a good
technique on a commonplace subject, such as a yacht going in full sail, an
express train, some very ordinary dogs or horses, or some very
extraordinary men or women. We are then brought to a very important
matter, the subject.

                        SUBJECT OF THE PICTURE.

[Sidenote: Subject.]

The subject must have pictorial qualities, it must be typical, and must
give æsthetic pleasure. The student must look for elegance and a
_distingué_ air in his subject. You will find that the best pictures will
be of those subjects which hit you hardest in nature, those which strike
you so much that you feel an irresistible desire to secure them.

[Sidenote: Art of feeling nature.]

You must then train your feelings, for, as John Constable said, “the art
of feeling nature is a thing almost as much to be cultivated as the art of
reading the Egyptian hieroglyphics.” You must then, when you have felt
your subject, be resolute and only take in what is necessary to express
your subject; this is the text of the artist. Everything must be
harmonious and comfortable, but that alone will not suffice any more than
will the subject alone. Everything must be in keeping in the picture. The
artist must be in sympathy with his subject, “_entrer dans la même peau_,”
as the French say. He must have no preconceived notion of how he is going
to do a subject, but take all his suggestions from nature and humbly
follow them and lovingly portray them. Pure imitation of nature (even if
it were possible) won’t do, the artist must add his intellect, hence his
work is an interpretation. To photograph a “flying express” so that it
looks as if standing still is imitation, to render it with the suggestion
of motion by its smoke and steam is an interpretation. The great question
which the student should ask himself is: My aim, what is it? If that be
serious and honest, and not feeble and vainglorious, he is all right.
Remember that the aim of art is to give æsthetic pleasure, and that
artists are the best judges of this matter, and you will find that so good
is their training that they often elevate the meanest things they touch.

[Sidenote: Poetry in works of art.]

The highest expression is that of poetry, and therefore the best works of
art all contain poetry. What poetry is and how it is to be got is not to
be discussed in our present state of knowledge, suffice it to say that the
poet is born and not made, though the poet’s speech may be improved by

[Sidenote: Qualities of a picture.]

Thus it will be seen how difficult a matter it is to produce a _picture_,
even when we have thoroughly mastered our technique and practice, for, to
recapitulate, in a picture the arrangement of lines must be appropriate,
the aërial perspective must be truly and subtily yet broadly rendered, the
tonality must be relatively true, the composition must be perfect, the
impression true, the subject distinguished, and if the picture is to be a
masterpiece, the _motif_ must be poetically rendered, for there is a
poetry of photography as there is of painting and literature.

Never rest satisfied then until these requirements are all fulfilled, and
destroy all works in which they are not to be found.

That it will be possible for comparatively few to succeed is evident, but
the prize is worth striving for, for even if we do not all attain to the
production of perfect works, we shall have gained a knowledge of art and
an insight into nature, that will be a never-failing source of pleasure to
us in our daily walks.

                         FIGURE AND LANDSCAPE.

[Sidenote: Figure and landscape.]

By far the most difficult branch of photography is that in which figures
occur in landscapes. All previous remarks apply to this branch of the art,
only here it is more necessary than ever that every detail be perfect.
This is a branch which we have perhaps studied and developed more than any
other, and yet even now we feel but a beginner in it. One thing you must
never forget, that is the _type_; you must choose your models most
carefully, and they must without fail be picturesque and typical. The
student should feel that there never was such a fisherman, or such a
ploughman, or such a poacher, or such an old man, or such a beautiful
girl, as he is picturing. It is a great mistake for photographers to
attempt rural subjects unless they have lived in the country for a long
time and are thoroughly imbued with the sentiment of country life. The
truth of this axiom is proved by the falseness of sentiment seen in most
country pictures done by painters even. The student who lives in town will
find good figure-subjects in the town, and if he has no sympathy with such
life, he should try such subjects as shooting parties, coursing meets,
riding subjects, and beautiful women. It is fallacious to try and
cultivate an unsympathetic field and is sure to end in mediocrity or

                          STUDIO PORTRAITURE.

[Sidenote: Studio Portraiture.]

The easiest branch of photography is portraiture in the studio, for all
conditions, including even the dress of the model, are in the
photographer’s hands. The lighting is also perfectly under control.

[Sidenote: Principles of lighting.]

The principles of lighting a face are briefly these: A top light gives the
best and subtlest modelling, and gives more relief than any other
lighting. But the aim of pictorial art is not to give relief to illusion,
therefore the top light effect is modified by a side light and by
reflectors. The principle of using a reflector is this: Light falling at
right angles on a plane surface gives the highest light, then as we turn
the reflector through a circle, we get all gradations up to full dark,
when the reflector is turned right round. This principle must be
remembered in lighting the planes of the face. The portraitist must work
as does the sculptor, in planes and tone, that is, he must quickly make an
analysis of the face and observe the most suitable treatment of the
subject, and then he must focus and develop so as to bring the planes well
out, and they must be broad in treatment and relatively true in tone.

These are the only principles which can be given for lighting, their
application can be learned by study first on a plaster cast, and
afterwards on the living model.

[Sidenote: Character or expression.]

The great thing to obtain is the character or expression of the model,
everything must be sacrificed for this in portraiture, and enough of the
figure must be taken in to thoroughly express the character. Thus the head
alone may do in some cases, in others it will be necessary to include the
hands, in others the whole body. It is needless to repeat that all
portraits should be taken by quick exposures. The best way is for the
student to have a very long elastic tube to his shutter, then he can walk
about and talk to the model, and when he sees a good natural pose, he can
expose, and his picture will probably be good. The present way of posing,
using head-rests, &c., is feeble and archaic, and nearly certain to result
in failure.

Another important hint is to place the lens on the same level as the eye
of the model, neither higher nor lower, especially if large heads are
taken. When the picture is to be full length or three-quarter length, the
head should still receive the principal attention, and all else be

We have already treated of arrangements of backgrounds and dresses in
harmonies, and of the absolute necessity for using only suitable
accessories. In addition all other principles of composition, harmony,
breadth, as already described, must be remembered.

[Sidenote: Adam Salomon.]

Finally we give a quotation from M. Adam Salomon, sculptor and

“Each subject should be treated according to its own requirements, its own
individualism.... When the artist is interested in his work and believes
in his art, it becomes wonderfully plastic, and the materials wonderfully
tractable in his hands.”

                              CHAPTER IV.
                             HINTS ON ART.

[Sidenote: Practical hints.]

As practical hints for working cannot be woven into a continuous text, we
will give them separately.

[Sidenote: Prizes for “set subjects.”]

Never compete for prizes for “set subjects,” for work of this kind leads
to working from preconceived ideas, and therefore to conventionality,
false sentiment, and vulgarity.

[Sidenote: Man originally vulgar.]

Remember that the original state of the minds of uneducated men is vulgar,
you now know why vulgar and commonplace works please the majority.
Therefore, educate your mind, and fight the hydra-headed
monster—vulgarity. Seize on any aspect of nature that pleases you and try
and interpret it, and ignore—as nature ignores—all childish rules, such as
that the lens should work only when the sun shines or when no wind blows.

[Sidenote: Æolus.
           Merit of photographs.]

Æolus is the breath of life of landscape.

The chief merit of most photographs is their diagramatic accuracy, as it
is their chief vice.

[Sidenote: Pseudo-scientific photographers and art.]

Avoid the counsels of pseudo-scientific photographers in art matters, as
they have avoided the study of art.

[Sidenote: Resolution.]

If you decide on taking a picture, let nothing stop you, even should you
have to stand by your tripod for a day.

[Sidenote: Point of sight.]

Do not climb a mast, or sit on the weathercock of a steeple, to photograph
a landscape; remember no one will follow you up there to get your point of

[Sidenote: Rembrandt pictures.]

Do not talk of Rembrandt pictures, there was but one Rembrandt. Light your
pictures as best you can and call them your own.

[Sidenote: “Artist photographers.”]

Do not call yourself an “artist-photographer” and make “artist-painters”
and “artist-sculptors” laugh; call yourself a photographer and wait for
artists to call you brother.

[Sidenote: Falsity of photographic portraits.]

Remember why nearly all portrait photographs are so unlike the people they
represent—because the portrait lens as often used gives false drawing of
the planes and false tonality, and then, comes along the retoucher to put
on the first part of the uniform, and he is followed by the vignetter and
burnisher who complete the disguise.

[Sidenote: Amount of landscape to be included in a picture.]

The amount of a landscape to be included in a picture is far more
difficult to determine than the amount of oxidizer or alkali to be used in
the developer.

[Sidenote: “Flat” and “weak” negatives.]

Pay no heed to the average photographer’s remarks upon “flat” and “weak”
negatives. Probably he is flat, weak, stale and unprofitable; your
negative may be first-rate, and probably is if he does not approve of it.

[Sidenote: Bad wood-cutters.]

Do not allow bad wood-cutters and second-rate process-mongers to produce
libels of your work.

[Sidenote: Broad and simple.
           Work and faith.]

Be broad and simple.

Work hard and have faith in nature’s teachings.

[Sidenote: The propitious moment.]

Remember there is one moment in the year when each particular landscape
looks at its best, try and secure it at that moment.

[Sidenote: Procrastination.]

Do not put off doing a coveted picture until another year, for next year
the scene will look very different. You will never be able twice to get
exactly the same thing.

[Sidenote: Vulgarity.]

Vulgarity astonishes, produces a sensation; refinement attracts by
delicacy and charm and must be sought out. Vulgarity obtrudes itself,
refinement is unobtrusive and requires the introduction of education.

[Sidenote: Art and legerdemain.]

Art is not legerdemain; much “instantaneous” work is but jugglery.

[Sidenote: “Going in for photography.”]

Though many painters and sculptors talk glibly of “going in for
photography,” you will find that very few of them can ever make a picture
by photography; they lack the science, technical knowledge, and above all,
the practice. Most people think they can play tennis, shoot, write novels,
and photograph as well as any other person—until they try.

[Sidenote: Faith.
           Sensational in nature.]

Be true to yourself and individuality will show itself in your work.

Do not be caught by the sensational in nature, as a coarse red-faced
sunset, a garrulous waterfall, or a fifteen thousand foot mountain.

[Sidenote: Prettiness.]

Avoid prettiness—the word looks much like pettiness, and there is but
little difference between them.

[Sidenote: On studying photography.]

No one should take up photography who is not content to work hard and
study so that he can take pictures for his own eye only. The artist works
to record the beauties of nature, the bagman works to please the public,
or for filthy lucre, or for metal medals.

[Sidenote: On “form.”]

At the University of Cambridge, in our student days, it was considered
“bad form” to give a testimonial to a tradesman for publication. This is
still “bad form;” let the student, therefore, never let his name appear in
the advertisement columns of photographic papers beneath a puff of some
maker’s plates or some printing papers. “Good wine needs no bush.”

[Sidenote: Value of a picture.]

The value of a picture is not proportionate to the trouble and expense it
costs to obtain it, but to the poetry that it contains.

[Sidenote: “Good art.”]

Good art only appeals to the highly cultivated at the first glance, but it
gradually grows on the uncultivated, or the half cultivated; with bad art
the case is otherwise.

[Sidenote: Life of the model.]

Give the _life_ of the model in a portrait, not his bearing towards you
during a _mauvais quart d’heure_.

[Sidenote: Reflections and shadows.]

Do not call reflections—shadows; learn to distinguish between the two.

[Sidenote: Beautiful poses.]

Always be on the look-out for a graceful movement when you are conversing
with a person, thus you will learn.

[Sidenote: Limits of art.]

Keep rigidly within the limits of your art, do not strive for the
impossible, and so miss the possible.

[Sidenote: On reproduction.]

Never judge of the merits of a painting or piece of sculpture from

[Sidenote: Quality.
           Sentiment and poetry.]

Every good work has “quality.”

Do not mistake sentimentality for sentiment, and sentiment for poetry.

[Sidenote: Spontaneity.

Spontaneity is the life of a picture.

Continual failure is a road to success—if you have the strength to go on.

[Sidenote: Colour of landscape.]

The colour of a landscape viewed in the direction of the sun is almost
unseen; therefore turn your back on the sun if you wish to see nature’s
colouring, and you do!

[Sidenote: Christmas cards and “artistic” opals.]

Do not emulate the producers of photographic Christmas cards and
“artistic”(?) opals; they are all worthy of the bagman.

[Sidenote: Finish.

Do not mistake sharpness for truth, and burnish for finish.

The charm of nature lies in her mystery and poetry, but no doubt she is
never mysterious to a donkey.

[Sidenote: Apparatus.]

It is not the apparatus that does the work, but the _man_ who wields it.

Say as much as you can, with as little material as you can.

[Sidenote: Good work.

Flatter no man, but spare not generous praise to really good work.

Lash the insincere and petty _homunculi_ who are working for vanity.

[Sidenote: Artist and artist-photographer.]

Hold up to scorn every coxcomb who paints “artist-photographer” or
“artist” on his door, or stamps it on his mounts.

[Sidenote: On publishing.]

Remember every photograph you publish goes out for better for worse, to
raise you up or pull you down; do not be in haste, therefore, to give
yourself over to the enemy.

[Sidenote: On success.]

By the envy, lying and slandering of the weak, the ignorant, and the
vicious, shall you know you are succeeding, as well as by the sympathy and
praise of the just, the generous, and the masters.

[Sidenote: “Sharpness.”]

When a critic has nothing to tell you save that your pictures are not
sharp, be certain he is not very sharp and knows nothing at all about it.

[Sidenote: Interiors.]

Don’t be led away to photograph _bourgeois_ furnished interiors, they are
not worth the silver on the plate for the pleasure they will give when

[Sidenote: Greatness.]

The greater the work the simpler it looks and the easier it seems to do or
to imitate, but it is not so.

[Sidenote: Photographs as historical records.]

Photographic pictures may have one merit which no other pictures can ever
have, they can be relied upon as historical records.

[Sidenote: Art at home.]

Art is not to be found by touring to Egypt, China, or Peru; if you cannot
find it at your own door, you will never find it.

[Sidenote: Nature and pictures.]

People are educated to admire nature through pictures.

[Sidenote: Science and art.]

Science destroys or builds up, and seeks only for bald truth. Art seeks to
give a truthful impression of some beautiful phenomenon or poetic fact,
and destroys all that interferes with her purpose.

[Sidenote: Topography.]

Topography is the registration of bald facts about a place; it is
sometimes confounded with Art.

[Sidenote: Art and culture.]

The artistic faculty develops only with culture. A man may be a Newton and
at the same time never get beyond the chromographic stage in art.

[Sidenote: Individuality.]

Without individuality there can be no individual art, but remember that
the value of the individuality depends on the man, for all the poetry is
in nature, but different individuals see different amounts of it.

[Sidenote: “Fiddle-brown” trees.]

Had Constable listened to rules we might have had “fiddle-brown” trees in
our pictures to-day.

[Sidenote: Naturalistic works.]

Nature is full of surprises and subtleties, which give quality to a work,
thus a truthful impression of her is never to be found in any but
naturalistic works.

[Sidenote: On opinion in art.]

The undeveloped artistic faculty delights in glossy and showy objects and
in brightly coloured things. The appreciation of delicate tonality in
monochrome or colour is the result of high development. The frugivorous
ape loves bright colour, and so does the young person of “culture,” and
the negress of the West Indies, but Corot delighted only in true and
harmonious colouring.

[Sidenote: Nature and sanity.]

Nature whispers all her great secrets to the sane in mind, just as she
delights in giving her best physical prizes to the sane in body.
[Sidenote: Busy insanity.] Nature abhors busy insanity.

[Sidenote: “Stolen bits.”]

Do not be surprised if you find “stolen bits” of your photographs in the
works of inferior etchers, aquarellists, and black and white draughtsmen;
it pays them to steal, while it does not hurt you, for they cannot steal
your “quality.”

[Sidenote: Nature and photography.]

Many photographers think they are photographing nature when they are only
caricaturing her.

[Sidenote: Sun and shadows.]

The sun when near the horizon gives longer shadows than when near the

[Sidenote: Photography and art.]

When writers tell you photography is one thing and art another, find out
who they are, and you shall find their opinion on art-matters is
contemptible, and it is only their omniscient impudence and fanaticism
that allow them to contradict a sculptor like Adam Salomon, and a painter
like T. F. Goodall, to say nothing of others.

[Sidenote: Clearness.]

The shallow public like “clearness,” they like to see the veins in the
grass-blade and the scales on the butterfly’s wing, for does it not remind
them of the powerful vision of their periscopic ancestors—the Saurians.

[Sidenote: Japers at photography.]

When the vulgar herd jape at photography, stand firm and ask them if their
long-eared ancestors did not jape at water-colour painting and at etching.

[Sidenote: Criticism.]

Ask of critics only “fair play.” Much of the criticism of to-day consists
in the suppression of the truth of the author and the advocacy of the
falsity of the critic. Criticism is as yet in the metaphysical stage, but
it will one day become rational and of some worth. Then, critics will not
attempt the huge joke of “placing” people in order like a pedagogue, e.g.
Matthew Arnold between Gray and Wordsworth, as some wonderful person did
not long ago in one of the reviews; but criticism will show us how works
of art may serve to illustrate the life-history of different epochs. The
huge farce of “placing” criticism will be one of the stock jokes of the
twentieth century.

                               CHAPTER V.
                            DECORATIVE ART.

[Sidenote: Decorative art.]

By the term “decorative,” we mean the ornamentation of anything
constructed for some useful or special purpose as opposed to the
ornamentation whose object is to please _per se_. Thus, though both
sculpture and easel pictures are decorative in one sense, they are
executed with no consideration or regard for other purposes than to
please. As we have before shown, the humblest of the decorative arts may
be raised to the dignity of a fine art if an artist takes the work in hand
and succeeds, or the work may degenerate into mere craftsman’s work. For
decorative purposes, the various methods are modified and adapted to the
important considerations of the use and fitness of the object or place
decorated. Thus no good artist would paint a finished and studied
landscape on a dado, he would paint the scene flat, and colour it in
appropriate harmony with surrounding objects, for that is the aim; and a
workman not an artist would, of course, painfully elaborate and finish it
so that it was neither a decorative work nor a painting in the ordinary
sense. [Sidenote: Naturalism in decorative art.] In all good decorative
work the same old story of naturalism holds good; all the best decorative
work we have seen was _suggested_ by nature, and though, of course, it is
beyond the scope of decorative art to “copy nature,” as superficial folk
say, yet all patterns and forms and harmonies should be suggested by
nature. We have seen harmonies of sea-weed and sand which would have made
a beautiful colour scheme for decorative work. The best decorative work
has always been suggested by nature; geometrical patterns being taken from
crystals, microscopic drawings of vegetable cells, &c.

[Sidenote: Photography as applied to decorative art.]

However, we must omit a general discussion of this interesting subject,
for we are here only concerned with its photographic side. We are not
aware that this application of decorative art has ever received much
attention; and when we mention transparencies and enamels, we have said
all that has been done towards employing photography decoratively. By
enamels, of course, is not understood those glossed and raised productions
on paper, which by some extraordinary blunder have been erroneously called

[Sidenote: Principles.]

Now the photographer, who studies and hopes to excel at decorative
photography, must remember that he must work on the same general
principles as he does in producing pictures, that is, he must pay
attention, in a broad way, to the tone of the room, to effects of
contrast, to harmonies, to the effect of artificial lights and of
complementary colours, and above all to naturalism. Thus a delicate
landscape must not be enamelled on a tea-cup, for it is obviously false in
principle to place a picture on a curved surface. Again, a palmetto leaf
must not be burned into the tiles of a fireplace, the two are incongruous
and incompatible. Taste and a regard for truth should govern all such

We will now briefly enumerate the uses to which photography might be put
in decoration.


[Sidenote: Panelling and friezes.]

Much might be done in this direction by an appropriate choice of subject.
For panels bits of landscape of strongly marked types, sea pieces, dead
game, and plants might be admirably done. By landscapes of strongly marked
type, we mean such things as a dead or leafless tree overhanging a pond, a
pollarded willow in winter, and like subjects, where the elements are few,
the composition simple, and where there are no subtle atmospheric effects.
For this work the subject must be expressed with great terseness and
directness, for the form is what is required, not subtlety of tone or
mystery. A group of dead mallard or teal, or an arrangement of bulrushes
and water-lilies, are all suitable and admirable subjects. [Sidenote:
Negatives.] Negatives for this class of work should be rather dense, and
in some cases they may be as sharply focussed as possible, it being
remembered that for form (diagrammatic form) decision is what is required.
There are certain subjects, however, which will bear being only just
suggested, such as bulrushes, reeds, &c., which are full of character in
themselves. These objects should be photographed against flat-tinted
backgrounds, the colour chosen being ruled by the colour of the furniture
of the room. [Sidenote: Red carbon.] The best method of procedure would be
to sensitize the panel and print directly on to it by the platinotype
process, or perhaps by some of the carbon processes, red carbon being
especially suitable for this work. The Platinotype Company give directions
for sensitizing various surfaces, all of which can be obtained from their
offices in Southampton Row, High Holborn.

[Sidenote: Friezes.]

For friezes, beautiful arrangements could be made of suitably draped
figures of girls, of athletes, and of animals, the draped figures being in
white, taken against a black background. These subjects printed in red
carbon would look admirable if properly arranged. Enlargements could be
used in these cases, as it does not matter if the original negatives are
made microscopically sharp. Various subjects and methods of treatment will
suggest themselves to the thoughtful and artistic student.

[Sidenote: Tiles.]

We cannot help thinking there is a field for the photographic decoration
of tiles. For this purpose, as they are low down and seen close to, tone
pictures might be used; but any quality of landscape would not be
admissible for this work. Mr. Henderson’s method of enamelling is fully
given in the late Baden-Pritchard’s “Studios of Europe.” These tiles would
have to be cautiously used.

[Sidenote: Windows.]

There is little or nothing to be done in the decoration of windows by
photography. Of course, transparencies will immediately suggest
themselves, but they, like modern glass painting, are false art. The first
requisite of glass painting is that all the light possible shall pass
through the pane, and that the colours shall be flat. Modern
window-painters overstep the limits of the art, and try to render tone as
well, the result being bad artistically and bad decoratively, as utility
is affected. Glass transparencies and opals are, to our mind, worthless
for decorative purposes, and should not be encouraged.

[Sidenote: Enamels.]

M. Lafon de Camarsac was the first to apply photography to porcelain work,
in the year 1854. He worked with colours and produced some marvellous
results, applying gold, silver, and various pigments in this way. His
method was used for producing enamels for jewellery, but, of course, such
things could be utilized in decorative work. But to produce pictures on
tea-cups, saucers, brooches, &c., seems to us, against all principles of
truth. We think that with great care and taste this class of work might be
artistically utilized in decorative art, but none but an artist must
attempt it. So we shall give Poitevin’s method.

[Sidenote: Poitevin’s method.]

A positive on glass is obtained, and a glass plate is coated with gum
sensitized with bi-chromate of potash. The positive is then placed in
contact with the prepared plate and exposed to the light, the result being
invisible as in carbon printing. A very fine hair sieve is now taken, and
dry powdered charcoal is sifted over the coated plate, and it will be
found that the charcoal adheres to the parts acted upon by light. Thus is
produced a delicate portrait in as perfect tone as the original. This
portrait is temporarily secured by brushing it over with collodion. The
collodion film has now to be separated by delicate knives, and it brings
away with it the charcoal picture. This film is next placed on a white
enamelled copper plate, which plates are bought ready prepared, and a
fixing paste (that used by ceramic painters being employed) is spread with
a brush over the enamel. This paste combines with the charcoal image. All
is now ready for placing in the enamelling furnace, when vitrification
takes place, and all the organic bodies are destroyed, the vitrified
charcoal image alone remaining. We think that with taste even china
services might be decorated by means of photography. At any rate there is
a wide field for any one with taste and feeling.

[Sidenote: Wall-papers and hangings.]

We do not know whether or not photography has been applied to the
manufacture of either of these materials, but there is wide scope for it.
It must be remembered, however, that definite patterns are obtrusive and
undesirable. A rather monotonous geometrical pattern is required, the
suggestion, however, coming from nature. Thus a good pattern could be
obtained from a transverse section of a rose-bud, or from various
seed-cases, such as those of the convolvulus and rose. Histological
specimens also, and desmids and diatoms, all suggest beautiful and varied
forms of geometrical patterns. This has often occurred to us when
examining the wonderfully varied and beautiful forms of the diatom family.
It would, it seems to us, be very easy with multiplying backs to get large
numbers of a form on one plate, and then to reproduce them by cheap
photo-mechanical means, and though we have never yet heard of photographic
wall-papers, yet there is no reason why they should not be manufactured,
if made artistically.

[Sidenote: D'Oyleys.]

For hangings these same patterns might be woven in or even printed
directly upon the materials, by the platinotype process. The company who
brought forward that process keep prepared nainsook, why not other
materials? For small things, such as d'Oyleys, an endless and pleasing
variety might be introduced.

In short, photography can and should be made amenable to the principles of
decorative art, and employed legitimately in thousands of ways; but the
student must never forget that he must rigidly and resolutely keep within
the bounds of his art, which bounds we have briefly indicated here. Common
sense, taste, and study are his best safe-guards. In all attempts,
however, let him go to nature for his suggestions; she, if he be humble
and patient, will not be less lavish to him than to the painter. So we
find ourselves at the end of this chapter, and our considerations on
photography as applied to decorative art lead us to conclude that the form
in which it is at present chiefly applied, i.e. transparencies, is false
in principle, and therefore undesirable. We felt this long before we
studied art at all, and although we made many opals and transparencies at
one time, we soon gave them up as vanity and foolishness. Those, however,
who with training and artistic feeling care to explore the undeveloped
fields above indicated, will be sure to find many new treasures.

                      PHOTOGRAPHY—A PICTORIAL ART.


  It is easier to jape at the light-bearing goddess than to imitate her

  “In such an age as this, painting should be _understood_, not looked
  on with blind wonder, nor considered only as poetic inspiration, but
  as a pursuit, _legitimate_, _scientific_, and _mechanical_.”

                                                     JOHN CONSTABLE.

                      PHOTOGRAPHY—A PICTORIAL ART.

[Sidenote: The aim.]

We wish from the first to make it clearly understood as to what is our
object in comparing photography with the other pictorial arts. It is not
to condemn any of the other arts as inadequate for artistic expression,
for we hold that _good art_, as expressed even by a lead pencil, is better
than bad art expressed on the largest of canvases, but our object is to
inquire what position the technique of photography takes when regarded
side by side with the methods and limits of each of the pictorial arts.
[Sidenote: Rock scratchings.] The earliest pictorial expressions of the
human mind were, as we all know, rude rock-scratchings in the form of
outline. [Sidenote: Outline drawing.] This outline drawing served the
earliest nations, as it still serves children, to express in a
conventional way certain limited truths, for the power of seeing and
analyzing nature is of recent development, and is even now far from fully
developed. Keeping this in mind, we must nevertheless not allow ourselves
to despise these efforts of the undeveloped mind. Line drawing, it must be
remembered, has nothing to do with tone. If you look at a line drawing of
a figure by a great master, it suggests to you, in a certain limited way,
the real thing, for the lines bound spaces, hence there is a suggestion of
the solid figure. With almost any medium, even with pen, ink, and paper,
an artist will often draw a subject in outline, to see “how it will come.”
Sculptors nearly always do this, but these men do not consider these
outlines as finished works, but simply as an aid to their work,—mere brief
sketches suggestive of what shall be. Of course, such notes when done by a
great artist become invaluable, as suggesting great truth of impression.
Yet there are men who seem to stop at this stage, and revel in “beauty of
line,” or else they elaborate these drawings until they pass beyond the
legitimate limits of the art by which they are expressed.

We will now briefly enumerate these arts with their limitations.

[Sidenote: Lead pencil.]

Lead Pencil.—The scale between the white and black is very limited, for,
as any one who has drawn with lead pencil will remember, the lowest tones
are grey as compared with dead black. They are also shiny because light is
reflected by the plumbago. An artist can, however, express a suggestion of
tone within a limited scale, and, notwithstanding this limitation, a
first-rate lead pencil drawing may give a far truer impression of nature
than a bad painting, and will accordingly rank higher artistically.

[Sidenote: Pen and ink.]

Pen and Ink.—The scale in this case is also limited and there can be no
tone, but an artist, by shading can give an impression of tone, as can be
seen in the clever drawings by an artist in the “German _Punch_.” Of
course, as in lead pencil drawings, all subtle tonality is left out, the
lightest tones being lost in white, and the darkest in black, but the
suggestion may be a truthful impression if well done, and in such cases
the work commands the greatest respect, ranking far higher than inferior
work done with a more perfect technique. Sometimes washes are added to
pen-and-ink drawings to increase the impression of tone. Here, again, the
bad craftsman goes beyond the legitimate limits of the art, by the
pen-rendering detail, and by the wash-rendering tone, impossibilities
except in monochrome work. We have seen some detestable hybrids of this
class, the result of the misspent energies of amateurs and others.

[Sidenote: Chalk.]

Chalk.—This gives the artist greater scope, for his scale is greater, and,
in addition, chalk is not shiny and unnatural. This material is generally
used for large work, and is better suited to that purpose, for the line is
not so regular and has more of the decision and indecision of a natural
outline as seen in a figure standing against a background. By choosing an
appropriately colored chalk an artist can give a potent suggestion of
texture, and, therefore, of truthfulness. Chalk was formerly much used for
studies, but charcoal has now largely taken its place.

[Sidenote: Lithography.]

Lithography.—In this art a peculiar stone is chosen, which has an affinity
for water and grease. The stone is drawn upon with a greasy, specially
prepared lithographic ink. From this many copies can be taken. For
reproducing chalk drawings the method is worked a little differently. It
is of little use now for original work, on account of the introduction of
the cheaper, more certain, and more beautiful photographic processes. We
are all only too well acquainted with the outcome of this process of
lithography, chromo-lithographs,—monstrosities which, it is needless to
say, do not enter into the category of the fine arts. Chromo-lithography,
however, has a commercial value, being very useful in the reproduction of
patterns, &c.

[Sidenote: Line engraving.]

Engraving.—This is drawing on metal with a burin in a special manner; that
is by pushing the burin away from the operator. Considerable pressure must
be exerted; and it is evident that lines cut in this way must be formal.
It is, perhaps, for this reason that it is scarcely ever used for original
work, but only for copying. The scale in this case is limited between the
black ink and white paper, and is greater than in the arts above dealt
with; but there can be no subtleties of tone. Engravers supply this
suggestion of tone by cross-hatching, and so suggest a natural impression,
as can be seen in some of the landscapes engraved from nature by Albert
Durer. Personally we are but very little interested in engraving apart
from its historical interest. Artistically, the early work of Durer, and
some of that of the so-called “little masters” is, in our opinion, the
best ever done. All the work—and there is much of it—which has overstepped
the narrow limits of the art of line engraving is to us distasteful,
because it could have been so much better expressed by other methods.
Engraving with a burin, even when assisted by dry point work, is always
hard, formal, textureless, and without tonal subtlety; while the quality
of modern engravings, by which popular editions of well-known authors are
illustrated, is to us positively unpleasing and false. There is at the
present day a vigorous attempt to bolster up engraving, and give it a
fictitious value, but we feel sure it is doomed. Such a narrow, limited,
untrue method of expression could never live beyond the day of necessity,
when there was no better mode of expression. That day is already past, as
there exist more complete methods. A good pen-and-ink work by Du Maurier
is, artistically, far better than any engraving Cousins ever did; and as
for the fearful travesties exposed for sale in dealer’s windows, we can
only wonder who buys them. Perhaps the same mild imbeciles who collect
“old engravings” promiscuously, not for any art qualities they possess,
for the best of them are bad in many ways, but in order to collect, and
appear learned (?) and artistic (?) to their less gifted (in purse)
brethren. Of all the painters and sculptors we have known, we have never
found one really interested in the class of engravings we are now

Stippling, or engraving in dots, seems to us a yet worse device than
cross-hatching. It is done with prepared needles, or a toothed wheel
called a roulette. Stippling was by Bartolozzi and others combined with
etching, and a hybrid was produced which, like all hybrids, was doomed to

As compared with photo-etching for the reproduction of pictures, no one
but a fanatic would maintain its superiority. By using orthochromatic
plates relatively, true values or tone, and true texture can be rendered,
and no translator steps in to add to, or subtract from, the originality of
the work. The student will soon find as he studies nature and the best art
together, that line engraving is but a sorry method, its artificiality
will soon disgust him, and no one with any real insight into the mysteries
of nature can derive much pleasure from engravings, except, perhaps, from
some of the best of the simple line engravings, such as some of Durer’s

[Sidenote: Wood engraving.]

Wood engraving.—In wood cutting the parts left uncut print dark, and those
that are hollowed out or cut away do not print at all; thus, the white is
cut out from a dark ground. The workman cuts with special graving tools on
a block of box-wood, cut sectionally. Durer’s woodcuts are simply drawings
on wood, parts of the wood being cut away, for in this way many could be
readily printed. They were simply fac-similes of the lines of Durer’s
drawing, and had no artistic aim of their own. [Sidenote: Bewick.] With
Bewick, however, the matter was different. He saw the limits of wood
engraving, and kept resolutely within those limits, like the true artist
he was.

[Sidenote: American wood engravers.]

With Bewick the flat black and white spaces were the limitations, as we
consider they are and always will be for original work, notwithstanding
the American school of wood engraving, of which we shall have something to
say presently. The scale in wood engraving is limited by the ink and
paper, and the suggestion of tone is got by representing the light greys
as white, and the darker darks as blacks. There is no subtle tonality in
Bewick’s work, and though there is much suggestion of nature and truth,
the expression is limited. But here, as in other arts, directly the
legitimate limit is overstepped the work becomes bad. Bewick, of course,
and a few of his pupils, did original work, but the modern wood engraver,
though he expresses greater subtlety of tone, is, after all, only a
fac-simile worker. In the American magazines the perfection of this
fac-simile work is to be seen, and, in our opinion, this school started
with the intention of imitating the delicacies of photography. That such
work is most useful no one can doubt, but in our opinion it has outstepped
the proper limits of wood engraving, and therefore no longer interests us.
It must not be forgotten, too, that the works are fac-simile work and not
original. In fact, a good fac-simile wood engraver may be no artist at
all. It serves a certain use certainly, but, judged by artistic standards,
an intaglio copper-plate print produced by photography is far more
satisfactory. Would, however, that all the art-craftsmen who work in
fac-simile, kept up to the standard of the American engravers, for the
feeble works of this class to be seen in this country in the book and
paper illustrations of the day are lamentable. They are travesties of
nature; but what more can be expected when a block is often cut into
separate pieces, and engraved by different workmen? Lamentable, too, is it
that many a good photograph, brought home by travellers from abroad,
should be botched and ruined by these wood engravers.

A great deal of cant has been talked lately about the harm done to
engraving by photography. The harm was done long ago, when artists ceased
to practise the art of engraving as an original art, as was done by Bewick
and some few others, and when the work of cheap reproduction fell into the
hands of craftsmen. If photographic processes do anything, they will
either raise the standard of fac-simile art-craft by competition, or,
which would be, perhaps, as well, kill it altogether. For artists in wood
engraving like Bewick there is always room; and among the first to
appreciate such work and to foster it, will be the artist who works in
photography; he will understand the limits of the art, and appreciate any
artist who uses it artistically.

[Sidenote: Etching.]

Etching.—As the public become more educated in art matters, we find
etching rapidly replacing line engraving, just as we think original
photo-etching will in time replace etchings.

Etching is drawing on zinc or copper with a needle, the plate being first
prepared with a ground, the nature of which varies with different
practitioners. Wax, burgundy pitch, and asphaltum form a common
combination for producing a ground. This ground is often smoked to produce
a uniform surface, and then the artist sketches on it as freely and
lightly as he would on paper. The lines are afterwards bitten in by
immersing the plate in acid. Some etchers assert that they etch whilst the
plate is in the bath, but we cannot imagine such a method being very
successful, for want of proper control over the work. Tone is produced by
thickness of lines and by cross-hatching, and also by the printer in the
manner of wiping the plate, and finally touches are often added with a dry
point. In addition separate bitings can be given to a plate by “stopping
out” the portion not requiring further biting, with some substance which
resists the acid, usually a varnish. Another method is to silver the plate
and cover it with a white wax ground, so that the etcher gets a dark line
on a white surface. The plate is finally covered with a thin coating of
steel by electricity, this process being called “acierage.” This facing is
given to the plate to resist the wear and tear of printing.

Etching, it will be seen, is far more amenable to the artist’s will than
line engraving and wood-cutting. Still it has its limits, for in it all
the subtleties of tone are wanting, and there is, therefore, imperfect
modelling. The values cannot be relatively truly rendered, nor is texture
well rendered. All this great artists have recognized and have therefore
resolutely confined themselves within the legitimate limits. The masters
of etching, as Rembrandt in the past and Whistler in the present day,
never try for delicacies of tone in their plates, but by line and
cross-hatching, like an artist in pen and ink, they express themselves,
and their works are beautiful and priceless. But as with all the other
arts, so with etching, inferior men have tried by this method to rival
more complete methods, and the result has been failure. By complicated
line work and by printing flat tones, etchers are daily striving to
express in translation the perfect technique of painting, and the results
are unsatisfactory. Here, again, we find that the art-craftsmen, the
translators of pictures, and not original artists, are the chief sinners,
and this is a fact to be carefully remembered. A good etching by Rembrandt
or Whistler gives us a satisfaction we cannot well express; but carefully
elaborated etchings from pictures give us no satisfaction; on the
contrary, they have gone so far that they compel us to compare the work
with a more complete technique, and the result is great disappointment.

As mere art-craft for the translation of pictures, photo-etching will give
etching points (points not of taste but of artistic facts), and beat it
hollow, as any first-rate judge will allow. The best etchers we have met
are unanimous in condemning elaborated work in etching, and they
themselves work within the limits of its technique. Equally averse are
they to the hybrid process of combining etching with photo-etching, a
hybrid only practised by inferior men and appreciated by the untrained.

We must now leave line work, for though, as we have shown, very subtle
suggestions of tone can be obtained by the use of cross-hatching, still
true tonality and modelling cannot be obtained by any save more perfect
methods. Directly an artist has a method by which he can express subtle
tonality, he has a great additional power.

[Sidenote: Charcoal.]

Charcoal.—With this method the scale is limited as the black is not so
deep as many other blacks used in the arts, but by its means delicate
tonality can be obtained, but not the most delicate. The values too in a
charcoal drawing are not true for this reason, because the most delicate
light greys are lost; neither do we like the texture it gives. It is not
true; nevertheless the result is often very fine. We had quite lately the
opportunity of comparing the charcoal drawing of a very fine subject with
nature, and also with a very fine painting of the same subject, and our
opinion is that the charcoal drawing suggested the scene better than any
line method could have done, but the suggestion was very far off the
suggestion offered by the painting.

[Sidenote: Monochrome.]

Monochrome Painting.—A monochrome painting may be in any colour, but since
the scale is so limited, say in red for example, and the effect, except
for portraits, is so incongruous that no artist dares use it. Indian ink
and sepia are the commonest colours used. Monochrome painting, did it
portray the different colours, would follow the same laws as painting, and
would have to be considered from the same stand-point. Therein then lies
the difference, a good artist may express much in monochrome, and give the
suggestion of nature to a very great extent, but he is limited by this
method. Delicate tonality and modelling can be obtained, but there is an
unnaturalness of the middle tints and an artificial look in the textures.
Notwithstanding, very fine work is done in this way, especially by some of
the modern French and Dutch painters.

[Sidenote: Aquatint.]

Aquatint, as its name implies, is a form of engraving best suited to
reproduce water-colours. The plate is prepared in much the same way as it
is for photo-etching, the acid biting between the dots of resin. This
method is now rarely used.

[Sidenote: Mezzotint.]

Mezzotint.—In this process the plate is roughened all over by an
instrument called a “cradle” or _berceau_. This is really a broad chisel
with a cradle-shaped edge, on which are small rough edges. This is worked
by the hand all over the plate until it is rough enough to hold ink. The
scale in this method is wide, the blacks being very deep. The tones are
formed by scraping away the ink by the engraver, the highest light being
the deepest. It gives a very good tonality, and is really the only rival
to photo-etching, but the plate will not last well, thirty good prints
often being all that can be taken from a plate. The engraver, too, has not
sufficient control over his work. As a rule it is only used for fac-simile
work, and not for original work. It will in our opinion be the last form
of engraving to succumb to photo-etching. It is better suited for
portraiture than landscape work; the mezzotints from Constable’s paintings
are very feeble and untrue.

[Sidenote: Photography.]

Photography.—Now we come to photography, which possesses a technique more
perfect than any of the arts yet treated of. Photography, in fact, stands
at the top of the tone class of methods of expression; so nearly perfect
is its technique that in some respects it may be compared with the colour
class. The scale here, too, is limited, but less so than that of any other
black and white method. Its drawing is all but absolutely correct, that is
if the lenses are properly used, as has been shown. It renders the values
relatively correct if orthochromatic plates are used, and it renders
texture _perfectly_. Its one limitation is that it must always be worked
from models; but from what we have already said, we consider this no limit
of consequence when the end in view is artistic expression. When, on the
other hand, the end in view is utilitarian, this is, in certain cases, a
limitation, but as we are considering it only as a method for artistic
expression, we do not now consider that side of the question. As a
facsimile method, it is unrivalled, for some of the art-craftsmen who have
worked in this direction have so perfected it that little now remains to
be done so far as copperplate work goes, though much remains to be done in
connection with delicate blocks for the printing-press. As a recorder of
scientific facts and as an adjunct to the traveller, it has no equal, for
nothing need be allowed for the personal equation of the individual. Its
immense value in all the sciences and arts has been touched upon. Critics
opposed to photography, and they are now-a-days the old and prejudiced,
are fond of citing Mr. P. G. Hamerton’s reasons for not considering
photography one of the pictorial arts. Some of his arguments were
perfectly admissible when he wrote them, but as he has not taken the
trouble to correct them since, we suppose he still rests in the fancied
security of having slain photography for ever. But photography was not
killed by Mr. Hamerton. It could not resist him then, for it was but a
little child, but now that it is well grown and can resist him it will do
so through us here.

[Sidenote: Mr. Hamerton criticised.]

Mr. Hamerton says when any new art is under consideration, we must ask,
“Can it interpret nature? Can it express emotions? Can it express fact and
truth and poetry? Within what limit can it do these things? and finally
has any one with it expressed human knowledge and feeling? Will it record
the results of human observation? Has it ever been practised by great men,
or do they pay much regard to it?”

Beginning, then, with question I.:—

Can it interpret nature? Yes, that at any rate is the opinion of more than
one good sculptor, painter, and photographer, and plates can be produced
which we challenge any one to prove are not interpretations of nature in
the strictest sense of the word.

II. Can it express emotions? Yes, and so faithfully and subtilely that the
late Charles Darwin used it to illustrate from nature, his work “On the
Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals.” Of these photographs taken by
Rejlander, Mr. Darwin writes in the work mentioned, “Several of the
figures in these seven heliotype plates have been reproduced from
photographs, instead of from the original negatives; and they are in
consequence somewhat indistinct; nevertheless, they are faithful copies,
and are much superior for my purpose to any drawing, however carefully

III. Can it express fact and truth? Yes, and there is no need to say any
more on this head, except that it can express fact and truth more
perfectly than any other black and white process. It is not absolutely
perfect, but no art is.

IV. Within what limits can it do these things? The answer to this we have
shown in this work.

V. Has it ever been practised by great men? Yes, and is practised now by
many of our greatest living painters and sculptors, whose names we could

[Sidenote: Adam Salomon’s portraits.]

M. Adam Salomon, a sculptor of ability, a Chevalier of the Legion of
Honour, took the photographic world by storm, by his portraits exhibited
at the Paris Exhibition of 1867, and he continued to practise it up to
within a short time of his death. Let the best sculptors and painters be
asked how they regard photography—especially when they are at work on
posthumous works. Finally we will give here an opinion on photography as
written by an able landscape painter—namely, T. F. Goodall.

“Photography has undoubtedly played an important part in the development
of modern art, both in figure and landscape. In landscapes we are inclined
to think that the influence of photography was for a time hurtful, for
this reason, painters were apt to emulate the detail of the photograph,
and lose the breadth of man’s view of Nature in consequence. They did not
take into account the fact that the lens commonly used was a more powerful
mechanism than the human eye, or that it reproduced at once every detail
of a scene with more distinctness on the plate than the eye would on the
retina, even if the attention was concentrated on one part only at a time,
and that therefore the resulting picture was not a true representation of
Nature, as impressed on the mind by human vision. But for artistic
purposes this may be remedied, and it appears to us that photographers
must take the point into consideration if they would use the camera as a
means of artistic expression. Hitherto the chief aim of the photographer
seems to have been a biting sharpness of detail in the negative, which is
generally quite fatal to the result from an artistic point of view, for in
breadth lies the beauty and sentiment of landscape. To produce a picture
the photographer must select his lens and adjust his focus, so as to get
an expression as nearly identical with the visual one as possible, and he
must print in such good tone as will give the closest approximation to the
values in nature. In all these matters the result will depend on the taste
and intelligence of the author, and bear the impress of his mind. If that
be commonplace, his negative will be so also; if artistic, so will be his
picture. There is no reason why photography, in capable hands, may not be
made a means of interpreting nature second only in value to painting
itself, destined to supersede all other black and white methods in
bringing an extended knowledge of and taste for art to the masses of the
people. The prejudice existing against photography arises from the fact
that hitherto it has been worked merely as a mechanical process; but if by
results it can show that it is worthy, it will rank as a fine art. Dr.
Emerson was the first to advocate rationally the claims of photography to
this distinction, and, artists will admit, has by his subsequent work made
good his position so far as his own productions are concerned. There
should be a great future for photography if followed on really artistic
lines. It should be hailed as a most powerful ally by the modern school of
painting, as by means of it people may be taught to perceive how false are
many of the pictures they believe in, and how much more beautiful and
interesting is truth. From an art-educational point of view its value can
scarcely be overrated; much has been done, by photogravure and other
processes of reproduction, to spread a knowledge of pictures, and there is
no reason why the same methods should not be used for original work. A
good photogravure is to be preferred to a bad painting or second rate
engraving, and is incomparably better than the odious chromos and wretched
prints with which so many walls are disfigured.

If, instead of being satisfied with mere topographical views or foreground
sketches, the photographer has cultivated artistic feeling, means are at
his command for communicating to others what has impressed himself, and he
may produce work of permanent value. Everything depends on what he finds
to say and how he tells it. If the operator has artistic insight, it will
show itself in his negative, just as it would on his canvas, if he were a
painter. The mechanical and chemical processes, the practical judgment
necessary in timing his exposures, the skill and knowledge necessary in
developing his plates; these are his technique; but the art value of the
result will depend on what he communicates to us by its aid. As long as
his ideas of pictorial art are confined in landscape to views of churches
and ruins, rustic bridges and waterfalls, or topographical views of the
haunts of tourists, taken from the guide-book point of view, and in figure
to artificial compositions, reminding one of an amateur theatrical
performance, so long will his work be destitute of artistic qualities, and
therefore valueless, but if he brings to his work a genuine appreciation
of the picturesque in landscape and figure, and a knowledge of how so to
place a subject on his plate as to convey his impressions to others, he
may produce most beautiful and meritorious results. He must learn, as the
painter has to do, to distinguish what in nature is really suitable for
pictorial purposes, on account of beauty of form, or tone, from what
merely gives him pleasure by some quality which, however impressive in
nature, it is not possible to transfer to canvas. A picture being a design
enclosed by four straight lines, can only please and impress by certain
suitable decorative qualities in the subject. To know what will make a
picture is one of the most difficult secrets in landscape art; knowing
just how much of a scene to take in, where to begin and where to end,
decides whether the result will carry a distinct and complete impression,
or be merely a haphazard study.”

What great artists elsewhere have thought of photography is shown by the
following extract from one of J. F. Millet’s letters to his friend
Feuardent. After asking Feuardent to bring him some photographs from
Italy, Millet continues, “In fact, bring whatever you find, figures and
animals. Diaz’s son, the one who died, brought some very good ones, sheep
among other things. Of figures, take of course those that smack least of
the Academy and the model—in fact all that is good, ancient or modern.”

The daily use made of photography by artists is another proof of the good
opinion in which it is held by them. You could not get these men to say a
word in favour of chromo-lithography, because that is a hybrid craft with
few possibilities. These questions being disposed of, we will proceed to
discuss an assertion of Mr. Hamerton’s, that photography is like a
reflection in a mirror. Now from what we have shown in this book, means
are at the artist’s command to influence the final picture in every stage
of its development. If an artist such as Carolus Duran, say, were
thoroughly versed in photography, and a craftsman, like one of the
numerous operators employed by the large photographic firms, were to be
placed together, say on one of the Norfolk Broads for a week, according to
Mr. Hamerton’s _reflection theory_, they would both return with work of
the same quality, differing only in points of view; for Duran’s
reflections would be the same as the craftsman’s, point of view always
excepted. A theory that allows such an absurd application needs little
comment, one remark only will we put forward. In what ignorance of optics
Mr. Hamerton has allowed himself to remain! when every one knows that a
reflection in a mirror is a virtual image, and _does not exist_. By
pushing this theory to its logical conclusion, a monkey with a camera
could produce as good pictures as Mr. Hamerton could make with the same

In “Thoughts on Art” Mr. Hamerton speciously compares photography with
painting. Why not compare it with etching? It can never be compared with
painting until photography in natural colours is an accomplished fact. Mr.
Hamerton, after speaking of the limited scale of light in all art, goes on
to say, “But look at poor photography’s scale compared with the scale in
painting.” Just so, but it has a _much greater_ scale than any other black
and white method, far greater than the scale of his pet etching. Why did
he not state this? Why did he ignore it? Further on Mr. Hamerton
enunciates that if we expose for the glitter of the sea, everything on the
bank will be without detail. It is unnecessary to say this is not so, and
any good photographer can easily prove this statement. Of course the only
excuse for these untrue statements is that such marvellous strides have
been made in what is called “instantaneous photography” since Mr. Hamerton
committed his last criticisms to paper (in 1873), that probably he does
not know that photographs can now be taken at midnight by a _flash of
light_ in a fraction of a second, and with very fair results, as any one
can prove for himself. Mr. Hamerton finds too that the _sum_ of detail in
good topographical drawings is greater than that in a good photograph.
Well, Mr. Hamerton may do so, just as some people see green as red, but
all good photographers will laugh at the statement, and we challenge Mr.
Hamerton that we will produce a greater _sum_ of detail in a photograph of
a set subject than he will by any amount of drawing, and consider it no
great feat either. But this has nothing to do with the artistic value of
photography, or with its comparison with painting. Mr. Hamerton is here
comparing it with architectural drawing.

Mr. Hamerton next says the drawing of mountains is false in photography.
If that were so in 1860, it was Mr. Hamerton’s fault for ignorantly using
his lens, for, as we have shown, lenses are true perspective delineators
_if correctly used_.

Finally Mr. Hamerton, in 1873, sums up _his_ objections to photography
from the purely artistic point, as follow:—

I. “It is false in local colour, putting all the lights and darks of
natural colouring out of tone.” With the aid of orthochromatic plates it
does no such thing, as any reader can prove for himself by getting a
chromograph with yellow, red, blue, or any other bright colours,
photographed by Mr. Dixon, of 112, Albany Street, London.

II. “It is false in light, not being able to make those subdivisions in
the scale which are necessary to relative truth.” This is not so. It is
false in light so far as all art is false in light, but photography can
make more subtle distinctions in the scale than any other known black and
white method.

III. “It is false in perspective, and consequently in the proportions of
forms.” It is not. This remark convicts Mr. Hamerton of ignorance of
optics and the proper use of photographic lenses. Vide Cap. II.

IV. “Its literalness, incapacity of selection, and emphasis, are
antagonistic to the artistic spirit.” Photography is not literal, as the
flexible technique shows; it is capable of selection almost to any extent,
though, of course, it is incapable of leaving out a tree, and putting in
an imaginary man. What an incapacity for emphasis means, we neither know
nor care to know.

[Sidenote: Answers to other criticisms.]

Following in Mr. Hamerton’s steps other critics have raised their
objections to photography, and these we shall discuss briefly.

“A photograph,” it has been said, “shows the art of nature rather than the
art of the artist.” This is mere nonsense, as the same remark might be
applied equally well to all the fine arts. Nature does not jump into the
camera, focus itself, expose itself, develop itself, and print itself. On
the contrary, the artist, using photography as a medium, chooses his
subject, selects his details, generalizes the whole in the way we have
shown, and thus gives _his_ view of nature. This is not copying or
imitating nature, but interpreting her, and this is all any artist can do,
and how perfectly he does it, depends on his technique, and his knowledge
of this technique; and the resulting picture, by whatever method
expressed, will be beautiful proportionately to the beauty of the original
and the ability of the artist. These remarks apply equally to the critics
who call pictures “bits of nature cut out.” There is no need to slay the
slain, and give any further answer to the objection that photography is a
mechanical process, if there were, it would be enough to remind the
objectors that if twenty photographers were sent to a district of limited
area, and told to take a given composition, the result would be twenty
different renderings. Photographs of any artistic quality have
individuality as much as any other works of art, and of the few
photographers who send artistic work to our exhibitions, we would wager to
tell by whom each picture is done. Of course, the ordinary art-craftsman
has no individuality, any more than the reproducer of an architectural or
mechanical drawing. But where an artist uses photography to interpret
nature, his work will always have individuality, and the strength of the
individuality will, of course, vary in proportion to his capacity.

Photography has been called an “irresponsive medium.” This is much the
same as calling it a mechanical process, and, therefore, disposed of, we
venture to think. A great paradox which has to be combatted, is the
assumption that because photography is not “hand-work,” as the public
say,—though we find there is very much “hand-work _and_ head-work” in
it—therefore, it is not an Art language. This is a fallacy born of
thoughtlessness. The painter learns his technique in order to speak, and
as more than one painter has told us, “painting is a mental process,” and
as for the technique they could almost do that with their feet. So with
photography, speaking artistically of it, it is a very severe mental
process, and taxes all the artist’s energies even after he has mastered
his technique. The point is, _what you have to say, and how to say it_. It
would be as reasonable to object to a poet printing his verse in type
instead of writing it in old Gothic with a quill pen on asses' skin.
Coupled with this accusation, goes that of want of originality. The
originality of a work of art, it should be needless to say, refers to the
originality of the thing expressed and the way it is expressed, whether it
be in poetry, photography, or painting, and the original artist is surely
he who seizes new and subtle impressions from nature, “tears them forth
from nature,” as Durer said, and lays them before the world by means of
the technique at his command. That one technique is more difficult than
another to learn, no one will deny, but the greatest thoughts have been
expressed by means of the simplest technique—namely writing.

As we have shown, all arts are limited, some in one way, some in another,
two limitations of photography are that it “cannot express an intention”
and “it must take whatever is before it.” We shall endeavour to answer
these objections, which we frankly allow are the only serious objections
to be brought against it. “It cannot express an intention.” This, at first
sight, seems an insuperable objection, but on reflection it is no real
objection at all when the object of photography is artistic expression. As
we pointed out in Book I., it is our opinion that all the best art has
been done direct from nature, and that no “intention” requires expression.
No artist worthy of the name ever drew a picture evolved from his inner
consciousness; if it is a brief note to see how a thing will come; it is
either from nature, or from his remembrance of nature. The photographer
then must compose on his ground glass or in nature, or if he wants to see
how it will come, he too can draw the lines on his ground glass. But the
great point is, such drawing is perfectly unnecessary for artistic
purposes; only for architectural uses is it necessary, for the architect
must draw a plan of his building before it can be built. This distinction
has either been overlooked or speciously suppressed by Mr. Hamerton. But
then we have nothing to do with architectural drawing; and if in this
instance photography cannot help the architectural draughtsman, yet there
are hundreds of instances in scientific studies in which _nothing can help
so well as photography_, for example, in astronomy, spectral analysis,
bacteriology, &c., &c. Finally, we are not aware that sculpture can help
the architectural draughtsman. The second objection that the camera will
take everything before it, is not of any vital importance. It only makes
the field to select from more limited, and gives the artist greater credit
when he does a good thing. And if we are true to one of our principles,
namely, that the subject should so strike the artist that he wishes only
to reproduce it, it is no objection at all, for a subject with an eyesore
marring it would not, or should not, appeal to the artist sufficiently to
make him wish to reproduce it. We will also give the opinion of a painter
on this point. Mr. Goodall writes:—“These two subjects serve well to
illustrate how unnecessary it is to alter the natural arrangement of
things in order to make a picture. Although they are literal transcripts,
it is hard to find a line in them which could be altered with advantage.
The designs presented by nature ready made, always interest us far more
than the artificial compositions of painters who pick and choose, arrange
and alter, the material around them in constructing their pictures. When a
picture is patched together, as it were, a bit here and a bit there,
whatever the gain in composition, there is always a more than
corresponding loss in those little subtleties which give quality to the
work. If the beauty of a subject in nature does not appeal to the painter
with sufficient force to make him wish to paint it exactly as it is, he
had better leave it alone altogether, and seek some other that does. A man
must be moved too deeply by something to dream of improving it by
alterations, before he can possibly paint a really good picture.” But has
not this very limitation its advantages as well as its disadvantages?
There can be no scamping or dishonest work, and the artist must always go
to nature. Had the ancient Greeks known and handed down photography—and a
sculptor friend of ours is inclined to think they did have something of
the kind—there would not have followed the terrible decadence in art which
came after them owing to the neglect of nature, as we have shown. Again,
an _immense power which photography possesses over any other art is the
rapidity with which an effect can be secured_. The painter is limited to a
portion of the day—his effect is only present at certain times, or his
model tires; but the artist working with photography, when he sees his
effect is right, can secure it in the twinkling of an eye. This advantage
over all the other arts far outweighs the limitation of the field of

It has been said, “The camera sees far more than the eye takes in at any
given moment, and sees it with an impartiality for which there is no
parallel in the human vision.” This objection has been answered in the
body of the work; it only holds true with bad work, and with that we are
in no way concerned.

A kindly critic, who did us the honour of reviewing us in the _Spectator_,
said if our “contention were true, painting would have said its last word,
and sculpture would no doubt soon be superseded by some mechanical
contrivance, which would be to clay and marble what the camera is to plane
surfaces.” Now we must break a lance with this reviewer and gentleman; we
wish all reviewers deserved the last title. We fail to see why painting
should have said its last word—for our contention _is true—pace_ our
reviewer. The great fact of colour alone places true painting as a method
of expression far above any other method. When photographs can be taken in
natural colours, then will be the time to discuss the probable dying
groans of painting. As to sculpture, it seems to us useless to discuss the
merits of “probable mechanical contrivances;” when they are invented the
time will come to discuss them. At present the only comparison that can be
made is that between a cast of, say, a hand from life, and a modelled
hand. When this comparison is made, the “cast from life” will be found
poor and mean—_it is not a true impression_. The modelled hand may be so,
if the sculptor is good. It is of course needless to point out that the
principle of tone holds in sculpture as in painting, but the cast from
life cannot have subtleties of tone for a very obvious physiological
reason, namely, reflex action. If you touch a hand with a foreign
substance, reflex action is set up, and there is an alteration in the
heights and depths of the modelling, and the play of light gives a
different impression. Now, when a living hand is covered with plaster a
rough model is obtained—a model of its structure merely, and all the
subtleties of tone are lost. Those subtleties would, however, all be given
in a photograph, for nothing is touched, and a true impression is rendered
of the hand. What more hideous travesty of nature is there than a cast
taken from a dead subject—the cast being merely an exaggeration of the
faults in a cast taken from life?

Here, then, we must leave photography _at the head of the methods for
interpreting nature in monochrome_, and we feel sure that any one who
comes to the study of photography with a rational and an unbiassed mind
will admit there is no case to be made out against it as a means of
artistic expression. This much has been allowed by very many of our
friends, who are at the same time accomplished artists—etchers, painters,
and sculptors.

The student must remember, then, that a first-rate photograph, like a
first-rate pencil drawing, pen-and-ink drawing, etching, or mezzotint, is
far and away superior to a second-rate painting. The greatest geniuses in
art will admire the one and will not tolerate the other; but the student
must also remember that a false “picture” is worse than nothing.

[Sidenote: Some masters of the minor arts.]

The student should acquaint himself with the best specimens of the various
pictorial arts mentioned in this chapter, and he can do this with little
difficulty by obtaining a ticket for the print-room at the British Museum;
while in the provinces there are no doubt good specimens at the local
galleries. Cambridge, we know, is very rich in Rembrandt’s work. The
masters in each department whose work we recommend for study are—

In Lead Pencil.—Harding and Bonington in England, and Ingres in France.

Pen and Ink.—Titian, Albert Durer, Rembrandt, Fortuny, Rousseau, abroad;
and among Englishmen—Leech, Caldecott, De Maurier.

Chalk.—Da Vinci, Andrea del Sarto, Rembrandt, Raphael, Titian, Constable
and Millet.



Line Engraving.—Albert Durer, and Cousins.

Wood Engraving.—Bewick, Thompson, and Linton.

Facsimile Wood Engraving.—“The Century,” Scribner’s, and Harper’s

Etching.—Rembrandt, Millet, Meryon, Rajon, and Whistler.

Facsimile Etching.—Brunet-Debaines.


Monochrome Painting.—Mauve and Rossi.

Mezzotint.—Turner’s and Lupton’s reproductions of some of the plates of
Turner’s “Liber Studiorum,” Smith’s reproductions of Sir Joshua Reynolds'
pictures, and Lucas' plates after Constable.

Photography.—Adam Salomon, Rejlander, and Mrs. Cameron.

Photogravure in facsimile.—A. Dawson, W. Colls, and Scamoni.

[Sidenote: Final.]

It must not be forgotten that water-colour drawing and etching have both
been despised in their time by artists, dealers, and the public, but they
have lived to conquer for themselves places of honour. The promising young
goddess, photography, is but fifty years old. What prophet will venture to
cast her horoscope for the year 2000?


  “_Very few poets_ get their inspiration from nature. The majority of
  them have read other poets, and they use the same ideas, clothed in
  different language. The painter has to go directly to nature, or he is
  a mere copyist. He cannot paint his picture like somebody else. He
  must tell his own story if he has any to tell. Please to look out of
  the window! You’ll get something different from what you get out of
  books, for it never has been seen before!”

                                                            W. HUNT.

                              APPENDIX I.

[Sidenote: Books on art.]

We are continually receiving letters from correspondents asking us to
recommend them some books on art.

Now we can deeply sympathize with these earnest fellow-workers, for at one
period we wasted much time in vexation of mind in reading the works of
“self-appointed preachers, who knew many things save their subject.” When
we endeavoured to learn something of art we put the very same question to
our teachers, and the answer came, “There is nothing worth reading; some
good things have been written by painters but they are old now, for art
has developed greatly of late years, one thing only we can advise you,
don’t read anything not written by a practical man.”

When we came to consider the writings of artists, we found that but very
little had been written by them, and we can only repeat to the student,
with the full conviction of experience, that he must read nothing save
that written by practical artists.

[Sidenote: Technique and Practice of art.]

The technique and practice of art can be taught in studios, and its
principles can be scientifically recorded, but the poetry of art cannot be
taught, only hints can be thrown out. The poetic qualities which make an
artist as distinguished from the craftsman are born in a man and cannot be
acquired by any amount of training. It is for this reason we must suppose
that artists have, as a rule, thrown out suggestions and hints rather than
enunciated any laws: these hints and suggestions, then, coupled often with
the rhapsodies of literary men, form the body of all writings on art.

The only books we know of from which the student will derive some benefit
are Leslie’s “Life of John Constable.”

[Sidenote: Books recommended.]

William Hunt’s “Talks about Art.”—This excellent little book is often
contradictory and illogical, but nevertheless we heartily recommend it.

[Sidenote: Photographic libraries.]

In the body of this work we spoke of recommending a few books which every
photographer should have in his library, and if he has no library he
should at once make a modest beginning. The library is, to the
intellectual man, the armoury wherein are kept the arms which he must
wield in the battle for truth.

Every photographic society in the world, worthy of the name, should
collect all journals, pamphlets, and books bearing on photography, as well
as all books illustrated by photography and photographic processes.
Scrap-books should be kept in which are pasted all newspaper and magazine
articles on photographic subjects. Photography is but young, and there is
plenty of time to make such a collection complete. If all the numerous
societies subscribed, it might be worth while to reprint whole volumes of
rare journals.

The numerous photographic societies in this country could easily get
library subscriptions, or even organize entertainments amongst their
members and friends to procure the necessary funds for a library.

[Sidenote: Books recommended.]

The Camera Club has set an admirable example in this direction which will
no doubt be followed. Among the books we should recommend the student to
begin with are—

 Captain Abney’s _Treatise on Photography_, Longman and Co.

 Professor Tyndall’s _Lectures on Light_, Longman and Co.

 Dr. Lömmer’s _Optics and Light_               }  International
 Dr. Vogel’s _Chemistry of Light and           }  Science
 Photography_                                     Series.

 The late Mr. Sawyer’s _ABC of Carbon Printing_. The Autotype Company.

 Dr. Eder’s _Modern Dry Plates_, Piper, Carter, and Co.

 Dr. Ganot’s _Physics_, Longman and Co.

 Professor Roscoe’s _Lessons in Elementary Chemistry_, Macmillan.

 The late Professor Bloxham’s _Laboratory Teaching_, Macmillan.

 Messrs. Hardwich and Taylor’s _Photographic Chemistry_, Churchill.

 Mr. Jerome Harrison’s _History of Photography_, Trübner and Co.

Dr. Wilson’s edition of Burnet’s _Treatise on Painting_. This book can be
obtained of Messrs. Lund and Co., St. John Street, Bradford.

The late Mr. Baden Pritchard’s _Photographic Studios of Europe_, Piper,
Carter, and Co.

Mr. Bolas' Cantor _Lectures on Photo-mechanical Processes_, Piper, Carter,
and Co.

Mr. Hodgson’s _Modern Methods of Book Illustration_.—Mr. Hodgson’s was the
first book on photo-mechanical processes, and it still remains one of the

Dr. Liesgang’s _Manual of Carbon Printing_, Sampson Low and Co.

Messrs. Welford and Sturmey’s _Photographer’s Indispensable Handbook_.
Iliffe and Son.

Mr. Chapman Jones' _Science and Practice of Photography_. Iliffe and Son.

_Traité Encyclopédique de Photographie_, par Dr. Charles Fabre. Paris,


                              APPENDIX II.


                            SCIENCE AND ART.

(_A Paper read at the Camera Club Conference, held in the rooms of the
    Society of Arts, London, on March 26th, 1889._)

paper I would fain ask of you two things,—your attention and your charity,
but especially your charity. The reception which you accord me, ladies and
gentlemen, assures me you will give both, and I thank you beforehand.

Since all mental progress consists, as Mr. Herbert Spencer has shown, for
the most part in differentiation,—that is in the analysis of an unknown
complex into known components,—surely it were a folly to confuse any
longer the aims of Science and Art. Rather should we endeavour to draw an
indelible line of demarcation between them, for in this way we make mental
progress, and Science and Art at the same time begin to gather together
their scattered forces, each one taking under its standard those powers
that belong to it, and thus becoming integrated, and necessarily stronger
and more permanent; for evolution is integration and differentiation
passing into a coherent heterogeneity. Now, I do not mean to premise that
this confusion between Science and Art exists everywhere,—it does not. But
I feel sure that it exists largely in the ever-increasing body of persons
who practise photography. The majority of them have not thoroughly, nay,
not even adequately, thought the matter out. It is obvious then, according
to the teachings of evolution, that, if we are to make progress, this
differentiation must be made, thoroughly understood, and rigidly adhered
to by every practitioner of photography. Each one must have his aim
clearly stamped upon his mind, whether it be the advancement of Science or
the creation of works whose aim and end is to give æsthetic pleasure.
Proceed we now to analyze the difference between the aims and ends of
Science and Art.

Let us first approach the subject from the scientific standpoint.

Assuming that we have before us a living man, let us proceed together to
study him scientifically, for the nonce imagining our minds to be virginal
tablets, without score or scratch. Let us proceed first to record the
colour of his skin, his hair and eyes, the texture of his skin, the
relative positions of the various orifices in his face, the number of his
limbs, the various measurements of all these members. So we go on
integrating and differentiating until we find that we have actually built
up a science,—ethnology. If we pursue the study, and begin to compare
different races of men with each other, we find our ethnology extends to a
more complex anthropology.

We next observe that the eyelids open and close, the lips open, sounds
issue from the mouth, and our curiosity leads us to dissect a dead
subject, and we find that beneath the skin, fat, and superficial _fasciæ_
there are muscles, each supplied with vessels and nerves. We trace these
vessels and nerves to their common origins, and are led to the heart and
brain. In short, we find the science of anatomy grows up under our hands,
and if we go on with our studies we are led into microscopy. Then we begin
to ponder on the reasons why the blood flows, on the reasons why the
_corrugator supercilii_ and _depressores anguli oris_ act in weeping, the
_musculus superbus_ in practical arrogance, and the _levator anguli oris_
in snarling or sneering. So we go on studying the functions of all the
organs we find in our man, and lo! we are deep in physiology; and if we go
deeply enough we find the thread lost in the most complex problems of
organic chemistry and molecular physics. And so we might go on studying
this man; and if our lives were long enough, and if we had capacity
enough, we should be led through a study of this man to a knowledge of all
physical phenomena, so wonderful and beautiful is the all-pervading
principle of the conservation of energy, and so indestructible is matter.
As we proceeded with our studies we should have been observing, recording,
positing hypotheses, and either proving or disproving them. In all these
ways we should have been adding to the sum of knowledge. And in the
greatest steps we made in our advancement we should have made use of our
_constructive imagination_,—the highest _intellectual_ power, according to
recent psychologists.

The results of these investigations, if we were wise, would have been
recorded in the simplest and tersest language possible, for such is the
language of Science. It is needless to point out that in these records of
our studies, as in the records of all scientific studies, _too many_ facts
could not possibly be registered. Every little fact is welcome in
scientific study, so long as it is true. And thus the humblest scientific
worker may help in the great work; his mite is always acceptable. Such is,
alas! not the case with that jealous goddess, Art: she will have nothing
to do with mediocrity. A bad work of art has no _raison-d'être_; it is
worse than useless,—it is harmful.

To sum up, then, “Science,” as Professor Huxley says, “is the knowledge of
the laws of Nature obtained by observation, experiment, and reasoning. No
line can be drawn between common knowledge of things and scientific
knowledge; nor between common reasoning and scientific reasoning. In
strictness, all accurate knowledge is Science, and all exact reasoning is
scientific reasoning. The method of _observation_ and _experiment_ by
which such great results are obtained in Science is identically the same
as that which is employed by every one, every day of his life, but refined
and rendered precise.”

Now let us turn to Art, and look at our imaginary man from the artistic
standpoint. Assuming that we have learned the technique of some method of
artistic expression, and that is part of the science we require, we will
proceed with our work.

Let us look at the figure before us from the sculptor’s point of view. Now
what is our mental attitude? We no longer care for many of the facts that
vitally interested us when we were studying the man scientifically; we
care little about his anatomy, less about his physiology, and nothing at
all about organic chemistry and molecular physics. We care nothing for his
morality, his thoughts, his habits and customs,—his sociological history,
in fact; neither do we care about his ethnological characters. If he be a
good model, it matters little whether he be _Greek_, _Italian_, or
_Circassian_. But we do care, above all, for his type, his build, and the
grace with which he comports himself; for our aim is to make a statue like
him, a statue possessing qualities that shall give æsthetic pleasure. For
the _raison-d'être_ of a work of art ends with itself; there should be no
ulterior motive beyond the giving of æsthetic pleasure to the most
cultivated and sensitively refined natures.

The first thing, then, we must do is to sit in judgment on our model. Will
he do for the purpose? Are his features suitable? Is _he_ well modelled in
all parts? Does he move easily and with grace? If he fulfils all these
conditions we take him. Then we watch his movements and seize on a
beautiful pose. Now with our clay we begin to model him. As we go on with
our work we begin to see that it is utterly impossible to record all the
facts about him with our material, and we soon find it is undesirable to
do so,—nay, pernicious. We cannot model those hundreds of fine wrinkles,
those thousands of hairs, those myriads of pores in the skin that we see
before us. What, then, must we do? We obviously _select_ some,—the most
salient, if we are wise,—and _leave out_ the rest.

All at once the fundamental distinction between Science and Art dawns upon
us. We _cannot_ record too many facts in Science; the fewer facts we
record in Art, and yet express the subject so that it cannot be better
expressed, the better. All the greatest artists have _left out_ as much as
possible. They have endeavoured to give a fine _analysis_ of the model,
and the Greeks succeeded.

It is beside the question to show how Science has exercised an injurious
influence upon certain schools in art; but that would be very easy to do.
At the same time, the best Art has been founded on scientific
principles,—that is, the physical facts have been true to nature.

To sum up, then, Art is the selection, arrangement, and recording of
certain facts, with the aim of giving æsthetic pleasure; and it differs
from Science fundamentally, in that as few facts are compatible with
complete expression are chosen, and these are arranged so as to appeal to
the emotional side of man’s nature, whereas the scientific facts appeal to
his intellectual side.

But, as in many erroneous ideas that have had currency for long, there
lurks a germ of truth, so there lurks still a leaven of Art in Science and
a leaven of Science in Art; but in each these leavenings are subordinate,
and not at the first blush appreciable. For example, in Science the facts
can be recorded or demonstrated with selection, arrangement, and lucidity;
that is, the leaven of Art in Science. Whilst in Art the physical facts of
nature must be truthfully rendered; that is, the leaven of Science in Art.

And so we see there is a relationship between Science and Art, and yet
they are as the poles asunder.


We shall now endeavour to discuss briefly how our remarks apply to
photography. Any student of photographic literature is well aware that
numerous papers are constantly being published by persons who evidently
are not aware of this radical distinction between Science and Art.

The student will see it constantly advocated that every detail of a
picture should be impartially rendered with a biting accuracy, and this
_in all cases_. This biting sharpness being, as Mr. T. F. Goodall, the
landscape-painter, says, “_Quite fatal from the artistic standpoint_.” If
the rendering were always given sharply, the work would belong to the
category of topography or the _knowledge_ of places, that is _Science_. To
continue, the student will find directions for producing an _unvarying_
quality in his negatives. He will be told how negatives of low-toned
effects may be made to give prints like negatives taken in bright
sunshine; in short, he will find that these writers have a _scientific
ideal_, a sort of _standard negative_ by which to gauge all others. And if
these writers are questioned, the student will find the _standard
negative_ is one in which all detail is rendered with microscopic
sharpness, and one taken evidently in the brightest sunshine. We once
heard it seriously proposed that there should be some sort of _standard
lantern-slide_. My allotted time is too brief to give further examples.
Suffice it to say, that this unvarying _standard negative_ would be
admirable if _Nature_ were unvarying in her moods; until that comes to
pass there must be as much variety in negatives as there are in different
moods in Nature.

It is, we think, because of the confusion of the aims of Science and Art
that the majority of photographs fail either as scientific records or
works of art. It would be easy to point out how the majority are false
scientifically, and easier still to show how they are simply devoid of all
artistic qualities. They serve, however, as many have served, as
topographical records of faces, buildings, and landscapes, but often
incorrect records at that. It is curious and interesting to observe that
such work always requires a _name_. It is a photograph of _Mr. Jones_, of
_Mont Blanc_, or of the _Houses of Parliament_. On the other hand, a work
of Art really requires _no name_,—it speaks for itself. It has no burning
desire to be christened, for its aim is to give the beholder æsthetic
pleasure, and _not_ to add to his knowledge or the _Science_ of places,
i.e. geography. The work of Art, it cannot too often be repeated, appeals
to man’s emotional side; it has no wish to add to his knowledge—to his
_Science_. On the other hand, topographical works appeal to his
intellectual side; they refresh his _memory_ of absent persons or
landscapes, or they add to his _knowledge_. To anticipate criticism, I
should like to say that of course in all mental processes the intellectual
and emotional factors are inseparable, yet the one is always subordinated
to the other. The emotional is subordinate when we are solving a
mathematical problem, the intellectual is decidedly subordinate when we
are making love. Psychologists have analyzed to a remarkable extent the
intellectual phenomena, but the knowledge of the components of the
sentiments or the emotional phenomena is, as Mr. Herbert Spencer says,
“altogether vague in its outlines, and has a structure which continues
indistinct even under the most patient introspection. Dim traces of
different components may be discerned; but the limitations both of the
whole and of its parts are so faintly marked, and at the same time so
entangled, that none but very general results can be reached.”

The chief thing, then, that I would impress upon all beginners is the
necessity for beginning work with a clear distinction between the aims and
ends of Science and Art. When the art-student has acquired enough
knowledge—that is, _Science_—to express what he wishes, let him, with
jealous care, keep the scientific mental attitude, if I may so express it,
far away. On the other hand, if the student’s aim is scientific, let him
cultivate rigidly scientific methods, and not weaken himself by attempting
a compromise with Art. We in the photographic world should be either
scientists or artists; we should be aiming either to increase
knowledge,—that is, science,—or to produce works whose aim and end is to
give æsthetic pleasure. I do not imply any comparison between Science and
Art to the advantage of either one. They are both of the highest worth,
and I admire all sincere, honest, and capable workers in either branch
with impartiality. But I do not wish to see the aims and ends of the two
confused, the workers weakened thereby, and, above all, the progress of
both Science and Art hindered and delayed.


Next I shall discuss briefly the ill-effects of a too sedulous study of
Science upon an Art student.

The first and, perhaps, the greatest of these ill-effects is the
_positive_ mental attitude that Science fosters. A scientist is only
concerned with stating a fact clearly and simply; he must tell the truth,
and the _whole truth_. Now, a scientific study of photography, if pushed
too far, leads, as a rule, to that state of mind which delights in a
wealth of clearly-cut detail. The scientific photographer wishes to see
the veins in a lily-leaf and the scales on a butterfly’s wing. He looks,
in fact, so closely, so microscopically, at the butterfly’s wing, that he
never sees the poetry of the life of the butterfly itself, as with buoyant
wheelings it disappears in marriage flight over the lush grass and pink
cuckoo-flowers of May.

I feel sure that this general delight in detail, brilliant sun-shiny
effect, glossy prints, &c., is chiefly due to the evolution of
photography: these tastes have been developed with the art, from the
silver plate of _Daguerre_ to the double-albumenized paper of to-day. But,
as the art develops, we find the love for gloss and detail giving way
before platinotype prints and photo-etchings.

The second great artistic evil engendered by Science, is the careless
manner in which things are expressed. The scientist seeks for truth, and
is often indifferent to its method of expression. To him, “Can you not
wait upon the lunatic?” is as the late Matthew Arnold said, as good as,
“Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased?” To the literary artist, on
the other hand, these sentences are as the poles asunder,—the one in bald
truth, the other literature. They both mean the same thing; yet what
æsthetic pleasure we get from the one, and what a dull fact is, “Can you
not wait upon the lunatic?” There are photographs and photographs; the one
giving as much pleasure as the literary sentence, the other being as dull
as the matter-of-fact question. The student with understanding will see
the fundamental and vital distinction between Science and Art as shown
even in these two short sentences.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, I do not think I can do better than finish
this section by quoting another passage from the writings of the late
Matthew Arnold.

“_Deficit una mihi symmetria prisca._—‘The antique symmetry was the one
thing wanting to me,’ said Leonardo da Vinci, and he was an Italian. I
will not presume to speak for the American, but I am sure that, in the
Englishman, the want of this admirable symmetry of the Greeks is a
thousand times more great and crying in’ any Italian. The results of the
want show themselves most glaringly, perhaps, in our architecture, but
they show themselves also in our art. _Fit details strictly combined, in
view of a large general result nobly conceived_: that is just the
beautiful _symmetria prisca_ of the Greeks, and it is just where we
English fail, where all our art fails. Striking ideas we have, and
well-executed details we have; but that high symmetry which, with
satisfying delightful effect, contains them, we seldom or never have. The
glorious beauty of the Acropolis at Athens did not arise from single fine
things stuck about on that hill, a statue here, a gateway there. No, it
arose from all things being perfectly combined for a supreme total


And now I must finish my remarks. I have not perhaps told you very much,
but if I have succeeded in impressing upon beginners and some others the
vital and fundamental distinction between Science and Art, something will
have been achieved. And if those students who find anything suggestive in
my paper are by it led to look upon photography in future from a new
mental attitude, something more important still will have been attained.
For, in my humble opinion, though it is apparently but a little thing I
have to tell, still its effect may be vital and far-reaching for many an
honest worker, and if I have helped a few such, my labour will have been
richly rewarded indeed.


Abney, Captain, F.R.S., 13, 160, 182.
——’s fog-clearing solution, 176.
—— hyposulphite of soda eliminator, 175.
—— on exposure, tables, 160.
—— “Photography with Emulsions,” 162.
—— “Treatise on Photography,” 294.
Abolition of medals, 226.
Accidents and faults in dry plates, 174.
—— to the camera, 132.
Adam Salomon, 147, 252.
—— —— on retouching, 187.
—— ——’s portraits, 279.
Æolus, 254.
Aërial perspective, 248.
After-treatment of plates, 173.
Agatharchos, 34.
Aim of “Naturalistic Photography,” 8, 29.
Albums, 220.
Alkaline developer, 170.
“Amateur” and “Professional” photographers, 12.
American art, 78.
—— wood engraving, 273.
Amount of landscape to be included in a picture, 255.
Analysis, 17.
Ancient Greek and Italian art, 33.
Anderson’s “Pictorial Arts of Japan,” 54.
Angelo, Michael, 64, 93.
Angle of view, 139.
“Antiques” for tourists, 39.
Apelles, 36.
Apollodoros, 35.
Apotheosis of Homer, 41.
Apparatus, 141, 257.
Appendix, I., 293.
—— II., 295.
Aquatint, 277.
Aristotle, 23.
Art, 17.
—— among the Philistines, 52.
—— and culture, 258.
—— and legerdemain, 255.
—— and photography, 5.
—— at home, 258.
—— blocks, 204.
—— criticism, 39.
—— division, 10.
—— principles, 114.
—— of feeling nature, 250.
“Artist photographer,” 254, 257.
Artistic, 18.
“Artistic opals,” 257.
“Art-Science,” 18.
Artificial light, 147.
Assyrian art, 32.
—— bas-reliefs, 33.
—— lion hunt, 33.
Astigmatism, 100.
Astronomical photography, 2.
Atkinson, Dr., 22.
Atmosphere, 115.

Bad wood engraving, 255.
Backgrounds, 146, 243.
Bags, 129.
Balance, 248.
Barometer of Naturalism, 95.
Baseboard of Camera, 126.
Bastien-Lepage, 90.
Beautiful poses, 256.
Bewick, 70, 273.
Binocular vision, 111.
Biting process, A second, 216.
Bitten plates, 212, 214, 216.
Blind spot, 100.
Blisters, 176.
Bloxham’s “Laboratory teaching,” 162.
Bolas' “Cantor Lectures,” 295.
Books on art, 293.
—— recommended, 294.
Boucher, 85.
Bouquet, 157.
Boy and thorn, 41.
Branches of Photography, 8.
Breadth, 18, 240, 255.
Breton, Jules, 91.
British Museum, 40.
Brown fog, 176.
Bruciani’s plaster casts, 93.
Brunn, 35.
Buddhism, 54.
Bunsen, Professor, 158.
Burnet’s “Treatise on Painting,” 238.
—— “Laws of Composition,” 238.
Burns, Robert, 24.
Busy Insanity, 258.
Byzantine art, 46.

Cadett’s studio-shutter, 146.
Callcott, 77.
Camera, 125.
——, choice of, 125, 126.
—— clamp, 129.
——, hand, 132.
——, length of, 127.
——, register test for, 132.
——, size of, 126.
——, square, 127.
——, studio, 128, 146.
Camera obscura, 66, 149.
Cameron, Mrs., 152, 164, 189.
Canova, 94.
Caracalla’s bust, 40.
Carbon printing, 191.
Catacombs, 45.
Cellini-Benvenuto, 93.
Chalk drawing, 270.
“Character” in portraiture, 252.
Charcoal drawing, 276.
Charlemagne, 47.
Chemicals, 169.
Chemical solutions, 142.
Chemistry and Photography, 2.
Chiaro-oscuro, 35, 239.
Chinese Art, 54, 58.
—— renascence, 55.
Choice of district to work in, 246.
—— —— lens, 136.
Christmas Cards, 257.
Cimabue, 49.
Classification of Exposures, 154.
Clays, 75.
“Clearness,” 259.
Cloud negatives, 197.
Cold process in platinum printing, 194.
College of Photography, 13.
Collotypes, &c., 205.
Colls, W. L., 209.
—— —— on Photogravure, 211.
Colour, 18, 108.
——, differences of, 108.
—— of Platinotype prints, 196.
—— of landscape in sunshine, 257.
Combination printing, 197, 199.
Commercial groups, 244.
Commodus' bust, 41.
Composite, photography, 137.
Composition, 237, 238, 240, 248.
Constable, 75, 227, 268.
Constable’s dicta on art, 75.
Contents of “Naturalistic Photography,” 8.
Cooke, 77.
Copper-plate printing, 210.
Copy of schedule for copyrighting, 222.
Copyright, 221.
Cordianus' bust, 40.
Corot, 85.
Correggio, 65.
Cover for developing dish, 142.
Cox, David, 73.
Creative artist, 19.
Creswell, 77.
Criticism, 29, 259.
Critics, 259.
Crome, Old, 75, 76.
Cuyp, 83.

Daguerre and the French Academy, 1.
Dallmeyer’s new long-focus lenses, 135.
Damages for infringement of copyright, 224.
Dark room and apparatus, 141.
—— ——, ventilation of, 141.
Darwin, Charles, on photographs, 278.
Daubigny, 86.
Da Vinci, 27, 64.
Dawson, A., 209.
Decoration, D'Oyleys, 264.
——, of hangings, 264.
——, wall papers, 264.
——, windows, 262.
Decorative art, 260.
—— ——, enamels, 262.
—— ——, panels and friezes, 261, 262.
—— ——, tiles, 262.
Defects in gelatine plates due to damp, 178.
De Hooghe, 75, 83.
De la Croix, 85.
De la Roche, 85.
Del Sarto, Andrea, 65.
Della Robia, 93.
Dense negatives, 177.
Deposits on the film, 178.
“Depth of focus,” 139.
Descamps, 85.
Desideratum, A great, 206.
Developing rule, A, 141, 168.
Development, 162.
—— by artificial light, 172.
——, meteorological conditions in, 167.
——, method of, 167.
——, slow, 167.
De Wint, 73.
Diagrammatic blocks and plates, 204.
Diaphragm, 138.
Direct and indirect vision, 102.
Direction of light, Law of, 102.
Dirty backs of negatives, 178.
Dishes, 142.
Dispersion of light, 99.
Dixon and Gray’s Orthochromatic Photography, 284.
Doctoring negatives, 189.
Donatello, 92.
Double-backs, 129.
Drainage rack, 142.
Drawing of photographic lenses, 118, 136.
Dull spots and pits on negatives, 179.
Dulwich Gallery, 68, 69, 70.
Duplicate plates, 173.
Durer, Albert, 23, 61.
Dutch Art, 80.

Early Christian Art, 44
Easel pictures, 35.
Eastern Art, 52.
Eder’s, Dr., Intensifier, 175.
—— ——, “Modern dry plates,” 294.
—— potash developer, 171.
—— reducer, 177.
Educated sight, 233, 238.
Edwards’s, B. J., clearing solution, 177.
—— —— orthochromatic plates, 182.
—— —— yellow screens, 182.
Egypt, Ancient, works to be studied, 31.
Egyptian art, 30.
—— artists, 32.
—— lions, 31.
Emerson on “Ventilation of the dark room,” 141.
——’s “Ammonia poisoning,” 141.
—— “An ideal photographic exhibition,” 227.
—— “Photography; a pictorial art,” 9.
—— “Pharyngitis and Photography,” 141.
Emperors' School, 46.
Engineering and Photography, 3.
English Art, 69.
—— sculpture, 94.
—— _v._ French photogravure, 209.
Enlargements, 200.
Enlarging and tonality, 201.
Enquiry into Naturalism in Art, 28.
Etching, 81, 274.
Eupompos, 36.
Evolution in Art, 61.
Exhibitions, 225.
Experiment for forming a rough rule for use of lenses, 136.
Exposure, 154.
——, method of, 154.
——, variation of, 157.
Exposures, classification of, 154.
——, lens and stop in, 157.
——, meteorological conditions in, 157.
——, no rule for, 159.
——, quick, 154, 155, 156.
Exposures, time, 155.
——, shutter, 156.
——, tables of, 160.
Expression, 252.

Fabius, 38.
Fading of prints, 192.
Failure, 257.
Falsity of photographic portraits, 255.
Fantin’s flowers, 152.
Fechner’s Law, 107.
Ferro-prussiate printing paper, 194.
Ferrous-oxalate developer, 169.
Fiddle-brown trees, 258.
Figure and landscape, 251.
Fine Art, 19.
Finish, 257.
Flare-spot, 139.
“Flat and weak” negatives, 255.
Flemish Art, 69.
Fluorescence, 100.
Focussing, 101, 148.
——, example of, 150.
——, mental attitude in, 148.
——, rule for, 119, 150.
—— the eye, 101.
Fog, 175.
Forensic medicine and photography, 4.
Forfeiture of pirated works, 224.
Fortuny, 68.
Foster’s, W. Michael, Physiology, 97.
_Fovea Centralis_, 101.
Frames, 219.
Framing, 218.
French (Modern) Art, 84.
Frilling, 176.
Fuseli, 70.
Fuzziness, 120.

Gainsborough, 70.
Gambling for medals, 227.
Ganot’s “Physics,” 134.
Gelatino-bromide paper, 192.
Gelatino-chloride paper, 192.
Geography and photography, 3.
German (Modern) Art, 61, 68.
Ghiberti, 92.
Gibson Gallery, 43.
Giotto, 49.
Girtin, 73.
Glass slabs, 143.
Glazing a studio, 145.
“Good Art,” 256.
Goodall, T. F., on colour, 18.
—— ——, on composition, 287.
—— ——, “Mere transcripts of Nature,” 26.
—— ——, on photography, 297.
Good work, 257.
Gothic Art, 48.
Greek and Græco-Roman sculpture, 39.
—— and Italian Art, 33.
—— chiaroscuro, 35.
—— coins, 42.
—— landscape art, 38.
—— painting, 34.
—— perspective, 35.
—— scene-painting, 35.
—— vases, mosaics, and stone paintings, 38.
Green fog, 176
Green plates, 252.
Greuze, 85.
Ground-glass pictures, 149.
Groups, 244.
Grown plates, 212.
Guilds, The, 48, 50.

Halation, 177.
Hamerton on Photography, 278.
Hand cameras, 132.
Hardwich and Taylor’s “Photographic Chemistry,” 294.
Harrison, 78, 79.
——'s, J., “History of Photography,” 294.
Head-rests, 146.
Heffner, 68.
Helmholtz, Professor, 103, 108, 109, 110, 111.
Henderson’s enamels, 262.
Hering’s theory, 108.
Hick’s opaque measuring-glasses, 142.
“High Art,” 20, 185.
Hints on copper-plate printing, 210.
Hints on development, 164, 165.
—— — lenses, 140.
—— — photo-etching, 210.
—— — pictorial art, 254.
—— — platinotype printing, 195.
Historical value of Assyrian bas-reliefs, 33.
History of Greek painting, 34.
Hobbema, 83.
Hodgson’s “Modern methods of book illustration,” 294.
Hogarth, 69.
Hokusai, 58.
Holbein, Hans, 63.
Homer’s bust, 41.
Hood for camera, 128.
Horizon line, 44.
Horse of Selene, 42.
Hunt’s, W., “Talks on Art,” 79, 124, 292.
Hydrokinone developer, 171.

Ideal, 20.
Idealism, 29.
Imaginative, 22.
Impression, 118, 249.
Impressionism, 22.
Impressionists, Modern, 120.
Impressions v. absolute fact, 131.
Index, 303.
Individuality, 258.
Indoor work, 243.
Industrial arts and photography, 4.
Industrial division, 11.
Ingres, 85.
Intensification, 175.
Intensity of lenses, 138.
—— —— light, 103.
Interiors, 257.
Interpreting nature, 22.
Introduction, 1.
Israels, Josef, 83.
Ivan the Terrible, 47.

Japanese Art, 54, 58.
—— ——, 1st Period, 54.
—— ——, 2nd Period, 54.
—— ——, 3rd Period, 55.
—— ——, 4th Period, 57.
—— —— at British Museum, 58.
—— —— Commissioners, 58.
Japers at photography, 259.
Jewellery, 244.
Justinian, 46.

Kano School, 56.
Kauffman, 70.
Kaulbach, 68.
Kôrin, 57.

Lamp for developing-room, 195.
——, travelling, 142.
Landscape, 245.
Landseer, 77.
—— ——’s lions, 31.
Lantern slides, 202, 203.
Law of projection, 102.
—— —— corresponding points, 102.
—— —— visible direction, 103.
Laws of composition, 237.
Lawrence, Sir Thos., 120.
Lea, Carey, Dr., 180.
Lead-pencil drawing, 270.
Le Brun, 84.
Le Conte’s, Prof., Division, 98.
Lenses, 134.
—— for special purposes, 137.
—— recommended, 135.
_L'Envoi_, 266-269.
Leslie, 77.
——’s “Life of Constable,” 293.
Lewes, G. H., 20.
Lhermitte, 91.
Libraries and Photography, 4.
Liesgang’s “Manual of Carbon Printing,” 295.
“Life” of the model, 256.
Light, 98.
Lighting of picture, 118.
Limits of art, 256.
Limpet-shell markings, 178.
“Lines,” 247.
Line Engraving, 271.
Linnell, 77.
Lithography, 271.
Little Masters, 271.
Local colour, 22.
—— development, 171.
Lömmer’s, Dr., “Optics and Light,” 294.
Lorraine, Claude, 84.
Low-Art, 22.
Ludius, 38.

Maclise, 77.
_Macula lutea_, 101.
Makart, 68.
Man and vulgarity, 254.
Marblings in negatives, 178.
Masks, 199.
Mason, 77.
Massys, Quintin, 60.
Masters, 96.
Masters of the minor arts, 289.
Matahei, 56.
Material for dresses, 244.
Measuring-glasses, 142.
Medals, Art, 226.
Mediæval Art, 47.
—— ——, glass paintings, 48.
—— ——, guilds, 48, 50.
—— ——, miniaturists, 47.
Medical and Biological Photography, 3.
Meichō, 55.
Melanthios, 36.
Merit of photographs, 254.
Metallic patches on negatives, 179.
Meteorology and Photography, 3, 157.
Meteorological conditions and development, 167.
Method of copyrighting, 221.
—— —— reproducing negatives from nature for copperplate process, 212.
Mezzotint engraving, 277.
Microscopy and Photography, 2.
Military and Naval Photography, 4.
Millet, Jean François, 44, 86, 232.
——’s dicta on art, 86.
Miniatures, 46.
Modern French School of Painting, 43, 91.
—— —— —— —— Sculptors, 94.
Modified stops, 138.
Mohammedan Art, 52.
Monarchies of Western Asia, 32.
Monochrome Painting, 276.
Morland, 70.
Mosaics, 45, 46.
Mouldings, 219.
Mountants, 218.
Mounting, 218.
Mounts, 219.
Müller, 77.
Müller’s Law, 102.
Mulready, 77.
Munkacsy, 68.
Murillo, 68.
Muybridge’s cantering horse, 42.
—— —— photographs, 161.
Mystery of Nature, 257.

Nasmyth, 77.
National Gallery, 60, 63, 65, 66, 67, 69, 73, 77, 80, 83.
Naturalism, 22.
—— in Art, 28.
—— in decorative Art, 260.
Naturalistic photography, 259.
—— work, 258.
Nature and photography, 259.
—— —— pictures, 258.
Nature and sanity, 258.
Nature of a copyright, 223.
Negative finishing, 179.
Negatives for decorative work, 262.
Nero’s bust, 40.
Newton, Sir W. J., 152.
Nicol, Dr., on sensitometer, 160.
Ni Ō, The, 54.
Nobuzané, 55.
Nude, 54.

Ōkió, 57.
On breadth and simplicity, 255.
—— copyright agreement, 221.
—— “form,” 256.
—— “going in for photography,” 255.
—— impression and fact, 118.
—— opinions on art, 258.
—— publishing, 257.
—— reproduction, 256.
—— studying photography, 256.
—— success, 257.
Optic nerves, 97.
Optics, 134.
Original Artist, 24.
Origin of retouching, 186.
Ortho-chromatic Photography, 181.
Out-door portraiture, 243.
—— work, 243.
“Outings,” 246.
Outline drawing, 269.
Over-exposure, 174.
Over-production, 169.

Palæolithic stone scratchings, 269.
Pamphilos, 36.
Paper negatives, 180.
Paris Salon, 91.
Parrhasios, 35.
Parthenon Frieze, 42.
Pausias, 36.
Pecuniary Penalties for infringing copyright, 224.
Pen and Ink drawing, 270.
Perspective, 35, 112, 239.
Perspective, four kinds of, 112.
Pertinax’s bust, 40.
Phenomena of sight and art principles deducted therefrom, 97.
Photographs as historical records, 257.
“Photographic,” 24.
—— —— haunts, 247.
—— —— Libraries, 294.
—— —— Society of Great Britain, 185, 227.
“Photographics,” Dr. Wilson’s, 144.
Photographing Clouds, 198.
Photography, 277.
—— —— and Art, 259.
—— —— a pictorial art, 269.
—— —— applied to decorative art, 261.
Photo-etching, 207.
Photo-mechanical printing processes, 204.
—— —— classification of, 204.
Pictorial Art, 230.
Picture-buyers, 53.
Pin-hole photography, 131.
“Pisanello,” 93.
Pisano, Andrea, 92.
——, Niccola, 49, 92.
——, Nino, 92.
——, Vittore, 93.
Plate-making, 163.
Plates, 163.
Plate-washer, 142.
Platinotypes, 205.
—— —— for book illustration, 205.
—— ——, framing of, 219.
—— ——, “sinking in” of, 205.
—— ——, spotting, 195.
—— ——, texture of, 195.
Platinotype Company, 195.
—— ——, new cold process, 194.
Poetry in works of art, 250.
Point of sight, 254.
Poitevin’s method of enamelling, 263.
Polygnotos, 34.
Portraits taken with rapid rectilinear lens, 137.
Portraiture, 243, 252.
—— in studio, 252.
Posthumous portraits and busts,185.
Poussin, 84.
Practical Hints, 254.
Preface, V.
Pre-Raphaelites (modern), 25.
Prettiness, 256.
Principles of studio lighting, 252.
—— of Decorative art, 261.
Printing, 191.
—— frames, 143.
—— clouds, 198.
—— papers, 191.
Prints, 191.
——, carbon, 191.
——, gelatino-chloride, 192.
——, gelatino-bromide, 192.
——, permanency of, 192.
——, platinotype, 191.
——, silver, 191.
——, tonality of, 192.
Print-sellers, 7, 81.
Pritchard’s, Baden, “Studios of Europe,” 262.
Prizes for “set subjects,” 254.
Procrastination, 255.
Prolonged and patchy fixings, 178.
Protogenes, 37.
Pseudo-scientific photographers and art, 254.
Psychological data of sight, 111.

Quality, 24, 256.
—— of greatness, 257.
Qualities of a picture, 251.
—— of good lenses, 140.
Queer judges, 227.

Raphael, 65.
Realism, 24.
Red-carbon process for decorative work, 262.
Red fog, 176.
Reflections and shadows, 256.
Reflectors, 146.
Reform in exhibitions, 227.
Registration of photographs, 223.
Rejlander, O., 199.
——, on combination printing, 199.
——, on retouching, 188.
Relative tone or value, 25.
“Rembrandt pictures,” 254.
Rembrandt’s etchings, 81.
—— paintings, 80.
Remedies for infringement of copyright, 224.
Removal of varnish from negatives, 178.
Renascence, European, 59.
Replicas, 224.
Resolution, 254.
Retouching negatives, 184.
—— ——, Adam Salomon on, 187.
—— ——, Cameron, Mrs., on, 189.
—— ——, Definition of, 184.
—— ——, Rejlander on, 188.
Retrospect of Photography, 2.
Reubens, 69.
Reynolds, Sir J., 69.
—— on rules, 241.
Rhetoricians, Roman, 39.
Rhyparographi, The, 37.
Ribera, 66.
Rising front of camera, 129.
Roller slides, 180.
Roman Art, 38.
Roscoe’s “Lessons in Elementary Chemistry,” 162.
Rousseau, 85.
Ruby glass, 141.

Sable-hair brush, 142.
Sargent, 78, 79.
Sawyer’s, J. R., “ABC of Carbon Printing,” 294.
Scales, 143.
Scene-painting, 34.
Science and Art, 295.
—— division, 11.
Scientific diagrams, 152.
—— photographic work to be reconsidered, 136.
Scratches on plates, 179.
Sculpture, 92.
Sea-air and dry plates, 178.
Sensational in nature, 256.
Sensitometer, Warneke’s, 159.
——, Dr. Vogel on, 159.
Sentiment, 25, 256.
—— and poetry, 256.
Sentimentality, 25.
Sesshiū, 56.ū
Setting up the Camera, 129.
“Sharpness,” 257.
Shijo School, 57.
Shiūbun, 55.
Sight, 7.
Size of plate, 127.
Slabs of glass, 143.
Slow development, 167.
Soga chokman, 56.
—— Jasoku, 55.
Soul, 25.
South Kensington Museum, 74, 77, 79, 93.
Spanish (modern) Art, 67.
Spherical aberration, 99.
Spiller, A., “on permanency of gelatine-bromide prints,” 192.
Spirit-Levels, 126.
Spontaneity, 257.
Spotting negatives, 189.
—— prints, 195.
Spurious pictures, 224.
Standard developer, 170.
Stansfield, 77.
Stereoscopic Slides, 202.
Stolen bits, 258.
“Stopping down,” 149.
“Stops,” 138.
St. Peter’s Statue at Rome, 45.
Studio, 144.
——, building, 144.
——, camera, 128, 146.
——, Dr. Wilson’s specifications for, 144.
—— effects, 147.
—— furniture, 145.
—— glazing, 145.
—— lighting, 147.
——, _objets d’art_, 145.
——, principles of lighting, 144, 252.
——, rule for lighting, 147.
——, top and side light, 144.
—— walls, 145.
Study of Chemistry, 162.
—— Tone, 173.
Subject of a picture, 250.
Sun and shadows, 259.
Supplementary poles, 129.
Surveying and Photography, 3.
Swing-backs, 130.
——, use of, 130.
Swiss Art, 63.

Table of contents, ix.
Taine’s “La philosophe de l’art Grec,” 43.
Teaching of Art, 294.
Technical criticism, 43.
Technique, 26, 123, 293.
—— and practice, 123.
Teniers, 69.
Terminology, 17.
Textures of printing papers, 195.
Theban-Attic School, 36.
Theon of Samos, 37.
Thirteenth Century Sketchbook, 49.
Thorwaldsen, 94.
Thumb-screws, 126.
Timanthes, 35.
Timomachos, 38.
Titian, 66.
Tonality and development, 164.
Tone, 26, 115, 248.
Topography, 258.
Torso at British Museum, 41.
Trajan’s bust, 40.
“Transcript of Nature,” 26.
Transparencies, 202.
Transparent spots in negatives, 177.
Travelling lamps, 142.
“Treatise on Painting,” 237, 238.
Treatment of model, 244.
Tripod head, 128.
Tripods, 128.
Troyon, 86.
Turbidity of media of the eye, 100.
Turner, 73.
——’s “Frosty Morning,” 74.
Tyndall, Prof., 158.
Tyndall’s “Lectures on Light,” 12, 294.
Typographic blocks, 205.
—— Etching Company, 208.

Under exposure, 174.
Undeveloped Islands, 179.

Value of a picture, 256.
Van der Velde, 83.
Vandyck, 69.
Van Eyck, The brothers, 59.
——’s portrait, 60.
Vanity, 257.
Van Ostade, 69, 82.
Varnish, Dr. Carey Lea’s, 180.
——, removal of, 178.
Varnishing a negative, 179.
Velasquez, 67.
Verestchagin, 68.
View-finder, 138.
—— -maker, 100.
Vigilance committees for plates, 163.
Vignetting, 196.
Vogel, Dr., 177.
——, on chemical action of sky, 158.
——, exposure tables, 160.
—— Warneke’s sensitometer, 159.
—— altochromatic plates, 182.
Vulgarity, 255.

Walker, F., 77.
Walker and Eastman films, 180.
Water-colours, 53, 71.
Watteau, 84.
Welford and Sturmey’s “Photographer’s Indispensable Handbook,” 295.
Wet-plate process, 163.
Whistler, J. M., 16, 78.
——, on mounts, 218.
——, “Art and Art critics,” 78.
——, “Ten o’clock,” 78.
Wilkie, 77.
Wilkinson’s “Ancient Egyptians,” 32.
Willis, W., Jun., 193.
Wilson, 69.
Wilson’s, Dr. E., “Burnet’s Treatise on Painting,” 237, 294.
Wilson’s, Dr. E., “Photographics,” 144.
Woermann, Dr., 28.
Woltmann, Dr., 28.
Wood-engraving, 71, 272.
Work and faith, 255.
“Working up” in oils, &c., 184.
Wu-Tao-Tsz, 59.

“Year’s Art for 1887,” 223.
Year-book of Photography and Photo News Almanac, 1885-87, 141.
—— —— and British Journal Almanac, 1887, 141.
Yellow fog, 176.
Yellow stains on negative, 177.
Young Satyr at British Museum, 41.

Zeuxis, 35.


                   ST. JOHN'S HOUSE, CLERKENWELL ROAD.

“_If any one wants to convert an artist to photography, he should present
him with some of Emerson’s pictures; but, whether with this object or
otherwise, we earnestly recommend every photographer to obtain, and to
study, Emerson’s books._”—_Mr. W. J. Harrison in “The International Annual
of Anthony’s Photographic Bulletin” for 1888._


                           DR. EMERSON'S WORKS.

                       =Life and Landscape Series.=

Collectors and Librarians should take notice that all Dr. Emerson’s
previously published Works are strictly limited to the numbers herein
advertised. _After the completion of the advertised editions all plates
and blocks will be at once destroyed._ Intending purchasers should
therefore complete their sets as soon as possible, before the works become
scarce and advance in price. These works can be obtained through any
bookseller or from the publishers direct.


                             Separate Plate.
                        “GATHERING WATER-LILIES.”


Size of Plate, 14¼ × 11 inches. India Proofs, mounted on plate paper, size
23½ × 17, limited to 150 copies. Price 10_s._ 6_d._ each.

Prints on plate paper, size 23½ × 17 inches, 7_s._ 6_d._ each. Limited to
1000 copies.

_To be obtained of the_ AUTOTYPE COMPANY, _74, New Oxford Street, London_.



        By P. H. EMERSON, B.A., M.B. (Cantab.), and T. F. GOODALL.

Illustrated with Forty Plates from Nature, mounted on plate paper, size 17
× 12 inches. _Edition de luxe_, limited to 100 copies, bound in vellum,
with black and gold decorations, plates mounted on India paper, and text
printed on finest white paper. Price £10 10_s._ Ordinary Edition,
handsomely bound in cloth, plates mounted on finest plate paper, and text
printed on fine white paper, limited to 750 copies. Price £6 6_s._

This Work contains a valuable Essay on “Landscape,” including Photography,
by the landscape painter T. F. Goodall, and should be studied by all

     (SAMPSON LOW & CO., Ld., St. Dunstan’s House, Fetter Lane, E.C.)

                         =Opinions of the Press.=

“We feel grateful to Dr. Emerson and Mr. Goodall for a most fascinating
volume. There is something singularly characteristic and attractive in the
scenery of the Norfolk Broads, as there is much that is peculiar and
picturesque in the manners of the primitive population.... The series of
illustrations seem to embrace and exhaust the whole range of local
subjects. We are taken through wildernesses of wood and water, through
sedgy solitudes, haunted by shy waterfowl, along winding river-reaches
with wherries under sail. We are landed in quaint nooks of that watery
world, where the tumble-down cottage of the fisherman or the fowler hangs
over the rushy creek; we see the lonely farmhouse, with its sedge-thatched
and straggling outbuildings, standing somewhat apart between marsh and
cloudland; or the sequestered hamlet huddled round the little church, with
the rude spire which is a landmark for leagues along the water-ways. We
are shown the amphibious people following their multifarious occupations,
with their farming, and their fishing, and their strange fashions of
fishing.... The set of landscapes which close the volume are excellent as
works of art, and they give an admirable idea of the somewhat melancholy
charms of the scenery, when it does not happen to be lighted up by
brilliant sunshine.”—_The Times._

“Good wine needs no bush, and the Norfolk scenery needs no praise; but one
may blamelessly sing in praise of good wine and the singing be but good,
and write of or photograph Norfolk meritoriously. This Messrs. Emerson and
Goodall have done, and done well, for which they deserve much
thanks.”—_Saturday Review._

“The life depicted in this charming series of photographs is still
redolent of the past. The wide expanse of flowery pasture-land, the smooth
and pellucid waters, the picturesque craft, and the hardy good-humoured
Broadsmen with their nets and meaks, are admirably represented, while the
descriptive letterpress will recall many of his own experiences to the
reader familiar with East Anglian waters.”—_Morning Post._

“Dr. Emerson has in this work applied the art of photography in so
triumphant a manner, that the fitful breezes are clearly caught on the
water, and seen playing amongst the heads of the reeds.... We can vouch
for their wonderful fidelity to Nature. Nothing like it has ever been
published.”—_The Field._

“‘Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads’ is a book of unique artistic
interest.... The prevailing tone of the pictures is restful and subdued.
There is much of quiet cloudy sky and long evening light. And the general
impression left by the illustrations, even when representing the
characteristic industries of the Norfolk work-a-day world, is singularly
free from anything approaching to hurry and turmoil. The claims of
photography to rank among the true means of artistic production were never
better exhibited than in this series of studies.... They leave no possible
doubt of Dr. Emerson’s manipulatory skill, or of the tasteful
discrimination of the fellow art-workers.”—_The Globe._

“‘Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads’ is the name of a really
beautiful book.... The text is descriptive, and pleasantly descriptive, of
the scenes reproduced from nature.... We have seldom, perhaps never, seen
such successful studies of landscape made by any mechanical
process....”—_Daily News._

“It is enough to know that they are exquisitely beautiful. It has
sometimes been contended that photography is not art. That view has had to
be modified. It has been shown that in the hands of artists photography
can be used with admirable effect. If proof of this be required, it will
be found in this volume. There is nothing of the wooden stiffness of the
old photographs about the pictures.... Some of them might be reproductions
in monochrome of Corot’s pictures. Light and shade are exquisitely
managed. Every picture is arranged with the truest taste.... Then all the
plates are redolent of the spirit of the scene.”—_Scotsman._

“The volume of ‘Plates from Nature’ which Messrs. Emerson and Goodall have
just published to illustrate ‘Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads’ is
an extraordinary achievement in photography.... Messrs. Emerson and
Goodall have now taken them up, and mirrored their river highways and
their shy retreats alike with a uniform success, which must have been the
result of extraordinary skill and patience.... The peasants and watermen
gave, it is clear, much information about life on the Broads, which the
authors have occasionally worked up into very interesting
letterpress.”—_Pall Mall Gazette._

“That beautiful series of forty plates, with their accompanying
letterpress, illustrating ‘Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads,’ are
an unanswerable refutation of those who say there is no art in
photography. Mr. P. H. Emerson, B.A., and T. F. Goodall have been round
the fens with camera and note-book to some purpose.... There is every
quality in many of them of thoroughly good pictures.... No episode or
incident seems to be inaccessible to these skilful artists.”—_Daily

“They have studied the Broads in all seasons and in all aspects, in the
full light of the cloudless summer mornings, and in the autumn evenings
when the light grows dim, and the result is forty plates in platinotype,
of great variety, of singular interest, and of remarkable beauty.... Both
the authors of the illustrative text are accomplished writers, and their
articles are of unusual merit.”—_The School Board Chronicle._

“‘Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads’ is an epoch-making book
because such perfection of photography, such perfection of reproductive
processes, and such perfection of artistic feeling have never before been
brought together.”—_Amateur Photographer._

“Now and then in the past we have seen occasional photographs such as Dr.
Emerson now presents, but to him is due the credit of endeavouring to form
a real and truthful school of photographic representation.”—_Photographic

“Thus we have fishermen and women engaged in all the phases of labour
which the water-wastes of Norfolk afford, and all happily unconscious that
they are standing for their portraits—none of them staring into the camera
in ordinary photographic fashion, but all pursuing their avocations in an
unaffected and natural manner. This is a rare excellence, which is
deserving of all praise, and the value of the plates as truthful
illustrations of the ordinary work and demeanour of the people is greatly
enhanced by the judgment and skill manifested in this particular.... The
letterpress which accompanies the plates is not the least entertaining
part of the book.”—_Manchester Guardian._


                 By P. H. EMERSON, B.A., M.B. (Cantab.).

Being Twenty Plates in Photogravure reproduced from Dr. Emerson’s Original
Negatives by Messrs. Dawson & Co., Boussod, Valadon & Co., Walker &
Boutall, and the Autotype Co., together with an Introductory Essay on
Photography and Pictorial Art. The Plates are enclosed in a handsome
Portfolio. _Edition de luxe_, limited to 50 numbered copies, Plates on
India paper, size 20 × 16 inches. Price £5 5_s._ Ordinary Edition, limited
to 550 copies, with Plates on fine plate paper, same size. Price £3 3_s._

N.B.—The Author reserves the right of publishing separately, _on plain
paper_, any one of these Plates until the edition is completed, after that
all plates will be destroyed.

           (GEO. BELL & SON, York Street, Covent Garden, W.C.)

                         =Opinions of the Press.=

“His compositions remind us more of paintings than of any mechanical
reproductions of Nature. ‘Sunrise at Sea,’ 'The Barley Sele,‘ 'The
Faggot-Cutters,’ 'At Plough,‘ 'A Winter’s Morning,’ and ‘The Mangold
Harvest,’ are all well chosen and cleverly arranged compositions, and they
show us that it is by no means so impossible to combine in photography the
human figure and natural landscape, and to tell a simple pictorial story,
as is commonly believed. We congratulate Mr. Emerson on this achievement;
his work, at all events, deserves that praise which is due to those who
try to raise the art to which they are devoted, and to carry it a step
farther than is usually considered necessary. It is something to have
carried photography a step farther in the direction of art, and Mr.
Emerson is fairly entitled to claim this praise.”—_Spectator._

“He has spoken, as well as taken, twenty original negatives, and has done
both to good purpose. A man must have penetrated into the inner circle of
the lives of our East Anglian peasantry before he could have the chance of
witnessing some of the scenes which he so sympathetically represents....
Many will look at the beautiful series of plates in photogravure, and be
charmed with the skill with which they have been manipulated. We find our
highest pleasure in approving the carefulness with which the real types
have been selected and the ‘environment’ made appropriate.”—_The Field._

“Dr. Emerson’s very handsome folio of twenty plates of varied subjects,
mostly found in the above county, is useful as showing what care in
grouping, and tact and judgment in selecting points of view, will do
towards producing effective pictures when the photographer combines the
qualities referred to.”—_Artist’s Record._

“Dr. Emerson ... has been the teacher of a new school of art photography
and he has now a large following, many of whom are endeavouring to do work
as good and true to the ‘school’ as the examples that are before us.... As
a source of study for amateur photographers and as a drawing-room book we
highly recommend ‘Life in Field and Fen’ to all our readers. As specimens
of reproductions of photographs the plates are beyond praise, and the book
is beautifully printed and got up in a most artistic manner.”—_Amateur

“How far photography can go is well shown in this carefully prepared
defence of it as an art.”—_Athenæum._

“When we say that Dr. Emerson has so used his camera as to truly represent
Nature, we say the highest.... Having with rare judgment steered clear of
doubtful and, to the camera, impossible subjects, Dr. Emerson has given us
some delightful photographic pictures, which not only represent, but also
interpret Nature.... Dr. Emerson evidently intends to form a school in
photography, and has resolved to show photography at its
best.”—_Photographic News._

“Dr. Emerson, the producer of this fine portfolio of photogravures,
represents to some extent a new effort to get home once more to Nature,
and he enters into the battle as a photographer.... His seascapes are
exquisite.... ‘A Suffolk Dyke’ (a charming study of river and Suffolk fen)
and ‘Breydon Water,’ sea-fog coming up (a sweet picture, full of all the
feeling of the place).... The work is of a very choice character.”—_School
Board Chronicle._

“Exquisite photographs exquisitely reproduced.”—_Pall Mall Gazette._

“They are in themselves of artistic merit as regards grouping and
selection. Some of them, such as ‘The Poacher’ and the ‘Dame’s School,’
are distinctly dramatic, and they are produced with much care and nicety
by the automatic etching process.”—_Daily Telegraph._

“It is marvellous how completely Dr. Emerson appears to have mastered the
difficulties which have attended the use of the camera. No painter could
have produced anything more charmingly true to Nature, more suggestive of
real life and interest, than many of the pictures in this volume. They are
admirably taken, with a carefulness in regard to light and shade that has
rarely been approached.”—_The Scotsman._


                            =Separate Plate.=

                               THE HAYSEL.



Size of Plate, 22½ × 17½ inches, taken direct.

India Prints on paper, 34 × 26 inches, limited to 100 copies. Price 15_s._
a copy.

Prints on fine plate paper, size 34 × 26, limited to 400 copies. Price
10_s._ a copy.

After the advertised number has been pulled, the plate will be destroyed.

 _Copies to be obtained of the_ TYPOGRAPHIC ETCHING COMPANY, _3, Ludgate
                         Circus Buildings, E. C._

                         =Opinions of the Press.=

“We have received ... a very beautiful reproduction of a picture by P. H.
Emerson, which is a triumph both for photographer and process.... There is
much poetical feeling in the grouping.... The general tone of the picture
is a subdued red, and gives one the idea of summer twilight.”—_The

“We have here a magnificent plate.”—_Photographic News._

“From the Typographic Etching Company we have a reproduction of a
landscape by P. H. Emerson ... by a process ... possessing decided
individuality and capable of effect of light and atmosphere which the
present example shows may be suggestive and pleasing. Here the figures of
the labourers and the laden wain are realized with considerable fidelity
to the conditions of light and air that constitute a vague glimmering
environment. The charm of tranquillity that belongs to mild diffused light
and spacious windless atmosphere can scarcely have suffered by translation
in this instance.”—_Saturday Review._

“Whether in composition or general treatment it is a picture of which the
artist may justly feel proud.”—_British Journal of Photography._

“We have received a large plate of a beautiful meadow scene also
photographed by Mr. Emerson. It is indeed a June idyl of the marshes, with
the women in picturesque attire piling upon a hay waggon the sweet-scented
grasses for transport to the neighbouring stackyard.”—_Scotsman._

“It is most certainly a splendid production, though its beauties do not
dawn upon one at the first glance, yet after a little contemplation we
must confess that it is one of the best examples of photogravure we have
ever seen.”—_Photographers' World._


                       IDYLS OF THE NORFOLK BROADS,

A Series of Twelve Plates, depicting Pastoral Life in East Anglia,
reproduced in Autogravure from Original Negatives, with accompanying
descriptive Notes, by the Author, P. H. EMERSON, B.A., M.B. (Cantab.).

Numbered Proofs printed on India and Plate paper, outside size 17 × 13
inches, in gold-lettered portfolio. Price £1 11_s._ 6_d._

The issue of these proofs is limited to 150.

Prints on Plate paper, outside size 17 × 13 inches, in lettered portfolio.
Price £1 1_s._

The issue of these Prints is limited to 600 copies.

            (AUTOTYPE CO., 74, New Oxford Street, London, W.)

                             =Press Notices.=

“It contains a dozen exquisite studies of the Broads and their borders,
reproduced by their well-known delicate process of autogravure. These
pictures are selected with true artistic feeling, and in almost every case
they have ‘composed’ as perfectly as though they were arranged at will and
not by Nature. There is but one word which fitly indicates their merit,
and that is one borrowed from their title—idyllic.”—_Land and Water._

“In a handsome, delicate portfolio, in white and gold, in choice and
luxurious form, are presented a dozen deeply mounted autogravure plates,
on India paper, from photographic negatives. They are loving studies of
beloved aspects and incidents in the land of the famous Broads, in every
season of the year and in various phases of the quiet life of that
country. Mr. Emerson’s text, printed on fine old English rough quarto
paper, poetically descriptive of the country and of the scenes of the
pictures, makes beautiful bits of writing.”—_School Board Chronicle._

“In ‘Idyls of the Norfolk Broads’ Mr. P. H. Emerson still further adds to
our knowledge of the pastoral life and landscape of the English Fens. He
is in love with the country—he calls it an earthly paradise; and never did
lover sing the praises of his mistress with more enthusiasm than does Mr.
Emerson the distinctive beauties of this land of mists and marshes and
sweet-scented meadows, with its industrious and homely people.... The
scenes have been selected with an artist’s eye, and are reproduced in
really a delightful manner—two especially are very pleasing—‘Flowers of
the Mere,’ in which we have the head of a charming little village maiden,
and ‘A Grey Day Pastoral,’ the silvery tones of which have at least been
suggested in black and white. Accompanying each plate is a concise,
well-written description of the scenery depicted.”—_Scotsman._

“The present volume of proofs on India paper, reproducing original
negatives by the autotype process, presents some of the most charming and
characteristic types of East Anglian life and scenery.”—_Daily Telegraph._

“That Mr. Emerson is an enthusiastic lover of the Norfolk Broads is very
evident. To him East Norfolk is an earthly paradise, replete with all the
elements that conduce to poetry and art. Of these the former finds an
outcome in the descriptive letterpress, and the latter in twelve
photographs, which illustrate one or other phases of life or nature in
these broads....

“These pictures are, in most cases, full of feeling. In technical merit
‘The Windmill’ excels. It is a very charming little picture, about four
inches square, representing a windmill standing close by a stream, boats
lying at repose alongside. The engraving, printing, and general get-up are
of a high order of merit.”—_British Journal of Photography._

“Mr. Emerson gives a poetic account, almost with the loving fervour of
Virgil, of the beauties that he so much feels.... Altogether Mr. Emerson
has in this last series done an excellent thing, and should the time come
when photographers in general do similarly, artists will not speak of
photography as they very often do at present.”—_Photographic News._

“On the whole, the series is representative of the district of which Mr.
Emerson writes with the knowledge that comes of enthusiastic study. ‘The
Mill,’ ‘The Haysel’ and the marshy pasture. No. 3, are charming pictures.
‘A Grey Day Pastoral’ is a pleasing example of the cool, moist, and
luminous effect of mild diffused light under a thin veiled sky. Mr.
Emerson’s text is pleasant reading.”—_Saturday Review._

“Mr. Emerson is well known as the producer of some of our most artistic
photographs and these ‘Idyls’ cannot fail to increase his reputation....
Each one is a delightful study.... The composition in each case is
admirable, and they are printed in a manner which shows advance in
photographic art.”—_Artist._

“This is truly a book for the drawing-room table. The introductory matter,
as well as the descriptive text, give proof that Mr. Emerson is as
successful a worker with pen as with sun-pencil, for the matter is full of
poetic touches which only a true lover of Nature would be capable of, and
which few could express in such a charming manner.”—_The Camera._


                      PICTURES OF EAST ANGLIAN LIFE.

Illustrated with Thirty-two Photogravures and Fifteen smaller
Illustrations. The text, divided into twenty-six chapters, treats of the
East Anglian peasantry, and is full of interesting information of the
habits and customs of the peasantry and fisherfolk, of their ghost
stories, witchcraft, and of natural history, poaching, &c.

The _Edition de luxe_, size 20 × 16 inches, is handsomely bound in vellum,
with green morocco back, and black and gold decorations. The text is
printed on best English hand-made paper; the small Illustrations, as well
as the larger ones, are printed on India. This sumptuous Edition is
limited to 75 numbered copies. Price £7 7_s._ a copy.

The Ordinary Edition is strongly bound in cloth and leather. The Plates
are printed on best plate paper, and the text is printed on best white
paper. This Edition is strictly limited to 500 copies. Price £5 5_s._ a

(SAMPSON LOW & CO., Ld., St. Dunstan’s House, Fetter Lane, E.C.)

                            =Press Opinions.=

“It is a monograph, pictorial and literary, on the Suffolk peasantry and
fisherfolk—a natural history of one of the most interesting of English
race-types.... Hedger and ploughman, fisher and boor, as they are pictured
in these exquisite engravings, they have a not too remote resemblance to
the melancholy peasant of Millet.... The author has something of his eye
for the bovine-human type, for the fine artistic gloom of life and mind of
the fields.”—_Daily News_ (Leader).

“After a hasty glance at Mr. P. H. Emerson’s handsome large quarto volume
... one is disposed to characterize it as the prose of Dr. Jessop’s
‘Arcady.’ On better acquaintance, we see that there is in Mr. Emerson’s
book also a great deal of the poetry of real life. We ... claim that in
ordinary village ways as sketched by Mr. Emerson, and in village
character, hard and uninviting as it seems to the outsider, there is
poetry' enough.... He has plenty of quiet humour.... Of some of the
plates, which form such a feature in this volume, it is impossible to
speak too highly.”—_The Graphic._

“It might almost be said to be descriptive by anecdote, of which the
author seems to have a rare store, on every aspect of the subject with
which he deals. His book is undoubtedly ... ‘a contribution to a natural
history of the English peasantry and fisherfolk.’... In this series of
East Anglian books Mr. Emerson has distinctly elevated landscape
photography. His scenes are selected with the eye of a true artist.... To
a certain extent Mr. Emerson may be said in these pictures to have done
for the peasantry of East Anglia what Jean François Millet did for those
of his own country.”—_Scotsman._

“In ‘A Stiff Pull’ and ‘In the Barley Harvest,’ both capital subjects,
capitally treated, he has been successful enough to make us wish that
Millet had painted in Suffolk instead of at and about Chailly-en-Bière. In
another plate, ‘The Farm by the Broad,’ he contrives to give us something
of the effect of ... a Corot. In ... ‘Going Out’ and ... ‘Coming Ashore’
he reminds us a little of Mesdag; in other plates ... of the followers of
Bastien Le Page.”—_Saturday Review._

“The volume may be taken, therefore, as representing pretty completely the
present state of the art of photo-engraving in England.... Mr. Emerson is
to be congratulated on having brought distant East Anglia and its people
before us with a completeness that has not been attempted with any other
considerable portion of the British Islands.”—_Manchester Guardian._

“The tales and interesting folk-lore are simply and pleasantly told. The
philologist will find in these pages many fresh words and expressions; the
artist and naturalist many curious and novel observations.... The book is
a valuable addition to the natural history of the English peasantry and
fisherfolk.”—_Daily Telegraph._

“Dr. Emerson’s new book is one which no county family’s library in Suffolk
should be without.... Dr. Emerson has studied the Suffolk peasantry with
conscientious thoroughness and approached his subject with sincere
sympathy for the hardness of their life.”—_Pall Mall Gazette._

“All who have felt the peculiar attraction of East Anglian scenery are
grateful to Dr. P. H. Emerson for his splendid photogravures.... This
splendidly got-up folio is an important work, reflecting high credit on
all concerned in its production. We hope Dr. Emerson will not allow his
camera to lie idle.... Dr. Emerson has been a close observer of their
character and intelligence, and has much that is curious to
say.”—_Westminster Review._

“We have, in short, a delightful history of the inner life of the Norfolk
and Suffolk peasant, and of the things dear to him, illustrated by such a
series of truthful nature-pictures as is approximated to in no other work
of which we know, unless in Dr. Emerson’s earlier series.”—_Photographic

“Mr. P. H. Emerson has produced a really valuable book. His text,
descriptive of the life, superstitions, and character of Suffolk peasantry
and fisherfolk, their stories of the land and stories of the sea, are all
of the greatest interest, and in many cases have the merit due to original
inquiry and research.... Mr. Emerson, one of the foremost, and in some
respects one of the most successful, of living photographers, has
illustrated his large work with thirty-two photogravures ... the full page
plates are often of the highest merit. ‘The Clay Mill,’ and especially
‘The Haymaker with Rake,’ are so good in tone that they almost suggest the
work of Millet. ‘Where winds the Dike,’ reminds the spectator of
Corot.”—_Magazine of Art._

“This book is handsomely got up, well-bound, finely printed, and copiously
illustrated.... His text is thoroughly well worth reading on account of
... its sardonic sense of humour, keen zest for the grotesque
provincialisms of the people of out-of-the-way districts, quick ear for
laughable oddities of pronunciation, quick eyes for old-world customs and
whimsicalities, and deep sympathy with the sufferings of the poor and
helpless.... There are, too, many quaint anecdotes.”—_Athenæum._

“Dr. Emerson gives us not only a mass of valuable and interesting
letterpress, but a collection of very remarkable photo-engravings. By no
one has photography been more diligently and more successfully applied to
illustrate not country scenes only, but country life.... His pictures
never look like compositions—indeed, he is as successful with some of his
groups as with mere landscapes.... The letterpress ... proving on every
page that he has not only lived among the people whom he describes, but
that he is quite in touch with them.... Dr. Emerson is a keen observer of
men as well as of nature.... He is for the most part thoroughly
reasonable.... I am grateful to him, for I have learnt much from his book,
and have been put in the way of (I hope) learning much more.”—_Academy._

“Nothing could well be better selected or executed than are the
photogravures, and even the small illustrations of the book. In these he
has caught ‘the very form and spirit of the times’ in East Anglia.... His
landscapes ... recall Constable’s pictures.”—_Field._

“This is a delightful book ... indeed, no one can study the illustrations
and read the accompanying text without becoming imbued with the author’s
enthusiasm, and without feeling that he has gained an entirely new insight
into the character and surroundings of the English peasant. So artistic
are the illustrations, with their Corot-like softness of outline, that in
future no book that deals with an unfamiliar country will seem complete
without such aids.... There should be, and no doubt there will be, books
such as this about every corner of the globe, and Mr. Emerson is to be
thanked for setting the example.”—_New York “Nation.”_


                         NATURALISTIC PHOTOGRAPHY


                           STUDENTS OF THE ART.

                          By Dr. P. H. EMERSON.

             Crown 8vo. Cloth, 5_s._ Second Edition, revised.

                   Opinions of the Photographic Press.

“In the work just issued, that the author endeavours himself to look
directly at his subject without feeling himself bound by what others have
said, constitutes the chief charm, and the reader soon finds he is not in
contact with an author who is either an echo of others, or wishes to make
his readers mere echoes of himself; indeed, the reader soon finds that his
teacher is not one who expects and strives to mould his readers to his own
image, but one who hopes to rather read them to think and act for
themselves. If our author’s spirit was more current among the technical
teachers of our day, we would probably be in a more hopeful condition as
regards future progress in the arts and crafts. The literary style of the
work is excellent, and it contains a fund of useful information conveyed
in a pleasant manner.... The mass of the book is composed of valuable and
thoughtful essays on the various branches of photographic work—both from
the technical and the artistic aspects—embodying the author’s own
experience. Altogether ‘Naturalistic Photography’ is a work which should
be possessed and read by every one interested in the practice of
Photography.”—_Photographic News._

“Suffice it to say that the book is distinctive from any other book on
photography, and there is reading worth study on every page. We have been
so fascinated by the freshness of language and the forcible way in which
the author endeavours to bowl over old ideas and institute new ones, that
we have had a difficulty at times in laying aside the admirably printed
and got-up volume. We can only say that we heartily commend it to all who
are interested in artistic photography, and who are not above learning
from a master in the subject.”—_Photographic Journal._

“When he comes to the part that really concerns photographers he is simply
admirable ... his boldness and originality of treatment, the ability with
which he analyzes, arranges, and treats his subject, and his practical
conclusions, are as charming as they are valuable, as pleasant to read as
they will be useful to practise.... The latter part of the book on
technique and practice is capital, and ought to meet with acceptance, and
must be valuable to the photographic world.... Carefully thought out, ably
written, boldly expressed, original in treatment, ‘Naturalistic
Photography’ is a valuable contribution to our literature.”—_Photography._

“Dr. Emerson’s book has come at last. It was well worth waiting for, and
fully justifies expectations.... It has evidently already helped a
considerable number of photographers to ideas.... The general acceptance
of evolution principles, thought freed from trammels, and the adoption of
scientific methods, tend to give us treatises in which a rational and
natural basis for all phenomena is sought. Dr. Emerson’s book is
distinctly of this class.... It is brimful of interest, and will furnish
texts for art argument for some time to come, as well as afford solid
instruction for the earnest student.”—_Camera Club Journal._

“C'est un volume à lire, je dirai même à relire, car le Dr. P. H. Emerson
émet des idées qui lui sont tellement personnelles, qui souvent
contredisent si fort les idées généralement reçues, qu’il faut s’y
reprendre à deux fois pour bien se rendre compte de sa manière toute
nouvelle d’apprécier l’art photographique.... Il se compose d’une
introduction, dans laquelle nous trouvons tout d’abord la preuve de
l’originalité des idées de l’auteur, &c.... On le voit, le sujet est
traité dans tous ses détails, et ajoutons qu’il est traité d’une façon
très intéressante.... Il taut reconnaître que la lecture de ce volume
s’impose non seulement à ceux qui s’occupent de photographie, mais à tous
ceux qui s’occupent de l'étude des beaux-arts.”—_Journal de l'Industrie

“It is enough to say that we have read this beautifully got-up book with
interest, and consider the opinions and many doctrines of the author very
remarkable; and finally we can in good faith recommend the
book.”—(Translation of part of review in the) _Deutsche

“A most enjoyable book to every true lover of nature.... Erudite,
embracing a very large field ... this work must claim the careful
attention of an earnest student ... the ordinary textbook of photography
is superseded, and technique and practice is dealt with in a thorough and
somewhat original manner ... the reader will find much which will be well
worth careful study.”—_Photographic Art Journal._

“‘Naturalistic Photography’ is a splendid contribution to photographic

                                       _Wilson’s Photographic Magazine._

“This book is highly to be recommended to those acquainted with the
English language.”

                      (Translated from) _Photographische Mittheilungen_.

“Cet ouvrage si bien étudié sera lu avec grand fruit par les photographes
amateurs, surtout auxquels il est destiné, car ils y trouveront les
conseils pratiques dont ils tireront profit, soit dans 'atelier, soit dans
les études en plein air.”—_L'Amateur Photographe._

“The practical part of Dr. Emerson’s book is most admirable.... Dr.
Emerson has produced some of the most superb work ever achieved by
photography, and all who have admired his beautiful compositions are
anxious to know his methods. He treats the subject in a clear and forcible
way, and with much originality.... One reads and reads again with pleasure
from page to page, and is often delighted with the novelty of
presentation. The great virtue of Dr. Emerson’s book is its freshness. The
reader is not wearied with reiteration of old hackneyed ideas and
misapplication of stereotyped rules. It is a record of the author’s own

                                      _American Journal of Photography._

“This book contains a greater amount of information on the artistic
elements to be considered in photography than any that we know of. The
author ... has elucidated very concisely, yet also very fully, the
principles which should be kept in view in making artistic and attractive
photographs.... In these days of amateur photography, when the mechanical
and chemical manipulations necessary to obtain a good photograph are so
easily acquired, a book like this, calling attention in simple language to
the elementary conditions that should be observed in making artistic
photographs, will be greatly appreciated.”—_Scientific American._

“Da Londra, coi tipi Sampson Low & Co., ci giunge una recentissima
pubblicazione del Sig. Emerson, col tito ‘Naturalistic Photography,’
essolutamente originale ed interessante. L'autore si rivela per un artista
intelligentissimo della fotografia e facendone la critica con sicurezza di
giudizio e con esempii tratti, nella parte estetica, dai gran di maestri.”

    _Bollettino dell' Associazione degli Amatori di Fotografia da Roma._




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              Steam Factory—9, 10, 11, Fulwoods Rents, W.C.
                            ESTABLISHED 1837.


                             SANDS & HUNTER,

                  Photographic Apparatus Manufacturers,

                   _O, CRANBOURN STREET, LONDON, W.C._



                       =SANDS & HUNTER'S NEW LIGHT
                         CAMERA, “THE IMPERIAL,”=

Is specially constructed for Tourists, combining both strength and
lightness, is portable and perfectly rigid, has long extending focus,
reversing holder, double swing back with independent motions, rack and
pinion focusing adjustment, best quality leather bellows, &c.

The back and front can be fixed at any part of the baseboard, and are
firmly fixed by clamping rods.

The ground glass focusing screen is protected by the baseboard when closed
for travelling.

N.B.—The above camera is now fitted with Sands and Hunter’s New Patent
Swing Back.

Price, including 3 double backs with spring fastenings:—

 4¼×3¼ or 5×4    6½×4¾    7½×5 or 8×5     8½×6½    10×8     12×10    15×12
     £6 6s.      £8 10s.      £9 5s.        £10      £12      £15    £18 15s.

 Brass Binding Camera and 3 double backs:—8 × 5 and under, £1 10s.; 8½ × 6½
                to 10 × 8, £2; 12 × 10, £2 5s.; 15 × 12, £3.

 Russia leather bellows, extra:—4¼ × 3¼ or 5 × 4, =17s.=; 6½ × 4¾ to 8 × 5,
   £1 2s.; 8½ × 6½, £1 4s.; 10 × 8, £1 6s.; 12 × 10, £1 15s.; 15 × 12, £2

        Illustrated Catalogue post free.         SANDS & HUNTER, LONDON.


 The Amateur                                           _PRICE 2d._
    PUBLISHED WEEKLY.                                      Photographer.


                        =IMPORTANT ADVERTISING MEDIUM.=


                                   BEING THE

         In Field, Studio, Camp; Afloat, Ashore; in Town or Country; at
                                  and Abroad.


            N.B.—All communications respecting Advertisements to be
                                  addressed to
                 PARRY & CRAWFORD, 52, Long Acre, LONDON, W.C.

                           =THE TOURIST'S COMPANION.=


                         SHEW'S ECLIPSE POCKET CAMERA,
                    or Fixed Focus Hand Apparatus (Patent).


  ready for use.


  Folded for the Pocket,
  Weight 12 ounces,
  for Pictures 4¼ × 3¼.


  Enclosed in Detective Case
  with Roller Slide for 48 Pictures
  or three Double Backs.

        We would call special attention to the superiority of the
        results obtained with this little instrument over those of the
        many others introduced since we first made the Eclipse. As a
        first-class working instrument it still has no rival.

        Street Views, Groups, Architectural subjects, Landscapes,
        Panorama, &c., are obtained with marvellous detail, particularly
        suitable for Lantern Transparencies and for enlarging to an
        extraordinary extent.

                                                             Detective Case

                    Apparatus    Fitted with  Three Double     for Roller

  Size.           Complete, one Roller Slide  Backs fitted  and Camera open,

                  Double Back.     for 48          for      or three Double

                                  Pictures.                      Backs.

 3¼ × 3¼             £4  4 0          —          £1 13 0           —

 4¼ × 3¼             4  9 0        £6  5 0       1 13 0         £1  1 0

  5 × 4              5  0 0        7 10 0        1 18 6          1  5 0

 6½ × 4¾             6  0 0        8 15 0        2  5 0          1  5 0

 12 × 9  centimeters,    5  5 0        7  5 0        1 16 0          1  5 0

 16 × 12    ”        6  0 0        8 15 0        2  5 0          1  7 6

 18 × 13    ”        6 10 0        9  7 6        2  8 0          1 10 0

        Screw and fitting plates to Camera for use on Stand, Clip, or
        Camera Rest, for Landscape or Portrait, either size, 2/-.


        SHEW'S PATENT POCKET CAMERA REST, or Support for Hand Cameras.

        An Ingenious Substitute for a stand where it is impossible,
        through want of light or other causes, to obtain an
        instantaneous exposure. Instantly attaching the Camera to any
        wooden projection. =No tourist should be without it.=

                        Weight.          Size.         Price, post free.
 For ¼-Plate Cameras     2½ oz.     4½ × 2  × ¾  in.          3/3
 For ½-Plate    ”         6  ”       7½ × 2½ × 1 ”            4/3

                  See special circular, free on application to
        =J. F. SHEW & CO., 88, NEWMAN ST.=, _Four doors off Oxford St._,
                                  =LONDON, W.=


                                 =GEORGE HARE,=

                 26, Calthorpe Street, Gray’s Inn Road, LONDON.

        FOURTEEN PRIZE MEDALS have been awarded to G. HARE'S Cameras and
        Changing-Box for Excellence of Design and Workmanship. SILVER
        MEDAL awarded at the International Inventions Exhibition for
        Excellence in the manufacture of Cameras.


                             G. HARE'S NEW CAMERA.
                      INVENTED AND INTRODUCED, JUNE, 1882.

               _The Best and most compact Camera ever Invented._


        Since its introduction, this Camera has received several
        important modifications in construction. It stands unrivalled
        for elegance, lightness, and general utility. It is specially
        adapted for use with the Eastman-Walker Roll Holder. A 6½ × 4¾
        Camera measures when closed 8 × 8 × 2½ in., weighs only 4 lbs.,
        and extends to 17 in. The steady and increasing demand for this
        Camera is the best proof of its popularity.

        “Little need be said of Mr. George Hare’s well-known Patent
        Camera, except that it forms the model upon which nearly all the
        others in the market are based.”—Vide _British Journal of
        Photography_, August 28, 1885.

 Size of     Square, with         Brass│Size of     Square, with         Brass

 Plate.   Reversible Holder.   Binding.│Plate.   Reversible Holder.   Binding.

 5 × 4         £6  0  0        £0 16  0│10 × 8         9 16  0         1  4  0

 6½ × 4¾        7  2  6         1  0  0│12 × 10      11  0   0         1  6  0

 7½ × 5         7 10  0         1  0  0│15 × 12       13  5  0         1 10  0

 8½ × 6½        8 15  0         1  0  0│These prices include one Double Slide.

        Since this Camera has been introduced, it has been awarded THREE
        SILVER MEDALS: at Brussels International Photographic
        Exhibition, 1883; at the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society,
        Falmouth; and at the INTERNATIONAL INVENTIONS EXHIBITION, 1885.
        Also Bronze Medal, Bristol International Exhibition,
        1883—HIGHEST AWARD.

                  G. HARE'S Improved Portable Bellows Camera.
                         INVENTED AND INTRODUCED 1878.


        This Camera offers many advantages where a little extra weight
        and bulk is not objected to. It is very solid and firm in
        construction, and especially suited for India and other trying

        PRICES, with one Double Slide and Hinged Focussing Screen:—

                 Horizontal and        Square, with          Brass
 For Plates.       Vertical.        Reversible Holder.     Binding.
 6½ × 4¾            £6  7  6             £7 12  6          £1  0  0
 8½ × 6½             7 18  0              9  5  0           1  0   0
 10 × 8              9  4  0             10 16  0           1  5  0
 12 × 10            10 13  0             12  5  0           1 10  0
 15 × 12            13  5  0             15 10  0           2  0  0
 18 × 16            20 15  0             24  0  0           2 10  0

        For Prices of Extra Dark Slides and Inner Frames, See Catalogue.

                                 HINTON & C^O.
                               38 BEDFORD STREET
                                 =STRAND, W.C.=


HINTON'S FOLDING PLATE RACKS, 4000 sold in one year.

HINTON'S MAGNESIUM FLASH LAMPS, the most practical made.

HINTON'S PURE CHEMICALS, always reliable.





HINTON & CO. STOCK PLATES, FILMS, and PAPERS by all the best makers.


                       _=SEND FOR HINTON'S PRICE LIST.=_


                        =Registered G.W.W. Trade Mark.=

                             =G. W. WILSON & Co.,=

                       =2, ST. SWITHIN STREET, ABERDEEN,=

                     Wholesale Landscape Photographers and
                            Photographic Publishers,



             _Catalogues and Price Lists Post Free on application._


                           =CORRESPONDENCE INVITED.=


                              PLATINOTYPE PRINTING

            From Photographers' own Negatives carefully executed, by
              Richard Keene, so as to secure the ==BEST RESULTS==.




                     Price List Post Free on application to
                           _=RICHARD KEENE, DERBY.=_


                          =THE AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHER.=
                          PUBLISHED WEEKLY. Price 2d.


                        =IMPORTANT ADVERTISING MEDIUM.=


        Being the ONLY JOURNAL for AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHERS in Field,
        Studio, Camp; Afloat, Ashore; in Town or Country; at Home and

            N.B.—All communications respecting Advertisements to be
                                  addressed to
                 PARRY & CRAWFORD, 52, LONG ACRE, LONDON, W.C.


               _PUBLISHED EVERY FRIDAY._             _PRICE 2d._



  A Popular Illustrated

  Devoted to
  Photography and the
  kindred Arts.

                         Edited by CHARLES W. HASTINGS.

            London: HAZELL, WATSON & VINEY, Ld., 52, Long Acre, W.C.
             _And through all Newsagents and Photographic Dealers._


                                 =☞ 10/10 per year, 5/6 for Six Months.=


                               Polytechnic School



                      309, 311, REGENT STREET, LONDON, W.

        THE SCHOOL is open daily for Practical Instruction in all
        branches of =PHOTOGRAPHY=. The STUDIO and DARK ROOMS are lit by
        Electricity, and the appliances are complete in every respect.


                       _TERMS FOR PRIVATE INSTRUCTION_:—

                                                                  £ _s._

 In Dry Plate Photography and Silver Printing, until            5  5   0

  ” Retouching                                                  5  5   0

  ” Developing (_special course_)                              2  12   6

  ” Carbon Printing                                            2   2   0

  ” Enlarging                                                  2   2   0

  ” Platinum Printing                                          1   1   0


                           =FORTY-EIGHT PRIZE MEDALS=
          Have been awarded to Students of the School at Exhibitions.


        _A year’s practical Training at the School is the best
        Photographic Education obtainable in the World._




                                 =P. MEAGHER'S=

                          FIELD AND STUDIO CAMERAS AND
                                 STUDIO STANDS

              Have received the Highest Awards wherever Exhibited.

[Illustration: Fig. 1.]

[Illustration: Fig. 2.]

        “The Cameras of MEAGHER deserve special Examination, as well for
        the perfection of their workmanship as for their perfect
        adaptation to the purpose for which they are designed.”—Vide
        _Report of Jurors_, Class IX., International Exhibition, Paris.

        This Camera is Light, Portable, and quickly set up ready for
        use, and is perfectly rigid when extended. Fig. 1. shows the
        Camera packed up.

        Fig. 2 shows the Camera with Reversing Frame and Front extended.
        Each Camera is supplied with two Fronts which can be raised or
        lowered as required.



        Specially constructed for use with Dry Plates. It is fitted with
        Single or Double Action Swing Back, and the focussing is
        effected by Screw or Rack Adjustment. Prices, with Single Swing
        Back and three Double Backs, each carrying two Prepared Plates:—

 For 5 × 4                                                     =£5 15 0=

 Ditto, with Double Swing Back, Reversing Frame, and          = 8  5  0=
   Extending Front for Long Focus

 For 6½ × 4¾                                                  = 7  1  0=

 Ditto, with Double Swing Back, Reversing Frame, and          = 9 11  0=
   Extending Front for Long Focus

 For 7½ × 5                                                   = 7  5  0=

 Ditto, with Double Swing Back, Reversing Frame, and          = 9 15  0=
   Extending Front for Long Focus

 For 8½ × 6½                                                  = 8 10  0=

 Ditto, with Double Swing Back, Reversing Frame, and          =11 15  0=
   Extending Front for Long Focus

 For 10 × 8                                                   =10  5  0=

 Ditto, with Double Swing Back, Reversing Frame, and          =14  5  0=
   Extending Front for Long Focus

              =BRASS-BINDING CAMERA=, and Three Double Backs up to
                      8½ × 6½, =£1 8s.=; 10 × 8, =£1 13s.=


          Illustrated Catalogues Post Free. Ten Per Cent. Discount for
                                   Cash with

                          =LENSES BY ROSS, DALLMEYER,=
                             AND ALL OTHER MAKERS.
                      And BLANCHARD'S SENSITIZED PAPERS.=


          MANUFACTORY:—21, Southampton Row, High Holborn, LONDON, W.C.



                               ‘AUTOGRAPH’ LENSES


                                IRIS DIAPHRAGM.


                                  BLAKE & EDGAR,
                                      Artists in Photography,
                                              74, Midland Road, Bedford.

        Messrs. R. & J. BECK.

            Dear Sirs,

                The No. 5 Lens, after severe testing, has proved to be a
        Splendid and Reliable Instrument, and candidly we expected a
        good thing; but with this Lens, for all the purposes we have
        tried it, the results are far above our expectations. During
        Twenty-five Years' experience in Photography, only Lenses of the
        two Best Makers have been used. We can confidently say we prefer
        your Lens to any of the others we have.

                          We are, Dear Sirs, yours respectively,
                                                          BLAKE & EDGAR.



                      R. & J. BECK, 68, Cornhill, LONDON.


                        SPECIAL NOTICE TO LOVERS OF ART


        It is a recognized fact by all the leading Art Photographers of
        the day that a single Landscape Lens is absolutely the best for
        correct rendering of distances in Landscape Pictures, and that,
        providing the Lens is carefully corrected, a beautiful softness
        and truthfulness of atmospheric distance is the natural result.
        The Stereoscopic Company claim for their “BLACK BAND” single
        Landscape Lenses absolute perfection in this respect.


           _Extract from the_ AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHER _of June 8, 1888_.

        “The space at our command forbids us to more than mention the
        conical-shape single landscape lens, a useful addition to every
        photographer’s kit, where views of mountain scenery are to be
        taken, the distances being rendered with truer perspective than
        is the case with the rectilinear.”




                   No. 1.   Size 5 ×4       £1  11  6

                    ”  2.     ”   7×5        2  12  6

                    ”  3.     ”   8½×6½      3  13  6

                    ”  4.     ”  10  ×8      4  14  6

                    ”  5.                    5   5  0
                            ”  12  ×10

                          The London Stereoscopic and
                             Photographic Co., Ltd.

              110 & 108, REGENT STREET, W., & 54, CHEAPSIDE, E.C.


           NEW ILLUSTRATED PRICE LIST, 200 pp., post free, 7 Stamps.


                               Transcriber’s Note

        On p. 102, the start of an apparent quotation from Helmholtz is
        not marked, but most likely begins with “_we see this in

        Beginning on p. 105, an extended quotation from Helmholtz seems
        to extend through p. 107, where the ending quotation mark
        appears. The conventional practice of punctuation across
        paragraphs was not observed. This occurs again on pp. 279-281
        with a quotation for T.F. Woodall.

        Errors deemed most likely to be the printer’s have been
        corrected, and are noted here. The references are to the page
        and line in the original. The following issues should be noted,
        along with the resolutions.

  57.23    [O/Ō]kio.                                      Replaced.

  64.28    Woerman[n]                                     Added.

  79.8     and sometimes “impress[s]ions” in oil          Removed.

  85.26    Then we have first De[s]camps                  Inserted.

  88.1     principal feat[n/u]res are already beautiful   Inverted.

  108.12   we distinguish them from the intermediate      _sic_

  140.33   supplied in tel[o/e]scopic form                Replaced.

  182.30   on Dr. V[ö/o]gel’s plates                      Replaced.

  208.28   negatives had been reprodu[c]ed here           Inserted.

  222.2    Copyright (Works of Art) Ac. Ac[t].            Restored.

  242.15   composition, that [ /i]s selection             Restored.

  271.21   Considerable pressure must be exerte[d]        Restored.

  289.34   Harding and Bonington in Eng[l]and             Inserted.

  305.45   “Modern dry plates,[”]                         Added.

  307.15   “Mere trans[s]cripts of Nature,”               Removed.

  302.9    and crying than [i]n any Italian               Restored.

  a2.6     t[ /h]rough> sedgy solitudes                   Restored.

  a2.14    The set of landscapes which  c[ /l]ose the     Restored.

  a4.11    may justly fee[ /l] proud.                     Restored.

  a7.12    to rather [read] them to think and act         _sic_: lead?

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