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and follow the lines of the designs, so that return to the older method, for they know when fitted together no joints are visible. that, by the means they employ, a mosaic of
It must be distinctly understood that the | equal quality can be executed at half the cost, "face downwards " method is applicable only and in less than half the time; and so they to decorative work and cannot be used to are content to allow the “battle of the methods” re-quote Sir Henry Layard) when much delicacy to be fought out in their absence, while they of execution and extreme nicety in gradation 'continue to raise higher and higher the stanof tints are required. In such cases the work dard of quality, being convinced that, with the is always executed “face upwards” and when two masters, time and money, on their side, finished is taken up on to paper from the front. | their views will prevail.
I give here an illustration of a mosaic so treated-a good specimen of the very fine work which can be produced by the Venetians, and an excellent contrast to the decorative mosaic which was last thrown on the screen.
This, then, in brief, is the method which is now known as the Venetian method. For its successful application considerable skill and practice are necessary, but the experimental stage has been passed long ago, and experience has shown that the Venetians are capable of good work. They smile at the notion of a
In the course of this paper I have called the working mosaists “workers” or “workmen,'' but, in truth, those in the higher grades are entitled to be more suitably designated. They have studied every style of mosaic construction and thoroughly understand the possibilities as' well as the limitations of the material with which they work. Their wide practical experience has given them freedom and assurance in shaping and placing the tessera, and in adding all those subtle touches which mark the difference between a mere slayish copy
of a design and a work of art. To make my which the tesseræ were first fixed face downwards on nieaning clearer I will read a letter received paper, and then fixed en bloc on the wall. Mr. Hamil. from Cavaliere Giovanale, Architect to His ion had argued this question with thorough knowledge, Eminence Cardinal Rampolla, on the com
and had placed his arguments before the meeting in the pletion of the mosaics recently executed for
concisest and clearest manner possible, and with a
generous impartiality. Ofcourse Mr. Hamilton was all His Eminence, and now placed in the Crypt of
through thinking of mural mosaics, and had not dealt St. Cecilia in Trastevere at Rome; and while
with mosaics in general, any more than with their doing so I shall ask my assistant to place on
general history. He had, therefore, and he supposed, the screen one or two of the mosaics to which
intentionally, omitted the earliest of all forms of Signor Giovanale refers :
mosaic construction, followed alike by the ancient “ The mosaics are a perfect copy of the cartoons, Egyptian and the Assyrians, in the decoration of reproducing with fidelity not only the outlines, but sumptuary furniture, such as ivory thrones, and the retaining in the treatment of light and shade, and in incrustation of large jewelry. This method was to the expression of the faces, all the intentions of the chisel the design out of the solid ivory or gold in a artist who designed them, and truly interpreting the
series of small sockets in which the pieces of mosaic scheme of colouring expressed in the small sketches
were each separately held within its own tight socket which accompanied the cartoons. Vor must I fail to of gold or ivory. In fact, it was cloisonnée work, but express my admiration, and the admiration of those with solid instead of fluid colouring materials. Now who have examined these mosaics, at the perfect
did not this afford a practical suggestion for the technique and wise distribution of the tessera by
construction of mural mosaics which would present means of which all the most delicate effects of
the advantages of both the methods described by modelling and colouring have been obtained. This Mr. Hamilton ? Why should not the decorative or proves the artistic taste and technical skill of those the pictorial design be laid down in cement in a who executed the work."
shallow, tray-like frame, in Venice, or elsewhere, and
then fixed on the wall for which it was intended, Men who can produce work of this kind are,
either by means of concealed clamps, or by embedding I think, entitled to be called artists, and in
the whole framed mosaic in cement ? He used,
the whole framed mosaic this opinion I am supported by the late Sir in Bombay, to do something like that himself, Edward Burne-Jones who addressed the follow with living flowers, working out enlarged pat. ing letter to the chief of some Venetian terns with them on a wooden framework, for mosaists who had executed mosaics from his the annual decoration of St. Thomas's Cathe. designs:
dral on Christmas Day in the morning. What
Mr. Hamilton had said of the recent date of "To the artists at Venice, who have been so
the revival of mosaic work in England was most indefatigable in carrying out my designs, I owe much
interesting; and it was very wonderful, considering gratitude, and I should be obliged to you if you
how the Romans propagated the art of their mosaic would convey to those who executed the work some
pavements over every part of their wide empire, in expression of my deligiit at the result of our co
Spain, throughout Northern Africa, in Asia Minor, operation, and my trust that it is only a beginning of
throughout Germany, and in France and in England. our labours together. Will you kindly do this for me, because I know their skill and workmanship have
The art of mural mosaics reached its zenith at
Byzantium; but, of course, the revival of painting, as been of an unusual kind."
a fine art, gave the death blow to its extended Such words, addressed to them by such an use. Yet nothing was so effective for the internal authority, go far to establish the claim of the decoration of churches as mosaics, decorative and Venetians to be the best mosaists in the pictorial, and nothing so consonant with the spirit of world.
the historical Christian order of Church service. The Normans, who themselves learnt the art of
mosaic work from the Saracens, in the MediteraDISCUSSION.
nean, never introduced it into England; and
although there can be no doubt of Wren The CHAIRMAN, in inviting discussion on the having intended to use it in St. Paul's, it was really paper, said that, except for the few introductory not till about 1851 that the art was revived in this remarks on the history of the revival of mosaic work country; and initiated through the cumulative imduring the past fifty years in this country, Mr. | pression made by the discoveries of numberless W. L. H. Hamilton's paper was restricted to the
old Roman mosaics of the type of those to technical, and thoroughly practical, but, from his be seen at Cirencester, Woodchester, and York. own point of view, rather narrow question of the Mr. Blashfield's work, so far as he recollected it, was comparative merits of two methods of mosaic based on these discoveries. Of course, the revival of construction : the older, that of fixing the tesseræ the art of Venetian mosaics was entirely due to the on the wall directly, one by one; and the newer, in initiative of Salviati, and the encouragement be received from Sir Austen Henry Layard, and also, from the author that the tessaræ could be manipulated let it be added, from Castellani, and Saulini, who, in when they were on the wall whilst the plaster was Italy, warmly welcomed their fellow-countryman's | not quite set, and that a little push could be success; and, again, from Lepec, the enameller, in given to the tessaræ, so as to produce an France, and from Robert Phillips, formerly of uneven surface. Whether that little push was Cockspur-street, the greatest of the English jewelers ever given or not was another question. He of his generation. He had known them all, they thought the general mosaic worker would require had all passed away, and he recalled their names to learn a great deal more than giving a little push with deep reverence.
in order to break the surface of the mosaic and sup
ply that variation of facet which was such a charm in Mr. LEWIS F. DAY said that in 1895 Sirmosaic; but there was no real reason why the exWilliam Richmond, at the Society of Arts, i perienced decorator should not employ the transfer claimed that he had killed the paper mosaic, and method which had many practical advantages. In from that time most people were prepared to considering the question it was impossible to ignore think that artistic salvation was to be found only in the conditions of time and cost. Toe conclusion he working from the front. The author had shown in drew from the paper was that there were two methods his paper that there was life in the old method yet. 1 of working and that either method must be followed Whether it was right or wrong, it was in the interests by the artist according to his genius. Looking into of all concerned that the two ways should be brought the matter it was apparent that one method had forward and discussed. Sir William Richmond been taken up largely for purposes more or less claimed that the method he adopted in working directly connected with trade, whereas the from the front was quicker, better, cheaper, more other method had been taken up by a few artists. certain, and more interesting to the artist. Probably | Everything really depended upon the artist. A man it was more interesting to the artist, but he doubted with no idea beyond making money out of his very much whether it was cheaper, quicker, decoration would be equally dull and uninteresting, or more certain. The author had given very good whether working from the front or on paper, whereas reasons for stating that the method of working on if an artist with his soul in his work adopted either paper was more convenient; that it freed the artist method and trained his men, the result would be from the necessity of lying on his back or side when doing the work; that he could do it without suffering from extreme heat or cold ; that he need The CHAIRMAN, in commenting on Mr. Day's not wander about the face of the earth in order remark that the inherent effect of the method of to follow his pursuit, and that any number of laying the tesseræ face downwards on paper did tend workmen could be put on to a particular mosaic to smoothness, said, at the same time, it must be without getting in each other's way. Under remembered that the designs of Lord Leighton and those circumstances be thought the author must Sir Edward Poynter at South Kensingtoo, where the fairly claim that time and money were on his mosaic was laid directly on the cement, were spoilt side. He thought the author had fairly well by their smoothness. He believed at the time there answered all the objections raised by artists, the first was a desire for smoothness, and that the desire for being that the worker did not work in the dark, the roughness had grown up later. The specimens extessere being coloured all through. He did not think hibited, in which the paper method had been followed, it was necessary that the worker should see precisely showed very considerable roughness of the face with what he was doing, because every artist worked | a very pleasing effect. towards an end, which he did not see until it grew in completion at the finish of the work. In so far as Mr. WILLIAM BURTON thought that Mr. Lewis Day there was a danger, he thought the Chairman had had stated the conclusion quite correctly when he said pointed out the remedy, the practice suggested, ' it was a question of personal predilection, and that one which was sometimes used, of doing a little piece method was just as good as the other. It all on the front and then transferring it. The advan- | depended on how one went to work. In the old days tage of working in situ appeared enormous, but people did not care how much they paid for the work, when a mosaist was working he was nearly always and how long it took to do; nowadays it was a encumbered by scaffolding, the light thereby being question of working for very little pay, and for a very excluded, and when the scaffolding was taken down little time. Under those circumstances, there was it was too late to alter the design. He thought the | every advantage in working on paper. In regard to author was not certain of his case in regard to flatness. the question raised as to why the new work Artists were appalled at the fatness of a good deal was so smooth, and with regard to the cartoons of mosaic done, especially in some modern restorations. at South Kensington, one fact had been omitted, The mosaics at Ravenna, which were being restored, namely, that some of the cartoons were made were being ruined, and that was only one instance out by Minton. They did not grow out of the of thousands of miserable flat mosaic which was being true mosaic, but out of the modern method of making done all over the world. It was reassuring to hear dust tiles. So much had been heard of the Venetian mosaics that it bad almost seemed as if there had scaffolding and want of light, and he contended that been no effort at making mosaic in England. As a' the subtle colour effects produced could not have been matter of fact there was a good deal more mosaic obtained if the work had been carried on with the made in England to-day than in Venice, aud a great i restricted light, probably candles, available at the time. many more men were employed here than in Italy. He had frequently tried to produce mosaics in frames
The people of England were really the first to revive working face upwards, and had found on every occamosaic, not the Venetians. The experiments of' sion that there was no advantage, except where gold Blashfield were made as far back as 1826, and the was concerned. When a strong colour came by the first patent for making mosaic was taken out in 1837; side of the gold it was as well to work face upwhile the modern method of making tiles by com- ! wards, because the sheen of the gold had a sensible pressing clay-dust was undertaken as a possible effect upon the colours put at the side. In many of method of making tesseræ for mosaic. It was the mosaics carried out by his firm, where there through experiments made by the late Herbert | is strong colour and gold by the side of it, that piece Minton to make tessera suitable for mosaic was made face upwards and then turned down, purposes that the modern method of making tiles the remainder being finished face downwards. arose. As it was found that the method of making! That was the only instance where he had found any tesseræ was a difficult one, they followed the idea that advantage in working face upwards. In regard to il the things were made in large pieces they would be a the surface being regular, when mosaic was introgreat deal cheaper to make and fix, and then they duced, fifty or sixty years ago, art and taste had not commenced making geometrical tiles of considerable developed to their present extent, and at the time of size, and to that alone was due the modern develop the 1851 Exbibition the people were governed by the ment of tiles in this country. Certain other tile makers mechanical feeling which existed. He did not think later on took up the matter of mosaics pure and simple. | the ancients ever attempted to obtain a true surThere were two main faults in all modern mosaic; ', face, but they made the tessera very small. He firstly, that the mosaic pieces were made far too thin, had brought with him some specimens of pieces of which tended to flatness, and, secondly, that they mosaic which he collected 26 or 27 years ago when were laid with far too great precision. Most people the restorations were going on at St. Mark's, and it tried to hide the joints, instead of emphasizing the would be seen that one of the causes of the old fact that the joint was the most important part of the mosaic looking so well was the smallness of the finger-pieces of mosaic, and that it ought to be very tesseræ. The workers had not attempted to make much wider than was usually the case. It was to be an unequal surface, but the smallness of the tessera, hoped that architects would learn that in mosaic the together with their leaving cleavage faces, gave the suridea was not to simulate the perfection of a water.! sace an irregularity which it otherwise would not have colour drawing.
had. It would be of great interest if the author could
state whether paper was used in that instance. ExMr. R. PHENÉ SPIERS expressed his admiration tremely thick and long tesseræ were used in the pavefor the extremely clear description of mosaics given in ments of Rome, where they were one and a half inches the paper.
thick, compared with half an inch at Pompeii. A
great deal of the excessive flatness was due to Mr. W. H. BURKE asked the Chairman and the the size of the tesseræ. In one of the pieces in St. author what authority they had for saying that all the Mark's he found the tesseræ never exceeded three. old mosaic was put on in situ and that paper was eighths of an inch thick, and that, together with the never used.
cleavage surface, gave the mosaic its charming appear.
ance. He had also obtained specimens of mosaics The CHAIRMAN replied that the ancients did not showing that tesseræ made of brick were used. have any paper, they had papyrus, which would not have been used because it was too expensive and Mr. MATTHEW WEBB said that Sir Edward Burnenot suitable.
Jones had, by implication, been cited as supporting
the method of working from the back, the statement Mr. BURKE said that within the last month he had being made that he was gratified with the result. been in Venice, and after very carefully examining He thought it was only fair to Sir Edward Burnethe mosaic there, both Mr. John Clayton and
Jones to remember that it was with reluctance he himself were strongly of the opinion that the
decided that the work must be done by that method ancients did put a good deal of it on paper, which he felt, at an early stage, for many reasons, was which opinion was supported by the director of unavoidable, but he would bave been glad if it had the restoration of the mosaics in St. Mark's. | been possible to carry it out in the other way. He formed the opinion from his experience that it Reference had been made to the pictorial developwas much easier to arrange the colours in the ment of mosaic. It might be interesting to state that light than in the dark. Almost all the mosaic done when the mosaic work of Sir Edward Burne-Jones in St. Mark's must have been interfered with, so far first appeared, he (Mr. Webb) heard Sir Edward as the choice of colours was concerned, by the state his conviction that it was the growing pictorial