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Overcrowding is, undoubtedly, a heinous offence, for its
sole cause is lack of taste. In this country, lack of resources
meets with ready sympathy, and it has, of late years, been
met with adequate help but this lack of taste merits
nothing but unqualified condemnation.
Mr. Richards is of opinion that the so-called Art
Nouveau,' with its awful contortions in furniture design,
was a direct attempt to be original. It is not, therefore,
surprising that he considers that deliberate originality
should be discouraged," whilst frequent reference should
be made to the best work already accomplished by man."
The recommendation that the principle of correlation
be applied to the teaching of drawing brings to mind the
striking theories held by W. E. Ford on the application of
this principle to the whole school curriculum.
If attention to the subject of lettering were eventually
to raise the standard of printing in the country, it would
indeed be well worth while. Anyone who has a taste for
a good-looking book cannot but find it difficult to buy the
shiny-covered, badly printed volume such as is offered to
the Welsh reading public.
Perhaps the most striking of all the suggestions offered
by Mr. Richards in his report is the introduction into every
school of a Sixth Form Room. From this room, the
desk and the usual class-room paraphernalia should be
banished, and instead the room should pass through its
adolescence, as it were, and become a place where reason-
able human beings may work under human conditions and
be happy." Here is a place where artistic feeling and
aesthetic appreciation should be cultivated by the students
and encouraged by the Head Teacher here per-
sonality should be strengthened and individualism deve-
loped;" here all that is best in literature, music and
art should be placed before the students. Such a room,
which need not be a costly room," would surely help
44 to set up in the minds of the students a standard to which
they could refer to help to beautify their own future rooms
and thus improve the taste of some of the homes in the
Principality." This last is an important point, for, as
Mr. Richards says in an earlier part of his report, the
beautiful old Welsh house with its well-made furniture is
fast receding into the realm of the antiquary our villages
are being modernised by red brick, bay-windowed
villas, as pretentious as they are out of place, which ape
those of a London suburb to the very names on their gate-
posts." Anyone who questions the claims to beauty of
the old Welsh home-stead would do well to study The Old
Cottages of Snowdonia, by Harold Hughes and Herbert
L. North, book that might perhaps deserve a place
among the books of reference recommended in this report.
It is a matter of fact that the pupils of the schools are them-
selves conscious of the need which would be satisfied by
the type of room suggested by Mr. Richards. Surely this
proposal will meet with nothing but enthusiastic approval.
It is difficult to believe that the Sixth Form of any school
would fail to appreciate such a room. The characteristics
peculiar to each individual school would find expression
in considerable variation in the detail of the room. There
might be found in it a piano; music, both modern and
classical a few periodicals of a type that would'not appeal
to the users of the general school reading-room, for instance,
The Round Table The Bookman The Journal of the Welsh
Folk-Song Society a first-rate art journal papers of a
similar standing for the students of modern languages and
for the science students. In addition to being a worthy
"last harbour" in the school life, this room would give
to pupils a foretaste of the best in the life of a college
common-room. For many pupils, it would, of necessity,
be a not too inadequate substitute.
This last suggestion is of a strikingly catholic nature to
find in the report on one subject of an expert specialist;
but it is characteristic of Mr. Richards's attitude. Instead
of relegating art to two or three art schools and to one
or two picture-galleries," he would have the nation act on
the principles enunciated by Professor Lethaby that Art
is many things-service, record and stimulus. It is not
only a question of high genius genius is produced as the
crest of a great wave rising from gifted communities, and
without the flood of common work-art, you cannot have
the crest of genius. Art, too, is everything that was
ever rightly done, made or expressed. By art we live and
move and have our being, and if a nation has not art, it
must perish everlastingly. Art is activity, cleanliness,
tidiness, order, gaiety, serenity, mastery. Art is the right
way of doing the right things, and the evidence thereof is
beauty."
It would be well for the nation were Mr. Richards's
views on War Memorials assimilated by every public body
in the country. He has put a high ideal before the nation
in these words: "Best of all, let our memorials take some
form in which real life can vibrate, some means by which
progress and development may carry the nation a step
forward something that marks the dawn of new ideals
rather than sets the seal on the old ones." It is depressing
to turn from this to the thought that the Hedd Wyn
Memorial may, in idea and execution, be earnest of numerous
similar efforts still to come. The design, as advertised in
the form of a coloured picture-postcard, is extraordinarily
bewildering and lacking in reticence and good taste. The
whole question of War Memorials needs the sure touch of
an infinite delicacy of feeling. Of Mr. Richards's many
suggestions for memorials, not one can fail to win approval.
They have, too, the further merit of being practical.
Patiently and insistently, he demands a high standard of
thoroughness in the actual raising of any kind of War
memorial If it be a seat, let it be of good wo' kmanship-
comfortable and placed in a pleasant spot where one would
naturally wish to rest." For a school, no better war
memorial to Old Boys can be desired than Mr. Richards's
Sixth Form Room." It is, doubtless, within the power
of the richer schools in the country to carry out the sugges-
tion but, for many schools, the only hope lies in a grant
from a private benefactor.
It is possible, if not probable, that a campaign of art
teaching, such as is indicated in this report, would in-
culcate in the mental economy of the educated Welshman,
a certain sense of discrimination in which, at present, it is
sadly lacking. A young poet, of ability and inspiration,
will writefverses on so inadequate a subject as an extract
from a superficial novel of prodigious popularity, seemingly
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