93p*l Q_ I
. . .
A BOOK FOR
FROM DESIGNS BY JANE E. COOK.
NEW YORK: E. P. DUTTON & CO.
All Rights Reserved.
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THE SCULPTOR CAUGHT NAPPING:
A Book for the Children's Hour.
From Designs by JANE E. COOK.
In these days of superabundant Picture-Books for children, Mr. Andrew Tuer has
done right to draw attention to the old-fashioned cuts of other centuries, and to those
silhouettes in which the prim kindliness of our grandmothers' features are darkly preserved for
our respectful admiration. Though there are silhouettes among these pages, I cannot claim for
them the merits of a great antiquity, nor even ask for them the chief consideration of the
children-of all ages, let me hope-who may enjoy again what once gave pleasure to a child.
But those who are interested in different methods of possible artistic expression will find a
novelty in the process employed in the greater number of the illustrations; a process never to my
knowledge used before.
In these the principle remains virtually the same as that which guides the maker of a
silhouette, but the effect obtained is absolutely different; for instead of staining a white back-
ground with a mass of black, the artist here expresses the main themes of her composition in
brilliant light thrown out upon the darker shade beneath. For this reason they have sometimes
been described as Cameos," to emphasise the fact that they are intended to be a vivid contrast
to the accompanying silhouettes. To produce them white paper has been cut out with a pair of
scissors, and the obvious necessity of adding essential details to the resulting outline was
supplied by delicately marking the white paper with the fine point of a stiletto.
They were done in the first instance, not to supply the demands of any public,juvenile or
otherwise, but for the particular pleasure of one little child. In that delightful hour when his
mother came to play with him, he would not only listen while she sang the rise and fall of "Jack
and Jill," but watch her nimble fingers as they fashioned the very personality of a favourite
hero, till the nursery table swarmed with vivid little figures and the story lived and moved for
him. Long continued illhealth kept the mother away from home for many months from year
to year. So to comfort her own heart, and to keep fresh in the child's mind the particular
pleasure he associated with her, a sheaf of figures with their appropriate rhymes came with
every letter that she posted to her home.
More than twenty years ago a few of the little paper groups which had been saved were
noticed by the keen eye of the principal director of the Autotype Company. He believed that
if well reproduced they would not only prove attractive to others but remunerative to their
maker. And it so happened that the artist was keenly anxious at that time to make, by some
effort of her own, a useful contribution towards the extension of the old Grammar School of
Wantage, in Berkshire, of which her husband was then headmaster. So she consented to a trial,
and the result proved the truth of the director's prophecy, and realized her own desires. Three
"Editions de Luxe" of 150 copies were privately published at a somewhat high price, and
rapidly bought up.
People were already familiar with silhouettes, but these animated little scenes in white
paper on a black background were at any rate novel, and they at once suggested that sculpture
in low relief which gives its subject to the first picture and a name to the collection. If
there was nothing new in the rhymes, yet the freshness and humour with which each well-
worn theme was treated proved a distinct attraction ; for the artist did not confine herself to the
limits of the verses, but suffered a graceful imagination to play round each particular incident
and suggest its probable preliminaries, even the consequences that must immediately have
followed it. As the child grew older, though he cared little-and knew less-of novelties in
style, he yet preserved all his old delight in cheerful incident ; and the occasional irksomeness
of study may have been softened by the remembrance that the more agreeable surroundings of
his daily lesson had been to no small extent the product of his earliest pleasure.
As quite a small girl, the artist had possessed the faculty of giving shape to all her fancies
by cutting them out in paper with her scissors; and as some of her earliest efforts were already
in the possession of Her Majesty the Queen, she was permitted to dedicate her later designs to
the children of H.R.H. Princess Christian, and her first book soon came to the notice of other
members of the Royal Family.
But the Autotype process used in that issue, though in every way successful, was too
costly for anything but an edition far above the prices of the popular children's books which
have increased in numbers so rapidly of late. It was therefore determined that advantage
should be taken of the new and less expensive methods of modern reproduction ; and it is by
the kindness of Mr. J. M. Dent, that after various experiments this is now published at a cost
which puts them within easy reach of the general public.
That his confidence may be justified is the artist's heartiest wish.- The book now makes
its appearance with no further recommendation than the merit of the work it offers. As the
title-page sets forth, it is essentially meant "for the children's hour "; but if I am not mistaken
there is enough interest and imagination in it to appeal to their elders also, certainly to any
mother of artistic temperament who will look through the pictures with her children at her
knee, and double their pleasure by her share in it.
I can but hope, in conclusion, that something of the charm they had-and always will
have-for that little boy who laughed over them first, has not yet faded. For though he has not
yet reached the critical discretion and reserve of many children of to-day, he can still feel almost
their equal where they permit him to smile with them over the old rhymes that are always
THEODORE ANDREA COOK.
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