1. HOUSE DECORATION (continued)
The art systems of the past have been devised by philosophers who
looked upon human beings as obstructions. They have tried to
educate boys' minds before they had any. How much better it would
be in these early years to teach children to use their hands in the
rational service of mankind. I would have a workshop attached to
every school, and one hour a day given up to the teaching of simple
decorative arts. It would be a golden hour to the children. And
you would soon raise up a race of handicraftsmen who would
transform the face of your country. I have seen only one such
school in the United States, and this was in Philadelphia and was
founded by my friend Mr. Leyland. I stopped there yesterday and
have brought some of the work here this afternoon to show you.
Here are two disks of beaten brass: the designs on them are
beautiful, the workmanship is simple, and the entire result is
satisfactory. The work was done by a little boy twelve years old.
This is a wooden bowl decorated by a little girl of thirteen. The
design is lovely and the colouring delicate and pretty. Here you
see a piece of beautiful wood carving accomplished by a little boy
of nine. In such work as this, children learn sincerity in art.
They learn to abhor the liar in art - the man who paints wood to
look like iron, or iron to look like stone. It is a practical
school of morals. No better way is there to learn to love Nature
than to understand Art. It dignifies every flower of the field.
And, the boy who sees the thing of beauty which a bird on the wing
becomes when transferred to wood or canvas will probably not throw
the customary stone. What we want is something spiritual added to
life. Nothing is so ignoble that Art cannot sanctify it.