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Theory of design

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3 1924 031 270 832

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White's Industrial Drawing


:

I'I'IVI

THEORY OF DESIGN

I'i;

TREATISE ON THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF DESIGN

METHODS OF INSTRUCTION SUITED TO TEACHERS, DESIGNERS,


AND ART-STUDENTS

A TEXT-BOOK FOR SCHOOLS

LUCAS BAKER
IN

THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF THE CITY OF BOSTON

ILLUSTRATED

Copyright, 1883, by
IVISON,

BLAKEMAN, TAYLOR, AND COMPANY


PUBLISHERS

NEW YORK AND CHICAGO

""'"'

FORMERLY SUPERVISOR OF DRAWING

CONTENTS.

.......

Ideas of Thought and Intention

Invention

PAGE

62
63

Contrast

64

Unity

69

Diversity in Unity

75

Construction

79

Application of Design

84

Floor-Coverings

88

Wall-Papers
Hints to Teachers

95

Methods of

90

Criticism

98

Color
Helmholtz Table
Other Qualities of Color
Conclusion
Designs for Illustration
Plant-Forms for the Elements of Design

103

105

107

109

111-175

....

177-247

Leaf-Forms, 181; Pansy, 183; Sweet Pea, 185; Agrimony, 187; Kalmia, 189; Chinese
Primrose, 191; Deutzia, Little Primrose, Portulaca, 193; Apple, 195; Chelidonium

majus, 197

California Vinca, 199

repens. Moneywort, 205

Petunia, 201

AcroUnium, 207

Mimulus

ringens, 203

Mitchella

Clintonia borealis. Cardinal Flower,

209; Convolvulus, 211; Lily of the Valley, Forget-me-not, 213; Snowdrop, Star of

Bethlehem, 215; Primrose, 217

Blackberry, 219; Cyclamen, Potentilla Canadensis,

221; Potentilla Argentea, Erythrasa tricantha, Bouvardia, 223

Mallow, " Margaretta,"

225; Violet, Oxalis, 227; "Pink," Malvastrum, 229; Strawberrj',


Syringa, 233

Sabbatia Stellaris, 235

Geranium, 237

Symphytum, 231;

Phlox, Browallia, Succory,

239; Silena, Verbena, Chorozema, 241; Colosseum Ivy, Fuchsia, 243; Buttercup,
Ivy, 245

Coreopsis, Dalibarda, Checkerberry, 247.

ir)fp00.ucf
UC110]

,0R

the last twelve years drawing has been taught in

the

public

schools

many

of

towns of the country.

It

success, according to the

had the matter

met the

of all

difficulties

and

has been done with varying

wisdom

of

those

who have

In general the effort has

charge.

in

the great cities

of

new

enterprises

it

has had

a large amount of prejudice to contend with, and the


established order of
find

the schools to displace, so as to

proper time and opportunity

had to be educated
an element

in

and benefits

in the uses

education and

communities and teachers have

as

Sometimes drawing has been ridden


fallen into utter neglect

and,

as a

of

in

hobby

more frequent

with an entire want of interest

been thrown away.

factor

drawing, both as

the industrial
;

still, it

sometimes

has

has been taught

so that the time devoted to

it

has

In this effort to teach drawing in public schools,

design has become one of the subdivisions of the subject.


cities

arts.

it

In some

design has been made very successful, and a great degree of

INTRODUCTION.

6
taste has
this

been shown by the pupils

and an aptitude and genius for

work has been shown which argues well for the future of industrial
America.

art in

public schools

making the
there

is

The per cent of pupils who can do good work in the


is much larger than any one would suppose without

America

The

often happens, that,

who does not draw with

not one

creditable design
art of

It

trial.

in their

present work

some

of the

of the

methods

a class of

skill,

fifty pupils,

and produce a very

such pupils as these are to have the industries and

is

keeping in the immediate future.


intended to promote the study of design in

public schools or by private students.


plain

in

The author hopes he has made

most obvious and essential principles

of criticism.

have the consciousness

most important study.

of

If

he has succeeded in this

of design
effort,

he

and
will

having been of some use in facilitating this

Theory of

Design.

AND BEAUTY.

UTILITY

" This love of beauty

The

"

is

taste."

creation of beauty

is art."

Emerson.

jHERE

is

a general

We

beautiful.

demand

for that

which

accounted

is

must have beauty combined with

"

it.

Every man," says

Emerson, " values every acquisition he makes


science

beauty above his possessions."

of

same author
useful

says,

world,

men

and nature seconds the


is

evident, that,

principles of beauty,

objects

useful

man

in the

unsatisfied.

most

served,

But, as fast as he sees beauty,

acquires a high value."

All

It

"The most

the

in

Again the

long as only commodity was

so

would remain
life

we

are not satisfied with utility alone, but

it

desire the beautiful as they desire wealth

desire,
if

it

and giveth beauty

were easy to

would not be so

by following them.

define, nor to understand,

set

to every thing of

down

diflScult

to

life.

categorically the

make

beautiful

But these principles are neither easy


and

to

to

put into practical application when


7

THEORY OF DESIGN.

Hogarth imagined that he had found

defined.

Many

philosophers have tried to define beauty

whether

it is

bination

the line of

beauty.

but they do not agree

a thing, a principle, a process, a manifestation, or a com-

and

it

may

be, after

all,

that there are

many kinds and many

degrees of beauty.
It is evident,

however, that, to produce a beautiful design,

know upon what fundamental


work out our

We

results with

shall find that

ideas, distinct

principles

any degree

we can

proceed, in order to

of certainty.

much upon

a variety of

and does not inhere

in a simple

beauty depends very

from the purely

we must

useful,

line or in a single quality.

To

design beautiful things,

principles

of

beauty,

we must proceed upon

method

according to certain fixed rules

of

the fundamental

arrangement and association,

and these accord with certain psycho-

logical necessities of every cultivated mind.

acquainted with the aesthetic law of

We

distribution

must then ,become


and arrangement.

"Beauty," says Emerson, "is the form under which intellect prefers to

We

study the world."


reference to what
ditions

it

it

must study the necessities

demands

imposes upon

us.

in

of the

the beautiful, so as to

mind with

fulfill
<

the con-

THE NATURE OF BEAUTY.

THE NATURE OF BEAUTY.

[HE

ultimate art

principle

Beauty

of the beautiful.

we

love.

is

is

the law for the production

the combination of the qualities

not a thing, but an

It is

effect.

Beauty

is

the

external sign of conformity to the internal law of harmonic


construction.
lence,
is

the

hence

With reference
it

to organic law

it

is

approximates virtue as to moral

mark God

upon

sets

the stamp of excelqualities.

"Beauty

virtue."

Ideas of beauty accompany and are co-ordinate with the desire to


attain the perfect ideal.

As

with the uncultured.

and the attainment

Not
all

to love the beautiful

is

to

be content

human perfection,
create in man the love

true culture tends to

of the ideal

so

it

tends to

of the beautiful.

Art
clothes,

is

man

the effort of

and defends

tions, exalts

the mind, as

poetry, music, and

to express this love.

Utility feeds,

warms,

but beauty satisfies the heart, engages the affecit

hallows the soul.

It

is

the source of

art.

"Ideas of beauty," says Ruskin, "are among the noblest which can
be presented to the human mind, invariably exalting and purifying

it

according to their degree."

In nature

utility

and beauty are one

that

is,

they are produced

THEORY OF DESIGN.

10

by the same cause

The

shell

place, but

and so the laws

of the fish is
it

is

of utiHty

and beauty are one.

not only useful as a house and a hiding-

also beautiful in its color

and structure and texture.

Autumn-leaves must needs go through the whole gamut of warm


colors in passing

summer to the sear, dry state


The decaying log or stump
them.

from the green

which November winds find

in

must become a garden

more

beautiful than

of

for thousands of beautiful lichens

any thing which

appear white, green, blue, red, or purple, according as


or shadow, or as the light of the sky

is

one

and mosses,

The snow must

art can create.

it is

in sunlight

Even

tint or another.

a white house appears green against a purplish eastern sky at sunset.

Nature

is

It costs

her nothing, because

lavish of her luxuries,


it

is

does nothing without adornment.


in

one

her
acts

and beauty
an

is

incidejtt of

She

is

the greatest luxury.

her

utilities.

Nature

the engineer and the artist

and her ornaments are not " applied," but are inherent

activities.

Therefore

we

act in the line of nature

and works become beautiful as well as

useful.

when

in- all

all

our

THE LAW OF CONSTRUCTION.

Ii

THE LAW OF CONSTRUCTION.

|F the subject of design has no basis of law

methods may be

referred,

true criticism, then

all

or fancy

But

no end.

law,

which has

subject

is

and the whole

In that case criticism will be useless, and conduce

if,

its

on the contrary, there

a basis of fundamental

is

sanction in psychological necessities, then the whole

no longer one of chaos and contradiction, but one of order

and sequence
defined,

of

opinions as to excellency are mere

limit of his imagination is the only restraint placed

upon the designer.


to

its

be given over to the sport of mere fashion, caprice,

and the

which

and which may form the basis

opinions, worthy of no attention whatever

subject must

to

and

its

and a system

principles and rules can

of just

criticism

may

exist,

be set down and

and certainty may

take the place of doubt.

The forms under which


application

varied

yet

design appears are very numerous, and the

few classes

will

First, there is design as applied to structural

the distribution and form


this

head

all

comprehend the whole.


forms with reference to

of masses, individual

and concrete.

Under

architectural forms would be included, and also landscape

gardening.

Second, we have design as applied to surface decoration.

This

THEORY OF DESIGN.

12

again divides

into

itself

two

parts,

or mural space by forms in relief

forms in the
higher

art,

There

flat.

where questions

and statues

But, as

arise.

is

and

the decoration of surface

a,

the decoration of surface by

b,

another application of design in

still

of composition

and arrangement

in pictures

these forms are amenable to precisely

all

the same laws of composition, there

is

no necessity that they should

be considered apart.

We

propose, then, to study the distribution of forms in surface

decoration.

For purposes

of ornament, a surface is

There

broken into various masses.


before

we come

to the act of

is

supposed to be

to be the act of segregation

arrangement.

Literally the surface

be broken into pieces before we can arrange the fragments.


of

is

to

The laws

design determine the relative size and forms of the associated

magnitudes, and their co-ordination and distribution.

These laws we

propose to investigate with reference to their relation to and depend-

ence upon certain psychological principles.

Every simple element used


ing qualities

in design

must have each

of the follow-

magnitude, form, position, direction, relation.

these qualities must be graded

Each

and co-ordinated with each other

according to the laws of rhythmical' and harmonic arrangement.

harmonizing of

of

The

the attributes of the elements used in design

all

constitutes the essential art principle.

Hence design
colors

'

is

the art of arranging forms, magnitudes, lines, and

(where colors are used) in such a manner as to produce a

All good composition

stantly recurring masses

is

rhythmical in this sense, that there are at certain intervals con-

which are emphatic from the

tude to those immediately preceding and succeeding.


resting-places for the eye in

its

movement over

fact that they possess superior

magni-

These emphatic masses become the

the design.

THE LAW OF CONSTRUCTION.


pleasing effect upon the mind of the beholder.

design

Or,

13

we may

say that

the art of breaking a given surface into different magni-

is

tudes and forms, arranged to express harmony, rhythm, unity, fullness,


richness,

and

all

other qualities which

conveniently expressed
effect

upon the mind.

to the eye.
ity of
If,

is

we

like,

and which can be

so that the whole space produces a pleasing


If

it

is

rhythmical and harmonic,

Schelling called architecture "frozen music."

is

it

music

The

qual-

the ideas expressed determines the quality of the design.


for

any reason, a design does not

a failure; as

the object has

please,

it

shows that the work

not been attained.

As

designs for

ornament, like pictures, are intended to please all cultivated persons


alike,

it

becomes important

and psychological conditions pleasure


if it is found that certain qualities
all

know upon what mental


and displeasure depend; and

for the designer to

and conditions are always liked by

cultivated minds,-and that certain other qualities are always disliked

by the same minds, he

will

have a sure guide to his

efforts,

and can

proceed on sure grounds to accomplish what he has undertaken.

THEORY OF DESIGN.

14

THE CONDITIONS OF PLEASURE.

JT

will

be perceived, then, that the study of design begins

with the study of conditions of our likes and dislikes.

The
by what

question
is

is,

displeased

it

characteristics in external objects

mind.

We

We

by what

then,

Let

delight in the evidences

vastness, grandeur.

We

the mind pleased, and

us set

down some

of the

which are pleasing to the human


forethought and invention.

of

like fullness, roundness, diversity

tem, unity, harmony, rhythm,

is

combined into symmetry,

relationship,

like justice

broadness

(or

and propriety, and

sys-

breadth),

fitness

and

adaptation, likeness in things dissimilar, contrast and picturesqueness.

We

are pleased with strength and durability.

These are some

of the

principal qualities which always give pleasure to the mind.

The
where

opposites of these qualities


utility

we do

not like in any thing, except

makes them indispensable.

We

dislike

hollowness,

So

barrenness, meagerness, incompleteness, poverty, spareness.

and chaos

disorder, disjointedness,
ness, narrowness,

monotony.

We

and

littleness

do not

in

also

incongruities, alienation, unjust-

a certain sense.

like to see the

We

all

dishke

evidence of thoughtlessness,

foolishness, or imbecility.

Now, we

are

all

agreed in liking the one class of these qualities,

THE CONDITIONS OF PLEASURE.


and

disliking the other class.

in

So, too,

we

15

shall agree in liking

those works of art which show the one class, and in disliking those

which exhibit the other

class.

Let us state here a principle to be observed

in all art

no quality or excellence, however good or lovely when in

and

relation,

and

place

relation,

Without

qualities.

must have

art

in

No

quality

curve,"

if

mind when

can satisfy the

is

and
it,

its

good

left

all

is

without
chaos.

it

that

place

its trtie

often repeated out of its true

sufficient

contrast by opposing

In other words, every element

true setting or environment to give

The curve

of itself.

is,

of

value.

it

beauty, or " Hogarth's

often repeated without proper contrast, becomes any thing

but the curve of beauty.

Beauty comes by combination, and does

not inhere in special forms.

The harmonic arrangement


lights

ever

much

the design

magnitudes and forms, of colors and

of

and shades, must prevail

may be

in

every design, to cover space, how-

influenced by special ideas of style,

These ideas

motive, or peculiarity of any kind.

of style,

and the

like,

are superadded to the rhythmical and .harmonic arrangements, without


in

any way superseding or disturbing them.

ideas which

may

There are many possible

enter into a design without in any

way

affecting

the general law of construction as above stated, such as picturesqueness, grotesqueness, surprise, contrast, harmoniousness, oddities, conceits of fashion

ruggedness

lively

expressions of softness, smoothness, roughness, or

and

exciting, or quiet

and reposeful; ideas

of

which are modern or ancient, foreign or domestic, and native


doxical, comical or funny, or staid

other ideas

and commonplace.

of significant character,

may

forms
para-

These, and

all

find place or expression in

ordinary surface decoration, independent of the laws of distribution.

THEORY OF DESIGN.

i6

The comprehension

of

these fundamental

laws

design will

of

enable the student to understand the meaning of his work, and give
a broader application to the ever varying fancies of his mind.
All good pictures are wrought out by the distribution, over the surface of the canvas, panel, or paper, of certain related forms, magnitudes, lines,

and

colors.

There are these four separate kinds


into a united result,

of qualities to

be harmonized

and there are certain methods by which they

be combined so as to produce the desired

Hence harmonious arrangement

relationship

natural thing in the world for

effect.

in design requires that these ele-

ments should be so grouped that they

mind a family likeness and

may

them

will present to the

so that

it

will

eye and

seem the most

to belong to each other,

and to

be brought together in that place, and for that particular purpose.


It will

be seen, therefore, that an ingenious compound of unrelated

elements does not


of the laws of

make

a design, but that a complete understanding

combination

is

essential in order to

give expression to the grand and the beautiful.

make

it

possible to

THE LAW OF MAGNITUDES.

\y

THE LAW OF MAGNITUDES.

|ET
to

us consider

first

matter of forms or

arrangement

of

members

effect,

We

lines.

distributed

without reference to the

may

say that the harmonic

magnitudes could not be accomplished

they were of only two kinds,


intermediate

how magnitudes must be

produce a harmonious

very large

and very

to bridge the disparity

small,

with

between them, and

if

no
to

enable the mind to associate them naturally into one family group.
It

would be

like writing a piece of

music of whole and sixteenth

notes only.

The mind has not

the power to associate those things together

into complete relationship

by any manifest

some way
that

it

which are widely divided and put asunder

disparity, unless the intermediate steps

supplied.

It

demands a

may be

in

relationship as to magnitudes, so

can easily and involuntarily group

all

the

members harmoniously

into a unit.

Look

at

any plant, a geranium

for instance.

We

see that there

are great differences in the size of the leaves, but that these differ-

ences are harmonized by intermediate magnitudes, and that, even in


this natural grouping,

we seldom

find the passage of the eye

small to a large leaf unassisted by intermediate magnitudes.

from a

THEORY OF DESIGN.

We

may

say, too, that, while

Nature often arranges her magnitudes

into a harmonious series, she very often produces very incongruous

groupings.

But the harmonic law

of grouping, or association, requires

than a mere diversity of magnitudes

more

there must be, as well, a proper

proportion in the diversity.

We

may

quadruples,

say that magnitudes should not vary by doubles,


etc.,

but by more subtle

and

triples,

not so easily distinguishable

differences.

The

smaller the differences in magnitudes brought into proximity,

the more easily the eye passes from one to the other, and the more
easily the

to

mind associates them together, and the greater the tendency

monotony, as seen

at

a (Fig.

i)

while the association of very

Fiff. /.

O,

Q O
\
widely different magnitudes produces a precipitous effect, not unlike
the association of a whole note with a sixteenth, or a very loud note

succeeded by a very soft one.


notes,

Let any one try the

and then examine the association

and the disparity

will at

of the

once be evident.

effect of

magnitudes

these

at b (Fig.

i),

THE LAW OF MAGNITUDES.

better proportion, according to the law of harmony, and one

more pleasing

to the eye,

shown

is

at c (Fig.

This matter of the amount of difference

by the Greek anthemion,

the magnitudes

in

The

ment which has endured

at

twenty-three centuries, and

many more

last as

continues (Fig.

so that

is

well

Pig. 2.
"

least for

likely to

is

glance at the

of this inherent

and continued power

mankind

one

civilization itself

if

2).

shows the cause

vitality,

principle

is

in

the antefix of the Parthenon, an orna-

figure

i).

keys to the whole structure of design.

of the

illustrated

all

19

is

it

countries where art

to please

now found

in

is cultivated.

Let the eye travel over the successive members from a to b :


passes over increasing magnitudes until the central

group

reached

is

series.

descending on the right to

Observe, that ascending from

a,

c,

on the

member

of

it

the

over a decreasing

left,

to

b,

there

is

crescendo of quantities, and, similarly, a diminuendo, descending from


b

on the right side to

We
The

c.

have been speaking wholly of magnitudes, and not of form.

variableness in form

The compound

The

leaflets

will notice farther on.

rose-leaf presents a natural

tudes into a harmonic

two equal

we

series,- in

which there

arrangement of magni-

will

be found, usually, no

on the same side of the stem.

leaves of the

blackberry and horse-chestnut present similar

examples of increasing and decreasing magnitudes, arranged

monic series

(Figs. 3, 4).

in har-

THEORY OF DESIGN.

20

Fig. S.

Fiff. 4.

There are many other natural arrangements

of

harmonic series

made for the designer, the beauty of which is apparent to all.


Take all these series in the four illustrations, and reduce each
member to the same size, and see how quickly the charm is gone.
They would be no longer " music to the eye," but crude forms possessready

ing no interest.
If

this
is

we

take note of our impressions,

law everywhere,

the law of

at least

harmony

we

shall see that

by our feelings

if

in co-ordinated diversity.

that this law of quantity determines, once for

we

not consciously.
It will

all,

still

which

another condition of association which


is,

that

there

may be one

imposed upon or placed

harmonic

series.

We

may

in

the

series

midst

of

of

It

be observed

what magnitudes

should be brought into close relation, and what should not.


is

recognize

But there

may be noted

here,

harmonic magnitudes

another quite

different

see a similar combination of two series on

THE LAW OF MAGNITUDES.


the waves of the sea, where the large waves are
diversified with another smaller

entirely independent

music, where there

of the

may be

2i

covered over and

all

system of wavelets

The same

other.

fact

the one acting

apparent in

is

several concomitant series of rhythmical

quantities in the several parts, and also in each part.

In architecture the divisions of space by horizontal bands should be

Thus the dado should

such as not apparently to measure each other.

not be a half or a third or a quarter of the height of the room.

In

buildings where the three orders of architecture are used,

the Doric

and the Corinthian

for the third

for the lower, the Ionic for the second,


story,

the

heights of the several stories must not be equal, nor

The

measurable at sight, one with the other.

capitals should not be

There

apparently a measurable part of the column.


difference in

all

is

a just law of

these proportions, setting a limit to the difference on

The

the one hand, and denying a too near approach on the other.
divisions of the frieze

by horizontal bands

another instance where this law prevails

in

Greek architecture

is

neither the imposed bands,

the moulding, nor the spaces measuring each other by any apparent
proportion.

The human

face

spaces vertically.

is

an illustration of nature's method of dividing

Although the eyes are

really

on the middle line of the

head, the other features are so placed that not one person in ten thou-

sand would notice the fact without having his attention called
indeed, the general impression
is,

among

children,

that the eyes are in the upper part of the head.

of the proportions of the other features.

to

and many adults as

The

This

is

hair takes

it

well,

on account

up about a

quarter of the vertical height of the head from the crown to the chin

and although the nose

is

about a quarter of the whole height

of the

THEORY OF DESIGN.

22

head, neither the upper nor lower limit of the nose begins on a quarter
division of the vertical height, but reaches about a sixteenth above

the medial
division

line,

down

to within about a sixteenth of the lower quarter

and, of the space below the nose, the divisions are equally

While the legs comprise about

hard to define accurately.


length of the whole body
intricate,

the division of the body above the legs

and the division

of the legs

by the

joints of the ankle

knee are not by any fraction that could be easily read.


nature can not be always relied upon to produce perfect
portions indicated above

half the

seem

sufficient to

Although
art,

the pro-

show that nature does not

The

intend to divide up her work by halves and quarters or thirds.


position, use,
in

and distance

of a proposed design

order to determine what magnitudes

whether they should be small or

large,

must be considered

should be

used

few or many.

It

that

size,

and that forms

of

is,

must be

evident that small objects are best seen near, and larger objects
distant, according to the

is

and

more

ornament must be

proportioned to the object ornamented.

We

may summarize

this

law in the following rule

Those magnitudes only should be associated together which have


rhythmical

and harmonic

relations.

(See

p. i6, note.)

THE LAW OF ASSOCIATION OF FORMS.

THE LAW OF ASSOCIATION OF

)HE

23

FORMS.

law of the association of forms seems to be, that only

related forms should be brought into juxtaposition in design.

That
pany
upon

relationship, moral or intellectual, should accom-

association, is a law of social

this basis.

It

is,

life, all

society being built

one of the psychological laws

therefore,

to

which the designer must conform, in order that he may secure the
best results.

The mind

group of related elements


sist if

is
:

it

pleased to contemplate a well-organized

matters

little of

what the elements con-

they are congruous, and a combination of unrelated elements

always displeasing.
are precisely of the

Incongruities in literary or musical composition

same character

as in design, and offend precisely

the same faculty in the cultivated mind.

An

illogical

consistent with the admitted premises belongs to the


offenses, as bringing together in

be entirely unrelated.
like

is

conclusion in-

same

class of

one design elements which appear to

In this particular, as in

every thing else in the laws of

its

many

construction.

others, design is

The

effect of the

most beautiful painting may be destroyed by the introduction of a


single inconsistent incident or element.

One

often sees the

Greek

elements brought into a design with the convolvulus or the geranium,


or

some other

of our domestic plants.

The

incongruity must be appar-

THEORY OF DESIGN.

24

why

ent to every one, and the observer at once queries

these things

brought together.

were

Why

should the rose, the shamrock, and the thistle be

service in the

same

rosette as an

Great Britain, except that

it

most

emblem
fitly

races forced into an unwilling union

of the

We may

do

to

of

represents the inharmony of the


?

The

makes war on the

rose

shamrock, the shamrock wars on the rose, and the thistle


to each.

made

United Kingdom

say, then, that in general

it

is

is

an offense

better that only one

plant should be used in the same design, especially for elementary work
in schools.

With experienced designers no

rule is necessary.

There

would seem to be another application of the rule of relationship, which

may

help us to avoid another incongruity in composition

and that

is,

that very long, attenuated forms should not be associated in a design

with round, broad forms only.

The

effect of all

such association

prevent the mind from assimilating them into a unit


destroyed.

mind

Pygmies and giants do not harmonize

is,

the ensemble

in the

mind.

to
is

The

does not readily associate those things together into a family or

unit which are put widely apart by a great difference of size, form,
relationship, or source.

RULE OF ASSOCIATION.

We

may

set

down the

following rule as to forms

Only those forms

should be associated in a design which have family relationship, or are

of the same kind or

style.

This rule would naturally prohibit the

mixing of historical ornaments, Greek with Roman, or

Roman

with

Egyptian or Persian, or Persian with Renaissance, or any of these with


our

own

plant-forms.

These should stand alone and by themselves.

THE LAW OF ASSOCIATION OF FORMS.


The Moorish can not be
is

best

when

alone.

and

The

it

All mixtures of

left as legacies to posterity.

styles is the product of centuries of

its

will

but degrade

and

all

it.

all

where

it

originated

So, also,

of its grace

own

it.

time,

of these great historical

growth and culture

in the coun-

and each has a perfection and character

own, which we can not improve.

^^

Each

and

admixtures degrade

great styles of art have grown to perfection in their

and are

try

it

plant-

It is perfect in itself,

can not be mixed without destroying

It is also perfect in itself,

purity.

own

benefited by being diluted with our

forms, or with any other style of ornament.

with the Greek

25

of

THEORY OF DESIGN.

26

OF POSITION, RELATION, DIRECTION.

POSITION

an element in design determines

of

tion to the vertical or horizontal in

or in

elements.

may

imply,

energy, and

ornamentation, and also

wall

that

while

opposite of these qualities,

while the inclined position

The
of

power

to

of

the

a
is

at

horizontal
least,

the

repose

greatly influenced

these positions

signifies

of

or

life

the

inaction

two.

by the prevalence

the designer has

it

in his

produce the effects implied in these positions, but in general

extremely objectionable.
will

to other

relation

generally implies

mean between the

the prevalence of a slant line to the right or

we

its

always

the vertical

or,
is

character of a design

one or the other

up-and-down designs,

In regard to the several ideas which position

we may say
strength

rela-

its

examine further,

But
in

left in

wall decoration

of the influence of lines

is

upon the eye

connection with the matter of direction.

OF RELATION.

The

relation of an element, in design, to other elements, determines

very largely the method of composition.

Elements are related by symmetrical arrangement or radiation

OF POSITION, RELATION, DIRECTION


from a point, by repetition horizontally,

vertically, or

2^

on diagonals to

these.

But the relations which

from position are entirely independ-

arise

ent from those resulting from magnitude and form.

EFFECT OF DIRECTION.
In design, lines and forms
the mind by the

may

upon the eye by compelling

car follows the track on which

prominence of
presence.

lines,

the eye

First, independently, in leading

Lines produce a certain independent

the eye in a certain direction.


effect

exert a certain decided impression on

direction they take.

it

it

to follow

runs

them mechanically,

as a

and, in certain cases of great

helpless to resist the influence of their

is

single prominent line

may

destroy a whole picture or a

design by preventing the eye from seeing any thing else

as a single

bad player or singer would destroy an otherwise good musical performance by preventing the listener from enjoying the more numerous
In

harmonies on account of the single prevailing discord.


single discord converts the harmonies into discords.
direction,

fact,

the

Lines, by their

have the power to lead the eye and mind into the picture or

design, or out of

In other words, they have the power to assist

it.

or to prevent the eye from resting quietly on the picture or design,

and contemplating
This

effect, as

it.

before stated,

is

overcome except by the removal


has no choice in the matter.
reason the observer
that he

may

is

at the

entirely mechanical, and can not be


of the offending cause.

It is

mercy

completely helpless

The mind
and

for this

of the artist or designer, except

turn away, and refuse to look.

THEORY OF DESIGN.

28

DIRECTION IMPLIES MOTION.


Direction of lines or forms as elements of design implies motion,
actual or potential.

when they stand

Thus we

erect

feel that trees

while, in

most

and plants are growing

cases, the horizontal position or

direction implies the reverse.

The

direction of a curve often implies

motion in a certain direction

thus

we

the motion implied

is

from right to

follow in that direction.

Fig.

5.

If that

feel, that, in

left

the scroll (Fig.

and the eye

movement

is

is

5),

compelled to

not an agreeable one.

OF POSITION, RELATION, DIRECTION.


the center

is

the source from which they spring

and the direction

the radial lines indicates to the mind that the center


point of origin.

This

is

an important

is

fact in design

Fiff. 6.

29

of

the source or
because,

if

not

Piff. 7.

understood, the designer

may

direct the

mind

or eye to a point or

points on the perimeter as the source or sources of origin, and by so

doing carry the eye away from the design

and thus defeat the object

The

for

itself to a

subordinate point,

which the design was made, as

in Fig.

8.

corners of the square are the points from which the several forms

originate,

and the mind

places of origin.

is

involuntarily directed to these points as the

Such a design can only be consistent by supposing

many fragments of
these corners. The

that each of the four corners of the square are so

four other squares, which have their centers at

forms are looking in from the outside, instead of coming boldly up

from the center, and spreading out freely to


them.

fill

the space allotted to

THEORY OF DESIGN.

30

We

may

say, then, that, by the direction

used in design, the


the design,

We

and

mind should

and elements

not out of that space.

shall recur to the effect of

of a design,

of the lines

be directed into the space occupied by

when we come

to

such points of origin on the margin

speak of unity.

F'ig. 9.

Fiff. 8.

DIRECTION IMPLIES ORIGIN.


Again, direction indicates origin when forms or lines are thrown
off

from a central

thrown

off

central or

line, as in

the case of the scroll (Fig.

5).

The forms

on either side are recognized as having their origin in the

main

line.

They

are thrown off by a force, as

it

would

OF POSITION, RELATION, DIRECTION.

31

seem, allied to the centrifugal, as the spray usually starts from the

convex

side,

and the mind recognizes their

and

origin,

is satisfied

with

that recognition.

When

forms are thrown

conveyed to the mind

is

off

from a central straight

origin,

the axis becomes the line of

and hence the group becomes intensely a

home, and belongs to

the idea

the same as a spray of symmetrical forms

arranged on a central line as an axis

at

line,

its

unit.

Each part

is

own, springing from the same source.

Dissever these elements from the central radiation, and give each a
different origin, the unit

The

is

destroyed, and the one becomes many.

effect of certain lines, to carry the eye out of instead of into

a design,

is

well illustrated in Fig. 10, where the curves are struck

from centers on the margin

The

square.

entrant curves

of

effect
is,

of the

the

Fiff.

re-

/6.

to carry the eye

They

out of the design.

inevitably

direct the attention to the margin;

and nothing can prevent that

effect

while the lines remain, except that


the effect

may be

introduction

an

of

opposite

mitigated by the

which

lines

tendency.

have

The

too

great prominence of lines in a design

is

prevent

often

the

so

obtrusive as

to

mind from receiving

any pleasure from

Try the experiment

it,

the lines being

all

that

can really be seen.

of filling a square with a design, with prominent

stems arranged on the diagonals, and running almost

to the center

THEORY OF DESIGN.

32

and however
cross, or

X,

will

may

the space

full

be

all

and otherwise interesting, the

be,

that can be really seen.

EFFECT OF EXCESSIVE REPETITION.

We

often see carpet-patterns where certain spiral curves are so

abundant that
gling,

is

it

squirming

any thing but these wrig-

quite impossible to see

lines.

This style

is,

no doubt, the result of a prevail-

ing notion, that curved lines are always beautiful

means the

1 1).

It is true,

case.

lines of the

same

quality

but such

is

by no

on the contrary, that an excess of curved

may produce

the worst monotony (see Fig.

This fact indicates an application of one of the fundamental laws


of design already stated, that

Fig.

//.

good without

is

no one quality

trast

There

proper contrast.

must be some tonic elements

to give con-

and opposition to curves, or curves

are of no value

hence the importance of

geometrical elements, or straight or angular


elements, in order to give the

The

curvature.

for
lines

control

mind a

relish

exerted

by

over the eye shows the importance

of using that control wisely, in order that

variety of impression

the direction of
(Fig. 2),

we

tical line,

the

elements.

Referring

see that each element, on the

takes a different direction.

in addition to the differences in size,

curvature, of the several parts

may be

obtained by

to

the anthemion again

same

side of a central ver-

This difference of direction

and the difference

in

is

form and

so that, in this simple design, the

Greeks

OF POSITION, RELATION, DIRECTION.


have co-ordinated four separate series of differences.
expressed in this simple combination, that

mands

of the

mind with reference

The deductions

to be

satisfies

to a simple

drawn from

this

33

It is

the aesthetic de-

harmonious expression.

statement of the effect of

some guide

direction in design are important, because they afford us


to

variety,

our methods of constructing a design, or of composing a picture,

poem

writing an essay or a
tion given to the
effort

and

for, in all

these efforts, the varying direc-

mind determines very

first it will

largely the character of the

appear evident, after a

little

consideration, that

parallel directions are not usually pleasing.

Fig. fS.
Fig. fA.

Pig. 72.

PARALLEL DIRECTIONS.

Take two

flowers or two leaves with their axes parallel, and the

effect is not especially pleasing (Figs. 12, 13).

ing up for some

They seem

to be stand-

ceremonial, of which they are the unwilling subjects

while, with reference to each other, they

and unsympathetic.

They

seem

to

be entirely unyielding

might, so far as appearances are concerned,

be culprits, brought up to answer some grave offense. Let each bend


outward from the other, and the effect is entirely changed and some;

thing like grace

is

expressed in their attitude (see Fig.

14).

THEORY OF DESIGN.

34

OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS.
For a very

similar reason, opposite directions are not pleasing in

elements approximate to each other.

In Fig. 15 the flowers turn their

backs upon each other in


dain,
Fiff. ^6.

two

like

persons

dis-

who
Fiff.

have become offended with each


In Fig.

other.

W.

16 the offense

has assumed a hostile expres-

We

sion.

recognize this law of

when

direction

a friend in

To

sit

we

social

intercourse.

face to face in absolute

opposite positions would be most ungraceful


faces turned
If

their chairs in
if

exactly in the

two persons

sit

with

sit

same

direction

and

so, too, to

with

would be most uncouth.

and converse together, they would,

some such

sit

of course, place

position as indicated by the dots (Fig. 17)

or,

three persons were sitting together, the three chairs would be grace-

fully placed, as indicated

law

is

by the second

as absolute in design,

reasons.

It is

a curious fact, that so

i^iff.

series of dots (Fig. 18).

The

and must prevail for exactly the same

many persons who

display good

Fig. /8.

/r

9-

9
..v.

..*

--b

<.

V-

OF POSITION, RELATION, DIRECTION.


taste in such matters fail utterly

ments

when an

of design,

to satisfactory results.

may

see what the

We

same

size

(Fig.

them,

in

order

for

we change
to meet this demand
magnitudes.
Shall we

the two

enlarge

done, the

The

directed to

is

as

instant

the

unity

of

not to the middle

is

is

drawn

and
deto the sides

member

of the group the largest,

will

to

Let

the group, and

of

we should be asking the mind

centers of interest instead of one.

be,

is

the outer

group

the

stroyed, because the mind

Fig. W.

indi-

this

ones, as being the most prominent

hence

three

hence

outer flowers,

20.'

mind

we take

If

of the several laws

have seen that the elements must not be of the


19)

rhythmical

cated in Fig.

demands

and direction are with reference to their

of magnitude, form, relation,


association.

to deal with the ele-

application of simple principles of good taste

would carry them through


elements in design, we

when they come

35

us, then,

to

make

by a proper proportion.

center the mind on the middle

member

two

look at

the central

The

effect

of the group,

and make the side members subordinate, thus preserving the unity
of the

group

(Fig. 21).

Mff. 20.

As

to the

form

of the three

members,

Fiff. 2i.

it

is

THEORY OF DESIGN.

36
evident, from

what has already been

said, that

would be more in

it

keeping with the law of unity to give the side members more length,
proportionately, than the central one.

If either is

be broadest,

to

it

would appear the central one should be that one, for very similar
reasons to those given for making

the largest

it

member

viz.,

that

broad surface centers the eye more than an elongated one, especially

when

it

is

the center of

We

a group.

come now

to

the position

which the three elements should occupy when grouped together.


first,

it

is

to the center of the next,

and so on

or perhaps

say, that the eye is first centered or fixed

next,

And,

evident that the eye moves from the center of one mass

and so

in

would be better to

by one mass, and then by the

taken into the view and the thought.

on, until each is

Now, there may be uses

it

which

elements on the lower level line

it
:

necessary to arrange the three

is

but

it

is

also evident, that, in that

case, the movement of the eye must be horizontal


and, although such
movement may conduce to repose, it also tends to monotony and for
;

that reason that arrangement

is

not so pleasing.

The

instant

we

lift

the two side members, a different effect


'^

Fia 22

produced

make

(Fig. 22)

and the eye must

downward movement toward the

middle member, and up again toward


the end

but this position enhances the

importance of the side members, thus


tending to destroy the unity of effect

which we have seen to be of prime importance.

vating the central

member

of the group,

If

we

altogether better than in the last positions.

we

try the expedient of ele-

shall see that the effect is

The movement

of the eye

OF POSITION, RELATION, DIRECTION.


up

bers, is

23)

more

more

secured.
is

member

to the central
in

It will

and more variety

movement
member

its

of

We

elevated position.

be remembered, that the central

also the largest,

possible

way

of

group

find here again the analy-

we have already referred.


member is the highest, as it
Fiff. 2J^.

member

There

of the group.

grouping the three elements

member

place the largest

the effect of a one-sided

and so unsatisfactory

first

the

mind and

is

but one other

and that would

be, to

This would give

half of

something wanting,

to the idea,

and displeasing, on

Hence we

position, in Fig. 23, stand, as the best

which the mind

or last, and highest.

hill (Fig. 24),

to the

account of the movement.

tions

of the

the Greek anthemion, to which

Fig. 23.

is

(Fig.

of the eye, are thus

larger magnitude of the central

emphasized by

sis applies to

mem-

to the lateral

keeping with the effects we have desired to produce

unity,

The

and down

of the group,

37

will let the grouping, as to

we can

do to

fulfill all

the condi-

requires.

DIRECTION EXPRESSING RELATION.

Next we come

to direction.

We

have already seen that the change

of direction of the elements introduces an important idea as to the

38

THEORY OF DESIGN.

relation of the parts.

There

We

a great deal implied in direction.

is

recognize the origin of various forces as they express themselves in

The

lines of direction.

horizontal

strata

of

repose which has endured for untold ages.

and upheavals.

strata speak of lateral pressure


in concentric

rings,

and the crystalline force

radial lines.

With

this idea fresh in

group

(Fig. 23),

we

see the

the rocks

The

express the

curved, contorted

Concretion shows
is

itself

often manifested in

our minds,

if

we

refer to the

members have no common point

Fig. 25.

Fiff.

of origin.

36.

but are projected in parallel lines of force entirely independent of each


other
is,

and hence they

origin

from a

still

common

lack the controlling element of unity

force,

from the same central point.

then, alter the direction of the outer


axis of the flowers, turning

have

satisfied a

want

of the

to recognize the origin

every thing in
ofifice

in its

own

its

them outward

mind

in this

(Fig. 25)

grouping

we

that

Let

us,

lines of

see at once

we

namely, the desire

and power from which things spring, and to see

own

family.

members by changing the

place, filling

There

is

an important and indispensable

one other position in which the two

OF POSITION, RELATION, DIRECTION.


side

members may be

Fig.

26,

where the

member.
origin

placed, in relation to the central

side

members

are looking in

This position does not produce the

upon the mind

39
one, as in

upon the central

effect

common

of a

but the two side members of the group seem

to be foreign to the central one, so far as implied

whether hostile or friendly

is

by

not easy to determine.

and

direction,

Their position

might indicate a reverent obeisance or a menacing proximity


least,

the arrangement

is

not pleasing or satisfying to the mind.

These several considerations are

at

Let

the eye pass leisurely from one to the other grouping, and the

impression will be received.

full

suffi-

cient to determine all the points of magnitude, form, position, direction,

and

relation, of the

combination of the three elements.

Similar

reasons would determine the arrangement of more elements than three


into a group.
ings,

may be remarked

It

here, that, in these simple group-

odd numbers are most suitable

there should be one central

because, in symmetrical groups,

member supported by

lateral pairs.

evident that these conditions imposed upon the designer by

It is

the necessities of the mind, in the arrangement of a simple group,

conduce

From

to the expression of a variety of ideas.

the enumera-

tion of the several ideas above,

we

find that a simple

may be made

We

see the varying magnitudes rhyth-

very expressive.

mically expressed
likeness

group

of three

difference in form subordinated to the rule of family

difference in position, difference in direction, controlled by

ideas of unity and origin, repose, and so on.

Aside from the influence that the direction of


mind, as indicated above, there

is

Thus, a straight line

is

note here.

ing rectitude.

It

is

still

another

lines has

effect,

upon the

which we may

expressive of righteousness, unbend-

the test-line of

all

crookedness or curvature.

THEORY OF DESIGN.

40

Pythagoras considered the straight line expressive of the idea of


eternal duration.

repose, and, consequently, of equilibrium

respect

of

assertion,

life

love,

or energy.

and hence

of grandeur.

is

expressive of absolute

it is

not expressive in any

horizontal straight line

A vertical

of energy, and,

Curved

lines are

straight line

is

expressive of

when much prolonged,

sometimes expressive

is

symbolic

of affection

and

drooping curves of giving and benediction, and certain other

drooping lines are expressive of lassitude and exhaustion.

The

gently

drooping leaves of the horse-chestnut, falling in grateful luxuriance,


are exceedingly expressive of grace and benevolence.
that the

mind receives

all

manner

of ideas,

And

and impressions

so

it

is

of senti-

ments, from the directions which lines are made to assume under the

hand

of the designer.

SYMMETRY.

41

SYMMETRY.

SYMMETRY

is

on each side
of

secured by the perfect balance of the parts

of a central line,

symmetry.

The

which we may

full force of

call

the axis

the word implies that the

parts on one side of the central line should exactly measure

those on the other side, whether there are one or

many

are five particulars in which absolute conformity

required to produce

perfect symmetry.

First,

The

on the other as to number.


nitude.

Third,

As

to form.

is

parts.

There

parts on one side should balance those

They should balance as to magAs to position and, Fifth, As to

Second,
Fourth,

direction.

Fig. 27 has

none

of the conditions of real

Fig. 28 conforms to the law of

symmetry

symmetry.
as to number, but not to

any of the other conditions.


Fig. 29 conforms to the rule as to

number and magnitude, but not

to the other requirements.


'

Fig. 30 conforms to the rule of number, magnitude, form, but not

to that of position

and

direction.

Fig. 31 conforms to the first four requirements, but not to the fifth

and

last, as to position.

Fig. 32 conforms to

all

the requirements of perfect symmetry.

The

THEORY OF DESIGN.

42

parts will measure each other exactly

if

Similar parts

superimposed.

The elements may be

per-

fectly symmetrical, as represented in Fig. 32, without presenting

any

on opposite sides are called homologous.

Fiff.

Fig. 29.

Fiff. 28.

27.

or

o-

thing like a rhythmical arrangement, and for that reason may, even
then, be wanting in true beauty of form

necessity beautiful.

The

the mind the idea of

Fiff.

repose.
of

SO.

When

symmetry alone

general effect of symmetry

is,

to

is

not of

produce

in

perfect balance, and consequently the idea of

Fiff. 32.

Fiff. S/.

the form stands in a vertical position,

power and energy, and not that

of inaction.

it

Again,

is
it

the repose
is

sugges-

SYMMETRY.
and perfect development.

tive of law, order,

tend to produce symmetrical forms


to

grow

the open

in

symmetry
struggle

in trees

when

unobsti'ucted.

forms

symmetrical

and plants

All animals and plants

Trees

left

from any prevailing wind, or other

free

field,

produce

tend to

accident,

43

a sign

is

hence the want of

accident, hardship, and

of

hence they often become picturesque, their gnarled one-

sidedness showing the record

metry, then,

a sign of

is

Sym-

of their struggle for existence.

freedom from accident, a sign of a happy

existence.

The

record of the struggle for

on the edges of
the open land

forests, their

life is

seen in the trees which grow

branches being mostly on the side of

for trees put out their branches for light

these are shut off on one side, they seek

them on the

and

air

if

Trees

other.

growing on some shelving bank, giving away year by year,

and,

strive to

regain the vertical position by bending upward with each succeeding


year's

growth

which

tell

thus, after

a long period, assuming

curved forms,

the whole story of their effort to resist the power that

would lay them low.

But the symmetry

of

trees seldom,

if

ever,

The
forms they assume are only apparently symmetrical. Symmetry may
be either real or only apparent. Apparent symmetry results where
approaches the perfectly symmetrical

the parts on each side of the line of

form indicated above.

not do

so,

but

still

Capitals are often

having

in this respect

when

to

do

axis,

only so far as to give the general impression of balance to

the mind.
cal,

seem

but, in reality, they

symmetry, or

balance each other in the several particulars

left

tendencies.

to

all

the

made

effect of

in this

way apparently symmetri-

balance and proportional measure

resembling the degree of symmetry attained by trees

grow without hinderance according

to

their

natural

THEORY OF DESIGN.

44

Unsymmetrical designs are often very

The Japanese

beautiful.

are very happy in this style of ornament, and most frequently the

We

elements they use are naturalistic in form and arrangement.

when we

apt to assume the naturalistic form and arrangement

the truly symmetrical.

we can introduce

If,

to

full into

true to nature

it

in fact,

the plate.

may be

The

it is

does not apply to

pictorial simply.

upon

it,

or hovering

Of

course, the

word symmetrical

except in a very general and distant sense

it,

too, with real pictures

they should never be perfectly symmetrical.

face painted in exactly front view

is

so,

always very disagreeable to behold.

always wish to avoid the downright front view.

one-sided landscape

balance, and

we

is

often disagreeable for its

sometimes

feel

like cutting

in order to restore the equilibrium.

able
only.

because

Hence

it

would degrade

it

want

away a part

is

picture,

more

objection-

to the level of a piece of

ornament

still

there comes to be a secondary and general

the word, which

of proper

of the canvas

But a truly symmetrical

according to our definition of the word, would be

meaning

significant of that general balance of parts

goes far to insure repose, while


ure.

may be drawn

sprig

This form of ornament would be natural in both form and

arrangement

We

plate,

a true picture of a twig from the

apple-tree in full bloom, with a butterfly lighting


in the air.

forsake

ornament a

a single sprig crossing the field to be ornamented,

extending from one side


:

we wish

for instance,

are

In this sense only can

it

to

which

does not approach to absolute meas-

much

of

Japanese ornament be said to

be symmetrical.

The

general tendency of English ornament

symmetrical, with

its

opposed to natural.

is

to

assume the true

general accompaniment of conventional forms as

CONVENTIONAL FORMS.

45

CONVENTIONAL FORMS.

:jHEN the general or geometrical form


sprig

is

drawn, with

many

of the

dental markings omitted, the

be conventionalized; that

is

of a leaf or flower or

minor features and


or sprig

leaf, flower,

acci-

said to

is

form has

to say, the natural

been converted to a form suitable only for ornament.

Considered

with reference to the beauty of

evidently a

degrading process
facility of

we

natural forms,

full

it

is

but with reference simply to the beauty of

arrangement,

it is

an elevating process.

are not supposed to be true to

all

botanical facts

line,

and

For, in ornament,
;

but

we

use plant-

forms because they enable us to arrange magnitudes and forms into


rhythmical and harmonic groups, which affect the mind with a sense of
then, the business of the designer, as

the beautiful.

It is,

of the artist, to

show us

them

in nature.

artist extracts

his conceptions of the beautiful as

The bee extracts the honey from the

the beauty, and gives

thousand useless accidents.

He

is

it

to us without the

all art,

and

of

hinder, the artist.

The

lumber of a

not servile to the facts which will

none more than

incidents open to the view would,

also

he discovers

flower.

not aid him, but he seeks only what will serve his purpose.
true of

is

it

if

of landscape art.

This

is

thousand

represented, not help, but only

Therefore he disregards them, sets them aside, and

THEORY OF DESIGN.

46

proceeds directly to his purpose, seizes upon the elements of form that
enable him to compose his visible music,

will

rhythm

of

the

harmonies and

light, shade, color, direction,

magnitude, form,

and

position.

All these he combines into his discourse, his poem, his picture.
is

art

we

and, in

it,

there

direct motive

and end

no

The

as of

is

something akin to the

conventionalism in ornamentation.

call

avail.

to gain,

selection of that only

which

and the Greek abound

ends of the

All of these

The Moorish

in the purest lines of grace, derived,

far

removed that

it

is

said to be a conventional form derived

true

but more probably

which grew into being step by


until

it

became almost

ornament

of the

step,

a national

by the

emblem.

it

no doubt,

would be

any resemblance to any particular plant.

may be

the Egyptian,

artist.

of the Greeks

This

lost time

The anthemion
from the honey-

was a pure

fabrication,

efforts of successive artists,

But

it is

found, also, in the

Moors, adapted to their peculiar methods.

seen in Persian ornament, adapted to their peculiar style.

It is also

The Egyp-

tian used the conventionalized forms of the flowers of the lotus

the papyrus for capitals and numerous other ornamentations.


tian

of this process of

to try to trace

suckle.

is

to imitate plant-forms.

suits the

from plants, but now so

which

useless incidents are thrown aside

all

are eminent examples

removed from any attempt

originally

selection of form,

In each case there

great historical schools of ornament

Greek, Roman, and Moorish

are far

and

This

and

of

Egyp-

ornament may be recognized almost always by the presence

of

these types.
In

Roman ornament we have

the basis of

that style.

It

is

the ever-present acanthus molis as

the typical element (see Fig.

5).

assumes a profusion and rankness, so to speak, unequaled by any


type in any other of the ancient styles.

The

real

form

It

floral

of the plant

CONVENTIONAL FORMS.
becomes as clay

itself

47

and

in the potter's hands,

fashioned into a

is

thousand different forms for as many different uses and positions.

assumes

all

It

proportions and lengths, limited only by the desire of the

Seldom, even in ancient styles of ornament, has a single

artist.

conventionalized plant-form been required to do so

some half-dozen or

It is curious to note, that

much

service.

so of conventionalized

plant-forms have furnished the elements of ornament to three of the

most renowned nations


are unlike the ancient.

or

In this respect modern nations

of antiquity.

We

use every form indiscriminately, ancient

modern elements, with natural

This omnivorous tendency

is,

or conventionalized forms of plants.

to a certain extent, the result of the

very extended intercourse of modern nations by the means of commerce, literature, and travel, and partly,

may

it

be,

from a want of a

settled national taste.

We

have, then, the sanction of

all

ancient nations in the use of

conventional forms of plants for ornament


this

and

there

is

By

natural forms

we mean

outline, with or without light, shade,

and

presumed, from
is

needed.

But

pictures of objects, either in

to be a pictorial ornament, which

is

questionable

of conventional forms.

legitimate,

and what

determined, like

all

limits

others,

It is
it

ornament, they

will

will

should take

have

it

it

and,

and there

if

is

how

and

What

by the people.
have

there comes

distinguishable from ornament

people will have, until they have enough of

ornament, they

Hence

color.

formed

torial

is

a strong tendency to the use of natural forms in place of the

conventional.

is

it

weighty sanction, that no defense of such use

it.

far this

tendency

this question will

be

the people want, the


If

they desire

pic-

they prefer conventional

no need

of

any central

authority to determine such matters, as some would have us think.

THEORY OF DESIGN.

48

Conventional form, as distinguished from the natural,


trated as in Fig. 33

a may be the natural or

form

pictorial

of the calla

lily,

may be

and

the con-

b, etc.,

There

ventional forms of the same.

Fiff. 33.

may be

as

many

illus-

of the leaf

modifications of the

conventional forms of a plant as


there are designers to draw them,
there being no exact limit to the
artist's liberty in

In general, the conven-

elements.

form expresses no

tional

cept

dealing with his

when

relief ex-

given

relief is actually

while the pictorial form always implies

more

or less relief.

will

It

be inferred from

the

foregoing remarks, that the conventional

form derived from a plant

is

really

more

tation than the true picture of the plant.

that

is

It is

useful for ornamen-

the rejection of

not directly useful in securing the result required,

words of Michael Angelo, "the purgation of superfluities."


then,

the object

of

using the conventional form

instead

all

in the

Since,
of

the

pictorial is to secure the expression of the beautiful in the shortest

way, without especial regard to the minor facts of botany,

it

follows,

that as wide a departure from the pictorial form of the plant may. be

made

as the necessities of the case

that the artist

is

may

require

remembering always

superior to his means, and that his

every element to his use, and co-ordinates

and melody.

The

all

mind subordinates

into a unit of

pupil should be early taught to

draw

his

harmony
conven-

CONVENTIONAL FORMS.
tional forms

from the plants themselves,

after

49

making

a drawing of the

The

plant as given in the plates of plant-forms in this volume.

ventional form of a leaf

easily obtained

is

by pressing the

con-

leaf in a

book, and drawing the general form of the leaf with or without any

The

representation of the toothed edge.


flowers and

bud

is

front or profile form of the

taken in the same way, as the form most suitable

for ornament.

RADIATION.

The

idea of radiation has already been alluded to under the head

of " Direction

requires a

"

more extended

polygonal form,
center,

form

but radiation has a different signification, and one that

When

notice.

by the repetition

is filled

a square or

circle, or

other

of a unit of design about a

on several radial lines which divide the space into sectors, the

is

said to radiate from the center, as in Fig.

radiation implies that

all

whether the stems are

visible or not

mind

8,

where the points

Hence we must adopt

must not occur on

fact of

consequently the idea of radiait

to the point of radiation, as has been observed with

reference to Fig.
the square.

The

Again, since radiation implies origin,

tion tends to secure unity.

directs the

6.

these units, or sprays, originate at the center,

the

margin of a

of origin are in the corners of

the rule, that points of radiation

design.

TANGENCY.
Tangency
tion

as

it

of

stems

directs the

in design is closely allied, in its effect, to radia-

mind

of the sprays, as in Fig. 34

to the parent-stem as the source of origin


3.

Each

side-spray

is

joined to

its

parent-

THEORY OF DESIGN.

so

Stem

as a tangent.

but does not cut

it

in all true ornament.

our

Any
Sprigs

sense of fitness.

when

line is tangent to another line

if produced.

Tangency

va.

stems

may be thrown
Fig.

is

an offense to

as tangents, either

off

the effect

is

34,

At

and

At

satisfactory.

and

we have

The

fitness.

good ornament conforms to

See how

it

it.

all

if

Roman ornament
also,

ex-

All

this law.

conforms

Greek ornament never

and the Moorish,

sense

all

lines,

tended, would cut the parent-stalk.

to

the

It is grace-

union of stems that violates


of grace

in the

we have

tangential union of stems.


ful

Let

the same.

and see the difference

sensation produced.
Fiff. SZ-.

touches

it

the law of union

is

other method of union

from straight lines or from curved lines


the eye pass from to b

of

is

violates

a com-

plete illustration of the importance of


this law to all true
It

we
but

may

not copy Nature


let

than

to

ornament.

be said that Nature often violates this rule, and


.'

should

Let Nature violate the law whenever she

us always consider that Nature


copy Natiire.

why

is

not art, and that

Art

is

will

more

FORMS OF REPETITION. ALTERNATION.

51

FORMS OF REPETITION. ALTERNATION.

)0 cover space by
repetition.

First,

a. single unit

unit

requires

may be

This

is

p.

band.

common
fill

119).

Second, Horizontal repetition, where a unit of design

a horizontal

in rosettes or designs, simple or elaborate, to

circles, squares, and o.ther polygons (see

of

repeated about a center in

equal divisions of a polygonal space.

method

some method

is

repeated in

Units repeated in this way should not have a

horizontal direction themselves, but should be either vertical or inclined, or in the

form

of the scroll.

Repetition in circular bands

is

essentially like horizontal repetition, so far as principles are concerned.

We
into

may suppose

that a horizontal band of ornament

a circular band, and

the one will

the other (see, for horizontal repetition,


tion, p.

answer
p.

simply bent

113, for circular repeti-

115).

Third, Vertical repetition.


horizontal,

This

is

essentially different from the

inasmuch as the forms used must

eral vertical trend, or direction, as well as the

placed.

is

every purpose of

It

of necessity

band

in

have a gen-

which they are

has been said, that, in horizontal repetition, the forms must

not have a horizontal direction, for the reason that the horizontal does
not imply life and energy and, furthermore, if the elements tend in
;

THEORY OF DESIGN.

52

the same direction as the space

itself,

tionable, as producing a sense of

the parallelism would be objec-

monotony.

The

vertical direction

is

essential in both forms of repetition for like reasons.

The
more

repetition

may be

Alternation

units.

of the
is

same

unit, or

an alternation of two or

always the more pleasing.

Fourth, Repetition upon diagonals or opposite slant-lines.

form

is

cloth,

very

common

for covering broad surfaces,

and other carpeting, wall-paper,

and

This

used for

is

oil-

inlaid floors, wall-tilings, etc.

may

be

repeated in geometrical spaces recurring diagonally, with reference

to

Of

this

method there

are several varieties.

the horizontal and vertical (see Fig. 35)

or there

Fig. S5.

of

simple unit

may be

a repetition

Fig. S6.

two units alternating with each other, as

in Fig.

36

or a single

unit repeated consecutively in alternate diagonal bands.

A framework of
repetition,

diagonal bands

and often with good

is

effect.

frequently used in this style of

continuous flowing vine

is

often employed as the source of the forms to appear in the spaces, an


alternation of forms being employed, as, for instance, a leaf, or leaves

FORMS OF REPETITION. ALTERNATION.


and buds,

S3

one space, and a flower or flowers, and leaves or buds,

in

There

the next, and so on.

is

in

another form of repetition, where a

single unit or two units are repeated in a horizontal, vertical, or diago-

any marking-off

nal direction without


lines.
It is
if

This form of ornament

is

the

space by geometrical

powdering

often a very useful method, and pleasing effects

a proper subordination

passes from one mass

to another, as to so

make

may be

obtained

In this kind of ornament the eye

many

centers of attraction.

two units are employed, a proper relation should

two, so as not to

of the surface.

preserved between the shade and color of

is

the ornament and the ground.

If

of

called a

exist

between the
Also avoid

too great a break in the continuity.

giving rise to monotony by too great a similarity.


It will

be noticed,

that, in all these

forms of repetition, the eye

invited to travel in the direction of the repeat.

The eye

and almost inevitably follows along a horizontal band, and a

band exerts a like influence

but,

diagonals, the effect of direction

when
is

somewhat

these methods produces an effect of


of a wall of a

room tend

to

make

the repeat

its

own.

is

is

naturally
vertical

on two opposing

neutralized.

Each

of

Horizontal divisions

the room look lower, while vertical

bands add to the apparent height.


Horizontal bands, of strong contrast in dress, have the effect of
severing the figure; while diagonal
of the figure.

These

have over the eye.

Vertical stripes have the effect of

person look very prim and


tall

persons,

if

at

all.

bands disturb the equilibrium

effects are incident to the control these bands

tall,

making the

and hence should not be worn by very

THEORY OF DESIGN.

54

ALTERNATION.
Larger and smaller masses are frequently brought into proximity,
the two always presenting

some

This alternation of elements

The eye

vents monotony.
the next, and

is

is

difference of form as well as of size.

pleasing to the mind, because

it

pre-

passes from the center of one group to

treated to a different impression at each point of rest.

In horizontal bands these alternate masses should lead the eye to an


alternately higher

centers on the

Compare the

and lower point, and they should not have

same

level.

effect of the

This gives an additional element

two arrangements

in Figs.

JFig. 37.

their

of variety.

37 and 38

Fig.

Fig. 38.

vg)....i^..^.
37

is

monotonous, because the eye

parallel to the sides of the

different

This

is

motion

is

space

led straight across the space,

is

Fig. 38

is

more

pleasing, because a

given to the eye, as indicated by the dotted

line.

another effect which illustrates the force of the law of direction.

The same law

of

motion demands a difference

in

form

of the alternate

masses, because the contour of each mass causes the eye to follow

and hence the different impulses given the mind

the centers

of the

of units, both larger

masses themselves.
and smaller and

positions as to a straight line, has in

nature of the mind demands in what

it

It is

of
it

at

each point of

it

rest,

obvious, that alternation

varying form, and in varying


several elements

looks upon.

which the

FORMS OF REPETITION. ALTERNATION.

We

might go

principle in

all

and note the absolute necessity

farther,

The

taste

must have an alternation

the sense of smell, varying odors

and discord, and so


.and, in designing,

upon

us.

of this

that pertains to entertainment, or even to pleasurable

action of the mind.

laid

55

on.

Iti

a word, this

we recognize the

of flavors

the ear, an alternation of

law,

demand

is

harmony

a law of the mind

and work according

to the rule

THEORY OF DESIGN.

56

IDEAS OF FULLNESS.

JN the
in

first

efforts of pupils, there is usually

getting sufficient fullness in design.

the mind

desires fullness

at a design,

on looking

difficulty

have said that

and not sparseness.

and meagerness the mind


If,

We

much

Hollowness

never willingly accept.

will

the mind

not satisfied in this one

is

may be disregarded or unappreciated in


How much fullness is required Simply enough

respect, possible excellences


this

bad company.
that

so

respect.

not

no one

will

Too much

.'

ever think there


fullness is as

be crowded with elements.

is

something lacking

bad as not enough.


"

Enough

is

is

A design

better than

Enough must always be regarded

the rule here.

must

a feast."

"Neither poverty nor

There must be no regrets oq either hand.


riches "

in this

as the

highest degree of riches.

No

particular rule can be given for the proportion of space which

should be covered by the elements of a design, and what proportion


of

space

left

uncovered.

It

depends altogether upon the kind of forms

used, whether round, broad, or long.


used,
easily

it

would be

difficult to

cover as

If long,

much

narrow forms are mostly

of the space as

covered by broader and larger forms.

position of a design

would be

Again, the use and

must determine what forms are to be used, and

IDEAS OF FULLNESS.
the colors and lights and shades to be employed

57
and, in fact,

incidents of the particular use to which the design

is

to

all

other

be put

have to be considered in determining the quality of the elements.


idea of fullness
is

is

directly connected with the idea of plenty.

We

famihar to every one.

apply the principle to design

is

all

know what

This

means; and yet to

it

We

not, perhaps, our habit.

know

all

that a table spread for our entertainment does not look inviting

impresses us with a sense of meagerness, scarcity, and want.


entertain no one
of

life

most men

who
is

is

will

The

The whole

to feel the effects of them.

if

of the

a constant war against them, a struggle both night

and day, year out and year

in,

them

to put

farther and farther

away

and when once a man has vanquished these enemies of himself and
his family,

poverty,"
feels

and can

how

it

These

say, "

that the earth

is

Henceforth

man he walks

like a free

made

of

can go without fear of want or


forth

for him,

among

his fellows

and he for

Now,

it.

He

to this

universal sentiment of love for fullness and plenty, and of abhorrence


for their opposites, all art

want
its

line,

Our music must be

in our design.

melodies.

Our

must conform.

pictures

must be

There must be no sense


full

and

rich,

and

plentiful in

rich in gradations of form, light,

The mind should be impressed with

shade, and color.

of

that nature and art are at least above want.

the idea

picture with

little

or nothing interesting in one end of the canvas causes us to wish to


cut off the useless canvas, in order to get rid of the unpleasant impression.

Perhaps some

artist

shows us a picture with a broad extent

of pasture-land or field, without variety in color, without

interest to catch the

eye,

or to relieve the

ground, over which the eye must pass before

monotony
it

comes

crested with trees, through which the setting sun

is

an object of
in

the fore-

to the hill-top

seen in glowing

THEORY OF DESIGN.

58
colors,

the

single idea

which the

artist

had

and which

to express,

he expressed without going to Nature to see what wonderful minor

and incidents

tones,

much

of form,

and gray

this barrenness of a foreground,


is

she would add as so

lights,

Do we

surplus wealth to her evening farewell.

an offense against our

which

sense of

which we have a right to complain


through the trees on the
displeasure

pleasure

we

two-thirds of the canvas,

fills

feel

feel

on looking

and completeness,

fullness

We

but

warm

we must deduct

the

foreground from the

traversing the desert


at the

of

admit that the view

will

hill-top is pleasing,

we

in

not feel that

colors through the trees

and

the pleasure must be great, or the balance of pleasure will be a minus


quantity.

It

pertain to

constructed,

we obtain from a work


all

This want of fullness

of art.

of the several elements out of

which a picture

is

objects affording masses and form, shades and shadows,

and color and incident.

light

An

excessively cold, gray picture must have

counterbalance the chilling effects of


fullness

is

of

its color.

paramount importance.

the cup or saucer, or the wall-paper, the

We
full

in this respect the arts of design are

many

excellences to

In design, this effect of

may

see on the tea-plate,

expression of the idea of

plenty without a hint of the poverty which

And

in that

they are always debts which are to be deducted from the sum of

pleasure which

may

such barren passages are often intended


for the thing the artist wishes especially to

But mere poverty and emptiness can never operate

show.

way

true, that

by contrast

is

to give a relish

we may otherwise

feel.

an added wealth to mankind,

enriching almost without cost.

In designs to cover space an effect of sparseness will be


is

too

much

space

left

felt if

uncovered by th^ fprrps of the design.

there

IDEAS OF FULLNESS.
The

59

teacher will find in the work of the pupils plenty of examples

and

illustrative of this defect,

will

be able to detect and impress the

these faults upon the pupils by calling their attention to

idea of

designs which contrast with each other in this respect.

Let the pupil

compare a design that

with one of an

opposite character
pupil once obtain

is full

and complete,

30,

the difference will be apparent at once.

and he

this idea,

the production of meager work.


a poverty of

like Fig.

ideas

as

will

But meagerness often

methods

to the

Let the

be no longer troubled with

of

results

arrangement.

from

This can

only be overcome by a careful investigation and analysis of the whole


subject of

construction

even meager work, counting

at first to obtain

single idea

may be
it

is

if

the art of design

much time and


no danger

that design stands in

The
The idea

teacher, therefore,

designer

is

of fullness has

ever liable to

plethora, as an

much

of

becoming one

must wait
its

for

all

Fullness

is

All arts

art.

and we may

say,

of the quickly learned

a crowd or a mob.

and makes
is

worse

off

it

Too
worse

than an

the nourishing elements of the feast are liable to

become so many poisons

is

easily degenerated into

gorged stomach

to the system.

loaded, that no one good thing in

no time or room

demands attention

we

closely connected evil, into which the

fall.

just as a

for

if

growth and development.

fullness in a design destroys its usefulness,

empty one, since

way.

when obtained

may readily become

assemblage

than a vacant space

there

omen

any thing worth learning,

is

patience to acquire the

quickly acquired are of small value

arts.

a good

it

grasped by the pupil at each successive lesson

sure, that,

will require

consequently the teacher must be content

at

to see

once

Pictures are often so over-

them can be appreciated

them, no

because

time, because every thing

and no room, because every thing

is

in the

THEORY OF DESIGN.

6o

A sense
is

of confusion results

from a crowding of elements.

know when there is enough


He will know that he is right in

the designer to

much

too

in his

this

design and not

respect

when he

avoids meagerness on the one hand and plethora on the other.


is

an example of

which

art in

is

one of the most admirably com-

The

posed works of art recently exhibited.

The scene

Joseph into Egypt.

There are but few objects

The

subject

the desert.

is in

There

admirably balanced.

these qualities are

Flight into Egypt, by Merson,

The

How

in the picture, but

it

is

the flight of

is

The

time, midnight.

full

and complete.

granite sphinx, with face upturned to the midnight sky, stands in

In

the foreground.
infant child

and

outstretched arms sleeps the mother and the

its

in

front of the great sphinx, resting his head on

the corner of the base,

mantle reaching to his


thin thread of

Near

smoke

is

the figure of Joseph, covered with a gray

by, a teddered donkey,

during the sultry day,

feet.

few smoldering embers send up

is

on which the mother and child had ridden

cropping some thin herbage.

around over the mother and sphinx."


picture

on

all

A soft,

the sweet face of the sleeping child, and

light illumines

else

This

is

is diffused

the only high light

dry sands, donkey, and mantle

tender

in the

of the sleeper, on

the loose garments of the mother, and on the upturned granite face
falls

the gray light of the stars.

weary travelers
religion,

of

which

an emblem

sleep.
is

straight as a plummet-line into the starry sky.

The

It is

midnight on the desert, and the

who

babe,

is

to be the author of a

new

to reform the world, sleeps in the outstretched arms

of a religion

which was old when the pyramids were

built.

Is there

and not

enough

spoil

it }

in this picture

It is

.'

complete in

Who

could add to

its fullness.

it

a single line

IDEAS OF FULLNESS.
Examples

of error in respect to fullness

6i

might be referred to

the student will readily supply the omission by his

both in ornament and high

enough

It is

Ideas of

upon which

There are forms which

richness, such as gem-like flowers,


of quick lines.

These,

if

but

observations,

all

successful art

must

richness result from fullness to a

great extent, although richness in design depends

kind of forms used.

art.

to point out the law

proceed in this respect.

own

somewhat upon the

of themselves suggest

which sparkle with

sufficient in quantity,

and are

light,

full

and interspersed with

leaves which are broader, and buds which are smaller,

all

arranged into

a rhythmical unit, produce an idea of richness, wealth, and costliness.


It will

be readily understood that design

not rich or costly.

may appear

The forms used may suggest an


may possess

richness or costliness, and so a design

and not the other.

may be made
gems.

It is

Bands

to look

of

flat,

ornament on

to be

full,

idea opposed to

the one quality

walls, fabrics, vases, etc.,

or broken up into masses like sparkling

important that the designer should

know how

to

produce

either effect at pleasure without disturbing the quality of fullness.


will

It

be seen, therefore, that mere fullness or abundance does not of

itself

produce the idea

of richness

and, on the other hand,

may be

it

said that richness can not be produced without the idea of fullness.

are

but

now

of color.

We

considering the elements of magnitude and form independent

Richness of color

is

certain extent, independent of


analysis relates

now only

entirely a different matter, and, to a

the elements receiving

to the distribution

it

but our

and arrangement

elements to produce certain desirable results.

of the

THEORY OF DESIGN.

62

AND INTENTION.

IDEAS OF THOUGHT

^NE

of

the main sources

of a design is derived
is

of

delight in the

from the evidence

displayed in the production.

It is

contemplation

of forethought

which

not necessary that we

should think of the intention of the designer in order to be


affected

by his work

it is

only necessary that the mind should be im-

pressed with a sense of order and fitness, and

all

that pertains to the

feeling which results from seeing the right thing in the right place.

Hence the order

of arrangement,

symmetry, sequence, proper

selection,

And

and adaptation go to make up the impression of forethougJU.

would suggest accident

especially the absence of every thing that

carelessness tends to impress the

in the

same

direction.

There

But every change from natural repre-

can be no design in accident.


sentations which adds a

mind

new and

pleasant impression of

some new

thought, feeling, quality, or sentiment, or relation, gives pleasure

cause the decorated surface, the design


ideas to give, so

many thoughts

and receive these impressions

it

has made these forms speak to

would be

if

we knew

ply by accident.

or

in

question, has just so

to express.

has to give.

us,

and

this is

be-

many

We are obliged to look,


We feel that somebody
much more to us than it
came about sim-

that this effect and combination

IDEAS OF THOUGHT AND INTENTION.


From

this

want of

it

appears that any impression of the want of forecast,

knowledge, want

of

taste,

a sense of

or

fooUshness or

imbecility,

would be destructive

design.

therefore follows, that no element or form which

It

of

all

good

meaningless can be admitted into a design.


everywhere, as without

make

teacher

it

all

this a rule to

must be thought and


no design

effects

Intention

produced by a
of itself

is

must be apparent
Let the

results are simply accidental.

which every pupil must conform.

There

There

intention in every stroke of the pencil.

is

in accident.

INVENTION.

The element
combinations,

of invention,

is

delighted with

which results

mind

pleasing to the

a beauty which

subtle combinations,

if

and unexpected

We

the observer.

all

Ingenious expedients and

rare.

the other conditions which the mind

be admired

qualities to

of pleasure to the mind.

But there

is

they are another source

one important consideration

which we must note here, which may modify our pleasure


contemplation of these

qualities;

and that

is,

in

the

that the intention to

appear subtle and ingenious must not be too apparent.

much

are

they conform otherwise to the laws of har-

monious arrangement, and


demands, are always

is

in curious

of

We

would

rather the artist would be subtle and ingenious because he can

not help

it.

The

recognize.

pleasing

"It whistles itself"

it

is

the statement of a fact

noise of the crank which

we

moves the machine

like to

is

never

destroys the illusion which might otherwise entertain us.

THEORY OF DESIGN.

64

CONTRAST.

^T seems

be a condition of nervous

to

excitability, that, in

order to be pleasurable, an impression must not be prolonged


precisely in the

same kind and

give pleasure.
it

gives a

In

No

intensity.

A single musical note

can long be endurable.

one sensation
can not long

proper place in the progression of musical sounds,

its

momentary

delight, or,

more

properly, sustains its part with

the rest of the series in the production of a pleasing sensation

when prolonged, how

destructive

of

all

pleasure derived from sonorous sensations


stant

we

change

pleasure
is

becomes

it

all

visual

sensations

is

also

All

dependent upon a con-

The

of pitch, duration of notes, volume, etc.

derive from

but,

pleasure

dependent upon a con-

stant variableness of magnitudes, forms, directions, positions, lights,

shades, colors, etc.

and an unvarying expression of any one quantity

can not be endured unless

it

is

broken into and diversified by a

constantly recurring quantity which


pictures,

if

color, that color

becomes an offense

of place in the pictorial

result
fiber

is,

no doubt, due

contrast to

stands in

one color predominates without

its

to the eye,

harmonies as mere noise

and
is

to the weariness resulting to

from being made to vibrate too long

to

In

it.

natural contrasting
is

in

as

much

music.

out

This

any one nerve-

any one wave-length.

CONTRAST.

curious confirmation of this doctrine

good

light for a

is

found

in

what

is

called

Let the eye be fixed upon a round red spot

the ocular spectrum.


in a

65

few seconds, then, upon turning the eye away,

and looking upon a white

surface, or closing the eye altogether, the

spot will re-appear on the white paper, or will be seen with, the eyes
closed

but

complement

of a different color

it is

Why

of red.

it is

no longer

red, but green, the

do the nerve-fibers set up for themselves

the sensation of green after being treated to the effect of red,

which

to restore the equilibrimn of sensation,

is

subjected to the unmodified influence of the red


that uncontrasted color

is

an offense to the eye.

It

.'

If

is

we

shall

have grasped one

of the

not

in this sense

we admit

nervous sensations require the responsive presence of


effects,

if

destroyed by being

that

all

contrasting

fundamental conditions of

all

pleasurable sensations.
It

result

appears to be a psychological law, that pleasurable sensations

from their variableness and contrast within certain

therefore contrast

is

a necessity of

all

art.

fixed limits

In design and painting,

contrasting elements give value to each other, as contrasting nervous


activities

enhance the value

of each.

which

The

value of a color depends

upon the presence

of that

Color in pictures

useful only under these conditions, and

precious
is

is

when placed

simply dead

color,

in its

of

will

cause

proper relation.

no value whatever

it

to appreciate in value.

In

all

it

becomes

other situations

it

in an aesthetic point of

view.
It is for these
call

reasons that the want of contrast ends in what

monotony, which simply means the nerve sickness which

from an unwelcome strain

in

we

results

one direction.

This result follows from the repetition of the

same magnitudes, the

THEORY OF DESIGN.

66

same forms, the same

Thus

tioned.

directions, or positions, as

have been before men-

happens that curved lines are made more pleasing

it

by the presence

of either straight lines or

broken lines and angles.

Rounded forms should be associated with those more elongated,


But the law

of contrast goes farther,

and demands,

etc.

that, in design, the

space should not be equally covered, but that there should be parts

much

less filled, or filled with less exciting forms.

or elements

give value to floral elements.

sweeten flowing
In

Geometrical forms

are of great -value precisely in this respect, that they

lines,

and render them

the best periods

of

and poetry, and,

We

in fact, in

but

this

lines are

has been

principle

never

left

unassociated

recognize this law in discourse and in music


all

key and strained voice through


ingly tiresome

of the highest value.

decorative art

Flowing

recognized and followed.

with rigid forms.

Straightness, angularity, and exactness

The speaker who

art.

his

how charming

takes a high

whole discourse, becomes exceedto listen to

one whose discourse

runs on at times in a genial, pleasant flow of mere statement, where

statement only

is

necessary, and rises,

vehemence and climax

when

the sense demands, into

Listening to such a speaker

through a pleasant country, where

hill

and

valley,

is

like riding

smooth meadows

and rugged crags, and mountains, sweet sunshine, and somber shadows
cast

by passing clouds, meet the eye

through

vale, over bridge

at

every turn, as

we

So the

skillful

He

is

hill,

and stream, through drooping willows and

thick alders, under the shade of towering pine, or by

course.

ride over

mossy

ledges.

orator conducts us along the devious path of his disforgetful of himself

to the successive

and we forget him, and are

alive only

views he presents to our imaginations, beguiling us

into sweet forgetfulness of

all else.

That

is

the highest of arts

and

CONTRAST.
it

67

depends upon the law of contrast as one of

its

principles, in associa-

tion with others of equal importance.

The
lous

effect of excessive contrast

and out

ences.

It

is

is,

to present that

which

producing unrelatedness by too wide

of keeping,

differ-

only in moderate, co-ordinated contrast that the mind

Too

finds its truest pleasure.

great a contrast in light and shade in

the parts of an ornament which are contiguous, cause one to

Many

from the other, and to be practically disunited.


are

now

of

the building, that they

painted with trimmings so

ensemble of effect
tion,

ridicu-

is

is

much darker than

become

entirely

dwelling-houses
the groundwork

detached, so far as the

concerned, becoming separate objects of observa-

and resembling an iron framework,

This effect we

away

fall

may

call

in

which the house

precipitous, because of

is

set.

the great distance

expressed between the color of the trimmings and that of the body of
the house.

It

to the other.

in truth, a precipice in shade,

is,

We

would much rather not be obliged

moldings and casings


see the house.

a clear leap from one

We

of doors

to look at the

and windows when we only want to

might multiply examples of excessive contrast,

but the reader can readily supply the want of further illustrations.

Moorish ornament furnishes a notable example


trasting forms in the flowing lines

derived, as

remarked before, from

as to have lost

work
space

all

itself

being

and graceful figures apparently

plants, but so far

individual resemblance.

of geometrical forms,
first

more or

of the use of con-

removed from them

These are

less exact

set in a frame-

and mechanical

the

cut up by curiously devised geometrical bands,

the spaces between being

filled

with graceful forms, into which,

also,

words and sentences were frequently introduced as a part of the ornament.

THEORY OF DESIGN.

68
Contrast
tion to

is

some

often introduced in design and high art to direct atten-

particular passage in the composition

oxalis attracts attention

contrast between

by

as the bright-eyed

sparlcling white flowers,

because of the

them and the mossy carpet from which they

The value of contrast


how essential an element
monotony

its

in a social
it

is

and a sanitary point

in the

arrangements of

of one thought only, fastened

many

months,- has driven

upon the mind

a victim to the mad-house.

of

this

spring.

view shows

The

life.

for

weeks and

If

the respite

which comes from a contrasting thought could have brought

rest to

the weary nerves, the catastrophe which befell the mind might have

been averted.

We

and one section

know

that the continual action of one set of nerves

the brain will produce insanity.

of

change are necessary to the health of the mind

Variety and

therefore, there

is

the

strongest reason for claiming the law of contrast as one of the primal
principles of

all art,

which

that this law affects

all

is

made

to give pleasure to the mind, and

the elements of magnitude, form, position,

direction, light, shade, color,

shadow, and reflection.

UNITY.

69

UNITY.

'iY

we

look at a series

probably
with

discover

a singleness

assemblage

of

of

designs

some

that

of

perfect subordination of

affect

impression,

though

as

all

This result

effect.

all

which we have adduced from psychological

is

we

the other hand,

affect us, but, on the contrary,

seem

one and the same time,

is

so

and no work

many opposing

whole

the rules of composition

laws.
will

This result we

do not so

like several persons talking at once,

of art can

impressions.

call

more frequently meet

to be telling us several different

each eager to be heard in spite of the others.


distracting

the

shall

mind

produced by the

with those productions of the designer or artist which

stories at

we
the

the parts and elements to the produc-

tion of a united effect, in keeping with

On

pictures,

of elements in the picture or design conspired

together to produce a single

unity of effect.

or

them

This

effect, of course,

be good which indulges

itself in

All great works of art have a single-

ness of purpose and a singleness of effect which leaves us no choice

but to admire them.


the

mind

have

They do not permit even

of the observer

to give.

from the grand ensemble

a whisper to distract
of effect

which they

Neither the gambols nor the gymnastics of the painter

in his effort at " tecJinique," nor his

own

personality, are allowed to pro-

THEORY OF DESIGN.

^o
trude themselves.

The

painter

This

sight of in his oration.

and the
most

art

is

man

in his picture, as the

is lost

one of the signs of greatness

in art,

One

of the

no exception

of design offers

common

is lost

errors in composition

is

to the rule.

in allowing

some mass

or group

on the margin to attract and hold the attention, preventing the eye

Thus

from resting quietly on the design as a whole.

centers of

attraction, other than the center of attraction, are always destructive

of unity.

single instance of this effect has

the head of Direction

(see

Fig.

been noticed under

In a large picture by one of

8).

our marine painters, exhibited a few years ago, there were represented upon the open sea two groups of vessels.
the right half of the picture, and consisted of

The

vessels and several smaller ones.

was on the

vessels,

There was a
of

left

of

side

clear breadth of sky

in

other group, numbering several

the picture, a

little

farther away.

and water from the top to the bottom

the picture, over which one might draw the open hand without

touching a single object.

was

as the eye

fixed

The

effect of the picture was, that, as soon

upon the group

at the right, the

attracted the attention by asserting its presence

the eye
its

One group was

one or more large

become

fixed

upon

this,

claim to be seen and admired

wander

to

and

this picture

fro,

than the
:

first

group on the

left

and no sooner would

group would again set up

and so the eye would be compelled

finding no rest.

There was only one way

might have been cured of

its

double purpose

in

to

which

and that

would have been accomplished by drawing a knife from top to bottom


through the canvas, and providing two frames instead of one.

design should possess perfect unity of

pleasing.
in

painting

The
;

quality of unity gives rise to

although the latter word has been

being made to do inappropriate work.

effect in

what

is

order to be

called

much abused

"breadth"
of late,

by

UNITY.

An

71

absorbing interest in the central region of a design or picture

concentrates the eye in that portion of the work, and subordinates the

Light always attracts the eye

elements.

out-lying

pictures, the high light should always


in

the marginal portions of the

If it

field.

eye would be attracted there

gin, the

reason, have a one-sided appearance

and hence

in

be found in the central and not

were placed

in the mar-

and the work would,


and a portion

for that

of the picture,

remote from the center of light and attraction, would become useless,

Look

and might as well be cut away.


tures, engravings, or paintings,

design,

and

marginal masses which

at

any number of good

pic-

appear evident.

In

this truth will

attract the eye, centering the attention

upon themselves, and preventing the quiet contemplation of the whole,


destroy the unity of

Hence marginal masses

effect.

all-over patterns for wall-paper

and carpets, where

surface are equally central, so far as the eye

is

filling

certain geometrical

By

illustrations, this rule applies literally.'

given,

we

one

of the

group

is

and

yet, in a

the examples of

in

spaces given in the

reference to the examples

kept constantly in mind.

most useful

of pupils in the

and they were made by them

grammar

The

book

whose ages were about

who

work

in

drawing

are- instructed in the principles

designs have not been changed in any essential particular,

except that some of them have been reduced in


of the pages of this

schools,

in the ordinary course of their

they are placed here as examples of what, pupils can do


as set forth in this work.

masses

This form of design

for beginneirs, as nearly all of the principles

These designs are the work


fifteen years

parts of the

all

shall see that the idea of subordinating all marginal

to the central
is

apply to

strictly

concerned

But

measure, the principle applies there as well.

elementary designs,

should always be

This rule does not

subordinated to the central mass.

size, in

order to bring them within the compass

otherwise they are as the pupils

made them.

THEORY OF DESIGN.

72
are applicable to

them

and they can be

In designs where

spaces.

all

space, the center should be

the eye

easily applied in these limited

the parts radiate from the center of the

made the most

interesting and exciting to

hence the forms should be more numerous, as they should be

expressive of greater activity than elsewhere

and,

if

color

is

applied,

the central group should be the most luminous, or certainly as luminous


as the marginal.

With reference
of attention

is

and second

to p. 125, first

apparent (see

155).

p.

figures, this concentration

Observe the influence

of the

flowers in the margin in attracting the eye, although not to so great

extent as to destroy the unity.

The

effect of unity is

The mind

pleasure.

aesthetic

one of the most important conditions


insists

yielding itself to sesthetic influence.


forces,

song,

and enjoy them,

is

enough

There
which

is

is

at the

same

for the instant

upon being undisturbed while


It will

time.

not submit to opposing

One poem, one

oration, one

medleys are unartistic.

an application of this principle to wall and floor patterns

important to notice here.

travel, so to speak, in

controlled in

of all

its

In these the eye should be able to

any direction with equal

movements by

ease,

too obtrusive lines

and should not be


especially

it

should

move along one diagonal to the exclusion of all


If the forms are made too prominent in contrast

not be compelled to
other directions.

with the groundwork, the eye will be compelled to follow them whether
so inclined or not.

In the main, then, wall-papers and carpets should

look like what they really are,


features of

flat

surfaces

these designs more particularly

we will notice some


when we come to the

but

subject of "Application" of design.

There are two extremes which we wish

to consider in this

connec-

UNITY.

73

These may be properly denominated segregation and fusion

tion.

Segregation

parts.

is tliat

of

arrangement which causes the

result of an

elements to seem to separate into different masses, and to appear to

become centers themselves

this effect destroys unity

as each group

sets up an independent existence, and exerts an independent influence.

What

otherwise might be a community becomes a mob, where each

This inevitably happens

clamoring for the place of rule and honor.

where parts

is

emphasized as to

of a design, not centrally located, are so

In this case the observer becomes a

exert an independent influence.

prey to party-strife, and in self-defense he must turn away to avoid

its

influence.

The

effect of fusion occurs

when the

parts are so

and without emphasis, either in form or light or

flat

and uniform,

color, that

they run

together into one general mass.

The

fusion

coming

contact

in

example

two forms

of

of

this

Two

effect.

a passage

afford

one

bined

the

eye

and

may be

their effects

contrary

to

will

other,

for

the

to

^^ff- ^^

another

is

forms touching each other

from

by

thus comthe

intention

of

Thus

the designer.

it

a very great difference in the effect whether the forms are


as at

b.

Fig. 39, or closed, as at a. Fig. 39.

ing space

is

let in. to

join the space within

and, by the union of


:

the eye

vented from running over from one side to the other, as


first

example.

open,

In one case the surround-

the outer and inner spaces, the forms are separated

in the

makes

it

is

pre-

easily does

In the second, the parts tend to assume an

THEORY OF DESIGN.

74
independent existence

in

the

first,

they

are surely united in one

single effect, because their extremities touch.

Of course

this effect

is

altogether independent of any volition on the part of the observer


it is

wholly a mechanical

In conformity with
rules

effect,

over which the mind has no control.

these principles

we may adduce

the following

Parts of design in the same geometrical space should be kept united


into a single effect
U7iless they

touch

belong

and contiguous forms in a design should not

to the

same

the geometrical border.

touch,

The elements of design should not

tmit.

From

experience

teacher that these rules will be very serviceable.


pupil from two prevailing errors in construction

we can assure
They hedge in

at the

the
the

same time they

give the teacher the grounds for just and discriminating criticism.

There are many examples


is

taught, but

it is

of these errors in all classes

to the printed page.

It is

of errors in construction

a good practice to collect such illustrations

and composition, and keep them on

use in lectures on the principles of

author

is

where design

not pleasing to see them transferred as illustrations

aware that

it

design before the

file

class.

for

The

would have been useful to insert in these

pages such a collection as he has made, showing errors of construction, as illustrating directly

become too permanent

printed in a book
vitiate the taste

the cultured eye.

the meaning of the text

by

their presence

It is

if

but forms once

they are not good, and

while they become an offense to

hoped that the principles are so clearly stated

that they can be fully understood without such aids.

DIVERSITY IN UNITY.

75

DIVERSITY IN UNITY.

)HE demand
is

in

mind

of the

shown above,

for a unity of effect, as

no way contradictory to another equally imperative

and that

is,

the need for diversity

we have

already indicated.

This law has reference to magnitudes, forms, positions,


directions,

Let us now recognize the

etc.

law of the mind in this respect.

general

must

se7ise,

That

fact,

and

This

prevail, co-ordinated ivith unity.

the chief sources of pleasure in beholding a work of

be a beautiful design or a charming picture.


Diversity subordinated into unity
Diversity alone

which there

is

is

mob

is

with unity

a broad and

in

diversity,

down the

set

art,

is

whether

Diversity alone

is

community and exquisite


it

is

peace and happiness and

one of

order.

a well-regulated society, in
liberty.

It is

the associa-

suggested by the beautiful design which gives

tion

of

ideas

mind

its

chief pleasure.

We

it

chaos.

the

read in the lines of ornament the record

of our thoughts.

The

" Slave-Ship," by Turner,

nation of

is

an example of the perfect subordi-

diverse elements into a unity of effect,

single grand

impression of the power of the great sea under the influence of the

mighty storm.

The ocean

storm passes away.

is

stirred to its

deep

floor as the r9.ging

Vapors ascend from the surging waters

in

sweep-

THEORY OF DESIGN.

^e
ing, vertical curves,

mingling sea and sky in one

against the dark mass of the retreating storm,

is

and

in the distance,

faintly seen the

of the sinking " Slave-Ship," utterly insignificant

masts

amid the grand fury

Shattered sunbeams struggle through clouds on

of the elements.

mists and waves, and reveal to us glimpses of the monsters of the


deep, and hints of the victims from the sinking wreck.
of

action

and power and motion

the sky, the thing of abhorrence,

and the

the

in this picture a
It

are the

effect.

There

elements
is,

indeed,

"purgation of superfluities."

may be remarked,

that, in this picture, lines

motion, and power are most predominant


characteristics

a scene

is

the storm, the sun,

sea,

slave-ship,

brought into one grand unity and climax of

It

is

which express grace,

this expression

of these

most remarkable, and few works express them

in

equal degree.

We

have noted many of the various ideas, feelings, and sentiments

which may be expressed by the elements and combinations

in design.

be seen, that the pleasure we receive from a design depends

It will

mainly upon the number, variety, and intensity of these impressions.


It

would seem to be

and .sources

ditions
effects

self-evident, that to fully

of our pleasure,

comprehend these

con-

and the methods by which these

might be secured, would enable the

pupil, not only to

produce

beautiful designs at will, but also to define precisely the principles of

construction upon which

such effects depend.

Thus the

critic

and

designer would acquire a simultaneous being.

The

foregoing analysis of the sources of our pleasure in the art of

design enables us to appreciate the difficulties of the subject, and to

apply our energies to the proper points of attack, and not to waste our

time upon ineffectual methods.

DIVERSITY IN UNITY.

We may

venture to say, that there

no possible way

is

hending the subject except by an examination

we have determined
These conditions

of art,

mind and

And, when

own minds

and energy which

which

is

this law, then, all

and we

shall find that

which are found to be responsive to our

life

art is that

Under

life.

compre-

as well as to decorative design.

all art

minds, are expressive of a

and thus the highest

we

these sources and conditions,

they apply universally to

of

of the sources of our

and the conditions upon which they depend.

pleasure,

our

77

is

within ourselves

most expressive

good

find its highest type

when

of our

own

an outgrowth from

art is

reflects our

it

own

mental constitution.

any one would

If

find beauty

and grace,

let

him look within

and,

he does not find them there, he scarcely needs to look elsewhere


thus

it is

that the law of

human mind. Again,

in the

become the
law of

That

all art

is

life

life,

we endeavor

to

and

action are found

mental

they also conform to the

life,

the forms suggested in the elements used.

to say, in introducing plant-forms into design,

lence to the law of


rather,

in

of its

while the fundamental principles of design

reflection of our

which exists

and the conditions

if

we do no

energy, and growth which exists in them

enhance that expression of

life

vio-

but,

and hence we

choose those forms which are most expressive of their characteristic


energies.

We

come

under the influence

in this

way

of failing

to reject all

energy or decay.

forms assumed by plants

Thus, we woxild reject

the forms which plants take in the process of wilting or dying.

We

should use those forms only which are expressive of the fullest and

most intense

life,

that every line

as of grace and beauty.

upon

this quality of power.

In

may be

fact,

expressive of power as well

beauty

Rampant

life

itself

is

partly dependent

takes the form of beauty,

THEORY OF DESIGN.

78
but

beauty

all

derives
to the

its

is

lost in decay.

main force from

The

expression of

this source

all

good ornament

the living forms are addressed

mind, and they find a responsive echo therein.

Look

at

any

style

of

classic

ornament, such as the Greek or

Moorish, and every form and line will give you the impression of

an unrestrained living force.

CONSTRUCTION.

79

CONSTRUCTION.

)HE

elements of design,

if

they are natural forms, should be

arranged in accordance with the laws of composition


indicated

sequence of leaves, buds, flowers, and


fication of the accidental

graceful

may

less .conventional

fruit,

with such modi-

forms assumed by nature as the laws

composition demand.

forms selected

already-

following the natural order of growth as to the

be, the

And, however near

to

nature

of

the

order of arrangement must be more or

and thus the forms may be natural and the arrange-

ment conventional, or both the forms and the arrangement may be


conventional.

Whfere both form and arrangement are natural, the representation


passes from the province of design proper to the pictorial, and should

be treated and judged as a picture, according to the rules of pictorial


representation.

But, so far as

public-school

forms should not be used


It

may

work

is

concerned, perfectly natural

in design.

be desirable, however, to have the pupils make pictorial

representations of

plants with buds and ilowers, in connection with

their lessons in object-drawing, for the purpose of securing the ele-

ments

for design.

THEORY OF DESIGN.

8o
Plant-forms

should be

made

to

fill

system of radiation from some point or

any geometrical space by a


All parts of the design

line.

same geometrical space shoiM be joined, or have the appearance


of being joined, into one system of growth (see Fig. 39, the example of
in the

Moorish ornament).
Geometrical spaces

may be

of

any desired form, to

suit various

places and uses.

In designing a simple passage, like a spray, the grouping should be

such as to bring those forms uppermost which naturally belong there


in the order of

out lower

growth

the older and more mature leaves spreading

down near the base

of a spray,

and the more recent buds and

flowers at the top, or wherever they would naturally occur in the particular plant

used

and,

if

stem should indicate weight,


fruit

and

all

fruit
if

should be represented, the bending

the habit of the plant

is

to bear heavy

other such appropriate signs of natural qualities should

be carefully wrought into the composition.


In general, all beautiful lines

and forms of

the plant selected should

be used in the design.

If the plant used has ungraceful

lines, they

may

be fashioned into

grace and beauty by the designer.

The

designer should consider himself above the materials which

he uses, molding them into pleasing forms.

In this he shows the

superiority of his mind.

He
life,

is

not bound to be faithful to the minute particulars of botanic

because he and his work are superior to the mere imitation

of

plant-forms.

He
fill

selects a plant for his design

which

the place and answer the use in view.

is

suited

Some

by

its

habits to

plants are suited

CONSTRUCTION.

8i

to borders or continuous representation, because of their long stems.


It

would be evidently absurd

to

flowing in vine-like arrangements


pelopsis, passion-flower,

For

and the

like,

answer

will

pose

leaf,

but the grape, clematis, hop, am-

so used to

to

this class of

a very limited

single radiate masses, the strawberry, oxalis, cyclamen,

may be

appropriately used

and, in fact, almost any plants

for this limited purFiff- ^O.

while there should be an

appropriate

and such plants, are suitable

The blackberry may be

representation.

degree.

employ the apple-blossom and

selection

larger combinations,

the

for

where vines

are used.

Forms wholly
tastic,

having

or mainly fan-

little

or very dis-

tant resemblance to plants, are

appropriate

they are
ideas

for

made

of

to express

beauty

and

which the mind expects


sign.

the

Such

all

the

rhythm
in a de-

fantastic elements

designer

may

freedom, and do

may,

when

design

use

with

no violence to the laws

in fact, express

with them

all

of

the true ideal.

which we have noted as being the chief aim

of design.

ornament the forms were quite remote from any


still,

they possess

form and

size,

all

the grace of flowing

which belong to

He

the fullness of idea and sentiment

line,

real plants.

In the Moorish
real

plant-forms

and beauty

of variable

The Moors were

pro-

hibited by their religion from the direct imitation of any living thing

THEORY OF DESIGN.

82

in

ornamentation

their

The employment

forms.

from real plants,

is

first

may be
etc.,

is,

etc.,

Let us

a square, accurately drawn with

rule and

is

Then

the diameters and diagonals should then be drawn.

should proceed to

space,

This

filled.

or thirds and

according to the form of the space employed.

between two

cent diameters or between two adjacent diagonals.

all

to lay out accu-

and compasses, the geometrical space to be

select for the unit of space either a quarter lying

fying

the only

the ideas above

cut up into halves, quarters, eighths,

suppose the space selected


dividers

to all design.

step in the construction of a design

rately, with rule

sixths,

which are quite remote

they must be expressive of

enumerated as essential

The

of forms, therefore,

not only admissible, but often desirable

condition being, that

space

hence they employed wholly conventional

fill

Then

adja-

the pupil

this quarter-space with a suitable design, satis-

This quarter we

the requirements.

and the design that

fills

it

is

will

the unit of

call

the unit of design.

To

repeat

accurately the unit of design in the remaining three units of space, a


tracing of the unit should be
to

mark the angles

when the

may be

made on

thin tracing-paper

of the unit of space

tracing-paper

is

by dots

in

taking care

such a way, that,

placed over the next unit of space, the dots

accurately placed over the corresponding angles.

The

tracing-

paper should be nearly transparent, so that the lines of the drawing

may be

readily seen through

it.

To make

the tracing,

mark on the

tracing-paper firmly, with a good pointed pencil, over each line of the

drawing.

The

trace

may

then be turned over, and marked on the under

side against each line traced on the face, so that the line of the draw-

ing will be on both sides of the tracing-paper.

may be

filled,

by tracing over each

Then the other spaces

line of the unit of design in

each

CONSTRUCTION.
unit of space.

The

process

is

83

easily accomplished

by pressing

while drawing the pencil-point over each line on the trace

firmly,

thereby

The lines
may be repeated

transferring, in faint lines, the design to its proper place.

The

can then be drawn in with a firm hand.

process

until all the units of space are filled.

In large or elaborate designs,

it

is

very

difficult

and tiresome for

pupils to hold the tracing-paper on the design, without

enough to make or transfer the


easier

by fixing

trace.

The

process

moving

it,

long

may be made

slightly the edges of the tracing-paper with mucilage.

^v.

THEORY OF DESIGN.

84

APPLICATION OF DESIGN.

jHE

uses of design are too varied to be enumerated in

in

place

this

we may

but

notice

some

the

of

full

most

ordinary applications of design, for the purpose of pointingout some of the necessary conditions of such applications.

Pottery

human
is

is

one of the most abundantly ornamented products

industry

and the application

determined by so great a diversity

ment

are so various, that there

fancy

may

find

ample

play.

It

of tastes,

Designs of

are of

and

all

degrees and characters, from the

figure^ in color or in relief

with or without color


of execution

The

in fact, the

all

grades

the

carved ornaments of

range

is

and by the highest conception

teacher of

of orna-

useful to the teacher in our schools.

painted landscape to flowers and animals of


face

and the styles

seems only necessary to point out some

may be

class

of design to objects of this sort

a wide range in which thought and

is

general principles which


this

elementary design

all

kinds,

of art.

will

find,

however, that the

among

most pleasing subjects upon which to engage the attention

An

human

limited only by the powers

decoration of the simple forms of familiar objects will be

pupils.

of

the

of her

application of the suggestions heretofore given will enable

the teacher to assist the pupils in producing very pleasing designs

APPLICATION OF DESIGN.
and

designing of the forms themselves and the

in addition to the

if,

85

ornament to be applied to them, there could be added, under certain


favorable

the actual

circumstances,

painting or carving, upon the

objects themselves of the designs prepared, no better or more

inter-

esting application of the skill and taste acquired could be found.

The

may begin with

pupil

decoration.

avoid the

It

better to

selection of naturalistic forms

Piff. If.

because, in most cases, the pupil

at first

could

make but an

virhile

a single vase, and devise some style of

course,

of

is,

might

he

indifferent

very

various widths

the vase.

of

These may

There

a band

bands

of

of

ornament.

ornament

should

half-way between the top

not be placed

and bottom

for

bands of

positions on

undoubtedly, right

are,

and wrong places


Evidently,

horizontal
different

at

manage

readily

conventional and set forms.


take the shape

picture,

of the vase,

nor quarter-way,

nor in the middle of either the neck or


body, for reasons already pointed out on
p.

71.

quite obvious, too, that the

It is

ornamental

stripes

top to bottom
all

should not run from

because

it

would destroy

idea of the general form, and would not produce a feeling of repose

and unity.

If

the object

is

to

be ornamented with bands dividing

different ground-colors, or parts of the

main band

of

ground

of the

same

color, the

ornament may properly occupy the position indicated

THEORY OF DESIGN.
in

Fig. 41.

Any

The width should be adapted

division of

to the size of

the vase.

the body of the vase by bands would seem to be

objectionable, because

it

would interfere with

but

its

character as a vase

there were to be more pictorial features

if

added, such as a medallion, or a spray of flowers,

Fig. i2.

or a landscape, this broad central


itself

space offers

kindly and gracefully to such use

or

if

only broad masses, of rich color, were used for

the ground, the body of the vase and the neck


are the

appropriate

places

for

For

it.

like

reasons the neck of the vase should not be cut

up by a succession

horizontal

of

one wearing a succession of

bands,

collars.

The bands used may be compound


ple.

If

composed

like

or sim-

of several bands, the widths

should not be the same, nor easy divisions of


the same

except that the bands on each side of a central band

may

be of the same width, inasmuch as they are accounted symmetrical in


a certain sense.

If

high lights and low shades are employed,

it

is

evident that the high lights should not occur on the top and bottom of

the vase, and darker shades on the central space, but rather that the
central

mass should receive the high

directed to the central mass.

light

thus the eye would be

For a similar reason, the most elaborate

ornament should occur near the central portion

of the vase

and the

upper and lower portions should be simply subordinate parts, assisting


in the general effect, but not constituting the chief points of interest.

This

is

necessary to the principles of unity and repose.

tions will apply to

any and

all

These sugges-

forms of ornament applied to these

APPLICATION OF DESIGN.
objects.

style of high relief, not in

frequently employed on these forms


be, the beauty of use

keeping with the idea

of use, is

which, however beautiful

not one of

is

87

its

characteristics

it

may

and, conse-

quently, such forms are necessarily placed with the class of ornaments

unsuitable for use, such as pictures and statuary

but, belonging to this

class of objects, the standard of excellency is necessarily raised.

With reference
landscapes, and

to the use of real pictures of birds, beasts, fishes,

human

figures in the

decoration of dinner-services,

there seems to be an evident impropriety in roast meats and gravies

swimming over a sunset

sky, or jams

and

ices floating over either a

fisherman's hut, or a thicket where unsuspecting quail are feeding.

Such have

the. sanction of

use in high quarters, though the want of

great wealth will prevent the mass of the people from indulging in

such questionable taste.

THEORY OF DESIGN.

88

FLOOR-COVERINGS.

)HE

shown a very marked

style of carpeting, since 1876, has

change

in the direction of better taste.

Before that period,

the great panel-patterns and landscape-designs, and patterns

made

immense running vines and

of

common, and even now are sometimes seen


vails,

flowers,

were very

but a better taste pre-

and there are signs of constant improvement.

Designs for floor-coverings should certainly possess a few unmis-

as the floor

and

it

should seem to be the most appropriate thing in

The

the world to walk upon.

carpet should invite the guest, by

suggestive appropriateness, to try


invites us,

by

its

should appear to be flat or level

First, the pattern

takable qualities.

its

soft

surface

smoothness and softness, to

sit

us to tread upon

method

of carpeting her halls of state

It is evident, that

flatness,

scape-patterns

which

any

and softness
in

its

style

is

carpets,

soft,

clean

as a

surface.

summer
This

We

or as

Nature's
trees.

of smoothness,

not unfrequently see land-

the view covering the whole

remember may be taken

it

or autumn,
is

under the spreading

which destroys the idea

not good.

mossy bank

or walk upon

the rich brown carpeting under the white-pines, in


allures

its

as a type of

its class.

It

floor.

One

represented

a kind of park, in which there were a bridge of stone with balustra,dQ

FL O OR-CO VERINGS.
and stairways, water reflecting the blue

89

of the sky,

huge trees and

tangled shrubs, flowers and flower-pots, swans and boats, and children
at play.

The occupants

their feet

on the blue water, even in the cold days

of the

room would be expected

to sit with

of winter, tread

upon

the boats, swans, and children at play, and walk over the trees, shrubs,

and stone bridge.

there are any rules of propriety and good taste

If

concerning the style of floor-coverings, this carpet must certainly


late

them

Such patterns or pictures do not belong on the

all.

They may be

but on the walls.

being

actually produced

floors,

great triumphs of mechanical

by machinery,

and

they

may be

vio-

skill,

costly;

but these facts are not valid reasons for regarding them as suitable
for floor-coverings.
It is

evident, that there should be

in a landscape

because

it

inverted pond and garden.

more appropriate
approaching
greens, are
retreating.

more
It

of substance.

spaces

to

colors,

on the sky-side, and view the

evident, also, that certain colors are

carpeting than certain

other colors

thus the

such as the earthy browns, yellows, reds, and

suitable to the floor than sky-blue,

If

as nature

blue

is

employed

employs
relief,

construction, are most

The

It is

sitting

which

cold and

is

does not meet the mind with the proper suggestiveness

without apparent

should be

to a carpet, as

must, in that case, be often viewed in an

One may be

inverted position.

no up or down end

it

at

should be only in minute

all, it

in the color of a flower.

Small patterns

and without a top or bottom, or right and


appropriate.

that of solidity

The

prevailing

and shade, and not that

furniture and occupants of a

left

effect

of

color

of vacuity

and

light.

room should seem

to

have some-

thing substantial and secure to stand upon, and should not seem

suspended

in mid-air.

Within these general

the play of a great variety of tastes.

limits,

there

is"

room

for

THEORY OF DESIGN.

90

"WALL-PAPERS.

FEW considerations, with reference to wall-papers, may help


the student of domestic art to treat the decoration of walls

with modesty and taste.

In the

place, a wall should

first

appear to be a vertical, continuous surface, as


therefore

all

really

is

All forms tending mainly on one diagonal or the other should

facts.

be rejected, as should

bands which
as to

it

ornament should be applied without disturbing these

differ so

methods

all

up the space by dado and

widely from each other in color or light and shade

away from each

fall

of cutting

other,

and become separate.

In other words,

unity of effect should be secured.

There are two general divisions


considered apart.

One

the thing to be viewed

is,
;

of wall-ornament, to

where the decoration

and the other

is,

be made and

of the wall itself is

where the wall

is

simply

prepared suitably to receive other decorations, such as pictures and

may be treated in any pictorial style, from


the best of Italian frescos to common wall-decoration, with natural
objects done in light and shade, with or without color.
The frescos
statuary.

of

the

The

first

class

Capitol at Washington

by the

Italian

Brumidi, are examples of this class of work.

ornaments are

to

painter,

No

Constantino

pictures or other

be hung on walls treated iu this way.

There may

WALI^PAPERS.
be
to

many grades

91

of wall-decoration in this class,

The second

be sufficiently ornamental of themselves.

decoration

which ^re supposed

a treatment of the wall-surface so that

is

ordinated to other ornaments upon

it

class of wall-

becomes sub-

In this case the wall should

it.

be treated as entirely secondary to the pictures or statuary


to appear against

be designed to

it.

this

fill

which are

Wall-papers are usually employed and should

primary

class,

according to distinctions above

indicated.

The treatment

of wall-papers

must be governed by the same general

which rule other designs.

principles

The general

effect

must be con-

sidered with reference to the style and color of floor-coverings, ceiling,

The room must be taken

furniture, etc.

as a whole,

and considered

in

the eiisemble, with the furniture as a factor in the sum-total of effect.

Many rooms

appear to present incongruities on account of their numer-

ous conflicting, and even warring, elements

and disturbing the repose which

One

nished room.
wall-papers.

of the

These are

most

all

it

distracting the attention,

should feel on entering a well-fur-

fertile

selected,

sources of this inharmony

is

the

would seem, without any reference

whatever to the requirements of the other appointments of the room.

The
be

first

its

thing to be determined in the selection of wall-paper should

color

and

its

the wall, the color


pictures,
is

very

degree of

and shade

and not hinder

light, or

it.

light.

If pictures are to

The paper may do

has luminous masses in

it

either.

and consequently away from the picture


inevitable.

If

the wall-paper

which are brighter than the

high light in the picture, the eye will be attracted

If,

be hung upon

of the wall should assist the eye to see the

to the

to the highest light,


wall.

This effect

is

on the contrary, wall-papers are of a low shade, and not

exciting in color, the eye will gravitate directly to the pictures, and

THEORY OF DESIGN.

92

The wall-paper will mind its own business,


who wish to look at the pictures. To secure
figure and a low tone of color may always be safely

upon them

will rest

and not disturb

easily.

visitors

this result, a small

Care should be taken not to employ a color which

used.

ing or distant, like some shades of blue


effect of receding too

to

much, and cause

be detached from them

or the walls

too reced-

is

may have

the

subordinate objects to appear

all

neither should a decidedly approaching

color be used, such as yellow

because the opposite effect would be

In these respects the colors i;sed should be medium, and

produced.

medium

they should be

pattern used,

style of

it

is

but

of

only,

large, staring figures are objectionable; the

With

reference to shade,

it

regards the

consequence, provided the

little

conditions above noted are complied with

the better.

As

and shade.

also as to light

it is

more

very evident that

quiet and inoffensive

would appear certain that there

should be some proper scale of shade running through the surfaces


of a

room

namely, the

floor,

the wall, and the ceiling.

It

would seem

the most natural that the floor should be the least luminous, the dado
the next highest in the scale of light, and the wall next, and the ceiling
lightest of

the

floor,

Or

all.

may have

the dado

and then the wall and ceiling lighter

There can be no doubt that the


most luminous
cially

if

the same degree of light as

in

due proportion.

ceiling should,

on the whole, be the

and more receding colors are appropriate here, espe-

the walls are not high.

The harmony of all these


perfect harmony and fitness
ceiling, pictures, statuary,

ensues, which

is

is

the most essential quality.

prevail

between the

and furniture, a feeling

not without

its

immediate

the guests or inmates of the room.

effect

Where

floor,

the wall,

of repose

and quiet

upon the minds

of

WALI^PAPERS.
There are two necessary conditions as
shade

of the figure of the wall-paper in

body of the paper, as

the figure

is

to the color

color.

lighter,

figure, the latter will

and which should

may be

It

darker than the ground-color, and

more retreating than the

and Hght and

comparison with the ground or

which should be the

to

be treated with the more approaching


if

93

if

observed, that

the ground-color

is

appear to separate from

the ground, and produce something of the effect of looking through a


vine-clad trellis through
effect, of course,

which the

destroys the

light of the

open sky

harmony and repose

is

of the

destroys the sense of solidity and security in the walls.


able to have the

This

seen.

room
It

as

ornament lighter than the ground on which

may be

drawn, in order that the figure

the

first

it

prefer-

is

to catch the eye,

it

is

and

not the interstitial spaces.

With regard

to the

approaching qualities of the colors used on the

two spaces, the figure should be the more approaching, and representative of

more substance.

Spotty effects should certainly be avoided

whether produced by bright-red masses, or yellow or white, the


equally bad.

effect is

Let no one be

All numerical effects should be avoided.

tempted to count the spots or squares, because of their prominence


this effect,

so

often

seen,

destructive

is

Nothing on the whole surface

of

all

repose and

of wall-paper should exert an independ-

ent influence, and assert an independent existence.

an

unity.

effect of flatness or breadth

There should be

throughout the whole.

These qualities apply equally well to floor-coverings

although more

decided figures are possible in the carpet than in walls, because the
walls are but the background for other objects.

Borders should be in keeping with the character of the wall-paper,

both as regards color and

light.

They should not be

so

much darker

THEORY OF DESIGN.

94

which the walls are

as to appear as a dark rim or frame in

rather as a shaded portion of the

same

walls.

The width

set,

but

of borders

should, of course, be proportional to the height of the room.

In the decorations of a room, the mantel-piece and fireplace play an

Of

important part.

ing with any thing

course, a white marble mantel-piece


as its light

The mantels should be


It is a

of

is

not in keep-

higher than either carpet or

wood, like

all

wall.

other trimmings of the room.

sign of real progress in the art of household decoration, that

the fireplace

is

again coming into use.

to one's feelings than the glow of the

a wood-fire.
parlor.

is

It is

The odor

What
open

is

fire,

there

more congenial

and especially

if

it

is

unequaled as an adornment of the sitting-room or


of

the

wood

is

The

diffused through the room.

beech, the oak, the maple, the pine, and the birch and hickory, each has
its

peculiar odor

when burning flames


:

running into threads

of woolly

of yellow, red, purple,

and

smoke and steam here and there

blue,
;

the

thousand sounds of the flames, flickering, hissing, and snapping and


crackling,

and

reverie.

all

these are entertaining, and conduce to quiet repose

The

return of the fireplace to our

return to good taste, from which

we seem

homes

is

a sign of a

to have altogether departed.

HINTS TO TEACHERS.

95

HINTS TO TEACHERS.

|0 department

of

drawing taught

in the public schools

important or profitable than design.

is

more

Pupils will draw better

when working out their own designs than when they are only
copying.
The consciousness of ownership is an important
factor in the motive for

has made, by his

own

improvement

will

and the thought that the pupil

and knowledge, an original design, and that

he knows precisely how to make another, equally good, or


a feeling of greater worth, and elevation of character.

an important gain

in

an educational point

of view.

better, gives

This, of
It

itself, is

has been before

remarked, that the principles of design are the underlying principles of


all art,

and consequently

of

good taste as

well.

It

is

for this reason

that the study of design, taught in a proper and thorough manner, would

conduce very much to the good taste of the future community, and

would

effect all

subsequent interest and actions of the pupils thus

taught.
It is

important, in teaching design, that the teacher should begin

with the combination of the simplest elements, and should note every

thought or idea expressed by such combinations.

It is

not difficult to

lead the pupils to apprehend these various expressions, and to grasp

the laws of combination upon which

all

design

is

based.

This has

THEORY OF DESIGN.

96

been found to be the case where the subject has been intelligently
taught.

The
be

teacher should direct the pupils as to the geometrical space to

filled,

or the style of the design to be made, and consult with the

pupil as to what elements should be used

some

object, as a vase, the

method

or

if

it

is

to

be applied

ornamentation should be

of

to

dis-

cussed.
It

always better to have the whole class at work on the same

is

geometrical space, or ornamenting or designing the same object, so


that the instruction that

is

suitable to one will be suitable to

all.

The

teacher of design must confine the pupils to simple combinations until

they have acquired some idea of the laws of arrangement.

There

will, as

much rudeness and coarseness,


but when one of these

a matter of course, be

and many incongruities,

in their first efforts

errors has been once pointed out,

and the reason

of the error

made

plain, the pupils are pretty sure to avoid that error ever after.

to

The commission of
the teacher.
They

errors in design should be

stepping-stones to improvement,

are but the

and afford the teacher an opportunity to

which has been violated

no discouragement

set forth clearly the principle

Let the

in the construction or application.

whole class take up the same subject, and make their design on a piece
of exercise-paper, either

brown or white

suitable,

and quite good enough for

scheme

of the design

The
class.

a smooth manila paper

this purpose.

may be done

according as the time of the pupils

home, or

at
is

The

first

is

plan or

in the schoolroom,

occupied by other studies.

teacher should criticise the work of the pupils before the whole

Where

community

there

is

community

of instruction, that all

cism due to each.

of

interest, there

may have

the benefit

should be a
t)f

the

criti-

HINTS TO TEACHERS.
These designs should be brought
stand before the

should

class,

in

97

and collected

and go through

ing out to the whole class the errors in each.

all

and the teacher


of

them, point-

After being

criticised,

they should be returned to the pupils for the necessary corrections.


It is

not advisable that the pupil should

submitting

it

to the teacher.

make the whole design

single unit of space

is

before

often

suffi-

cient for the purposes of criticism.


It

better not to have the pupil do

is

more work than

is

needful,

when, perhaps, the whole design may be rejected.

The
the

teacher must not be troubled about the idea of originality in

first efforts in

"There

is

There

a semblance of truth in the saying,

is

nothing new under the sun," except

arrangement.
efforts at

design.

The

subject

in

adaptation and

should be treated precisely as the

composition in language

first

in either case the teacher should

suggest corrections where errors occur.

It is

not always needful that

the teacher should suggest the precise change to be made, but only to
point out the principle violated, and the direction the change should

take in order to get rid of the objectionable quality.

'K^iJ^

-THEORY OF DESIGN.

98

METHODS OF

CRITICISM.

WHAT QUESTIONS MAY BE ASKED AND WHAT

r^

QUALITIES

CONSIDERED.

-.

*HE

teacher should inquire with reference to any design,

First, Is

tlie

space well filled ?

The space should be

so filled as to present

no appear-

ance of barrenness or sparseness on the one hand, or


excessive fullness on

crowded together

More

is

or less fullness

cording to its use,


distance or near at hand

and

kind of material to which

it

the other.

may be

and whether

of elements

given to a design, acis

it

this quality is also


is

mob

as bad as a desert space.

be seen from a

to

dependent upon the

to be adapted, and whether large or

small.

With regard

to the quality of fullness, the design

must give the

proper impression.

Second, Are the forms used beautiful in themselves,

of

and

expressive

and energy ?

life

Third, Ai'e the elements used, taken as a whole, too large or too small

for the
If

tcse

made of them

they are too small, and the space

effect of great

is

well

filled,

there will be an

number, giving the disagreeable impression of multitude.

METHODS OF
On

the other hand,

effect of

if

CRITICISM.

the forms used are too large, they will have the

wanting room, and

will

appear monstrous or over-grown.

Fourth, Are the elements properly arranged as

This principle has been fully discussed


first

99

to

magnitudes

and, as

it

is

one of the

principles of design, great care should be taken to adjust the

relative magnitudes.
Fifth,

Are

forms

the

Sixth, Is the

Seventh, Is

7tsed

harmonious

law of position and directioji dtily observed ?


the law of alternation properly expressed as regards

magnitude, form, position,

and direction

Eighth, Is the law of direction of lines

and the most pleasing

best expression

and forms such

as give the

effect f

Ninth, Are the forms symmetrically arranged where symmetry

is

intended or desired ?

Tenth,

Have

all obtrusive lines

and forms

been subordinated

and

subdued?
Eleventh,

Has

tcnity

all subordinate masses,

Twelfth,

Has

ittg the origin

of effect been preserved throughout, by subduing

and grading them

one general

effect ?

the prittciple of radiation been duly expressed, as show-

of the several parts

Has

Thirteenth,

to

the

law of tangential union of

lines

and stems

been duly observed in the constructioti of elements ?

Fourteenth,
sition

Has

the natural order of

growth and the natural

dispo-

of the plant used been observed ?

Fifteenth,

appear

to be

Do

the elements in the

attached

Sixteenth,

Are

same undivided geometrical

space

and naturally connected?

there any tinmeanirig lines or

forms used?

Seventeenth, Is the design made from the elements of one plant

only?

THEORY OF DESIGN.

lOo

Eighteenth, Is the general

effect

of the design one of richness,

life,

mar

the

elegance, aitd beauty ?


If

any elements, or combination

of

elements, tend to

All designs should look rich,

general effect, they should be modified.


costly, precious, beautiful.

Nineteenth, Is the execution refilled

forms, clear

and

vigorous, giving clear-cut

lines, etc. ?

Twentieth, Is the quality of the design such as

require half-tint

to

or a shaded background?
Half-tint should be applied to the

so

numerous

ground whenever the forms are

The

as to appear a little too crowded.

on the ground

is

effect of half-tint

to destroy the individuality of the interstitial spaces,

and thus reduce the number

of

forms apparent to the eye.

These questions, with others which

will

suggest themselves, will

help the teacher to acquire a ready habit of criticism based

upon

just

and rational principles.


It is

better that these questions should be put to the class, or to

the particular pupil, than that they should be answered without asking

by the teacher.
Let

of the qualities

all

which are appropriate and important

design be the subject of inquiry and discussion.

The

in

pupils will soon

discover that they can understand design as well as any thing else, and,

with an understanding of the principles, will come to have an added

power

of invention, combination,

and execution.

In the classes of the grammar-schools, the pupils should confine


their attention to elementary design until they
difficulties

design.

and then

it

is

For the purposes

have mastered the chief

proper to turn their attention to applied


of

elementary design, there are a great

METHODS OF
variety of geometrical spaces, which

CRITICISM.

may be

lOi

filled

with suitable orna-

ment, such as triangles, squares, pentagons, hexagons, and other polygons, circles, ellipses, spherical triangles, rectangles, parallelograms,
etc.,

and innumerable figures which may be devised, or are

spandrels, corner-pieces, panels, center-pieces,

endless

variety

of

borders and bands

patterns, or repetition on vertical

radial

ornament, with all-over

of

and horizontal or on diagonal

will afford sufficient variety for practice.

may be

The forms

When

of

line, as in

lines,

arrangement

from a center, or springing from a central

form of a sprig or spray, or from a continuous


work.

in use, as

These, with an

etc.

line in the

Roman

scroll-

design become easy and familiar, the

these forms of

pupil should take up applied design

drawn, and the ornament for

it

that

is,

some object should be

Vases, goblets, tumblers,

designed.

gold and silver ware, such as gold or silver table-services, water-pitchers,

crockery or porcelain table-ware, tea-sets,


rally,

tiles,

and

fire-service gene-

lace-work and embroidery, wall-paper and carpetings, designs for

stone-cutting, wood-carving, and iron work,


suitable for advanced

work

any

in applied design.

of these subjects are

For a

first effort let

the

pupils take a vase, either designing one, or taking an old form, and

designing the ornament for

it

placing the bands

(if

there are to be

any) in their proper places, with their due proportions as to widths and
size of

elements used.

In the

and saucer, and the enrichment

As

to lace

same way

let

the pupil design a cup

for the same.

and linen patterns, the design may be made

in

the

ordinary way, and then painted in pure white or black upon a piece of

transparent

tracing-paper, laid

over and fastened upon the design

previously drawn upon white drawing-paper.

done with "water-color," and,

This painting should be

when completed, can be removed from

THEORY OF DESIGN.

I02
the drawing

itself,

and mounted on either white or black paper, which-

ever serves the purpose of showing the design to the best advantage.
In advanced work, water-color

For

this

may be used

for coloring the designs.

purpose the colors should be mixed with white, to make them

opaque.

The

application of

color to design

brings in

another important

element, which must be studied with reference to the harmonies of


color and contrast.

but they require a

These principles are not


little

difficult of

close attention to a few purely

and these have been furnished us by a few sagacious

apprehension

scientific facts,

scientists.

COLOR.

103

COLOR

^OLOR,

as

applied

effects

understand

to

It

is

they are used

which dominates

combination.
here,

it

comprehend and apply

it.

could color at

reference

of

of

will.

As

it

is

If

here, too,

the nerves which are to be

there

is

any law

important that
there were

If
is,

the
the

to

be presumed, that, where colors are used at

to
in

with

produced upon the eye and the mind

we must study the laws


affected.

becomes a subject

design,

to

importance

first

of

should

the designer

no

the

laws,

all,

combination

designer

however, the laws of nervous action

determine for him beforehand what he shall do, and prohibit him from
This law of nervous action has been before

doing what he should not.


alluded to on

p. 64,

as an indication of certain necessary conditions

of pleasurable action of the nerves of

The law

of pleasurable action

seems

the combined effect of


or gray.

In that case every color will have

different colors,

it

color.

eye should not be


that

is

to say, that

the colors in a design should be neutral

all

harmonizing color present

by the

to be, that the

any one color

fatigued by the preponderance of

when viewing

the eye

its

and, while the eye

will not

own complementary
is

or

agreeably exercised

be fatigued by any one

of

them.

Colors are said to be complementary when, by their union, white


light is produced.

THEORY OF DESIGN.

I04

into the philosophy of color very extensively,

Without going

the plan of this work does not mvite,

may

refer the reader to the

very excellent work by M. Chevreul,' of which there


translation

and

will

entertaining work

whose work
"

Until

is

a good English

quote a few appropriate remarks from a very

"Esthetics,"

entitled

have also borrowed the table

by Eugene Vernon, from


of

Helmholtz.

recent times, painters in search of

quite

which

He

says,

harmony were

compelled to depend either on experiments. or personal experience.


1812, for the

first

time, Charles Bourgeois, having

plienomena, gave an explanation to the world

made

In

a study of th'e

which has since been

taken up and completed by M. Chevreul, in his book upon the laws

which govern simultaneous contrasts

"We

endeavor

will

to

present

it

of color.

in a

few words

poses the white light of the sun into six colors,

and orange.

violet, green,

because

it

is

violet.

three

first

The' prism decom-

yellow,

red, blue,

are called primitive colors,

impossible to obtain any one of them by any mixture

The

whatever.

The

three last are called composite or secondary

because

can be produced by red and blue, green by yellow and blue, and

orange by red and yellow.

In the intervals between these colors

come

the infinite series of intermediary shades.

"The

following table, arranged by M. Helmholtz, gives the results

of the various mixtures of the prismatic colors.

combination

be found

will

horizontal one

in

the

first vertical

The

colors used in

column and

in the first

the color at the intersection being the result of the

mixture in each case, as in the table of Pythagoras.

'

De

la

Loi

clu

Contiaste simultane des Couleurs et de ses AppIJcatioS.

COLOR.

105

'THEORY OF DESIGN.

io6

"By

the table

we

see that the complementary colors, that

which, when united, produce white, are,


second, orange and pure blue

green and

is

first,

those

red and greenish blue

yellow and indigo

purple, a

compound

" But these theories are of

and

of red

little

foni-th, yellow-

Prismatic green has no simple complementary

violet.

complementary

third,

is,

its

violet.

use to painters as aids to the

preparation of tints, because the colored powders which they employ

They

are unfitted for their application.

however, a great help to

are,

the comprehension of the effects resulting from the juxtaposition of


different colors.

Whenever complementary

colors are placed side by

they enhance each other's brilliancy.

side,

maximum
by pure

more

when placed next

of intensity

blue, yellow

violet,

Yellow-green attains

violet,

when bounded by indigo

and blue more blue, when

its

orange when bounded

moreover, violet appears

immediate contact with

in

vellow and orange.


"

For a similar reason, when non-complementary colors are brought

Too

together, they diminish each other's beauty and effect.

red

is

lowered by the neighborhood of blue.

lively a

Violet in contact with

yellow becomes almost rose."


It is to

be remembered, that the mixtures referred to in the table of

Helmholtz are not those of pigments, but of different-colored lights;


and, while

it

no clew

will afford

to the

for the production of the various colors,

mixing of powdered pigments


it is

valuable as showing what

colors are complementary, and, consequently,

value of the other

when brought

complementary colors
to design or painting.

is

will

into juxtaposition.

the key to

Colors will

which

all

enhance the

The theory

of

successful application of color

make war upon each other, and upon


The general ^fect of a well-

the nerves, unless they are harmonized.

COLOR.
painted picture

In

color.

fact,

is,

to leave the

mind

free

from the

we should not be compelled

but rather of the picture as a whole

becomes a

107

real offense

because

is

it

effect of

any one

to think of color at

all,

frequently, however, the color

un mated, or unbalanced by

its

harmonizing complement.

There are several other

effects of color

which are important to

notice here.

OTHER QUALITIES OF COLOR.


Colors are either

warm

or cold or neutral, retreating or approach-

ing or neutral, opaque or transparent or neutral.

Warm

colors are

those which suggest heat, as orange, yellow, red, and the browns

which approach

Cold colors are the blues, purples, and grays

these.

approaching' these colors.

The

quality of approaching or receding

and enables the painter or designer

is

to cause

a curious quality of color,

some

objects to appear to be nearer than others.


fully appreciate this

quality,

let

To

Piff- Ai..

the pupil paint

alternate stripes of orange and pure blue, or yel-

low and indigo, as indicated at Fig.

44,

and then

view the stripes through a single magnifying-glass.

The

different colors will

ing the yellow or orange


that

is,

have the
stripes

effect of rais-

above the blue

the blue stripes will appear depressed, and

the orange stripes raised.

Take three

the same way, observing the


yellow, and blue.

greenish blue.

Try another

effect,

series

colors in

^^^^^^^^^

^^^^=^ZS

using red,
of

two

colors, using

red and

THEORY OF DESIGN.

io8

In design, this quality of color enables the draughtsman to bring


out the forms of

ornament against the background

ornament should be approaching

As

in effect,

of

color.

and the ground

The

retreating.

there are various degrees of this quality, any desired effect can be

obtained by using the proper colors.

Opacity and transparency are other qualities of color which have


an important influence in determining the fitness of any scheme of

Opacity stops the eye

coloring.

the object.
of density.

that

is,

the sight does not penetrate

Opacity does not mean density


It

of ornament,

it is

only the appearance

has, consequently, the appearance of substance.

if

Forms

desired to appear substantial, should be painted in

opaque, and not in transparent, colors.

The
ties

of

pupil will have to learn


color

all

these various and variable quali-

by use and experiment.

It

is

not intended here to

give an elaborate analysis of the subject of color, but only to direct


the, attention

are

of

indispensable,

the pupil to certain fundamental principles which

and

to

suggest

suitable

topics

for

his

investi-

gation.

There are numerous works on color which are more or


as they

conform to or depart from the demonstrated

already established by the scientists.

be cautious not to give mental assent to

Every student
all

less reliable

scientific facts

of color should

the theories of harmoniz-

ing colors received with confidence before the science of color had

been so

far advanced.

PLANT-FORMS.

series of plant-forms

is

added to the

list

of illustrations to this

volume, in order to afford ample material for design, both as regards

COLOR.
number and

the

109

character of the plants given.

variety of

In most

cases these have been drawn direct from the plants themselves, and
for that reason are not without a certain botanical interest over

above their use as elements of design.

The

and

natural forms of the

plants are given, and, in addition, a front and side view of the flowers,

and the

form of

full

leaf,

and such other elements as are useful

in

design.

Where

the front and side views of flowers are omitted, they are

usually found in the natural view or picture of the plant.

may be more

or less altered to suit the purposes of

They should never be


design

itself.

fidelity to
is

traced from the book, and transferred to the

They should be redrawn

may

at will,

and without a close

the individual plant, but freely and broadly.

superior to his implements,

and they should be

These forms
the designer.

the

The designer

elements with which he deals

like clay in his hands, plastic to his will, that

they

serve his purpose.

CONCLUSION.

We

have endeavored to present the subject of design

depend-

in its

ence upon certain fixed laws which govern the mind with reference
to its inevitable action in the contemplation of the beautiful.

believed, that

a thorough study of these principles will enable the

pupil to proceed directly to his results, and will enable


at pleasure a

The

tastes of this age

we

him

to

make

good or a bad design.

seem

to be in the direction of the use of

natural forms for design, either conventionalized or not

respect

It is

differ

and

in this

from preceding generations, which confined their

ornament to a small number

of conventional forms.

THEORY OF DESIGN.

no
The

love of

nature

is

characteristic

of

the age, and

keep pace with the advance of science and knowledge.

seems

All plant-

forms offer themselves for our use, and the storehouse of nature
inexhaustible.

to

is

A SERIES OF DESIGNS

PUPILS IN

THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS,

WHOSE AGES AVERAGED ABOUT FIFTEEN

YEARS.

Fiff. 46.

Pig. le.

113

Fi&. ^7.

Ififf. 4-8.

"5

Fiff.

mg.

SO.

Pig. 6!.

Piff. 62.

119

Mg. 63

123

Pig.

Piff. 67.

127

129

131

133

135

137

139

HI

'43

145

147

149

<5)

S3

155

^57

IS9

i63

67

Fig. 79,

Piff. 80.

169

Pig. 8/.

171

Piff. 82.

Piff. 8S.

PLANT-FORMS FOR THE ELEMENTS OF DESIGN.

W\6f of pPaaf-iJonTix^.

''HE plant-forms here given were drawn direct from nature,

The

with one or two exceptions.

'j^

are given;

because

plant-forms

"in

express

the

it

a proper use of

and energy

of

each plant, should be

he may incorporate

order that

into his work.

The ornamental form


torial

essential to

design, that the lines of growth, which

life

before the designer, in

them

is

natural pictorial forms

form as

in

not always given separate from the pic-

the latter the front or side view of flowers, buds,

and leaves often appears


as conventional forms.
for all the

is

and

The

in these cases such

forms are not repeated

series of plant-forms gives a

good variety

purposes of design as required for public-school use.

Both

teacher and pupil should select such a plant as would be best suited to
the particular design under construction.
plants, appropriate for

Some

are pliant, vine-like

any representation where a continuous stem

required through considerable space.

Others are

sprig-like,

is

and are

79

THEORY OF DESIGN.

i8o
suited

to

more

restricted use.

There are broad-leaved plants and

large-flowered plants, which lend themselves kindly to the

filling of

broad spaces.

There are rugged forms and delicate forms, each suited

to special

uses, such as every designer will readily understand.

The

list

might have been extended so as to include many more

plant-forms, which are very desirable to have at hand.


plete as

it

must

of necessity be,

it

is still

large enough,

But, incomit is

to afford suitable material for the uses of public schools


of design.

believed,

and schools

Piff. 6'4.

i8r

Pig. 86.

Pansy.

183

Mff. 86.

Sweet Pea.
185

Fig. 87.

Agrimony.

187

Fiff. 88.

(
Kalmia.

189

J^ig. 89.

Piff.

90

^^Q^.^

Deutzia.

Fiff. 9f.

Little

Fiff. 92.

Primrose.

93

Fig. 9S.

195

Fiff. 9/>:

(Z^^

Chelidonium majus.

197

Fiff. 95.

199

Fiff. 96.

Petunia.

201

Mff. 97.

Mimulus ringens.

203

Piff. 98.

J*'i&.

WO.

207

J^'ff.

Wf.

Clintonia borealis.

209

Fiff. fOS.

Pig. fOA.

Fig. f06.

Fig. W6.

Siar of Bethlehem.

\,

jlvA^

Fiff.

217

W8.

Fiff. f09.

Blackberry

219

Fiff. //<?.

Cyclamen.

Fiff. ///.

Poteniilla Canadensis.

Erythraea tricaniha.
Poientilla argentea.

JFiff.

//4.

F'ify-

//^.

" Margareita."

225

Fig. //7.

4ay

U/

Oxalis.

227

Pig.

//.9,

V#'
Malvastrum marruboider.

229

Strawberry.

Fig. i22.

Symphytum asperimum.
231

J^/'S'-

/ K

-'

^^3.

Syringa, Philadelphus Coronarius.

233

Fiff. /i?^

23s

Piff. ^36.

Geranium-

237

Succory.

239

T^/^f.

/SO.

rv>
^

Mff.

/3.9.

m.
.^*.

Verbena,

Silena.

^1
241

p'fff.

fsa.

Piff. /Si.

^c>.

Pfg.

fS.'S.

245

J^iff.

t*^^^""'

/-?6'.

if]

i^-^. /^7.

Dalibarda repens.

Piff. !38.

Coreopsis.

Checkerberry.

Caultheria procumbens.

247

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