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88 



THE ART AMATEUR. 



of interest in the most astounding events which is com- 
mon in choruses. An earthquake might open: the 
stage at the feet of your average chorister without draw- 
ing from him the faintest manifestation of surprise or 
alarm, provided he happened at the moment to be en- 
gaged in the exercise of his vocation. But here the 
choristers do appear to have some faint inkling of what 
is passing before and around them, and even condescend 
semi-occasionally to evince in their movements and looks 
•some interest in the events of the opera. For this the 
chorus-master deserves hearty thanks, and he -has mine. 

C. F. 



MUSICAL NOTES. 



JOSEFFY has commenced a series of three piano 
recitals at Steinway Hall. Each is for some charitable 
purpose. Taking into consideration the celebrity of 
the performer and the excellence of the objects, the 
attendance at them ought to be phenomenal ; yet at 
the first the hall was barely one third full. The 
pianist played with more power than usual, and with 
all his customary and marvellous finish of execution. 
I remember no pianist who has equalled him in the 
matter of safely unravelling the most involute and appar- 
ently impossible passages. Liszt, as he stands, is not 
sufficiently difficult for him ; he turns single note pas- 
sages into sixths and thirds, and invents new cadenzas 
of fabulous impossibility. But his field is evidently 
somewhat restricted (not as regards power of execution, 
for I doubt whether anything has ever been written 
which he cannot easily master, but) as to conception. 
He does not appear to understand Schumann at all ; 
and his idea of the first movement of the " Sonata Ap- 
passionata" was .almost funny. But in Liszt he is 
thoroughly at home, and in Chopin. His own pieces, 
three of which he played as a, b, and c, are merely 
vehicles for. exhibiting his phenomenal digital dexterity ; 
they convey no idea; and have not even a foundation 
of melody. They wjll, however, set our ambitious 
pianists, at work, practising harder than ever ; but, 
practise as they will, I doubt whether many (I might 
almost say " any") of them ever achieve more than 
the power to scramble through these mazes of difficulty. 



Rummel also projects seven recitals. Here is a 
pianist who is the exact antipodes of Joseffy. To 
Joseffy's elaborate finish he opposes overpowering 
passion and fire ; to Joseffy's whispering pianissimo an 
almost orchestra] power and largeness ; while in gran- 
deur and variety of conception he far surpasses his 
rival. Both players have their ardent admirers, and 
both deserve such attendants. There are many who 
do not believe that the piano should ever try to be an 
orchestral "or passionate instrument, who think that 
modern pianism should be only the refinement and ex- 
tension of that school of which Hummel was a cele- 
brated example ; to such Joseffy appeals irresistibly. 
But there are also those who remember how Rubin- 
stein made the piano rejoice, shout, dream, and weep, 
and who learned from that/master that there Was after 
all some soul in the apparently cold instrument, did 
one hut know how to set to work to find it ; and this 
class admire Rummel. It is not for me to say in which 
faction lies the greater amount of right ; both sides de- 
fend their individual causes with many good arguments. 
The matter is, after all, principally one of temperament ; 
and we are lucky in having here two men, each worthy 
of reigning in his own. peculiar kingdom. 



Miss Emma Ab-bott and her opera company have 
given us a two weeks' season. They had an awful 
orchestra and a tremendous, patronage. The prima 
donna, whose name designates the troupe, has certainly 
improved very much' ; she has not become a great 
operatic artist — nature has denied her certain gifts 
necessary for that position— but she has improved much 
more than could have been expected in the year and 
one or two odd months which have elapsed since her 
previous appearance in this cily. She has still the fault 
of over-acting ; she has as yet no idea of the value and 
effect of repose upon the stage ; and she is still too 
fond of ending every aria with a trill, a cadenza, or a 
high note, or with all three— repeating her effects until 
they cease to be effective, instead of judiciously saving 
them for certain salient points ; but in spite of these 
faults she has improved greatly. Her -general execu- 



tion is lighter ; her trill is a trill and not a slow wobble ; 
and her action, though still excessive, is more justly 
directed. One of the strongest proofs of her improve- 
ment was given by our sapient daily newspaper critics, 
no doubt unconsciously. It was this : When she sang 
here before they used her as a butt for their fun and 
ridicule ; this time, although their criticisms were gen- 
erally adverse (sometimes unreasonably and unjustly so) 
they were, at least, serious in tone. Whether Miss 
Abbott hat, or has not sufficient analytical power to see 
how great a gain this is, the fact remains that it is really 
an immense one. Her company is very uneven ; good 
in some respects, astonishingly weak in others, but, 
on the whole, sufficiently satisfactory. Mr. Stoddard 
has greatly improved ; so has Miss Maurel, although 
she sadly needs a good method to do justice to her 
naturally fine voice ; while, in Miss Rosewald, Miss 
Abbott has secured a lady who is an artist. Her ex- 
ecution is phenomenal in its purity, and her acting 
shows experience, tact, and justly directed study. 



THE Strakosch and Hess English Opera Company 
is soon to pay us a visit. This company made the 
fatal mistake of being too big and too expensive ; as a 
natural consequence it has seen some trying times and 
been through threatening experiences. I will write 
more at length about it when I have seen it. 



Mr. Lasar, the gentleman whose Evangelical 
Hymnal I dissected last month, has in press a finely 
selected volume of English church anthems. Though 
there are some things in the arrangement and editing 
of the volume which I do not approve, it will be a val- 
uable addition to our scanty church musical literature, 
for most of the so-called church music published in this 
country is simply hashed Italian opera, and, as such, 
thoroughly unfit for use in sacred worship. 

Caryl Florio. 



OoppFsponiiFnrF, 



" STOPPING-OUT" AN UNDERGLAZE BACK- 
GROUND. 
Editor of The Art Amateur. 

Sir: la laying a flat tint for my background in underglaze 
painting, I am much troubled by my brush trespassing over the 
outline of the subject into the design itself. I find it impossible 
to correct such mistakes without injuring the painting more or 
less. There is a stopping-out composition of some kind I 
understand. Please tell me how it is used. Underglaze. 

Answer.— After^sketching and outlining the design, mix a 
little chalk with some water and a little gum, and cover the whole 
pattern with the composition. When it is quite dry, the back- 
ground color may be laid on over the whole plaque with a large 
brush in smooth, even strokes, and the dabbler used if the ground 
is to be quite flat. The plaque must be put away out of the 
reach of dust until thoroughly dry. Then place it in a basin 
of water, or a clean wooden or glass bowl, which is safer, and, 
when the composition is found to be soft, gendy wash it while 
still under water with a piece of cotton wool. Not a particle of 
the chalk should be allowed to remain on, and if not too strongly 
mixed with gum there is no difficulty found in removing it. 
When cleaned off the pattern will show clear and ready for the 
. color it is to receive. 



.marked with; the blue crossed swords with a star between the 
handles, and asked its value, adding that he "knew it had been 
in the family more than a hundred years.' Inasmuch as the Mar- 
colini mark, which he describes as being on his piece, was not in 
use before 1796, we think we were quite safe in assuring him that 
his cup and saucer is entirely unique. The point of our reply 
was to show the folly of persons declaring that this or that object 
in their possession " has been in the family for more than a hun- 
dred years," before first finding out for themselves whether the 
object could possibly have been in existence such a loig time 
ago. 

COLORING OAK BY FUMIGATION. . "'.. 
Editor of The Art Amateur: 

Sir : I have heard that there is a very good method of color- 
ing oak by fumigation in such a way as to give the wood an old 
appearance. Can you tell me what it is ? I do not approve at 
all of imitation antiques; but, opposed as your magazine is to 
.every kind of sham, you will agree with me, I -think, that the 
newness of oak in furniture and dados is very objectionable, and 
that it is legitimate to tone oak so long as it is not done by stain- 
rag- Cabinet-maker, Detroit, Mich. 

Answer.— The process is effected by fumigation with liquid 
ammonia. It is very simple. Get a large packing-case, or, 
better still, make a room in a corner of the polishing-shop about 
9 feet long, 6 feet high, and 3 feet 6 inches wide ; pass paper 
over the joints; let the door close on to a strip of india-rubber 
tubing; put a pane of glass in the side of the box or house, to 
enable you to examine the progress of coloring. In putting in 
your work see that it does not touch anything to hinder the.free 
course of the fumes. Put two or three dishes on the floor to 
hold the ammonia ; about half a pint is sufficient for a case of 
this size. The ammonia differs in purity, some leaving more 
residue than others. Small articles can be done by simply cover- 
ing them with a cloth, having a little spirits in a pot underneath. 
The color lightens when-the wood is polished. It is even and 
pure, not destroying the transparency of the wood. 



MR. Y AYE'S ORIENTAL RUG. 
Editor of The Art Amateur: . 

Sir : In reference to Persian decoration, of which much has 
been lately said, the fact is everything was permitted by the 
Persian religion for art representation, and Persian art was an 
instinct almost before the Mohammedan religion conquered 
Persia. As for the rug, I think you will find on examination 
that the silver wire is simply embroidery in chain-stitch, as it 
does not pass through the ornament, and is certainly not part of 
the web. Mary Gay Humphrey, 76 Madison Avenue. 

[Ourcorrespondent forwards with this communication an inter- 
esting article on Oriental embroidery, for which we hope to find 
room next month. — Ed.] 

Additional " Correspondence" and "Reviews of New Publica- 
tions" are crowded out of this number. 



PAINTING ON LEATHER. 
Editor of The Art Amateur r^ 

Sir : Will you inform me in your next issue how to paint on 
leather with oil paints, without the oil spreading, and greatly 
oblige A Subscriber, Brooklyn, N. Y. 

Answer.— For painting in oil, wash the leather with a very 
thin mixture of alum and mucilage ; when dry paint over it. For 
painting in water-colors, mix Chinese white with the colors. 



MARCOLINI DRESDEN. 
Editor of The Art Amateur: '• 

Sir: I see in The Art Amateur for October, 1880, a notice 
in the correspondents' column relating to a Dresden cup and 
saucer, supposed to be the only cup and saucer with the mark of 
the Marcolini period, which dates from 1796. I have a cup and 
saucer, dark blue, with a fine painting on each. . The Mar- 
colini mark is on both cup and saucer; oh the cup is written 
"Meissen," on the saucer, "Dresden." We suppose it has 
been in' the family nearly a hundred years, and it is in a perfect 
state of preservation. . M. R.-K, Dorchester, Mass.: 

Answer:— If otir correspondent will look again at our answer 
t0 ''S- J.. M.,"; she will, see that we made no such statement as 
that the lattertiad ',' the only cup and saucer with the mark of 
the Marcbhni .period,' whicn dates from .1796." ' " S. J. . M." 
wrote; describing ' a' Dresden cup and saucer in' his possession, 



SUPPLEMENT DESIGNS. 

Plate LXXXVIII. is a design for a large plaque— 
" Goldfinch, Butterfly, and Acacia"— by Camille Piton. The 
following are Prof. Piton's instructions for painting it : Ground: 
light turquoise-blue on the top and light ivory-yellow at the 
bottom. Acacia: Flowers, yellow for mixing, and sky-blue 
(light) for the first painting, retouched with gray No. 2 for the 
second firing. Leaves and stems, apple greens, yellow for mix- 
ing, ultramarine for the first painting, retouched with grass green 
No. 5 and brown No. 108 for the second firing. Goldfinch: 
Beak, yellow for mixing (light). Head, white and black (bluish 
black). Wings, black and silver-yellow. Body, brown bitume. 
Tail, black and gray (the black is a mixture of brown-black and 
blue). Butterfly: Yellow (silver-yellow), red (carmine red), 
white of the china, and black border. The small flowers are 
white, and the stems and foliage green (deep chrome-green and 
yellow for mixing). The wrong directions were given for paint- 
ing the plaque design (Plate LXXXVII.) in the February extra 
supplement— " Goldfinch, Butterfly, and Rose" (Ismerie vil- 
losa). The ground, the bird, and the butterfly should be done 
according to the directions given above for Plate LXXXVIII. 
The roses are white. First painting : light sky blue and yellow 
for mixing; for the centre use silver-yellow. Retouch' with gray 
No. 2, the centre with brown No. 3. The foliage should be deep 
chrome green and yellow for mixing ; retouch with grass green 
No. s and brown No. 108. The branches should be gray and 
brown (neutral gray and brown bitume). 

Plate LXXXIX. is a group of figures represent- 
ing characters in the new comic opera of " Billee Taylor;" 
drawn for The Art Amateur by Geo. R. Halm. They are 
especially suitable for outline embroidery or for " etching "; on 
linen. 

Plate XC. is a design for a. tea r cosy— " Cher- 
ries." Make the stalks of a pinkish green hue and the leaves 
rather dark green. The cherries may be merely outlined 
but look best filled in; it is safest to do them flat and not at- 
tempt shading. Remember that a round fruit worked in rounds 
has; a more natural shape if jrou begin at the point where the 
stalk joins. 

Plate XCI. is a group of designs for borders and 
panels. 



Two tiles cleverly painted with Japanese designs by 
Miss May. King, of Salem, Mass., have been mounted in ebony 
for their New York purchaser by Roux & Co., and finished with 
elaborate silver settings by Dominick & Haff.