More sketches from a designer's notebook
The treatment of small oblong panels in a decorative ways is one of the most common tasks set the designer. The space is not a very difficult one to fill, but at the same time the work is not so easy as a piece of ornament for a square panel, in which the four corners are exactly alike. Image 1, image 3, image 5 show different methods of dealing with the former space.
In image 1 we have a symmetrical plan. The design is rather French in feeling, and is one of the myriad forms of embellishment based upon the simple outline of a mask and two scrolls. It will be observed how skilfully the pieces of the decoration are disposed, so that every space has falling in it, in the most natural possible way, some leaf, bud, or similar ornament.
Image 3 is a panel standing longwise, and here we see adopted the common enough practice of making a bouquet of flowers and leaves depend from a bunch of ribbons. In drawing-in a design like this it is essential to start with all the stem parts of the design, subsequently to be obliterated by the finished drawing.
In image 5 another method of filling a similar panel is shown, and this time the two sides of the design are not made alike. The scroll is first arranged and then treated in what I may call a current manner, due regard being paid, however, to the balance of the back and front. A design like this would repeat with much greater success than the one in image 1.
Image 2 is much on the same lines as the chaplet of bays illustrated in the August issue. Many designers have a taste for the naturalesque, and, gratified within bounds, such a taste is most commendable. These oak leaves, for instance, differ very little, if at all, from the actual natural forms. Yet they would make a remarkably handsome piece of detail in any scheme. I am inclined to think that a good rule-of-thumb—and I do not put it forward as anything else—is that, whereas outlines should be in conventional forms, detail may be more or less naturalesque.
Image 4 is just a scrap of Louis XV. ornament, and forms a good model for the kind of foliage in which that style abounds.
Here I think I must leave my readers to take up their pencils and commence to fill their notebooks from any original examples they may come across.