Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

The Imprint
Jackson, F. Ernest Mason, J. H. Johnston, Edward
Persistente ID:
T was with amazement that I read in the January number of the 
" Members' Circular " of the Federation of Master Printers the 
statement that " to the taste of the ordinary master printer in the 
street, the Rembrandt gravure of the ' Glad Dawn' is a decided 
blot.    The words of ' Glad DaWn,' says one of the Editors, do 
not admit of excuse. Still less does the plate itself. If The Imprint 
cannot be opened at random by our wives and daughters, it does not deserve 
a place, or at any rate an honoured place, on the library table." Do we still 
live in the era of the " British Matron," or has the master printer, Whom 
we suspect of being her favourite nephew, no better occupation when " in 
the street " than the search for " Indecent Sculpture in the Strand "P 
For, really, this prudish criticism recalls these two headings of newspaper 
correspondence, in a bygone and a still recent age respectively, both of 
them the laughing-stock of all thoughtful people with a liberal education 
and an appreciative sense of great and noble art. And to think that Blake, 
of all people, should be made the victim of a charge of indecency ! The 
serious and child-like Blake, most spiritual and visionary of poets and 
artists, in his purest and most exalted mood of creative oy, picturing a type 
of perfect manhood exultant in strength, glad in the dawn of day and the 
youth of the world, glowing with health and vitality in a glory of colour 
and light. It is the art of a Phidias, of a Michelangelo, as remote from any 
taint of impropriety or suggestiveness as the David of the Bargello. What a 
chance such a sneer as this would have given to the pen of Swinburne, the 
iirst and most eloquent champion of Blake's renown. He would have fallen 
on the master printer as he fell on Buchanan when he attacked Rossetti, 
and harried him, page after page, with the stinging lash of his invective. 
Though I myself have neither Swinburne's range of adjectives nor all the 
fervour of his generous indignation, I feel bound as a member of the 
Advisory Committee of The Imprint, and the very member, moreover, 
whose advice was asked on the choice of a subject from Blake for the 
opening number, to enter a protest in the name of decency and common 
sense against the appearance of such a groundless insinuation in the pages 
of What is, apparently, a reputable technical journal.


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