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Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V10, Page 489 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LOD, indicating Low Ordinary Dreiband (Threeband). OD, „ Ordinary Dreiband. D, Dreiband. HD, Light Dreiband. R, Risten. G, Cut. Marienburg. Pernau flax is shipped as Livonian and Fellin sorts, the latter being the best. Both dew-retted and water-retted flax are exported from St Peters-burg, the dew-retted or Slanitz flax being marked 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Crown, also Zebrack No. i and Zebrack No. 2, while all the Archangel flax is dew-vetted. Some idea of the extent of the Russian flax trade may be gathered from the fact that 233,000 tons were exported in 1905. Out of this quantity a little over 53,000 tons came to the United Kingdom. The thief British ports for the landing of flax are:—Belfast, Dundee, Leith, Montrose, London and Arbroath, the two former being the chief centres of the flax industry. The following table, taken from the annual report of the Belfast Flax Supply Association, shows the quantities received from all sources into the different parts of the United Kingdom :— per ton, M, „ occasionally also attempting diversions into the sister art of painting. To the Academy he contributed a wax model of Neptune (1770); four portrait models in wax (1771); a terra-cotta bust, a wax figure of a child, a figure of History (1772); a figure of Comedy, and a relief of a Vestal (1793). During these years he received a commission from it friend of the Mathew family, fora statue of Alexander. But by heroic and ideal work of this class he could, of Course, make no regular livelihood. The means of such a livelihood, however, presented themselves in his twentieth year, when he first received employment from Josiah Wedgwood and his partner Bentley, as a modeller of classic and domestic friezes, plaques, ornamental vessels and medallion portraits, in those varieties of " jasper" and " basalt" ware which earned in their day so great a reputation for the manufacturers who had conceived and perfected the invention. In the same year, 1775, John Flaxman the elder moved from New Street, Covent Garden, to a more commodious house in the Strand (No. 420). For twelve years, from his twentieth to his thirty-second (1775-1787), Flaxman subsisted chiefly by his work for the firm of Wedgwood. It may be urged, of the minute refinements of figure outline and modelling which these manufacturers aimed at in their ware, that they were not the qualities best suited to such a material; or it may be regretted that the gifts of an artist like Flaxman should have been spent so long upon such a minor and half-mechanical art of household decoration; but the beauty of the product it would be idle to deny, or the value of the training which the sculptor by this practice acquired in the delicacies and severities of modelling in low relief and on a minute scale. By 1780 Flaxman had begun to earn something in another branch of his profession, which was in the future to furnish his chief source of livelihood, viz. the sculpture of monuments for the dead. Three of the earliest of such monuments by his hand are those of Chatterton in the church of St Mary Redcliffe at Bristol (1780), of Mrs Morley in Gloucester cathedral (1784), and of the Rev. Ti. and Mrs Margaret Ball in the cathedral at Chichester (1785). During the rest of Flawman's career memorial bas-reliefs of the same class occupied a principal part ofhis industry; they are to be found scattered in many churches throughout the length and breadth of England, and in them the finest qualities of his art are represented. The best are admirable for pathos and simplicity, and for the alliance of a truly Greek instinct for rhythmical design and composition with that spirit of domestic tenderness and innocence which is one of the secrets of the modern soul. In 1782, being twenty-seven years old, Flaxman was married to Anne Denman, and had in her the best of helpmates until almost his life's end. She was a woman of attainments in letters and to some extent in art, and the devoted companion of her husband's fortunes and of his travels. They set up house at first in Wardour Street, and lived an industrious life, spending their summer holidays once and again in the house of the hospitable poet Hayley, at Eartham in Sussex. After five years, in 1787, they found themselves with means enough to travel, and set out for Rome, where they took up their quarters in the Via Felice. Records more numerous and more consecutive of Flaxman's residence in Italy exist in the shape of drawings and studies than in the shape of correspondence. He Soon ceased modelling himself for Wedgwood, but continued to direct the work of other modellers employed for the manufacture at Rome. He had intended to return after a stay of a little more than two years, but was detained by a commission for a marble group of a Fury of Athamas, a commission attended in the sequel with circumstances of infinite trouble and annoyance, from the notorious Comte-Eveque, Frederick Hervey, earl of Bristol and bishop of Derry. He did not, as things fell out, return until the summer' of 1794, after an absence of seven years,--having in the meantime executed another ideal commission {a Cephalus and Aurora ") for Mr Hope, and having sent home models for several sepulchral monuments, including one in relief for the poet Collins in Chichester cathedral, and one in the round for Lord Mansfield in Westminster Abbey. Year. Imports to Imports to Imports to the United Ireland. England and Kingdom. Scotland. Tons. Tons. Tons. 1895 102,622 33,506 67,116 1896 95,199 36,65o 58,549 1897 98,802 37,715 61,087 1898 97,253 34,440 62,813 1899 99,052 40,145 58,907 1900 71,586 31,563 40,023 1901 75,565 28,785 46,78o 1902 73,611 29,727 43,884 1903 94,701 38,168 56,533 1904 74,917 33,024 41,893 1905 90,098 40,063 50,035 The extent of flax cultivation in Ireland is considerable, but the acreage has been gradually diminishing during late years. In 1864 it reached the maximum, 301,694 acres; next year it fell to 251,433. After 1869 it declined, there being 229,252 acres in flax crop that year, and only 122,003 in 1872. From this year to 1889 it fluctuated considerably, reaching 157,534 acres in 188o and dropping to 89,225 acres in 1884. Then for five successive years the acreage was above 1o8,000. From 1890 to 7905 it only once reached roo,000, while the average in 1903, 1904 and 1905 was a little over 45,000 acres. (T. Wo.)
End of Article: LOD

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