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SOCIETIES OF INSTRUCTION AND POPULAR ...

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Originally appearing in Volume V02, Page 702 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SOCIETIES OF INSTRUCTION AND POPULAR ENCOURAGEMENT. —It is under this head that the chief evidence of the modern art revival will be found. First it should be noted that there are very few societies designed for the artistic improvement of artists. The Artists' Society has already been mentioned; and the Art Workers' Guild, which meets at Clifford's Inn Hall, provides meetings, from which the public is excluded, where profitable discussions take place on questions of craft and design. But, as a rule, the art society, of which only artists are members, is organized for exhibition purposes or for the protection of interests. With regard to those societies of popular and educational intention the old Society of Arts in the Adelphi, founded in 1754, enjoys a good record. Numerous lectures on art subjects have from time to time been given, and in 1887 a scheme was devised by which awards are made to student-workers in design. The Society for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts (Conduit Street) has also laboured since its foundation in 1858 to increase a technical knowledge, its members holding conversazioni at various picture galleries. The Artists' and Amateurs' Conversazione, instituted in 1831, which used to meet at the Piccadilly Galleries and is now defunct, carried out a similar plan. Two other societies, now obsolete, should be mentioned whose method were directly educational. The Arundel Society, which fo many years promoted the knowledge of art by copying an publishing important works of ancient masters, issued to it members on payment of annual subscriptions, was eventually wound up on the last day of 1897. The Arundel Club, founded in 1904, continues the aim, but with a wider scope, reproducing works of art rendered somewhat inaccessible by being in private collections. The International Chalcographical Society, formed for the study of the early history of engraving, also did useful work. Another association of painters, sculptors, architects and engravers, the Graphic Society, ceased on the 29th of October 1890. This was one of the most interesting of societies, rare works of art being exhibited and discussed at its meetings. A very active educational body, originated in 1888, namely the Royal Drawing Society, has for its definite object the teaching of drawing as a means of education. The methods of instruction are based on the facts that very young children try to draw before they can write, and that they have very keen perception and retentive memory. The society aims, therefore, at using drawing as a means of developing these innate characteristics of the young, and already nearly 300 important schools follow out its system. Lord Leighton, Sir Jobn Millais, and Sir Edward Burne-Jones took an active part in the society's labours. The Art for Schools Association, founded in 1883, has also done steady work in endeavouring to provide schools with works of art. These are chiefly reproductions of standard works of art or of historical and natural subjects. The wave of enthusiasm aroused by Mr Ruskin's teachings caused Societies of the Rose to be founded in London, Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham, Aberdeen and Glasgow; but some of these eventually ceased active work, to be revived again, however, by the Ruskin Union, formed in the year of the great writer's death (1900). Most of these societies were formed in 1879; but it should not be forgotten that two years earlier the Kyrle Society was started with the object of bringing the refining and cheering influences of natural and artistic beauty to the homes of the people. Under the presidency of Earl Brownlow, the Home Arts and Industries Association continues a work which was started in 1884, and anticipated much of the present system of technical education. Voluntary teachers organize classes for working people, at which a practical knowledge of art handiwork is taught. Training classes for voluntary teachers are held at the studios at the Albert Hall, as well as an annual exhibition. An interesting type of society has been established in Bolton, Lancashire. Under the title of an Arts Guild the members, numbering over 200, devote themselves to the advancement of taste in municipal improvements.
End of Article: SOCIETIES OF INSTRUCTION AND POPULAR ENCOURAGEMENT
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