[ The John Hassall Correspondence Art School. ] Sixteen Typed 'Lessons', being personalised anonymous assessments of the work of Miss E. Elderton of Teignmouth.

The John Hassall Correspondence Art School, London [ John Hassall (1868-1948), artist and poster designer; E. Elderton of Teignmouth ]
Publication details: 
The John Hassall Correspondence Art School [ London ]. Lessons I to XVI, 17 November 1932 to 24 May 1934.
SKU: 19414

The 16 'lessons (I-XVI)' total 31pp., 8vo., with Lesson XIV on 1pp., and the other 15 on 2pp. In fair condition, on aged paper with slight rusting and pin holes at the corner where the sixteen have been attached. All 16 are anonymous, but each carries a set of initials at the end: the last 12 ending with 'JH/W', and of the first four two with 'JH/D', and two with 'JH/MW'.. 'JH' presumably stands for 'John Hassall', with 'D', 'MW' and 'W' the name of the writer of the response. Surprisingly rigorous and personalised assessments of the work Elderton sends in, casting an interesting insight into the conventions and practices of commercial art during the period. Elderton receives constant encouragement, Lesson XVI ending with praise of her 'very definite understanding and appreciation of the work'. The first paragraph of the same lesson is a fair example of the general tone: 'Well you are certainly to be congratulated on the Spratts dog biscuit advertisement, but when you pin the drawing up and look at it from a slight distance you will find one or two mistakes you have made which are not altogether pleasing. The first thing you will notice is that all your forms seem to be dropping down low in the panel. This is possibly caused by the fact that you place the dogs dead in the centre of the paper, instead of which you should have them slightly higher, and thus prevent the feeling that they are actually dropping. Then you should avoid placing the dog in the centre with the tail coming dead in the middle of your panel, otherwise you will split the panel into two definite sections. Instead of drawing the dogs in so much detail and such a mass of fine lines, it would have been much better to have treated the general effect of the form on the same principle as Puss in Boots. But instead of using the full black silhouette such as you have used here you would use half tone silhouettes, which would make the drawing so very much more satisfying and pleasing.' For information on Hassall see his entry in the Oxford DNB, which states that he founded his art school in London in 1905, and that H. M. Bateman was among the pupils. The only other similar correspondence traced on OCLC WorldCat or on COPAC is at the Victoria & A lbert Museum in London, relating to 'R. Southern'.