THE MURALISTS AND REALISTS.
BUT why not Mr. John? Admitting that he did not compete but protesting that the decoration is the thing that matters, not the competition, why is he not summarily commissioned? Stepping out of Chelsea Town Hall, from the exhibition of designs for the mural decorations, into the Chenil Gallery next door, one meets this question violently. So much that one wanted and altogether missed among the successful and rejected competitors is there, in the Chenil rooms, all ripe and ready. Without waiting for the demonstration you see that every one of Mr. John’s small pieces would enlarge to any size and superbly decorate any wall. They were conceived in terms of mural decoration, which I need hardly say are not the terms of easel pictures or Royal Exchange adornments. At least one would think it went without saying if the visit to the Town Hall had not been made. There presumably we see the collective brilliance of our best young men (saving, of course, the remarkable cliques “at home” in the Carfax Gallery and Borough Polytechnic). But with the fewest exceptions, among whom Mrs. Sargent Florence is conspicuous, none realises that paintings for wall spaces must bear a special character and convention. Just as a water-colour is not an oil, an etching is not a steel-engraving, nor chamber music grand opera, so mural painting radically differs from exhibition pictures.