The Louisquatorze

mastery over tool, method, and material in order that the fancies of their brain might be translated into concrete form in the exact way they wished; they could not entrust their interpretation to other hands. Full advantage, moreover, was taken of their powers and services, and there need be small wonder that such should have been the case, for they created and produced the daintiest and most charming conceits in metal, and particularly in brass. By the force of their genius and skill, they seemed to inspire it with very life, and we may congratulate ourselves most heartily that they were prepared to work hand in hand with the cabinet maker, and bring their ideas into conformity with his requirements, deeming it not beneath their dignity to devote the best of their endeavours and abilities to the beautification of the common surroundings of daily life. Chefs d'oeuvre in modelling that would now be highly prized, cherished, and proudly displayed as choice works of art in themselves, calling for no other accompaniment to entitle them to positions of honour in any art collection, were then used merely as "mounts" or ornaments, for the ostensible support of a table top, or to decorate the " knee " of a chair leg; and all were characterised by a verve and spontaneity which irresistibly charm us to this very day.

It should be noted particularly that one of the greatest charms of these brass or ormolu mounts consisted in the frequent introduction of the human head—usually the female head—not conventionalised, nor stiffly posed, as at earlier and later periods, but instinct with all that entrancing grace and abandon which the French pre-eminently always have

imparted, and perhaps always will impart, to their modelling and sculpture of the human form.

This ormoluy furthermore, even when regarded from the technical point of view, and if the question of its design be for the moment put aside, attained as near perfection as was Possible. It was not the average " puddingy/' lifeless casting

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