Two Studios by Frances Peard Page 1 of 84

Chapter One.
Studio Number One.

Art, in London, has many unexpected hiding-places. In the great palace-like houses of her successful followers she makes, it is true, at times an imposing show; but other votaries, less successful or more indifferent to outward glitter, find curious homes in which to plant their easels or model their clay.

There is a broad thoroughfare along which the busy prosaic feverish rush of traffic ceaselessly presses; where all the surroundings are sordid and unpicturesque and unlovely; and, in the heart of this, a rusty entrance, with no feature to mark that it forms a division between two worlds, leads you into a strange, long court, where is an avenue of trees - twelve old pollarded trees, breaking into glad greenness of leaf, and gay with the twittering of birds.

The sudden change from the noisy racket without to the peace of this quiet spot, the charm of contrast between the dark houses and the black stems and the lovely lightness of green, the oddity of an old figure-head which ends the line of trees, prepare you, in some measure, for that other world of which they form a threshold - a world in which there is hard work and heart-burning and disappointment, but also the joy of beauty and the eager interest of creation.

The studios stretch like a long arm away to the right, on one side the painters with their gracious colours and draperies, and the "bits" they have collected around them; on the other the cold pure marble and the busy workmen carrying out the master"s thought; or, alone and self-contained, the bronze worker, modelling the clay or moulding the wax for his nobly severe art.

Charles Everitt, who had set up his tent here among the painters, thought it, after five years" trial, the most delightful spot in the world.

To be sure he had a right to take a pleasant view of life.

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