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From The New York Times: “Bad Art in the Yellow Book”

“Most anything will do,” may be the an-
swer the editor of The Yellow Book gives
to the artist who furnishes illustrations
for this publication. Outside the volume
as a challange on the yellow cover are
two fighting cocks, with all kinds of un-
dulating tail feathers, but with very poorly
developed spurs.

Let us make three or four exceptions to
the general run of these poor prints, and say
that Mr. Muirhead Bone’s “Old Houses Off
the Dry Gate, Glasgow,” is excellent, and
so are D. Y. Cameron’s “Vanity,” E. P.
Pimlott’s “A Shepherd Boy,” and Patten
Wilson‘s “An Eastern Town.” All the rest
are rubbish. Why in the contents the other
pictures are indicated as art, we cannot
conceive. Ethel Reed, who is highly capa-
ble, has evidently sent to The Yellow Book
her poorest sketches — those of an undevel-
oped period. The very worst are the dread-
ful things called “A Fairy Prince” and “A
Masque,” which are so poor in conception,
drawing, and everything else that even “the
art department” of a yellow fake New York
journal would turn up its nose at them.

It is past our comprehension how or why
such absolutely poor work is used. We still
hold to the idea that in the majority of
cases where the editor of The Yellow Book
wants a sketch he says, “Oh, give me some-
thing or other that has been declined as
not good enough by some other publisher.
We always can find room for absolute me-
diocrity. We like it.”

The stories in this volume show, however,
a decided improvement. The Yellow Book
does not favor the short story with a def-
inite conclusion. The reader must draw his
own conclusion. Mr. Henry Harland‘s
“Merely Players” is nicely and delicately
worked up, and you like the woman with
the red hair. Was the one with the carroty
locks Marguerite the Queen, and Ferdinand
Augustus, was he her king? A very nice
story, too, is J. A. Blakie’s “The Other
Anna,” which tells of a studio frivol with
a capitol conclusion. The Yellow Book has

*THE YELLOW BOOK. An Illustrated Quar-
terly. Vol. XIII. John Lane, New York:
The Bodley Head.

a liking for dolorous verse and modern
made ballads, and some of these are like
tailors’ misfits, very baggy at times, and
skimped at others. Anyhow the literary
portion of this Yellow Book is a decided im-
provement on former publications.

MLA citation:

“Bad Art in the Yellow Book.*” Review of The Yellow Book, vol. 13, April 1897, New York Times, 17 July 1897, BR5. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Edited by Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2019.