London at the End of the Century:A Book of Gossip
a Beckett, Arthur William
ART AND COMMERCE.
Leaving social questions out of consideration, and merely regarding Art as a profession, there is no doubt that when successfully followed it is most lucrative. When certain wills come to be proved I fancy that it will be discovered that painters make quite as much money as popular physicians and celebrated solicitors. The pick of the work (from a commercial point of view) is portrait painting. I have been told that every Royal Academician can secure as much as he pleases of this kind of work if he likes to accept it. Of course, men of the standing of Mr. Sargent, Mr. Luke Fildes, and Professor Herkomer must be pestered with people wishing to give them commissions. That goes without saying; but I fancy all the Brethren of Burlington House could turn portrait painters if they pleased. I believe that there a number of who give commissions on the understanding that their portraits must be exhibited either at the Royal Academy or in the New Gallery. This body (a large one) would serve as a . However, be it said in honour
|of art that the R.As. are reticent in painting portraits. Those who practise or have practised this branch of their profession have invariably been worthy of their tasks. Some of the best pictures of the century have been portraits painted by Millais, Fildes, Ouless, Herkomer, and Frith. After portraits, perhaps Scriptural subjects are the most lucrative. A painting that can be shown in a separate room, and then engraved, is to anyone who can acquire it. of pretty children, military exploits, and reproductions of popular resorts are not to be despised. They all bring grist to the mill, and in considerable quantities. The printsellers are great allies of the artists, and so are the advertisers. Soap-sellers have immortalised and the cigarette makers have caused many a clever sketch by a worker in black and white to be continually perpetuated on the metropolitan hoardings.|