A glance at the decadence of any decorative art is apt to engender a feeling of regret.
In some instances its secret has died out with the last of the traditional workers; in others it has been crowded but by new requirements and tastes. The exquisite iron work of the Renaissance period is no longer produced, for who would pay the cost of such elaboration, or what modern forger at the anvil could be found equal to the task of producing those delicate tendrils and leaves and exquisite interlacings.
The art of enameling has been revived by the demand for it in jewelry, but in former times there were methods and processes that mod- ern practice does not approach, and which involve buried secrets. The Spaniards of old prod used de- scriptions of light fictile ware scintellating with colored light and which varied w|th every change of position, specimens of which now exceed in value their weight in gold because rarely obtainable.
The last report of the U. S. Consul at Barcelona gives evidence of the painted, glazed and enameled tile industry, ancient samples of which awaken modern admiration, and which were scattered as far as the Philippine Islands. With their wonderful arabesques, they were a heritage from the Arabs. Simii* larly, the Spanish embossed leather hangings can no longer be approached. In an old Spanish book describing ihe process of making them, the writer declares the process to be so difficult that he hud never met with a workman absolutely faultless in his productions.
These were citirs (lores of Cardova and Seville, gilded leather stamped and painted, and which were used as hangings as well as for upholstery coverings. No modern skill can approach the excellence of antique~speci mens. Lo, too, with Venetian glass and silk embroideries. But why further enumerate. If old arts die, new requirements evolve others in their place. No preceding century approached the pre sent in beauty and variety of decorative enrichments. If we have lost some secrets, we have recovered others, and th.e spirit of inventiveness is ever at work.