I will write a few words about the present position of letterpress revival. Of late years, a kind of revival has been going on, as a protest against the conviction, with all our modern advanced technology, mechanical achievements, comforts, and luxuries; life is growing “uglier every day”.
In the first place, the very fact that there is a “revival” shows that the arts aforesaid have been sick unto death. In all such changes the first of the new does not appear untill there is little or no life left in the old, and yet the old, even when it is all but dead, goes on living in corruption, and refuses to get itself put quietly out of the way and decently buried. So that while the revival advances and does some good work, the period of corruption goes on from worse to worse, untill it arrives at the point when it can no longer be borne, and disappears.
Letterpress printing field had a gradual working up to perfection, a golden age from, after which sudden decline and death.
This is called entropy, is found in all forms of existence, birth, development and death of an artistic movement or entities. At this point there is a period of silence and then revival art is born.
For the eighteenth century art was quite unconscious of its tendency towards ugliness and nullity, whereas the modern “Impressionists” loudly proclaim their enmity to beauty, and are no more unconscious of their aim than the artists of the revival are of their longing to link themselves to the traditional art of the past.
The position which we have to face then is this: the lack of beauty in modern life so that no general sense of beauty is extant which would force us into the creation of a feeling for art which in its turn would force us into taking up the dropped links of tradition, and once more producing genuine organic art.