MR. G. S. LAYARD
A correspondent writes:—In George Somes Layard, whose death was briefly announced in The Times yesterday, there has passed away a versatile writer, a brilliant conversationalist, and a keen a student of art in its many forms. He contributed much to our knowledge of engravings and the various methods of reproduction adopted during the last two centuries. He first made a name as the author of "The Life and Letters of Charles Keene," a book which presented that gifted artist in a light that had hardly been appreciated even by those who had, week by week, laughed at and admired the pictures with which adorned the pages of Punch. Keene's simplicity, humour, and supreme talent were brought into permanent limelight by Layard's human touch, as well as by the remarkable selection of drawings in which the book abounded. Layard enjoyed similar success with his "Life of Mrs. Lynn Linton," his "Portraits of Cruikshank by Himself," "Sir Thomas Lawrence's Letter-bag," and "A Great Punch Editor (Shirley Brooks)"; but perhaps his lighter work was that which gave pleasure to the largest circle of readers. As a frequent contributor of stories to Truth and other periodicals, he entertained an ever-growing audience which would have assumed far greater dimensions had it not been for ill-health that often deprived him of his full working strength. The latest of his novels, "An Amateur Detective," was published only a few months ago.
But, above all, his interest and his love were centred on prints. In these he revelled, and of these he wrote until he almost made them take on a new guise in the eyes of those to whom he discoursed. His articles on "Suppressed Plates" and his studies of the various changes introduced from time to time into well-known engravings for historical, political, or other reasons gave new life to what had seemed to be the driest of bones. His acquaintance with this particular subject was unique, and his discoveries in it opened out fresh meadows for print enthusiasts to browse over. And, as a lovable man, full of joie de vivre, appreciating without envy the art of the energy of others, ready to take a modest part on any stage and always able to shine in its performance—as such he will be remembered by very many friends.