21 JANUARY 1938, Page 17

Bird Greetings

If Christmas and New Year's cards are a recognisable form of art, then English art has made a long step forward in one department. The traditional picture has disappeared ; but if we saw this Christmas few, if any, robins on frozen holly twigs we Saw a great gallery of birds. In a census of one family's Christmas cards are reckoned Mallard, flying at persuasive angles against a wintry sky, a Toucan (wearing a " dicky "), a tern, a gull, a number of bright Australian birds, a heron standing on one leg and holding out his greeting in the claw of the other, a waxwing, several tits, a nuthatch, wren, and robin and a penguin. They helped to make the gallery very pleasing ; and the bird seems to inspire artists to their finer efforts. How many glorious pictures of birds have adorned recent books, and perhaps the artist who conceals himself under the title of a bird is best of all : " Fishhawk " has a real artistic affinity with the birds, especially those belong- ing to the wilder scenes.