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known head by Mr Cholmondeley, must likewise be singled out for its noble bearing and good style: in depth and fulness of colour, how far is it removed from the chalk and water, deadened by dirt, which have been so much in vogue with some of our fashionable painters! For the same Venetian intensity of colour, we must mention "Veneziana" by "Mrs Wells, also an Italian" head by Mr Wells. Among the best examples of the sober style of light and shade more usual with our British school, are the portraits of Mr Louis Huth by Mr Boxall, of Professor James Forbes by Sir Watson Gordon, and of Lord Auckland, Bishop of Bath and Wells, by Mr Richmond. These are all in the quiet gentlemanly manner which is among the best characteristics of portrait art. In the old style, relying upon column, curtain, table, and armchair, there are a multitude of examples. But this more hackneyed treatment is, we trust, at last dying
and Portrait-statues are, with few exceptions, after the prescribed mediocrity. The Children executed by Mr Monro are, as usual, pleasing and playful-all indeed that children should be.
Of the British School of Sculpture perhaps the less said the better. As long as our sculptors were doomed to the cellar known as the Black-hole of the Academy, they were not so much to be blamed as pitied. But now in the new sculpture-room there is light and space sufficient, and we trust that, in future years at least, the best works of the English school will not be withheld from public competition. But we cannot disguise the opinion that most of our aspirants for the honours of Phidias and Praxiteles have yet much to learn. Such works as "Lady Godiva," and "Una with the Lion," by Mr Thomas, would be wholly unworthy of notice, did not size make them absolutely obnoxious. 'Sardanapalus," executed by Mr Weekes for the Egyptian-hall of the Mansionhouse, is too noisy and violent for the quiet dignity appropriate to marble. Mr Spence's "Hippolitus," not perhaps very original, surpasses in refined and classic style most works in the Exhibition. The Busts
We will conclude the present article with works which have more or less claim to the rank of the historic. In these matters, lines of demarcation are not always positively defined. History may be, and often is, treated through its minor incidents and anecdotes; and then again, the historic taking the line of the biographical, the destiny of a nation may be narrowed or centred in the fate of an individual. A painter, indeed, from the very limits of his art, is often glad to escape from the difficulties of a complex drama by timely retreat into some wayside episode. "The Flight of Lord Nithsdale from the Tower," a vigorous picture by Miss Hughes-wanting, however, in finer finish-ranks, for example, as a biographic incident in the larger historic drama of the Stuart dynasty. "John Bunyan in Bedford Jail," by Mr A. Johnstone, a pleasing but somewhat conventional work, is likewise biographic, and yet, in another and a larger sense, it touches on the history of a party and a principle. In the same class we cannot escape mention of Mr Noel Paton's "Luther at Erfurt," a picture which, in the best interests of the painter, we must regret. This is history painted down to the level of the old curiosity-shop; great truths, the Bible and justification by faith included, handled as by a dealer in dusty relics. Luther's well-known and manly countenance is here wholly wanting in dignity and force of intellect. The picture, with little alteration, might serve, indeed, for the Temptation of St Anthony, and in execution and colour is worthy of Denner and Gerard Dow. The style here adopted is suited only for Dutch brass kettles. Mr Noel Paton's previous works-"The Pursuit of Pleasure," "The Bluidy
Tryste," and "In Memoriam" secured for him a first position among London artists. His failing has always been an execution too small for the dignity of his thought. He is evidently a poet, and we doubt not will yet obtain modes of expression more worthy of his genius.
In a subdivision must be ranked a class of pictures of much beauty and interest-works which belong to the poetry of history, or it may be to the history of poetry. Under this head we would mention with commendation, for its quiet pathos, and from its appropriate adaptation of the medieval to the modern, Mr Archer's "Mort d' Arthur." Into the same category must likewise be thrown two somewhat companionpictures by Mr Holiday and Mr W. C. Thomas, of two somewhat brother poets-brothers in sorrows as in joys -Dante and Petrarch-with their truly poet-loves-ideal romances of the imagination, and enduring anguish in the saddened heart. Under this same head, we presume, must also fall the works of Mr Leighton, of whom we would gladly escape mention, were silence possible. His pictures this season, however, for evil or for good, are too deliberate to be passed by. Some years since, it will be remembered that he created a surprise, and made for himself a name, by a large work of great merit, "The Procession of the Madonna of Cimabue through the streets of Florence." This was unfortunately quickly followed by Orpheus fiddling his wife out of Hades! Since then, the acknowledged powers of Mr Leighton have been in abeyance, always, however, with the still cherished hope that the time would come when the high expectations entertained on his behalf should be fully realised. It is with extreme regret that we find this hope deferred is now at last doomed to painful disappointment. Leighton has put forth his matured powers in three important and highly elaborate works, "A Dream," "Lieder ohne worte," and "Paolo e
Francesca." The "Dream" necessarily takes the form of a vision, and is wholly different from anything we ever saw before, and we trust equally far removed from anything we may ever see again. The draperies are cast exclusively in the painter's imagination, and the forms come as the offspring of a fevered fancy, decked in colours found neither on earth nor in heaven. It may be answered that this is but in keeping with the subject. In reply, we beg humbly to express the hope, that when next the painter may be favoured with the like revelations, he will not condescend to exhibit the result in this lower world. The second work, "Lieder ohne worte," is worthy of the first. We know that a certain refinement of sentiment, which it doubtless possesses, has won admirers; not however, happily, among the hanging committee. Here again, we have draperies, which in disposition are absolute impossibilities, and a maiden for a muse, morbid, sicklied, and woe-begone, wholly, we should hope, transcending the reach of nature. The "Paolo e Francesca" is no better. What a contrast to the true manly sentiment of Ary Scheffer in his well-known picture! These works of Mr Leighton in style seem to be gathered from all foreign countries and times, and yet to belong to none. We recognise a distant dreamy remembrance of the old Italian, mixed with the artificial manner of the French, mingled again in turn with the mazy abstractions of the more morbid German. And all this has been brought from afar, expressly to hang on the walls of an English Academy. We are sure that Mr Leighton by this time must feel that his triumphs, so ill appreciated, are wholly un-English and out of place. The effort expended to attain this degree of inconceivable success, can only be fitly estimated by marking in what far-off distance a small unpretending portrait of "Mrs S. O." is left behind. Why, this modest inconspicuous work, also by Mr
Leighton, might have been painted due to the former clause in the alby the most humble and simple and ternative. It is melancholy to mark natural of artists-with this proviso the virtuous efforts made from year only, that the painter was possessed to year by Mr Hart to redeem the of genius as high as the picture is English school from the stigma of admirable. In style, it is one of extinct ambition. It were unkind the very choicest works in the to enter into any detailed criticism whole Academy, and abundantly of his present work, conceived in proves what still is within Mr the very spirit of the sublime, "St Leighton's reach, if haply it yet Elizabeth,Queen of Hungary, canonremain possible for him to retrace ised for her goodness, distributing his steps. alms to the poor." It is a performance which has the privilege of claiming all the immunities usually extended towards the best intentions. In the same way, it seems ungenerous to censure any picture so well meant as Mr Le Jeune's "Sisters of Lazarus;" but we must confess, speaking generally, that we prefer goodness when it is not quite as weak as water, emotion when it is not hardened into anything just as immovable as stone, and high art when it is permitted to stop somewhat short of the barber's block.
Of all poems, the Idylls of the King are this year the most prolific in pictures, and above all heroines Elaine ranks as the most favoured. Several painters have attempted to translate into beauteous forms and glowing colours that most pictorial of descriptions, the chariot bier, borne to that stream whereon the barge palled in blackest samite lay. These are the poet's words :
So those two brethren from the chariot
And on the black decks laid in her bed,
In her right hand the lily, in her left The letter-all her bright hair streaming down
And all the coverlid was cloth-of-gold Drawn to her waist, and she herself in white
All but her face, and that clear-featured face
Was lovely, for she did not seem as dead
Mr Wallis's picture is scarcely inferior to the verse in the sweet feast of beauty, and for luxury of poetic sadness. It is perhaps too decorative in treatment to be very intense too much decked out in resplendent 'detail to be deeply desolating. In this it is inferior to the artist's prior, and perhaps greater work, "The Death of Chatterton." Mr Wallis plays prettily with his subject, as Mr Millais did with the Drowning of poor Ophelia. The littleness of this manner has been proved incompatible with the greatness of a master-passion.
The historic is grand, the psuedohistoric contemptible. There are at least two painters in the Academy who cannot claim the distinction
Approaching the line of legitimate history, there are, at the outset, a few minor works which call for a word of commendation. Mr Elmore is a painter whose pictures have won for him thoughtful admirers. A lull has this year come over his somewhat fitful genius, and his figure of "Marie Antoinette in the Temple," follows but as a minor episode to his grand composition from the Tuileries of last Academy. Mr Cope in like manner, upon a small scale, paints a well-beaten topic of pictorial pathos, "The Parting of Lord and Lady Russell." One of the most thoughtful, and among the most remarkable, pictures of the season, is Mr Dyce's "George Herbert at Bemerton," his country parsonage in Wilts. Mr Dyce's paintings of last year, "St John leading Home his adopted Mother," "The Man of Sorrows," and "Pegwell Bay," without any false pretence or striving, found poems in nature, sermons in stones, and good in everything. "George Herbert," though widely different, is a picture painted with the same high purpose. The
quaint country parson, writing in praise of Virtue, opens with these lines
"Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright,
And the picture is painted in this same tone of pensive sober melancholy. George Herbert, with companion-book in hand, turns the upward gazing eye of contemplation on the ivy-mantled tree; a lute leans against a secluded seat, a boat lies upon the bank, the river, shadowed by overhanging branches, steals gently along, and the distant church spire, at the meeting of earth and sky, closes the solemn pastoral, "so calm, so cool, so bright." The picture is painted with a detail seldom found compatible with unity of purpose or depth of expression. Mr Dyce succeeds where others have failed, simply by observing an obvious law common to all the arts that in descriptive pictures as in descriptive poetry, every touch and word and incident must be relevant to the paramount intent. The amount of detail which the painter has thus found it possible to subordinate to the general effect, is truly marvellous. And such is the accuracy of even the minutest branch, that the picture might serve Mr Ruskin as a diagram for his fifth volume, or his future lectures on "tree-twigs."
There is no chapter in Macaulay's History of greater brilliancy than that which narrates the death of Charles II. "His palace had seldom presented a gayer or a more scandalous appearance than on the evening of Sunday the 1st of February 1685." "The great gallery of Whitehall, an admirable relic of the magnificence of the Tudors, was crowded with revellers and gamblers. The King sat there chatting and toying with three women, whose charms were the boast, and whose vices were the disgrace, of the three nations." "I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay - tree. Yet
he passed away, and lo he was not." On the morning of Monday the 2d of February Charles rose from his bed, his utterance indistinct, and his thoughts wandering. On the morning of Thursday following he was better and out of danger; but in the same evening a relapse ensues, and the physicians have already given up all further hope. The bishops and dignities of the Established Church thought it was now time to speak out, and brought to the bedside a table with the sacramental bread and wine, but in vain. Charles refused to receive the Eucharist. The Duchess of Portsmouth, it appears, was in the secret-knew that the King was a Catholic at heart. His brother James, thinking only of personal safety, is appealed to. A soul is at stake." The Duke starts as if roused from sleep-declares that nothing shall prevent him from discharging the sacred duty which had been delayed too long. He clears the chamber of the Protestant clergymen, commands the crowd to stand aloof, goes to the bed, whispers to the dying King, "Shall I bring a priest?" 'Do, brother!" replied the sick man, "for God's sake do! Lose no time." "The King," we are told, "found so much difficulty in swallowing the bread, that it was necessary to open the door and to procure a glass of water." "The whole ceremony had occupied about threequarters of an hour; and, during that time, the courtiers who had filled the outer room had communicated their suspicions to each other by whispers and significant glances.' Mr Ward has thrown these thrilling and dramatic incidents into a picture remarkable for vigour, and prodigal in resource. The hand from the death-chamber reaches for the glass of water, to the relief of the choking King. In the ante-room of rich carved wainscoting, capitally painted, is a gay medley of age, youth, fashion, and beauty: bishops and lapdogs, with mistresses patched on cheeks, and convulsed in tears
groups on the other side wiling away tedium by cards-all flaunt
ing and frivolous in the glitter of rings, ribbons, necklaces, and bracelets, the pomp of a wicked world, and the vanity of vain ambition. Thus does Mr Ward, with much strength of manner, point a moral, and paint a picture of keen Hogarth character. The subject, however, is un embarras de richesses, and the work is consequently somewhat distracted and scattered in its profusion of detail and incident, all emphasised with equal force through
We reserve for the last, the most impressive picture of the year, Mr Faed's cottage deathbed-" From Dawn to Sunset," "so runs the round of life from hour to hour." It is a little remarkable that the two leading paintings of the Exhibition should take deathbeds as their subjects the death of a king and the death of a peasant; and that, by each painter alike, the death - agony should be withdrawn from public gaze; in each picture death telling its dread tragedy by a single solitary hand thrust among the livingthe hand taking the glass to the dying king, and the hand of the dying woman seen on the coverlit. Here, however, the analogies end and the contrasts begin. The king breathes his last amid frivolous pageantry-the cottager dies in the quiet of a simple cabin. The humbler picture is more impressive, because everything is in keeping; all in solemn suspense on coming death; truthful, and therefore touching; detailed in all the circumstance of ebbing life, watched with solicitude, and death awaited with fortitude. In gazing upon this great and earnest work, not unmoved, we knew no better words wherewith to express its desolation, and yet to portray the serenity of its hope, than the lines of Mrs Southey, written on a like theme
Stranger! however great,
With lowly reverence bow; There's one in that poor shedOne by that paltry bedGreater than thou."
It will scarcely be right to close this article on the London art-season without bestowing some commendation on the important additions and improvements effected in the National Gallery of old masters. Increased space has been gained; and the pictures, arranged with singular taste and judgment by Mr Wornum, now constitute a gallery which will stand comparison with the famed museums of the continent, a gallery which, by judicious purchases, is each day growing more worthy of this great country, more fitted to instruct our artists in the history and development of ancient art, and to teach, by the force of illustrious examples, those principles on the observance of which true excellence must ever depend. The public opening of the present magnificent assembly of pictures was a triumph for the management of our National Museum, and served indeed as a final refutation of those ignorant charges and virulent attacks which at one time bore sway in the public journals and before the House of Commons. The old masters and the English modern pictures are at this moment once more close neighbours; and the passage from the National Gallery to the Royal Academy is striking and instructive. The old masters are dark and low in tone; the modern light in key and even crude. The old are often far removed from present sympathies, belonging essentially to the past; the modern seize upon the topics of the day, and an Academy Exhibition thus often becomes, as it were, an annual register for the year. The old masters require some previous knowledge, perhaps even a special culture, for their full appreciation: a modern English picture, on the other hand, is generally easily understood; its excellences lie more on the surface;