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genius of Francis Danby, who is now for ever lost to the realms of art. But his works, as a treasured life beyond life, have within them an immortality. "The Opening of the Sixth Seal," "The Deluge," "The Evening Gun," and other pictures of the same noble purpose, were almost unexampled for the boldness of their imagination, the beauty of their colour, and their depth of refined emotion. They belong to a school which is now, unfortunately, all but extinct. With Francis Danby, we regret to think, has died the poet's eye which could look into the soul of nature; the hand which swept across the lyre, attuning grove and lake and river to sweetest harmonies.
We now propose to throw into one general division those miscellaneous pictures of life and manners so successfully handled by our English school; a class of works which, in French art, has, for want of a better term, long been designated genre, as belonging to a certain, or rather, perhaps, to an uncertain, kind. Such pictures are necessarily varied, and usually admit of further subdivisions: there is the picture de societé, as, for example, when Mr Calderon paints, with point, delicate sentiment seasoned with sly satire, worthy of any Frenchman, "La Demande en Mariage." Mr Gale, likewise, in "The Father's Blessing;" Mr Lawless in "A Dinner-Party" and "Waiting for an Audience;" and, emphatically, Mr Hicks, in his sparkling little picture, "Life's Sunshine," all taking Meissonier and his school for their example, paint genre with a truly French relish. Mr Rankley, again, in "George Stephenson teaching the Misses Pease, in the garb of their sect, the art of embroidery, paints the Quaker genre. And worse still, Mr Horsley, with a text of Scripture in his mouth, renders the parable of the Prodigal Son into genre of the lowest kind, though his subject demanded the grave dignity of sacred art. Such a work, in our judgment, calls for
severe censure, and serves to show the line of demarcation that should ever separate pictures of light surface-sentiment from sacred topics, which, by elevation and severity in treatment, must be raised above the level of common life. But it still remains the province, and indeed the privilege, of the multiform art of which we now treat, to take the world just as it is, in its joys, its tears, and its laughter,to delight by playful pleasing incident, to move through sympathy, to amuse by satire. Mr J. Clarke's two small pictures in one frame, "The Wanderer," and its sequel, "The Little Child Restored," are good examples of the pretty points which, in this class of subjects, please and tell so well. Mr G. Smith, on the other hand, in his
Seven Ages," in seven pictures, ranging from first to second childhood-a worn-out subject treated without novelty-has sunk into merest genre, when he might, with advantage, have risen to the higher realms of poetry. Mr F. Stone, too, is unfortunate in his subjecthackneyed, and smacking of stage sentiment-"Claudio deceived by Don John, accusing Hero;" but inheriting a well-known name, we are glad to give him welcome, and to award to his picture the praise due to first-rate execution. Mr Rossiter's "Puritan Purifters," zealous iconoclasts strenuously working destruction in a church, is, on the contrary, a good subject poorly painted. But fortunately it is not difficult to find works which are commendable equally in theme and in execution. Mr Phillip's sunburned beauties of Andalusia, "Gossips at a Well," are just of the style in which both painter and public have long delighted. "The Drinking-Fountain," by Mr Dobson, a similar subject, yet as widely different as London streets and English clothes are from Seville waysides and Spanish costumes, makes a pleasing picture, barring, of course, all association with those detestable monumental or sanitary
or teetotal designs, which the proverbially bad taste of town councils have inflicted upon the chief cities of the country. Mr Crowe gives us another form of genre, capital in its way, "Slaves Waiting for Sale in Virginia," broad in marked character, awkward in attitude, truth pushed to the verge of the grotesque. Let us end the present series with one or two works seasoned by comedy. Mr E. Nicol is a master in this line, and his two subjects, "Toothache" and "They Talk a Power of our Drinking, but never think of our Drought," speak loudly for themselves. It is, we presume, the merit of such pictures that they are painted with broad Paddy grin. Mr Marks rises to a higher level. His "Toothache in the Middle Ages," "We all came in with the Normans," and "Dogberry's Charge to the Watch," will not easily be forgotten. In his present pic ture, "The Francescan Sculptor and his Model," painted with mock solemnity, in grotesque guise of medieval times, he surpasses, we think, all like efforts. We have seldom seen wit, or rather humour, sustained on a scale so large and imposing, or the ridiculous exalted by so much gravity and mock dignity. It is a picture of originality and power, and so earnest and honest is its purpose, that the subordinate class to which it expressly belongs, is forgotten as we stand in the presence of a master work.
There are other pictures which, though falling under the general class of genre, demand more deliberate notice. The style of Mr Hicks has much of the sparkle and smooth outside sentiment of the French. In previous years this artist obtained renown by his "Rush to the Post-office five Minutes before Six," and his "Crowd at the Bank-Counter-Dividend Day;' and he now again indulges in a crush, this year still less select "The Fish-Women in the Market of Billingsgate !" The crowding of a canvass is not necessarily the composition of a picture, and
to excite curiosity is not always to secure approval; still, perhaps, we are fortunate, in the absence of Mr Frith, to obtain even this instalment on behalf of the sharp spicy school, addicted to pleasing trivialities. From a like want of concentrated composition, Mr O'Neil's picture of the year barely escapes falling into a disordered uproar of widows and mothers, and sister and brothers, and lovers, and tears, and sobbings, with appliances of white handkerchiefs, and all that is heartrending. Mr O'Neil, if he do not stop at once, will completely run down and ruin the good idea which some three years ago bore him on the crested wave of high success. His "Eastward, Ho!" followed by "Home Again," were impressive and novel. His present picture is of these two works a direct repetition, and comes as a sequel of trite commonplace. His former compositions were "uprights;" this is in shape an "oblong," and herein consists the chief difference. We recognise the same well-known London models shedding the same spasmodic tears, the same waving of white handkerchiefs, the same poses and stage attitudes suited to the tenderly pathetic. Of course MrO'Neil cannot avoid being clever and forcible, but a man of one idea telling a thrice-told tale is in danger of becoming recognised as an admitted bore. Mr Brooks's "LifeBoat to the Rescue" is of the same conventional sentiment, only tenfold worse-clasped hands, dishevelled hair, and common nature refined only by weak execution. Mr A. Solomon is another clever artist who indulges in cheap stage-sentiment. No man better knows the way to harrow up the emotions of a crowded gallery by noisy clap-trap appeals of virtuous declamation. Sometimes, indeed, we have thought this painter destined in the Academy to the same high popularity which has rewarded the Colleen Bawn at the New Adelphi. Last year, "Drowned, drowned!" from Hood's "Bridge of Sighs," like another drowned, drowned of
sensation-drama notoriety, obtained a coarse success. This year the versatility of the artist's genius finds mitigated intensity in the rôle of lighter comedy. His "Malade Imaginaire" comes as a farce-the slight extravagant afterpiece that chases tears by laughter.
Mr Goodall is an artist of whom we speak with all respect and seriousness. In his works for several past years we have marked steady progress and careful study. His "Felice Ballarin reciting Tasso to the People of Chioggia," followed by the" Arab Encampment in the Wilderness of Shur," were among the most remarkable pictures in the two last Academies. His principal work of the present year is "The First-Born"-a Nubian mother, on scale nearly life-size, almost statuesque in pensive pose of mournful thought. The subject is rendered still more impressive by the artist's style of colouring, which, systematically elaborate in previous works, is here more than usually deep and solemn. The rich bronze of an Eastern complexion finds skilful contrast and resolved harmony in emerald greens, and orange golds, and deep-shadowed purples. In the subtle management of lustrous tertiary colours Mr Goodall is closely allied to Mr Poole, one of the grandest colourists in modern times.
By what is termed the exhaustive process, we have at length arrived at an unforeseen anomaly. We have gone through a number of names in succession, and now the only artists which remain under the present heading upon our list are Mr Pickersgill and Mr Holman Hunt, the one telling against the other with the force of antithesis. Mr Hunt is the well-known champion of the PreRaphaelites; Mr Pickersgill may be termed, in the jargon of the day, an anti-Pre-Raphaelite, and is generally selected by critics to point a tirade against the old school; and his works are supposed to afford proof positive of the evils inevitably attendant upon the obstinate
VOL. XC.-NO. DL
adherence to obsolete methods. The name of Mr Hunt is of course, with these writers, in itself deemed a spell and a triumph. We need scarcely say that we do not wholly accord with these opinions. We have indeed no desire to make an idol of Mr Pickersgill, or to use Mr Hunt as a butt against which to shoot all the hard words which might be pointed against his school. Suffice it to say-whatever be the general merits of the two men and their respective systems-that at least in the present year Mr Pickersgill has succeeded in exhibiting a good picture, and Mr Hunt a bad one.
The Pirates of the Mediterranean Gambling for their Prisoners," is truly Venetian in luxury of colour, and likewise Venetian and Italian in its forms and the witchery of its beauty. On the other hand, Mr Holman Hunt's "Lantern-Maker's Courtship" is little short of a burlesque, in its studied ugliness and awkwardness, upon love and all that is lovely. Why will these men mistake outraged taste for originality? Why will they, moreover, so studiously make figures too large for canvasses, heads and hands out of proportion with bodies, and commit all other kinds of enormity? Why do they indulge in all this? Simply, we cannot but think, to make the world stare. In the centre of the opposite corner of the same room is hung a little work by Mr Lewis, of an Arab or Turk in a bazaar, seated on a divan. Why does not Mr Lewis give himself to the same eccentricities? Simply, we think, because he does not need them. A work of first-rate merit requires not to be tricked into notice.
Before passing to more directly historic works, we would say a few incidental words on the portraits of the year. Mr Watt's picture of Miss Alice Prinsep at the piano, is the best. In richness and originality of colour, in high and refined treatment, it transcends every other portrait in the Exhibition. A Roman study of a well
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
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 66 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
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.
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