Page images
PDF
EPUB

minuteness of touch in a miniature. “ The Two Barons" is a good specimen of Cattemole. “Millicent" is not one of Newton's happiest efforts, yet is a striking plate. “ The Merchant and his Daughter," (a scene from the “ Merchant of Venice,"— why was it not called so?) the “ Sappho" of Howard, two or three excellent " fancy portraits," and two or three admirable landscapes, after Stanfield and Turner, with an excellent print after Briggs, (another misnomer,) make up the set,-a very unexceptionable set, and superior to those of past years, always excepting the first of the series, which Mr. Heath has vainly laboured to excel.

Illustrations to the Book of Beauty. The “ Book of Beauty" is not yet before us; but the series of beautiful prints, from which it derives its title, are upon our table. They are of exceeding excellence, far beyond the collection which embellished the work last year. The editorship has been placed in the hands of the accomplished Countess of Blessington; and if her own portrait be one of the number, and the artist has fairly copied the original, there can be none in the collection to which the term “beauty" could more justly apply. We understand she has sought and obtained the aid of other pens than her own, and that her compositions will be associated with those of many of the most distinguished writers of the country; we may therefore expect a rich treat when the book is sent forth by Messrs. Longman. We have, in the set of plates, a rare assemblage of beauties,-creations of Art, it is true; but Nature has furnished the painter with the “ designs" of which his pictures are the transcripts. Chalon, Parris, Stone, Leslie, Miss Sharpe, Boxall, and Miss Corbeaux, have supplied Mr. Heath with a collection at once glorious and lovely; and those who have transferred them to the steel-alas ! that such a word should be so applied-have performed their task in a very able manner. They are, for the most part, fine specimens of the dot style-à style perhaps the most satisfactory when limited to portraits.

Illustrations to Rogers's Pleasures of Memory. We have had an opportunity of inspecting the series of prints which are to embellish “The Pleasures of Memory,” after the style, at once novel, beautiful, and attractive, which so much delighted us two or three years ago, when Mr. Rogers published his “ Italy," with illustrations from the pencils of Stothard and Turner. We believe Mr. Rogers, at the time, had not the remotest idea that his plan could be at all a profitable one; that, on the contrary, being a sort of rara avis among the bards, his object was to expend a portion of his wealth in producing a beautiful book, looking for his recompense only to the gratification of his taste. He must have been agreeably disappointed. We understand the sale has been very great; and that a bookseller would have been a lucky man if he had taken the speculation out of the hands of the poet. We rejoice that such has been the fact; first, because it is a proof that the public know how to estimate what is really good ; and next, because it has probably tempted Mr. Rogers to illustrate his other celebrated poem. We prophesy-a very easy task-that his labours will be followed by a like result. We have here about sixty prints, from drawings by Turner and Stothard, of beauty and excellence perhaps unequalled-certainly unsurpassed in modern art. The subjects have been fortunately chosen; the artists were enabled to summon fancy to the aid of fact. They were not limited to what they actually saw in nature, and they have both, in many cases, entered the regions of romance. The poet, -the excellent poet who will be known and loved as long as his favoured theme, “ Memory,' shall remain with man,-has done well in thus associating painting with poetry. His lines are worthy to be thus brought again before us, reminding us of the delight and instruction we derived from them, when our days were young, and our memories,

perhaps, less sad. If a race of small barris have grown up sincs Bugars laid by his pen, they have not pushed him from his place. We all. 2 long, claim acquaintance with him once more, and witil renevent teicht..

Twenty Illustrations to Tumers Annual Tour. The best of the Annuals last year, by many decrees, was fiat which containert the landscapes of Turner; the second volume, now bettore is as superior to that, as that was to all its periodical associates. We have seen, at, the rooms op Messrs. Moon, Boys, and Graves, both the arcais and the engravings, (and it will be easy for any of our readers to enjoy the same rich treat.) They form as perfect a collection as ever came from me English graver, and are as varied in subject as twenty prints can be. We have the rich valley and the magnificent mountain; the quiet river and the outrageri oceanthe small village and the crowded city: the brige, the wharf, the lighthouse, the church, the tower, the ta ship, or the humble craft of the fisherman, being the comparatively minor points on intapest to the scenes-sublime or beautiful. The engravers have ai done well Cousins, R. Wallis, Willmore, Brandard, and Miller, taking the lead We shall next month review the book, and hope the letter-press may be worthy of the embellishments.

Finden's Illustrations to the Works of Lord Byron. This beautiful series continues its claim upon our admiration. We shall take an early opportunity of noticing the publication at greater length.

At a General Assembly of the Academicians at Somerset House, Mr.T. Uwins, painter, and Mr. J. Gibson, sculptor, were elected Associates of that Institution,

THE DRAMA.

COVENT-GARDEN AND DRURY-LANE. PENTAPM the best hit during the last month, at both the houses, was the production of As You Like It, though it was performed to an audience that would have chilled the most courageous actor. The Rosalind of Miss Ellen Tree was one of the happiest efforts we have seen for a length of time. The doating love of Rosalind, so suddenly enamoured of excellence, as it appears in Orlando, was displayed with a mingled bashfulness, pasmion, and simplicity as winning as would have been the reality; nor did the mly wit and arch waggery of the character lose any of its point in the performance. Her " Cuckoo' song, though in so thin an audience, was rapturously encored. The Jaques of Macready was a sound, judicious performance, the actor plainly, for the time, having imbibed the morbid melancholy and poetical eynicism of the railing philosopher of the forest. One instance of false taste we must, however, take the liberty of alluding to. In the delivery of the “ Seven Ages," where the Justice is described with t good, fat belly," &e. Mr. Macready departed from his usual correctness, when he delivered it in the shaking, trembling, gruff voice of an over-fed Alderman. Throughout the preceding and following descriptions this had not been done. The sentiments of the soldier were not delivered in a Teetoring manners nor was the condition of the infant described by a whine; nor in the close, where the infirmities of age are portrayed in their most helpless state, did the actor depart from the tone of the grave and dejected Womalige Why then should mimicry, ever so slight, have been introdiliced in the description of the Justice it was an error of a nature such * M Maciendly is rarely guilty of-We even thought it a vulgarism. Miss E. Phillips made a most inanimate Celia. Silly shepherdess never looked more pretty or uninteresting. It was no pleasant sound either to hear the prompter's voice loudly hissing round the unfilled boxes, in the dead silence of the house, while the audience were waiting for the next simple speech of the rustic beauty. If the monopolizing managers, Messrs. Bunn and Co., really must have handsome-looking ladies instead of clever actresses, the least they can do, in justice to the public, is to make them learn their parts. The Touchstone of Mr. Harley and the Orlando of Mr. Cooper are respectable performances.

[graphic]

We must now briefly allude to what has been called Bunn's great effort -We of course mean Gustavus, or the Masked Ball. The daily prints have been so diffuse in description, that it will be unnecessary to repeat the nature of the plot, or trouble our readers with any thing beyond a remark; it is splendid. Having said that, we award it all the praise we can conscientiously. To dramatic or operatic interest it is guiltless of an approximation; and the last scene, which is the great attraction, is not the brilliant spectacle it has been described. A prodigious depth of stage, in the form of a vast saloon, well lighted and gaily decorated, studded with maskers in fancy costumes, are the only claims on public admiration. Two hundred and fifty masks are said to be on the stage at one time; and it may be so, as we are given to understand that any lady or gentleman will be admitted behind the curtain if they comply with the full-dress regulations that are made the price of admission-a pleasant combining of effect and economy; though we very much doubt whether such huckster-like management will be attended with success.

Jane Shore has been produced at Drury-lane as one of Shakspeare's tragedies. We cannot insult our readers by a criticism.

But Antony and Cleopatra has been the last great attempt of this imbecile management. With corps miserably deficient, Mr. Bunn has attempted aplay that his clever predecessors, with every advantage of genius to support them, with wealth at their back, and sound judgment in management, could never produce with even temporary success. The text of Shakspeare has been altered by Mr. Macready, and has been as well done as such a profane thing could have been. He too has of course sustained the arduous character of the world's great triumvir. The correct judgment of Mr. Macready could not fall much into error, and his performance of this character was, like all others that he attempts, distinguished by a severe taste, the evident result of laborious study. Yet is there not in his mind that spirit of revelry and bounding joyancy which ought to distinguish the madcap banqueter of sixty. There were, however, scenes of great power; and such was his death. The part of Cleopatra was absurdly entrusted to Miss Phillips. The pale and delicate beauty, her mild intellectual expression of countenance, her meagre figure, and lady-like deportment, are as much in contrast with what “ Egypt" should be figured, as two characters well could be. Not only does the part of Cleopatra demand ability like that of Miss Phillips to conceive the character, but, to have any effect with the audience, it should be accompanied by a figure of voluptuous majesty-a mingling of dazzling beauty and intellectual command. Miss Phillips is not the sort of person of whom the poet would say

" And Actium lost for Cleopatra's eyes

: Is worth a thousand Cæsar's victories.” Nor does she approach in'any one respect Shakspeare's description_“ profuse of joy." Miss Ellen Tree could have played the character, but by some strange blunder she has been allowed to go to Hamburgh. Every body knows Mr. Cooper would act Enobarbus respectably; and for the others, we will honour them by omitting further mention of their doings, except to tell them, Egyptians are not blackamoors. The scenery and decorations have been expensively produced, and if good taste had presided in the arrangements, some gorgeous effects might have been the consequence.

HAYMARKET THEATRE. This house has closed for the season, and its success has been such as to rescue the public from the hackneyed imputation of indifference to the drama, when presented as it should be. The frequenters of the Haymarket will seek elsewhere in vain for the treats they have been wont to experience here. Farren's Uncle Foozle, Nicholas llam, Uncle John, and, above all, Item in the Steward, are indigenous to this establishment, and will dwell in the recollections of those who were fortunate enough to witness his personation of such characters long after he shall have ceased to play his busy part on the great stage of the world. Among the numerous novelties which characterized the season was Mrs. Glover's attempting the part of Sir John Falstaff, in the Merry Wives of Windsor. Had a less clever actress than this lady volunteered such an undertaking, it would have generated a feeling of contempt, not altogether unmixed with disgust, in the minds of any audience compelled to endure the perpetration; but when one who, in the pursuit of a profession she has so essentially contributed to adorn, should so far forget the respect due to herself and the public as to essay a character she could not fill if she would, and ought not if she could, we can only pity the individual and lament the circumstances (if any such there be) that rendered the attempt apparently necessary to secure an attendance. If, as we have little doubt, Mrs. Glover's object was to ensure a bumper, her object was answered to the utmost, for the house was crowded in every part before the rising of the curtain, and we hope the amount of the receipts have more than counterbalanced the odium she incurred from all correctly-thinking people. Her personation of Sir John was unmarked by anything unexpectedly fine or unexpectedly bad. The anticipations of none were disappointed. Her most ardent admirers—and no lady has more-did not imagine for a moment that there would be a semblance of truth in her acting, or that she could, by any possibility, contrive to imbue her audience with the notion of her approximating to Shakspeare's inimit. able compound of wit and absurdity, folly and craftiness, jollity and sarcasm—the corpulent knight of festive celebrity. There were, to be sure, occasional scintillations of that genius which has long placed Mrs. Glover on the pinnacle of public estimation in her line. But there was no voice to embody the ideas of Falstaff--none of his humorous grossness and antique sensuality; no indications of his excessive good-humour with himself, and biting raillery of others; in short, the essentials to make the character what it has always been--one of the happiest ever portrayed-were wanting. With strange incongruity, Mrs. Glover, having the hardihood to dress and *ape the carriage of the Merry Knight, was squeamish enough to shrink from repeating his witticisms and good things. All the dry sayings and pungent repartees that could be dispensed with, without making the dialogue absolute nonsense, were omitted, and so we were presented with a personage whom Shakspeare never drew. But we did not suppose we should have seen a female Elliston, and Swift says,

“ Blessed are they who expect nothing, for they shall not be disappointed.” On the concluding night. Mr. Percy Farren delivered the following Address :

66 Ladies and Gentlemen,-This being our last performance of the season, I am deputed by the Proprietor of this establishment to express to you the deep impression he feels of the kind and liberal patronage you have afforded him during a period of great theatrical difficulty. It is also a source both of satisfaction and congratulation that, amidst the various novelties offered to your judgment, all (with a single

exception) have received the most decided approval and support. With each new year springs up new hope, but the anxiety hitherto evinced by the Director of this Theatre for your amusement will be found unchangeable; and although it may not be in the power of 'mortals to command success,' every effort on his part will be made to deserve it. With this pledge for the FUTURE I shall forbear to trespass longer on your patience, and, in the names of the Proprietor and Performers, bid you, Ladies and Gentlemen, for the present, a brief but most respectful farewell."

OLYMPIC THEATRE. The charming widow of Wyche-street still continues to fascinate. The Beulah Spa has been the last production; it is from the pen of Mr. Charles Dance. Whatever faults we might find with it are amply atoned for by Madame Vestris herself, who, in the disguise of a gipsy, and also in that of a Spanish minstrel, enchanted our judgment, by her singing and general personation, altogether out of critical regions. She was rapturously and deservedly applauded.

VICTORIA THEATRE. Gustavus, or the Masked Ball, has been produced at this theatre with comparatively greater success than at Covent-Garden. With less of gorgeous display-though it is very far from deficient in scenic effects—there has been more attention paid both to the dramatic and operatic portions. Miss Jarman performed infinitely better than a so-called first-rate singer and bad actress, the wife of Ankerstroom.

The benefit of Mr, Abbott was a complete bumper.
Miss E. Romer has been added to the establishment.

ADELPHI THEATRE. Grace Huntley and the Deserted Village still continue to be performed to crowded audiences ; a sure sign that the lack of attendance at the larger houses does not arise from a dying taste for theatricals. Let there be good productions, and there will be no deficiency in the attendance.

The only novelty of the month has been the Butterflies' Ball, in rhyme, from the pen of Captain Addison. As a piece of dramatic writing it is inferior to others by the same author. It abounds, however, in ludicrous incidents, which are pot a little sustained by that enemy to gravity, Mr. John Reeve.

STRAND THEATRE. Mr.J. Russell has opened this theatre for the delivery of recollections of things that had, and things that had not occurred, under the title of the Adventures of the Strand-ed Actor. He had a numerous and kindly-disposed audience. Like many others, he laboured at first under all the disadvantages of a first attempt at a monologue performance; as he proceeded, however, his confidence became restored, and he said and sung some excellent things. His Frenchman was inimitable, and his imitations of Incledon were worthy of any praise we could bestow upon them. Opportunity was not lost of letting the public know how the actor of the Station House became Strand-ed, and the hits at the monopoly of the two larger theatres were loudly ap. plauded.

We wish Mr. Russell all the success he so well deserves, but fear the taste for monologue performances is too much on the wane to be easily restored.

« PreviousContinue »