« PreviousContinue »
field has made himself famous is united in this glorious composition. Of a less lofty aim, but wonderfully true to nature, is an old foreshortened pier, against which the waves are dashing, at the entrance to the channel between Texel Island and the main of Old Holland; the sweeping sea beyond the pier, and the effect of the deep water close in shore, are admirably represented. Turn from this rough scene to the broad smooth level silvered by the moonlight on another part of the same coast, where some fishing-boats are being unloaded, and still you remain under the charm of the artist's genius-still you rejoice in thinking that his right hand has not forgotten its cunning. In a fourth picture Mr. Stanfield displays the turret-crowned Isle of Ischia, with luxurious Capua and the Neapolitan Elysium in the distance.
Mr. George Stanfield's subjects are well chosen and well painted. Trarbach on the Moselle, with a fine study of boats-the Fortress of Ehrenbreitstein from above the bridge of Coblentz-the west end of the cathedral of Trèves—and a general view of Saarburg with the country around, have given him ample employment: the last of this series will prove the most attractive, as it is the least known to travellers.
Mr. E. W. Cooke, now the prescriptive painter of Venice, is again in his favourite city, revelling among the Bragozzi, those singular vessels whose bright colours and quaint details he paints with such wondrous fidelity. We have a fine example of his masterly style in a view on the shore of the Lido after a day of heavy rain-and another in a magnificent sunset, with San Giorgio in the sea for the central object of the picture, and the Euganean hills in the distance. Mr. Cooke's versatility is shown, moreover, in two charming scenes at the back of the Isle of Wight below Bonchurch;-so careful here are the details that the sea-side naturalist may distinguish every variety of the dripping weeds that cling to the rude piers and lie strown along the shore,but minuteness with Mr. Cooke is no substitute for freedom and vigour. Mr. Cooke gives us also one of his exquisitely accurate delineations of "The Stones of Venice," in a view of the Bridge of Sighs with part of the Doges' palace. But, true to the glowing Queen of the Adriatic, this accomplished artist is not unfaithful to the more sober-hued sovereign of the Zuider-zee, and accordingly he represents the calm aspect of her sunken shores in a fishing-station near Amsterdam, and its wild dangers in some Pinks that are hauling off the coast of Schevening.
Mr. Roberts sends four works to the Academy. The first is the interior of the ancient Basilica of San Lorenzo, outside the walls of Rome, on the way to Tivoli. The view is taken from beneath the arch of the nave looking eastward, and embraces a remarkable series of mosaic paintings, together with the high altar and its marble baldecchino over the spot where the bones of the martyred Saint Lawrence are supposed to lie. The second is also an interior-that of the Church of Saint John and Saint Paul, in Venice, so rich in its sepulchral memorials of some of the most illustrious Doges. It is impossible to rate too highly the fine effects which Mr. Roberts has produced in the treatment of these striking architectural subjects. His remaining pictures are views in Venice :-the Grand Canal, with the Zecca on one hand and the Salute on the other, and San Giorgio Maggiore, taken from the steps of
the Dogana di Mare. Familiarity with these interesting scenes only adds to our admiration of them.
Fortunate for Art was the hour when Mr. Phillip decided on visiting Spain every picture painted by him since then has afforded him a fresh triumph. His great work this year is the death of a young Contrabandista. He lies mortally wounded in the stable of a venta whither he has been carried; over him bends the girl to whom he is betrothed-or it may be his youthful wife;-one of her hands is on his heart, and the other holds a small looking-glass before his mouth, that she may know if he still breathes; at a small window near stands another Contrabandista, a man more advanced in life, with his trabajo raised, ready to shoot down the first pursuer that comes in sight. The agony of the girl's contracted brow, and the deadly determination on the countenance of the dying man's comrade, are expressed with wonderful force: all the accessories, it is needless to add, are excellent, and the picture is steeped in colour. A second picture by Mr. Phillip is a scene at the corner of the Calle Amor de Dios, in Seville. The street is misnamed, for the love of woman has much more to do with the subject than that devotion which, in Spain, is only indirectly given to God. It is a simple composition-a devotee, a beauty and her lover; but slight as the subject is, Mr. Phillip has infused into it all the atmosphere of the city of serenades and jealous husbands. For the perfection of Spanish female beauty we have only to turn to an Alhambra chamber where a lady and her Dueña are passing; and for a scene purely Sevillian to look up at an open Moresco window out of which two charming girls are leaning, one of them decorating the other's hair with flowers. These two pictures are admirable specimens of Mr. Phillip's best manner.
Mr. Rankley confines himself to one subject this year, but it is a gem of its kind. He has given a modern reading to the parable of "The Prodigal's Return" in a picture of exquisite feeling. The Prodigal is a boy of sixteen or seventeen, in a sailor's dress, who has thrown himself on his father's knees in an agony of repentant despair, heightened by the knowledge that his misconduct has caused the death of his mother, evidence of which is given by her curtained portrait and the mourning dresses of his surviving parent and two lovely sisters, his intercessors for pardon. The compassionate yielding of the father's nature, the tearful tenderness of the pleading sisters, and the abandonment to remorse of the sorrowing boy, are traits as finely rendered as they have been naturally conceived; nor is the touch of envy wanting in the dissatisfied air with which the elder brother in the background hears from a servant of the prodigal's return. Mr. Rankley has painted many admirable pictures, but this is, without exception, his chef d'œuvre.
Another picture in the present exhibition of the strongest domestic interest is the "Eastward Ho!" of Mr. H. O'Niel. It represents the departure of a transport with troops for India, at the moment when friends and kindred are crowding round the vessel's side to take their last farewell. The widow parts from her son, the betrothed from her lover, the wife from her husband, the child from its father, and each bereavement is marked by its own individuality. The excitement and manly striving of one sex is exhibited in striking contrast with the mute dejection or violent
grief of the other, and not a touch is given that is not true to nature, even to the indifference of the stolid boatmen who look upon this mass of human suffering only as so much freight. Mr. O'Niel has made a wonderful advance in this picture, and expectation will be on tiptoe to see its companion next year, when the transport brings back-how many of those who went out?
Mr. Ansdell's sojourn in Spain has resulted in five new pictures, but only two of them appear on the exhibition list. These are, A Bullockdriver crossing a ford, and A Shepherd leading his flock across a plain. In both these pictures the men and animals are painted with great truth and effect, the local characteristics being very strikingly displayed..
Mr. Hook charms us as usual with his rural scenery in Surrey, and his snatches of the blue deep on the western coast of England. To the latter class belongs a very bold and cleverly-executed picture, A Boy let down by a rope among the puffins at Lundy Island to gather eggs. The attitude and expression of the daring adventurer are excellent, and whoever has visited the haunts of sea-fowl will recognise the fidelity with which the scene is painted.
La famille Solomon exhibits three varieties,-for in addition to Mr. A. Solomon and his clever sister, a new aspirant for fame appears in the person of a younger brother, well known amongst artists as a first-rate draughtsman, but a neophyte as a painter. Miss Solomon's picture, "Behind the Curtain," is a first-rate work. The subject is a caravan of strolling actors, "just a-goin' to begin!" But before the clown smears his cheeks with rouge and grimaces a welcome to the gaping crowd, he plays a real part in a domestic scene. Stretched on a wretched pallet lies a young acrobat, sick and lame from a recent accident, and closely watching the boy sits the unhappy mime his father, pain and sorrow in every lineament of his worn features; the mother, too, is there, dressed as a tragedy queen, and looking on with no less anxiety, and the youngest of the family, a little danseuse, is preparing for the show. Nothing can well be finer than the expression of the poor clown's face, and all the attributes of his figure and dress, together with the whole entourage, are truthful in the extreme: the squalid finery of the caravan and all the poverty-stricken expedients of its inmates are perfect; and again we congratulate Miss Solomon on the extraordinary progress which she has made. Many a hearty laugh will be caused by Mr. A. Solomon's "Lion in Love." A gallant colonel, in the toils of a young beauty, is playing the part of Hercules at the feet of Omphale. He does not spin, like great Alcides, but, seated on a sofa, with a basket of variegated silks on his knee, is trying to thread the beauty's needle. To accomplish his task, he is aiming at the needle's eye with all the energy of a Balaklava charge, and to tell the truth-like that celebrated misadventure, he goes quite as wide of the mark. His desperate earnestness, and the arch look of his fair enslaver, make a capital comic picture, all the details of which are given with great care and finish. As a quiet piece of humour, Madam Blaise asleep in her pew is an excellent example of the faculty over which Mr. A. Solomon has perfect mastery. "Little Nell in the Church" and "An Indian Escape"-it may be from Cawnpore-are slighter but very attractive specimens of the varied talents of the same
artist.-The début of Mr. Simeon Solomon is in pre-Raphaelite guise, in which respect he appears like the last rose of summer, for the brotherhood are nowhere this year. Two figures only compose the picture: Abraham and Isaac, before the meditated sacrifice. We object to the young painter's tendencies, but cannot deny his merits: they are conspicuous in colour and expression. The costume is thoroughly Oriental, and those who are familiar with the superstitious observances of certain classes of Hebrews will recognise the amulet, called "Remia," which Isaac wears round his neck, and appreciate the value of its introduction.
Mr. W. J. Grant has chosen for illustration a passage in the life of Palissy the Potter, where his wife parts with her wedding-room to supply the gold for his crucible; and a scene in the early life of Eugène Beauharnais, who, when the Convention ordered the seizure of all weapons in Paris, refused to deliver up his father's sword. There is great sweetness and tender feeling in the first of these pictures, and much variety in the second, the story of which is well told.
Lovers of romance will be greatly pleased with Mr. Marshall's Scene from Rokeby. He has selected the adventure of Bertram Risingham in the chapel of Egliston, and has done full justice to the daring character of the unscrupulous yet chivalrous Buccaneer. It is a very stirring scene very forcibly rendered.
Let us not forget a very beautiful composition by Mr. M'Innis"Donations offered at the Shrine of Santa Fina in the Duomo of Gemignano." Travellers who have had leisure, on their route from Florence to Siena, may remember this small mountain town, which lies a little wide of Poggibonsi, and is remarkable for the frescoes of Ghirlandajo, which forms its chief, but not its sole ornament. Mr. M'Innis has painted the interior decorations of this church with exquisite finish and great refinement of colour, but he has higher claims than these on public favour. The old woman who sits beside the poor-box, the guardian of the donations, is a perfect study-and in the group of kneeling devotees the artist's sense of female beauty is conspicuous. A blind beggar, feeling his way out of the church, is also among the estimable features of this excellent work. Mr. M'Innes has another clever picture of Shropshire tramps, very characteristic of the class to which they belong.
We have not seen many portraits this year, but amongst the few are an excellent head of Mr. Phillip, by Mr. O'Niel, and two admirable fulllengths by Mr. Stephen Pearce, the first of Major Watts, life-size, and the second of Mr. Littledale, a cabinet picture. A more important work than either of these was an equestrian portrait of Lord Hawke, painted by Mr. Pearce for the Badsworth Hunt; but as it was claimed for presentation at Doncaster, it could not be exhibited: we hope that before it leaves the engraver's hands it may yet hang on the walls of the Academy. We have heard also of some excellent female portraits by Mr. Desanges, and of some well-painted heads by Mr. Reilly.
THREE HUNDRED A YEAR.
BY THE AUTHOR OF "RUSHING HEADLONG INTO MARRIAGE."
Ir had been a very blue look-out: Captain Courtenay once called it so, when he was examining his Christmas bills; but that blue was couleur de rose, compared with the deep blue of the look-out now.
Captain and Mrs. Courtenay had married upon five hundred a year and no further expectations. A sufficient sum for moderate tastes and moderate desires, but unfortunately neither the captain nor his wife could stoop to such. A few years of extravagance, in-doors and out, brought on a climax, and the captain was civilly marshalled to prison in a cab. With some trouble, and at a considerable sacrifice, he succeeded, after a week's incarceration, in "arranging matters;" but to do so, cost him far more than his improvidence had bargained for: his income was cut down two-fifths, and would continue, so docked, for many years to
They left their house at Brompton: to economise there, in the very sight of their intimate friends and neighbours, would be too galling, and settled in a smaller one, with their children, four now, and two servants. Perhaps the most cruel point in the whole affair, to Mrs. Courtenay, was the being reduced to keep but two, a nurse and a maid-of-all-work. If she had despised one thing more than another in her sister's household, who had married for love, upon three hundred a year, it was that useful but sometimes very troublesome appendage, a servant-of-all-work. The house they moved into was close to that of her sister, Mrs. Lance; and for some time after taking possession of it, Mrs. Courtenay chiefly spent her days in tears, and Captain Courtenay in sitting over the fire, with a pipe and a newspaper.
The poor captain was really to be pitied. He had the misfortune to be an idle man, a man of no profession or occupation: and he had been obliged to give up his comfortable (and expensive) club, his opera, and his kid gloves. All his old habits, confirmed and strong, were rudely broken through, and instead of playing the dandy abroad, he gave way to the sulks at home.
It was not altogether a desirable home, for Mrs. Courtenay had no idea of management; the servants scenting what sort of a mistress they had, showed less, and the young children tore about the house uncontrolled, destroying the peace of every room, and frequently coming to grief and screams. As to saving in the domestic details of housekeeping, Mrs. Courtenay had not the faintest conception how to begin, and the house remained a perpetual scene of worry and confusion.
One evening Mr. and Mrs. Lance were sitting together after dinner, in their comfortable dining-room, in their pleasant house. Not that their house was fine or large, but pleasant and comfortable it certainly was for there were no storms in it, whether from parents, servants, or children, but there was well-ordered regularity. Their children-they