Imitations of Chalk Drawings, by Sir THOMAS LA.WRENCS. Executed in
Lithography by RICHARD J. LANE, A.R.A. Nos. I. and II.
The names of LAWRENCE and LANE led us to look forward with a high degree of anxiety to the appearance of these sketches; and now that they are before us, we perceive a third name which adds to their value and interest—that of liEMBLE. It was a good thought of Mr. LANE to put forth at one time such a rich handful of art as these ten plates; seven of which are portraitures of the Kemble family, with whom the great artist was connected by a link of affection which we can al- most fancy has had an influence over his magic pencil in its delineations of these fine specimens of human nature, that afford such ample scope , for the exercise of the painter's skill. These sketches also are addl.. tionally interesting from the circumstance of their being examples of LAWRENCE'S early style, in which he displays his innate feeling for the
graceful and the beautiful, and his sensitive perception of character and expression. His early manner was bold, simple, and crude, as compared with the refinement of his later drawings, which are so remarkable for high finish and the minute elegances of art : the force and iden- tity of resemblance, however, in these sketches, recommend them to our preference.
Plate I. is a profile of Mrs. Siddons, in the full bloom of her spring , of life and the morning of her beauty. It is a sweetly natural delinea- tion of the lovely woman, without a touch of the actress. Her full dark ( eye does not reveal its latent fire; her finely-moulded features are quies- cent; her brow serene, and shaded by her clustering hair, not crowned with the tragic diadem. It is a delightful union of the beautiful in na- ture and art, and is dated 1797. Plates II. and IV. are two profile beads of Charles Kemble ; the one, representing the young man with a face fulleof promise, is dated 1798; the other gives us the maturity of manhood ; the features are developed more vigorously, and the eye and brow are instinct with expression—it bears date 1805. Both these drawings, but especially the latter, which is executed in Mr. LANE'S best style, are remarkable for manly grace; and the one adds to the Interest of the other. There is nothing more delightful than to trace the progressive development of character in the human face, from the crudeness of childhood, through the maturity of middle life, to its decline into "the vale of years." The next ihi attraction are Plates VII. and IX., a profile and full face of Miss Siddons. We look at these two heads with increased interest, from the cir- cumstance of the lovely original having been the object of the great artist's first affection. It is a face expressive of great sweetness, and the profile is touched with melancholy: the features are striking, and of the Kemble mould. The date of the front face is 1797; and the features are not so strongly marked ; while the full oval of the cheek has no trace of care, and the eyes and mouth are remarkable only for their ingenuous expression. The profile is dated 1800; and we can fancy that in that short interval the heart of the fair owner of those features had known the cares of love ; for there is a pain about the mouth, and a deep anxiety In the eye' which denote a change in the complexion of the mind. These two drawings are full of beauty and interest. Plate V. is Cecilia, an infant daughter of Mrs. Siddous ; the face remarkable for strong cha- racter ; the large, flashing, dark eyes, high forehead, and full-formed mouth of the child, stamp her as an embryo Siddons. Plate VI. is Mrs. John Kemble. The placid character of the matron is rendered pleasing, despite the ungainly head-dress. Plate III. is a female figure, seated in a familiar attitude, such as we might suppose a village girl unconsciously to assume while resting on the grass. It is a pleasing:and beautiful sketch ; but the flow of the line, both in the figure and the drapery' is rather artificial in its elegance. Plate VIII. is a portrait of Lady Charlotte Campbell ; a drawing more striking than pleasing. Plate X. is an idea of Sir Toby Belch : it has a little too much of Punchinello in the fea- tures, but the air and character of the head evince a good conception of the dramatic personage. Such are the first fruits of Mr. LANE'S labours in this rich vineyard; and we anxiously anticipate another number of his Imitations of LAW. ItENCE'S Sketches. If the future plates possess equal interest, the work will be one not only of value to the artist and the connoisseur, but popular with the public. Lithography is a medium admirably adapted - to convey an idea of the rapid touches produced by the pencil of genius ; and Mr. LANE has executed his task with his accustomed delicacy, fidelity, and brilliancy ; in which he has been ably seconded by the printer, Mr. HuLmnasines..
Other New Prints next week.