14 AUGUST 1830, Page 18


The Bird Care; a Scene from Boccacio. Engraved in Mezzo- -tint, by J. P. QUILLEY.

The Field of Waterloo. Engraved in Mezzotint by I', C. LEWIS, from Paintings by J. M. W. TURNER, Esq. R.A.

Mr. TURNER'S splendid effects can scarcely be too much admired, nor his extravagancies too much condemned. The alloy in the ore—the tinsel that glitters beside the bullion—the affectation that deforms the genius, we would fain purge away; but as that is impossible, we e'en content ourselves with the ill-assorted admixture ; and if Mr. Tun NEIL chooses to paint an effect of sun-light on a dung-heap, we will open wide our eyes while we hold the nose. Here are two contrasted scenes, both of them treated in an original and a poetical manner, and with such success as genius commands when it employs its resources to one end, neglecting everything that does not tend to produce what is sought to be attained. In the Boccacio, a throng of dames and cavaliers (the former of the RE mini AND T school) are scattered in groups on the sloping lawns, adorned rather than shaded by high over-arching trees, with a castle raised on a terrace a-la-Martin, crowning the ascending distance, and a vista of deep shade, with a foun• tain sparkling at its entrance, stretching into dimness on the right. A. flood of noon-day radiance pours through the light and graceful canopy of leaves, illumines the frowning battlements of the old castle, and gilds the emerald grass with burnished hues. Golden fruit hangs from the boughs, while bees and butterflies and birds of rich plumage heighten the splendours of this earthly paradise. The prodigality of nature in " the clime of the Sun," cerulean skies, resplendent clouds, and embowering trees, live on the canvass in all the charms of gorgeous colouring and captivating effect, created by the glowing pencil of art as they are reflected in the magic mirror of genius. It is a description on canvass breathing the freshness and lavishness of BOCCACIO. The mezzotint is felicitously effective, and evinces feeling and fidelity in the engraver.

The Field of Waterloo is an attempt to embody the conception which BYRON conveyed in the following passage :— beap'd and pent Rider and horse in one red burial bleat."

The foreground is a confused heap of dead, with one or two living figures, attracted by anxious affection or on the search for spoil. The time night ; a rocket in the distance affords the principal light, and its supernatural effect, like that of some exhalation or elemental fires, ren- ders the desolation and darkness more appalling. The burning ruins of Lt Haye Sainte in the middle distance, and a torch in the foreground, throw fainter gleams of light on the scene of horror. As a piece of effect, it is exceedingly fine : the black clouds resemble distant moun- tains, and the heaving of the plain assists the poetical interpretation of the literal delineation. The battle of Waterloo took place on a plain, and that of the Nile in a calm ; two unfortunate circumstances for artists, and requiring all their ingenuity to overcome. 'Mr. TURNER has wrapped the shroud of night round his field of 'Waterloo; and we wish he had turned one corner of it over the patch of dead in the centre of his picture. We can "make head and tail" of it, and that is for there is no such thing as tracing one complete figure. and what are able to make out is execrable as regards drawing : a 'horse looks like a hogshead, a cap like a keg, a man like a log. Indeed it seems part of Mr. TURNER'S creed to imitate humanity abominably."' But to look at this print at a little distance, is a treat almost equal to seeing one of REMBRANDT'S pictures. This is the truth, and not mere compliment.