16 JUNE 1950, Page 15

THE Observer has organised an exhibition of portraits of children,

which will be on view at the R.W.S. Galleries, Conduit Street, until June 22nd, and has made a very good job of it. Nearly all the two hundred works are contemporary, for the laudable purpose of the exhibition is to encourage visitors to commission portraits of their children, but there is a small and well-chosen historical section containing interesting child pictures by Mabuse, Reynolds, Lawrence, Hoppner and Hogarth. If one goes on to think of Raeburn, Morland, Millais, or even Phil May, this is in no captious spirit ; indeed there are enough children here, in all their moods, to satisfy the most maternal tastes, and the Observer selection committee must have felt like the Old Woman in the Shoe. The general level of skill is high. Personally I liked best Ruskin Spear's archetypal Portrait of a Boy and Kate E. Oliver's sensitive study of Jessie. There is some disappointment among the bigger names—and this must include the drawing of a remarkably fat-faced girl by Epstein. The healthiest and happiest children, though gratifying to their parents, do not necessarily yield the most interesting portraits. Two infants looking far from well have been excellently painted by Evelyn Williams and Leslie Cole (another child, recorded by Anne Redpath, looks almost too disagreeable to be true). Upstairs in the gallery, the children seem, on the whole, fitter, and I must say duller, though there is a pleasant portrait here by Anthony Devas. I can wholeheartedly recommend the sculpture shown by Gertrude