EMBELLISHMENTS OF THE ANNUALS.
THE title, Gems qf Beauty, would have led us to expect a series of cameos with exquisitely-designed figures and busts a l'antique, had we not been previously aware that Mr. PARRIS, who originated the " Flowers of Loveliness," finding the parterre invaded by others,
was fain to have recourse to the jewel-casket for a nomenclature.
These gems consist of twelve tastefully-composed groups of painters' beauties, bedecked in a variety of rich and elegant costumes, arranged in graceful and picturesque attitudes, and looking most bewitchingly sentimental. Each group is distinguished by the name of some precious atone; this is, however, an arbitrary sign, haying almost as little rela-
tion to one group as another. Mr. PARRIS is an exhaustless producer
-of pictural nonentities ; and his present creation is greatly superior to his last year's batch of beauties. We would hint to him, nevertheless,
that they would have a stronger claim upon our admiration were he less profuse and indiscriminate in his dispensation of charms. His females resemble the "faultless monsters" of the other sex, which the denizens of the Minerva press delight to picture in their pages. We really cannot sympathize with creatures whose perfections are so unreal
We are surfeited with oval faces, cheeks smooth as alabaster, long Greek noses, finely-chiselled lips, delicately-pencilled eyebrows and gazelle eyes, crowned with tresses of exuberant growth, and supported by swan-like necks and busts if preternatural amplitude, with arms of boneless rotundity, and taper fingers destitute ofjoints. We turn the tis- sue-leaf that veils the features of each fresh group, with an indifference bred of satiety, and that the insipidity of the object alone prevents in- creasing to disgust. We desire a few mortal imperfections ; and should be grateful for an occasional snub-nose and lung upper-lip or double chin, a
pair of high cheek-bones, and pig's eyes—nay, even a little bit of a squint would be a welcome change. Will no artist be bold enough
to venture on a Book of Ugliness, by way of variety? Or if that be an impossible boon, let us implore the fancy face-makers to leave their idealities, and condescend to reality. We don't object to beauty, only we would have it accoiding to nature. But this includes character and meaning,—qualities that sorely puzzle the skill of the limners : how- ever, not to be unreasonable, we will only stipulate that the pretty creatures should not appear quite so conscious of their charms, and so secure of our admiration.
Some passable verses by Lady BLESSINGTON, embodying the senti- ment or alluding to the properties ascribed to the different gems, illus- trate each plate appropriately enough. They are brief, and may be read in a listless moment, as one turns over the leaves at arms-length, while the book lies on the drawing-room table.
The plates are most beautifully engraved : in this respect also they are superior to the Flowers of Loveliness. The Pomona-green cover is richly embossed with flowers and foliage, and ornamented with a gold label; and an elegant toilet. table fitly adorns the titlepage.