24 JUNE 1893, Page 32



AT the Fine Art Society's Galleries a collection is on view of drawings by Mr. Linley Sambourne. There are drawings- contributed to Punch during recent years (the early draw- ings were destroyed on the blocks), there arc the well-known illustrations to the Water Babies, and some other designs ;

all, two hundred and forty-two.

In the succession of men who have practised in Punch that mixed art of humorous illustration, drawing with legend attached, which sprang from Hogarth's ideas, Mr. Linley Sambourne holds an interesting place. It is probable that his talent did not fit easily into any of the branches into which that humorous illustration has divided itself—political, social,. sporting, and so forth—and would most naturally have ex- pressed itself in free, whimsical inventions of its own ; it is in work like the designs for Punch's Almanacs that this bent has had freest scope, but Punch has turned Mr. Sam- bourne's grotesque invention to account for political satire, fanciful portraiture, illustration of stories, and. so forth, and to very good purpose in each case. By way of emphasising this real gift of Mr. Sambourne's, it may be convenient shortly to say what he is not ; for some expressions used in the preface to the catalogue by Mr. Spiel- mann, eulogistic enough in intention, are not very apt in ex- pression, and may bewilder the visitor. "Though a humourist {and a brilliant one, too,) by necessity," says Mr. Spielmann, "he is a classic by feeling; though an impressionist by cir- cumstances, he is a pre-Raphaelite in sentiment." The picture of the artist driven by necessity to joke brilliantly is funny, and it would be hard to say what exactly the words" Classic," "Impressionist," and "pre-Raphaelite" convey to the writer; but perhaps he means by them that Mr. Sambourne enjoys elaborating his work in some detail (" pre-Raphaelite"), but is forced by stress of weekly production to simplify it (" Im- pressionist "). " Classic " appears to mean that he designs "symbolical female figures, of which he is so fine a draughts- man." "These," Mr. Spielmann adds, "may be as statuesque as a Grecian sculpture ; but they are always flesh and blood, and just realistic enough to suggest a latent protest in the breast of Mrs. Grundy,—to suggest a protest, nothing more." Now, any one who examines these symbolical female figures with a critical eye, will see that there is nothing classic about them in any useful sense of the word, and nothing Grecian ; nor is the drawing fine in any useful sense of that word. The tine is very mechanically precise, but really very loose; it follows no form closely and flexibly ; it is stiff and cast-iron- like in character. What Mr. Spielmann perhaps means is that the figures are all rather stiff and heavy, and in that sense like statues ; and this is true of the other figures, as well as of the symbolical females. We disentangle, then, that the figures are a little stiff. But not too stiff, it seems, for they are quite incompatibly like flesh and blood, and yet not too like flesh and blood, only enough like to have an extraordinary effect on the breast of Mrs. Grundy. It seems unlikely that

even Mrs. Grundy but Mr. Spielmann knows best.

Mr. Sarabourne, then, is rather stiff and very general in his rendering of life ; he is not a draughtsman in the sense in which his colleague Charles Keene was a draughtsman, a lifelike draughtsman. Likeness in the restricted sense, when he gets it, has the look of something traced from a photo- graph. But his line is clear, precise, explanatory, and is often decoratively well disposed. For it is as a designer rather than as a draughtsman that Mr. Sambourne's merits appear. He makes amusing reductions of objects for his purposes, and loves to join them in elaborate groups, which are carpentered with a great deal of skill. But still more does histalent appear in the grotesque point with which those images are made. His perversions, his combinations in which a man's face is mixed with a beast's, or his head fitted to a bird's body, are examples in point ; there is one capital instance where types of different nations are seen fluttering round the Eiffel Tower, and there are awesome perversions of various states- men. Perhaps the most striking instance in the show of this invention that hits on an emblematic image with an effect of epigram or satire, is the picture of the newspapers putting about at the word of command. The image was present in speech, but it was ingenious to think of the newspaper sheet as the sail of a yacht. The monkey at work on the map of Africa is another good satirical idea well executed, and many more might be added.

Those who remember Mr. Francis James's collection of water-colours some years ago at the Dudley Gallery, will be glad to see his work at Van Wisselingh's, off New Bond Street., Mr. James is one of the few water-colourists among us who have a respect for their material, and treat it so that it is effective. Every one who goes into the Gallery must notice how pleasant the general effect of the walls is ; and this is because the dainty character of the medium is not transgressed, but yet is used with a broad sense of what will make a telling chequer of colour when hung on a wall. Mr. James has trained himself to great nicety of drawing with the brush in his study of flowers, and the same skill comes out in architectural drawing, like the interior of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, one of a number of Venetian subjects. For depth of colour, the first drawing in the room (Geraniums and Primula) is very remarkable, and the Mauve and Grey Orchid is very delicate and beautiful. The Window at Rot hen- burg, with its pots of geraniums, is an ingenious and pretty arrangement, and there are many other examples of things seen with a painters eye.

Those readers of the Spectator who admire the French Romantics, and who have not already found their way to Messrs. Laurie's Gallery at 15 Old Bond Street, ought not to miss the fine Corots, Millets, Daubignys, Roasseaus, &c., which are on view there, along with a good Gainsborough and a remarkable portrait of a young girl, attributed to Velasquez. The skill of the painting and the colour scheme make the attribution reasonable enough, but the dress, pose of the arms, treatment of the hands, and so on, have an English look. In any case, the picture is a very fine one. Messrs. Laurie have issued an illustrated catalogue of the collection.

The portfolio of photographs after pictures by Mr. Whistler, exhibited last year in London, has at length been issued, and is to be seen at Messrs. Goupil's, the publishers. The photo- graphs are twenty-four in number, and excellent souvenirs of the pictures. For motto, there is a parting-shot at the Attorney-General in the quotation of his statement : "I do not know when so much amusement has been afforded to the British public as by Mr. Whistler's pictures." The tables are now turned with a vengeance. What was caviare to the Attorney-General, looks very much like the masterpiece in painting of a generation. At the same Gallery are to be seen several pictures by Mr. Charles Conder, whose work at the Champ de Mars has been so remarkable these last two years for the beauty of its colour and the poetry of its feeling. It- may be hoped that Mr. Corder's work will soon be better