THE COSMOPOLITAN CLUB.
THE members of the Cosmopolitan club have lent their large room, at 30 Charles street, Berkeley square, for "the private exhibition of a selection of pictures not hung at the Royal Academy for want of space." The term "selection" is justified not only by the small number-27—but in a great degree by the quality of the pictures exhibited. The club would, no doubt, have been as little willing as able to find room indiscriminately, for all the pictures rejected by the Academy. They have, therefore, taken some trouble to bring together such a collection as may help to prove the necessity, both of providing time Academy with more room, and (as one may suppose, though this is not avowed) of calling on its members for a more judicious exercise of their powers of admission and exclusion. It is to be regretted, indeed, that more artists were not solicited, or were not ready to join the short score of their brethren who have here appealed to the public. But time, of course, was short, and probably it happened in this, as it commonly does in other cases of protest against an established grievance, that there was no organization and little unanimity among the persons most interested in making the protest effective. Perhaps, too, there were some who feared to admit publicly that they had failed to secure the favourable judgment of a tribunal which in spite of many abuses, has hitherto been, and still is, the recog- nized dispenser of honours to their profession, or who, with less than due courage, mistrusted the competency of the court here constituted to shield them from the insinuations sure to be made that their works were but the leavings of the Royal Academy.
There is enough, however, as it is, successfully to rebut the inference suggested, especially in the province where the exhi- bition of the Academy is weakest. Indeed, it is difficult to con- jecture any principle upon which the landscapes exhibited here, various as they are in method and treatment, and, for the moat part, high in quality, were rejected by the Academicians. There is Mr. Moore's " Albury Heath" (1), a characteristic bit of Surrey Common, clothed with waving fern and blooming heather, and bounded by undulating fields and pleasant woods. "On the skirts of the forest" lies a cottage, where dwells the well-to-do yeoman who may be the owner of the little flock which strays across time heath. The picture is remarkable for its thoroughly rustic sentiment, the brilliant light and true colour of the sky, and the good painting and discrimination of the ling and heather in the foreground. More careful use of the re- sources of light and shade would have saved the picture from a certain scattered effect, which is not so obvious in
the artist's smaller picture, called "Departing Day" (19). Nehr Mr. Moore's larger picture hangs one by Mr. J. Buuney, .tdsIear the Harvest Time" (2), in which a belt of wood topping a gentle slope encloses a full-eared and golden crop of wheat. Here, again, is much daylight, but the excessive detail is distract- ing, and the bottle-green of some of the distant trees suggests the apprehension that the artist has taken Mr. Redgrave, R.A., for his model. If so, let him take a friendly warning, and seek another idol.
Totally different in treatment is Mr. G. Mason's " Crossing the Heath" (6), a picture which in its power of conveying an impres- sion with slender amount of detail is a pleasant reminiscence of our well-beloved David Cox. Look across the matted herbage and over the sluggish pool of bog-water on the left to the gipsy fire in the middle distance, and the purple ridge of low moorland hills towards which the gipsy-wife, with her child and donkeys, is picking her way. There is wind in the sky, wind on the moor, in the long wreath of smoke trailing across the swamp, and in the tall tufted grasses swayed and twisted hither and thither by every gust. I dare say there are many who would object to this picture because it has but little elaboration of detail. And in truth there is nothing of this to spare. But it has better than that. It suggests all the qualities of the various objects repre- sented which best aid the general intention of the painter, and in the tender grays of the windy sky, and the sober yet luminous browns and greens of the moor, it satisfies the sense of colour while it produces the one impression of a moorland waste. No counter-assertion could so well as this little picture repel the insinuation, which I see has got itself expressed in print, that this exhibition has been got up for the exclusive benefit and glori- fication of the so-called pre-Raphaelite school. The Cosmopolitan Club is not so untrue to its name as to imitate the narrow pre- judices which it should be the special object of the present exhibition to correct. Mr. Mason is, doubtless, the same who painted the picture called "Catch," so badly hung at the Academy. "Looking down the Lledr" (5), by Mr. C. R. Aston,bas in it more of the modern pin-pointing (to borrow an expressivephrase). Yet the picture leaves an agreeable impression of the transient beauty it aims to represent—mist clearing off the hill-side,—and furnishes an argument for attempting the imitation of such effects (however imperfect the achievement) rather than yield to an awe with which great love of nature sometimes inspires a true artist, in dissuading hint from so much as trying to represent her in her most lovely moods. Mr. W. Davis's " Beeches " (8)—for " elms " must be a mistake of the catalogue—is a good study of trees, a little spoiled by the white monotony of the sky behind, which robs the picture of atmosphere.
Mr. J. C. Hodgson is already favourably known to the art- loving public by his picture at the Academy called "The First Sight of the Spanish Armada." Equally good, and to my mind more agreeable, as well as more intelligible in treatment, is "The Escape of the Jacobite" (11). The Jacobite and his daughter have run across the Channel in a fisherman's boat, chased by a frigate. Nearing the land the smaller craft runs clots in to . the rocky shore, while the ship is obliged to lie to in deeper water, pelting the fugitive meantime with cannon shot, which dash up the water into columns of spray, end carry- ing away the fisherman's bolt-sprit, leave his jib to flap idly in the wind, and his boat to be driven by the mainsail on the rocks, if the helmsman do not succeed in putting the rudder up hard enough to save her. The figures in the boat, especially the group of father, daughter, and helmsman in the stern-sheets, are very good, and the tall and stately ship in the background very effec- tive. The hazy glimmer of the sun through the gray mist, and the general silvery tone of the picture, are very Turneresque, but the transparency and fluidity of the water have evaporated in the process of elaboration.
Mr. G. P. Boyce appears to be one of those who think that painting accurately Whatever may come to band is "truth," and that any departure from the accidental details of the chosen scene is a departure from "nature." On some such principle he would appear to have painted his " Binsey, near Oxford" (18), which, however, in the sunshine on the grass, and some other points, contains materials that deserved a more artist-like application. Hotter in this respect is his "Study at Cairo" (12), in which nothing could be better than the pale glow of an Egyptian winter's evening in sky and town. Mr. J. G. Naish has contributed an elaborate photograph-likeness of the "Castle Rock, near Linton" (14), and of the neighbouring shore, with more than the ordinary discord of green and purple too often indulged by the pre-Raphaelite fraternity. There is a monotony, toe, in the
shadows of shore and sea, far and near, which cannot be natural. "The Vanguard of the Forest," by Mr. M'Calluni, is a better picture than any of his accepted by the Academy. It is winter time, and the two or three scattered and leafless oaks which stand in front of the remaining forest are relieved by the pale glare of the wintry sun against the leaden cloud which is just passing away,—" in its breast a thunderbolt,"—and has strewn the grass with broken boughs. The touching incident of the fawn bleating its grief for its stricken dam to the herd, which streams from the distant cover to see the cause, completes the sense of desolation.
In Mr. W. B. Scott's St. Mark's, Venice (25), the spectator ex- periences a novel sensation as he stands among the pigeons on the roof of the porch where the famous bronze horses of St. Mark for ever paw the air, and overlooks the piazza below and the sea beyond. The weather-stained metal of the horses combint with the crimson curtain behind them and the varied marble of the cathedral to produce a rich display of colour. But, for colour, there is nothing hero to be compared with Mr. Inchbold's "Venice from the Public Gardens" (13). The sky posidvely burns and blazes with the "living light" of the sun, just sunk beneath the horizon. This is reflected with scarcely diminished splendour in the calm sea, but barred here and there with the delicious gray of a passing ripple, and in the distance is the long line of roof, tower, and campanile which belong only to Venice. An hour's labour, or less, expended upon the nearer objects, and more especially in breaking the rawness of the blue shadow under the garden wall, would make a finished picture of what at present must be regarded as a sketch, and might as such be supposed to have furnished a reason for its exclusion from the Academy, but for the capricious admission there of others equally unfinished. Mr. Inchbold's other picture, "In Devonshire" (19), is, at first sight, disappointing; but upon closer examination it con- veys a very true impression of twilight, the obscurity of nightfall being produced by a pervading half-tone, both in colour and chia- roscuro. There is less to interest in the pictures which (to classify them roughly) deal with the figure. There is, however, much careful painting in " Ishmael Mocking" (2), by Mr. J. B. Bedford, and dignity in the figure of Sarah ; but the general effect is poor. Mr. A. Hughes's "La Belle Dame sans Merci " (10), said to be an illustration of a poem by Keats, is the old story of the conflict between duty or virtue and indolence or pleasure. A knight bewitched by the siren-song of a fair lady, and not yet heeding the ghostly warnings of her former victims, sets her on his "pacing steed," and, surrendering to her his sword and shield, yields himself her thrall. There is no lack of expression in the principal figures, but the knight is an undignified man-at-arms, and the lady not fair enough to excuse his aberration. Some of the drawing also strikes me as questionable, and the weeds and wild flowers which crowd the foreground look not as if they had grown there by nature, but as if they bad been brought together for the artist's convenience. In his pretty picture called "Golgotha," Mr. P. R. Morris . has hardly realized the sen- timent which may be supposed to have weighed on the spot "where they crucified Him" on the evening of the Crucifixion. Mr. H. Holiday's "Allegory" (20), with its Venetian costumes and reference to the Song of Solomon, is not very intelligible : and one is glad to retreat on a canvass where the story is so well yet so unobtrusively told as in Mr. G. D. Leslie's "Jousting Toy" (15), which possesses much of the simplicity and good taste, though withal some of the unpleasant colour, which characterized his father's pictures; or, as in Mr. Knewstub's "Incumbrances" (27), which represents cleverly enough the confusion, noise, and dis- comfort of a cotter's sole apartment. More room is what the cotter wants; and more room is one of the greatest wants of the