EMBELLISHMENTS OF THE ANNUALS.
ALREADY have these gay flowers—the Dahlias of the parterre—begun to blow, vieing with each other in splendour and amplitude ; alike, but with a difference. The literary portion is but as the stem and leaves of the plant ; we have only to do with the rich blossoms. Could we rest satisfied with admiring, or had we room to expatiate on their beauties, Our task were as light as it is agreeable ; but to discriminate is no easy matter ; for so imperceptible are the gradations of excellence, that in culling a few choice specimens, we know not Where to stop ; and to omit noticing any, where all are so admirable, seems like injustice.
Last year there was one Landscape Annual; this year there are three ; —the Landscape, by HARDING, the Picturesque, by STANFIELD, and the Continental, by Purim STANFIELD and HARDING are first in the field, and their rich spoils are spread out before us. We know not which to prefer—we should choose both, and all. Haannio has gleaned the south of Italy—a golden harvest : STANFIELD has taken a wider range from the Tyrol to Venice, including some of those romantic scenes of grandeur and beauty which formed part of the panorama exhibited at Drury Lane Theatre last season. The style of these artists is very similar : STANFIELD'S is of a more transparent and polished brilliancy ; HARDING'S is rugged, massive, and bold, with a broad sketchy touch. STANFIELD'S effects are mostly sunny bright, enriched with shade; HARDING'S generally shade, relieved by light. In
the execution of the engravings, STANFIELD has the advantage' for he•has had the benefit of CHARLES HEATH'S superintendence ; who well .knows how to do the best things, and how the best things ought to be done, in the way of engraving. Or is it that we look at HARDING'S with the recollection of the original drawings still fresh to the sight, in all the splendour of their effects, and the richness of their colouring ? This may provoke "odious comparisons," unfavourable to the en
ravings; but as no effects of black and white can convey an adequate idea of the charms of colour, we should not feel disappointment on that ground alone. No—the truth must be told—the plates of the Landscape Annual are not so clear and brilliant in their execution as those of the Picturesque Annual.
We can only give a passing glance at the different plates, remarking on any peculiar beauty or prominent defect as we turn them over : and first, of the Picturesque. The vignette of Isola Bella, in the titlepage, is an exquisite little gem ; the palace, with its terraces, obelisks, and vases, is CLAunz-like in beauty. Innsbruck, spread out at the base of the snow-crowned Alps. The Lake of Constance, by the light of the sinking moon. Strasburg, in the clear light of an evening sun, calm and beautiful; the effect admirably rendered in the engraving by WALus. DOinip d' Ossola, Brieg, and the Gallery of Gondo, as seen in the Panorama be. fore alluded to. Landeck, in the Tyrol ; quite an Alpine scene, with its for tress cresting the rock, its steep pine-clad acclivities and mountain-torrent. The range of the Alps, and the vale with its winding stream, as seen from near Feldkirch. The Fortress of Tronsberg, surrounded with castle-crested hills. The tall tower of Klumm, rising above the valley of the Inn, enclosed by its everlasting barrier of mountains. Trent. Roveredo. Angera, a strikingly effective picture. Murano' with a clever group of boats in the foreground. Lake Maggiore, with its islands of palaces. Sesto Calende ; a sweet scene of peaceful serenity—Italian pastoral. Two views of Verona, awaking Shakspearian associations, and of rarest picturesque beauty. Part of Milan Cathedral, rich with Gothic tracery and crowned with a diadem of light pinnacles of fretwork. Venice with its palaces, and streets paved with the emerald waves; and the Dogano with its domes and turrets, and its portico projecting into the sea, looking like a floating palace. Such, among others, are the subjects selected by Mr. STANFIELD, and represented with wonderful skill and mastery of art.
Turn we now to the Landscape Annual. The frontispiece is a view of the "Interior of Milan Cathedral, looking towards the high altar." Brazen galleries, supported by termine, surround the lofty clustered columns on either side of the steps leading to the altar ; while shrines enriched with the adornments of the sculptor and architect, pictures, statues, &c. lit by the sun's rays tinted with the hues of the stained glass, meet the eye on every side, presenting a picture of ecclesiastical magnificence and splendour, the most imposing which a Catholic country can show. The engraving is good, but it wants the grandeur of effect in the original. We have here another and different view of Isola Bella ; a bright and lively scene, with groups of boats. Florence, with its domes and towers glittering in the slant beams of the evening sun ; a scene of 'brilliant repose. A view of the Polite Santa Trinita • which the engraver has made to look hard and black, with a London sky. Feints, near Florence ;
a bold and masterly composition, but rather heavy in the engraving. The Temple of Clitumnus; a scene of romantic and classic beauty, with a familiar look; through being overpeopled. Spoleto, with a sparkling effect of evening sun-light. The Castle of Nepi, with its machiolated battlements rising from the rocky cliffs, overhung with trees, whose leaves are moist with the spray of the waterfall ; a picturesque and romantic scene, and finely treated. The Lake of Nemi, overlooked by the town cresting the massive barrier of rocks—a scene worthy of Wins* and treated in a congenial manner. Gensano and the Ghigi Palace ; two views rich in beauty of foreground. The Views of Naples from the Sea, from Santa Lucia, from the Strada Nuova—the two Views of Puzzuoli, and of the Bay, of Bain—form a cluster of scenes which the pencil, even with the aid of colour, can scarcely do justice to; the first; and the Mole of Caligula, are the most beautiful plates. Castel-a-mare is heavy and 1149I10tOnein in the engraving. Perm) is a grind and otrilshv compo sition with bold features, and Vice is scarcely less imposing. The Entrance to Sorrento is another of those romantic scenes which are peculiar ta Italy, consisting of precipitous cliffs, whose heights are clowned wi buildings, and bridges spurning the chasm of the steep ravine, through which thunders the waterfall. The Bay of Sorrento—Vietri—and Cetera, on the bay of Salerno, partake of the same romantic and pia-turesque character that distinguish the wild beauties of this country ; which, when they are presented to the eye in pictures seem like the products of the artists' fancy rather than real scenes. There is not one of these prints but is interesting for its subject, and valuable for the excellence of the art which is displayed in depicting them.
The Embellishments to Friendship's Offering are of the same character as those of all the Annuals of this class. Graceful designs by popular artists, however' are not always susceptible of any other than general commendation. Such are the "Greek Mother," by CORBOULD ; the "Poet's Dream," by WESTALL ; the" Dismal Tale," by STOTHARD; " Myrrhina and Myrto," by WOOD; the "Fairy of the Lake," by RICHTER, &c. &c. ; with Landscape Compositions in imitation of CLAUDE by PURSER and WHICHELO. They are very clever designs, very nicely engraved, and make very pretty illustrations. The Winter's Ifreath ought rather to be called the Autumnal Corolla, since its flowers bloom thus early. Its selection of subjects is better than that of the Friendship's Offering, half of them being landscapes, and the best of them scenes of nature, not cold creations of art. We have a calm glowing evening by BARRETT, a la CLAUDE. Naples' a beautiful composition, by LINTON. An imposing picture of a wreck by WILLissisosr. The Lake of Nemi, by AGI.I0,; delicate but feeble. The Highland Fortress of Lessing Cray, by MARTIN; who ha i given an artificial appearance to the natural grandeur of the scene, and introduced an impossible tree, that looks like a bit of endive ! Abbeville, by ROBERTS; a clever drawing. Two pretty designs by LIVERSEEGE ; one, called the Inconstant, is the portrait of a young lady in a simple dress and easy attitude, but seated in a perilous situation ; the other a lady seated by a fountain in a grove. A Highland Piper, by Goon ALL; an excellent study. A design by STOTHARD, &C. &C. The engravings are extremely good, aud worthy of the high reputation of the respectiKe