23 FEBRUARY 1861, Page 17

fun !Arts.

BRITISH balm:mow (Second Notice). —Mr. F. Goodall's small reproduction of his picture of " Felice l3allarin reciting Tasso to the People of Chioggia" (111), is a decided improvement i on the original work. It s, perhaps, the most complete figure subject in the rooms, possessing as it does ...nod drawing, varied character, and a pleasing general effect of colour, albeit some of the faces have a " bloomy " quality in No lights. For humour, Mr. Erskine Nicol bears the palm here. It would be diffi- cult to surpass his "Health to You" (626), an old Irishman smiling towards you as he lifts a glass of the cratur" to his lips, which is capital for its unforced and natural expression ; 150, " Common Pleas," showing the same model, begging, is almost equally happy. In' 464, Mr. Nicol takes a larger field, and shows us the interior of a cobbler's hoveL The cobbler, on this occasion, is acting as a chirope- dist, having just removed a corn from the foot of a peasant, who, griping his knee with both hands, leans back to utter a r%,,,rular Irish howl of agony. His tearful wife, looking on, is amusingly pathetic. The operator himself, with true professional indifference to pain, looks up in his patient's face with a most aggravating smile. These pic- tures are deficient in the best qualities of colour; in the last-men- tioned especially, there is a tendency to blackness, though not to the same extent as in former works by Mr. Nicol. Two pictures, which aim at a higher kind of expression, are (543) "The Return from Moscow," by Mr. P. H. Calderon, and (307), "An Anxious Moment," by Mr. Barwell. Mr. Calderon's picture, as far as technical excel- lence is concerned, is a great improvement on any he has yet exhibited, nor has he achieved anything better than the half-savage, half-despon- dent look of the soldier who returns to find that the girl whom he hoped to make his wife has became a cloistered nun. The female face is scarcely equal to that of the man, whose uniform, by the way, is strangely new, considering the hardships he must have lately un- dergone; but, despite these drawbacks, it is an able and vigorous picture, and stands out with startling prominence from the mass of crude and pretentious weakness with which it is surrounded. In Mr. Barwell's "Anxious Moment," we see a girl trying to read in the doctor's face whether there is hope for the patient whose sick conch he has just left. The story might have been better told, and the colour is thin and weak, but credit is due to Mr. Barwell, who here, as elsewhere, has done his best, and is always honest and painstaking. Mr. J. A. Houston's "Shadows of the Wayside" (231) is clever, and the old woman is not a bad study of character, but the child is at best but a milliner's doll. Mr. T. M. Joy apparently finds much difficulty in being original. In his " Travelli 1760 and 1860" (298), we have a melancholy travestie on Mr. Frith's "Stage-Coach Adventure," with two highwaymen in- troduced by way of variety, in one compartment—in the other a railway guard is supposed to be collecting the tickets from the inmates of a first-class carriage, well-dressed dummies, but devoid of anything like expression. The guard partakes of the general inanity, and if he is doing anything at all, must surely be wondering, in com- mon with the writer of this notice, why the hands of the gentleman in the red cap should be painted of one colour and his head of another. In 333, Mr. -Joy repeats this peculiarity, the face and hand of one of the &curs de Chante being totally different in tone and tint. 299, "Negligee," by Mr. A. Ludovici, is a forcibly painted and well- coloured study of a coquettish head, and contrasts well with the flimsy painting of which there is so much in this collection. Two little fairy subjects, " Summer " and "Winter" (470 and 474), by Mr. J. A. Fitzgerald, are deserving of notice for their playful fancy and pretty dainty colour. Mr. Crowe sends "A Barber's Shop at Richmond, Virginia" (260), interesting as a sketch of local manners, but without any other value. I little picture by Mr. G. A. Holmes, called "Unrequited Affection" (595), in which a child is resisting the too demonstrative caresses of a large dog, is remarkable for its truth of action and the fidelity with which the crying face of the child is rendered, though the flesh is much too florid in colour. Mr. E. C. Barnes's "Rus in Urbe" (271) is a work of promise. There is feeling for character in the heads of the card-sharpers and their vic- tim—a greenhorn fresh from the country. The rogue that is about to appropriate the countryman's bundle is especially good as a type of low London blackguardism. The whole painting looks too clean, and is in many parts common and tricky, in execution. "The Burial of Charles the First" (369), by Mr. C. Lucy, is a work of the historic class, with the true historic and opaque colour. I find it difficult to sympathize with these gentlemen mourners, looking as if they were ready dressed for the parts of Hamlet or Laertes; their grief has too much display to be real, and Bishop Juxon is sadly maudlin. Mr. Johnstone contributes two dashing clever studies of heads (107, 466) and Mr. Provis a highly finished cottage interior, with a very natu- rally drawn old woman blowing the fire. Vulgar and incompetent pictures preponderate here to a pitiable extent, and they are made more noticeable by the conspicuous posi- tions they occupy. As a type of all that is coarse and bad in art, take 581, "The New Suit," by Mr. T. P. Hall, in which the figure of the woman is conveyed from Mr. Faed's picture "Subdued not Conquered," and the whole subject treated with most offensive vul- garity. As a type of utter inanity, let us glance for a moment at 541, Deer Stalking in the Highlands" (I withhold the artist's name from motives of charity), where a gentleman with a large piece of sticking-plaster on his under lip, and whose arms are no longer than his head, is in the act of invoking something or somebody, while a sympathetic stag-hound presses his nose with such force against the body of his master, that were he of the ordinary human proportions he would inevitably be left gasping and breathless on the moors.

Sir Edwin Landseer's " Offering " (67) is a wonderful study of a dead goat placed on a pyre of logs, to which the sacrificial fire has just been applied. Those invidious critics who think Sir Edwin's power of hand is declining had better study this work, in which our great animal painter distances all competitors in masterly execution and command of the brush. The logs of wood appear to have been all painted from one model, there being a striking similarity between them. Mr. Horlov imitates Sir Edwin to an unpleasant degree, which is the more unnecessary, as he has evidently talent of his own with which to trade. Of his two pictures, I prefer 183, showing a coney puppy guarding a pair of shoes. Mr. Duffield has some good imitative painting in "From the Hill-side" (348). The dead roe- buck's head, neck, and horns are very true in drawing colour and texture, and the ducks, grouse, and other birds are painted with great feeling and precision. 103, "Arabs," is by Mr. A. Cooper, R.A., in which we renew our acquaintance with the time-honoured white horse with the retrousse nose, the small head, very large round body, and very short legs, which this artist has given us from time immemorial—to his own satisfaction, perhaps, but certainly not to that of the public. Mr. Huggins, who is known chiefly by his studies of domestic fowls, sends a very good sketch of a sleeping lion, called the "Repose of Power" (558). "A Summer Afternoon, Pas de Calais" (625), showing a flock of sheep reposing on the downs, with the sea beyond, is by Mr. H. W. B. Davis. The sub- ject and treatment remind one too nearly of Mr. Holman Hunt's admirable picture of "Our English Coasts.'

In landscape, Mr. Dawson is more than usually strong this year. His "Harvest" (73) combines great natural truth with poetic feeling. The sun is sinking behind a bank of clouds, and throws his rays on the golden harvest-field. The elms in the background are very beautiful in arrangement of line, and the contrast of the warm light of the sun which illumines them on one side, with the cool reflexion from the eastern sky which they•receive on the other, is very ably managed, (110) "Sunset at Sea" by the same painter, is a smaller picture, but full of poetry and good colour. The ships have quite a spectral shadowy look. 'i his work would be improved by diminishing the force of the boat, which at present seems to be on the same plane as a buoy, which, according -to the perspective of the picture, must be several feet in advance of it. Mr. J. W. Oakes contributes one of the best landscapes--" Essex Coast" (359), which is very ad- mirable for its sunny and brilliant effect. The sky is wonderfully real, and the water of the true degree of transparency. Mr. Oakes has not confined himself so much to mere foreground as in many instances he has. Here is ample room and verge enough for the imagination to wander in. The nearer figures rather mar what would otherwise be an almost perfect portrayal of nature. For clever work- manship Mr. Stanfield's " Namur " (83), and " Bouvignes, on the Meuse" (270), are note-worthy, but they are cold and hard in colour, and lack all attempt at representing that delicate veil of mystery with which Nature so liberally invests herworks. Mr. Hayes succeeds well in wind and storm ; "Dumbarton Rock" (228) is his best picture here, and shows great feeling for aerial effect and distance. "Hayle Harbour, St. Ives' Bay" (484), by Mr. C. P. Knight, is not without merit, but the general effect is harsh and violent, with too great a pre- ponderance of buff colour. The horses and figures are drawn with .much spirit. Mr. J. Denby, in 339, "London from the Thames, in 1861," shows that if we have the poetic faculty within us, the , materials for educing it may be found much nearer home than in Italy or Switzerland. It is true Mr. Denby has often painted this particular effect before, but I do not recollect any picture of late years that conveys so good an impression of the misty, gloomy splendour of a London afternoon on the Thames. The buildings are not too clean, as is generally the case in views of the metropolis, though the river, especially that portion of it to the right of the spectator, is much bluer than it ever is in nature. Mr. E. J. Niemann contributes several works, remarkable for heaviness and opacity; these qualities are least observable in No. 66, "A Quiet Shot.' Mr. E. Lear's 'Fortress of Masada, on the Dead Sea" (349), is a large and clas- sical landscape, which, despite the lengthy quotation that accompanies it in the catalogue, fails to interest, notwithstanding there is plenty of good work in it, especially in the drawing of the rocks to the right. Mr. Boddington improves. " Oe the River Glaslyn" (588) is more conscientious than usual. Mr. H. Moore is quaint in choice of sub- ject, and flat in mode of treatment, in " Clovelly" (493). Of Mr. Bridell's works I prefer 244, "The Woods of Sweet Chesnut above Irarenna," which has a certain solemn grandeur about it, though the relative distances of the various objects are not well observed. Mr. Downard Birch shows careful study of nature, which may lead to good results, in 347, "In Hampshire," and 617, "On the Thames.' Mr. Raven exhibits a charming study of "Cherry Blossom" (514), relieved against a pure blue sky, very gracefully arranged, and truth- fully and delicately painted.

The sculpture presents the usual bald conventionalisms, with the exception of two pieces by .Mr. A. Munro. 643, " Mother's Joy," is very tender and beautiful in its conception. It consists of a fond mother toying with her child. Both faces have very delicate expres- sion. 644, a study of a little girl's head, by the same sculptor, is also very refined in feeling. Both works are badly placed, and would be

seen to better advantage in better company. DRY POINT. In the Times of Wednesday I see recorded the death of Francis Denby, Esq., A.R.A., at Exmouth, on the 9th inst., aged sixty-eight. Mr. Danby was the oldest of the Associates, that is to say, his name had been longer on the list than that of any of the ether twenty. His sunset pictures must be familiar to aU your readers. Mr. Danby leaves two sons behind him, who follow their father's profes- sion.—D. P.