31 MARCH 1855, Page 19

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The exhibition in Suffolk Street, though as much wanting as usual in passable treatments of subjects of any ambition, and even in pictures of human interest of whatever class, is fully up to its level this season; showing, indeed, like the two other exhibitions of the year previously .opened, -some advance in the diffusion of care and skill among that mis- cellany of contributors from whem aforetime all has been barren. If, therefore, we are summary in our notice, it is not that the "British Art- ists" deserve a specially abrupt dismissal, but that our space does not allow of our marshalling them more minutely in "the order of their going." None of the pictures we miss are efforts of an extraordinary -genius, but some might deserve specification at another time.

Mr. Hurlstone and Mr. Noble, familiar and principal contributors, meet us at the outset. The first.has two important subjects : "Colum- bus" as his crew is on the eve of imitiny ; and "Dante begging his bread,"—which there is scarcely a vestige of reason for supposing that he ever did. The Columbus motions onward feebly, and looks unwell rather than haggard with the immensity of his task. The general treat- Ment will be readily surmised: there is some variety and freedom in the -design of the hands of the several personages. In the Dante we can censtrue certain points as indicative of a right conception of the subject; but the picture is not carried far enough to certify us that these are really in it, and not merely in our view of it. Mr. Noble has got hold of a capital subject of its class—an incident in a " Shepherd and Shep- herdess " entertainment a the time of Louis Quatorze, when the sheep accidentally leapedin among the company, and dashed their beads through looking-glasses in which they saw themselves reflected. There is a combination here of quaint nature and outré artificiality which °f- lared very happy opportunities. Mr. Noble has used them to a retain just a trifle better thanhia wont—which-is praise of the most,qualified. "The Lady of -Shalott" by Mr. Darvell is a deeply poetic subject treated in the prose of secondhand Prseraphaelitism—a young woman, ma dress of that unmitigated blue which has-been " the:thing " among hard painters without an eye for (valour, since Mr. Millais's "Mariana," loeking into a glass and doing some tapestry work. -The technical exe- _ entaon is rearectable.

Four or five works, tolerably or wholly unconspictrous, possess quali- ties. of a superior order. -"The :Teetotaller, and the Tippler," by Mr. ,Hayllar, represents the interior of a public-house parlour with consider- ! able astic freedom and breadth. Its two contrasted occupants are lifelike ; the first, perhaps a Smithfield drover, omnibus driver, or some- thing of the sort, with inflamed face and swollen person about to toss elf his glass; the second, an older man, the type of decent poverty, with his threadbare coat buttoned as neatly as the ease allows over his meagre under-garments, and his dingy old bluchers accurately tied, and scraping the fiddle whose twank is an outlet to some simple taste housed within the worn skin and bones. Mr. Hayllar has avoided everything puling or obtrusive, _and bespeaks attention to any future works of his. The "Study of Game" also is a clever piece of painting. "The Lollipop" by Mr. J. Campbell has uext to no story to tell, and tells that not very vividly ; but it is in an extremely good style of design—sharp and clear. Mrs. C. Smith's "Irish Emigrants" shows quiet observation and feeling, of a literal but still an interesting _kind. Mr. Madot's "Sketch ttt Jullien's from the Boxes" has a piquant peculiarity in arrangement and bthad half-tint. - Mr. Compton's "Study on Hampstead Heath" of a boy watching some minnows be has bottled, is skilfully foreshortened, and altogether done with good sense ; and Miss H. Philips gives, in "The Highland Lassie," a, fair, kind, earnest face' lustrous with great eyes. A word must suffice to call attention—not to Messrs. Woolmer, Hill, and other such habituas, for they need it not—but to Miss Anna E. Blun- den's " Emigrant " ; the degree of improvement visible in Mr. Peek, Mr. Duneau's "Fortune of War," and Miss Turck's "Little Nell." And here we may note the great number of lady-contributors—not fewer tliaa. seventy or thereabouts.

The most remarkable landscapes are by Mr. Pettitt. His numerous works of this year exhibit three prominent points ; an agreeable treat- ment of foliage, much in the Creswick style ; a special knack at repre- senting water in shadow relieved by the brilliant white of rapid swarm- ing bubbles; and a repetition of cold-hued water-furrowed cliffs, drawn with detail, but without adequate expression'of hardness. "The Fairies' Glen on the Conway, North Wales—Midsummer Evening" is not to be considered as literal nature, but as a pushing of certain effects beyond mundane possibility for the sake of elfish feeling, not without consider- able success, enhanced by the close rendering of certain single bits of na- ture. "Sunset on the Welsh Mountains" is distinct from all the rest— impressive as a whole, and the foreground particularly fitted to bear in- spection—the sky woolly. Mi. Clint has a very talented picture.— "Evening, after a stormy day, near Ilfracombe,"—full of boiling, dashing spray, bluff rocks, and characteristic detail. Mr. Pyne's "Evening at Chelsea" is the work of a clever man and the reminiscence of a great man, Turner ; not satisfactory as a result. Two views by Mr. Lear— "A calabrian Ravine, Pentedalo," and "A Devonshire Glen, Lydford" —painted, apparently, before he had identified himself with the Prce- raphaelite movement—display a very noticeable capacity, and are in themselves peculiar for picturesqueness, and for the massive gloom which envelops the lower portion of each. The Devonshire view especially is powerful, and the depth of shade so strong that one hardly knows whe- ther the wavering line of blue within it is water falling, or the spray of unseen water steaming upwards, and hardly perceives at first the trees which crowd its monotony. In his present practice, Mr. Lear would have educed a more beautiful contrast of colour from the upper .ground lying in sunshine. Two painstaking views, of observation and refinement, appear under the names of Margaret Wit-comb Mid H. W. B. Davis. The former—an autumual copse—is perfectly conscientious, accurate, and free from man- nerism ; • in character not unlike the picture at the British Institution by Mr. Witherby, who here also exhibits a work hung almost out of sight, but seemingly less good. Mr. Davis's "Moonrise in the Forest'-'-a very sweetly selected scene—is done with remarkable moderation. Dusk has scarcely yet obtained tho mastery of daylight, ruddy clouds spot the upper sky : Mr. Davis has not knocked up an effect, but studied an ap- pearance. There is something too much of the distinction of individua1 leafage in the trees. The " Gudvangen Branch of the Sagne Fiord, Nor- way," is in all respects one of the most excellent works of Mr. West, well cared for throughout ; and others of his coutributions also fully maintain his credit. Among well-known exhibitors, Mt. Wilson senior and Mr. Gosling—among the less familiar, Mr. T. C. Johnson, Mr. W. A. Wilson, and Mr. Pettitt junior—are likewise conspicuous.

The Water-colour Room has attracted a very fair share of the talent of the gallery. Mr. Oldham's "Arundel Castle" has very beautiful and admirable qualities, though there is something sultry and conventional in the colour. Miss E. Rowbotham's "Portrait" of a little child is eharmhig for naive truth. Miss Tuppen's floral and vegetable pieces are quite first- rate for drawing and minute accuracy, though they want roundness; Miss C. Hardcastle's "Study of a Bank near Carmarthen" is also first-rate; and Mr. Burebam's "Bird's Nest, dm." only a trifle leas vivid than some others of his Hunt-like bits.