5 MAY 1855, Page 18


If we deduct from the respectable average display which the Old Weise-Colour Society makes this year all that which is generic and an- nually reappearing, and restrict ourselves to that which either has a tinc- ture of novelty or is so excellent of its kind as to demand respectful study in any ease we shall find little to say except of Messrs. Lewis, Hunt, Burton Collingwood, and Cox. Mr. Lewis sends two Egyptian studies—" The Well in the Desert," and "The Greeting in the Desert." Both are of that extreme order of refinement to which we are accustomed in his works; every detail finish- ed, but the whole keeping its place, and subdued to a beautiful simplicity. The clear, dry, flat effect of the desert atmosphere is rendered with mas- terly ease. In the second of the two pictures, the faces of the boy in the foreground, and of the man standing in his camel's shadow, are peculiarly happy. Mr. Hunt's art is in consummate perfection, although there is nothing very memorable in hie subjects. "Le Malefic Imaginaire " about to gulp a " nasty " dose of medicine, portrays a face peculiarly fa- rinliar to its artist. "The Usurper" and "Confidence" are two studies f;rotn p plain-faced boy, whose visage we do not remember to have met before; "The Mendicant" and "From Nature" are similarly from a young woman rather deficient in expressive contour. The plums in No. 256 are, for exquisite roundness, almost the most wonderful of the many wonderful things Mr. Hunt has done of the same kind. Mr. F. W. Burton is new to us as a water-colour artist. He bursts the shell, how- ever, full-fledged ; for one will not often see a work more thoroughly and

b.ly competent at all points than his "Peasantry of Upper Franconia Waiting for Confession.' The mere ground-plan of the picture is capi- tally artistic, the figures are finely drawn and coloured in a solid manly style of execution, and are truly and variously expressive. "Franconian Peasantry iPilgrims) in the Cathedral of Bamberg" has the same good qualities, except the colour, which is here very hot and hurtful to the e7e ; nor, though it may be similarly well done in other respects, has the picture the same promise and spirit of life in it as the other. Mr. Coning- wood shines in interiors ; in which perhaps he is unrivalled by any artist of the day, unless it be Lewis Haghe, for ease and agreeable feeling united to elaboration. "The Absent" is especially good ; the girl's figure nice in design and character, and all the upholstery of the chamber ex- cellently rendered. How far the contributions of Mr. Cox may be the doings of the past year we are unable to say. We recognize one or two of the designs of former seasons. We only hope that any of the remainder belong to the present ; for if they do, this noble veteran of art is still in the vigour which has long rendered him the king of water-colour landscape. There is the same deep grand gloom as ever, the same penetration beneath the surface ofth to their meaning and life, the same impatient power whose playilitur th carelessness throw c4 in a twist or a spirt of the brush,

that which talent—ay, and faultlessly educated talent—shall strive for its life long, with all labour and appliance, and never attain. "Flint Castle," "Snowdon from Capel Cnrig," "The Coming Gale," "Crossing the Heath, Moonrise," and "The Old London Stage," are conspicuously fine where every one bears the mint-mark of genius. Let us but have that combined with a reverence for nature from whatever point of view, and the most blurred.daub of Cox, and the most microscopic Preeraphaeitism, Stand at a height and in an intrinsic closeness of relation such as will never be emulated by any surface-likeness of style or painful inventory of detail. A few words must suffice for the remaining contributors. Mr. Gilbert fs, as usual, clever Mr. Haag, who has been to Dalmatia and Mon- tenegro, accomplished, effective, but not unmechanical ; Mr. Alfred Fripp, who continues his Italian series, so full of capacities for brilliant colour and elevated feeling as to make his enthralment to the sentimen- tally pretty a real misfortune ; and Mr. Riviese, sly and spontaneous enough in humour to deserve a manner less flimsy and self-sufficient, if he would only work for it. In landscape, Mr. William Turner is de- licate, observant, and sincere in feeling; Mr. Davidson, late of the New Society, a contributor; Mr. W. Collingwood Smith sparkling and vivid; Mr. Duncan broad, and in sentiment chaste though not strong ; Mr. Richardson clever and hollow ; Mr. J. Burgess junior pioturesque and lifelike; and Mr. Naftel, the first of all this year next to Mr. Cox, re- get° with vigour, pictorial talent, and adaptability, and only wanting in the- certain glow and harmony of beauty which indicate the lover, of nature from the heart and not merely through the eyes.