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beseech ye, oh! sentimental fair ones, and take a leaf from Amakayah's book-then, in order to give Fitz-Mortimer the most convincing proof of tender sympathy and regard, she next masticated one of these
to him rather novel emblems of affection-whilst gracefully presenting its fellow, in order that she might by him, be similarly pledged with so unmistakeable a token of love!
“* Alas, Fitz-Mortimer! that the true spirit of chivalry should then have slumbered in thy recreant breast, that thou shouldest then have spurned the beauteous Amakayah's tender 'gage d'amour !
"Truly do we live in degenerate times! Fitz-Mortimer evidently cared not a ' creeper' for the daughter of a king ; for the lovely and loving African princess! Je mounted his horse, and unfeelingly abandoned Amakayah to all the keen torments of unrequited love!
“Macomo had forcibly possessed himself of, and appropriated to his own use, poor Kaffir Bill's hardly-earned reward. Bill, with the empty bottle in his hand, accompanied us back to the Fort. mised to replenish it, conditionally that he would, on his return, take charge of Amakayah's only change of dress--the mantle which, like a good Samaritan, she had so charitably cast over the naked and bleeding form of poor Fitz-Mortimer, who henceforth, never again donned the costume of “Melton Mowbray” in the “ Bush.”
It seems to be pretty generally admitted that none of the exhibitions of this year reach their average strength. There may be many pictures of promise or fair merit, but few indeed of that superlative excellence which strikes so deeply into the memory of the spectator. gaze, criticise, may-be applaud, and pass on to the next number ; seldom, however, returning to repeat our homage to any one particular subject. If this be the common character of the season's exhibition, and we believe it is, the sporting subjects certainly come in no way as an exception : we can take our rounds with the most well-bred air of the nil admirari, rarely excited into any more demonstrative expression of opinion.
In the first place, and we give him that rank amongst his fellows he has so worthily won, Sir Edwin Landseer exhibits but one picture, and that one, we dare say, but few comparatively of the public have either “found or made a note of.” The British Institution, whose walls it graced, closes, as it opens, very early in the season ; before, in fact, the stream of sight-seers has well set in. We don't know, though, that they have lost much even if they have missed Sir Edwin's solitary specimen for 'fifty-two. Entitled a “ Deer Pass,” it is devoted more to the effects of mountain mist and highland scenery than to animal painting. Telling accessories in such hands as we well know already; but we prefer, still, more being made of the Hamlet himself than this
the scene he plays on. We can pass it in all equanimity of spirit, as undoubtedly not the kind of Landseer we should order or covet.
Highly honoured, as we suppose, on the principle of first come first served, with such a tribute from the Royal Academician, this same British Institution numbered in its catalogue one or two of Mr. Herring's best pictures. Take for instance the “ Watering Place near Dumfries,” which exhibits this master in as much general strength as we ever remember to have seen him. The black or brown horse drinking is painted, perhaps, as no other man could paint him, not only for drawing and texture, but that wonderfully appropriate expression, of the eye especially, to what he is doing. Mr. Herring has studied the horse's countenance as Landseer has the dog's, or Wilkie did the human face—that is, until he has made this said expression one of the chief charms of his work. It is not, however, the horse alone that attracts us here. Latterly we have had occasion now and then to quarrel with the men and maidens Terring introduces into his subjects ; but this year we can very conscientiously congratulate him on improvement. The canny Scotchman is just the sort of a man you would expect to find where he is ; while his expression, too, and that of his dog, to whom he is talking as the horse drinks, is well worthy in every way of what is generally taken as the great feature in these pictures—the horse himself.
Jr. Herring has here too, as well as in Suffolk Street, an « Arab and Favourite.” Arcades ambo, that is to say, both the Arab steed and the attendant holding him, having all the characteristics of the race they are portrayed from. The farm-yard scenes, again, are not forgotten, with their profusion of well-fed, well-chosen stock-horses, sheep, pigs, pigeons, and so on, easily grouped and capitally made up ; the most effective, no doubt, being that introducing as its back-ground part of the ruins of St. Rodagon's Abbey, Dover—" a bit” that has been made to tell famously in the purpose it has now descended to. Still these familiar scenes, and as usual there are plenty of them, do not exhaust Herring's numbers, the reader who has not seen it will be gurely curious to know how he can treat such a subject as this-- Society of British Artists, 191—“ Cromwell's Soldiers in Possession of Arundel Church, of which they made a Guard-room and a Stable.” Again we congratulate our artist on breaking fresh ground, for though perhaps not yet so perfect in the historical as he has proved himself in the rural and domestic; his efforts here are full of promise. The theme could not have been better chosen, but scarcely enough may have been made of it. You hardly feel sufficiently the effect of the uses to which the sacred edifice is turned ; indeed, were you not told so, we much question whether the building could be recognized as a church at all. You guther no idea of altitude, and little, in fact, of the desecration committed. As may be supposed, the great point of the picture is in the figures--the guard-room, and the stable—both man and horse carefully equipped, and altogether most forcibly painted. The soldiers, however, save the short-cropped Rufus, have little of “ the round-head” character. The vetcran reading "the gude big book "not a whit of the cold, dogged, determined republican in his features ; while the younger gallant, with the common short clay pipe (?) in his hand, has both in look and bearing far more the stamp of the gay cavalier. The Arundel Church, however, is a sign of laudable ambition, and we should be the last to discourage Mr. Herring from further works of the same high character. The very selection of such a one proves that he has a proper taste for the study.
But no one, after all, can give us the stirring scenes of the Commionwealth with such unqualified success as Abraham Cooper, and we are glad to find him returning to them. “The flight from Marston Moor," and One of these—Death or Glory,” are a couple of small pictures that for freshness and spirit quite equal the many battle pieces that have already contributed so much to his reputation-we could hardly give them higher praise. Mr. Cooper has another pair of small fancy subjects not so happily selected, as well as two well painted portraits—a charger and a lady's horse, for Lord Charles Clinton. Still sporting portraits do not generally abound : there is not a race-horse to be found in the many Exhibitions we have visited, while the chase is not much stronger supplied. The most conspicuous in this way is "the Wynnstay Hunt" with a very good portrait of Sir Watkin surrounded by his friends and his hounds, and altogether a clever picture. It has something of a Grant look in arrangement, but the catalogue omits to say to whom we are to credit it. If we did know the gentleman's address we might recommend him a little closer study of perspective. Beyond Henry Barraud's equestrian portrait of Mr. Selby Lowndes, in the National Institution, we do not remember any further fac-simile of this character. There are, however, one or two good hunting scenes in the Academy, taking, for example, a dive into the octagon, where Mr. T. Davis, who dates, we believe, from Dartmoor, has “ Hounds running into their fox in a stone-wall country,” all over the work of a sportsman, though if we must be critical, both fox and hounds look to have a strong cross of the greyhound-they must be surely a little too long for line and rule. Harry Hall, again, has a good notion of a huntsman calling his hounds out of a cover drawn blank, in which he has worked up the bit of pink and the grey horse with a famous eye for effect ; but what does his title mean--at least as given in the catalogue ? " Another blank,” if you please, just what the canvass shows us; but “ To him, lads ! another blank !" is scarcely so comprehensible: “Come away, lads! a'roy, a'voy there!” would, to our notion, be something more like ; but still, after all, dog language, like the language of love, is a matter of taste, and Mr. Hall's friend may read it a way of his own.
Mr. R. B. Davis has another illustration of the De Coverley Hunt, and a Mr. Pocock two or three incidents in a run that require no especial comment-we can pass on again with the easy grace of the nil admirari.
Next to the hapless Ophelia, who is encountered this year at every turn and in every form, " The pretty Ba'a Lambs,” as one of the preRaphaelites christens his handiwork, appear to be amongst the most popular of subjects. Young Mr. Weeks paints the sheep, and paints them well too ; Mr. Keyl paints sheep, Mr. Herring paints sheep, and Mr. Ansdell makes up one of the best pictures of the year in a sheepwashing. In this, as well as “ The Cattle Fair,” he comes out in great force as an animal painter, while, we are happy to add, his works are rather better hung than usual in the Academy. In these, as well as “ The Conimon," sent to the British Institution, the scene is laid in the north, and the Highland mountain sheep the one portrayed. But it is not the sheep only Ansdell succeeds so well in, his sheep or colley dog being perhaps better still; he has one or two appropriately introduced in the works named. This artist, we hear, now spends a considerable part of his time in the north, and most of his pictures have a leaning that way. The half-dozen shooting scenes by him at present on view at Messrs. Fores', in Piccadilly, have generally a smack of the mountain breeze, but they are certainly very clever. We never perhaps saw the different themes so originally treated, and never more effectively Mr. Ansdell, however, must guard against taking his dogs too heavy; his setters especially in this series are in anything but working condition. Mr. Earl again gives us a good colley, as well as a sprinkling of his rough-and-ready terriers. This latter gentleman's chief effort, however, is “ The Happy Family," from Trafalgar-squarethat is the collection of dogs, cats, rats, owls, and so on, generally exhibited in that locality. The mal-apropos or cruel satire of the title could not be better shown than by a look at this picture—such a lot of unhappy-looking wretches as “ the happy family” consists of could only be seen in a cage of this kind, and such a very sad dog-we should think in no other. It would seem, though, that poor Tray rarely enters into the fun of the thing when undergoing the operation of having his portrait taken at least if we may judge from a capital little picture in the National Institution. We allude, and would call especial attention to Mr. Helmsley's “ Drawing from Nature," a work that gives more promise than perhaps anything of the whole round of the exhibitions. The subject is this : elevated to a chair, with a handkerchief tied so as to keep his neck close up to the back of it, sits a most melancholy dog, engaged in contemplating the fist of a youth, whose business it is so to keep the model in position. Opposite with slate and pencil in hand, and hard at work, is the artist just "catching the expression," while a couple of critics look their full approval of the performance. Considering how generally higher authorities than ourselves have passed this gem over, we almost hesitate to speak as strongly as we feel.* All that we would ask then is that such as may yet have the opportunity will walk up to the end of Regent-street and judge for themselves. Our own opinion is that Mr. Helmsley may, if he chooses, become another Wilkie—for real humour, fidelity, and power combined, we have few like him. Two or three other works by the same hand, though not so much in our way—“ a Pinch from Granny's box,” in the Octagon Room of the Academy for one-tend to confirm our opinion of a gentleman whom we have before had occasion to wel. come,
Another clever thing in this line is Mr. A. Corbould's “ The Sentinel ” (Suffolk Street): a well-bred bull-terrier guarding the pots, tray, and Times," from the neighbouring public. The detail-pewter, newspaper, and so forth—is finished with wonderful effect; while the sentinel himself, it should be said, quite fulfils his mission as the chief point of the picture. Both these, “ The Sentinel” and “ Drawing from Nature,” ought to find their way to the 'graver's studio.
Our notes, and somehow like the shorthand men we can write faster than we can read, further assure as that Mr. Rolfe, the fishpainter, has still a monopoly amongst the treasures of the deep-his
• Montblies are not weeklies, &c., &c., as Sir Joseph said of the fleas; and since this was written The Illustrated News has honoured Mr. Helmsley, though they have done him little justice in their engraving.
“ Last Landed ” salmon makes your mouth water to look at it. A Mr. W. Davis, too, has some dead game that suggest dinner time; and Mr. Armfield as pleasing a little picture as we have seen for some time in this class, called “ The Larder ”—his otters and wolves we do not covet so much ; nor Mr. J. D. Francis' “ War in India,” with its wonderfully terrible state of confusion—" which is the lion and which is the tiger, Mr. Showman ?” More to our taste comes the calm “philosophy" of Mr. Huggins' donkeys-this artist sketches rather than finishes, but what he does he does well. We wish we could say as much of Mr. Laker and his deer-stalkers, who, when they found themselves in one of the best rooms of the Royal Acaddmy, must have felt like the apples in the dumplings, and wondered how the devil they got there
Still the stalkers are kept in very good countenance by two extraordinary compositions just beneath them-right on the line in fact-acknowledged to be by S. A. Hart, R.A. These are two heads the size of life, that might have been portraits, only thank heaven such men were never yet known. No, they owe their being to the brilliant fancy of the Royal Academician, who in one scene shows us “ the Student preparing for Honours," a miserable-looking wretch, without a gleam of intellect or inspiration to recommend him, who has simply read himself black in the face. In the other, of course, we have the contrast--"the Idler preparing to be Plucked”-rattling a team over to Woodstock, or larking a screw across Shotover, perhaps ? Not a bit of it. Observe Mr. Hart's fine moral. To ensure honours, you must read yourself into a jaundice, and lose all relish for life. To be plucked you must wear a fine waistcoat, such as a carpenter might on Sunday, have a gold watch-chain, and be able to smoke a cigar and drink a glass of claret with it. Heinous offences ! fearful course of life! and thrice honoured hanging committee, who could give two such disgraceful, disgusting-looking things two of the best places in your rooms.
Messrs. Lee and Sidney Cooper still continue to work with as much mutual advantage as ever on their rural scenes ; while Shayer, Willis, and others, do a great deal single-handed for similar subjects. The productions of these gentlemen abound in most of our show-rooms ; though an established favourite of ours in the New Water Colour—Mr. Harrison Weir-does not this season reach his average strength. As it is he has two or three very attractive little pictures ; and we regret to hear illness alone has prevented him multiplying them. In fact, were it not for the aid of Mr. Laporte, the New Water Colour would be hardly in our line : this gentleman, however, furnishes us with some animal painting that we regret we have not space here to dwell on. For general arrangement, as well as artistic treatment, his “ James returning from Hounslow" is worthy of especial notice. For neat hacks and clever chargers we can always depend on him.