Abbildungen der Seite

bad taste, is injurious to the painter's ry to the whole fraternity. It would own mind, vitiating the public eye be better for English art if this were and feeling, and does a manifest inju- generally felt.


This exhibition contains 130 pic- was too soon the painter: forced upon tures of the late Sir David Wilkie, the world and the world's applause and sixty-three of old masters--the and substantial favour, he was not latter occupy one room,

Wilkie two. allowed time to hesitate, to question, Although we should prefer a larger to lay up judgments from which a contribution from many masters, and higher genius might have arisen. He the old schools, to such an accumula- was to continue as he had begun; and tion of works by one hand, we duly it is not very strange, if universal apappreciate the spirit which has adopted probation and patronage kept him the present plan. It is a just compli- from seeking any thing better. But ment to modern art, and acknowledg- there is weariness even in fame and ment of the high reputation of the de- flattery--that weariness came upon ceased artist-we presume, however, his mind, and it was never thoroughly it is one which will not be repeated satisfied with his early choice. That under circumstances and claims less it was an unfortunate, in some respects urgent. The fame of Sir David Wil- an uncongenial choice, we collect from kie is worthy the homage, and it is his unceasing efforts, after some years, paid. We rejoice, too, that the public to divest himself of it, and his ever have here the means of reviewing their attempting to imitate some master or own judgment, of marking the pro- other as opposite and irreconcileable gress of the painter whom they delight to that early choice as possible. His ed to honour, from the day of their great defect appears to have been an early approbation to the last effort of absence of perception of the “beautihis pencil. For ourselves, we see no

ful." With a disposition to work out reason to alter the opinion we gave in minutely, and to an excess, what was the commencement of our review of before him to do, from nature, he too the Royal Academy; and we think our often elaborated deformity. Beauty had remarks upon Sir David Wilkie as a not enough of character for his bent; painter fully borne out by the present it was too simple—an exquisitiveness exhibition of his works. They show not to be portrayed by many strokes ; a mind, rather by accident and cir. character indeed it has, but not pecucumstance, than powerfully by genius liarities to be mastered and finished at impelled to a particular line, led to the pencil's point. We have not seen adopt, in the commencement, a certain a single picture by his hand in which class of subjects, and style of painting; there is real feminine beauty. We and this bias, when he would have doubt if he could have thoroughly re. changed his manner, influenced and ceived, for he never attempted to make shackled him. Had he been at once them his own, as he did the excelthrown in the way of seeing pictures lences of almost every other master, of the highest class, of the Italian the purity of Raffaele's, or the more school, and those more particularly of human loveliness of Corregio's Maeffect and colour than of sentiment, donnas. He was too early forced he would rather have leaned to their upon character, in the generally remanner than to the one which, in after ceived sense of the word, character of life, he was ever endeavouring, but in

delineation, and missed for ever that vain, to discard. He does not appear

of higher mind and feeling. to have been so much possessed of an

No. l. “ King George the Fourth's originality, as of a perception of what Entrance to his Palace of Holyrood is good in others, and a desire to adopt

House, the 15th August 1822.”—This hat good, and to improve upon it. picture justifies some of the above reAnd this was not always done as a marks. It is a mixture of styles. The whole; so that in one picture we may trumpeters on the right are like Veoften see the characters of many masa lasquez-the background, after Remters, sometimes incongruously assen- brandt; other parts in the manner of bled, but always with ingenuity, with inferior masters—there is great ingepictorial management and ability. He nuity in endeavouring to make these imitations unite—the consequence is in the boy we recognize imitation of that they do so to a certain extent, so

Murillo. No. 4.

" Her Majesty that, without considering what the sub- Queen Victoria." This is like a ject should really represent, we are German toy standing on its own woodpleased with the general pictorial effect. en petticoat. It is alike unfortunate In this view it is perhaps his best pic. in colour and design. No. 5. “ The ture. But examining it for its purpose, Guerilla's Return to his family." we find it lamentably deficient. A king Here the woman, who should be most comes to his own palace, a visiter too, interesting, is very ugly. No. 6. amongst his people seldom seen. There • Guerilla Council of War in a Spanshould be joy and welcome, a princely ish Posada." This is well-grouped, dignity and love ; there lies the poetry. and two figures are-Good-news and What have we? the king was in his Attention. The woman in the backown person the gentleman, the digni- ground has hard spots for eyes ; this fied prince. Sir David has made him was not uncommon in some of the look like a hair-dresser. His attitude later pictures. The finished sketch of is of ungentlemanly pride, assumed; 6 Blind Man's Buff,” No. 8, is not there is none of the condescension of better than the picture. No. 9. dignity. Then, though he is suppos- “ Her Majesty Queen Victoria at her ed to be supported and attended by a First Council.” This is not treated retinue of his nobles, he seems to stand so as to give the elevation the subject alone, he is unconnected. So it is with demands. The hard lines of eyes and those who receive him; a very few mouth of the Queen makes her look seem employed in that cold duty, like a painted sixpenny doll; her left there is not a crowd of worthies, the hand seems crippled, emblematical of choice of the land, but room for mere half the fact, as she is surrounded by vulgar curiosity with appropriate ministers who crippled both. No. 10. figures. The whole colouring is som- “ John Knox Preaching," is well bre to a degree, of ill omen to a prince known by the print. The figures alcoming to Holyrood. The brown ways appeared to us too large for the background, the tone of the architec- scene they act in ; and there are_by ture, is dismal, unjoyous, and not im- far too many principal figures. The posing in design. There is a vying of importance is divided. The coarse the low with what should be the great, violence of Knox, perhaps true enough and it is uncertain which predominates. to fact, does not accord with a poetical, There must be false perspective in or historical, if the word be more artissome of the heads. Some boys above tical, treatment; with the two placid and below Sir Walter Scott, have im- women before him, the Reformer is like mense heads, larger than of the men a vulture going to pounce upon two around them; and Sir Walter's greatly doves. The picture exbibits a powerexceeds those of his companions. The ful management of light and shade, Earl of Arran presents the keys as if and some very good colouring. There in fear lest they should go off, and de- is a female head in the corner, like one tonate devastation-he holds them so of Bassan's, but strangely large and ungracefully at his arms' length; and out of drawing. No. 11. “The Penny a girl is seen shrinking back, as if from Wedding.” One could not expect much dread of an explosion. The subject beauty for a penny, though at a wedshould be great and joyous. The pic. ding--and there is none; the men playture is any thing but joyous, and great- ing are good. No. 12, “ The Fortuneness it has none. No. 2. " The teller,” is well composed, would have Siege of Saragossa." We have ever been better with a little more depth of been annoyed at this picture in print. colour. No. 13. « Portrait of his It is most unpoetically treated, of vul. Grace the Duke of Wellington." gar stride and violence, ostentatiously Undignified-and therefore untrue. dragging forth a piece of ordnance. No. 14. “ Chelsea Pensioners readIt might have been matter of fact, but ing the Gazette of the Battle of Wait uncharms the incident of its high terloo." This is, perhaps, Wilkie's virtue. The maid is not only ugly, very best picture; it is well coloured, but a brutal virago of the lowest class. well composed, and well grouped; the It is affectedly energetic, and is there. figures have their proper room, and fore really tame. No. 3. “ The there is plenty of character. No. 15. Guerilla taking leave of his Confes- “ Blind Man's Buff.” This reminds sor,” The confessor is a good figure- one of Ostade, and, as in Ostade, the background is best. Here was an op. Knox Preaching." Our remarks portunity of introducing female beauty, upon the picture suffice. No. 40. yet there is none. There is something “Benvenuto Cellini and the Pope.” disagreeable in the repetition of hips This is a fine picture, powerful and and elbows; they border on deform- well coloured—the Pope in particular. ity. No. 16. “ The Sick Chamber," is There is vigour and freshness in it, quite unworthy Sir David's pencil

. perhaps it is the most successful of No. 17. “ Napoleon and Pius VII. this class. No. 42. « The Parish at Fontainbleau.” The figure of the Beadle" is a little forced, but very Pope is good and expressive, it is good of the kind. All is true in finely painted; not so satisfactory is character; the hard beadle—the apathe figure of Napoleon. No. 18. thy of the monkey-the instinct of the 6 Columbus." The best of this is dog-that, in sympathy with his masthe figure of the boy in blue. No. ter, knows the beadle. No. 43. 19. “ The Rabbit on the Wall." “ The Breakfast.” A subject not This is a very good and pleasing worth painting—the old woman is picture, extremely natural, well- good; why should not the girl have coloured, and of good effect ; it is been pretty? No. 44. “ Distraining a pretty subject, and fully expressed for Rent. What could induce a -ihe wonderment and whole charac- painter, of any mind, to perpetuate ter of the child is admirable. No. 20. so dismal--so disagreeable an occur. « The Wardrobe Ransacked” is not rence? It is unmitigated distress, harmoniously and agreeably coloured without one object of compensation, - the red predominates. No. 21. nothing the mind can take refuge in. “ Sketch of Reading the Will.” It is not satire to gratify our indignaSlight-of composition only. No. 22, tion—nor is there display of virtue to “ The Death of Sir Philip Sydney,” reconcile the spectator to the scene. is not made interesting. No. 23. There might have been suffering " Study of the Gentle Shepherd,” is beauty, No. 45. « George the very poor. The face is dingy, and of Fourth in Highland Costume." Unthe same texture and colour as the sky. fortunate in attitude, and colour, and No. 24. “ Finished Sketch for the every thing. No. 46. “ H, R. H. Picture of the Village Festival.” This the Duke of Sussex in Highland Cosis not agreeable in colouring, particu- tume.” The dog and background, larly unpleasant are the red spots. like Titian, and excellent. The figure No. 25. “ The Errand Boy." of his royal highness is affected, theaAnother opportunity for beauty lost. trical. No. 47. “ Duncan Grey No. 26. « Death of the Red Deer.' is dirtily painted. Here, too, should There is individual character, but have been beauty, but there is none. there is little that is agreeable. No. No. 48, “ The Card Players," is 27. • The Newsmongers. How very well painted and coloured, but could Sir David bring his hand to what a deformity is the woman !-the such vulgarity? What an ugly crea- best figure is the man scratching his ture is the female figure ! Nos. head. No. 49, “ Guess my name 28, 29, and 30. “ Portraits.” The is not bad, the figure in the backlast only is good. No. 31, “ The ground very good-a shrewd old man Jews' Harp," is very dingy. No. 32, he well delineates. No. 50, “ The • The Bagpiper" is in the exaggerated Pedlar," is very disagreeable in colour spotty red style of colouring. No. 33. —thegirlis hideous. No.51. “Queen « Scene from Gentle Shepherd," has Mary escaping from Lochleven Caslittle to recommend it. No. 34. tle." We are here little interested “ The Cut Finger.” The old woman for the beautiful Mary, who is an is very good, she has been used to unbeauteous lady's maid ; this is unbind up cut fingers—all else is defor. dignifying history—the colour is dismity. No. 36. « The Nursery” is mal, and the manner of painting gives clever-in vain we look for beauty. it the appearance of dropping with No. 37. “ Head of John Norman, damp; this peculiarity we have often blacksmith of the village of Cults.” noticed, not only in Sir David, but We presume Sir David owed him a more than one of his imitators. No. grudge. No. 38, “ Scene from the 52, “Study for Village Politicians," Abbot of Sir Walter Scott,” is clever. has nothing to recommend it.

No No. 39. “ Sketch for Picture of John has No. 53, “ A Landscape,” which,


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

as lovers of landscape, we abominate. Mrs Winfield,” No. 74, is very clever. Nor can we say any thing in favour of * Queen Adelaide on Horseback," No. 54. “ Sketch for Village School." No. 75, is very commonplace, the We should not, however, criticize best part of which is the horse. No. mere sketches, which are not supposed 76 is a capital sketch, and full of cha. to express all the painter means. No. racter. A Spanish Señorita with 55, The Rent Day,” is a cele- her nurse, a native of the Asturias, brated picture, but, to our minds, walking in the Prado of Madrid." very disagreeable.

It has not one

No. 77. “ Samuel and Eli” is not very incident of interest, and has the sin of indicative of character, nor are No. unnecessary deformity. No. 56, 78,"Two Figures in Spanish dresses,"

Scotch Baptism,” is a very dingy very well defined—is the one child or performance. No. 57, " The Con- man? « A Female adjusting her hair," fessional,” very clever and pleasing. No. 79, is certainly very bad; and No. 58, “Portrait of the late Lady No. 80, “ The Breakfast," a sketch, Lyndhurst,” is very good, but has is only remarkable for poverty of the peculiarity of Sir David's pencil colour. No. 81, “ The Encampin eyes and mouth. No. 59, “Por- ment of the Sheik and Arabs who ac. trait of Thos. Wilkie, Esq.,' is good companied Sir David Wilkie to the and unaffected. No. 60, " Portrait of Dead Sea and Jericho,” is an interestSir James M‘Gregor, Bart., M.D.,” ing sketch. No. 82. “ Our Saviour is very bad, the hair vile. No. 61, at Emaus," fails in expression, and ** The Highland Family," is very does not indicate what, perhaps, the good, and true to nature, in his best painter meant_his picture to be. style of composition and colour. No. Gi Christ before Pilate, painted in Jeru. 62, “The China-menders," is well salem,” is curious as showing Sir painted, in part an imitation of Teniers David's manner of working. It has not and Ostade-has in parts the thinness the promise of a picture. The locality of the one, and the substance of the is unfavourable, and seems to bave other master, No. 63, "Sketch of two impressed the mind more strongly than of the Daughters of the late Rev Dr the event. No. 84. « The WhiteThomson," is rather weak. From Nos. boy's Cabin," is a finished picture, 64 to 107 inclusive are studies and in which the woman is Sir David's sketches, with the exception of No. 84, nearest approach to female beauty. which is a finished picture. As studies, The child is excellent, and true to nathey are interesting ; and where not ture. There is too much of the pecuvery good, we should bear in mind liar wet manner; it is, however, very that they were for the painter's use, good. No. 85, is a very unmeaning not exhibition. No. 64.

* Sketch

poor bit of landscape. Nor is 86, for a Picture of Burying the Regalia is A Kitchen," better. No. 87. “Por. of Scotland" is not a very successful trait of the late Sir David Wilkie." imitation of Rembrandt's manner-it We can easily imagine that we see in wants Rembrandt's mystery. The this portrait the mind of the painter ; “ Two Figures in Picture of the Bride" it has a look of searching for someare very good. So is No. 66,“ Por- thing to do, rather than of decision. trait of Miss Wilkie." The child in No. 88," Portrait of Thomas Wilkie, No. 67, “ A Mother teaching her Esq.," seems changed in colour. No. Child to Pray," is in his best manner. 89 is a very good “ Portrait of Mrs No. 68, “ The Sick Chamber," is Riddell, niece of Sir David Wilkie.” of no promise. No. 67, is a very Nos. 90, 91, and 92, are mere ideas of good portrait of a gentleman in a the pictures—“ The Blind Fiddler," Dutch dress. It is strange that so “ Reading the Will," and " The many painters should fail in their por- Wardrobe Ransacked.” Sir David traits of the “Great Duke.” No. 70, must have remembered his home with is not an exception—it has nothing pleasure and exactness, (as amiable great. No. 71, “ William the men generally do.) No. 93 verifies Fourth,” has a painful expression. It the old saying, " that home is home, is a pity that the sketch of Prince be it never so homely.” No. 94, Talleyrand is so slight; it wants • The Nativity," the figures in the the stronger markings of character. dresses of the country, is a sketch No. 73, " The Cut Finger," is more of much promise-Rembrandt was than a cut finger, it is an eye-sore. in the painter's mind, No. 95. “ Portraits of children of Major and • William the Fourth," better, per


haps because less true than the for- other being, ever possessed. No. 112,

Few can now-a-days endure “ Portrait of Mrs Winfield, a niece allegory, that riddle in paint seldom of Sir D. Wilkie," is not over femi. worth discovering ; nor does Sir nine. No. 113,“ The Princess Doria David's undertaking, No. 96, “Sketch washing the Pilgrim's feet,” has some for an Allegorical Picture,” tend to good colouring and effect, but there is reconcile us to it. Nor can we have something vulgar in it. The interest any thing to say in favour of Nos. 95, is not manifest. 6; The Vision,'' sub96, and 97—“William the Fourth, ject from Burn's Poem, No. 114, is “ Sketch for an Allegorical Picture," any thing but a poet's vision. It is to and "Queen Adelaide.” No. 97. A be presumed, that 115, “ Digging for Duplicate.” No. 97. “ Portrait of the Rats," is changed-it looks dirty. We Persian Prince Halakoo Mirza," has have not seen any thing worse by Sir the true look of a study from nature. David than 116, a “ Lady taking Tea." No.98, “ The Turkish Letter-writer," No. 117, " The Blind Fiddler, a painted at Constantinople, will ever sketch," deserves little notice.-Nor bear the stamp of the master. It is no can much commendation be given to wonder that Sir David was no great the ill-coloured " Sunday Morning," landscape painter, brought up amid No. 118. Nor to the duplicate 118, such unpaintable scenery as that of " Village Politicians,” which is weak No. 99, “ View looking to the West and dirty. The “ Hookabardar," No. of the Church and Manse of Cults, as 119, is very good. The " Card they now appear." No. 100 is a very Players, a Sketch," No. 120, is very capital sketch of a Jewish woman and vile:- No. 121. “ The Cottar's Saher child, drawn in Jerusalem. No. turday Night, a Sketch." Some101 is a very good sketch of “ Two what in imitation of Rembrandt in Figures for the Picture of Josephine chiaroscuro; but it wants colour and and the Fortune. Teller." There is greys to relieve the brown. Here not much in the “ Interior of Pit- again is an opportunity of introduclessie Mill, in the parish of Cults,” ing graceful figures lost. The “ PorNo. 102. No. 103 is an unimportant trait of Daniel O'Connell, Esq.” has sketch, " The Letter of Introduction.” much of reality - No. 123. 5. The No. 104, “ The Female Figure in the Duke of Wellington and his CharPicture of Queen Mary,” is a good ger.” The back ground and the study; nor need less he said of No. horse are very good, but the Duke is 105, a “ Jewish Family.” We do a decided failure ; he looks mean and not recognise Samuel or Eli in any of frightened, which the great Duke the - Five Heads," the commence- could not be, not even in compliment 'ment of a picture of Samuel and Eli, to the Company of Merchant No. 106. No. 107, “ H. R. H. The Tailors," possessors of the picture. Duke of Sussex," is a good sketch. No. 124. " Alfred in the Neatherd's

We now leave the sketches. There Cottage, with Portrait of Sir David is disagreeable colouring in No. 108, Wilkie in the background.” This “ The Pifferari," with Pilgrims play. will be more valuable as containing ing hymns to the Madonna, nor has it the portrait of Sir David than the much charm in composition or sub- character of Alfred. The child at ject. We cannot admire No. 109, the fire is hideous, out of drawing, « Portrait of Mrs Maberly;" it has and deformed; and where was the his peculiar method of lines and dots necessity of the ugliness ?— No. 125. for eyes and mouth, giving an ap- Is a colourless - Landscape with pearance that nature never gives ; Sheep-washing," and a lack of all the most disagreeable eyes and freshness that makes landscape agreemouths do not tell harshly upon able. It has neither blue sky, no nor the sight. No. 110 is a rather dingy grey, nor green grass-the whole

Portrait of William Stouart, Esq.' land with its trees is as monotonous No. 111 is the most singular “ Por- as the sheep. This picture is well trait of Master Robert James Donne," known by its engraving, and has been which, when exhibited at the Aca- *much admired. Yet what pastoral demy, made people stare with asto- eclogue, but a burlesque, and it is too nishment. it shows conspicuously tame for that, could be written from two of Sir David's pictorial vagaries, it? It serves to show what a landdots and lines for eyes and mouth, scape should not be. — No. 126. · and such bair as never human, or any « Portrait of Mathias Prime Lucas,

« ZurückWeiter »