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clergyman, has attained considerable notice and popularity, from the eminence of the contributors, and from a formal attack made upon its editor by a sectarian portion of the clergy in Scotland.
The weekly and daily press is an astonishing indication of the mental activity of the times in which we live. The penny daily papers have risen into great importance, and are so ably conducted as to have infringed seriously upon the ground occupied by their more expensive precursors. The cost of the “ Times” itself is now but threepence, and only the “Globe," an evening paper, adheres to the old price of fourpence.
The “Athenæum and the “ Reader” are the two journals now representing literature, art, and popular science; the old “Literary Gazette,” which in 1862 assumed the name of the “ Parthenon," having come to an end in 1863, after an existence of forty-six years. The “Critic,” another literary paper of later origin, also expired in this year. A more miscellaneous class of paper, in which politics and the topics of the day are discussed as well as literature, has sprung up, and is more adapted to the tastes of the public. Among them the wellknown “Saturday Review holds the highest place ; but the “Examiner,” the
Spectator,” the “Guardian,” the “Economist,” and the “ Press,” maintain their hold upon important classes of readers. Six papers entitle themselves “Ilustrated ;” but illustration is applied to many others, and indeed has become rather the rule than the exception. As weekly miscellanies of fiction and amusing information, “ Chambers's Journal,” “ All the Year Round,” and “Once a Week,” enjoy extensive popularity, and are frequently the means of introducing to the public in a serial form tales by writers of the highest eminence. Three papers are devoted exclusively to facetiæ and the wildest nonsense, the well-known "Punch,” its younger rival “Fun," and the Comic News." The paper called “Public Opinion” professes to give weekly the cream of the speculations of all the other papers weekly and daily, upon the most engrossing topics of the day. There are eight weekly publications of which the price is only one halfpenny. “Notes and Queries” is an organ of intercommunication for literary men upon curious trifles of literary interest. It would be difficult indeed to find any “ interest” which has not its peculiar weekly organ: the sporting world, the ladies, the builders, the booksellers, the bakers, the grocers, the insurers, the investors, the Freemasons, the volunteers, the teetotalers, the theatre-goers, the boys and the girls, are assiduously catered for.
The transactions and publications of the Learned Societies form a record of the investigations and discoveries of the most eminent labourers in the various departments of science and art. Of these in the year 1863 there were thirtyfive issued for public sale, fourteen distributed to the members of the associations alone.
The above is but a bird's-eye view of that motley phenomenon, the metropolitan periodical press, as existing during the past year. Continual changes are of course going on, but the development is a healthy and vigorous one; and it is generally admitted that the standard of excellence is rising, free competition and the removal of all legislative interference or restriction having been manifestly attended with the best results.
Picture exhibitions have become almost perennial in London. It is seldom that one or more is not open to the art-loving public. At the beginning of the year there was on view a selection of sketches and studies by Members of the Old Water Colour Society in Pall Mall; Mr. Leech was exhibiting his painted sketches at the Auction Mart, while, at Exeter Hall, Mr. George Cruikshank's wondrous series of works, reaching from the veteran's earliest attempts down to the latest exhibitions of his grotesque imagination, was still to be seen. These, however, were more properly things of the preceding year.
Two exhibitions were opened in January in aid of the fund for relief of distress in Lancashire. One of these consisted of works by the Institute of Water Colour Painters, the other principally of amateur productions. The high success with which art is cultivated by amateurs at the present day is a noticeable circumstance.
A winter exhibition of the works of young artists was opened Bernersstreet.
The British Institution was opened in February for the exhibition of modern pictures. It is seldom that works of much note find their way to this exhibition, at least of late years, and it can by no means be taken as an index of the state of art. The critics pronounced the collection this year unusually poor.
In April the Society of British Artists opened at the Suffolk-street Gallery. The Society has existed forty years, and has reached a point at which not to go forward is to go back. Certain classes of pictures contributed by the elder members of the Society have long been too familiar to the art critics, who hunt about in corners for small works with unknown names in the hope of unearthing something new. The “Athenæum” pronounced the exhibition this year to be “above the average,” while another journal described it as an unusually indifferent display."
An exhibition of architectural drawings and designs opened in the month of April.
The French Gallery has for some years attracted great attention, the visitor being sure always to find here a judicious selection, comprising some of the best specimens of French and Flemish art. Its opening precedes by some weeks that of the Royal Academy, to which it is an agreeable prelude. This year, in addition to the works of the two great schools, a few productions of Italian, Hungarian, Polish, and Danish art were introduced. Works by the Bonheur family (but Rosa was not among them), by Gérome, Meissonier, Troyon, E. Frère, Duverger, Trayer, Chavet, Leys, Alfred and Joseph Stevens, Willems, &c., were to be found in the Gallery. With the merits and peculiarities of all these painters, and of many others of their schools, the English public, thanks to this exhibition, is now pretty well acquainted. The Society of Female Artists has an exhibition of its own, and opened this
in Pall Mall. The quality of the works was very unequal, and certainly the best of our female artists were not represented.
The Society of Painters in Water Colours, or Old Water Colour Society, as the public calls it, is still vigorous and fresh. The exhibitions of this Society have long been considered by connoisseurs as the choicest and most unexceptionable of any, a high and even standard of excellence being always maintained. At the
crowded private view a large proportion of the works hung is certain to be decorated with the little blue ticket proclaiming "Sold.” Among the gems of this year's exhibition were F. Burton's "Jostephane," the head of a Greek woman, and a “German Flower Girl," by the same artist. The works of A. and G. Fripp were as usual numerous and attractive. Landscapes by A. W. Hunt, and a moonlight scene by A. P. Newton, commanded attention. Carl Haag sent a large view of Palmyra, and S. P. Jackson some excellent coast
Other artists, through whose works the present age will be marked and remembered in after times, are the prolific J. Gilbert, F. Smallfield, O. Oakley, J. J. Jenkins, C. Davidson, S. Palmer, B. Willis, W. Goodall. A few exhibitors still remain, whose works recall a bygone state of the art, but even these have the charm of old acquaintance and familiarity; and, old as many of the subjects treated the versatility shown in presenting them in new forms is wonderful. A contemporary critic pronounces the exhibition " the most charming and brilliant that we have ever seen in the Gallery." This
year, the New Society of Painters in Water Colours, having attained the age of thirty, changed its name, and presented itself to the public as the “ Institute of Painters in Water Colours.” The Society has purchased the house where its exhibition used to take place, and rebuilt the gallery. The exhibition this year was voted a moderately good one, amongst its features being the brilliant and minutely painted landscapes of E. G. Warren, and those of W. Bennett remarkable for breadth and boldness. There was an elaborate Eastern subject by H. Warren, large historical pictures by L. Haghe, and figure pieces by C. Werner, J. Absolon, E. H. Wehnert, J. M. Jopling, and Mrs. E. Murray. Amongst the landscapists the names of Penley, Whymper, and McKewan figure as usual. There is young blood in this Institution, and it continues to maintain its place with much success by the side of its elder sister, the Old Water Colour Society.
The Exhibition of the Royal Academy is pronounced to have been this year considerably above the average, “not through the presence of any comma
manding picture, such as sometimes characterizes an exhibition in our memories by its title, but in the healthier, because more uniform, value and interest of many very excellent works." Nearly all the leading painters of the day were represented, the great exceptions being Mr. Mulready (since deceased), Mr. Maclise, and Sir Edwin Landseer. The following is a summary of the principal pictures by a contemporary critic (" Athenæum ”): “Mr. Stanfield sends five pictures, all coast scenes, the results of long-made memoranda ; these have their subjects from the countries wherein he has most frequently found materials-England, Spain, Holland, and Italy. Mr. Millais is in force with three paintings, two of which are of humorous character, and more solidly executed than has been his recent wont. Mr. Elmore has two pictures, small; Mr. Hook, three coast subjects from the Scilly Islands ; Mr. Phillips, two, one commissioned by the Speaker, comprising portraits of the political leaders of the day; also a Spanish subject. Mr. Leighton has four; one very large, a Scripture theme; a second, above the average size, a
Lady feeding Peacocks,' remarkable for its exquisite colouring and delicacy of painting; a third, one of those lovely heads which he has so frequently produced. Mr. Poole sends a small work. Mr. Faed has three pictures; an 'Orange Girl,' a subject from an old ballad, and a domestic scene of humorous character. Mr. E. M. Ward gives us two pictures, and shows an inclination to return to his early and better style, both from themes such as he has often treated, and remarkable for the novelty of their well-defined incidents. Mr. F. Goodall has four works ;
studies of Oriental character and a view in Cairo. Mr. Armitage's single picture is a pathetic representation of an incident in early Christian history. Mr. Frith has a small picture; Mr. Holman Hunt, a portrait and a small fancy subject; one remarkable for character and strength of painting, the other for brilliancy and spirit. Mr. Creswick sends four landscapes of unusual interest. Mr. E. W. Cooke has three, the chief a very remarkable study of a sand-drift at the East of Gibraltar. Mr. Cope sends two pictures, Mr. Redgrave three, Mr. Lee five. Mr. Marks will advance his reputation with a picture of Shakspearian time,
showing the dramatist studying human character in the streets of Elizabethan * London. Mr. Calderon's production, showing the interior of the English
Ambassador's house in Paris during the massacre of St. Bartholomew, August 24, 1572, gives him a claim to the title of an excellent artist. Mr. Gale sends a work painted in Jerusalem,–* The Wailing Place of the Jews at the Wall of Solomon's Temple.' Mr. Watts has a poetically suggestive subject, and a portrait. Messrs. J. P. Knight and Wells send valuable portraits.” To these ought to be added some fine views of St. Paul's and cathedral interiors, by D. Roberts ; portraits by F. Grant and Richmond; a view of Sinai, by J. F. Lewis ; a seventeenth century escapade (attack and defence), by J. C. Horsley; the power of music, by G. O'Neil; going to the Festa, by R. Ansdell, and a Judith by J. R. Herbert.
The greater part of these works are of the same kind and subjects as those which the public has long been accustomed to see from the same hands, and not inferior to the average of their predecessors. Upon the pictures of Mr. Millais, which usually excite the most attention and curiosity, as presenting something novel and unexpected, various judgments have been passed. The least popular was probably the largest, “ Madeline Disrobing," from Keats's “ Eve of St. Agnes," a scene in which imagination and solid reality are remarkably blended; “ The Lion's Den,” a picture of children playing at wild beasts under the grand piano, was appreciable by all; but the greatest favourite was “ The First Sermon;" showing a demure little red-cloaked damsel in a high pew of green baize, listening with edification, it is to be hoped, to an address from an unseen pulpit.
Mr. Phillips's “House of Commons, 1860,” containing the portraits of statesmen whose faces are yet familiar to all, but some of whom have already passed from the earth, will be of high interest in years to come. Mr. Calderon's “ Massacre of St. Bartholomew” has been stamped by public opinion as one of the most remarkable pictures of the year. It has been engraved. Among minor paintings of great merit, by artists destined to be heard more of hereafter, are to be mentioned, “ La Belle Ysoude” and “ Vivien,” fancy portraits by F. Sandys; “The Lost Path,” a snow-scene by F. Waller; “ An Evening Scene at Venice,” by A. Gilbert ; portraits by W. E. Orchardson and J. J. Napier ; “ A Reminiscence of Waterloo,” by M. Stone ; “Goldsmith's Funeral," by E. Crow ; " After Work,” by J. Clark. The whole number of paintings exhibited was 892; architectural drawings, 47; engravings and etchings, now classed by themselves in the Octagon Room, 71.
In the Sculpture Room, now enlarged and better lighted than of old, 195 works were exhibited; portrait-busts, as usual, abounding. Among the works which we find sufficiently interesting to elicit the notice of critics, were Mr. Durham's “Africa” and “ America ;” Mr. W. C. Marshall's “ Undine;" Mr. C. B. Birch’s “ Margaret;” Mr. H. S. Leifchild's “Mother of Moses,” and “Go and Sin no more ;" statues and busts by E. B. Stephens, J. Adams, and T. Woolner.
A small collection of pictures which the Royal Academy had rejected was exhibited in the great room of the Cosmopolitan Club. Some of the works were doubtless of singular merit, and it is difficult to understand their rejection, seeing the productions which are admitted every year to figure on the Academy's walls.
The British Institution opened in June for the exhibition of pictures by Old Masters. The room devoted to the English school contained a tolerably complete collection of the works of Romney.
The Report of the Royal Commission appointed to inquire into the state of the Royal Academy appeared about the middle of the year. The evidence, contained in a mighty blue-book, is exceedingly voluminous, the list of the witnesses including the names of most of the leading artists of the day, both painters and sculptors, and of well-known art critics, such as Mr. Layard, Mr. Tom Taylor, and Mr. Ruskin. The President of the Commission was Earl Stanhope. Several measures of reform are recommended by the Report, the chief of which may be shortly given as follows:-1. The present number of fortytwo Academicians to be increased to fifty; the eight additional memberships to be confined to sculptors and architects. 2. Ten lay or non-professional members to be added to the fifty Academicians, to be elected for a period of five years by the Academy, and to be re-eligible. 3. Thirty new Associates to be added to the present number of twenty. 4. The Academicians and existing Associates to be limited to the exhibition of four works each year, and future Associates, and artists in general, to exhibit no works as of right, and never more than four. 5. Three committees, nominated by the Council, to arrange the works of painting, sculpture, and architecture, selected for exhibition by the Council, each committee consisting of two Academicians and one Associate. 6. The present system of instruction to be abandoned. A General Director (not necessarily a member of the Academy) to be appointed for instruction, with a salary sufficient to ensure the services of a first-rate teacher.
The Report and its recommendations, as a whole, seem to have met with public approbation, but it has not altogether escaped the objections of critics in several particulars.
With regard to the building to be occupied by the Royal Academy, a subject which has been so warmly discussed, the Commissioners recommend that the Government should undertake the building of a new National Gallery at Burlington House, and that the whole of the building in Trafalgar-square, one wing of which is now occupied by the National collection, should be handed over to the Academy for their use, subject to such conditions and arrangements as the Government of the day may determine.
Whether these schemes be carried out wholly or in part, or with revision of some details, it is generally felt that this Report is the harbinger of a new and better era of English art.
The following pictures were purchased for the National Gallery during 1863:—"A Holy Family,” by Lanini, a Milanese painter, who flourished in the latter half of the sixteenth century, a pleasing and beautiful specimen of the class to which it belongs, by a painter as good as unknown in England; “Christ on the Mount of Olives,” by Giovanni Bellini; “The Adoration of the Kings,” by Bartolomeo Suardo, called “Il Bramantino;" The Virgin and Child,” by Beltraffio; and “ The Holy Trinity,” by Pesellino, an early Florentine painter, a work of extraordinary power and loftiness of conception. The sum given for this picture was 2000 guineas. A collection of twenty-two pictures by