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EXHIBITION OF THE SOCIETY OF PAINTERS IN WATER COLOURS.
The Society of Painters in Water Colours have opened their twentieth annual exhibition, at the gallery in Pall Mall East. On the whole, we do not think this collection of drawings so good as that of last year. Fielding is less striking, and Robson is decidedly less successful in his colouring and effects. With respect to other artists, however, the case is different. Prout is improved, if possible. Barret has attained the summit of excellence; and Nesfield, a young artist, is advancing with rapidity. He evidently started as an imitator of Turner, and we last year thought, though we had not an opportunity of expressing our sentiments, that he was a leaden imitator of that great master ; then his drawings were heavy, blue, and cold, but the specimens now before us are of a superior character. This artist is very successful in his delineations of ragged rocks, and rough water, but he seems inclined to tire the public with subjects of this sort. His view of the Falls of Niagara conveys a good idea of the terrible grandeur of the scene, but we do not quite approve of the manner in which it is treated. The effect is not forcible, and we cannot better express our meaning, than by saying that a dingy hue prevails over the whole drawing. The Thunder-struck Tree, in the foreground, is a repetition of a drawing exhibited in the same room, last year, and is evidently a fanciful, though doubtless often a characteristic, object in such a scene. The view of Gordale Scar is not successful, but Mr. Nesfield's Forest scene is highly beautiful—the wounded deer in the foreground is well represented. Mr. Barret's drawings have all the force, tone of colour, and effect of the old masters. All his pieces are so full of merit, that we dare not prefer one lest we should do another injustice. We will only further remark of Mr. Barret's style, that from its simplicity and purity, it approaches nearer to nature than that which consists of a profusion of gay colours, which, however artfully managed, are not pleasing to those whose taste is established on good principles. Mr. Fielding's subjects are chiefly from Scotland. Many of these are extremely pretty, especially the pieces in which some of those storms which the artist so plentifully experienced, iu common with other travellers last year, are exhibited. His most striking performance, however, is No. 100, Morning, a composition. The colouring is clear, and the effect brilliant.
Of Mr. Robson's works, No. 49, Aysgarth Forie, in Wensley Dale, Yorkshire, is to be preferred. No. 28, Lincoln, by the same hand, is not a pleasing picture. In the first place, the Minster, to which the view is entirely indebted for its grandeur and interest, is not accurately delineated; and in the next place the colouring is too monotonous, heavy, and red. Much of the workmanship is good, but it is so completely veiled in obscurity, that we can only just perceive that the artist has bestowed much labour on this large drawing Prout's foreign views have never yet been equalled, they cannot be surpassed. We scarcely know which to admire most, the grotesque character of some of the buildings, or the grotesque costume of the figures. Both are admirably calculated for a picture, and Mr. Prout holds the pencil that is capable of doing these subjects justice. The Hotel de Ville at Cologne, furnishes several delightful views, and Nuremburg is scarcely inferior for the singularity and magnificence of its ar
chitecture.-No. 226, Garsdale, Yorkshire, is a beautifully finished little drawing, by J. D. Harding.
Mr. Wild's architectural drawings are mostly from foreign subjects. Some of them are entitled to praise, but they are all so much oppressed with gloom—there is such a striking contrast of utter darkness, and brilliant sunshine, that from these views we can form no idea of the harmony and sublimity of a Gothic Cathedral. Mr. Nash's composition piece from the architecture and tombs of Westminster Abbey, possesses one, and only one striking defect. We allude to the spot of saffron colour. The characteristic internal hue of Westminster Abbey is grey, which the warmest rays of the sun can never heighten to the effect here represented. We regret this the more, because the rest of the drawing is entitled to the highest praise. The line of tombs in the fore-ground immediately under the procession, is coloured and finished in the most masterly manner. In subjects of this kind, and on such a scale, Mr. Nash is
his pencil is better calculated for bold effect than highly finished detail. This Exhibition contains many more drawings deserving of notice, but our limits forbid the extension of our criticisms.
THE MAID OF THE MONASTERY.
The Maid of yonder Monast'ry,
Who lives in sweet secluded rest,
Beyond all weary mortals blest!
Repose delights to fondle there,
But in the silent breath of prayer.
Unmov'd by envy or desire;
But those which “heav'nly joys inspire.”
That lightly sports from tree to tree,
Can boast more liberty than thee.
"Tis true the wanton wings its way,
In airy turns and cheerful spray.
The boundless scope to thee that's given!
How far beyond you soar in heaven!
Tho' you are willingly confin’d,
To circumbound the tow'ring mind.
That flows along this mortal course,
On which side is the obligation ? Is the favour done to him who accepts the invitation, or to him whose invitation is accepted ?-If the dinner is good, the company well assorted, and the lady of the house and her husband happen to be in good humour, and to possess good sense enough to make themselves a part of the company, and at the same time to appear at home, dining-out is then a very agreeable recreation ; provided a man happens to be free from dyspepsia, and has philosophy, or benevolence, or politeness enough to take with him only such of his qualities as will permit those around him to be agreeable to themselves.-- In such a case the obligation is mutual. The host has the honour and satisfaction of shewing a good front to his domestic structure; and rendering some of his fellow men as happy as social intercourse can make them : moreover it lays a foundation for many a good dinner abroad. Provided the present is not in discharge for a long arrear of feasts and entertainments attended and partaken of, time after time, through a numerous circle of dinner-giving acquaintances. It is not to be denied, that dining-out is sometimes a painful operation. When the gentleman and lady disclose by their words, looks, blushes, colourings, confusion, whispers to the servants, or out-right scoldings, that matters are not going on as they think fashionably; and when to relieve their own embarrassment, they embarrass all the company, by fixing attention on that which they themselves should not appear to see ; and to shew how much better bred and instructed they are, than what is passing might seem to indicate; they tell their friends what a miserable cook they happen to have, and eke out a conversation for the first and second courses, on the important subject of the degeneracy of modern servants ; dining out is not the most agreeable thing in the world : and the guests feel it difficult to preserve that patient complacency which politeness requires from us under all circumstances : unless they are waggish or audacious enough, to enjoy the confusion which they witness, and to carry home a satirical report of it.
The whole business of practical philosophy, as to the animal nature of man, is to feed him and keep him warm. Chemistry, Botany, in short, the whole circle of Art and Science is directed to these objects. But what a prodigious difference is there between that sort of feeding and warming which simple nature demands, and that which superfluous wealth, and educated luxury have made necessary! When a man is invited to dine out (which is a very different matter from going home to take pot-luck,) he should think seriously of the proposition-he should bear in mind how many of the best efforts of skill and industry are to be put in action for his accommodation; and if he accept the invitation, nothing on earth should move him to disappoint the good people who are content to make costly and laborious preparations for his reception and entertainment. What consultations, the borrowings, hirings, using, wasting, fretting, scolding, waxing, heating, cooling, it would be highly indecorous to describe. No gentleman of good-breeding would do it
, any more than his lady would receive the company in the infernal region where this process is going on.
But oh misery of miseries !-An hour before the fruition of these delightful toils, after every thing is actually in the pots and in the pans; before the fire, and in the oven ; one third or one half of the few expected send
word, without the least regard to natural justice, or to the effect of promises and obligations that they cannot come !—The table is laid, the culinary processes, founded on a truly scientific scale of accordance and suitabilities, must go on. The absence of a part would mar the beauty of the whole! and yet such a table, and so much dinner, for so small a company! It is too late to ask any body else! The scene is too painful for human sensibility.
As“ dining out," seems to be the principal business of life; the object for which we toil; the great theatre, on which we hope our children will advantageously show the accomplishments and excellencies of their person and intellect;--permit me to suggest some rules, as ancient as the suppers of Lucullus.
1. From the moment one is invited to dine, the invited should decide whether he will go or not; he should answer immediately and unequivocally, and should act according to his answer. It is the very excess of illbreeding to say, I will come if I can ; for the same preparation of time must be made, as if the answer were categorical. And the man who gives the invitation may lose the chance of dining out himself.
2. When the company is assembled in the drawing-room, there is sometimes an awkwardness and embarrassment, which it is very disagreeable to feel or to see ;-the object of dining out being to escape beyond the latitudes of nature as much as possible; the remedy for this evil is not to think of one's self. Every man should let himself alone entirely, and think only of the wishes, wants, and feelings, of those around him. In short, he must feel that his associates are dining out, and that he is placed at the same table for their amusement, and at their service,
3. It is very ill-bred to refuse any thing that is offered. The true tact of a dining-out gentleman is to shew his capacity. He must do honour to the taste displayed in the original selection of the articles; to the manner in which they are served ; to the cordial solicitations of his host and hostess, that he would “ try" this, which came through such a medium ; and that, in which their cook is allowed to excel.
4. Not to feel, next morning, that one's head is as big as two heads, is in effect-to admit that we have not eaten two dinners at once, as every well-bred man, who dines out, is presumed to do :-Not to feel, over the whole surface of the skin, as though one had been wrapped and rolled in cobwebs, is to shew, that one is so vulgar or silly, as to permit choice wines to pass by unenjoyed.
5. Every gentleman who follows the business of “ dining out,” should form a close connexion with a good physician, who will study his constitution, and find account in keeping the gentleman on his legs as long as possible. Speedy and skilful remedies, upon a subject naturally sound, well-constituted, and well understood by experience, have been known to baffle chronics a surprising length of time; to wrest from the gripe of the acutes;
and restore the patient to the dinner table again and again. In fine, what character among men, is superior to that of the gentleman who dines out?-He is the friend and patron of the arts and sciences; all human industry, in all corners of the earth, looks to him for patronage and reward; but for him the happiest efforts of genius would perish unregarded.
THE MONTH OF MAY.*
OA! May is the fairest month of the year,
"Tis the dawning
of summer, and noon of spring,
"Tis the month of lightness, and love, and joy,
"Tis the month when the skies with melody ring,
Its smiles have painted the butterfly's wing,
And its dews are sweet as the gentle showers
* Old style. ED.