Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

beauty. Indeed, Mr Hill's love of spotted pictures is quite amazing. There is no foliage in No. 100. Ossian's grave and the Hill of Winds, Glen almond; but the artist has spotted all the hill-side in the middle distance with round stones and small boulders, so that the hill has the painful appearance of being afflicted with an eruption of pebbles; and then, these stones not continuing into the extreme distance, the artist has carried his dots up the glen by means of sheep. We would seriously advise him in future to have his canvasses vaccinated. The sky of this particular picture is very hard and cold, but so, indeed, is the whole; and we do not remember a worse design. Yet by a skilful chiaroscuro, surely something might have been done that would not have left us to wonder how an artist could have so entirely missed the feelings with which tradition and poetry have consecrated this scene.

With what relief we come upon “233. A Village on the Moors, Henry Bright"! How admirably has the artist caught the cool atmosphere of the uplands, with its mists silvering the hollows and nooks of the hills with delicate grey, or floating above round their summits in clouds of the most exquisite snowy texture; and to what tenderness and softness the blue of the sky is toned down by the silver vapours! The parts of moorland rising into the sunshine, like islands from the mist, are broadly and truly worked, and the feeling of the cottages in the background, half in fine shadow, and half in light-firmly and faithfully yet broadly painted-and of the old mill-wheel-bringing out the picturesque effect—is very poetical. There is breadth and ease everywhere, and a unity of tone over the whole which is charming.

The best picture exhibited by J. E. Lauder, and yet he exhibits many more pretentious pictures, is “161. The Water Barrel." This quiet little picture is a bit of decidedly good colour, excellent in tone. It is painted in a low key, which we wish he would adopt in all his pictures. Nearly all our artists paint from too high a pitch, which has, undoubtedly, less effect upon the feelings than those pictures have which are kept down like this one. There is more feeling, for example, in this than in Mr Lauder's large and very ambitious picture, "No. 415. Sir Tristram teaching la belle Isonde to play the Harp," where we think the artist has made an utter failure both in colour and in expression.

Mr J. Scott Lauder exhibits five pictures. We cannot say anything for his landscapes, and therefore would say nothing more about them. “No. 74. Death of Arthur, Duke of Bretange,” is very pretentious in colouring and otherwise, but is, to our thinking, of very poor performance. The figures have little more animation than the artist's lay figures might have had. How can he mean these stiffened figures to represent the fiery Bastard and the Hubert of the passage, which he quotes in the catalogue? It would, perhaps, be a puzzle to tell from the character and expression which is which. Nor are the technical much greater than the dramatic merits. The colouring is certainly not much in consonance with the subject. Nor can we exactly understand how so much colour in the figures is visible against so strong a sky. They ought to have been more shadowy. As a general style of colour, we object to those white or dirty white impasto lights, which are too raw for the magnificence attempted in the other parts. They are not rich and creamy enough, and then they are carried into the other colours so as rather to drown these colours with white, than to harmonise them with the high light by gradual transition, it seems as if the light and shade had been teased into each other for neutral tints. Hence, apparently, a certain blae hue over much of the canvas, destroying everything like warmth and purity of colour. How different their high and glaring tone from the low rich cloistered tone of such pictures as nearly all

Poole's, which, however, with all their poetry and feeling, are hung away in unnoticeable corners!

There is a very sad deficiency of figure pictures really worth looking at. Unquestionably the best is “141. Scuffle in a Guard Room. Messioner. The property of H.R.H. Prince Albert.” Expression-vigorous and forceful expression—is the character of this picture. It is painted in a low tone, and carefully finished; and although, perhaps, from the subject, necessarily too red, we hope it will teach the Royal Scottish Academicians a lesson or two they seem to stand greatly in need of.

We have from Mr Graham Gilbert some small pictures with all his unrivalled purity of colour. “No. 379. Design," is truly exquisite. We find Sir John Watson Gordon's portraits, still as ever, most masterly in character and individuality, bringing protraiture to its highest point. “ No. 14. La Mantilla del Tira. John Philip," is, we suppose, half portraiture, half fancy. The face and complexion are very beautiful—the forward bend of the figure, though only half-length, very graceful and characteristic, and the direction of the eyes in good keeping with the attitude. As a piece of colouring it is very successful, and the flesh tone is warm, and rich, and very good.

“No. 164. Watching the Pass—Daybreak. J. Noel Paton, R.S.A,". is the only picture which Mr Paton sends. We remember the beauty of his Faust and Marguerite exhibited some years ago, and that the sky, though extravagant, was yet beautiful from the high fanciful and poetical tone of the whole picture. We have no such excuse, we fear, for this sky, and the outrageous purples of these hills. We miss a great deal of Mr Paton's best qualities here.

“ No. 64. Making it up Again. Daniel Munro," is a piece of colour such as is rarely to be found from the hands of any of our other artists. Perhaps the picture wants a little force and a little more expression in the faces, but it is a beautiful picture on the whole.

" No. 191. The Tempter. W. Douglas, R.S.A.," is excellent both in expression and in the technical qualities of the picture. We have heard it observed that there is a parallelism of attitude and motion between the tempter and the tempted, though the latter is painted strong and in full light, and the former dim and shadowy behind, which suggests the idea that the fiend is only a second self—the symbolic expression of the man's own lower feelings and passions. There is some excellent colour and astonishing workmanship in the picture.

Mr Drummond's “Watt Tinlinn," and “297. Scene in Edinburgh after the Battle of Prestonpans,” are exceedingly good pictures. The former renders with great fidelity and care the lines from the Lay of the Last Minstrel given in the catalogue; and the low quiet tone of the picture gives it very great effect. The other is full of incidents expressed with great cleverness and spirit, and will deservedly heighten Mr Drummond's reputation, already high. “No. 400. Ancient Doorway," is admirable.

We are much gratified to observe with what solid progress Mr John Wintour is advancing in his art. His subjects are chosen, and, in some degree, executed with the taste and feeling of Constable. His bits of woodland scenery, with a picturesque cottage, or lock, or fall of water, are done in a style of easy and variegated working full of promise; and his colour, though, as yet, a little deficient in a certain unity of tone, is warm and pleasing. He appears to study very conscientiously, and eschews with that good sense which is the soul of art, the petty Praeraphaelite affectations of the day. “390. A Study. Craigie Misl, near Perth,” is a bit of admirable painting-particularly excellent in tone and texture, and promises more, perhaps, than any of his other works.

We are puzzled to understand how Mr Edward Hargitt can send pictures so opposite in merit as some he exhibits. " No. 38. Near Burntisland," and “No. 346. Whin-Burning on the Pentland Hills,” are very god. The former has a touch of Tonge's earlier pictures, both in colour and handling—is low and quiet in tone, and has breadth and simplicityand the latter is very well toned, though a little hard. On the other hand, “No. 283. In the Island of Arran," is absurd. The drawing and colouring of the clouds, the colour of the sky and distant hills is outrageous; and yet there is great beauty and much excellent working about some of the central parts of the foreground. In the same way the sky of "No. 208. Landscape-Morning," is extravagantly over-charged with blue clouds—not grey ones. Did Mr Hargitt ever see such clouds? “No. 69. In Arran," has really many very good points. The grey rocks in the left foreground are true and firm, and the tone of the sky would have been beautiful if the picture had been worked out in the same key. But the blue of the sea is too hard, and the light on it cold and raw, and out of keeping. The heather and foreground vegetation are too much cut up, both in respect of colour and drawing, and this weakens the general aspect and effect of the whole picture, which might very well be divided into several very pretty little pictures. We wish Mr Hargitt would keep to the low quiet-toned, broadly-treated picture, in which he is very pleasing.

Miss F. Stoddart's pictures are really good this year. “437. Areolo, Morning," and others of Alpine scenes, with dark firs, and snowy hills beyond, are firmly treated; and along with No. 364. “Flowers" by Miss Mutrie, painted with great beauty, gracefulness, and purity of colour, favourably represent the artistic skill of the ladies. Mrs Ilugh Blackburn, has favoured us with some very clever animal pieces; and the Miss Nasmyths deserve our attention in right of their hereditary art.

We cannot pass over, though we have only room to mention, the inimitable truth and humour of that most able painter of Irish life, Erskine Nicol, and the clever sea pieces of E. T. Crawford. The latter artist has a very pretty bit of snow scene—“ December Day. 388.” The feeling, and the tone, and the natural truth of this, contrast very favourably with Mr Bough's large snow scene in the neighbourhood, which looks rather floury than snowy, though it is, like all Mr Bough's pictures, full of clever painting. Mr John Faed is very splendid in colour, and elaborate in finish and detail, but we could have wished the “Raid of Ruthven," No. 15, had been soberer in tone and somewhat ruder in treatment. “No. 155. Poultry," by Mr Huggins, is a piece of very pretty colouring.

“No. 440. A Whitesmith's Shop. ^ J. Campbell," and "31. Shotwick, Cheshire. W. Davis;" both the property of Mr Miller of Liverpool, are, though different, exceedingly clever. The latter has no other merit. The former is not only curiously able in respect of detail, but has some good toning about it, which almost makes it an agreeable picture.

Mr Alexander Fraser deserved to have been mentioned sooner. His colouring is very rich and promises well. We wish we had room for detail in noticing his works. The chief defect is the lumpiness of his clouds, which probably arises from his commendable love of breadth of treatment. We shall look with some interest to his future performances.

TO A BUTTERFLY.
Sweet blossom of the sunny air;

Live lily of the atmosphere;
True sun-flower thou, brought forth in light,

Thy garments woven of the rays

Of Phoebus, in his summer blaze,
To live and die rejoicing in his sight!

Review.

NATIONAL EDUCATION.* It was with no ordinary thrill of pleasure, and we must add surprise, that we first read, in the public prints, the above address. We think it well done to issue it thus, and if our Queen, so worthily known for her maternal solicitude and national devotedness, would only condescend to give it her imprimatur, she would confer a mighty boon on the present and the rising generation.

This truly Christian, and therefore manly and noble Address, we heartily recommend to all our readers.

Dr Lee has, conscientiously, dared to utter what he believed to be the plain truth, in the matter of education. But while reading the bold exposition of what he believed to be the truth, we involuntarily thought — What will his more considerate brethren think of this free expression of “the truth that is in him ?" No matter what they think, or what the censorious portion of them may sayor rather insinuate--the favourite weapon of those who fear their glory might depart if a larger measure of knowledge and wisdom were sown in the hearts and understandings of men—no matter what they think, or say, or insinuate, Dr Lee stands forth true to his high calling, and proclaims the identity of God in Nature and Religion. Scorning to hedge himself round with the seemingly fair state of things, and the comfortable custom of letting them slug on as they are—not content to note the ruinous results of God's laws set aside or neglected, he deplores, cries aloud in the very market-place, as the Apostles did of old, the danger and impiety of this neglect. Will his voice be attended to ? Can it be that it will tickle, troublesomely perhaps, the auricular organ of the intelligent portion of the community, and, not impressing the mind with a motive for immediate and earnest action, die away like the utterance of a warning dream—if dream they can suppose it to be? It should not be so—yet it may; but as surely as time rolls round, they who now hear and regard not, will, in their children now springing up, see cause to curse their short-sightedness, ignorance, and folly, in letting pass, unheeded and unimproved, so worthy, so noble an effort to better their condition.

Now-a-days we hear people constantly talking about the necessity of having the right men in the right place. Well, it is as much a matter of necessity to have the right thing in the right place; and in the matter of education, that is just what Dr Lee has done, in settling first the material of education before considering the modes

“National Education. The Concluding Address at the Philosophical Institution, Edinburgh, April 8, 1856. By Robert Lee, D.D. F.R.S.E. Minister of the Old Greyfriars; Regius Professor of Biblical Criticism in the University of Edinburgh; and one of the Deans of the Chapel Royal.” Edmonston and Douglas, Edinburgh.

of its application. In the following lies the gist of the whole matter :

“When is a people educated? When it is so instructed and so trained as to be qualified to perform that part which Providence has assigned it. When is an individual educated? When he is so instructed and so trained as to be qualified (according to the measure of his individual capacity) to fulfil the several duties which devolve upon him in his particular sphere. According to this conception of it, education will differ widely in different cases—both because of the differing capacities of individuals, and of the differing spheres in which those capacities are to be exercised; yet it will differ much less than it will agree in all cases; as that which all men have in common is much more than that which is peculiar to each. The substantial conditions of human nature, accordingly, are the same in all; and so, by far the most weighty elements in the education of any one man are those which are also by far the most weighty in the education of every other man. It is impossible even to form an idea what any education is, (that is worthy of the name,) without considering the conditions of our existence in the present world, and the duties which arise out of those conditions. Let us ask, then, what creatures those are whom we would educate? Each of them has a body--it brings him in contact with the powers of nature, with the external world. He is a member of a family; he must gain his livelihood by some calling; he is a member of a civil society, and is subject to its laws; finally, he has certain moral and spiritual relations to his fellow-men, and to God the Author of his being, the Father of spirits, and the Judge of all his conduct. Education must contemplate all that the man is, all he has to do as a man--else you will be making a tool, framing a machine, not educating a man.'

This is the true light to view the matter by. We have bodies and souls, and these bodies and souls must be trained to the general and specific work allotted to them in the providence of things. But what kind of instruction shall be given ? Whence are we to derive our principles of action? From the study of language? Assuredly not; but from the study of those things which the Creator made for us to constitute the prime objects of our thoughts. First, of course, we ought to study those things which more nearly connect themselves with our more immediate duties, such as “the structure and functions of the different parts of the body, and the relations and reciprocal influence of our habits, and of external objects, such as cold, damp, heat, food, etc. On these organs, individually and reciprocally, without knowing their structures, functions, and relations; and this knowledge is obtained by studying anatomy and physiology, and their application to health."

Many scout the teaching of such things to youth as altogether impracticable. Such objections have been fully answered by practical successes too well known to require quotation. When science is spoken of as a study for youth, it is not meant they should study it like savans, but according to the measure of their years or capacities.

"No community in which this kind of instruction is not generally diffused, can be justly considered as possessing even the elements of education. But this knowledge, besides its immediate connection with the preservation of health and the prolongation of life, has also inost intimate relations with the moral and religious interests of men. It teaches them to regulate their conduct in many personal and domestic respects, so as to avoid or diminish certain formidable temptations, and to promote mental by increasing bodily health. If people universally saw how much their comfort and well-being, and those of their offspring, depend upon the way they treat their bodies--how many of men's own

« ZurückWeiter »