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Mower and Gipsies last year, such as never perhaps was inanifested by any individual before him.
The landscapes of Mr. B. Barker are entitled to not less praise than the figures of his brother. He is said originally to have formed his style upon Ruysdael ; but however this may be, his manner is now perfectly distinct from any other. If we have some who attempt a greater grandeur and extent of composition, we have none who can, in the remotest degree, compete with him in clearness, facility, and truth to nature. His home is on the desolate heath and barren mountain; his lonely ash creaks aloud in the dreary blast, and his dark stream gushes from its gloom with hoarse and visible motion. The bleakness of the atmosphere seems to add vigour to his power; and where he affords himself the greatest opportunity for spirit, he will be found breathing in his most congenial region. To him it is no step from the darkness of the moody elements to the corresponding hue on the feelings of those who behold them-it is the same thing, equally easy and equally excellent:-no landscape figures have been better painted since the days of Salvator: his banditti have the listless ferocity of minds which can be excited only by acts of rapine, or the spirit and activity of combatting fiends, which, in either case, cannot fail of whirling the imagination into a scene of striking and perilous reality. The picture to which we have alluded is the direct opposite to the style which we have described as Mr. B. Barker's forte. We speak of it as a proof that genius will be itself, whether at home or abroad; and that Mr. B., if he cannot rival himself in some of his wilder flights by the glowing luxuriance of classical composition, can be surpassed, even in this department, by no one else. We know of no reason why the performances of this artist should be
unsuccessfully exhibited, and are convinced that those who will take the pains to examine them will agree in our astonishment, that, if he did not submit to the drudgery of being a teacher, Mr. B. Barker would obtain as little profit from his talents, as if he had never possessed them.
Our anxiety to speak of these two artists has led us out of the usual and more methodical manner of noticing exhibitions ; and we are not sorry for it, as a regular, numerical survey must either subject us to the charge of invidious omissions, or extend our observations to an inconvenient length.
The pictures of Mr. E. Landseer have a high claim upon our praise, because we think they possess excellence of the very first order in their style, and a higher still because we believe the artist to be the youngest man who ever attained the summit of his profession. In this situation we venture fearlessly to place him, assured as we feel that in his picture of the Larder Invaded it is utterly impossible to suggest a single improvement. The most honourable testimony to the early and powerful abilities of Mr. Landseer is conveyed in the prize which he has received from the Directors of the Institution ; after this, all the commendations we could bestow would be superfluous. We will only remind him of the general and just complaint that many young artists, whose earlier works achieved considerable reputation, have, from an ill-judged confidence in its protection, sunk into comparative oblivion, and that it will require no small attention to preserve the place to which his admirable exertions have raised him.
Within three or four of the Larder Invaded hangs Mr. Newton's delineation of Lovers' Quarrels. Mr. N. is a young exhibitor, a very young man, and a
stranger. These are reasons why, from the specimens he has given of his powers, much is to be expected from him, and why no encouragement should be spared which is likely to secure him amongst us. His genius is unquestionably original ; his colouring is beautiful, and it is his own; and he tells his story with a gentlemanly humour which is equally so. The Lovers' Quarrels display nothing broad or outrageous, as we might suppose from the title. There is an exquisitely elegant indifference in the belligerent parties, who exchange pictures with the cool hauteur of men of honour exchanging cards ; and, with the arch smile of the wily waitingmaid, who evidently does not behold this awful catastrophe for the first time, the group is truly natural, tasteful, and diverting.
On taking leave of Mr. Newton, whose playful and delicate pencil we hope to meet more frequently, our attention is rivetted by a scene of such interest and admirable execution as we were not prepared to encounter even from the masterly hand of Stephanoff. The Poor Relations is a picture painted from the heart. We may judge of delineated stories as we do of single heads, in which the physiognomist tells at a glance whether the likeness be correct, though he has never seen the original. It is the congruity of features, the unity of expression, that bear this unfailing testimony; and this true combination we find, upon a more extended and arduous scale, strongly manifested in the piece before us. Not a single thing is introduced which can remind us that we are gazing on a fiction ; every particle tends to elucidate the story and corroborate the opinion which we form of the characters upon the first view. The wealthy man, his proud, comfortable wife, and her two wheezing lap-dogs, have just finished their breakfast,
which the servant is removing; at the same time announcing in a whisper, as if he knew the intelligence must be unwelcome, the visit from the poor relations. While he has yet got his mouth to the ear of his master, who is in the act of asking what they want, and apparently endeavouring to recall his connection with the long-forgotten name, the group make their appearance. It is a widow, who is striving, for the sake of her children, to overcome the bitter sense of her humiliating situation, whilst the tears of involuntary pride and recent affliction are starting unrestrainably from her eyes. Her daughter, a beautiful girl of seventeen or eighteen, stands by her side in meek and patient submission : less skilled in life than her mother, her melancholy is only retrospective on her father, and she seems to be sensible of no degradation from the necessitous appeal, feeling from her own gentle disposition the impossibility of a denial, and the pleasure with which their relation will afford the required assistance. Her brother, a boy of ten or twelve, is slinking behind her with ragged elbows and a becoming awe of the magnificence which surrounds him. On the opposite side sits the madam of the house (the centre being occupied by the master and servant), with too much economy of complaisance to notice the strangers further than by a sidelong glance of pride, obduracy, and anger at their admission. Her implied rejection of the mother and the objects of her distress, is the more detestable because she has not the plea of being a mother herself; her only dependants are the adopted curs, one of which she has caught up into her lap with a fond assurance that no interlopers shall be suffered to dispute its interests ; the other lies supinely before the fire, his tongue hanging lazily out of his mouth, and his eyes half open, as if he is curious to
know what is the matter, but too crammed with buttered toast to raise his carcase for information.
The performances of Mr. Etty have great merit; and, if we had not already gone further than we intended, we should give a copious account of them. He is a thorough master of what is beautiful in colouring and composition; but his drawing is occasionally too careless, and his everlasting blue back-grounds are an unworthy resource to throw out his flesh tints, which are too natural to require artificial assistance. Cleopatra sailing down Cydnus is a most poetical imagination; we only wish it had another title, for we are at a loss to conjecture where she could have picked up so many flying Cupids. But it is a sin to find fault with it.
The Landscape by Vincent is remarkably clever; the touch is original, and the colouring reminds us much of our incomparable Wilson. Part of the sky, however, is blemished by Mr. Vincent's usual defect; he lays on his paint too thickly, and seldom leaves a cloud till it may be mistaken for a mountain.
In such a numerous collection as that of the British Gallery, it will naturally be supposed by those who have not visited it, and granted by those who have, that there are many other pieces highly deserving of notice. In the remaining list the scenes of low comedy, perhaps, (amongst which Mr. Kidd's have obtained a deservedly prominent station,) carry off the palm of superiority. This department indeed appears to be as much on the advance as Landscape is on the decline. In every succeeding exhibition the imitations of nature have become more clumsy and unnatural ; and the time and admiration we were compelled to bestow upon them a few seasons ago, are almost a reproach to us for building too much hope upon a child whose early promise of ex