"Royal Academy Exhibition (Third Notice)." The Illustrated London News 24 May 1851, 463-464.


Near to this clever picture [Elmore’s Hotspur and the Fop] is a Pre-Raphaelite folly, by Charles Collins, son of English-coast Collins; and anything, as a whole, further from nature and his father’s works, it would be difficult to produce. He calls it "Convent Thoughts," and gives us a nun in a landscape of green, meditating on the works of nature, on flowers and green leaves–painted with a microscopic minuteness perfectly wonderful. But what misapplication of time. The man who wrote the Lord’s prayer on a silver penny of Maunday money was just as well employed. The same application and skill, better directed, would make Mr. Collins a clever artist, not, as he is now, only an eccentric one. . . .

Here we turn into the West Room, and would make the best of our way out were we not willingly detained before "The Return of the Dove to the Ark," by Mr. Millais. In this picture there is very little story. Mr. Millais has painted a sentiment, and conveyed that sentiment after his own fashion–touchingly, if not truly. Our readers can see the sentiment conveyed: we wish they could see the colour–such robes of green and purple and white–so much to admire, and so much to be offended with. His other pictures (he has three in all) are in the same style. 561 is a scene from Tennyson:

She only said, "My life is dreary;"

and while the sentiment is attained, it is conveyed extravagantly in the church-window-like fashion of the thirteenth century. 799, "The Woodman’s Daughter," is from Mr. Coventry Patmore’s poems, and represents a boy, in an outrageous red dress, offering some very red strawberries to a very purpley girl, in a very green landscape. Yet there is merit in this picture, for the expression on the girl’s face, of surprise, satisfaction, and delight, is given with no common perception of character. Mr. Millais is young enough to mend, and has talent to do better things.

This document was scanned/transcribed from the original source.

Copyright © 1999 Thomas J. Tobin.

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