"The Royal Academy Exhibition." Builder 11.535 (7 May 1853), 289-290.


Had (140) "The meeting of Jacob and Rachel" been Mr. Dyce’s first rendering of the subject, we should have admired it much, but with its exquisite predecessor strong in our recollection, with all its beautiful colour and drawing, it seems to have been studied from more common-place models that the former. Rachel strikes us as being short, and the background weak. . . .

This year Mr. Millais has corroborated the promise made years gone by, and by his present picture firmly establishes himself amongst the first of our painters. With unlimited imitational power and the necessary professional accomplishments is combined a mind of no common order,–he thinks entirely for himself, follows no beaten track. Without quotation, the simple title (265), "The Order of Release," is sufficiently eloquent, and will prove strongly attractive. Every object is studied with the greatest accuracy, reflected rather than painted, for never did anything wear a more real aspect, from the wonderfully-painted legs of the child to the primroses that suggest open fields and liberty: such patient labour, combined with so much facility of executing, such determination to leave nothing undone deserves the highest commendation. Simple as the story is, there is a pathos and depth of expression that ennobles and raises it above minor criticism. The date affixed is too early for the costume, apparently a printer’s error. It should be after 1745, rather than 1651. (520) "The Proscribed Royalist," is not to be compared with the former, in spite of the truthfully-painted tree trunk and accessories. The drapery in this is more like metal than satin.

"Claudio and Isabella," W. H. Hunt, has much to recommend it to notice, though the Claudio be not a little like an ungraceful marionette with a badly fitting wig. It tells the story, and has much sentiment: the girl’s hands are exceedingly good.

This document was scanned/transcribed from the original source.

Copyright © 1999 Thomas J. Tobin.

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