Page images




[The following verses are an academical exercise, composed, it is

said, by a young Eton scholar.]

Pretty little tender lamb,

Skipping on the verdant mead; When you 're nicely drest, I am

Very fond of you, indeed!

Soon the butcher's knife will be

Drawn across your woolly throat; And for dinner I shall see

That nice dish on which I dote.

It chanced, upon a Sunday afternoon,

That, walking through a street in Clerkenwell,

I sideways raised a casual glance, which fell Upon a first-floor window ('t was in June The air was mild and soft, like some sweet tune):

I halted, and my prying eyes did dwell

Why, I know not, and therefore cannot tell More than the man that dwelleth in the moon

Upon a pair, there sitting face to face ; The man in shirt-sleeves,- for 't was rather hot,

Sat conning the “ Dispatch” at quiet pace ; The woman had some periwinkles got,

Which she was picking with intentive grace ; And they between them had a pewter pot !

Oh! that shoulder will be sweet!

Oh! those chops will be divine ! But that leg will be the treat!

On it grant me, Fate, to dine !

Sauce of mint, and young green peas,

With it send me to enjoy :I shall be in ecstacies—

Happy, happy, happy boy!

[graphic][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]


suredly not! for the blandest smile one can possibly put on, is sure to be burlesqued into a ghastly leaden grin by the

solar process.

ORTRAIT-PAINTING is not what it used to

be; for since the sun has turned artist, and taken to photography in partnership with

Messrs. Claudet and Beard, all the portraitpainters under the sun have had a very powerful rival to contend against.

There is, however, one advantage that the living artists still possess over the sun : for the sun never flatters; but throws a leaden cast into heads and countenances, making them, perhaps, excessively like, but by no means agreeable. The sun has not the tact, or is not such a hypocrite as to disguise any of those little defects of the countenance which all sitters are, more or less, subject to; and snub-nose is sure to be photographed with annoying fidelity, while an artist in oil would shade it off, or mellow it down, or throw it out, or do something or other to make it either Roman, Grecian, or aquiline. Could the sun, in one of his most brilliant moments, succeed in throwing in such an air of good humour as in the portrait beneath ? As

Besides, there are some who cannot bear to have the commonplace background of their every-day life to the pictures in which they figure; and like to see themselves surrounded with those elegances which, though substantially out of their reach, are to be had for a very little additional charge upon canvass. Thus, the man who never owned more of the soil than might have filled three or four mignionette boxes, or half a dozen pots devoted to balsam and other botanical objects, may be represented in a picture lying at length in luxurious ease, in what George Robins would call "park-like grounds," with "a princely


abode” in the background. If it is legitimate to build castles in the air, they may also be transferred to canvass ; and to see one's-self represented as breathing the pure air, is a refreshing agent in a dingy parlour in a narrow London street, where one is doomed to habitual residence.

The man of business, who seldom gets out of the city, may be placed in an attitude of indolent ease, as if ruminating among Italian porticos and terraces overgrown with flowers, and ornamented by the sculptor's art; and he may hope to deceive the spectator, or perhaps even him

[blocks in formation]

make but a sorry figure in a photograph, may be what is commonly termed “done something with” in oil colour. Of course, the author, in order to make a good picture, must be what is called "popular;" and no author can be truly popular, in the usual sense of the word, unless his hair is in ringlets, and his neck free from the ordinary trammels of an every-day shirt-collar. Why an exposed throat should be a mark of genius, it is difficult to say ; but, in these days, if an author wishes to be fashionable, he must have nothing on his neck, and thus realise the old notion that, in the race for reputation, it is literally "neck or nothing."

Some persons have their portraits taken to please themselves, and others to please their friends; but occasionally an artist has the opportunity of displaying his abilities on a local lion or a parochial patriot.

The local lion is the scientific character of the district in which he resides ; whose portrait has been drawn to

[merged small][graphic]

grace the lecture-room of the mechanics' institute of his native city. He is a Member of the British Association, and Chairman of the Provisional Committee for inquiring what sort of wood the North Pole is made of. He has written a treatise on the possibility of finding an east pole as well as a north ; and his labours as a geologist have

The fashionable author, or literary lion, who would

may be drawn a perfect nymph in everything but costume, which is carefully copied from the last book of fashions.

carried him several times to the Goodwin Sands, a mystery which, if he continues his researches, he may one day get to the bottom of. His essay on the natural formation of grouts at the bottom of tea or breakfast-cups, is said to be (in its way) a masterpiece.

The parochial patriot is a guardian of the poor, who has earned the gratitude of the rate-payers, by a discovery of the minimum amount of food a pauper may exist upon. He has saved the parish something in provisions, though, it is true, there has been an increase in the expense of pauper

burials. His portrait, taken at the request of his

[merged small][graphic]

fellow-guardians, is drawn in the position he used to assume when explaining the provisions of the Poor-law to those who were refused any provisions under it.

Some portraits are remarkable for the imagination that the artist has thrown into them, and the skill with which the real and the romantic are sometimes made to blend is worthy of the highest admiration. Barristers who have never been on their legs in court are, by a vigorous effort of fancy, represented in the act of holding a brief; and jewellery, which they never possessed, is lavishly bestowed on individuals who have stipulated for it in the price of the portrait. The artist's imagination will transfer boarding-school young lady to the sea-shore, where she

We have here the artist's own portrait, painted in a fit of desperation at having nothing else to do, and intended for the Exhibition, in the hope that the specimen may act as an advertisement of the exhibitor's abilities. Of course the back ground presents a quantity of unfinished pictures, for none are so anxious to appear to be doing

paid a shilling to see the pictures, begins regularly at the beginning, and compares every number on the wall with the corresponding number in the catalogue.

There are some who have a nicer eye for the beauties of nature than those of art; and an exhibition is sure to represent as many of the one as of the other.

a great deal as those who are, in reality, doing nothing. The artist is a lady, who has a select gallery of popular portraits appended to the door-post. There is Mr. Macready as Virginius, with a knife partly concealed under his toga, and an intimation that any one may be “done in this style for Three Guineas."

Talking of the Exhibition naturally brings to our mind some of the individuals who are in the habit of frequenting it. Among these, the one entitled to precedence is the connoisseur, who thinks it necessary to completely shut one eye and stick a glass into the other when he looks towards a picture, and whose appreciation of the beautiful in art is shewn by a series of grimaces illustrative of the ugly in nature.


There are other artists, besides painters and sculptors, whose works may be met with in the Exhibition. The artist in the annexed engraving is employed in an ingenious process, by which several portraits of her Majesty, in metal, are taken off at once with a delivery of touch and a lightness of finger that are only the result of long practice.

[merged small][graphic]
« PreviousContinue »