Mr. Calderon has not continued to dedicate his pencil to such dramatic or pathetic themes as some he recently treated; he now seems to have primarily sought to gratify his artistic sense in courtly pageantry of historic costume or pleasant aspects of nature and the brightest beauty and expression of womanhood. But for mellow, glowing harmony of rich colour he was never seen to so great advantage as in his principal work this year, entitled "Her Most High, Noble, and Puissant Grace." It must be admitted, also, that the subject of this picture is a very pretty fancy. It represents a child-queen or princess of the fourteenth or fifteenth century walking in stately procession, her coronet on her head—perhaps just crowned—along the tapestried stone hall or corridor of a castle, or may be a church aisle, her white and-gold embroidered train borne by handsome maids of honour, with the conical or homed head-dresses of the period, followed by gaily-attired courtiers, male and female, stalwart warriors, and grave State functionaries. Grouped round steps towards which she advances, and at which are posted heralds proclaiming her aproach, are other Court attendants, including an aged senator-like Sire, a young noble, and a page-boy, with the arms of the family to om he belongs embroidered on his breast. It is pleasant to see the grave yet frightened look of her small Majesty, whilst her adult subjects know not how to bow sufficiently low to her little Highness — the contrasts affording a graceful commentary on the vanity of human distinctions. Though, probably, not intended to represent any particular incident, yet marriage contracts as well as such semblance of reigning at a very tender age were not unfrequent ceremonies about the period of, say, our Richard II.

Singularly fresh and full of open-air brilliancy is the same artist's picture of a party of pretty blanchisseuses, in the white caps of Poitou, chatting and laughing as they rinse, and rub, and wring in a pleasant poplar-fringed stream, into which from the margin some of them kneel in quaint three-sided boxes. A third picture represents a Pyreneean peasant driving home turkeys.

Bibliography

“Exhibition at the Royal Academy.” The Illustrated London News. 48 (12 May 1866): 474. Hathi Diigital Library Trust version of a copy in the University of Chicago Library. Web. 6 January 2016.


Last modified 28 October 2014