Our Critic among the Pictures

The bread of man

William S. Gilbert



“No. 480 is a remarkable picture. It is called, in the catalogue, ‘The bread of man,’ and consists of wheatears and poppies. It never before occurred to us to inquire why it was that poppies always grow among wheat, and if it had we should probably have been unable to answer ourselves, but Mr. H. L. Roberts’s picture suggests both the question and the answer. Poppies grow among the wheat in order to i‘throw it up.’”

The cartoon is signed with the initials “W.S.G.” at the lower left. This is the Gilbert of Gilbert & Sullivan fame who I assume also wrote the savage critical commentaries that appeared in the right column beside the picture. (To read more of these commentaries, which parody periodical reviews of the Royal Academy and other exhibitions, click on the other individual items in the list below.) — George P. Landow

Courtesy of the Suzy Covey Comic Book Collection in the George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida.

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Criticism of individual paintings

  • No. 480 (Roberts)
  • No. 509 (Poynter)
  • Nos. 30 & 92 (Jennings)
  • No. 15 (Armitage)
  • No. 424 (Elmore)
  • No. 593 (Whistler)
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