The drawing below is signed “Brunton” at the lower right, and Brunton appears to be the artist who regularly drew for the magazine a range of London and other scenes, such as Ramsgate, which are usually accompanied by the satirized voice of an outsider, here an opinionated proponent of contemporary British arts so ignorant of art history that he dos not recognize the Old masters. The chief satiric technique here consists of purporting to find canonical Old Masters in need of instruction from various artists, ranging from Pickersgill and Grant to Whistler, that Fun regularly disparages.
Unfortunately, like many of the page images in the Smathers Libraries online version of Fun, portions of this one are very blurred, and I have omitted material I cannot decipher until I can obtain a better copy. — George P. Landow
[N.B.— Our Art Critic is out of town; and wo do not hold ourselves responsible for the opinions of the gentleman whom he has appointed his substitute.—Ed. ]
With every desire to encourage rising merit, we find it hard to speak in favourable terms of the works that are now on view at Number Fifty-two, Pall-mall. They are, we presume, the productions of very young men, several of whom appear to be of foreign extraction But they are certainly unlike the masterpieces of modern British art which are annually exhibited in Suffolk-street ond Trafalgar-square. The artists would do well to wait a few years before they again provoke public criticism.
A Mr. P. P. Rubens, of whom we hear for the first time, has sent a couple of contributions, in both of which he is understood to have depicted himself and his wife. This young gentleman has yet to learn that domestic affection, though praiseworthy . . . will not atone for gross slovenliness in the handling and crudely harmonyless colour. He should study the works of Mr. Francs Grant, R.A. if he really wishes to attain excellence as a portrait painter.
A couple of landscapes by a gentleman who exhibits under the obviously fictitious name of Claude Lorrain are [entitled?] respectively to “Morning” and “Evening.” It would be hard to say wiich is worse. Both are tame and conventional to a dgeree.
A picture by one Mr. Rembrandt is chiefly notable for its greatly affected disposition of light and shade. The [title], too, which he has unblushingly affixed to it— “Rembrandt’s Mistress — is [?] and offensive, if not absolutely immoral. Mr. Rembrandt must either be a profligate or a footman. Let him learn modesty from the great artist who painted “Whistler’s House.”
Another gentleman, who rejoices in the [name] of Van Dyke, sends a set of historical portraits, but they are . . . and insignificant in comparison to the divine works of our own native Pickersgill, R.A.
Signor Giorgione. — if we are right in supposing this exhibitor to bo an Italian — shows “A Musical Party.” He is absolutely destitute of any true sense of colour, and seems to fancy that a conventional golden tint will serve instead. But he has mistaken his epoch. This kind of thing won't do for London in the nineteenth century. Our foreign friend should study the productions of Mr. Solomon Hart and Mr. Charles Landseer.
We suppose tiat these young pointers consider it exceedingly witty to hide their real names under some ridiculous equivocation — “Mr. Canaletto,” for instance, no doubt passes as a humourist in Newman-street, through his absurd pun upon one of the most interesting features of that beautiful city — Venice — which he has tried to paint; we allude, of course, to the canals. Indeed, but for this ill-considered piece of buffoonery, his works would not have attracted an attention al all. . . .
A Mr. S. Rosa (why does he try to hide the Samuel? We hate these affectations) [contributes?] what we presume he calls a landscape. . . .
“The British Instiution.” Fun. (17 June 1865): 50. Courtesy of the Suzy Covey Comic Book Collection in the George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida. Web. 2 March 2016.
Last modified 3 March 2016