Our Critic among the Pictures

[The Prince and Princess of Wales] Nos. 30 & 92 (Jensen). William S. Gilbert. Engraving. Fun (1864). Courtesy of the Suzy Covey Comic Book Collection in the George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida. Click on image to enlarge it.

There are two awful pictures in the east room, numbered 30 and 92. They are by a Me. Jensen, and represent “H.R.H. the Prince of Wales in the robe of the most exalted order of the Star of India,” and “H.R.H. the Princess of Wales in State robes.” The Prince is all tassels, blue silk, swords, red curtains, pillars, and thunder-clouds, and clearly says, “ I have been carefully put together, and if I move I shall come undone, and shan't know how to put myself to rights again, and what a dreadful thing that wrould be!” The young lady is represented, we presume, in Marlborough House, and is pointing to one of those Brobdignagian crowns and cushions, which one meets with at every turn in royal palaces, and plainly says, “I've got to wear that thing one of these days, and I'm afraid I shall look a dreadful guy in it!” Me. Jensen may take to himself the credit of having made a more imbecile portrait of the gentlemanly young Prince, and an uglier portrait of the pretty young Princess, than any of the nine hundred and ninety-nine other artists who have selected those exalted personages as the subjects of their principal Academy pictures this year.

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 and on the following page. (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

Criticism of individual paintings

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“Our Critic among the Pictures.” Fun. (14 May 1864): 83-84.

Last modified 2 March 2016