Royal Academy Exhibition 1856
A most pathetic and precious picture, easily understood, and entirely right as far as feeling is concerned. Mr. Paton must have had more pleasure in painting this picture than in those fairy assemblies of his; and though the cottage details here are not so attractive as those nightshade and woodbine convolutions of leaf scenery, they are in reality better painted, and serve to better use. Mr. Paton has, however, a good deal yet to learn in colour. He should for this spring paint nothing but opening flowers, and, in the autumn, nothing but apricots and peaches.
[Sir Joseph Noel Paton (1821-1902), appointed Her Majesty's Limner for Scotland in 1866. The pictures by which he first made his mark were of fairyland such as "The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania," "The Reconciliation of Oberon and Titania/' and "The Fairy Queen." He had made the acquaintance of Millais as a student at the Academy in 1843 ; and afterwards he was in sympathy with the Pre-Raphaelite group. The picture noticed above represented a soldier, mortally wounded, who has just reached home, and sinks down on a chair, tended by his mother and sweetheart. For Ruskin's acquaintance with Patou, see Vol. XII. p. xxvii. To the painter's "fairy assemblies " Ruskin again referred in The Art of England, ch. iv.]