Society of painters in water-colours 1857
This painter has, for some time back, shown considerable ability; but he must not hope to reach any sterling qualities without much closer study of Nature. It is really high time, considering how many treatises are written on perspective and optics, that our painters should understand, once for all, the difference between shadows and reflections; and that as some five or six hundred pictures of pretension are painted annually with reflection of sun or moon in water, it should be generally understood that the reflection of the sun does not radiate, any more than that of a white ball or a white wafer radiates ; but that it is either a circle (in absolutely calm water), an oval, more or less elongated (in partly disturbed water), or, under certain circumstances, especially when the sun is low, a vertical pillar, more or less broken; each of these images spreading in flakes to right and left when there is much agitation in the water, but always rather narrowing than widening to the spectator's feet.(2)
(1)[Charles Branwhite (1817-1880) was elected an Associate of the Old Water-Colour Society in 1849. For some account of him, see the History of that Society, vol. ii. p.336. He was a pupil of W. J. Muller.]
(2) [On the subject of reflections in water, see below, p. 474.]
THE REFLECTION OF RAINBOWS IN WATER(1) TO THE EDITOR OF THE LONDON REVIEW
SIR, I do not think there is much difficulty in the rainbow business. We cannot see the reflection of the same rainbow which we behold in the sky but we see the reflection of another invisible one within it. Suppose A and B, Fig. 1, are two falling raindrops, and the spectator is at S, and X Y
is the water surface. If R A S be a sun ray giving, we will say, the red ray in the visible rainbow, the ray, B C S, will give the same red ray, reflected from the water at c. It is rather a long business to examine the lateral angles, and I have not time to do it; but I presume the result would be that if a m b, Fig. 2, be the visible rainbow, and x Y the water horizon, the reflection will be the dotted line c e d, reflecting, that is to say, the invisible bow, end; thus, the terminations of the arcs of the visible and reflected bows do not coincide.
The interval, m n, depends on the position of the spectator with respect
to the water surface. The thing can hardly ever be seen in nature, for it there be rain enough to carry the bow to the water surface, that surface will be ruffled by the drops, and incapable of reflection. Whenever I have seen a rainbow over water (sea, mostly), it has stood on it reflectionless; but interrupted conditions of rain might be imagined which would present reflection on near surfaces.
Always very truly yours,J. RUSKIN.
7th May, 1861.
(1)[This letter appeared in the London Review, May 16, 1861, and was reprinted in Arrows of the Chace, 1880, vol. i. pp. 299-301. The London Review of May 4 had contained a critique of the Exhibition of the Society of Painters in Water-Colours, which included a notice of Mr. Duncan's "Shiplake, on the Thames" (No. 52), for which artist, see above, p. 81. In this picture the artist had painted a rainbow reflected in the water, the truth of which to nature was questioned by some of his critics. Ruskin's was not the only letter in support of the picture's truth. On the general subject, see the Introduction, above, p. xxxvii. The reflection of rainbows is discussed (to the same effect as here) at pp. 21-24 of Sir Montagu Pollock's book there referred to.]
(Ver página 186 de mi edición de Arrows of the Chace)