The Royal Academy Exhibition 1859
I see that this picture has been depreciatingly spoken of in several of the journals. I think unjustly so. It is as good as Mr. Mulready's work usually is. I had occasion last year1 to point out the general defect of that work―namely, that the painter is evidently thinking only of himself and his drawing―never caring the least about what he has to draw; of which, therefore, he misses precisely the most valuable characters, and succeeds in using more skill in painting Nothing than any painter ever spent before on that subject.
If the trees in the background are supposed to be typical of education, they ought to have been better grown. Mr. Mulready's trees are often supposed by artists to be well drawn, merely because they are well rounded. But they are, nevertheless, mannered in execution, and false in tree anatomy.
(1)[In 1857, not 1858: see above, p. 101.]