The Royal Academy Exhibition 1858
I am not sure how much power is involved in the production of such a picture as this; great ability there is assuredly long and careful study considerable humour untiring industry, all of them qualities entitled to high praise, which I doubt not they will receive from the delighted public. It is also quite proper and desirable that this English carnival should be painted; and of the entirely popular manner of painting, which, however, we must remember, is necessarily, because popular, stooping and restricted, I have never seen an abler example. The drawing of the distant figures seems to me especially dexterous and admirable; but it is very difficult to characterize the picture in accurate general terms. It is a kind of cross between John Leech and Wilkie, with a dash of daguerreotype here and there, and some pretty seasoning with Dickens's sentiment.
(1)[Now in the Tate Gallery, No. 615. For various particulars about the picture, see E. T. Cook's Popular Handbook to the National Gallery (British School). For other references to it by Ruskin, see his letter of Feb. 2, 1880, "On the Purchase of Pictures," in Arrows of the Chace, 1880, i. p. 82 ; and the letter of June 10, 1880, on " A Museum or Picture Gallery," in On the Old Road, 1885, i. §501 ; both reprinted in a later volume of this edition.]