The Royal Academy Exhibition 1859
A well-conceived and interesting scene:1 the face of the knight successful; that of the wife is a little beyond the painter's strength. It is a fair representation of the class of pictures now produced in numbers by the advancing school, which, with considerable merit, have the general demerit of making us feel in an instant that they would never have been painted had not others shown how; and the greater demerit of slightly blunting the enjoyment of the work of original men. Nevertheless, in every school these engrafted pictures must exist; and it is a cause for sincere congratulation when the habit, which is becoming derivatively universal, is to read human nature and history with sympathy for nobleness and desire for truth.
(1)[A.D. 1347. "Then the kinge sayde ... let syxe of the chiefe burgesses of the towne come out bareheaded, barefooted, barelegged, and in their shirtes, with halters about their neckes, with the kayes of the towne and castell in their handes, and let them syxe yelde themselfe purely to my wyll, and the residue I will take to mercye." Froissart's Chronicles.]