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There is, this year, a marvellous falling off of the number of paintings from Shakespearean subjects. Richard the Thirds are unrepresented, and Romeos and Juliets find not a hanging place on these walls. This is rather singular, considering that this is the year of the tercentenary (peace be to its hashes), but it is a great relief, and we hereby tender our thanks to the artists for having spared us so much. We must, however, make an exception in the case of Mr. [Henry William] Pickersgill, whose “Murder of Desdemona by Othello (No. 140) would be scornfully rejected by the hanging committee of the Pantheon Bazaar. Othello is represented in a suit of complete armour, such as was worn all day long by Venetian nobles in the bosoms of their families, endeavouring, but in vain, to stife [stifle?] his unfortunate wife by ramming a pillow into the small of her back. He is painted a beautiful black, with Antinous features and lovely, curly, black hair, parted in the middle. As a design for an illustration to a “Poetic Annual," of thirty years since, the thing might pass muster, but as the work of a Royal Academician it ia simply a disgrace to British Art.

The cartoon in the same style as in the first review of the 1864 Royal Academy is signed with the initials “W.S.G.” This is the Gilbert of Gilbert & Sullivan fame who I assume also wrote the savage critical commentaries. — George P. Landow

Other paintings in this review and the artist’s homepage

[You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the University of Florida library and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


“Our Critic among the Pictures.” Fun. (18 June 1864): 133. Courtesy of the Suzy Covey Comic Book Collection in the George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida. Web. 2 March 2016.

Last modified 2 March 2016