Date 1873-06-02
Publication Academy
Topic William Davis memorialized, RA failures
AP display
RA display
Subject art
Keywords aesthetic principles
  ↳ RA failures
Standards comparison
  ↳ evaluation
Notes Heart attack brought on by bad hanging.

Annotation details

73 June Academy


William Davis memorialized; Royal Academy hangings criticized.


Rossetti, William M. "William Davis." Academy 4 (June 13, 1873): 205. Web. 21 Sept. 2011.


This brief notice by Rossetti appears under the heading "Art and Archeology." Rossetti discusses the painting of William Davis in laudatory terms, thereby memorializing Davis as well as commenting on his work. Unlike most other critical articles written for Academy by Rossetti, this one discusses the specific artistic abilities of the painter rather than details of finished works. There is a typical reference to a successful Pre-Raphaelite painter as an example to compare against Davis, plus an almost wry comment on one of Rossetti's recurring critical themes, the failure of Royal Academy exhibitions to achieve fair and effective hangings for artists which, Rossetti infers (see "Notable/Quotable below), contributed to the artist's untimely death.

Rossetti mentions Turner as "the great chief of the English landscape school," an area which Rossetti repeatedly has claimed is a weak spot in English painting, but nonetheless, he sees Davis as competitive and even "dangerous" to be hung next too, perhaps explaining why Davis received an unfair, unacceptable position in the exhibition Rossetti refers to as having caused Davis to have a heart attack.


memorializing, criticizing the Academy, praising the Pre-Raphaelite school and Davis, a non-member but a creditable painter


memorial, encomium, criticism

Standards of Judgment:

Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood benchmark; fairness, achievement in art


Turner, Mr. Humphrey Roberts, Mr. Albert Wood, Mr. Rae


evaluative; epideictic

Writing technique/tone:

epideictic, concise, wry


". . . skies which are the weak painter's bugbear;" ". . . sometimes slovenly execution . . ." "[Davis] died on the 22 of April of angina pectoris. The last fatal attack was brought on, it is said, by seeing his two pictures badly hung at the present International Exhibition . . ."