Date 1875-01-16
Publication Academy
Topic Water-Colour Society Gallery, part 2.
AP display
RA display
Subject art
Keywords water-colour
  ↳ achievement
  ↳ merit
  ↳ value
Standards PRB aesthetic standards
  ↳ past practice
Notes Ruskin's paintings reviewed.

Annotation details

75 January 16 Academy


Water Colour Society exhibition, part 2.


Rossetti, William M. "The Water-Colour Society." Academy (January 16, 1875): 141. Web. 21 Sept. 2011.


This review continues where the first review left off, with no preliminary remarks but rather, a continuation of commentary on individual works and artists. Noteworthy among the exhibitors discussed is "Professor Ruskin," and Rossetti finds his work to be "robust," "replete with knowledge and discrimination." Rossetti is circumspect in his appraisal of Ruskin's four studies, terming them "the contrary of robust in manner," though "not properly to be called slight." Rossetti had an ongoing social and professional relationship with Ruskin who at one point took credit, along with Dante Rossetti, for teaching William Rossetti everything he knew about art. William Rossetti protested this assertion by Ruskin and secured a retraction from (Rossetti 173n).

Also noteworthy is Rossetti's reference to the text accompanying a painting and the effect the text has on the viewer and the artist. In this case, he explains that the title of Goodall's landscape composition ("Son of man, can these bones live?" quoted from Ezekiel) sets up the viewer to expect greatness, and commits the artist to achieving greatness, because the painting is thereby framed in the high-pitched context of the title. That attempt is balanced by other works more moderate in tone, scope and execution. One animal-subject by Willis is examined and termed "an able work, maybe even powerful."




water-colour; relative merit, technique and results

Standards of Judgment:

PRB aesthetic standards

Rhetoric and tone:



Goodwin, Ruskin, Clara Montalba, Powell, Andrews, Goodall, Willis

Works Cited

Rossetti, William Michael. Selected Letters of William Michael Rossetti. Ed. Roger Peattie. University Park: Pennsylvania State UP, 1990. Print.