A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1863

Friday 8th

8 May 1863

Sunday 10th

10 May 1863
9 May 1863
Saturday 9th

After spending some time in clearing my table of the accumulations of three days, I hastened to get out of the house for the purpose of paying a visit to the Exhibition of Pictures by the Royal Academy. Prior to going there I stepped in to the National Gallery to take a look at it’s latest acquisitions. Most to these are of the earlier school of art, but not without much interest. It is remarkable to notice the extraordinary manipulation of the face and hands and of natural objects. There is hardness and stiffness, but in some particulars of expression there is excellence not since surpassed. I reviewed the gallery with pleasure, for it has many excellent pictures. From thence into the Royal Academy was no cheering contrast. The crowd of spectators bailed all easy motion or comfortable view. The heat and dust were likewise extremely annoying. Generally the exhibition seemed to me below that of the preceding years that I have been here. There are two pictures of Millais, of children that are the best, one which is a mere tour de force. One or two by Fald, and one by Stonfield. The remainder did not impress me. The portraits were more than usually ordinary. Considering the extraordinary lavish patronage bestowed on talent English art should bring forth better things than these. The sculpture is much below that level gained in painting. In the evening the ladies accompanied me to Lady Palmerston’s reception. Not nearly so full as usual. Scarcely more than enough for a simply room. A small proportion of them my acquaintance. His Lordship was civil, but said nothing, and I did not seek to open conversation.

Cite web page as:

Charles Francis Adams, Sr., [date of entry], diary, in Charles Francis Adams, Sr.: The Civil War Diaries (Unverified Transcriptions). Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2015. http://www.masshist.org/publications/cfa-civil-war/view?id=DCA63d129