Page size 30 x 44cms. This enormous production was commissioned by the Art Union, a a joint association founded in 1841 whose efforts attempted by publication and lottery to raise money for the Arts in England. Most of their commiossoned works by British artists are unspeakable and tedious. e.g. Hereward the Wake by H.G.Selous of 1870. The Art Union works were overblown yet made of the cleapest papers and with insecure bindings. There are times in a second hand book shop when there is nothing else to buy, and even then you turn down this crumbling foxed book for the Art Union that will hardly fit in the car.
J.N.Paton had a considerable reputation before his illustrated Rime, in Fairy Paintings and Religious set pieces. Without his unsteady and garish colour sense you can see how well he can draw (shoes and hands in particular). He understads the structure of things and can set his figures crediblly in space. The human types are perhaps too stereotypical and the whole lacks a sustained imaginative climate, a reliance on the histrionic. A greater intensity of dramatic action is surely achieved in David Scott's eccentric interpretation.