19th century Victorian genre painting; a portrait of three children playing "feed the baby" with a reluctant dog; oil on canvas; indistinctly signed lower right; in a period, probably original, gilt wood and composition frame; 80 x 60cm (31.5 x 23.5ins) sight (visible painting) size;107 x 87cm (42 x 34ins) overall frame size.
This charming, amusing and quintessentially Victorian genre painting, clearly painted by a highly gifted hand, tells its story by deftly capturing the expressions of its subjects. The three children have clearly been playing feed the baby with a doll, which can be seen still bearing traces of the concoction on its face, when along comes a more animated subject - the dog. Its anguish is clear as it stares beseechingly out of the canvas and the expressions of the children are just as cleverly portrayed – the concentration of the rather Alice-like girl (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was published in 1865), the mischief of the boy as he holds the dog still while admonishing it to behave; the intentness and perhaps slight jealousy of the little girl, whose doll is no longer the centre of attention.
Research is ongoing to try to ascribe or attribute this work to a particular artist. The signature, which is undoubtedly contemporary with the painting, is unfortunately indistinct.
CONDITION: As a whole this work is in particularly fine condition for its age. The canvas has not been lined and is undamaged with the tiny exception of one pin-prick hole that can only be seen with a bright light placed behind the painting. The painting has been cleaned by a professional conservator. A detailed inspection under ultraviolet light reveals a few scattered small spots of retouching but no over-painting. The frame looks to have been restored in one corner and there is one very small, unobtrusive chip in the gilding which could easily be re-touched.
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Item ID: RL-6010
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