Readers reading #8
Answering the Emigrant’s Letter (1850) – By James Collinson. Oil on panel. 70 x 89cm. Manchester City Art Gallery.
A lovely painting – I have looked at it many times in Manchester City Art Gallery (UK). It leaves my imagination free to wrap many stories around it. Not forgetting the amazing, deep colours.
Description: ‘Collinson was one of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Although this painting does not reflect their techniques, it shares their pre-occupation with modern-life subjects, most prevalent in the early 1850s.
It shows a family gathered together to write back to a friend or relation who has emigrated to Australia. Over a million people had emigrated in the ten years before Collins painted this picture. Hence, it was a subject of great interest to the public.
The cottage interior looks realistic, not idealised. Similarly, the fact that a boy is drafting the reply, and not his less-educated parents, has the ring of truth.’
Here is a little literary context – 1850 saw the birth of Robert Louis Stevenson, Kate Chopin and Edward Bellamy and the death of William Wordsworth, Honoré de Balzac and Margaret Fuller. Also – the following were published.
- Wilkie Collins – Antonina
- Charles Dickens – David Copperfield (complete in book form)
- Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Scarlet Letter
- Caroline Lee Hentz – Linda and Rena, the Snowbird
- Herman Melville – White-Jacket
- Catharine Maria Sedgwick – Tales of City Life
- William Makepeace Thackeray – Pendennis (complete in book form)
- Anthony Trollope – La Vendée
- Susan Warner – The Wide, Wide World
- Henrik Ibsen – Catilina (Ibsen’s first play, not performed until 1881) and The Burial Mound
- Ivan Turgenev – A Month in the Country
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning – Sonnets from the Portuguese
- Robert Browning – Christmas-Eve and Easter-Day
- Alfred Tennyson – In Memoriam A.H.H.
- William Wordsworth – The Prelude
The ‘Readers reading’ series on this blog (this list last updated, 12th March 2017).
Readers reading #1. A Girl Reading In A Sailing Boat (1869) By Alfred Corbould.
Readers reading #2 The Bookworm (1850) Carl Spitzweg.
Readers reading #3 A Pleasant Corner (1865) – By John Callcott Horsley.
Readers reading #4 The Novel Reading (1841) – By Josef Danhauser.
Readers reading #5 The Poor Poet (1839) – By Carl Spitzweg.
Readers reading #6 The Travelling Companions (1862) – By Augustus Egg.
Readers reading #7 The Breakfast (c.1911) – By William McGregor Paxton.
Readers reading #8 Answering the Emigrant’s Letter (1850) – By James Collinson.
Readers reading #9 The Love Letter (1808) – By Willem Bartel van der Kooi.
Readers reading #10 The Day Dream (1880) – By Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
I can’t help but wonder….what do you suppose the wife’s unspoken comment is to her husband with that look…those eyes?
Yes – good point! She was just about to put a sock on her child – something has stopped her in her tracks.