C1850

The Smile . The Frown.

Pair of fine large Victorian engravings of children smiling and frowning published by the Art Union, London, 1850, framed their original matching oak frames. The Smile: “Full well they laughed with counterfeited glee. At all the jokes, for many a … Read Full Description

$A 1,250

S/N: DEC-1850-WEBSTER–378393
(FLR)
Free Shipping

Within Australia

All orders ship free
within Australia

Rest of the World

Orders over A$300
ship free worldwide

See Shipping page for Terms & Conditions

Details

Full Title:

The Smile . The Frown.

Date:

C1850

Condition:

In good condition.

Technique:

Engraving.

Image Size: 

505mm 
x 255mm

Paper Size: 

605mm 
x 378mm

Frame Size: 

700mm 
x 473mm
AUTHENTICITY

Genuine antique
dated:

1850

Description:

Pair of fine large Victorian engravings of children smiling and frowning published by the Art Union, London, 1850, framed their original matching oak frames.

The Smile:
“Full well they laughed with counterfeited glee.
At all the jokes, for many a joke had he”.

The Frown:
“Full well the busy whisper circling round.
Conveyed the dismal tidings when he frowned.”

The Smile and its companion piece, The Frown, both show a row of village schoolchildren reacting to their schoolmaster, as described in Oliver Goldsmith’s popular narrative poem The Village Schoolmaster. The lines illustrated are as follows:

A man severe he was, and stern to view,
I knew him well, and every truant knew;
Well had the boding tremblers learn’d to trace
The days disasters in his morning face;
Full well they laugh’d with counterfeited glee,
At all his jokes, for many a joke had he:
Full well the busy whisper, circling round,
Convey’d the dismal tidings when he frown’d:
Yet he was kind; or if severe in aught,
The love he bore to learning was in fault.

Here, then, the schoolmaster is smiling and telling jokes, and the children are smiling in response, at least pretending to find the jokes funny, and even sharing their pleasure with each other — with two exceptions. The face of one child, who wears a dunce’s cap, is shadowed, and another child, right at the end of the row, looks dubious. The latter has his head bound up, for earache or toothache perhaps, but seems to be eating a bun! Every child’s posture and features are so natural that the composition is neither sentimental nor nostalgic, and the implication that they smile only to please gives another layer of realism as well. Apart from the wood-framed writing slate held by the boy on the far left, the clothes, the dunce’s cap and the head-binding on the boy on the far right, nothing is dated here!

Thomas Webster (1800 - 1886)

Thomas Webster RA (1800-1886), was a British painter of genre scenes of school and village life, many of which became popular through prints. He lived for many years at the artists' colony at Cranbrook in Kent.

View other items by Thomas Webster

Choose currency

Exchange rates are only indicative. All orders will be processed in Australian dollars. The actual amount charged may vary depending on the exchange rate and conversion fees applied by your credit card issuer.

Login

Register

Search

The List

Join our exclusive mailing list for first access to new acquisitions and special offers.