This is a fine mid-19th century oil on canvas depicting a scandal unfolding in the life of a well-to-do Victorian couple. This superbly detailed work is by the world famous 19th century Royal Academy artist, William Powell Frith RA (1819-1909). The painting is signed by the artist.   

 

Frith exhibited no less than 136 paintings at the Royal Academy, including some that became the most viewed and talked about in British art history. A hugely popular painter of scenes depicting the everyday lives of the wealthiest and poorest of Victorian Britain, Frith’s wonderfully detailed narrative compositions were, in truth, anything but ‘everyday’. His work was witty and satirical, and full of social conscience, making him the greatest British ‘painter of people’ since Hogarth. In fact together with Turner, Linnell, Leighton and the pre Raphaelites (with whom he shared a mutual dislike) Frith was the most successful and highly paid of all British 19th century artists, and alongside Dickens the great chronicler of Victorian Britain.

 

Frith’s greatest successes were his large, multi-figural panoramas portraying the full range of the Victorian class system as they met and mingled in public places. In ‘Ramsgate Sands, Life at the Seaside’, ‘Derby Day’, ‘The Railway Station’ he painted three of the most famous oil paintings of the 19th century. No Victorian artist was such a great story teller, so great in fact that his narrative paintings could be enjoyed and understood by the many and not just the few, a talent that did not endear him to the more pretentious Victorian aesthetes.

 

Dimensions: (framed) 56cm x 46cm (22” x 18”)

Dimensions: (canvas only) 46cm x 36cm (18” x 14”)

Medium: Oil on canvas.

Provenance: From the very fine private collection of late The Hon. Mr. & Mrs. Anthony Samuel.

Presentation: Louis XV style pierced and swept frame.

Condition: Excellent. Professionally cleaned, and restored. Ready to hang.

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