Emily Mary Osborn (1834 - 1893)

Lot 103: Emily Mary Osborn (1834 - after 1913)


February 19, 2003
London, United Kingdom

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Description: Going Home, a study for 'Home Thoughts' (recto); and two studies (verso) oil on board 11 x 15 in. (28 x 38.1 cm.) PROVENANCE with The Maas Gallery, London, from whom acquired by the present owner in 1984. EXHIBITION The Painter was a Lady, 1986-7, no. 23. Ladies of the Brush, 1994-5, no. 25. The Heatherley School of Fine Art: 150th Anniversary Exhibition, 1996, no. 57. NOTES This is a study for Osborn's picture Home Thoughts, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1856, no. 519, with the accompanying verses: One heart heavy, one heart light Half in day and half in night This globe forever goes One wave dark, another bright So life's river flows And who among us knows. Why in this stream, which cannot stop, The sun is on one waterdrop, The shadow on another. The setting is the parlour of a girl's boarding school at the beginning of the Christmas holidays. The fortunate child, whose mother has come to collect her is contrasted with an orphan wearing black, contemplative in the window seat, for whom there will be no family to return to over the holidays. In the finished version, she is left to the mercy of the schoolmistress to the right whose features hint that she is neither loving nor loveable. Readers of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bront‰'s novel, would have sympathised with her plight. The finished version, and Osborn's most famous picture, Nameless and Friendless, currently on loan to the National Gallery, London, are in the collection of the late Sir David Scott, and were exhibited at the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1991, nos. 12 and 13. Osborn was one of the most distinguished women artists of the Victorian era, and two of her works were purchased by Queen Victoria. She exhibited at both the Royal Academy and the Grosvenor Gallery, and later at the New Gallery. The sketches on the reverse have yet to be identified.
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