Rowland Holyoake (1880-1907) Reflection signed 'R. Holyoake' (lower right) oil on canvas, unframed 19 7/8 x 24 1/8 in. (50.5 x 61.3 cm.)
Artist or Maker
Rowland Holyoake (1880-1907)
The interiors of Rowland Holyoake would have been considered progressive in their day, showing the influence and taste of the aesthetic movement. Here we see typical Victorian eclecticism, a stylish lady admires her reflection in the mirror before stepping out into London society. The ornately carved mantlepiece is brimming with Chinese blue and white jars, Turkish and classical pieces. Through the mirror a Japanese fan is visible, fixed to the wall beside the door.
The aesthetic movement gathered pace throughout the 1870s as artists responded to the new influences of the orient, and in particular the decorative approach of Japanese design. The antithesis of Victorian realism, it heralded a new way of looking at art and design. Art should have no didactic or practical purpose, but exist purely for its own sake. The tentative steps taken by artists like Whistler away from naturalism towards abstraction that were so at variance with the accepted ethos of the time, would lead eventually to the major revolutions in style at the end of the century.