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A Dress Rehearsal

Barnard, Frederick
Europe, United Kingdom, England


oil paint
76.1 x 86.3 cm

More Details

A Dress Rehearsal 1868
Frederick Barnard 1846-96
Oil on panel

Being a street acrobat was an acceptable occupation
for a member of the Victorian underclass.
This picture gives a glimpse behind the scenes.

The gymnastic accessories, the dog and the drum
all enliven an otherwise dull attic.
The father is thoughtful and the son healthy:
their existence does not seem too bleak.
The artistís need to sell his paintings
made this palatable gloss on poverty necessary:
no patron wanted suffering in their drawing room.

Barnard specialised in scenes of working class life.
He illustrated the works of Charles Dickens
and contributed drawings to many magazines.

Mrs C S Garnett bequest 1936.117