Object Description

Louisa, Marchioness of Waterford (1818-1891)
The Infant Christ with Young Children
Watercolour over traces of pencil
11.5 by 21 cm.

Object Literature

A friend of Ruskin, Burne-Jones and Watts, she painted mythological and biblical subjects, copies after old masters, and genre scenes, especially of children. She exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery 1877-82. A celebrated beauty, she married the Marquis of Waterford, who was soon afterwards killed in a hunting accident. She retired to live at Ford Castle, Northumberland.

In the village school at Ford, she painted a series of murals of biblical scenes of children. The present work is related to the figure of the young Christ painted on the south wall of the school. On 12th February 1880 Lady Waterford wrote to the Rev Augustus Hare discussing this figure: “I am still working for the School frescoes, and am expecting today a little model for the central figure of our Lord as a child – “He was subject unto them”. I have set my heart on doing, if possible, a good thing. The Child is very young and will hold a bulrush. The figure will be on a deep blue background, which I mean to put along all the sides of the school, with the trees and plants referred to in the New Testament – the fig-tree, the lilies, the birds on the branches etc.” The Child is shown holding a bulrush, the symbol of authority.

Object Classification

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London, UK