The Washington Winter Show

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Ronya Misleh

Pallavi Kumar

John Bucknell Russell (British, c. 1819 – 1893)
Day’s Catch, 1864
oil on canvas, 24 x 36 inches
NSLM permanent collection, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Timothy J. Greenan

The depiction of arranged fish on a riverbank as an appropriate subject for still life painting was popularized in Great Britain in the mid-1800s. While from an artistic perspective these paintings were produced as an exercise of skill, collectors gravitated toward them as two-dimensional trophies. This example is unusual. A hybrid of sorts, it includes the crisp detail that is expected of a still life but adds aspects of a genre scene with the sportsman in the background fishing for his day’s catch.

English School, mid to late 19th Century
Fishing Scene
Fore-edge painting, fanned to the right
The Poetical Works of Thomas Campbell
London, Edward Moxon, 1840.
NSLM permanent collection; Gift of John H. and Martha A. Daniels

In this charming scene, two Victorian gentlemen wearing top hats are fishing from a skiff in a river, their oars acting as pilings. As is typical of these types of paintings, the artist is unknown. Fore-edge paintings are made by clamping a book in a vise and painting with watercolor on the fanned edge. Once completed, the book is returned to its natural position and the page ends are gilt, masking the painting. These rare and highly collectable books were first made in the mid-1600s, but examples with sporting and animal themes were primarily done in the 19th to early 20th centuries.

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