A young woman offering one of her paintings to a dealer: she looks down in resignation as the dealer assesses the painting with a condescending expression. Photograph by Cundall Downes, 1862, after E.M. Osborn, 1857.
- Osborn, Emily Mary, 1828-1925.
- Oct. 1st 1862
About this work
"'Nameless and friendless' focuses on the predicament of the single woman in the modern metropolis by offering a female version of the traditional 'Choice of Hercules' theme. The picture shows an orphaned female artist (as suggested by her black dress), accompanied by a boy, presumably her brother, diffidently offering one of her paintings to a dealer whose disdainful expression suggests rejection. An assistant looks down cursorily at her canvas from his position on a ladder, while the woman is eyed up from behind by two rakish men otherwise engaged in examining a hand-coloured print of a ballerina the bare legs of whom suggest other choices facing the impoverished and desperate young woman. Isolated in the centre of the composition between leering and contemptuous glances, the woman's vulnerability is accentuated by her downward gaze and fingers nervously pulling a hoop of string. The mud-splattered crepe of her skirt, her dripping umbrella and protective cape hint at the distance she has travelled and the conditions she has endured to brave the encounter"--Smith, loc. cit.
Where to find it
Location Status AccessClosed stores