Sunday, March 15, 2009

John Everett Millais - An Idyll of 1745

Oil on canvas, 1884
This painting shows three Scottish peasant girls listening intently to the piping of a drummer-boy from Cumberland’s army. That children from opposing sides of a bloody conflict can come together peacefully is meant to be an improving message for all adults. Even as the marauding English army camps in the distance, the children have put aside the differences of the adults and are enjoying a quiet moment of friendship and solidarity.
Such idealised views of children as paragons of innocence, truth and morality were common in Victorian art. However, it could be argued that for Millais to have created a sentimental costume piece from the horrors of Cumberland’s campaign showed an insensitive attitude to Scottish history.
This painting is currently on display at the Lady Lever Art Gallery


Lucy Corrander said...

Even more remarkable is that the children seem to be wearing clothes from the 1950s!


Hermes said...

And haircuts. I hadn't really thought of that. Thanks.