Friday, May 22, 2009

Edward Burne-Jones - The Masher

Watercolour, coloured chalks on buff paper
inscribed To A.G from E.B-J.
47 1/2 x 23 1/2"
A masher was a 'charmer of women'.

This is Burne-Jones's largest humorous drawing. Opinions vary as to the identity of the subject. John Christian suggested in the Catalogue to the Arts Council Exhibition that Philip Burne-Jones, who "liked to play the man about town" was the model. On the other hand, William Waters believes it to be a caricature of the type Burne-Jones disliked, a boorish philistine, possibly exemplified by Captain Gaskell. A third solution is the Gaskell family tradition that the dandified Society figure is what Burne-Jones wished himself to be. That the cockney term 'masher' means "a charmer of women" may lend support to this interpretation.

It is interesting to note the two paintings by Degas on the wall.

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