Saturday, March 26, 2011

Alice Havers

I've had very limited internet access recently, as my wife has been desperately trying to meet a deadline for some copy-editing work. Hopefully, she'll earn enough to pay for our next holiday in France, so I don't want to get in her way.

However, I managed to take advantage of a quiet moment to scan some images from a Victorian children's book from the 1880s:

This link contains a very brief biographical sketch about the illustrator, Alice Havers, who was a member of the Society of Lady Artists and exhibited her work at the Royal Academy.

The biographical sketch describes her pictures of children as "sentimental" and "pretty awful" and I can't say I passionately disagree, but there is something captivating about her idyllic, pastoral scenes. It isn't just the contrast these images strike with childhood today, but also the reality of the 1880s.

How many Victorian children lived like this:












Alice Mary Havers married the artist Frederick Morgan and they had three children. Sadly, she died in her 40th year, in 1890.

10 comments:

LUCEWOMAN said...

I can certainly relate to that lady in the third illustration. I regularly stare vacantly yet wistfully into space when looking after the children and doing mindless housework.

Martin H. said...

Well, I was captivated.

LUCEWOMAN said...

p.s may I draw your attention to the illustration from an old book on this post, which you may find charming

http://scarlettloveselvis.blogspot.com/2011/03/need-my-eyes-checked.html

Steerforth said...

Well, that adds a new dimension to 'ducking and diving'. Thanks for the link.

Kári Tulinius said...

Victorian England is so weird to me. It's a very alien place, much more so than, say, 18th Century Britain or 19th Century France. I like fiction from Victorian Britain and can connect with it, but when reading diaries and letters from the time I'm completely bewildered. I have no idea what's going on. I have less problem making sense of Ancient Roman letters.

As much as I like these images, the vision of the child and family presented is just bizarre to me.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Beautifully, beautifully done, however overly-sentimental and unrealistic.

And actually I think there's nothing wrong with having images of a human idyll to aspire to.

A really talented artist.

MTFF said...

I am disturbed by the illustration of the gardener chucking the small boy under the chin. Sinister.

christinelaennec said...

I'm puzzled by the fourth illustration from the bottom - the white boy getting a piggyback from an African (??) boy. Are those straw huts in the background, near English cottages? Were African children common in Victorian England?

Kári Tulinius said...

I hadn't noticed it either until now, christinelaennec, but the book is called Cape Town Dicky. It's not about a boy in England but a boy in South Africa, which gives the book a whole different and uncomfortable flavor.

Anonymous said...

I have a drawing by her but can not find any information on it. It is called the "the time I spent courting" It shows a lady coming out of the back door of a farm house as a man up the path is coming thru a gate with flowers in his had. anyone can help me with this? I bought it at a farm auction here in Iowa. thanks

kylejones278@yahoo.com