By: William Holman Hunt
Created: 1864-1865, Collection: Torre Abbey Historic House and Gardens, Torquay, Devon Rights: CC-BY-SA
The perfect painting for a spring or summer picnic? Put on your best Victorian garb and recreate the relaxed demeanour of this family. Hats, bowls, plates and food might help, and robes, animals and trees would help towards a faithful recreation.
Set in the grounds of Burton Park, this painting is of Thomas Fairbairn’s wife, Alison, and their five eldest children. Fairbairn was one of the industrial magnets of Victorian Britain, who used his wealth to support many artists such as Holman-Hunt. This painting was intended to show the social status and wealth of the family through showing rich fabrics, silverware and jewellery. It portrays the ideal of the Victorian family : a large family overseen by a serene mother, the absence of the father reinforcing her role as overseer of the family and the home.