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Oil painting - A Sailing Match
  • A Sailing Match
    Mulready, William RA, born 1786 - died 1863
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A Sailing Match

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (painted)

  • Date:

    ca. 1831 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Mulready, William RA, born 1786 - died 1863 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on panel

  • Credit Line:

    Given by John Sheepshanks, 1857

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Paintings, Room 82, The Edwin and Susan Davies Galleries, case EAST WALL

This painting is a classic example of Mulready's interest in contrasting the value of formal education wtih the process of learning through play. A wealthy boy on his way to school - indeed, Mulready subtitled the picture 'creeping like a snail unwillingly to school' (Shakespeare, As You Like It) - wistfully gazes at a group of poor children who attempt to blow their toy boat along with a roughly improvised roll of paper as he is led away from temptation by his mother or nurse. Such pictorial analogies have their root in the moralising genre scenes of 17th-century Dutch painting.

Physical description

An oil painting showing three boys and a dog crouching on the bank of a pond, trying to blow a toy boat across the water. Another boy, richly dressed, passes by and appears to want to join them, but is being led away by a woman (his mother or nurse).

Place of Origin

Great Britain (painted)


ca. 1831 (painted)


Mulready, William RA, born 1786 - died 1863 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on panel


Height: 35.3 cm estimate, Width: 32.1 cm estimate, Height: 54.5 cm frame dimensions, Width: 48.5 cm frame dimensions

Object history note

Given by John Sheepshanks, 1857. This is a reduced replica of a painting exhibited in 1831 (present whereabouts unknown).

Descriptive line

Oil painting entitled 'A Sailing Match' by William Mulready. Great Britain, ca. 1831.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

K. Heleniak, William Mulready, 1980, pp. 129 and 137
Catalogue of British Oil Paintings 1820-1860, Ronald Parkinson, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: HMSO, 1990, p. 206


Oil paint; Panel


Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Children; Play




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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