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Oil painting - A Neapolitan boy decorating the head of his inamorata at the Festa of the Madonna del Arco
  • A Neapolitan boy decorating the head of his inamorata at the Festa of the Madonna del Arco
    Uwins, born 1782 - died 1857
  • Enlarge image

A Neapolitan boy decorating the head of his inamorata at the Festa of the Madonna del Arco

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain, uk (possibly, painted)

  • Date:

    ca. 1840 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Uwins, born 1782 - died 1857 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on panel

  • Credit Line:

    Given by John Sheepshanks, 1857

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Oil painting

Place of Origin

Great Britain, uk (possibly, painted)


ca. 1840 (painted)


Uwins, born 1782 - died 1857 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on panel


Height: 35.5 cm estimate, Width: 26.6 cm estimate

Object history note

Given by John Sheepshanks, 1857

Descriptive line

Oil painting entitled 'A Neapolitan Boy Decorating the Head of his Inamorata at the Festa of the Madonna del Arco' by Thomas Uwins. British School, ca. 1840.

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

Catalogue of British Oil Paintings 1820-1860, Ronald Parkinson, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: HMSO, 1990, pp. 288-89
The following is the full text of the entry:

"Born Pentonville, London, 24 February 1782, son of a Bank of England clerk. Apprenticed to the engraver Benjamin Smith 1797, entered RA Schools 1798. Worked first as watercolourist, miniature and portrait painter, and book illustrator, including 'Fashions' for Ackermann's Repository. Visited France 1817, lived in Scotland 1820-1823/4 and Italy 1824-31, specialising on his return in Italian genre scenes. Exhibited 103 works at the RA between 1803 and 1857,37 at the El 1829-53, 13, mainly watercolours, at the SBA 1824-33/4, and at the Old and New Watercolour Societies. Elected Associate of OWS 1809, Member 1810, Secretary 1813,1817,1818, resigned 1818; ARA 1833, RA 1838 (the first Diploma signed by Queen Victoria), Librarian 1844. Appointed Surveyor of Queen's Pictures 1845, Keeper of the NG 1847 (resigned from both 1855). Died Staines, Middlesex, 26 August 1857; his studio sale was at Christie's 3-4 June 1858.
LIT: Art Union 1845, p54, 1847, p312 (with engr portrait); Art]ournal 1857, pp315-6 (obit); Mrs Uwins A Memoir of Thomas Uwins R.A. ... 2 vols, 1858 (reprinted with introduction by R Hamlyn 1978)

A Neapolitan Boy Decorating the Head of his Inamorata at the Festa of the Madonna Del Arco
Panel, 35.5 X 26.6 cm (14 X 10 ½ ins) Sheepshanks Gift 1857
Exhibited at the RA in 1840. The Art Union critic commented that 'All the contributions of Mr Uwins are of Italian scenery and character; a circumstance we cannot but regret; our own English homes afford worthy subjects for his graceful and powerful pencil. They are all, however, of high merit; he has a fine and true eye for the beautiful in nature; and is a master of his art'.
The 'picturesque' qualities of the Italian 'peasantry' appealed greatly to Uwins (see also 'An Italian Mother Teaching Her Child the Tarantella', FA213, p287). He wrote to his brother Zechariah from Naples on Christmas Day 1825:
There is one point, in which Italy in an artist's eye must always have the preference - I mean the school it affords for study; and in this I do not refer merely to the pictures, statues and works of art with which it abounds, but to the simplicity of the manners of the people, the rudeness
of their instruments of husbandry and labour, and the historic character of their features and their dress ... In England a painter must invent everything, so much in opposition do the refinements of modem dress and the discoveries of modem science stand to those manners and those times which he is constantly called upon to represent. In Italy, on the contrary, the thing is half made up to his hand' (Memoir I pp272-3).
In the artist's studio sale (Christie's 3-4 June 1858), lot 14 was 'The Festa', an oil study 'for the Picture in the Sheepshanks Collection' (although this could refer to FA213 above); lots 250 and 251 included pen and ink drawings for the present work, and lot 331 included an oil sketch.
EXH: RA 1840 (89)
LIT: Art Union 1840, p74

Ronald Parkinson"


Oil paint; Panel


Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Boys; Girls; Lovers



Collection code


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