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Oil painting - Snowballing


  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1865 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Morgan, John, born 1823 - died 1886 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Dixon Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

These are evidently country children, as at least two of them wear the traditional smock still in use by working men and boys in country districts of Britain in the 1860s. Smocks for everyday wear were usually of a strong brown or grey cloth, and all the pieces used in their making were rectangles, squares or triangles. The construction was therefore very economical: it needed no pattern pieces, and wasted no fabric in curved shapes.

Physical description

'Snowballing' by John Morgan. Painting depicting a group of unruly boys engaged in a snowball fight. Painted in 1865

Place of Origin

England (made)


1865 (painted)


Morgan, John, born 1823 - died 1886 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas


Height: 60.5 cm canvas, Width: 130 cm canvas

Object history note

Snow scenes were a speciality of Dutch artists in the seventeenth century, of whom the most admired were Avercamp and the older Brueghel. Two hundred years later in England, Morgan specialised in genre scenes, usually with children, and here he shows a group of unruly boys just leaving school. They have immediately engaged in a fight in the snow. Morgan's subtle colouring, the tonalities of the winter landscape enlivened by the chromaticism of the boys' clothing, and the brisk handling of paint, have appealed to viewers since the picture was first exhibited, and it is not surprising that the image has been reproduced on several occasions in the form of a Christmas greetings card.
Part of the Dixon bequest.

Descriptive line

Oil painting depicting boys snowballing painted in England by John Morgan in 1865


Oil colour


Oil painting

Subjects depicted



Children & Childhood; Paintings

Production Type



Museum of Childhood

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