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Not currently on display at the V&A

Children Playing at Doctors

Oil Painting
1863 (Painted)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Hardy's long and successful career was principally devoted to painting happily nostalgic episodes in childhood, most often of a domestic and humorous nature. As with so many scenes of everyday life, this work is intended to be 'read' like a written narrative. The children here are playing while their mother and grandmother are out of the house; the two children in the centre are pounding bread in a mortar and pestle to make tablets, but the child on the right has taken the game a step further by climbing on a chair to open the medicine cupboard, and is pouring a measure of perhaps poisonous liquid into a glass to administer to the 'patient'. Fortunately, the adults are seen returning through the door, otherwise the patient might become a fatality, an outcome suggested in the right corner of the picture by the doll which has fallen out of her carriage. Hardy also uses a device much enjoyed by painters and their audience in the middle years of the nineteenth century - the mirror on the wall which reflects the view to the outside world through the left-hand window.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
oil on canvas
Brief Description
'Children Playing at Doctors' by Frederick Daniel Hardy, oil on canvas, Britain, signed and dated 1863.
Physical Description
Oil on canvas. The children here are playing while their mother and grandmother are out of the house; the two children in the centre are pounding bread in a mortar and pestle to make tablets, but the child on the right has taken the game a step further by climbing on a chair to open the medicine cupboard, and is pouring a measure of perhaps poisonous liquid into a glass to administer to the 'patient'. Fortunately, the adults are seen returning through the door, otherwise the patient might become a fatality, an outcome suggested in the right corner of the picture by the doll which has fallen out of her carriage. There is a mirror on the wall which reflects the view to the outside world through the left-hand window.
Dimensions
  • Estimate height: 44.7cm
  • Estimate width: 61cm
  • Frame height: 75.5cm
  • Frame width: 91.5cm
Dimensions taken from Catalogue of British Oil Paintings 1820-1860, Ronald Parkinson, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: HMSO, 1990
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
'F D Hardy/1863' (Signed and dated by the artist on toy cart, lower right)
Credit line
Bequeathed by Joshua Dixon
Object history
Bequeathed by Joshua Dixon, 1886.

Hardy's long and successful career was principally devoted to painting happily nostalgic episodes in childhood, most often of a domestic and humorous nature. As with so many scenes of everyday life, this work is intended to be 'read' like a written narrative. The children here are playing while their mother and grandmother are out of the house; the two children in the centre are pounding bread in a mortar and pestle to make tablets, but the child on the right has taken the game a step further by climbing on a chair to open the medicine cupboard, and is pouring a measure of perhaps poisonous liquid into a glass to administer to the 'patient'. Fortunately, the adults are seen returning through the door, otherwise the patient might become a fatality, an outcome suggested in the right corner of the picture by the doll which has fallen out of her carriage. Hardy also uses a device much enjoyed by painters and their audience in the middle years of the nineteenth century - the mirror on the wall which reflects the view to the outside world through the left-hand window.
Subjects depicted
Summary
Hardy's long and successful career was principally devoted to painting happily nostalgic episodes in childhood, most often of a domestic and humorous nature. As with so many scenes of everyday life, this work is intended to be 'read' like a written narrative. The children here are playing while their mother and grandmother are out of the house; the two children in the centre are pounding bread in a mortar and pestle to make tablets, but the child on the right has taken the game a step further by climbing on a chair to open the medicine cupboard, and is pouring a measure of perhaps poisonous liquid into a glass to administer to the 'patient'. Fortunately, the adults are seen returning through the door, otherwise the patient might become a fatality, an outcome suggested in the right corner of the picture by the doll which has fallen out of her carriage. Hardy also uses a device much enjoyed by painters and their audience in the middle years of the nineteenth century - the mirror on the wall which reflects the view to the outside world through the left-hand window.
Bibliographic References
  • O'Mahony, C., Brunel and the Art of Invention . Bristol: Samsom & Company Ltd., 2006. 64 p. : col. ill. ISBN 1904537502
  • Parkinson, R., Victoria and Albert Museum, Catalogue of British Oil Paintings 1820-1860, London: HMSO, 1990, pp. 118-19
Collection
Accession Number
1035-1886

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record createdDecember 15, 1999
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