Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Oil painting - The Fight Interrupted
  • The Fight Interrupted
    Mulready, William RA, born 1786 - died 1863
  • Enlarge image

The Fight Interrupted

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1816 (painted)
    1816 (exhibited)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on a gesso ground on panel

  • Credit Line:

    Given by John Sheepshanks, 1857

  • Museum number:

    FA.139[O]

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Painting, oil on panel, depicting the playground of a school; the schoolmaster has interrupted a fight, and seized the wrong culprit. Signed by the artist.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

1816 (painted)
1816 (exhibited)

Artist/maker

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

Materials and Techniques

Oil on a gesso ground on panel

Marks and inscriptions

'W Mulrea'
Signed by the artist lower right; signature cut off

Dimensions

Height: 71.8 cm estimate, Width: 93.2 cm estimate, Height: 940 mm frame, Width: 1120 mm frame, Depth: 110 mm frame

Object history note

Given by John Sheepshanks, 1857.

Historical significance: This painting was considered by at least one critic the principal attraction in the Great Room of the 1816 Royal Academy exhibition, and probably ensured Mulready's election as a full Royal Academician in the same year. When Mulready was a teenager, in the years around 1800, boxing was one of the most popular sports in England, and he was encouraged by his father to take lessons from the celebrated pugilist Mendoza. The artist is supposed to have been devoted to watching street fights, and it is interesting that the drawing from the living model that he submitted to the RA Schools in 1800 depicted a pair of wrestlers. Here, Mulready shows the playground of a school; the schoolmaster has interrupted a fight, and seized the wrong culprit. It is an excellent example of a type of painting that needs to be 'read' through detail and gesture, like a written narrative, in order to comprehend the story. The type became increasingly popular as the century continued, as other pictures in this exhibition testify.

Descriptive line

Oil on panel entitled 'The Fight Interrupted', by William Mulready. Great Britain, exhibited at the Royal Academy 1816.

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

Catalogue of British Oil Paintings 1820-1860, Ronald Parkinson, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: HMSO, 1990, pp. 199-200
Julius Bryant, ed. Art and Design for All. The Victoria and Albert Museum London: V&A Publishing, 2011. ISBN: 9781851776665.

Materials

Oil paint; Gesso; Panel

Techniques

Oil painting

Subjects depicted

School; Children; Boxing; School Master; Clothing

Categories

Access to Images; Images Online

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.