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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Paintings, Room 82, The Edwin and Susan Davies Galleries

Dolly Varden

Oil Painting
1842 (painted)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Dolly Varden appears in the novel Barnaby Rudge, by Charles Dickens. It was written in 1840 but set in the 1780s. Charles Dickens described Dolly as: 'The very pink and pattern of good looks, in a smart little cherry coloured mantle...a little straw hat…And she wore such a cruel little muff, and such a heart-rending pair of shoes'.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
oil on canvas
Brief Description
Oil painting, 'Dolly Varden', William Powell Frith, 1842
Physical Description
Portrait format painting depicting a woman in a white and red outfit posing in a woodland.
Dimensions
  • Estimate height: 54.6cm
  • Estimate width: 44.5cm
  • Frame height: 765mm
  • Frame width: 665mm
  • Frame depth: 60mm
Dimensions taken from Catalogue of British Oil Paintings 1820-1860, Ronald Parkinson, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: HMSO, 1990
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
'W P Frith 1842' (Signed and dated by the artist, lower left)
Credit line
Bequeathed by John Forster
Object history
Bequeathed by John Forster, 1876
Literary Reference'Barnaby Rudge' by Charles Dickens
Summary
Dolly Varden appears in the novel Barnaby Rudge, by Charles Dickens. It was written in 1840 but set in the 1780s. Charles Dickens described Dolly as: 'The very pink and pattern of good looks, in a smart little cherry coloured mantle...a little straw hat…And she wore such a cruel little muff, and such a heart-rending pair of shoes'.
Bibliographic References
  • Bills, Mark and Vivien Knight (Eds.), William Powell Frith: Painting the Victorian Age. Yale University Press, 2006
  • Parkinson, R., Victoria and Albert Museum, Catalogue of British Oil Paintings 1820-1860, London: HMSO, 1990, pp. 96-99
  • Victoria & Albert Museum. Charles Dickens. London: 1970, p.39. The full text of the record is as follows: "William Powell Frith, RA (1819-1909) Dolly Varden Oil F.P.8 This represents the second type in a series of paintings which Frith made of Dolly Varden. The original version was completed by 31 January 1842 and this is a replica painted later the same year for Frank Stone, who gave it to John Forster. Dickens saw this painting in Stone's home and his pleasure in Frith's interpretation of his heroine led him to commission the 'Dolly Varden, looking back at her Lover', 1843, now in the collection of Baron Burton, and a companion piece of Kate Nickleby. Both of these are seen in the photograph of the dining-room at Gad's Hill."
  • p. 116Richard Green and Jane Sellars, eds. William Powell Frith. The people’s painter. Bloomsbury, Philip Wilson Publishers, 2019.
Collection
Accession Number
F.8

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record createdMay 19, 2003
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