|Christmas Cheer George Knowles|
Looking at the house she is calling at, the paint on the door is faded and the brickwork isn't as smart as it could be, so we can guess she is bringing charity as well as cheer to either some nice poor people or possibly some elderly relatives. At a very impressionable age I read Little Women and when the sisters give away their Christmas I remember feeling a little conflicted. It seems quite a common theme in Victorian Christmas art (as we will see throughout the month) that the best part of it is what you can do for others. Often these days, Christmas seems to be what you can do for yourself, getting what you want, and the pleasure of helping other people can be missed, which is a damn shame because other people are lovely. Well, most of them.
I was a little puzzled by the terrier to start with, as he isn't wearing a collar or a little jacket, possibly to match hers. It occurs to me that the dog may symbolise the woman (no, I haven't been drinking). If the house she is calling at is a poor relation, possibly the dog symbolises her loyalty to them, and her tenaciousness in her dedication. The dog may be there to show that this isn't a 'one-off', that our lady always visits her poor relations when they need her and she always will, despite the fact that she has gone up in the world and now can afford a swanky cloak and hat.
Mind you, they haven't opened the door yet. Maybe Grandma is whispering to Grandpa - 'Can you see if she has any gin in her trug? I'm not opening the door if there's no gin...'
See you tomorrow.