Sunday, 16 December 2012

16th December - Girl in Christmas Clothes

Yes, I know yesterday's images of children were revolting, but today's is much more civilsed.  Alright, maybe not that much more civilised but at least no-one is a curly haired cherub being kissed adoringly under some mistletoe...

Girl in Christmas Clothes Ralph Peacock
Okay, so she is a little cherubic, but the detail is so exquisite I am willing to forgive.  Look at the sheen on her little slippers!  I am quite taken with the holly on her beret, I may try that, it looks quite swish and yet festive.  Yes, Ralph Peacock is a man whom I trust with Christmas.  Mind you, looking at his other work, I'm astounded he isn't better known.

Ethel (1897)
The Sisters (1900)

Peacock trained at the St John's Wood Art School and knew other artists of his time like Herbert Draper and J W Godward.  He used the famous model Mary Lloyd (I think I need to write about her after blogvent), used by Leighton and Alma Tadema, and two of his works, Ethel and The Sisters are owned by the Tate.  Yet, this is possibly the first time I've used him in my blog, and when I found the Christmas image, I did not recognise his name.  How awful for poor Mr Peacock!  If you look at his Christmas Lass above, he has managed to find a 'hook' for the piece that I have not seen anywhere else, the notion that her clothes are special, that they are 'Christmas clothes'.  I'm sure it is taken for granted in other images that children, and possibly adults, would be wearing their finest clothes for the family celebrations.  However, the contained excitement and pride on Peacock's girl's face makes you think that the whole point of this moment for her is her new finery, down to those shiny silk slippers.

My First Sermon (1863) J E Millais
When I first saw the Girl in Christmas Clothes I thought she might have been by Millais, but then she wasn't cloying enough.  If you look at this similar image by good old Johnny, the colours are striking and the child is suitably solemn, but I think Peacock brings a welcome sharpness to his image, a clarity in light and coolness of tone that raises it above the 'ah, bless her' pictures of children Millais seemed to turn out.

I now have to go away and see if all of Ralph Peacock's models have carved wood behind them, he does do a nice bit of carved wood.  This picture does raise a very interesting issue though - what am I going to wear on Christmas morning?  If we were Christmas-ing alone, then it wouldn't be too bad and I could remain in my pyjamas all day.  Mind you, there are a lot of photographs taken at Christmas, so I'm not sure I'd want it recorded that I didn't get dressed all day and just sat around in a onesie necking Harvey's Copper Beech.  I don't own a onesie, just for the record, but you get the idea.  Christmas clothes are like a uniform you don for all the enforced excitement and merriment you are about to do and rarely do they have elasticated waistbands, which should be compulsory, because heaven knows you'll need one.

Well, I'm off to ponder my clothing options and I'll see you tomorrow...


  1. You can't show the First Sermon without showing the other, that's a joke without a punchline. Pretty please?

  2. Ralph did some nice work. He has a nice portrait of William Holman Hunt that. A lot of his portraits have wood paneling but his later ones seems to not have as much.

    Love your articles they make me go explore.

  3. Okay, if you really need to see My Second Sermon, I'll post it up on the Stunner's Boudoir on Facebook. Really, Millais doesn't need such encouragement!

    Mr Peacock needs to be explored, I'm pleased to be a part of it :)

    Thanks for your comments!


Many thanks for your comment. I shall post it up shortly! Kx