|Girl with Lovebirds (1876) Henry Guillaume Schlesinger|
|The Courtship Fred Hall|
|Robins of Modern Times John Roddam Spencer Stanhope|
|There he is!|
|All Pass Away as the Glimmer of Day While Others as Fleet are Born|
(1888) Lance Calkin
The snappily titled All Pass Away... shows a very obvious little robin looking down at an old man and a little girl. The title refers to passing of lives, of people, of eras. They are looking at what is left of a tree, the giant old trunk being hauled away. The robin sings from a sapling which in time will also be cut down. The old man may well die at any moment, but don't worry, his granddaughter will snuff it too. Cheery thoughts, everyone.
Arguably, the robin isn't the only bird that speaks of demise. The swallow appears regularly in images of death, like this rather well-known example.
|The Lady of Shalott, again, obviously|
|O Swallow, Swallow John Melhuish Strudwick|
|Swallow Swallow John Everett Millais|
|Since Last We Met (1902) Arthur Langley Vernon|
Darting under the bridge goes what may well be a swift or swallow in this painting which reminds me of Jane Austen for some reason. I think it's because the couple are considering their changed circumstances since they last saw each other - maybe they couldn't marry because her father forbade it? Maybe the young man wasn't rich enough? From the way they are eyeing each other up, there is some unfinished business. The bird in rapid flight may speak of the passing of time, the fact that their time may be running out so they really should get on with it.
|The Twa Corbies (1901) Campbell Lindsay Smith|
|The Guarded Bower Arthur Hughes|
|Return of the Dove to the Ark John Everett Millais|
|Beata Beatrix D G Rossetti|
|Roses of Youth Henrietta Rae|
|Jezebel John Byam Liston Shaw|
|Lady with a Parrot Valentine Prinsep|
|The Tempest Lucy Madox Brown|
|Princess Leia and Hen Solo|
|Il Barbagianni Val Prinsep|
|After Marriage (1881) Arthur Howes Weigall|
|The Caged Bird John Byam Liston Shaw|
|Woman with Pigeons Ernst Phillipe Zacharie|
Each feather is a door for us to open, a bridge for us to cross, a story for us to read.