Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Wednesday 18th December - Here's the Gobbler!

Oh dear me...

Here's the Gobbler! (1877) Sophie Anderson
You know me, I do love a picture with an exclamation mark in the title.  It adds gravitas, in my opinion.

Well, where to start?  Here we have a little munchkin carrying a giant turkey through his front room to impress his sisters.  Well, one of his sisters, as the one at the back looks a bit scared.  That is a massive turkey, this painting could be re-titled (and I'll use the polite version) 'Got me a turkey, girls love turkey...'

I'm fairly familiar with Anderson's work and knew that she liked to show children and young adults looking very cute and delightful, as in the following examples:


The Turtle Dove
Very lovely indeed, and very pearly and jewel-like.  Here's the Gobbler! shows a rather over-excited entrance of Christmas dinner in it's rather unprepared state.  These days of course we don't require our first born to parade about with a giant bird over their shoulder before having to pluck the damn thing (the bird not the first born).  The butcher or Mr Waitrose does that for us (or Mr Lidls, let's be honest here) and hands over something that looks less like an actual feathery bird and more like a big pink thing that will be delicious after the better part of a day in a hot oven.  As you no doubt remember from this blogvent entry from two years ago, the turkey is an integral part of the Christmas feast...

The Christmas Hamper Robert Braithwaite Martineau
I always thought the turkey was a late-comer to the party, but allegedly Henry VIII was the first monarch in this country to get a turkey (and I bet he didn't have to spend two hours in a rather bad tempered Marks and Spencer's queue to get it) (honestly, I had a lovely time but some people have the patience of, well, Henry VIII).  Although I tend to think of goose as our traditional meat at Christmas, we've had turkeys on the table for ages.

I love the way that the boy's costume of black and red reflects the turkey, as if they are topsy-turvy reflections of each other.  The little boy must be around 10 years old, which makes me wonder how many people the family are planning to feed with that enormous bird.  I mean, really, for goodness sake, I have a rule in the house that I don't wish to cook anything heavier than the baby I gave birth to.  Maybe the boy's glee at the massive quantity of feathery food he's hauling into his home is because he plans to scoff the lot.  Maybe the 'gobbler' in the title refers to him.

The delicacy of the background gives a nice contrast to the confidence of the turkey-boy...

Nice lamp...
In contrast to their brother, the girls are pale and golden, shimmering in the background.  Turkey Boy is black and red, bold and definite, a version of Santa with his sack of toys, but with giblets.  Lovely.  So Christmas and turkey shall be forever linked, although there are times when you feel that someone wasn't paying enough attention at a meeting...

No, I said 'Christmas Turkey', not 'Christmas, Turkey'!
I shall be back tomorrow, although I can't promise another painting with such a hilarious title...


  1. This made me smile! It's a lovely painting, and that title, well ...... one Christmas spent in the US we had a turkey that hardly went into the oven. And we ate and ate it for days ..... and days. x

  2. I learned from a eastern European cookbook that a Hungarian king was raising and selling them as a royal gift in the ate 1500's. Turkeys were posh birds back then. I think his name was Matthias but it's been awhile. I wonder if they all had trouble keeping the white meat moist. Loved the blogvent this year. You always have wonderful photos and art. Makes me wish I was in England finding treasures :) Happy Yule!

  3. Thank you for your comments, dear ladies. I'm glad you are enjoying it! This has to be the most disturbing picture so far...


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