Florizel and Perdita

Florizel and Perdita

Joseph Durham (1814-1877)

1870 (according to Greenwood)


The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

[Detail of sculpture]

This touching work on the theme of young love illustrates an episode in Shakespeare, when Florizel encourages Perdita before the sheep-shearing feast in A Winter's Tale: "Your guests are coming:/ Lift up your countenance, as it were the day/ Of celebration of that nuptial/ We two have sworn shall come" (4, iii, 48-51). The gallery's information plaque indicates Durham's preference for "narrative rather than ideal form," while Martin Greenwood points out that he was particularly noted for "genre, or modern life, works featuring children" (in this case, adolescents). Greenwood also comments on his "graceful naturalism," much in evidence here. This work may be too cloying, though, for modern taste. Many might prefer Durham's more robust figures (e.g., his bust of Hogarth in Leicester Square, London).

Photograph, caption, and commentary by Jacqueline Banerjee, 2009.

Background digitally removed by Ruth M. Landow

Courtesy of the Walker Art Gallery