Caught Napping. John Burr (1834-93), artist. Stephen Miller, engraver. Oil on canvas. Source: 1869 Art-Journal. [Click on image to enlarge it.]

The picture engraved on page 133 (till lately in the Winter Exhibition, Suffolk-street) is by a promising young artist, Mr. A. H. Burr, whose admirable picture illustrative of Tennyson's "Dora" we engraved from the Royal Academy Exhibition of 1S63. If the present picture does not quite rise to the level of that remarkable work, it yet has humour, with some excellent characterisation, and will interest perhaps a larger audience. We must leave the reader to speculate how the idle little urchin and despiser of learning carne to commit the outrage on all scholastic propriety for which he is about to be visited with condign punishment. Perhaps the dominie has been absent a short time and returned unexpectedly; perhaps the little culprit has fancied himself out of observation, beneath the desk of the despot immediately behind him. Possibly the Jove of this petty realm and half blind wielder of the leathern Nemesis has himself been nodding; if so, his anger would, of course, be heightened twofold by the presumption of this little creature in following the example of irresponsible power. As the child is father of the man, so is the school an arte-rcom to the world. Here we find one bending manfully to his task, there another makes faces at it, either in disgust or for his own and others' amusement; and, yonder, a third neglects it altogether. Whilst what more characteristic of adult nature than that we should make merry over our neighbour's misfortunes? Even some of the softer sex, it seems by this picture, are capable of Eharing the tempting pleasure. Here and there, however, it also appears, there are little womanly hearts attuned to thrill with pity and compassion at misfortune and pain; and now and then beauty may be seen irradiated with the heavenly light of unselfish love. [339]

You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the Hathi Digital Library Trust and the University of Chicago and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. — George P. Landow]


“Caught Napping.” The Illustrated London News. 48 (12 May 1866): 131, 133. Hathi Diigital Library Trust version of a copy in the University of Chicago Library. Web. 6 January 2016.

Last modified 26 June 2020