Her Mother’s Voice by W. Q. Orchardson, ARA. 1888. Oil on canvas, 1016 x 1486 mm. Courtesy Tate Britain N01521. Presented by Sir Henry Tate 1894. [Click on image to enlarge it.]

Tate Britain commentary

The widower (plate) in the foreground looks up as he thinks for a moment that he hears his late wife's voice as his daughter, whom he cannot see, begins to sing. The picture was exhibited with lines from Tennyson's poem “Break, break, break”:

But O for the touch of a vanish'd hand
And the sound of a voice that is still.

The poetic quotation underscores the deeply sentimental nature of this painting.


Hardie, William R. Sir William Quiller Orchardson R.A.. Edinburgh 1972.

Wood, Christopher. Victorian Painting. London 1999.

Last modified 7 July 2018