The Saving of a Soul. Oil on panel, 4 x 6 inches; signed and dated indistinctly 'June 18[?]'. [Detail]

This small painting shares subject and iconography with a number of well known Victorian and earlier pictures. The pose, for example, resembles that of the return of the prodigal, a scriptural subject depicted by both Millais and Frith, and it also has much in common with Rossetti's Found. Finally, the saved soul is, of course, the subject of Hunt's Light of the World and The Awakening Conscience. The undecipherable date on this little panel prevents us, however, from knowing whether Smetham painted it before or after these better known works. — George P. Landow


The Maas Gallery. Exhibition catalogue. London, 2008. Catalogue no. 52.

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Last modified 8 July 2008