Waiting for the Verdict. Abraham Solomon. 1857. Oil on canvas, 1019 x 1273 mm. Courtesy of Tate Britain T03614. Purchased with assistance from the Art Fund and the Sue Hammerson Charitable Trust 1983. Details: Judge seen at a distance in courtroomFaces of elderly couple Click on image to enlarge it.

Tate Britain Commentary

Paintings about trials, sentencing and courtroom incidents were extremely popular during the Victorian period. Solomon sets the scene in a darkened room. The family’s hopelessness is evident from the gentleman with his head in his hands and the woman’s angst-ridden expression. A sense of suspense is suggested by the woman who looks over her shoulder anxiously as the door of the courtroom opens. Despite the gloomy subject matter, both this picture and the sequel, Not Guilty (also on display at the Tate), were well received. Prints reproducing them sold well across the country.


Graves, Algernon. The Royal Academy of Arts: A Complete Dictionary of Contributors and their work from its Foundation in 1769-1904. 8 vols. London: Henry Graves and Co. and George Bell, 1906.

Created 6 July 2018