“I don't know what a Botticelli is.” Lewis Baumer. Punch (16 April 1902): 277. Click on image to enlarge it.

Artist (who has recommended a model to a friend): — “Have you been to sit to Mr. Jones yet?”

Model: — “Well, I’ve been to see him; but directly I got into his studio, ‘Why,’ he said, ‘You’ve got ahead like a Botticelli.’ I don’t know what a Botticelli is, but I didn’t go there to be called names, so I come away.”

Baumer certainly knows the art and artists of the period: The model has the Pre-Raphaelite neck and chin and like so many late-Pre-Raphaelite women she holds a musical instrument. Mr. Jones could conceivably be either Sir Edward Burne-Jones, who had died a few years before the cartoon appeared, or his son, Sir Philip Burne-Jones. Japanese masks and a Japanese print hang on the walls, the latter directly above an Arts and Crafts chair. As the catalogue for the 2017 Botticelli exhibitions in Berlin and London demonstrate, the Italian painter had become especially popular in the second half of the nineteenth century. A professional model might well have known this, but the Punch artist, like many of his fellows, derives much of his humor from condescension.

Related material

Image from Internet Archive. Text and formatting by George P. Landow [This image may be used without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose without prior permission as long as you credit this site and the Internet Archive.]

Last modified 2 August 2017