DUNKARTON, Richard & William WARD, after William Redmore BIGG
The Soldier's Widow: or, school boys' collection... De jeunes ecolliers font une souscription en faveur de la Veuve d'un Soldat; The Sailor's Orphans; or, the young ladies subscription... De jeunes pensionnaires se cotisent pour assister les Enfans Orphelins d'un Matelot
London: Published by William Redmore Bigg, 2 August 1800, and 1 June 1800. A pair of mezzotints. (The Soldier's Widow) engraved by Richard Dunkarton, and (The Sailor's Orphans) engraved by William Ward. Both in good condition with the exception of small marginal tears. (The Soldier's Widow) has a skillfully repaired upper right corner. Image size (including text): 18 x 23 3/8 inches. Sheet size: 21 3/4 x 26 3/4 inches.
A pair of beautiful mezzotints after the sentimental genre paintings of William Redmore Bigg
William Redmore Bigg was an excellent genre painter and extremely popular in his day. In subject and style Bigg echoed the work of his master Edward Penny, who also specialized in painting genre scenes with moral overtones. He was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy and the British Institution, and was a continued source of inspiration for contemporary engravers. His most successful scenes involve acts of charity and children.
In the first image, nine schoolboys have gathered round a soldier's widow and child, older boys to one side and younger to the other. They have interrupted their cricket and kite flying, and having examined the soldier's sword are now in somber mood as they thoughtfully make a collection to give to the destitute family.
In the second, a mother has brought her daughters and a group of their friends on a mission of mercy to the cottage of the sailor's wife and his three orphaned children. With tentative looks of compassion, they offer their gifts to the grieving family.