JONES, John after William Redmore BIGG
Black Monday or the Departure for School
London: Published by William Redmore Bigg, 1 December 1790. Colour printed mezzotint. In good condition apart from some neat repairs in the margins. Image size (including text): 17 7/8 x 23 5/8 inches. Sheet size: 19 3/4 x 25 1/8 inches.
A beautiful mezzotint after the pretty genre painting by William Redmore Bigg.
William Redmore Bigg gained a reputation as an excellent genre painter, the moral messages and pretty appearance of his accomplished paintings made them extremely popular in their day and anticipated the Victorian age to come. 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 proved a continued source of inspiration for contemporary engravers. Bigg remains one of the most celebrated English genre painters, whose picturesque characterizations express the sentiment and taste of his age.
This engraving is a wonderful example of Bigg's work. A family prepares to bid farewell to the two sons who are leaving for boarding school. The elder son, clearly a seasoned campaigner, is confident and almost appears eager to get back to school and see his friends again. The younger son however is leaving home for the first time and is being comforted ineffectually by his mother who tries to hold back her tears. His two sisters also try and comfort him, the younger offers a cake and a basket of apples as a parting gift. This pretty print is a companion picture to Bigg's painting 'Dulce Domum or the Return from School'.