James Collinson The Empty Purse (replica of ‘For Sale’) ?c.1857

Artwork details

James Collinson 1825–1881
The Empty Purse (replica of ‘For Sale’)
Date ?c.1857
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 610 x 492 mm
frame: 766 x 655 x 70 mm
Acquisition Presented anonymously 1917
Not on display

Display caption

The title of this picture and the showiness of the woman looking brazenly at the viewer suggest that she works as a prostitute. The bright colours and brilliant finish reveal Collinson’s Pre-Raphaelite past. He was one of the original members of the Brotherhood but he could not reconcile their ideas with his Catholic faith and he resigned. After a brief period training to become a priest he resumed his artistic career in 1854. His subsequent paintings like this one show anecdotal subjects and moralizing scenes from everyday life – the sort of paintings against which the Pre-Raphaelites rebelled.

July 2007

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