N01587 HARMONY 1877
Inscr. ‘Frank Dicksee 1877’ b.l.
Canvas, arched top, 62×37 (157·5×94).
Chantrey Purchase from the artist 1877.
Exh: R.A., 1877 (14); Late Members, R.A., winter 1933 (178).
Lit: Sydney Hodges, ‘Mr Frank Dicksee, A.R.A.’ in Magazine of Art, 1887, p.218, repr. p.220; E. T. Cook, A Popular Handbook to the Tate Gallery, 1898, p.208; E. Rimbault Dibdin, ‘Frank Dicksee’ in The Art Annual, 1905, p.4, repr. p.3.
Engr.C. A. Waltner 1880.
When Dicksee was a student he joined the Langham Sketching Club and one of the subjects set there for a composition was ‘Music’. Dicksee treated it in the medieval manner made fashionable by the Pre-Raphaelites. He had worked under Holiday making cartoons for stained-glass windows and introduced one in the background. This sketch he subsequently worked up into ‘Harmony’. The picture was an immediate success. It was given a centre position in the first room at the R.A. and was purchased by the Chantrey Bequest Trustees in the first year of their activity. E. T. Cook, loc. cit., writes: ‘The picture suggests indefinite associations with all beautiful abstractions whether of music, poetry or painting. Music is the type of the harmony between the man and the woman - the two notes in the human chord. Above the girl at the organ is a window, storied with a picture of that divine love of which earthly love, as the poets tell us, is the imperfect shadow.’
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I