Catalogue entry

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.’

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I