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Gotch painted several works in the 1890s on the theme of motherhood and child development. Here he illustrates Psalm 47, Sing Praises to the Lord, drawing on the tradition of the Christian devotional altarpiece to glorify the innocence and sanctity of childhood.

The range of colours chosen for the girls’ clothing may have been intended to communicate the universality of worship but, significantly, they all represented as white. Gotch was a founding member of the Royal Colonial Society of British Artists, and probably viewed his angelic chorus as a pure symbol of national culture.

September 2004