Frank Holl

Hush!

1877

Artist
Frank Holl 1845–1888
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 343 x 445 mm
frame: 674 x 775 x 135 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by Sir Henry Tate 1894
Reference
N01535

Not on display

Display caption

Child death was a common occurrence in Victorian society. These two pictures were once described as ‘a pathetic little story in two chapters’. In Hush a mother devotedly watches over her sick baby, her anxiety mirrored in the face of an older child. Hushed, its companion piece, shows the baby’s death.The mother covers her face with her hand in the universal gesture of grief, while her other child appears bewildered. Holl confronts his subject directly, without sentimentality. The sombre colouring and the strong contrasts between light and shade serve to heighten the grim mood.

Gallery label, July 2007