Catalogue entry

T01899 The Rattle exh.1808


Inscribed 'W. MULREADY' b.r.

Oil on canvas laid on panel, 14 ¾ x13 5/16 (37.5X33.8)

Purchased from Spink & Son Ltd. (Grant-in-Aid) 1974

Coll: Bought at the 1808 B.I. exhibition by Sir Felix Agar; ...; Joseph Gillott by 1848 when lent to Society of Arts exhibition and in his sale, Christie's 27 April 1872 (265), bt. Agnew;. ..; H. W. F. Bolckow, sold Christie's 2 May 1891 (88), bt. Agnew; ...; Spink & Son Ltd. 1974

Exh: B.I. 1808 (93, size with frame 23x21 in.); Society of Arts, Adelphi 1848 (LVI); South Kensington Museum 1864 (15); 'Spink 74', Spink & Son Ltd. 1974 (387)

Lit: F. G. Stephens, Memorials of William Mulready, 1867, pp.49, 51, 53, 95, 106; 1890 edition, pp.46, 48, 51, 81, 90; Anne Rorimer, Drawings by William Mulready, Victoria & Albert Museum 1972, p.42; Octagon, special number, Spink & Son Ltd., Summer 1974, repro p.33

After early essays at History Painting and landscape, Mulready turned to genre painting, exhibiting his first work of this kind, T01899, in 1808. His decision to take up Dutch-like domestic subjects was no doubt influenced by the example of his friend David Wilkie, who the previous year had shown 'The Blind Fiddler' and in 1806 'The Village Politicians'.

A preparatory drawing and oil study for 'The Rattle' are in the Victoria & Albert Museum (repr. Rorimer, op.cit., p.42). Both show in the background a window open to the sky with a figure looking in, whereas in the final painting the window is an internal one giving a view into adjoining rooms.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1974-6: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1978