Henry Walton Plucking the Turkey exhibited 1776

Share this artwork

Artwork details

Artist
Henry Walton 1746–1813
Title
Plucking the Turkey
Date Exhibited 1776
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 762 x 635 mm
frame: 942 x 820 x 85 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased 1912
Reference
N02870
Not on display

Display caption

This painting was exhibited in London in 1776, during the early stages of the war with revolutionary America. Walton’s image of a cookmaid plucking a turkey is an example of the kind of lowly subject-matter denigrated by Sir Joshua Reynolds and the new Royal Academy.

But it may also make a coded political reference. The turkey was very closely associated with America: Benjamin Franklin even proposed that it should become the symbol of independent America, instead of the eagle. The painting may, therefore, be a pro-British comment on the anticipated fate of the rebellious colonists.

September 2004

About this artwork