Sir David Wilkie The Blind Fiddler 1806

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Artwork details

Artist
Sir David Wilkie 1785–1841
Title
The Blind Fiddler
Date 1806
Medium Oil paint on mahogany
Dimensions Support: 578 x 794 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Presented by Sir George Beaumont Bt 1826
Reference
N00099
Not on display

Display caption

An itinerant fiddler is playing for a humble country family. David Wilkie focuses on the listeners’ different expressions. Only two people seem to respond to the music: the baby and the boy on the right, who is imitating the fiddler by playing the bellows.When this picture was exhibited at the Royal Academy some critics thought the bust on the shelf represented a dissenting minister, and concluded that the family were nonconformists. The power of music to stir the passions of those supposedly suspicious of pleasure was thought to add to the painting’s subtlety.

May 2007

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