Edwin Austin Abbey

Illustration to ‘The Leather Bottel’


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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Edwin Austin Abbey 1852–1911
Ink on paper
Support: 260 × 286 mm
Presented by a group of admirers through John Singer Sargent 1924

Catalogue entry

Inscr. ‘E. A. Abbey 1887’ b.l.
Pen and ink, 10 1/2×11 1/4 (27×30).
Presented by a group of admirers through John Singer Sargent 1924.
Coll: Mrs E. A. Abbey.
Exh: R.A., winter 1912 (313).
Lit: Lucas, 1921, 1, pp.166, 175, 178, 223.
Repr: Old Songs, with drawings by Edwin A. Abbey and Alfred Parsons, 1889, p.39.

A drawing for the song ‘The Leather Bottel’, illustrating the lines:

If a man and his wife should not agree Why, they'll tug and pull till their liquor doth spill; In a leather bottel they may tug their fill, And pull away till their hearts do ake, And yet their liquor no harm can take.

This was one of a collection of old songs published by Macmillan early in 1889. The series had previously appeared in successive issues of Harper's Magazine from December 1886 until the middle of 1888, and this drawing may have been executed while Abbey and Parsons were at Broadway, Worcestershire, for in a letter to Charles Stanley Reinhart of 2 February 1887 Abbey specifically mentions correspondence he had had with the Rev. J. W. Ebsworth about this song. The series finished in Harper's the next year, and according to Lucas first came out in volume form in the late autumn of 1888. Sixteen of these drawings were among the American contribution to the 1889 Paris Exhibition.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I

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