James Collinson

The Empty Purse (replica of ‘For Sale’)


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Not on display

James Collinson 1825–1881
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 610 × 492 mm
frame: 766 × 655 × 70 mm
Presented anonymously 1917

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The title of this picture and the showiness of the woman looking brazenly at the viewer suggest that she works as a prostitute. The bright colours and brilliant finish reveal Collinson’s Pre-Raphaelite past. He was one of the original members of the Brotherhood but he could not reconcile their ideas with his Catholic faith and he resigned. After a brief period training to become a priest he resumed his artistic career in 1854. His subsequent paintings like this one show anecdotal subjects and moralizing scenes from everyday life – the sort of paintings against which the Pre-Raphaelites rebelled.

Gallery label, July 2007

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