William Powell Frith

Dolly Varden

c.1842–9

Not on display
Artist
William Powell Frith 1819–1909
Medium
Oil paint on wood
Dimensions
Support: 273 x 216 mm
frame: 470 x 411 x 75 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Bequeathed by Mrs E.J. Thwaites 1955
Reference
T00041

Display caption

The delightfully fluttery Dolly Varden is a character in Charles Dickens' novel 'Barnaby Rudge', published in 1841. Its action is set in the London of the 1780s. Dickens describes Dolly, daughter of a worthy locksmith, as 'the very pink and pattern of good looks, in a smart little cherry coloured mantle'.
This work, apart from drawing on a well-known novel of the day, also owes much to a strong nineteenth-century tradition of 'fancy portraits' - where likenesses of pretty and anonymous young women would be graced by the names of characters from literature.

Gallery label, September 2004

Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? We would like to hear from you.

You might like