- Henry Tonks 1862–1937
- Oil paint on wood
- Support: 527 x 375 mm
frame: 740 x 590 x 80 mm
- Purchased 1923
N03717 ROSAMUND AND THE PURPLE JAR c. 1900
Oil on panel, 20 3/4×14 3/4 (52·5×37·5).
Purchased from the Trustees of the late F. J. Mercer (Grant-in-Aid) 1923.
Coll: F. J. Mercer.
Exh: N.E.A.C., summer 1900 (73); International Exhibition, St Louis, March 1904 (269).
Lit: Hone, 1939, pp.51, 331.
The subject is taken from Maria Edgeworth's The Purple Jar, the first story of a series entitled Rosamund - A Series of Tales. These were moralizing stories for children, and in The Purple Jar Rosamund has to decide between buying a new pair of shoes and the large jar of purple liquid which had attracted her as she passed a chemist's shop window. She is dismayed to find that, when the liquid is poured away, the jar is only of ordinary colourless glass. The artist has chosen the passage: ‘The moment it was set down upon the table, Rosamund ran up to it with an exclamation of joy: “May I have it now, Mamma?”’
At least six drawings exist showing various stages in the development of the composition. Five are in a large sketch-book (black crayon on thin tracing paper, 9 7/8×14 3/4 in.), formerly belonging to C. H. Collins Baker and now in the Tate Gallery library; the sixth belongs to the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (black and pastel chalks, 17 1/2×13 3/4 in.).
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II
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