Today, we go and have family pictures taken. And we take it for granted the ease at which these images are then produced and reproduced. But years past the painting of ones family or a personal portrait was not such an instantaneous project. An artist would have been hired and then they would arrange a time for a sitting after which more sittings might occur or work would be done in the artist’s studio. Many artists have portrayed the family from an experience they might have seen or been part of.
Scenes like the one to the left display an idyllic moment but in reality we know that the farmer has many more hours of work before him while four children under five years of age means little time for the normal household chores for the lady of the house. Stunning earth colours dominate this image giving it warmth while the light shades of blue draw the eye into the image to explore the cottage and the life that is contained therein. We in this country have the opportunity visit places like the one seen here thanks to ‘The National Trust’. They have been restored so that we can visit them and experience to a small degree what life was like back then.
From an peaceful moment to an even more idyllic family time. We see a watercolour – possibly the oldest I own – of a family knitting, mending a glove, reading, singing, and gardening. Happening all together on the porch of their cottage home. A scene of perfection – all are well behaved and being productive in whichever endeavour they have put their hands and minds to. A scene of familial perfection. The colours have faded and the paper darkened with age but a beauty remains. A tenderness and caring exudes from this image. Idyllic – yes – but how we love those moments when they happen in our own lives. The joy of family.