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watercolour painting

© Geffrye Museum, London

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‘Drawing Room / 59 Seymour Street’, drawing room interior scene, watercolour on paper, by Matilda Sharpe, c.1850, in a gilded and burnished frame with shell corner decorations, thought to have been manufactured in Britain c.1850.
Object type: watercolour painting
Object number: 23/1998

More Information:

Detailed Description: +/-

Title/Model: The Drawing Room at 59 Seymour Street (title inscribed on object)
Physical Description:
Watercolour painting in a gilt wood frame with shell motifs at the corners. It is inscribed on reverse 'Matilda Sha [the rest obliterated]/ Drawing room/ 59 Seymour' and with a piece of paper supplied by Charles Plante inscribed 'Matilda Sharpe/ 59 Seymour Street W.' The frame is inscribed on the back 'Agnes Sophia Woodd.'
Materials & technique: watercolour on paper in a moulded, gilded and burnished wooden picture frame
Dimensions: Height 20.5cm (frame)
Width 22.5cm (frame)
Height 13cm (view)
Width 15cm (view)

History: +/-

Date: c.1850 (painted)
Period: Victorian (1837-1901)
Artist/Maker Names: Matilda Sharpe (artist)
Place: London, England (painted)
Object History:
Recent discussion refers to a letter from a headmistress regarding Matilda Sharpe; this would merit from further examination.

This painting appeared in the exhibition Home and Garden Part Two, 1830-1914 at the Geffrye Museum (9 March 2004-18 July 2004), and in the publication Home and Garden: paintings and drawings of English, middle-class, urban domestic spaces, 1675 to 1914, edited by David Dewing (London: Geffrye Museum, 2003). This painting was catalogued by Charlotte Gere (catalogue number 55, pp.130-131). See the Comments field for extracts from the catalogue entry for this painting. The small scale of this room suggests an upstairs room, with features common in houses dating from around 1830. The room has tall windows, high ceilings with moulded cornices, a dado rail and a cast-iron grate. The furniture is modest, and typical of relatively inexpensive furniture dating from the 1820s to the 1840s, including a mahogany pedestal table of about 1830, an ebonised chair with a squab cushion, probably with a caned seat. The upholstered chaise-longue and armchair are typical of the 1840s.

The painting is inscribed Matilda Sha [rpe]/ Drawing room/ 59 Seymour'. Census records show that in 1851 the occupants of 59 Upper Seymour Street were Charlotte Pecoon and her sister Maria, both unmarried, with a housekeeper. Census returns for 1841, 1851 and 1861 each show different households occupying 59 Upper Seymour Street. For this reason it has been suggested that this house was in fact a rented property; this may account for the fact that the room is relatively sparse in comparison to other houses of the period. Matilda Sharpe may have been a member of the Sharpe family of painters; several of their daughters were exhibitors in the 1840s and 1850s. A Miss Charlotte Sharpe is recorded as living at 47 Upper Seymour Street from 1838-40 and at 40 Seymour Street from 1841-2. See Algernon Graves, The Royal Academy of Arts: a complete dictionary of contributors and their work from its foundation in 1769 to 1904 (London: Graves and Bell, 1905-1906), Vol.2, pp.90-92.

There is a reference to two paintings by Miss Matilda Sharpe of 32 Highbury Place, ‘Teddy’ and ‘Balmy Sleep’, exhibited in 1866 and 1867 respectively at the Royal Society of British Artists. See Jane Johnson, Works exhibited at the Royal Society of British Artists, 1824-1893 (Woodbridge: Antique Collectors’ Club, 1975), p.418.
References:
Home and garden: paintings and drawings of English, middle-class, urban domestic spaces, 1675 to 1914, edited by David Dewing (London: Geffrye Museum, 2003)

Jane Johnson, Works exhibited at the Royal Society of British Artists, 1824-1893: an Antique Collectors’ Club research project (Woodbridge: Antique Collectors’ Club, 1975)

Algernon Graves, The Royal Academy of Arts: a complete dictionary of contributors and their work from its foundation in 1769 to 1904 (London: Graves and Bell, 1905-1906)

Subject/Content: +/-

Content Description:
This watercolour painting depicts a drawing room. In the centre of the room there is a circular pedestal table covered with a reddy brown table cloth and a Regency chair with a red squab cushion pulled up to the table. To the left of the fireplace there is a green fire screen. In the corner to the right of the fireplace is a sofa, to the left an armchair, both upholstered in red. Four pictures are shown on the fireplace wall and at least one is reflected in the mirror. They are hung on long wires/cords nailed below the cornice.
Themes:
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