Manchester Art Gallery

The Little Invalid

Object description

A dramatically lit domestic scene, depicting a young invalid boy sitting up on a sofa, watched over by his father, two sisters, his mother and the family cat to the right. His mother is drinking from a cup of tea to the left. There is a breakfast table in the foreground to the left on which sit cups and saucers, a teapot, a jug and a vase of flowers.

Display label

Gallery text panel Impressionists and Edwardians During the 1860s a new fashion emerged in French painting. This responded to a popular trend for experiencing nature in an age of increasing industrial and urban expansion. It also related to fresh developments in optical science, leading to a new stress on the appearance of the real world. French artists worked outdoors together in the countryside, and in Paris a radical new exhibiting group was formed. Its painters tried to capture the fleeting effects of light with rapidly executed strokes of bold naturalistic colour. Shunned by the establishment, their first show was in 1874 and included work by Monet, Renoir, Sisley and Pissarro. They were subsequently given the name Impressionists. Many painters in Britain felt hampered by dominant taste and left to work and study among the French avant garde. Impressionism subsequently influenced many British artists who reached their heyday during the Edwardian period. At home, art colonies were formed in Newlyn and elsewhere in emulation of the rural painting communities of France. In London, the New English Art Club was founded in 1886 as a progressive alternative to the Royal Academy. In emphasising painterliness over narrative and structure, Impressionism also helped shape the Aesthetic Movement.