Manchester Art Gallery

A Convalescent : The Warrior's Daughter (alternative title)

Object description

Modern life was the central theme of Tissot's art, with a focus on bourgeois social behaviour. His genre pieces typically dwelt on social niceties, flattering viewers who were sufficiently well-versed in etiquette to decipher their moral code. The setting for this picture has been identified as Cumberland Terrace, Regent's Park, not far from Tissot's home in St John's Wood, London. A gentleman is being pushed in a sophisticated invalid chair by his manservant, accompanied by his daughter. The elegant young woman is wrapped up well against the cold in a heavy woollen coat, hat and muff, with a thick fur overcoat on top. The gentleman looks snug under a large fur that protrudes from beneath a bespoke satin-lined blanket. A large cushion protects his back and the chair has a hood in case of rain. He is steering it by means of a metal rod that connects with the single front wheel. It is a lavishly designed vehicle that would have been beyond the reach of all but the most wealthy. The pale young woman regards us with cool detachment. A large yellow enamel brooch in the shape of a flower, fastened below her collar, attracts our attention. A subtle reminder of summer on a bitter winter's day, it implies an inclination for more fun than is to be had on a chilly walk in the company of her father.