Beverley Art Gallery

Objects in Paint

Painted Objects presents a selection of paintings from the Treasure House Collection. Rather than focusing on the people in these paintings, you are invited to focus on the smaller, everyday objects the artist added as extra details. Every painting has been paired with a physical object from the Social History Collection, whose painted counterpart might be from a different time period but is visually similar to the physical object.

Artists tend to draw our attention to the people in the scene, as it is fascinating to connect to people though images. Objects in paintings are often overlooked when we quickly view a painting, but they can provide depth to the image, making the life of the person depicted more tangible though the objects the artists choose to place around them.

We hope you enjoy exploring this new perspective on some of the beloved paintings in the collection and notice some objects which we could all find in our homes.

Leonie's Perfume Bottle

The composition of Elwell's painting draws attention to the figure of Leonie as she applies her make-up. There are lots of ordinary objects on table in the front of the painting, including a glass perfume bottle. At the time, this would have been a luxury item, symbolic of feminine elegance and sophistication. The painted perfume bottle is a curved form with a pointed stopper. The physical is rectangular with a cut glass pattern on one side.

Leonie's Toilet
Frederick William Elwell
1894
Oil on Canvas
96cm x 69cm

Scent Bottle
Silver, glass
7.5 x 4.5cm

Mrs Hodgson's Watch

Catherine Maud Hodgson (1862-1918) was the wife of the owner of a tanning company in Beverley. Objects can connect her to another East-Riding woman: Amy Johnson CBE (1903-1941). Johnson was the first woman to fly solo from London to Australia; Before this her longest solo flight was London to Hull. Elwell places Hodgson's left arm in a prominent position, highlighting her watch. Johnson's watch will have lived a very different life, potentially flying with her.
Find out more information about Amy Johnson's Life.

Mrs R Hodgson
Frederick William Elwell
Oil on Canvas
25cm x 99cm

Amy Johnson's Wristwatch
Wittnauer
Steel, Silver, Leather, Enamel
25.2x5.4cm

The Fishers' Vase

The vases on the mantelpiece behind the two figures, Reverend Robert Fisher and his wife Charlotte, are similar to a pair of porcelain vases decorated with orange and gold Japanese scenes. They date to when Fisher was the Vicar in Beverley (1898-1905) presumably when this painting was made. The interest in objects from Japan massively increased at the end of the nineteenth century after the country opened up to trade, having been closed to the West since the 1600s.

Canon Fisher and Wife
Frederick William Elwell
Oil on Canvas
W:92/70cm,
L:112/90cm

Japanese vases
porcelain
Late 19th century

Mrs Todd's Scissors

Florence Todd was an active member of the Beverley arts scene and close friend of Elwell. In this painting, Florence is preparing flowers with a pair of silver scissors. Similar silver scissors in a blue velvet case were made for the launch of the SS Eros, a trawler ship, at Beverley shipyard in 1903. The ship was requisitioned by the army but was sunk by a German landmine off the coast of Spurn Point in 1918. Find out more information about the wreck of the SS Eros.

Mrs. WR. Todd
Frederick William Elwell
1916
Oil on Canvas
100cm x 130cm

Ceremonial scissors in case
Butterfield, D.A. (Cutlers and opticians) Metal, velvet and wood
1903
Scissors: 6cmx4cm
Case: 19x7cm

The Girl's Sewing Box

Haynes King painted an idyllic scene, showing a woman sewing in front of a window, with a countryside view out of the window. The beautifully hand embroidered linen needle case, decorated with leaves and flowers is one item which would not be out of place in the brightly coloured sewing box of this lady, even though it is quite a luxurious looking item.

Industry / Girl at Window, Sewing
Haynes King
1877-1878
Oil on Canvas
59.5cm x 49.5cm

Needle Case
Embroidered
Linen 7.5cm x 5.5cm

Making Music

Pasmore's painting focuses on a couple in extravagant seventeenth century clothing. The man serenades her with a stringed instrument which is similar to one played by a trio of musicians who accompanied hymns at the Shepherd Memorial Mission Chapel in Beverley. The painted and the physical instruments were being played within fifty years of each other. The physical eight string mandolin was purchased 1923 by William Watson Dunn for his wife Edith Blanch Dunn.

Duet
D Pasmore
1877?
Oil on Canvas
71.5x34cm

Banjo Mandolin
Wood, metal
1923
54x19cm

In the Kitchen

Elwell has painted this domestic scene of the staff working in the kitchen at the Beverley Arms Hotel rather than the visiting guests. The lady in the back corner of the painting is polishing a copper pot. The cone shaped copper kettle would fit into this scene. At the time, copper was the most effective metal for heating water but was expensive. The kettle is likely to have been owned by an affluent family.

Preparations
Frederic William Elwell
1940-1945
Oil on Canvas
112x91cm

Copper Kettle
Copper, tin
23x24.8cm

After Dinner

Elwell's after dinner painting includes a shimmering silver tea pot by the arm of the Butler. It is similar to a Roundhead leadless pewter tea pot with a bamboo handle. The physical pot would probably have been used in a setting similar to the one Elwell depicts. The handle of the Roundhead teapot is made of bamboo, a material which reflects the origin of the tea which would have been drunk from the pot.

The Butler Takes
A Glass of Port/
All Thing Come
To the Man That Waits
Frederick William Elwell
1890-1899
Oil on Canvas
101x93.5cm

Tea pot
Pewter, bamboo
8.4cm x 20.8cm

Objects in Paint

Curated by
Sarah Burton
Curating and Art History Student at the University of York

.