(England Dec 1861–02 Jan 1940)
132.3cm diam. stretcher; 163.2 x 162.5 x 9.0cm frame
The circlet of crabs carved in low relief on the frame of this painting is integral to its success as a work of art. Echoing the seaside theme, and offering closure to an otherwise excessively open composition, the frame participates in the painting quite as constructively as the bending figure and wave-lapped beach. The cool monochrome of the location suggests an English coastal resort, though clearly Margetson had the Mediterranean in mind. His lovely fossicker is dressed to evoke the ancient classical past more than late Victorian England. Indeed, Margetson's rather dry application of pale pigment echoes Roman fresco technique. Like most of the lesser genre painters and portraitists of his day, he succumbed to the ever-virulent strain of Victorian classicism, being influenced by better-known contemporaries such as Leighton and Poynter. It goes without saying that the pearl of the title is a punning allusion to the maiden herself.
AGNSW Handbook, 1999.
William Margetson (England, b.1861, d.1940), London/England, Purchased by the AGNSW from the artist 1897. Chosen for the Gallery by the Council of the Royal Academy.
Renée Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales catalogue of British paintings, Sydney, 1987, 123 (illus.).
Renée Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales Handbook, 'European', pg. 36-56, Domain, 1988, 44.
Bernard Hesling., The Sydney Morning Herald 13 Sep 1952, 'The Sea Hath Pearls, Etc.', Sydney, 13 Sep 1952.
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Western Collection: Paintings and Sculpture', pg. 17-77, Domain, 1999, 51 (colour illus.).
J.G. De Libra., Australasian art review 01 Apr 1899, 'The Sydney Art Gallery's late purchases', East Sydney, 01 Apr 1899, 16.
Patricia McDonald, Australia's yesterdays 1974-1978, 1974-1978, 132.
Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Academy pictures, 1897 1897, 1897, 85.
Peter Tomory and Anne Kirker, British painting 1800-1990 in Australian and New Zealand public collections, Sydney, 1997, 129. cat.no. 1417
Editor Unknown (Editor), Athenaeum 12 Jun 1897, 12 Jun 1897.
Editor Unknown (Editor), The Art Journal 1897, London, 1897, 180.
Editor Unknown (Editor), Academy Notes 1897, Unknown, 1897.
Editor Unknown (Editor), The Australian women's weekly 07 Jul 1954, Sydney, 07 Jul 1954.
Editor Unknown (Editor), The Sydney Morning Herald 28 Sep 1952, 'Unfashionalble art', Sydney, 28 Sep 1952. Response to Bernard Hesling article.
Editor Unknown (Editor), The Sydney Morning Herald 23 Mar 1898, 23 Mar 1898, 3.
Royal Academy of Arts, 1897, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1897–1897
Unknown, Walker Art Gallery 1897, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 1897–1897