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Title

The sea hath its pearls


Artist

William Henry Margetson

England

Dec 1861 - 02 Jan 1940


About

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.


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Details


Date

1897


Media category

Painting


Materials used

oil on canvas


Dimensions

132.3 cm diam. stretcher; 163.2 x 162.5 x 9.0 cm frame


Signature & date

Signed and dated l.l., oil "W H Margetson 1897".


Credit

Purchased 1897


Accession number

705


Artist information

William Henry Margetson

Works in the collection

1


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Provenance


William Henry Margetson, London/England, Purchased by the AGNSW from the artist 1897. Chosen for the Gallery by the Council of the Royal Academy.


Referenced in 14 publications

Bibliography


Editor Unknown (Editor), Academy Notes, Unknown, 1897.

Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Academy pictures, 1897, 1897, 85.

Editor Unknown (Editor), The Art Journal, London, 1897, 180.

Editor Unknown (Editor), Athenaeum, London, 12 Jun 1897.

Editor Unknown (Editor), The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 Mar 1898, 3.

J.G. De Libra., Australasian art review, 'The Sydney Art Gallery's late purchases', Sydney, 01 Apr 1899, 16.

Bernard Hesling., The Sydney Morning Herald, 'The Sea Hath Pearls, Etc.', Sydney, 13 Sep 1952.

Editor Unknown (Editor), The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Unfashionalble art', Sydney, 28 Sep 1952. Response to Bernard Hesling article.

Australian Women's Weekly, Sydney, 07 Jul 1954.

Patricia McDonald, Australia's yesterdays, 1974-1978, 132.

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, Sydney, 1988, 44.

Anne Kirker and Peter Tomory, British painting 1800–1990 in Australian and New Zealand public collections, Sydney, 1997, 129. cat.no. 1417

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Western Collection: Paintings and Sculpture', pg. 17-77, Sydney, 1999, 51 (colour illus.).