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Western art

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The widower



Sir Luke Fildes


18 Oct 1844 - 27 Feb 1927




Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas


168.9 x 248.3 cm stretcher; 192.5 x 272.0 x 8.0 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r., black paint "Luke Fildes 1875".


Purchased 1883

Accession number


Artist information

Sir Luke Fildes

Works in the collection


Shown in 3 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Thomas Taylor Esq., 1876-28 Apr 1883, Oxfordshire/England, sold Christie's London 28 April 1883

Christie's London, 28 Apr 1883, London/England, Purchased by the AGNSW from Christie's London, 28 April 1883. Purchased from the sale of Mr Tom Taylor's "Aston Rowent" Collection. On loan to the Fine Art Society, 28 April - 24 August 1883.

Referenced in 80 publications


Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Sydney, 1972, col illus p 34.

Leigh Astbury, City bushmen: the Heidelberg school and the rural mythology, Melbourne, 1985, illus p 39, fig 38.

Richard Beresford, Victorian visions: nineteenth century art from the John Schaeffer collection, Sydney, 2010, p 13.

Henry Blackburn (Editor), Academy Notes, 1876, with one hundred and seven illustrations of the principal pictures at Burlington House, London, 1876, p 43, illus p 42 (sketch).

John E Branch, Picture study in schools, Records of the Education Society, Sydney, 1913, pp 18–21, 30, illus p 19.

Edmund Capon AM, OBE and Jan Meek (Editors), Portrait of a Gallery, 'European art in the old courts', Sydney, 1984, p 19.

('Cervus'), Sydney Morning Herald, 'To the gallery with an artist', Sydney, 19 Sep 1891, p 4.

('J L C'), Sydney Mail, ‘The visitor: an afternoon in Sydney Art Gallery’, Sydney, 12 Apr 1884, p 679.

('Critic'), Sydney Morning Herald, 'Art in Sydney', Sydney, 12 Feb 1887, p 7.

W W Fenn, Some modern artists and their work, London, 1883, p 109, illus p 105.

W W Fenn, Magazine of Art, ‘Our living artists – Luke Fildes, ARA’, London, 1880, pp 49–52: p 52.

L.V. Fildes, Luke Fildes RA, a Victorian painter, London, 1968, pp 25, 38–41, 43.

Renée Free and Rose Peel, Dreams and realities, Sydney, 1993, p 4.

Renée Free, Art and Australia, ‘European Collection’, Sydney, Jul 1972, p 64.

Renée Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'European', Sydney, 1988, p 44, illus p 48.

Renée Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales catalogue of British paintings, Sydney, 1987, p 59, illus p 58.

Algernon Graves, The Royal Academy of Arts: a complete dictionary of contributors and their work from its foundation in 1769 to 1904, London, 1905-1906, vol 3, 1905, p 108.

Arthur Greenwood and Harold W H Stephen, Catalogue descriptive and critical of the Art Gallery with Sydney art notes, Sydney, 1883, p 36.

Arthur Hewitt, Sydney Morning Herald, ‘The Art Gallery [letter]’, Sydney, 31 Dec 1885, p 4.

Joseph A Kestner, Masculinities in Victorian painting, Aldershot, 1995, pp 143, 164.

Anne Kirker and Peter Tomory, British painting 1800–1990 in Australian and New Zealand public collections, Sydney, 1997, p 80, no 651.

W J Loftie, Magazine of Art, 'Art in Australia', London, 1886, pp 174–75: p 175.

Dianne Sachko Macleod, Art and the Victorian middle class, Cambridge, 1996, p 478.

May L Manning, Magazine of Art, 'Art in Australia', London, 1895, pp 215–19: p 218.

('C L M'), Sydney Morning Herald, 'Our art gallery [letter]', Sydney, 23 Oct 1884, p 4.

Wilfred Meynell (Editor), The modern school of art, London, 1886-1888, pp 142, 146, 149, illus p 148.

Patricia Moran, Australian Women's Weekly, ‘Restoring a nation’s treasure’, Sydney, 03 May 1972, pp 35–37: p 37.

National Gallery of Victoria [Swanston Street], Catalogue of the loan collections of oil paintings exhibited at the Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide National Galleries on the 1st of September 1894, Sydney, 1894, p 10, no 4, illus p 10.

('The Native'), Sydney Mail, ‘The picture gallery and the museum’, Sydney, 08 Apr 1882, p 548.

Tom Roberts, The Argus, no 14150, 'The National Art Gallery of New South Wales', Melbourne, 31 Oct 1891, p 4.

Howard D Rodee, Scenes of rural and urban poverty in Victorian Painting and their development, 1850 to 1890, New York, 1975, pp 85, 87, 120, 192. PhD, Columbia University.

Frank Rutter, Sunday Times, ‘Art in Australia – new purchases for Sydney – errors of the past’, London, 24 Sep 1933, p 12.

David Croal Thomson, Art Annual, ‘The life and work of Luke Fildes, RA’, London, 1895, p 8. Illustrates studies pp 3–4, 6.

Julian Treuherz, Hard times: social realism in Victorian art, Manchester, 1987-1988, pp 11–12, 80, 85–86, 147–48, study illus p 87.

Sydney Morning Herald, ‘National Art Gallery – Third loan interchange’, Sydney, 24 Apr 1896, p 6.

Sydney Morning Herald, 'National Art Gallery', Sydney, 26 Oct 1897, p 6.

National Art Gallery of NSW: illustrated catalogue, Sydney, 1906, p 42, no 99, illus p 43.

Souvenir in aid of funds for wounded soldiers, Australia Day 30th July 1915, Sydney, 1915, illus unnumbered plate. Photographs supplied by Henry King, blocks by SW Bacon & Co.

National Art Gallery of NSW illustrated catalogue, Sydney, 1917, p 37, no 90, illus p 38.

National Art Gallery of NSW: illustrated catalogue, Sydney, 1924, p 42, no 117, illus p 43.

An exhibition of a selected number of subject pictures belonging to the national collection, typescript exh cat, Sydney, Jul 1943, p 3.

Old favourites, Sydney, 1954, np.

Australian Women's Weekly, Sydney, 06 Aug 1969, pp 10–11: col illus p 11.

Celebrity choice: Mel Gibson, Sydney, 1985, np, no 8.

The Royal Scottish Academy exhibitors, 1826–1990: a dictionary of artists and their work in the annual exhibitions of the Royal Scottish Academy, Wiltshire, 1991, vol 1, p 52.

Editor Unknown (Editor), Art and Australia, 'Victorian favourites: a conversation – Elwyn Lynn and Lloyd Rees', Sydney, Spring 1984, illus pp 52–53. Illustration on p 52 is a detail. Also published with same page numbering in The Art Gallery of New South Wales today, Sydney, 1984.

National Art Gallery of New South Wales Bi-monthly conversational discussions, 1906–7, ‘On the proposal to hold “conversational discussions” at the Art Gallery of NSW’, Sydney, 1910, pp 3–9: pp 6–7.

Victorian social conscience, Sydney, 1976, pp 12–13, 33–34, no 20, illus p 51.

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

Art Journal, ‘The Royal Academy exhibition – introductory notice’, London, 1876, p 189.

The exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, MDCCCLXXVI, the one hundred and eighth, London, 1876, p 23, no 476.

Times, 'The Royal Academy (second notice)', London, 08 May 1876, p 9.

Athenaeum, London, 29 Apr 1876, pp 600–03: p 603.

Times, London, 29 Apr 1876, p 14.

Athenaeum, London, 13 May 1876, pp 669–72: p 672.

The exhibition of the Royal Scottish Academy … the fifty-first, Edinburgh, 1877, p 19, no 204.

Builder, ‘Exhibition of the Royal Scottish Academy’, London, 24 Mar 1877, p 287.

Illustrated London News, ‘New associates of the Royal Academy’, London, 03 May 1879, p 408.

Magazine of Art, ‘The pictures at Aston Rowant’, London, 1882, pp 309–14: p 310, illus opp p 309 (engraving).

Catalogue of the highly important collection of modern pictures from the Aston Rowant gallery, nearly all of which were obtained direct from the painters ..., London, 28 Apr 1883, p 11, no 46.

Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Summary of the News – Fine Arts’, Sydney, 18 Oct 1883, p 11.

Catalogue of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, with 94 illustrations drawn by E L Montefiore, Esa, published by sanction of the Trustees, Sydney, 1883, p 17, no 37, illus p 17 (sketch by EL Montefiore).

Sydney Morning Herald, 'Pictures for the Art Gallery', Sydney, 14 Jun 1883, p 8.

Sydney Morning Herald, 'Editorial', Sydney, 16 Jul 1883, p 5.

Sydney Morning Herald, 'Fine Arts', Sydney, 10 Nov 1883, p 6.

Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser, 'Fine Arts', Sydney, 17 Nov 1883, p 921.

Catalogue of the National Art Gallery of New South Wales, with illustrations, drawn by E L Montefiore, Esq, published by sanction of the Trustees, Sydney, 1884, p 28, no 68, illus p 28 (sketch by E L Montefiore).

Art Journal, ‘The National Gallery of New South Wales’, London, 1884, p 32.

Sydney Morning Herald, 'Editorial', Sydney, 14 Feb 1887, p 6.

Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Pictures in Sydney – II – subject painting at the Art Gallery’, Sydney, 11 Jun 1887, p 6.

Magazine of Art, ‘The chronicle of art October 1887’, London, 1887, p iii.

National Art Gallery (report of trustees for the year 1888), Sydney, 1889, p 2. Restoration.

Illustrated Sydney News, 'Notes on art', Sydney, 07 Jun 1890, p 24.

Sydney Morning Herald, 'The Solomon and Sheba picture', Sydney, 12 Nov 1892, p 7.

Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Mr Poynter's new picture [letter]’, Sydney, 24 Nov 1892, p 8.

Art Journal, ‘The National Gallery of New South Wales, president, Mr E L Montefiore, JP’, London, 1892, pp 77–78: p 78.

Strand Magazine, ‘Illustrated interviews: XXV Mr Luke Fildes, RA’, London, 1893, pp 111–27: pp 118, 124–25.

Daily Telegraph, 'That picture again', Sydney, 07 Mar 1893, p 6. A clipping is in the Gallery’s Press Clipping Book, 1884–96, p 82.

Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, [22 May 1893], page number unknown. A clipping is in the Gallery’s Press Clipping Book, 1884–96, p 83.

Bulletin, 'Society', Sydney, 23 Feb 1895, p 14.