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A Lady and Children Relieving a Cottager

William Redmore Bigg, English, 1755 - 1828

Made in Great Britain, Europe


Oil on canvas

29 5/8 x 35 5/8 inches (75.2 x 90.5 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 380, European Art 1500-1850, third floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harald Paumgarten, 1947

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With meticulous attention to fashion and social custom, William Redmore Bigg imagined an aristocratic lady and her children offering charity to an impoverished cottage-dwelling family. The harmonious world Bigg depicted was calculated to appeal to the privileged classes and to inspire their philanthropy and generosity. In this picture, peasant and footman (both dressed in shades of red) are presented as well-fed, well-dressed, and grateful for the financial support bestowed on them by the lady and her children. The artist’s vision is one-sided and glosses over the lived reality of the Black adolescent and the cottager and her child.


William Wilson; his sale, Murrell & Wilson, London, May 12, 1812 lot 65 [1]. Sold by W. Webb, Christie's, London, April 18, 1848, lot 134 to H.P. Sold by Miss M. Paine, Christie's, London, December 21, 1928, lot 65 to Colnaghi; Robinette; Mr and Mrs. Harald Paumgarten; gift to PMA, 1947. 1. According to a letter from Burton Fredericksen in the curatorial file.

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