Bairn’s Play (1885)

Medium: oil

Exhibited: Royal Academy, 1885

Original caption: ‘The babe had all that infant care beguiles, etc.’

Athenaeum, 11 April 1885:

Mr. Eyre Crowe has finished, and will probably send to the Royal Academy … ‘A Little Fish’, a buxom young mother, the wife of a Normandy fisherman, sitting at the door of a cottage, amid the implements of her husband’s craft-nets, oars &c., – and nursing a gleeful baby.

Athenaeum, 13 June 1885:

Mr. Eyre Crowe’s Bairns Play (451) we have already described as representing a French fisherman’s wife and her offspring at a cottage door. Let us now praise the spontaneity of its design, the pretty and natural actions of the figures. The painting, however, is heavy and opaque. Improvement in these respects would add to the attractions of a picture which we greatly prefer to the artist’s Honeymoon in Normandy (780).

‘The Academy and the Salon’, Walter Armstrong, The National Review, 28 June 1885:

On the present occasion, seven pictures by Mr J.R. Herbert, three by Mr. Eyre Crowe, three by Mr. Frith, three by Mr. Oakes, six by Mr. Cooker, three by Mr. Storey, three by Mr. Armitage, four by Mr. Goodall, and one by Mr. Hodgson, or thirty-three in all, occupy places on the line; and, of the whole thirty-three, hardly one would have the slightest chance of admission to any show where merit was the test. A few of them, such as Mr. Herbert’s seven, Mr. Eyre Crowe’s three, Mr. Storey’s three, and a monstrous thing by Mr. Armitage, are such fatuous absurdities that, were it not for the harm they do to the general cause of art, one would pass them by with a shrug of the shoulders and a thought of pity for the men who had seriously to find them places…

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