His wife knelt down at the bedside by Harry Furniss. Swain, engraver. 1889. Illustration for Lewis Carroll's Sylvia and Bruno Concluded, p. 404. Source: Hathi Digital Library Trust version of a copy in the Pennsylvania State University Library. [Click on the image to enlarge it.]

His wife knelt down at the bedside, raised one of his arms, and drew it across her own, fondly kissing the thin white hand that lay so listlessly in her loving grasp. It seemed to me a good opportunity for stealing away without making her go through any form of parting : so, nodding to the Earl and Eric, I silently left the room.

Commentary

The artist’s restraint is tangible, though the emotion of the scene is clear. Comparisons could be made with the early paintings of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, 1863-1944, who in the period 1880s-1890s, and in keeping with the tragic reality of his own social milieu, of early deaths of children and young adults from consumptive-TB and other illnesses, had produced a number of fraught pictures of bedroom scenes. Harry Furniss here, however, seems to have more decidedly relied upon his own previous sketches of bed-scenes, of November 1885 and again in 1890, in Punch, 89.264 and 99.14. — Ray Dyer



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Bibliography

Carroll, Lewis. Sylvia and Bruno Concluded. London: Macmillan & Co., 1893. Hathi Digital Library Trust version of a copy in the Pennsylvania State University Library. Web. 20 September 2016.


Last modified 20 September 2016