Married for Love by Marcus Stone. 1882. Oil on canvas, 98 x 122 cm. Collection: Guildhall Art Gallery (no. 858). Presented by the executors of the estate of Henry Callcott Brunning, 1908. Reproduced courtesy of the City of London Corporation. — George P. Landow. [Click on image to enlarge it.]

This narrative painting depicts the moment immediately before a son introduces his wife and baby to his wealthy father. The lonely old man, master of large country house (a dormer peeks over the trees at upper left), sits at at a table lost in thought and neglecting his tea and newspaper. Like A Young Painter’s First Work, which Stone exhibited two decades earlier at the Royal Academy, this picture is set in the eighteenth century, which for many Victorian artists functioned as a kind of never-never land. Like the pastoral poem in literature, pictures of eighteenth-century subjects provided an alternate world without — to cite the title of one of Turner’s great works —  rain, steam, and speed. The eighteenth-century world, in other words, had no nineteenth-century technologies, factories, and cities. Stone, who illustrated several works by Dickens, including Great Expectations, Our Mutual Friend and A Child's History of England, created many modern scenes as well as those from earlier in British history.

Created 7 February 2015