The Bonxie, Shetland

The Bonxie, Shetland by James Clarke Hook RA, 1819-1907. 1873. Oil on canvas, 74 x 112 cm. Collection: Guildhall Art Gallery (no. 685). Bequeathed by Charles Gassiot, 1902. Reproduced courtesy of the City of London Corporation.

The first three works by Hook in the Victorian Web span three decades. The first, Colin thou ken'st the Southerne Shepherd's Boye, dates from 1854 and the latest, Catching a Mermaid, from 1883. Although the earliest is set in green meadows and the others at the sea shore, all three depict two boys and a girl, and all three juxtapose subtle suggestions of danger and childhood: the young shepherd is there protect his sheep, Catching a Mermaid has the young boy retrieving the figurehead of a wrecked ship, and this painting has the menacing element of the seabird. — George P. Landow

Created 8 February 2015