Frederick Morgan (British, 1856-1927) Family on a country path
Lot 51
Frederick Morgan (British, 1856-1927) Come Along!
Sold for £20,625 (US$ 33,288) inc. premium

Lot Details
Frederick Morgan (British, 1856-1927)
Come Along!
signed and dated 'Fred Morgan/1875' (lower right), indistinctly signed and inscribed with title and artist's address on an old label attached to the reverse
oil on canvas
92 x 61cm (36 1/4 x 24in).

Footnotes

  • EXHIBITED:
    Society of British Artists, Winter 1875 no.401, price £126.00
    Liverpool, Free Library and Gallery, Autumn 1876 no.308, price £100.00

    LITERATURE:
    Liverpool Mercury, 'Autumn Exhibition, Free Library, no.IV', 19 September 1876:
    'This is a very high-class work. It is splendid in execution, warm and beautiful in tone, and well drawn. The tale speaks for itself.'

    Fred Morgan married fellow artist Alice Havers (1850-90) on 13 April 1872 at St. George's Parish Church, Bloomsbury. The newly-weds took up residence at 5 Clyde Street, West Brompton, London and Alice became pregnant within a few weeks. On 13 February 1873 their son Valentine was born, a day earlier than his name suggests. He too would exhibit at the Royal Academy using his mother's maiden name, Val Havers.

    Both parents exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in May 1873 and each sold one work; in the same year they also jointly exhibited A Ha'p'orth O'Pops P'ease (painted in the village sweet shop in Shere, Surrey) at the Society of British Artists Winter exhibition. By the time their second child, Lilian Emmeline, was born on 5 January 1875 they had decided to leave London and rent a large farm house, Edmund's Farm in Gomshall, the village adjoining Shere. One reason for painting in this area was that Fred's mother Henrietta and his father, the artist John Morgan, RBA (1823-85) lived in nearby Guildford. Henrietta's failing health was of much concern to Fred. Gomshall also had easy railway access to London.

    Following the opening of the Royal Academy Summer exhibiton in May, many London-based artists headed for the country to work on the following year's exhibits. There were so many artists staying and painting in and around Shere that Fred and Alice were fortunate to secure accommodation. Titles like 'The Surrey Hills' abound at exhibitions. Unlike today this part of Surrey was a poor, rurally depressed area; the rural surroundings inspired a radical change in style Fred and Alice, their subjects moving from urban and interior scenes, to harvesting and agrarian hardship.

    The present lot was painted when Morgan was 28 years old: unusually for the artist the work is dated. Alice Havers does not appear as the model for the mother as she was far too busy with her own canvases; in fact the same model appears seated by a sandy track in Alice Havers's 1877 RA exhibit The End of Her Journey. The baby is modelled by Lilian Morgan, the first appearance of the artist's daughter in Morgan's work.

    Fred Morgan painted around twenty works in and around the Surrey Hills, returning to this theme with A Little Weary One (1881, Glasgow). Alice painted at least a dozen works in the area, often featuring the distinctive sandy paths.

    Following his academy successes, Morgan increased the price of the present lot, but after it failed to sell at the SBA he reduced the price for the Liverpool exhibition.

    We are grateful to Terry Parker for his assistance in cataloguing this lot.
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