LUNA: Folger Digital Image Collection
Digital Image File Name:
Source Call Number:
Cawse, John, 1779-1862, artist.
John Cawse. Autolycus selling his wares. Oil on canvas, ca. 1830
Autolycus Selling His Wares
from a 4x5 color transparency
Source Created or Published:
Digital Image Type:
HAMNET CATALOG RECORD:
Cawse, John, 1779-1862, artist.
Autolycus selling his wares [graphic]. John Cawse.
Date of Creation or Publ. (Hamnet):
Physical Description (Hamnet):
1 painting on canvas : oil ; 63.8 x 76.5 cm.
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. Winter's tale. Act IV. Scene 4 -- Illustrations.
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 -- Characters -- Autolycus.
Condition reviewed the original canvas is a tabby weave, commercially prepared, with a ground. The bottom tacking edge is an original tacking edge, which has not been painted. The left, top, and right tacking edges have been cut off, and the painted canvas has been folded around to provide the present tacking edges. There is a second tacking edge along the bottom, kfurther indicating that the canvas has been on a larger stretcher and that the earliest conception of the painting was larger than what we see now. The window at the left continues on into the tacking edge. The strip of wall or post at the left (cropped in the reproduction) was added to close the composition visually when it was reduced to this smaller format. The dark strip continues down over the chair, creating an awkward perspective. On the far right pentimenti reveal changes in the staircase. While repaint is extensive throughout the painting, it is particularly noticeable in the bottom portion of the figure of Autolycus and on the clown's red suit. This repaint covers both the extensive cracking and solvent abrasion of the paint surface
Provenance: Edwin Parsons, Fine Art Dealer and Publisher, 5 Amersham Rd., Putney, London SW15 , May 1930, £44.
This record contains unverified data from a re-keying contract and may contain incorrect or incomplete text. Please consult Curator for assistance.
Title from Pressly.
Traditionally, this scene is set out of doors on a green in front of the shepherd's cottage, a pastoral landscape suitable for dancing. Cawse, however, sets his figures within the cottage, where the roguish peddler Autolycus has been invited in during a celebration so that the company might examine his wares. Standing at the left with a patch on lhis cloak, he selects a ballad from his overflowing box. In the center stand the two shepherdesses Dorcas and Mopsa. Mopsa, holding a blue ribbon, turns to her suitor, the clown who had promised to buy her a present. The clown, dressed in a striking costume of red black, appears less of a simpleton than is customary. The spears and buckler with the long center spike are familiar props in Cawse's paintings, and the spiral staircase at the right appears more decorative than functional. In what is very much a staged performance, the posing of the figures is somewhat stilted, Cawse offering another reincarnation of a simpler, more idyllic time. the figure style has changed from his earlier paintings, as he now relies more on bright colors and broader modeling.
Signed beneath railing of stairway at the far right in black paint: "[Ca]wse".
Pressly, W.L. Paintings in the Folger Shakespeare Library, 13