James Collinson 1825-1881
Oil on panel
Collinson was one of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
Although this painting does not reflect their techniques,
it shares their pre-occupation with modern-life subjects,
most prevalent in the early 1850s.
It shows a family gathered together to write back
to a friend or relation who has emigrated to Australia.
Over a million people had emigrated
in the ten years before Collins painted this picture.
Hence, it was a subject of great interest to the public.
The cottage interior looks realistic, not idealised.
Similarly, the fact that a boy is drafting the reply,
and not his less-educated parents, has the ring of truth.
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