National Gallery of Canada / Musée des beaux-arts du Canada

Bulletin 9-10 (V:1-2), 1967

Annual Index
Author & Subject

Two Paintings by Abraham Solomon

by Ian Lowe, Assistant Keeper, Department of Western Art, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, England

Pages  1  |  2 


1 The Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, MDCCCLIV, Catalogue, Nos. 314 and 361 respectively.

2 Oil on canvas: 24 1/2" x 38 1/8". Signed and dated. A. Solomon 1854. Sotheby's sale 20 March 1963, lot 130, reproduced, as First Class - The Golden Opportunity. (On similar, incorrect. titles see note 11.) Previously in the collection of Sir William Cain and sold by Walker Cain Ltd, of Liverpool. This firm's records were destroyed during the last war, but it is known that the painting had been in the possession of the Cain family since 1925. However the provenance between 1854 and 1925 is not known. Purchased by Sir Robert Abdy of the Ferrers Gallery from whom it was purchased on behalf of the National Gallery of Canada in October 1964.

Exhibited. An Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings by Victorian Artists in England, National Gallery of Canada, 1965, No.138, reproduced. See The National Gallery of Canada Bulletin / Bulletin de la Galerie nationale du Canada, Vol. 3, No.2, 1965, p. 9: reproduced in colour p.19.

3 In the collection of the Marquess of Lansdowne, Bowood, Wiltshire. The writer wishes to express his gratitude to Lord Lansdowne for the generosity with which he allowed his painting to be photographed for reproduction here. Oil on canvas: 27 1/4" x 38 1/8", with arched top. Signed and dated 'A Solomon 1854: Inscribed on the verso 'No 2 / A Solomon.'

See Catalogue of the Collection of Pictures belonging to the Marquess of Lansdowne, K. G., at Lansdowne House, London and Bowood, Wilts., by George E. Ambrose, 1897, p. 104, No.221. Listed as The Sailor Boy's Departure and described as "an interior of a third-class railway carriage" (see note 11). When the canvas was taken out of its frame, the artist's inscription of a first title made in pencil in the upper left corner was clearly visible: A Railway Scene / The First Parting.

Another inscription in the right upper corner is less easily deciphered but appears to refer to "Mr Lewis / engraver" (presumably F. C. Lewis [1779-1856]). The question of the engravings of the two subjects is not here discussed although some reference to it may be found below (note 10).

4 Unfortunately the series of sale catalogues at the Royal Academy date only from the 1860's and no record survives there of the price fetched.

5 The Art Journal, 1 June 1854; The Royal Academy, The Exhibition, 1854, p. 164, No. 314; p. 165, No. 361. In The Athenreum 13 May 1854, No. 1385, p. 593, the critic refers to "two clever companion pictures."

6 "One who spoons or is foolishly amorous. C. Bede Verdant Green III iv, 'You don't mean to say you've been doing the spooney - what you call making lover" A New English Dictionary, 1919, Oxford, Vol. IX Part 1, gives other illustrations.

7 Punch, or The London Charivari, Vol. XXVI, 1854, p.247.

8 See note 2.

9 See Graham Reynolds, Painters of the Victorian Scene, 1953, p. 65; Graham Reynolds, Victorian Painting, 1966, p. 113; and Loan Exhibition of Victorian Painting 1837-1887, Messrs Thomas Agnew and Sons, Catalogue, 22 November - 16 December, 1961, p. 24, No. 30.

10 See "Diligence Rewarded," The Railway Magazine, No. 476, Vol. LXXX, February 1937, p. 118-9, where a pair of engravings of the second version of First Class (see note 12) and Second Class are reproduced. These engravings had been presented to the London Midland and Scottish Railway by Mr A. M. H. Solomon, the artist's nephew. They "were published in london on April 4, 1857, by F. Gambart and Company, of 25 Berners Street..."

11 The two oil sketches are now in the collection of Sir David Scott, KCMG, OBE, by whose kind permission they are here reproduced and to whom the writer's best thanks are given not only for the generous loan of his papers but also for his interest and advice. Oil on canvas: both 6 7/8" x 8 3/8." Neither signed or dated. Sotheby's sale 17 February 1954, lot 98. Exhibited, Loan Exhibition of Victorian Painting, op. cit.. pp, 23-24, Nos. 29 and 30. The sketch for Second Class was sold under the title Third Class - the parting, an error of which there are several other variants and instances (see notes 2, 3, 10 and 12). The entries in the Catalogue of the exhibition at the Royal Academy (see note 1) leave no doubt as to the correct titles. Both the oil sketches have painted arched tops (see also note 12) although a pencil line across the top of each may be intended to indicate an a alternative rectangular shape.

12 To the Curator, Mr John H. Scholes, the writer wishes to express his thanks for his friendly co-operation and permission to reproduce the painting in his charge. Both oil on canvas: 27 1/4" x 38 1/8". First Class is signed and dated in red lower right A Solomon 1855. Both paintings had the upper corners left blank so that the slip of the frame would have been arched in shape as in the case of lord lansdowne's Second Class. For convenience in hanging these areas have been overpainted since their purchase from Mr Peter Slater in 1959.

Formerly they were in the collection of Mr J. W. Suddards, OBE, JP, and Mrs Suddards, The backs of both canvases have been primed by the artist, as has also that of Lord lansdowne's painting.

Reproduced: Transport Preserved by Bryan Morgan, British Railways Board, 1964, p. 32; First Class is also reproduced on the cover.

13 Mr W. E. May has kindly confirmed (Letter 30 November 1966) that "there is no doubt that the uniform is that of a lieutenant 1847-1856:'

14 Now belonging to Mrs Horace Barlow (formerly in the collection of her grandfather, Dr Redcliffe N. Salaman).

Both oil on panel (Windsor and Newton) on a painted white ground: 7 7/8" x 10". Both signed and dated lower right in red A Solomon 1855. Exhibited, Victorian Life, The Leicester Galleries, June - July 1937, Nos. 76 (First Class) and 73; City of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Exhibition of Victorian Pictures 1837-1870, Nos. 106 (First Class) and 105 (Second Class); Anglo-Jewish Art, Ben Uri Gallery. See David Fincham, "Three Painters of the Victorian Scene:' Apollo, Vol. XXIII, No. 137, May 1936, p. 242; The Sketch, 3 August 1938, p. 213, both reproduced in colour, as Going to Sea; Third Class and Going to Sea: First Class (see note 11).

15 Compare William Holman Hunt's account of the "new white canvas" of Millais in The Contemporary Review, 1886, p. 482, quoted in the Catalogue of the exhibition at the Royal Academy PRB Millais, PRA January - April 1967, p. 25, No.18.

16 a. The pair at the Southampton Art Gallery. Again the writer wishes to acknowledge the assistance given to him by the director, Mr M. A. Palmer.

Oil on canvas: both 21 1/2" x 30". Neither is signed or dated. Purchased from Mr George Lane, probably in June 1939; no earlier provenance is recorded. Exhibited, British Transport Commission, London on Wheels (Euston Station) May 1953- February 1954 (no catalogue issued); Jewish Artists in England 1656-1956, A Tercentenary Exhibition, White chapel Art Gallery, 8 November - 9 December 1956, Nos. 12 and 13. See Apollo, December 1950, pp. 180-181, both reproduced in colour; Norman Prouting and Richard Timewell, "Some Victorian Railway Paintings as Departure Third Class and Return First Class by Abraham Soloman [sic];" O. S. Nock, "British Trains Past and Present:' 1951, plate 2, First Class reproduced in colour; Reynolds, Victorian Scene, 1953, p. 65, pl. 11, First Class again reproduced in colour.

It will be noted that this pair of replicas share the same reduced size as the second pair.

b. The pair in the collection of Sir David Scott (see note 11).

Oil on canvas: both 21"" x 30". Both signed A Soloman [sic]. Purchased at Sotheby's sale 30 May 1951, lot 127, sold anonymously. From the collection of F. N. Salaman. Exhibited, Painters of the Victorian Scene, Foyle's Art Gallery, London, 23 September - 17 October 1953, Nos. 43 and 44; Loan Exhibition of Victorian Painting, op. cit., pp. 22-3, Nos. 27 and 28; Victorian Artists in England, Ottawa, op. cit., pp. 93-4, Nos. 136 and 139.

The widow of F. N. Salaman wrote (1.12.1951) that this pair was purchased at Christie's and that her husband had told her "that his father sat to the artist as a model for the young lieutenant."

17 Black chalk heightened with white. 450 x 353 mms. (Imperial). Purchased from Sanders of Oxford, January 1966, who in turn had purchased it at a West Country auction (sold anonymously).

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