Street Arabs at Play by Dorothy Tennant print

Street Arabs at Play by Dorothy Tennant print

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Street Arabs at Play by Dorothy Tennant (1855-1926) from the Lady Lever Art Gallery collection.

The historic title of this painting, Street Arabs at Play, uses an old-fashioned term for poor or indigent children that is today considered unacceptable but which was widely used in the Victorian period. Tennant also illustrated a children’s book with the title London Street Arabs in 1890.

Dorothy Tennant was born in London and studied at the Slade School of Fine Art; painting under Edward Poynter and printmaking with Alphonse Legros. In 1890 she married Sir Henry Morton Stanley, the explorer, and became known as Lady Stanley.

Tennant worked as a painter and illustrator, and a key subject in her work was children and families, particularly those living in poverty. She would sketch the children at play on Saturdays in St James’s Park or at the Embankment and then have them come to pose in her studio. They would often turn up too respectable so she kept ‘a good supply of rags’ that were ‘carefully fumigated, camphored and peppered’ in the studio for the children to dress up in.

This painting from 1890 shows the Surrey side of the Thames looking south from Fresh Wharf in front of Adelaide House


Dimensions: 30 x 40cm

Brand: Lady Lever Art Gallery

Printed in the UK


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