©The Whitworth, The University of Manchester | Licence: All Rights Reserved
©The Whitworth, The University of Manchester | Licence: All Rights Reserved

The Poachers alarmed

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The fire confined to the fireplace was no doubt for man the first object of reverie.Gaston Bachelard, The Psychoanalysis of FireIn Von Ostade's print, the family gathers around the hearth, a source of warmth, food and light. Despite its clean-cut, smokeless coal nature, Caulfield's fire continues this tradition of being an object of reverie. Hilton depicts the kitchen, the very heart of the house. The characteristics of the kitchen as a place of warmth and comfort are complicated by the knowledge that at the time of painting Hilton was bed-ridden and was to die the same year.In contrast to these valorised scenes, Topham depicts the hearth of an Irish cottage as a site of poverty. The father is absent, the peat fire is small and smouldering and the woman and child are observed coldly from a distance. Fripp goes one step further and leaves the hearth out of his work completely. The house of the poachers is represented as more of an animal's lair than a home.

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©The Whitworth, The University of Manchester

From the Watercolour World

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England

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