Apr 13 2020
May 31 2020
Walworth Wednesdays

Walworth Wednesdays

Presented by Columbia Museum of Art at Online/Virtual Space

Ever since becoming a curator at the CMA, Dr. Catherine Walworth has been discovering and falling in love with pieces in the vault that, for a variety of reasons, haven’t been on view for some time. Now that nothing is on view, she’ll be sharing one of her treasures from the collection with you each week in a new series we’re calling Walworth Wednesday! Up first, a 19th-century oil painting:

Sir William Gush (English, 1813–1888)
Mrs. Fry and Son, c. 1847
Oil on canvas
Gift of Charles M. Hofman


“I love portraits. Especially if there are some great fabrics involved, like silks and satins that allow oil paint to really bask in its own velvety, glossy goodness.

Before the museum shut its doors, I had been spending considerable time pulling racks of paintings in storage and thinking about what needed some love and attention. Exhibited at London’s Royal Academy of Art in 1847, this portrait of a mother and son kept haunting me. It has a satisfyingly warm, ruddy glow and intimacy, but there is also a coolness in the mother’s dignified expression that matches the temperature of her icy-colored silk gown. The crackle of warm and cool kept me coming back.

On the left, the Calla lily is hilariously horning its way into the picture so intentionally that it made me go read up on Victorian-era ‘floriography.’ This is the language of flowers used to speak secret messages when Victorians kept everything pretty well under wraps. Lilies in general call up the Virgin Mary’s purity, but I also found a discreet mention that for Victorian aesthetes, Calla lilies meant simply ‘precious loveliness.’ I’m going with that.”

Admission Info


Dates & Times

2020/04/13 - 2020/05/31

Additional time info:


Location Info

Online/Virtual Space