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William Powell Frith the railway station & derby day paintings

This painting is a small-scale version of the painting by William Powell Frith who was an artist from 1819 to 1909. The railway station painting by William Powell Frith was signed and dated 1862.

The Railway Painting by William Powell Frith

The setting for painting ‘The Railway’ is Paddington Station. Between 1850 and 1852, it was the London terminus of the Great Western Railway which was built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel who was at that time the great Victorian engineer.

Trains ran to Plymouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, and the West Country. It was not only an exciting but a modern building too which was built with the help of cast iron and glass. This building was lit by glass light.

William Powell Frith

It was established with the help of technical examination that the picture was painted by Frith himself but it was considered a later date than the original one.

Frith had set the scene of his this painting of ‘The Railway’ in the terminus of the Great Western Railway at Paddington station.

William Powell Frith Family

It shows that groups of people are preparing themselves to get on a train. Frith with his wife and children appear in the group in the left foreground where it is clearly seen that a mother is kissing her son goodbye.

William Powell Frith Ramsgate Sands

The son is clutching a cricket bat and we can presume that he is off to school for the summer term. Furthermore, her husband and elder son stand behind by her.

William Powell Paintings

Foreigner is present next to them and modeled on a Venetian who had given lessons in Italian to the daughters of Frith.

Moreover, the painting shows that he is arguing over his cab fare. Then a bride, bridegroom, and two bridesmaids are seen in a painting.

William Powell Frith the railway painting

On the right of the picture, two famous Scotland Yard detectives, Haydon and Brett, arrest a criminal boarding the train and it was a well-known episode at the time.

The painting received an immense success. Not only it was exhibited in London and the provinces but also in international exhibitions in Philadelphia and Paris.

The Derby Day Painting by William Powell Frith

The Derby Day painting shows the panoramic view of Epsom Downs. In the British horseracing calendar, The Derby is one of the greatest events.

This event is held every year on Epsom Downs and is named after Lord Derby who is the founder of the race.

It is 15 miles away from London. It was possible to travel to see the race by coach to London and then again travel back to your place on the same day.

William Powell Frith- Derby Day painting

But it was a bit difficult for people who were poor as they used to travel on foot. But it was made easier by the arrival of the railway to go to get to Epsom.

The reason that attracted Frith to this subject for painting was the chance to paint a picture that depicts a panoramic mix of different types and also a class of people.

Even though this picture has a set of racecourse which shows the horses as well as the race but to Frith, it was of secondary consideration. To him, the people and interaction between the people were of more importance and interest.

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