Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Babylonian Marriage Market - Edwin Long

This was a large painting (68 x 120 inches, oil on canvas) commissioned by Edward Hermon MP. The price was a reputed 1,700 guineas an enormous sum for the time. The subject is from George C. Swayne's The History of Herodatus which includes a description of the marriage auction of the Babylonians.

The painting was an enormous success and gained him an Associateship of the RA. It took two years to paint and notices in the journals of 1875 were ecstatic. Critics agreed on the quality of the colour, its 'spirit and dramatic power'. Large crowds came to see it and Long concentrated on Egyptian scenes after this.

[Preparing for the Festival of Anubis] 1889


Anonymous said...

What a great story and it makes me want to do more research on it. I like studying the girl's faces seeing fear and then others seem not to care they are being married off to someone they don't know.

I enjoyed viewing all the paintings from the past couple of days. If I had a big house--I would fill it with paintings like these. They all tell such wondeful stories.

Hermes said...

Thank you Anna, it is exactly the narrative quality of Victorian paintings that appeals to me so much.