21 November 2007
Max Beerbohm (1872-1956)
signed, inscribed and dated '''Vision'',./Mr. Baldwin ''sees'' something - in itself a/perfectly lovely thing .../Max 1925' (lower left) and further inscribed 'CAPITAL' and 'LABOUR' (in halos around the figures' heads)
pencil and blue and grey wash
13½ x 10 3/8 in. (34.3 x 26.3 cm.)
with The Leicester Galleries, London, 1925.
Lady Bird, 1925.
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R. Hart-Davies, A Catalogue of the Caricatures of Max Beerbohm, London, 1972, p. 26, no. 57.
London, The Leicester Galleries, Exhibition of Works by Max Beerbohm, May 1925, no. 40.
Rupert Hart-Davies records the scene 'In the clouds a saintly young man haloed "Capital" offers a bag of money to a saintly young man haloed "labour", who refuses it.'
The present watercolour may refer to the coal industry crisis of 1925 when the mine-owners announced that they intended to reduce miners' wages. The General Council of the Trade Union Congress responded to this news by promising to support the miners in their dispute. Baldwin decided to intervene, and his government supplied the necessary money to bring the miners' wages up to their previous level. The trade unions celebrated 'Red Friday' as a victory but many Conservatives were uneasy. Baldwin appointed a Royal Commission, under Sir Herbert Samuel, to produce a plan acceptable to both owners and miners, but stubbornness on both sides of the coal dispute thwarted this hope and the government's many other attempts to find a negotiated solution. No common ground had been found when the nine-month subsidy expired on 30 April 1926.
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