William Henry Gore, R.B.A. (fl.1880-1920)
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William Henry Gore, R.B.A. (fl.1880-1920)

In Disgrace

William Henry Gore, R.B.A. (fl.1880-1920)
In Disgrace
signed 'W. HENRY GORE' (lower left) and further signed and inscribed 'No.2 In Disgrace W Henry Gore 30 Gt Russell St London WC' (on a label adhered to the reverse)
oil on canvas
30 x 20 in. (76 x 51 cm.)
William Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme.
The Leverhulme Collection; Sotheby's, London, 27 June 2001, lot 410 (£40,750).
London, Royal Academy, 1889, no.193.
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Lot Essay

Images of children in elaborate costume abounded in Leverhulme's collection. At the Royal Academy of 1889, the same year as this painting was exhibited, he bought William Powell Frith's The New Frock. Changing its title to So Clean he used it as part of an advertising campaign for Sunlight Soap. Frith objected, although other artists such as Fred Walker and Stacy Marks came to Leverhulme's defence. A precedent had after all already been set with the purchase of Millais's Bubbles by T.J. Barrat of Pears Soap.

It is tempting to speculate whether Leverhulme was thinking of using the present picture as part of an advertising campaign. The picture shares a similar subject with Charles Burton Barber's In Disgrace described as 'a little girl, seated on the stool of repentence, attended by a sympathetic dog'. Barber, along with Frederick Morgan, and Arthur Elsley, fed a strong appetite amongst the Victorian public for humorous pictures of children and animals. In conceiving the composition, Gore recognised this trend. In buying the picture, Leverhulme thought it might be an image that he could exploit to commercial advantage worldwide.

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