St. Martin-in-the-Fields
signed and dated 'William Logsdail/88' (lower right)
oil on canvas
16 5/8 x 12 3/4 in. (42.4 x 32.4 cm.)
with Arthur Tooth & Sons, London.
Andrew George Medwin.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 14 March 1997, lot 148.
Acquired by Ann and Gordon Getty from the above.
R. Upstone, William Logsdail, 1859-1944: A Distinguished Painter, London, 1994, pp. 30, 45.

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Lot Essay

This picture is an early version or study for the larger picture of the same title, now in Tate Britain, which was bought by the Chantrey Bequest when it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1888. Certain details differ: in the larger version, the richly dressed lady in red is accompanied by her daughter, who is the same age as the bedraggled flower seller selling daffodils in the foreground. A newspaper vendor crossing the street becomes more prominent. All contrast the plight of the dirty, urban poor trying to scratch out a living, with the comfort and ease of the metropolitan elite, one of whom is about to pass by in a hansom cab, shielded from the weather.
The choice of setting is all the more poignant when one considers that Trafalgar Square, where the painting is set, is London’s largest meeting place apart from the parks. It has historically been the site of protest and demonstration, and in the autumn of 1887 there were a series of confrontations between police and protestors insistent on their right to convene. This culminated on 13 November 1887 in a violent attack by the police on several thousand demonstrators, one of whom died and over a hundred of whom were seriously wounded. In the wintry months thereafter, when Logsdail painted the square, with his feet buried in straw for warmth in a makeshift studio in a cart, mounted police were still on patrol. As Robert Upstone pointed out the policeman is positioned directly below the royal crest in the pediment of the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, a symbol of authority devolved (William Logsdail, 1859-1944: A Distinguished Painter; exh. cat. Usher Gallery, 1994, p. 30).
The model for the lady in red was Esther Waterhouse, wife of Logsdail’s friend, neighbor and fellow painter, John William Waterhouse. The two lived adjacent to each other in Primrose Hill Studios. Following the success of this picture, Logsdail painted The Ninth of November, 1888, a record of the Lord Mayor’s Procession (Guildhall Art Gallery, London). This also contrasts the gilded coach of the Lord Mayor and his finely attired attendants with a crowd of onlookers more soberly dressed.

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