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William Frederick Yeames (British, 1835-1918)
William Frederick Yeames (British, 1835-1918)

Tender Thoughts

William Frederick Yeames (British, 1835-1918)
Tender Thoughts
signed and dated 'W.F. Yeames 1883' lower left
oil on canvas
28½ x 36½in. (72.5 x 92.7cm.)
With Agnew's, London
With Gooden & Fox, London
H. Blackburn (ed.), Royal Academy Notes, 1883, p. 33 (illustrated) Athenaeum, May 26, 1883, p. 675, no. 2900
London, Royal Academy, 1883, no. 314

Lot Essay

Yeames was a fairly versatile talent, specialising in historical themes but capable of producing genre scenes, landscapes and portraits. Nonetheless this exercise in 'aesthetic' values, would appear to be unusual. The Greek regularity of the girl's features, the interminate style of her dress, the flowers, the ebonized furniture and the color harmony in the key of yellow, all suggest an awareness of 'aesthetic' priorities, perhaps as hendled by Albert Moore or even Rossetti. It says much about the picture's 'subjectless' character that it could have had one of several titles. Yeames gives it a sentimental gloss by calling it Tender Thoughts, but it could equally well have been called Il Dolce far Niente (the sweet doing nothing). This title was adopted for this type of work by a number of artists, including Holman Hunt and J.W. Waterhouse.

F.G. Stephens in his review of the Royal Academy exhibition in the Athenaeum described the picture as showing a 'richly dressed lady... (with) a soft and sweet expression.'

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