- Museum number
- Object: Love's Disguise
A male trinket-seller holds the hand of a young woman, while her mother is being distracted by some lace, a servant girl looks on knowingly; cutting from the 'Illustrated London News', 15 December 1866, p.565 [front-page]. 1866
- Production date
Height: 193 millimetres
Width: 243 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The picture was first exhibited at the Fourteenth Annual Winter Exhibition of Pictures at the French Gallery, London in 1866-67 (no.195), with 'The fugitive Royalists' (see PD 2009,7022.20) and 'Maria', now untraced.
The print was accompanied by the following commentary: "Readers of novels and romances will probably recollect incidents similar to that which forms the subject of Miss Solomon's amusing picture in the winter exhibition at the French Gallery, engraved on the preceding page. As far as we recollect, however, there is no exact counterpart in story or play of the artist's representation, though we should admit that the approach of fogeydom renders our memory by no means trustworthy on such a question. We nevertheless strongly incline to think that Miss Solomon is entitled to the credit of inventing the aptly-realised scene before us. In respect to the execution of the picture, we can say with perfect confidence that it is in all essentials a marked advance upon the works she had previously exhibited.
As regards the story, it is too well told, or too clearly implied, to require comment. Of course, we are to understand that the lover has, for some reason invalid in the court of love, been denied access to his mistress and forbidden the house in which she resides — nay, is imprisoned, perhaps, in cruel durance. But then, in the words of Scott quoted by the artist in connection with the title:
Strong limits cannot keep love out,
And what love can do, that dares love attempt.
So, as everything is fair in love as in war, the enamoured gentleman hits upon the strategem of gaining an interview disguised as a pedlar; or perchance the ruse was suggested by the unwillingly guarded beauty herself; it may even be that the idea originated with the maid, who is an accomplice (as is evident by the picture), for, at least on the stage, such minor personages are generally more ready-witted than the principal characters — absorbed as these are with their 'grandes passions'. But, to whomsoever the idea is due, a better disguise could hardly be chosen. Political intelligence of consequence has before now been secretly transmitted by pretended pedlars; we should not wonder if there were a good many Fenians assuming the calling at this moment. And who would be more likely to gain admission to ladies of the last century living in out-of-the-way country houses than the travelling chapman or pedlar, with his tray of tempting feminine laces, and ribbons and trinkets? Besides, this disguise, though not very dignified, does not, as some others would, involve the necessity for the gentleman to disfigure himself so as to run serious risk of losing his ladye-love's admiration. He has not, for instance, to shave his head, wear a wig, stain his fine complexion, knock out a front tooth or two, wear spectacles, go upon crutches or a wooden leg. And the success of this amorous Autolycus seems to be assured. The vigilance of the elderly dragon of an aunt, as we take her to be, is completely at fault. The maid, probably bribed to keep silence, is intelligent and discreet. The happy pair themselves, with pressure of palms, sidelong looks of love, and in stolen whispers, are making some assignation, possibly for an elopement. The moralist might be disposed to add that lovers often practise much more serious deceit than this not only upon others but also upon each other — disguising character, disposition, temper, tastes, even sometimes love and the want of love. But it is not our province to follow a line of cynical thought, for which there is certainly no provocation in Miss Solomon's pleasant picture" ('Love's disguise', 'Illustrated London News', 15 December 1866, p.566).
- Not on display
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Illustrated London News
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number