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Manx Cottage

Date made: early 20th century

Artist: Dearn, Raymond

Description: The painting is a detailed yet in places impressionistic view of a whitewashed thatched cottage featuring a group of figures, probably a family, stood in front of it. With flowers (probably roses) around the front door, the painting appears to offer a charming image of rural life.

On closer inspection the scene is not quite so picturesque. The garden is overgrown and full of weeds and the cottage chimney and garden wall are both in a state of near collapse. Dark shadows and tall trees enclose the cottage, giving the impression of a dank and miserable location.

The mother or grandmother appears lame as she supports herself on her walking stick. Near her are two girls, both barefoot, the eldest appearing to have collected sticks for the fire. The figures face each other suggesting tension or perhaps an interruption to something.

The work is undated making it impossible to tell whether Dearn painted it in the 1900s as a scene from contemporary life, or as an image painted later in the 1920s from memory. Either way 'Manx Cottage' evokes nostalgia for the traditional Manx rural life without ignoring the poverty and hardship experienced by some.

Raymond Dearn specialised in oil paintings depicting rural scenes of the north of the Island. Recurring themes include grazing cattle; streams and country lanes; women and girls in traditional Manx costume with long skirts and sunbonnets; and whitewashed thatched cottages set against the backdrop of the northern hills around Sulby. Dearn rarely specified locations in his titles making it almost impossible to identify exactly where in Sulby the cottage featured in this painting once was.

Measurements: unframed artwork: 46.5 cm x 72 cm

Object name: painting

Collection: Art Collection

ID number: 2003-0337

Subject tags : Isle of Man


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