19th-Century Austrian School, Interior Scene With Sleeping Lady, Bird & Cat

19th-Century Austrian School, Interior Scene With Sleeping Lady, Bird & Cat

This charming Austrian watercolour depicts a potentially messy scenario unfolding. An 18th-century lady sleeps, resting after a tiring day, her right-hand clutches a book and her left atop a birdcage. On closer inspection of the cage, we see a canary perched outside of its bars - it’s escaped and looking up towards an open window.

But wait! Between the window at the unsuspecting bird, a white cat is waiting to pounce. Its neck pulled back into its shoulders - moments from striking.

What happened next?

Scenes like this were popular in the 19th-century as they took a lighthearted look back at the decadence of yesteryear. There’s a satirical element and perhaps the painter was also an illustrator.

Could there be a deeper meaning? Is the bird a visual metaphor for the lady in question? Who or what does the cat represent?

The painting is housed within a period frame and glazed.

Medium: Watercolour on paper
Overall size: 13” x 14” / 33cm x 35cm
Year of creation: c. 1900
Condition: Frame with some age-related wear including losses to the surface.

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