Joseph Thraves, Portrait Of A Scholar

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Joseph Thraves, Portrait Of A Scholar

Regular price £1,295.00
Unit price
per 
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This charming portrait by Derbyshire artist Joseph Thraves (1805-1851) depicts a scholar proudly standing with his hand on an open book. It’s likely that the family commissioned this piece following the offer of a prestigious scholarship for the young man.

In Victorian England, scholarships provided middle-class children with an opportunity to better themselves. Traditionally, the best education was reserved for those with upper-class backgrounds but scholarships widened the net to include a broader group. Of course, the majority of children in Britain were not afforded an education at all and sent out to work from an early age. So it was quite a boon when your child was given an educational lifeline.

As you can imagine, when a scholarship was offered to a child from a middle-class family, this was met with much satisfaction. Indeed, it also enabled the family to seek loftier aspirations and head towards the status of ‘upper middle class’. Here, we see the family celebrating their young lad and the portrait would’ve proudly hung in the most public room of the house. ‘Do come in and see a splendid portrait of our son, hasn’t he done well'.

It’s highly likely that the family in question hailed from Sandiacre, Derbyshire, and possibly one of the villages around Ilkeston. Joseph Thraves was self-taught and a particularly good draughtsman. He produced the altarpiece at the local parish church in Stanton-By-Dale, which was commended by the local press but didn’t achieve acclaim beyond his local region. He also produced a portrait of the Nottinghamshire boxer, Ben Caunt, and a print is held at the British Museum.

Learn more about Joseph Thraves in our directory.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 36½” x 47½” / 93cm x 111cm
Year of creation: 1835
Condition: Artwork presents well. Canvas relined. Craquelure but the paint is stable. Frame with some light wear.

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