Telling a Tale
Oil on panel; initialled and dated '63; titled, inscribed 'ex. RA 1860' and signed verso
12 x 16 inches
The Cooling Galleries, Ltd., London;
The Fine Art Gallery, Canada.
Royal Academy, 1860, no. 103
Davis was born and lived in Worcester and studied at the School of Design there, and later at Birmingham. He was a contemporary of, and collaborator with, B W Leader (Davis painted figures, Leader the landscape around them), but Davis was not as ambitious as Leader. He painted scenes of country life, often of children, with a strong narrative element, extraordinary clarity of observation and absence of sentimentality in the characterisation of the figures. He had a distinctive ‘rainbow’ palette and his paintings, particularly when on panel (as here), have an enamelled look. His obituarist in the Art Journal wrote that his friends and clients in Worcester ‘testified to his excellent training and predilection for Art’ (1867, p 188). He died in Rome, where he had been studying for some time. According to the inscription on the back, Davis exhibited this painting at the Royal Academy in 1860, but the painting appears to be dated 1863. It is possible that this is a reduced version of the exhibited picture.