At the Theatre
Watercolour; signed and dated 1868
10 x 17 inches
Adelaide Claxton and her sister Florence were London watercolourists, nicely observant of social mores, with wit and bite. Taught initially by their father, the painter Marshall Claxton, they studied at Carey’s art school (Carey was successor to Sass), and went on to collaborate and exhibit together. They frequently contributed illustrations to The London Society Illustrated Times; this one, by Adelaide, may have been for an article in an 1868 edition entitled 'A Rehearsal at Her Majesty’s Opera', the year the watercolour is dated. One may imagine that it was considered too racy to publish - here, a fine gentleman spurns the flirtatious beauty at his side for the demure blonde, whose older companion slumbers at the back of the opera box. Adelaide married in 1874 and seems not to have exhibited after 1876.