Inscribed on window (as advertisement) ‘Mangling Done’
11.8 x 18.0 cm
$1,200.00 including GST
Comment: This rare and delightful depiction of Australian children dates from the mid to late nineteenth century. The humour and style owe something to the work of renowned colonial watercolourist S. T. Gill but the artist here seems even more focused on capturing the immediacy and reality of the social scene. The four youths are shown outside an inner-city house which has a sign advertising ‘mangling done’. This clearly refers to the work of a laundress inside the house but, one wonders in the context of the two boys and two girls on the street, whether it might refer to something else – that the boys are about to be hopelessly squashed by the girls in terms of any social interaction? The clothes and the poses mimic the wealthy which marks the humour as particularly Australian. Indeed these young people may be well on their way to becoming ‘larrikins’, a term that may have been derived from the term ‘just larkin’ about’. Larrikins later came to be regarded a rather serious scourge in Australian cities (see for example Larrikins – 19th Century Outrage by James Murray, 1973).
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