Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Bite 146: Charles Burton Barber - Suspense, 1894

Suspense, 1894, oil on canvas, 78 x 98.5 cm, Private Collection
A  faded reproduction of this image sat on the windowsill at the end of my family kitchen growing up. Seeing it now, in it's gentle humour and nostalgic familiarity, brings back that whole space - alive with the noise of crowded domestisity.

Two loyal pets stare down the quaint breakfast of a young girl, laid out on her bed, as she diligently offers a prayer, staring distracted herself at something out of frame. What more appropriate image to grace the benchtop in the heart of a Christian home? The perhaps simple subject-matter belies a complex composition, maintaining a delicate tension between the players in this warm, homely drama.