Saturday, January 5, 2013

Print of the Day: Giving Alms, 1840

Click on image to enlarge.

"Giving Alms"
Thomas, 1840
The Victoria & Albert Museum

This print from 1840 by Napoléon Thomas (born 1810, died at some point after that) depicts guests of a fancy dress ball. They’ve paused to give alms to an impoverished woman. How she got into the ball, I'm not quite sure.  But, there she is nonetheless.

Such paintings and prints were fairly standard issue in mid-Nineteenth Century France—part of an attempt by artists to remind their patrons, both elite and middle class, to remember those less fortunate (many of whom were artists). The handsome lithograph is hand-colored and is inscribed “Napon. Thom.” The piece was given by Mr. James Laver, CBE to the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1964. 

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