Charles West Cope
The Victoria & Albert Museum
No one loved sentimental images of children more than a Victorian audience. While they were popular with the people, art critics often were quick to dismiss these sorts of paintings and prints, deeming them “intellectually undemanding.” Still, prints of children and scenes of motherhood proved to be big sellers.
The artist Charles West Cope was described as the “Poet Laureate of the nursery.” Cope was applauded by art lovers (but not so much by art critics) for his depictions of mothers with babies. The artist was always able to capture the intimacy of motherhood and excelled at showing tender moments between mother and child.
Take this image from 1878, for example. In this etching after Cope, we see a woman cradling her child. All of the emotions inherent in motherhood are clearly felt in this simply, yet, effective scene.