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ID number:  BIRBI-B/1/51
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Named collection:  The Lady Barber Collection
Artist / Maker:  Mancini, Antonio (1827-1901)
Title / Object name:  The peacock feather
Object type:  Painting
Date made:  1875
Collector:  Barber, Lady Martha Constance Hattie
Materials:  Oil on canvas
Measurements:  81.0 x 59.5 cm unframed; 107.5 x 88 x 9 cm framed
Provenance:  Goupil & Cie, Paris, 1875-6; purchased by Humphreys, 29 April 1876; Harry Wallis, French Gallery, London; Hon. Lady Russell; acquired by the Barbers in 1916 at the Christie's British Red Cross Society Auction; Bequeathed by Lady Barber in 1933.

The Peacock Feather was probably the finest painting that the Barbers owned at Culham Court, where it was displayed on the staircase. They bought it in 1916 at a British Red Cross Society charity auction at Christie’s, to which it had been donated by the Hon. Lady Russell. Mancini, who trained in Naples, was the leading Italian Realist artist of his time. He made many intimate genre studies of young boys, of which this is a fine example. His work enjoyed a certain fame and influence in the 1870s, when his friend John Singer Sargent acclaimed him to be the ‘greatest living painter’. (Portrait of a Lady exhibition, Barber Institute, 2012-13)

A dark-haired child sits, turned in profile to the left and looking downwards. He holds a plume from a peacock's tail in his right hand, which slopes diagonally across the picture. There is coloured wallpaper or brocade in the background. Mancini was part of the Verismo movement, an Italian response to Realist aesthetics. Typical subjects painted by Mancini included poor children, street entertainers and musicians. While in Paris in the 1870s, he met Degas and Manet and became friends with John Singer Sargent, who famously proclaimed Mancini to be the greatest living painter.

Inscriptions / Translations:  front ll 'A. Mancini Paris 75'

1 Related People

Barber, Martha Constance Hattie
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