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'Going to market' - John Lee

Girl rides on donkey with boy walking beside, both carrying goods.

  • Oil on canvas 46.2 cm x 37 cm (18 1/4" x 14 5/8")
  • Signed and dated with monogram 1860
  • Walker Art Gallery


Nothing is known about the genesis of this picture, exhibited in 1860 at the Liverpool Academy under the title 'The Young Carriers'. The fresh mountainous landscape and the children are possibly both intended to be Welsh.

detail showing girl's face


Lee used minute stippled strokes of pure colour on a white ground, and his strident greens, pinks and mauves recall the palette of Holman Hunt.

The proportions are odd and the perspective quirky - indicating inexperience - and the rather large heads are characteristic of the very few paintings now known from his short career.

detail showing vegetation in background


John Lee (active 1850-1870), like Windus, Davis and other Merseyside painters, came under the influence of the London Pre-Raphaelites. Very little is known about his life. Only four of his paintings can be identified with certainty - three of these are in the Walker Art Gallery. He exhibited at the Liverpool Academy from 1859-67 and at the Royal Academy from 1863-67. His family were Liverpool merchants and he lived at Rock Ferry prior to moving to London in 1866.