'Friday', Walter Dendy Sadler (1882)

Painting of monks eating a meal


Artist: Walter Dendy Sadler (1854-1923)
Oil on canvas, 108 x 217cm
Accession Number WAG 3126

Sadler specialised in scenes of everyday life, often set in earlier centuries. Here he shows Dominican monks entertaining two Franciscans to a meal. Friday in religious life is traditionally a day of fasting, or at least a day in which no meat is eaten. Sadler's monks are observing the letter of the law, if not its spirit by sitting down to a feast of fish. The hungry glances of the visiting Franciscans at the fish laid out before them indicate that they are not going to object to such a meal.

Two years before painting 'Friday', Sadler completed a companion piece called 'Thursday', now in the Tate. This shows the monks sitting at the monastic fishpond, catching the next day's meal. The two paintings were clearly planned together from the outset, but 'Friday' became the better known. Thanks to engravings and reproductions in books it was for many years one of the Walker Art Gallery's most popular paintings.

'Thursday', Walter Dendy Sadler, Tate Collection |