An Al-Fresco Toilette

LL 3621


Fildes was a leading member of the so-called Neo-Venetian school who painted happy scenes of the everyday life of the poor in late 19th-century Venice. Here he contrasts the solemn grandeur of a Venetian 17th-century palace with the merry and frivolous activities of the young women who now inhabit the building. If the resulting picture seems rather artificial, it should be remembered that the palace was in fact the studio of the artist's brother-in-law, Henry Woods, and that Fildes's wife and son were models for the figures. The subject of poor or lower middle-class girls preoccupied with their looks, clearly appealled to Lever with his interest in using paintings to advertise his soap.