'And When Did You Last See Your Feet?' by Nick McCann
23 November 2016 - February 2017
What a carry on at the Walker!
Birkenhead-born Nick McCann has reimagined the scene presented in William Frederick Yeames’ And When Did You Last See Your Father? (1878), replacing the characters with stars from the much-loved 'Carry On' films.Titled 'And When Did You Last See Your Feet?', McCann’s 9ft painting stars Dame Barbara Windsor alongside a cast of nine fellow Carry On actors.
"It’s incredible to see my work here at the Walker, having spent my formative years in Merseyside and visited the gallery regularly as a boy. I adore the Carry On films. They were made in the UK during the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s and provide a nostalgic reflection of British society during that time. They were relatively inexpensive to make, but remain fantastic fun to watch.To make people laugh is the hardest thing to do and I aim to ‘carry on’ making images with humor at their heart. I hope I’ve done justice to a popular icon at the Walker – arguably its most famous painting – and perhaps given visitors a giggle in the process. After all, Liverpool is the world capital of comedy."
- Nick McCann
The original painting by Yeames presents a fictional event from the English Civil War (1642 - 1646). It shows a Royalist house under occupation by Parliamentarians. The young boy in the painting is being interrogated as to the whereabouts of the master of the house. Behind him, we see his mother and sister, fearful that his answer may lead the Parliamentarians to his father.
Children were often seen as ideals of truth and honesty in Victorian Britain. The suspense in Yeames’ painting arises from the boy’s dilemma: to tell the truth and possibly endanger his father, or to lie and possibly save him.
The work received favourable reviews when first exhibited and its fame and popularity continued to grow from then on. It has been widely reproduced, often in history textbooks, as well as being the subject of a popular song in the 1890s, numerous political cartoons and even a waxwork tableau at Madame Tussaud's in London.