Edward Charles Barnes (1832-1893)
“Feeding the Swans”
Oil on Canvas 72 cm x 57 cm (28″x22″)
Inscribed on the reverse
Edward Charles Barnes was born in Birmingham, the son of a wealthy industrialist. Because of his family background and a natural talent for drawing he decided to become a painter.
With the support of his parents, his first royal Academy exhibit was in 1856 and entitled Puzzled. He continued to exhibit until 1882. His other preferred exhibition location was the Suffolk Street Galleries, so a move to London was a natural step in his career and his chosen subject of children found numerous clients.
Our painting Feeding the Swans shows two sisters in winter on the end of a wooden jetty, the older sister with a comforting arm around her younger sister who is a little apprehensive at the eagerness of the swans to take their offerings of bread. The light and colour key of this painting and the movement of the swans reflected in the water is quite superb and illustrates Barnes’s expression to perfection on the young girls’ faces of fun and apprehension at the same moment. The impasto technique of the painting and delicate skin tones contrasts to display Barnes’s use of light and painting ability.