One of the joys of summer is treasured time spent with family, as daylight stretches long into the night. In the idealized painting “The Sinews of Old England,” English painter George Hicks portrayed the enduring qualities a man and woman need for a happy marriage and good family life.
In the painting, a young family stands outside their home. The man stands tall and confident, ready for a day’s labor to provide for his wife and toddler. His physical strength is shown by the heavy tools he’s slung over his shoulder, and more subtly, his strength of character is also shown by how he tenderly holds his wife close as she leans on his shoulder: He’s there to emotionally support his family.
His wife gazes lovingly at him. She has her dress hitched up showing that she’s been doing her daily chores, supporting, and nurturing the family. The fruits of her labor are the flowers that frame the door, the tidy home seen through the open doorway, and their content toddler who will grow up knowing that the key to living a full, rich life is goodness.