Arts & Tradition

Everyday Beauty: A Good Summer

BY Lorraine Ferrier TIMEJune 14, 2022 PRINT

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.

George Hicks
“The Sinews of Old England,” 1857, by George Hicks. Watercolor, graphite, gouache, on paper; 29 1/2 inches by 20 7/8 inches. Friends of British Art Fund, Yale Center for British Art. (Public Domain)

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.

Lorraine Ferrier writes about fine arts and craftsmanship for The Epoch Times. She focuses on artists and artisans, primarily in North America and Europe, who imbue their works with beauty and traditional values. She's especially interested in giving a voice to the rare and lesser-known arts and crafts, in the hope that we can preserve our traditional art heritage. She lives and writes in a London suburb, in England.
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