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1.

Title

Acts of mercy. Oil paintings by Frederick Cayley Robinson, 1915-1920.

Author
Series
Published
  • 1915-1920
Physical description
4 paintings : oil on canvas
Notes
  • Wellcome Library no. 672507i
  • Other archival materials: Leicester Galleries, London, December 1929 exhibition, "Small paintings and sketches by the late F Cayley Robinson A.R.A." included as nos. 19, 20 and 22 "[oil] sketches for decorative panels for Middlesex Hospital"
Contents
  • "The doctor": left painting of two. Wounded and sick men gathered outside a hospital. Signed and dated lower left "Cayley Robinson, 1920"
  • "The doctor": right painting of two. Left, men, women and girls standing in a group outside a hospital; right, a kneeling woman and a child offer thanks to the staff. Signed and dated lower right "Cayley - Robinson - 1916"
  • "Orphans": left painting of two. Orphan girls entering the refectory of a hospital. Signed and dated lower left "Cayley - Robinson, 1915"
  • "Orphans": right painting of two. Orphan girls in the refectory of a hospital, proceeding around the end of a table towards their seats. Not signed or dated
Summary
  • The four canvases form two pairs. One of the pairs shows orphans and the other shows medical patients, reflecting the social and clinical roles of hospitals respectively. In the former pair, orphan girls are receiving sustenance and upbringing. In the latter, patients, including some men injured in World War I, gather at the entrance to a hospital. The paintings were commissioned by Edmund (later Sir Edmund) Davis ca. 1912 and were presented to the Middlesex Hospital, in London: there they were displayed in the entrance hall until ca. 2005. The Middlesex Hospital was demolished in 2008. The motto of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School was "Miseris succurrere disco" ("I learn to help the wretched", a quotation from Virgil)
Subject
Related item
  • Referenced by: David Brown et al., Frederick Cayley Robinson A.R.A., exhib. cat., Fine Art Society 1977
  • Referenced by: Mary Anne Stevens, 'Frederick Cayley Robinson', Connoisseur 1977 (September), vol. 196, pp 23-35 ("In 1915 he had completed Orphans, the first panel of his most important commission, the decoration of the new entrance hall of the Middlesex Hospital, London. ... The decorative scheme consisted of four panels collectively entitled "Acts of Mercy". Two called "The doctor" hung on the walls at right angles to the entrance door, and the two called Orphans hung side-by-side on the wall opposite the entrance door. The first finished panel, painted as the other three panels were to be, in fairly dry oil on absorbent canvas, received high praise both from the critics who reviewd it when it was exhibited at the New English Art Club prior to installation and from the hospital's Weekly Board who inspected it on 14 April 1915. The remaining panels were completed in 1916 and 1920. When the new building of the Middlesex Hospital was erected in 1929, Robinson's murals were transferred to identical positions in the present entrance hall")
  • Referenced by: John Christian et al., The last romantics: the romantic tradition in British art, Burne-Jones to Stanley Spencer, London: Lund Humphries in association with Barbican Art Gallery, 1989, p. 153
  • Referenced by: Alan Powers, 'Public places and private faces – narrative and romanticism in English mural painting 1900-1935', in John Christian et al., The last romantics, op. cit. above, pp. 63-69
  • Referenced by: J.H. Baron, 'Frederick Cayley Robinson's 'Acts of mercy' murals at the Middlesex Hospital, London', BMJ (Clinical research ed.), vol. 309, no. 6970 (Dec. 24-31, 1994), pp. 1723-1724
  • Referenced by: Clare A.P. Willsdon, Mural painting in Britain 1840-1940: image and meaning, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, pp. 290-292
  • Referenced by: Simon Reynolds, 'Robinson, Frederick Arthur Cayley (1862-1927)', Oxford dictionary of national biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 ("In 1910 or 1911, the South African millionaire Sir Edmund Davis had commissioned four panels for the Middlesex Hospital in London on the themes of 'Orphans' and 'The Doctor'. The first Orphan was completed in 1915 and this brilliant ensemble far outshines his 1923 commission of a war memorial for Heanor grammar school (which later became the South East Derbyshire College). Both compositions are still in situ.")
  • Referenced by: A.S.C. [Anna Somers Cocks], 'Reprieve for Acts of mercy', The art newspaper, January 2008
  • Referenced by: William Schupbach, Acts of mercy: the Middlesex Hospital paintings by Frederick Cayley Robinson (1862-1927), London 2009
  • Referenced by: Peyton Skipwith, 'Exhibition: Frederick Cayley Robinson at the Wellcome Library. Acts of mercy sold but safe', Country life, 9 September 2009, p. 116
  • Includes: Robinson, Frederic Cayley, 1862-1927. Wounded and sick men gathered outside a hospital. Oil painting by Frederick Cayley Robinson, 1920.
  • Includes: Robinson, Frederic Cayley, 1862-1927. Left, men, women and girls standing in a group outside a hospital; right, a kneeling woman and a child offer thanks to the staff. Oil painting by Frederick Cayley Robinson, 1916.
  • Includes: Robinson, Frederic Cayley, 1862-1927. Orphan girls entering the refectory of a hospital. Oil painting by Frederick Cayley Robinson, 1916.
  • Includes: Robinson, Frederic Cayley, 1862-1927. Orphan girls in the refectory of a hospital, proceeding to their place at the table. Oil painting by Frederick Cayley Robinson, ca. 1915.
Genre
  • Allegorical paintings.
  • Graphic
  • Oil paintings.
  • still image
Internet Resources
Direct Link
https://copac.jisc.ac.uk/id/12418026?style=html&title=Acts%20of%20mercy.%20Oil%20paintings%20by%20Frederick%20Cayley%20Robinson%2C
Format
  • Online
  • Visual

Held At

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