'The Doctor' by Luke Fildes

This oil on canvas was painted in 1890 by Luke Fildes and it is now housed in the Tate Britain in London.
In 1890 Sir Henry Tate commissioned a painting from Luke Fildes, the subject of which was left to his own discretion. The artist chose to recall a personal tragedy of his own, when in 1877 his first son, Philip, had died at the age of one in his Kensington home. In the final version of The Doctor Fildes paints a young child lying across two chairs, his pale face illuminated by the glass lamp on the table. The doctor, dressed in a tailored suit, sits beside the makeshift bed looking down at his patient anxiously. The boy’s father, standing in the background with his hand on the shoulder of his wife whose hands are clasped as if in prayer.
One year after Tate’s commission, The Doctor was exhibited at the Royal Academy and it was one of the fifty-seven pictures offered by Henry Tate as a gift to the nation in 1897.1

  • Photo by Adrian Thomas (February 2020) and page layout by Annamaria Palese ti.liamtoh|49.eselapairamanna#| (April 2020)

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