From Replica to Original
DOI link for From Replica to Original
From Replica to Original book
In 1854, Abraham Solomon exhibited a pair of modern-life paintings at the Academy. This chapter discusses the history of Solomon’s paintings as an example of replication as a form of reception, a response to the first work created in collaboration with others and in dialogue with a speculative market. It argues that taking the existence and history of replicas into account can shed light on other aspects of artistic practice, including, in this case, core—but often overlooked—questions about mid-Victorian narrative painting, including the meanings of paired paintings, the practice of alteration, and the contested definition of modern-life subject matter. Recalibrating a picture’s emotional temperature was a common reason for altering a painting. The change in the young man’s identity is an equally important reimagining. Britain and France had declared war on Russia on 28 March 1854, and British troops and ships were on their way to the Crimea as the Academy public viewed Solomon’s original picture.